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When I first began doing CrossFit I was you. I thought I knew a lot about fitness and being in good shape and eating healthily. I thought I knew a lot about form. I thought I was a decent athlete. And I thought I would never be as strong or fast or good as “that girl” and especially not as strong or fast or good as any of the guys. I was average, typical. When I went to CrossFit and saw John Mariotti lifting heavy weight and I struggled with just the barbell I thought that was normal – after all, I was a girl. I remember the first time I ever back squatted my body weight and thinking that was amazing. Now I am getting close to squatting two times that. When I tried a pullup I couldn’t get ONE and at that time I really assumed I would never be able to do one. And never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be able to do 25 unbroken pullups… that was just crazy! I though handstand pushups were for the extreme athletes. A muscle up was something that was done by kids – people my age don’t do that kind of thing.

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When I first began CrossFit there weren’t a lot of women my age doing CrossFit and the women that were doing it all thought the same way as me. We didn’t know girls could do pullups. We didn’t know girls could lift those heavy weights. In fact, when CrossFit began almost no one knew! You would see girls who could do some of these things, but they were rare. If you watch the CrossFit Games from back in the early days, you would be amazed at the difference between those girls and guys then and those girls and guys now. That includes the Master’s Athletes. What’s really amazing is that we are still learning what the human body is really capable of. Every year the athletes of each group are incredibly better. That’s what this is all about after all… getting better.

Now when I’m teaching at my own box I have athletes every day who say, “I will never be able to do that” or “I’m not as good as that guy/girl” or “That’s just not me”. But what you don’t realize is that you have already become that guy. Even though you have only been at the gym a few months, you are already doing things you couldn’t do a few months ago.

Do you remember that first day of CrossFit? Do you remember thinking “I can’t do this”? Do you remember thinking these people are crazy? Do you remember thinking “I can’t believe I actually did that?” Do you remember wondering if you would ever come back? Do you remember coming back and thinking you must be nuts? Do you remember the first time you got a pullup or a Double Under or 10 burpees without feeling sick? Do you remember the first time you ever finished a WOD not in last place?

What’s amazing is that very often when a new person walks in the door and sees YOU they are thinking “I’ll never be as good as that guy/girl”. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. You are that much better than the person you used to be.

Have you ever seen this guy around the gym?

Westerman before

You probably haven’t… because he doesn’t exist anymore. This was Mark Westerman in October of 2010 at 257lbs.

This is some of his transformation:

westerman before and after

And this is him today:

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In the past 3 months he has PRed his deadlift at 500lbs. and his back squat at 405lbs. He lost a total of about 70 lbs and then gained back about another 30-40 lbs of muscle. His cholesterol is down and he is in the best shape of his life. He is the guy everyone looks at and says “I’ll never be that guy”. The guy who he used to be said that, too.

But guess what? That guy didn’t know what he was made of! And that guy/girl has no idea what YOU are made of or how amazing YOU can be!

It doesn’t take much to get better. All you have to do is one thing every day and BAM! you are better. Go to the gym and work. This applies in the rest of your life too. Do something every day to get better and every day you will become more of that guy/girl who everyone wants to be. And don’t get me wrong – there is always something else to work on. Westerman still has to really work hard on his upper body strength and his conditioning, but he is incredibly better than he used to be. I still have to work on all sorts of things, too. And we all have setbacks but we keep moving forward day by day.

So go ahead and take the first step to being that guy/girl that you were meant to be. The person who is better than you are today.