I Used to Be Able To...

I used to be able to do 10 unbroken strict ring muscle ups…

I used to be able to Clean & Jerk 200 pounds…

I used to be able to do a 2:34 Fran…

I used to be able to do weighted vest legless rope climbs…

I used to be able to Back Squat 275 pounds…

I also used to be able to hold my breath for 100m underwater, and swim a 24.88 in the 50 Freestyle.

I could spike a volleyball from the left-side into opponents’ faces, and I could sleep for 10 hours, and study for a test the period beforehand and ace it.

I used to be able to wake up at 8:00am and watch “Fraggle Rock” while eating Frosted Flakes out of a mixing bowl, and not have to count calories or worry about my waist size.

I used to be able to sprint against the boys on the playground, and not have to worry about pulling my hamstring.

I used to be able to use the bathroom in silence without kids walking in on me asking to open their fruit snacks.

I used to be able to just leave on a whim for a last-minute weekend getaway with my girlfriends.

I used to be able to cry in my mother’s arms, and her hugs and kisses would fix everything.

You see… The thing is, my friends, all of those “I used to be able to” statements aren’t meant to defeat and deflate us from who we are now. They are meant to be footprint, stepping stones, through our path of life, however long we are lucky to live it!

Often in CrossFit, especially the longer we get to do it, we inevitably will find ourselves in a “I used to be able to” stage of our fitness journey. Injuries, surgeries, setbacks, vacations, burn out, etc - They all happen to the best of us. Dude, life happens! It’s okay! The common “stuck in the mud” issue we find ourselves in when we return to the gym, though, is the invasive thought patterns of “I used to be able to…”

We suddenly appreciate the things we used to be able to do… You know, the things you used to belittle about yourself and say that’s all you could do at the time. “Oh, I can only do like 5 kipping pull ups. I can only Clean 95 pounds. I can barely muster 10 Double Unders.” Those kinds of things. Now that you can’t do what you used to, though, suddenly you wish you had it. Funny how that works, huh?!

The problem with this invasive thought pattern, though, is that it hinders us from starting over properly, and takes away from any progress you’ve made throughout your return. I’ve had to learn through THREE pregnancies and postpartums to allow myself to “start again.”

My first pregnancy, I was SO hard on myself, and my first year postpartum was really difficult mentally because I insulted all of my progress with, “Gosh, I USED to be able to lift more, do more, run faster…” I did not allow myself to be a postpartum athlete.

My second pregnancy, I was better, but still had some of the invasive thoughts. It’s a hard habit to break, y’all. This last pregnancy, though, I am actually enjoying my postpartum now. The first 4-5 months were rough due to postpartum depression and a difficult recovery physically, but today I am at a point where I can be healthy and fit and workout consistently, and I love it. I am enjoying my postpartum fitness journey because I am NOT worried about what I used to be able to do.

I am no longer a 12-year old soccer star. I am not a Varsity volleyball player anymore. I am not single and ready to mingle. I’m not in college. I am no longer a newly married late 20’s boss lady eager to take on the world with no kids.

I am an almost 39 year old mother of three girls with very different goals and priorities in life. I am sleep-deprived most of the time, and rely heavily on coffee, sarcasm, and cat-naps when possible to survive. I no longer wish to compete and be at an elite level, I just want to be functional.

So, as I approach my workouts today, I do so with a clean slate and a grateful heart. I am thankful for all of the things I used to be able to do. I am grateful to have been able to achieve them and have those experiences.

Now, it’s time to have NEW experiences!

The only way to enjoy and appreciate new experiences is to allow your old ones to be what they were and leave them there. Don’t bring them into your todays.

So, my friends, as you embark on your return to the gym, whether right now, a year from now, 5 years, 10 years, or even 50 years from now, regardless of the reason for the absence, allow yourself to begin a NEW fitness journey, and leave all of the “I used to be able to’s” behind.

As a coach, I don’t care what you used to be able to do. I care about what you’re going to do right now, right here. I care that you give your best with what you have right now. I care about the person you choose to be now, and tomorrow. I care about the actions you decide to take next.

No more “I used to be able to,” let’s start saying, “I can do this,” and “I am going to do that,” and “I want to be able to do…”

Say it with me - I am going to be the best version of myself today!

Kara PurvesComment