Swole Searching: How bad do I want it?

This article is Part 3 (Read Part One and Part Two) of a series we will be publishing that will consist of us following a CrossFit Games Regional Hopeful, Katie Harper, through her journey and progress over the next year. Her coaching will be handled by Jonathan Kinnick who, for those of you that don’t know, is pretty awesome. Jonathan is a Co-Founder of BTWB as well as the owner of CrossFit Kinnick. He’s a Board Member on the CrossFit Trainer (CCFT) Certification Board and a CrossFit CF-L3 Trainer. He’s also completed the CrossFit Coaches Prep, CrossFit Competitor’s, CrossFit Olympic Lifting, CrossFit Endurance, CrossFit Mobility and CrossFit Nutrition courses. He is also a USAW Sports Performance Coach.

This article was inspired over a long conversation with a patient. As often happens, our session turned out to be reciprocal- I was helping him physically while he challenged me to consider my true intentions behind my journey to regionals. Here’s how it went:

P: “So, this project (making Regionals) you’re involved with, what exactly motivates you to keep going?”
K: “Well, I’m a very goal oriented person. I like to set benchmarks, and chip away until I’m on to the next one. It satisfies me.”
P: “You’re skimming the surface. You’re not telling me why you want it.”

K: “I want it because I’ve been working towards the goal for so long now, that I might as well finish the job.”
P: “’Might as well’ is an interesting choice of words. It doesn’t scream enthusiasm the way I would expect it to, coming from someone who spends as much time in the gym as you do.”
K: “True. You have a point. And my enthusiasm waxes and wanes, it’s just…”
P: “I don’t think you want it. You just said it right there!”
K: “I did NOT!”
P: “If you want it, there is no wax and wane. It just is.”
K: “I’m a big believer in becoming comfortable with living in a little bit of gray area. Today, I don’t want it that bad. But do you show up to work every day 100% excited to do your job? It’s human nature to sway, even a little bit. As long as the majority of the time you sway one way versus another. I still show up to the gym regardless of how I feel, so I think I do want it.”
P: “Well, what was your initial drive in the first place?
K: “I had nothing to do after college, and it was an easy way to make new friends.”
P: “So, what’s different between now and then, don’t you still enjoy working out with your friends?”
K: “Well, things have changed. I don’t get to do group classes with my friends anymore. I follow my own programming, so I can’t.”
P: “So, you’re lonely.”


Anybody who’s spent enough time in a CrossFit gym will be able to recognize the warning signs of a ‘lonely lifter’. They can be spotted somewhere near the front desk, kicking up a semi-deep conversation by the Fit Aid fridge, lingering on mobility work on the mat, foam rolling for an extended period of time… correction: *instagramming, while using a foam roller as a piece of lounge furniture.* No judgment though, really. If you couldn’t already tell, I’m talking about myself. In fact, I may or may not be feverishly typing this excerpt in between sets as we speak.

As mentioned in my previous article, I’ve been living that remote athlete life for quite some time now. Don’t get me wrong, it has its bonuses, mostly because I have the freedom to move at my own pace. I’m thankful for my new West Coast cronies in the CrossFit Kinnick crew, as I’ve now joined their WhatsApp group and BTWB Squad. Through those outlets, I feel like I’ve been able to get a small fix of camaraderie, as well as a few scores to shoot for on the leaderboard.

I don’t always need a companion to push, as I’m actually pretty successful working in isolation, though there are some days where I’m downright lonely. Like everybody else, I have those days where everything hurts, or I’m beat from a long day at work and pushing through ‘the suck’ can be tough with only long distance training partners to rely on.

These are the moments where I really miss the energy that working out with a big group can provide. Every so often, I crave a dose of group fitness, as it provides a competitive edge, and can make a world of a difference in my performance. Knowing this, I have attempted to cultivate a drop-in training crew to help me fill those gaps during the week.

I’ve been thankful for the encouragement from Katie E, Sarah C, and Toni S, a couple of local TFBA CrossFitters at South Brooklyn, who have pushed me through some gnarly conditioning pieces. As the fall/winter season settles in, I hope to organize more frequent gatherings, fully loaded with music bumping, C4 sipping, clanging-n-banging, bicep flexing, or whatever else I need to amp me up for some good old fashioned functional fitness.

So to answer the question. Yes, I do want it, more and more every day. Sure, I have my realistic doubts, but who doesn’t. Doubts don’t need to coincide with my ability to show up and get the work done. Some days I just need pat myself on the back for showing up and look to my swolemates for support when I need them.

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