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Discipline. (feat. Coach Dennis)

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I remember life before CrossFit. Every January 1st, I would make a “new” New Years resolution. “I will go to the gym every day” or “I will stop eating fast food and candy/sweets”. Then, without a doubt, by January 6th, I will have eaten two chocolate chip cookies while having lunch at the ever-so-healthy Subway. Right?! We have ALL been there. Year after year, we have great intentions of making our bodies both look and feel better, but year after year, we fail miserably. So, eventually we get to the mental place of “Ahh…what’s the point of even trying anymore?”

That’s where I was in 2011. I had free access to any military gym on the island of Oahu, but I still made excuse after excuse. I was out of shape and eating junk daily. I didn’t sleep great, waking up all during the night and my energy was extremely low. After lunch, I would get the 2:00 insulin crash and then when I got home, I would fall asleep on the couch. I was pathetic.

Then, a friend introduced me to CrossFit. About three months into drinking the Kool-Aid, I attended a nutrition class. In that class, I learned two very important lessons. 1) No matter how hard I worked in class, I still felt like I had no energy. No matter how hard I trained and pushed myself, that junk I was using as fuel for my body was only going to get me so far and my fitness so high. I was, in fact, fighting a losing battle. And 2) I learned that I had failed all those New Year’s resolutions because I had set goals without any plan on how to achieve them. No plan on how to feed myself every day. I was also very un-disciplined and had no plan on what to do when hard times hit that would cause me to crave junk/sugar…and they WILL/DO hit. So without any plan, I would just give up on my resolution yet again and once I gave up, quitting became easier every time.

So, I needed a plan AND I needed discipline! The plan was easy, and my CrossFit box provided me with the education, the meal planning guides, the encouragement with follow-up meetings, etc. However, the discipline was something that I had to look in the mirror and create. I had to look at myself and decide, how bad did I want this change to happen? Was I willing to make a LIFE change and prep my meals every week? The foods that I had crossed off my diet, was I willing to stick to that choice when I went out with my friends on Saturday night? Am I willing to go to the box 5 out of 7 days a week? Even on the days I am just not feeling it because it has been an exhausting day? Do I have that discipline? Yes, I do have it…but am I willing to make that choice? To make those sacrifices?

Remember, it is going to get hard. It had been hard for the last 10-15 years that I had been making those resolutions, so I know HARD WILL HAPPEN. When hard happens, am I willing to put that box of Little Debbie cakes back on the shelf and walk away? Am I willing to order the ground beef ONLY patty, with steamed broccoli, asparagus and water, when my friends are sitting across from me having pizza and beer? Yes! Step by step, Yes I can!  And if by chance, I do fall off the wagon, I will jump right back on!

So, how do we create this discipline? We create a habit! That’s it! That’s all it is. Jerry Seinfeld was once asked, “How do I become a great comedian?” His answer was simple, ”Get a 12-month calendar and every day, right a joke on that day of the calendar, then cross that day off. The next day, write a new joke on the next day. Discipline yourself to keep writing those every day and before long you will be in the habit of writing new jokes and you will have plenty of material”.

That same idea can and does hold true for CrossFit AND our nutrition. We must have discipline! Everyday, we need to get up, plan and pack our meals, make good choices and hit the box. It’s not always easy, but it is proven to work. Saying “no, I am not going to have that food” or “yes, I am going to make time for the box” is 1,000% within your control. Once we make that commitment to our lives and ourselves then we will see the fruits of our labor both inside the box and in our daily lives.  Our sleep will improve, our energy will increase, we have more clarity in our daily thought processes and focus. We will feel so amazing and we will want that feeling more and more with each passing day. And then we will become addicted to feeling THAT amazing and we will never want to go back.

….and to think, it all starts with a PLAN and a little discipline!

-Dennis McClain