Foreword: This post really is not about a bar muscle up, or CrossFit for that matter. It goes way deeper so please, read on!
I did something pretty awesome the other day that I did not totally believe I ever would. I got a Bar Muscle Up, which for those who are like “what in the world is it?”, here is a video.
What you really ought to know though is that it is an advanced gymnastics move, aka it’s pretty hard to do (and you should be seriously impressed at my skills!)
As a trainer, and as someone who had trainers myself, I realize there is this sort of dreamlike perception that trainers are fitness freaks of nature, almost mythical. And yes there are some that are but we are not all like that. And that is not a dig by any means. Trainers work hard too like anyone else. Yet, along with believing all trainers are secretly unicorns, comes this misperception that working out and fitness come easy and naturally to trainers. I will speak for myself when I say, that is just not true.
I did not grow up an athlete. I did not participate in sports other than I took stats for the boys basketball teams in high school. (aka I was on the sidelines not actually the one running around). I never found my “thing” till later. In the area and the time I grew up in, kids who participated in organized sports mostly were on soccer teams, track, softball, etc. You know, the usual suspects. I never really knew what existed outside of that and so I never explored things (other than a recreational step aerobics class. How’s that for aging myself?)
My point is, I am not a trained athlete. All the things I have accomplished as an adult when it comes to fitness, I have worked my ass off for. None of it feels natural. It just starts feeling familiar because I have conditioned myself over time to become competent at what I do. I did not walk into CrossFit for the first time and do a pull up or back squat 200 pounds. I progressively worked towards that (and more).
This whole Bar Muscle Up Experience is a reminder of so many great things.
You do not just outgrow low confidence. I still struggle with it and overthink things to death, which is why I did not just voluntarily start practicing Bar Muscle Ups. The thought freaked me out because who wants to do something and be terrible at it? I know I would not have gotten a bar muscle up had I not been part of such a supportive community like the one I have at DogTown CrossFit.
And it takes a village. I have fellow athletes who have been encouraging me to “wrap up and go practice!” when I really wanted to cower, hide and leave it well alone.
It helps A L OT that I was being coached on how to do one by the best of the best (check Dusty out on IG: @theskillwod). He gave me drills and skill work to do so that I could for one, get the confidence to know what it feels like to get one, even if modified and assisted. It got me comfortable getting on top of a bar because let’s face it, it can be scary to anticipate something new.
It also helped me with body awareness and where I needed to be in that movement. It created like a movement memory me to know when I was in the right space to be successful at one.
Fear can be crippling. I realize this sounds dramatic, but really , it isn’t. As a trainer, I see this a lot. People come to me because they have been crippled by fear of how to start working out for so long.
Not doing something is not only just passive, but it is so limiting. It is actually trickling into other areas like confidence or health. Sure, with a Bar Muscle Up, if I never got one in my life, I would still be a well- adjusted healthy adult. Having gotten one though, it gave me more confidence and is inspiring other people (they have told me so).
This experience of getting Bar Muscle Ups just reminds us how important it is to not live in fear or let it be a roadblock. Find your village, find your coach, find your people.. Find whoever will help you take those steps to get to where you want to go.
Accomplishing a goal in silence can be really lonely.
Like I said, I likely would not have tried had my DogTown community not encouraged me. They were betting on me. Literally. A few friends in class said I would get my first one that day and WHEN I did, they were going to donate to an awesome cause, Crush Cancer: info and link here
I on the other hand, was nervous and felt like shit, that is a lot of pressure.
Yet, I did it and I am so grateful my peops were there to inspire me.
Everything just clicked that day. I do not know why or how, it just did. After a few attempts, I got my first Bar Muscle Up. I was completely and absolutely elated. I literally ran around the gym high fiving everyone there.
Talk about it takes a village. EVERYONE there was just as excited I got one. That positive energy is infectious. And indescribable. It can feel lonely to accomplish something without having people to celebrate it with.
As a trainer, I practice what I teach outside of client sessions. I want them (and myself) to know that I have been in their shoes and I know that feeling of absolute suck during a workout, but I also know that feeling of utter euphoria when I accomplish something astounding. Fitness is a journey and it is just as much mental as it is physical. Mindset and confidence are so important to progress and success. And I strongly believe great things happen when you open up your journey with others.