Why I Switched to CrossFit

Posted by Jake Lyda on

How getting real with myself made me do something I said I never would…

Somebody likes how I look already…it goes both ways!

Everyone wants to be sexy.

People don’t want to admit it, but people say a lot of things without moving their mouths. Subscribing to Women’s Health or Men’s Health, giving a shit about what clothes they wear, even going on Instagram is basically shouting:

“I care about my appearance!”

And I can’t blame anybody. Hell, I’m in the same capsizing boat. Who doesn’t want to look amazing, be adored from a distance, get that significant other off of muscles and charm? (I’m raising my hand aggressively, me me me!)

Here is the biggest problem with “I want to be the twenty-first century Adonis or Aphrodite”: WHO DO YOU TRUST?

Well, my friend/trainer/mom/older brother/girlfriend/magazine/TV/laptop says ______ is the best way to lose fat or gain muscle or get sexy yo.

…And how’s that goin’ for ya?

I know the 1 person you CAN trust…

No, I’m not psychic. It’s you. Yeah you, with the eyes and mouth and body and whatnot. You are the only person you can trust in this situation. You want to look good, you want a fantastic physique, you want to gain the attention of strangers. So you need to be in charge of your fitness.

This is where my personal story comes in.

For years — five of them, but who’s counting reps? — I’ve listened to a slew of others. Online fitness personalities are the worst. Now, don’t get me wrong, I saw results for a while. I lost some baby fat, I had my fair share of newbie gains, and I was in decent cardiovascular shape.

But eventually, you get into that territory where you’ve finished your undergrad and can now specialize in graduate school. What do you want to accomplish with your semi-finished canvas? Did I want to be a bodybuilder, a calisthenics gym rat, a super-lean stick?

What to do when you’re at a fitness crossroads

I was stuck. Mindlessly floating from workout to workout, I’ve been lost in what I want to do. So when I reached this crossroads with my routine, I knew I had only one question for myself:

What did I want to accomplish with my fitness?

For quite some time, it’s been to look sexy, like everyone else. But now that I’m close to my ideal physique, I can focus on other things now. One aspect of my lifestyle that is undeniably fun and part of my DNA is sport. I love basketball, football, ultimate frisbee, boxing, races, and anything with competition. Since I was a young gun, I’ve had this competitive attitude, and once my body grew into itself in college, I got better and better.

With this in mind — my love of sports and wanting to look like a demi-god — I realize I want to be as athletic as possible. This is what needs to be my mindset for working out; my fitness and nutrition routine has to be centered around my overall ability as a human being.

The result? CrossFit.

Why CrossFit was the answer for me

It’s ironic, because I used to bash CrossFit for what seemed to be a blatant disregard of safety and an entirely unsupported claim of rhabdomyolysis. Now that I’ve decided to change my tune, I realize that it’s the best thing for me.

CrossFit’s mantra (loosely paraphrased) is, “don’t be great at one thing — be good at everything.” Almost like a jack-of-all-fitness-trades, CrossFit entails a mixture of weightlifting, gymnastics, HIIT, steady-state cardio, plyometrics, and Olympic lifts for a new workout everyday.

I’d love to improve my vertical to be able to dunk in a basketball game. I’d love to up my speed and agility for football and ultimate. I’d love to gain a little more muscle and expose my abs and be incredibly lean.

To do all of this while having fun competing with both myself and others? Sign my ass up!

Plus, CrossFit’s multiple areas allows me to become well-rounded. No longer will I be proficient in just calisthenics and endurance. I can work on my speed, my power, my strength, and other areas of my fitness that are lacking. (For a breakdown of all 10 physical skills a well-rounded athlete or human being should work on, stay tuned for next week’s article!)

Here’s the tricky thing…

I’m leaving for Dahab, Egypt in less than a week.


Through long searches and a few Facebook comments, I’ve learned that my best shot at CrossFit is a combination of the CrossFit Journal app and a gym in the dessert that has a roof area that’s dedicated to CrossFit (but only in the summertime).

I’ll have to remain dedicated and do the workouts of the day solo. No matter what, at 12:30 PM everyday, I need to be on that roof, getting warmed up with my jump rope or jogging around the area. I am the only guy that makes me do the strength and skill work, the WOD, and my cool down stretches.

I guess it isn’t so much a tricky thing. More like a constant drain on willpower. Instead of having a CrossFit coach keep me accountable and push me to my limits, those responsibilities lay with moi. While I was in South Africa, I did a decent job of being active day in and day out, so hopefully this won’t be a problem.

(If you want to stay up to date with a sad, lonely guy doing CrossFit and eating vegan in Egypt, Instagram is where you can take your pity.)

How you can figure out your 2018 fitness routine:

  1. What is your why? Really sit down and think about what you want your fitness and physique to do for you. Want to excel at sports? Want to be a physique model? Want to win races? Write that shit down and commit.
  2. Think outside the box. Nothing is off limits…at least, that’s what your mentality should be. Like me and my previous disposition on CrossFit, don’t knock it ’til ya try it!
  3. Make it one thing. If you try and do too much, nothing will stick. A thousand darts won’t all stick to a dartboard — go for that single bullseye.
  4. Do it 100%. Evading a copyright battle with Nike aside, whatever it is you decide to do, go all the way. Don’t take a day off (unless it’s your rest day). It’s one thing. Just a single thing. Why not do it today? Worry about tomorrow when it becomes today. Yesterday is gone; no need to fret about that anymore. Only today. Do it today.
  5. When it becomes a habit, on to the next one. That one thing becomes a habit. Hooray! Now keep going. And just because it’s a habit doesn’t mean you can slack off on that thing. That thing is still part of your routine. You are simply adding to the routine. But never forget #4.

Like I said at the beginning, everybody wants to be sexy.

But everybody also has a practical reason for working out. Be it for health, vanity, sports, races, competition, or just for shits and giggles, there’s an overarching reason why we all go to the gym/park/garage/field and sweat our asses off.

Make that reason your template for finding your fitness niche. Mine is CrossFit and fun sports, apparently. As surprising as the former is to me, it shouldn’t based off of the latter. For you, it’s probably different. Good. Find it and rock the hell out of it.

Who knows? Maybe when 2019 rolls around, you’ve crossed off “look sexy” and you’re looking for the next resolution!

This article was originally published on Jake's Medium account


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