Remember (or rediscover) your “why”

Open 17.2: Objects in photo are angrier than they appear. Toes TO bar. TO the bar, damnit!

You’ve been there: That point of critical mass in a WOD that has your number. Your head is spinning, everything burns and all you can think is “WHY?!”

The deathly feeling passes when you leave the hurt locker. But the question of “why” is worth chewing on every so often. Remembering why you got into CrossFit in the first place can bring you back to center when you fall into an exercise slump or get butthurt over a bad day (Not me. Just saying, if you do.)

What made you walk in the door?

Rumor has it his shoes cost more than your house.

I like to call CrossFit the Ric Flair of fitness regimens: popular, intense, high-energy, but intimidating to approach. So it had to be something compelling that made you pull the trigger one day. Consider that moment, were you bored with globo-gym workouts? Did you need the accountability of a coach? Did you witness a friend or family member get really strong?

My “why” was to find a tribe. I have always played on a team, whether athletic or academic, even through college. I lost my “tribes” after entering the real world, but I really felt my sense of self ripped away when I had kids. Suddenly, tiny hands had a tight grasp on my time, energy and mental capacity. After pouring from an empty cup for two years, I decided it was time to invest in myself so I could be a better human for my favorite humans.

First, I tried roller derby. I had a taste of derby badassery when I wrote an article on the Appalachian Hellbetties in college. It wasn’t my tribe. It was disappointing, but I still knew I needed to find a place where I fit in (still doing something badass – priorities).  I Googled CrossFit boxes in the area, found one that seemed to have the vibe I wanted and shot off an e-mail. My first WOD was three days later. The rest is history.

So on the mornings I don’t feel like getting up or the days when something I kind of despise is programmed – I think of my tribe at VCCF. I remember the days when I didn’t have the strong sense of self I do now. And I hate that thought.

So I get my butt to the gym.

Maybe your ‘why’ is gaining the strength to complete a marathon or climb a mountain. Maybe it’s to get out of your comfort zone and try something that scares you. Maybe it’s just to be “fitter” – whatever that means to you.

What your ‘why’ shouldn’t be

bt_navy__12771_stdYour exercise routine should ADD something to your life. Whether that’s strength, confidence, mobility or meaningful relationships. If your ‘why’ is losing something – like weight, love handles, cellulite, the laundry list of insecurities –  I encourage you to reframe your mindset. First, diet is 80 percent of weight loss (and 23 percent of all statistics are made up). Second, investing your self worth in aesthetics is like sowing a field of negativity. If you’re looking at your body to see results, where does it end? And let’s say you do get a six pack… do you just stop?

Look at adding weight – to the bar. This can be done consistently, and, with commitment, will continue to build results. There is no finish line in CrossFit – skills are infinitely adjustable, and that can mean up, too! Chase PRs, crush gymnastics movements, break time records – and on the days when you do get beat, don’t look at the person next to you. Look at the person you’ve become, and look back at who you used to be. Remember your “why”.

When your why evolves

I don’t make the rules – so who’s to say that your “why” has to stay the same? Maybe it started as “I don’t want to be this fat, lazy person anymore.” And now you aren’t! Now it could shift to “I don’t want to go back to feeling like that.” This girl put an old photo of herself as her phone screen saver so the first thing she sees in the morning is someone she never wants to be again.

My why started as “find a tribe.” I started CrossFit to become part of a community. Now that I found my tribe, not only do I feel accountable to those who helped get me where I am, I just want to see these people! My “why” some days is “them.” Because one of the best parts of my day is walking through the door into the community I’ve found.


  1. Very, very well written, Audrey. Some people’s ‘why’ is a person they’ve never met … who lives over an hour away … and doesn’t know you exist.

    1. YES. And thank you for giving all of us an extra ‘why’ during the Open. I *litrally* can’t wait for next year. #clashoftheclones

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