This blog post was written by Coach Kevin Higgins.
When I joined Humble Beast CrossFit in October 2014, I had zero clue on how to do squat. Literally, I couldn’t squat, bench press, power clean, deadlift, snatch or push press. Even prior to 2014, when I belonged to a globo gym, I’d go at some strange, off-peak hour, so no one would see me attempt to lift because 1) I had no idea what I was doing, 2) I was intimidated by the bro and bro-ette’s, and 3) I cared too much about what others would think of my fitness. I’m certain I carried all of these insecurities (and probably more) with me into Day 1 at Humble Beast CrossFit.
The beginning months at Humble Beast CrossFit were tough. I’d get frustrated because the movements weren’t clicking. I’d see other people’s scores on the white board and wonder why I wasn’t improving. On top of that, I was periodically battling with lower back pain. It wasn’t until nine months into being a member that I started journaling my workouts. The movements started making sense, I gained a bit of confidence, and things seemed to be moving in the right direction. So, let me decipher some of the text in my journal photo.
In July 2015, I was back squatting 60kgs, strict pressing 40kg, deadlifting 80kg, snatching 40kg, and benching 70kg. I even hit 50kgs on a Tuesday barbell complex on 8/4/15 that consisted of 1 clean, 2 front squats, 3 thrusters, and 4 push presses. You’ll note that I missed the following day on 8/5/15, and 2 days later, on 8/6/15 I wrote “skip (back issues)”. My next entry wasn’t until 11 days later, in what I assume was the time it took for my lower back to start feeling better after I tried to ham it out at 50 on the barbell complex.
I continued to journal my days at HB; there were definitely ups and downs noted all throughout my entries. On 3/31/16, I wrote “tweaked back, [expletive]!”, took off for 3 days, and subsequently returned on 4/4/16 resuming my workloads at a much lower capacity.
Even as recent as November 2017, I injured my left shoulder. My shoulder issues were especially debilitating, to the point where I couldn’t even raise my arm without severe pain. So I went back to the basics. For 2.5 months straight, 5 days a week, 1 hour a day, I worked on nothing but shoulder and core stabilization programmed by Jeff. Five months later, it’s like I never even had a shoulder problem.
Today, my PR’s stand at:
Back squat – 150kgs Push Press – 95 kgs Deadlift – 155 kgs
Front Squat – 130kgs Snatch – 77kgs
Bench press – 92kgs Power Clean – 102kgs
I’m not listing these numbers for kudos or praise. I’m telling you my PR’s to show you that it has taken me nearly four years of self-motivation, ego-checks, attendance, recovering from injuries, and learning from my coaches at HB to hit those numbers. A big thing to remember, is that these are my numbers, not yours.
Your fitness journey and goals will be completely different. You might not hit your PR goals in the time it takes others. You might struggle with the body mechanics of the snatch for four years like I continue to do. You’ll have personal battles, work, friend, or family obligations that will slow your progress. You may even injure yourself, in or outside of the box, which will force you to scale and modify your workouts for weeks or months.
It’s not about the set back - it’s all about your comeback. How are you going to turn a tough situation (mentally or physically) into a positive outcome? What are you going to focus on to help yourself move forward? Is it attendance, learning everyone’s name, modifying your diet, lowering weight to work on form, attending yoga and SMR workshops, taking mobilization seriously, rehabbing an injury, tracking your percentages, or upping your dance game? The possibilities are endless. If this all sounds preachy, it’s probably because I’m projecting right now and these are all things that I need to work on.
Just know that you’re not alone and your Humble Beast Family is here for you. Everyone should be a source of encouragement, support, and motivation. Learn from each other. Ask your coaches questions. Switch things up. Attack your weaknesses. Pay attention to how your body feels and don’t ignore it. Keep in mind, it’s okay to scale and rest. In fact, it’s encouraged! You should live to fight another day and not wreck yourself trying to satisfy your ego or the opinions of others. There’s a reason it’s called HUMBLE Beast.
So, next time you find yourself in your head: WORK. IT. OUT. Literally! Pick up the bar, kettle bell, yoga mat, change plate, slam ball or [insert equipment here], and get your head clear. Focus on the task at hand, give out some fist bumps, and inch your way towards your goals one day at time. You picked the HB community for reason, so be a part of it.
As for my next goal, it’s you. I recently took and passed my CrossFit Level 1 Training Course in April 2018.
The impetus for this event was the culmination of all my HB experiences – the injuries, gains, PR’s, setbacks, and comebacks. After four years of growing within the community, it’s time for me to give back. This isn’t something that’s being asked of me, it’s something that’s calling to me. A calling that led me to shadowing classes, interning and assistant coaching, and now, head coaching!
As the newest addition to the coaching staff, I admit, I still have an incredible amount to learn, and I don’t profess to be an expert. I do know that transformations don’t happen overnight and confronting the challenges you dread the most will pay off the highest. Together, I’m hoping we can tackle our goals, amp each other up, and strengthen our community one day at a time.
Just remember - Train Hard and Stay Humble.