For many us non full-time CrossFitters there is one thing that interferes with training the most – our JOBS!
Yet again this week I’ve found that my job has come before training and this made me think…why is this a problem? Shouldn’t your job come before a hobby? Or should doing what makes you happy and something you have a passion for come first? Shouldn’t my job make me happy?
My job in Marketing and Events is always going to be demanding in peak times, but only recently has this ‘demand’ become an issue. CrossFit has slowly been creeping more and more into my life since starting my first ever class 18 months ago. I’ve learned that to progress, become more efficient with movements and stronger with my lifts I should be to training at least five times a week. This gives me two rest days that are usually spent doing my University work or meal prep. This is what real life training looks like for the majority of CrossFitters (unfortunately?!). Looking at CrossFit Coaches or full-time CrossFitters, they usually train two or three times a day. This of course enables them to develop quicker and the additional training volume and skill sessions build an athlete with a higher workout capacity. Not to mention making me feel jealous of their twice daily training, it has me questioning whether I should do the CrossFit Level 1 qualification and become a Coach? Or is this just a phase of my life and a decision I’d regret in 10 years’ time?
I love my job working at Leeds Beckett University, but my training at the moment seems to be taking priority over my career. This has become more the case since watching all of the athletes and role models at the CrossFit Games 2016 smash workouts and enjoy what they do. I know I’ll never be as freakishly good as any of those athletes, but I want to be the best athlete I can be before it’s too late. At 25 years young, like most people I wish I had got into the sport a lot earlier. Imagine if I got into the sport back in 2009…that would be 7 years of weightlifting and gymnastics under my belt.
But would I be as good as Matt Fraser or Katrin Davidsdottir, the CrossFit Games 2016 Champions?
For me it’s the gymnastics and weightlifting skills which are so difficult to pick up. Let’s face it; both of these sports are disciplines that take years of practice and perseverance to become anywhere near as good as any Regional or CrossFit Games athlete. It’s frustrating when I think about it, but it’s a good reality check. I have to remind myself that I do this sport because I enjoy it. I don’t earn money like the best in the world. The sport is their wage and this pressure must be immense and I don’t think I’d enjoy that. Most full time CrossFit Athletes sustain themselves through a coaching role at their local affiliate. But like most 25-year-olds I am progressing through a career that I’ve spent 4 years in education working towards and that I enjoy. Although the CrossFit Coaching lifestyle would be great I often think – is it sustainable for me? The answer to this question is what settles the argument.
As shallow as it sounds, being a full-time CrossFit Coach wouldn’t fulfill my current habitual spending habits. It’s not well known for being a high paid industry, as most people coach because they love CrossFit and the community behind it and let’s face it, it would be a great lifestyle to be a coach and train between classes. One of the biggest factors coming into the decision for me is that I have very little patience. And it’s sad to say, but very true that I’m not the best at being sympathetic and caring.
‘I believe that the CAREER vs CROSSFIT battle is all about the magic thing we call balance.’
But what is the right balance? I think this balance depends on the individual and their job, pre-planning and gym guilt. Without major university events and tight project management deadlines I can manage to train when I want, but it’s imperative to remember what’s important and when it’s important.
Getting the balance right and attending CrossFit can be more beneficial than just a workout. CrossFit let’s not forget is a lifestyle and to miss training means also missing the copious amount of friends you have made and socialise with before, during and after classes. As mentioned in my previous blog, CrossFit is a community in which we encourage and enthuse each other to achieve greatness in every session. Seeing these people five times a week keeps spirits high as they are training towards the same goals and are like-minded people. For me, there is no better way to let off steam after a tough day at work than an even tougher workout with your friends. It’s almost like a reset button.
Missing CrossFit could impact you psychologically more than you know.
Here’s two examples of how I try to balance the CROSSFIT vs CAREER relationship.
- Whilst working at Latitude Festival last week, I planned my current programming to end so that I could have that week away from strength cycling and focus on my cardio vascular capacity running 5 kilometers a day.
- If I still want to train whilst managing my University assignment deadlines, I use my annual leave at work to write the assignment and then use training as an incentive to work towards at the end of a day of writing. Although not ideal this is the reality.
These are only two examples of the planning I use to use balance my training schedules around work and University. Sometimes it may mean training at 6am, like I have been doing this week during our Graduation period or sometimes it may mean missing training all together and going for a late night run as the gym is closed. Either way for me it’s important to do something or understand the reasons for doing nothing. A year ago I wouldn’t have been bothered about missing one week never mind one day of training. But maintaining and developing what I’ve worked so hard to achieve over the last 18 months is now important to my mental health and well-being. It’s pretty funny and sad to think that now if I haven’t trained I feel like I have lost out on a day where I could have made gains.
I would say that managing the relationship between your career and CrossFit is dependent on you, your job and the balance you can implement between the two. The things I would advise doing to limit any ‘gym guilt’ is pre-plan into your programme any time away or missed to avoid and manage your expectations and what psychologically feels like a reversibility effect occurring. I find it important to always try to look on the bright side of things and put things into perspective.
‘I am no Rich Froning and am instead Joe Taylor who does CrossFit for fun and to look half decent shirtless’.
How does everyone else manage to balance their CROSSFIT vs CAREER schedules?
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