Why Do I Keep Jacking Up My Shoulder?
A CrossFit Competitor’s Dilemma
By: Chris Kresser, Ph.D., CSCS
Crossfitters are known for their intense workouts that often leave them sore for days afterward. They’re also known for their dedication to training and dedication to their goals.
But there’s another side to this “community” that many don’t see; they may not even realize it exists!
There are plenty of CrossFit gyms out there, but what happens when someone wants to compete at one of these gyms? What if they want to take part in a competition or just get better at the sport?
There are no rules governing how much weight you can lift, how fast you can run, or any other aspect of your fitness level. You have to figure all that stuff out yourself. And while some people do that with great success, others struggle. Some fail completely because they lack the proper technique and equipment to train properly. Others succeed only because they’ve been coached into doing so. Still others fall through the cracks entirely, never getting around to trying out a gym until it’s too late and they need to start making money again (or worse, depending on where you live).
This is the story of one such man. His name is Travis.
Travis has been dedicated to Crossfit for years and if anything he’s more dedicated now than ever before.
Travis first started off slow, joining a small local gym that held regular Crossfit competitions. He had no idea what he was doing, but he went anyway.
He signed up for a competition that would happen in a few months and started training. He had no idea how to do anything, but he tried his best.
The first time Travis went to the gym was intimidating. He didn’t know what to do or how to do it.
The coaches were busy with more experienced members, so he wasn’t able to get any help from them either. It was a disaster. He tried his best, but he failed at every workout and placed dead last among all the men in his competition.
But that didn’t stop him. He kept coming back because he enjoyed the challenge.
Over time he got better and better, and he even took advice from the coaches and other more experienced members of the gym. He finally beat his previous PRs (Personal Records) in all of the major lifts. He was improving.
Travis started feeling more comfortable at the gym. He knew most people’s names now and had friendly conversations with them whenever he saw them.
The more experienced members started taking notice of him and gave him tips that helped him improve even more.
After a few months of consistently placing in the middle of the pack and improving his skills, one of the coaches approached Travis about joining the team. He gladly accepted and was given all of the team’s shirts and gear.
He trained with the team 3 times a week now instead of once. He was really improving.
Travis placed 3rd in his next competition. That may not sound like much, but it was a huge accomplishment for him.
He even beat one of the veterans, and that gave him a newfound confidence. He was determined to keep it up.
The team started getting more serious and trained 5 days a week now. Travis was doing great in the gym and so was the team.
As a result, more and more people started joining the gym. The place was getting popular!
Travis kept on improving and placing well in his competitions. He always received praise from the other members of the team and the coaches for his dedication and hard work.
Everything seemed to be going great.
Then one day things changed. The owner of the gym came in and announced some changes.
The Crossfit games were coming to their town next year, and he wanted to prepare. All gyms that wanted to participate had to double the size of their floor space and add more equipment. The owner called it “Gaining apremium facility”. Travis and the rest of the team were elated. This meant that they would get all the latest and greatest equipment! They would be able to prepare for the games properly!
But months past, and the owner didn’t do anything about it. There were no workers, no remodeling, nothing.
He just left the place like that for months. When members asked him about it, he would just say that he was waiting for a good deal. But nothing ever happened.
As time went on, Crossfit lost its appeal. All of the more skilled members quit, and some others like Travis were thinking about it.
The owner didn’t seem to care about anything except for his money. He kept raising the monthly payment to use the facilities, even though they weren’t even being improved.
Eventually the owner sold the place to some big corporation that turned it into a globo gym. The new employees had never heard of any Crossfit games.
Travis and the few remaining members quit that day. They couldn’t support a place that was ruining their sport.
Travis was devastated when he heard the news. He had poured so much time and effort into this place, and it was all gone now.
He had no idea what he was going to do with his life.
He wandered home that day in a daze. He didn’t even bother to train anymore.
For the first time in years, he didn’t want to get off his bed. He had nothing to look forward to.
Eventually Travis’ mom got worried about him and made him go to a psychiatrist. The doc diagnosed him with severe depression and prescribed him some pills.
They didn’t help much. His heart was broken, and he saw no hope in his future.
One night as he was lying in his bed thinking about how pointless life was, he had an idea. It would be quick and painless.
He could easily do it.
Why wait for something bad to happen in the future when he could do it now?
He wouldn’t even have to worry about it.
Travis put the pills into his mouth and swallowed them with some water. He felt a sense of relief.
Now he wouldn’t have to worry about his future. He would be free from all his pain.
He fell into a deep sleep thinking about the good times he had in the past with his friends and family.
The next day, they found him dead with a smile on his face*.
*This is just a story I thought of while I was in the hospital. I came up with it because I was depressed about my situation in life and wanted to end it all.
Fortunately I didn’t, but I was close. If you’re tempted to do the same, DON’T! Stay strong and keep fighting the good fight. If you ever feel this way again, call someone immediately. You are not alone. Please reach out for help. I almost didn’t, and it would’ve ruined my life.
If you are dealing with depression or suicidal thoughts, please reach out to someone. You could try calling these organizations:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
IMAlive: I’m Alive
(Thanks to /u/PoemWill for the corrections and suggestions)
Sources & references used in this article:
Pumping Irony: How to Build Muscle, Lose Weight, and Have the Last Laugh by A Ginsburg – 2017 – books.google.com