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Quitting CrossFit

There are many times I’ve thought of quitting CrossFit and I remind myself ‘I show up and I do the work, I don’t have to be first, I just have to finish the workout’. Then there are times, I have to dig a little deeper, remind myself of why I started, how far I’ve come and hear my Grandfather & Dad’s voices in my head, who remind me that quitting is a representation of my attitude towards my goals and sorry, ‘that just ain’t going to happen on this shift’ and it’s what I need in order to suck it up and get going again.

If you want to quit, ask yourself why? Maybe it’s an easy enough answer; you’re tired and sore or maybe just a little bit burned out. Or maybe it’s when your strength numbers stop shooting up, and your workout times stop plummeting down – it’s what Mark Rippetoe calls the “Beginner Effect” wearing off, and you are now faced with the daunting prospect that each gain, each skill mastered, and each second shaved will be done so at the cost of a considerable investment of time, focus, and will. CrossFit South Brooklyn calls this the ‘sophomore effect‘ and notes that “it happens between 6 and 18 month, depending on your previous training history. you must practice sophisma (which means “acquired skill, clever device, method”) and train methodically and with greater perspective to ensure continued success.”

The real question when you want to quit should be, “How bad do you want to reach your goals?” And that’s the best part of it all because it means quitting is NOT an option.

When I need a break, I re-read these words from Lisbeth Darsh in 2009 (many of you know her as CrossFit Lisbeth) as they are in the front of my workout journal and remind me every time I open that book that I have decided who I want to be in life and to keep moving in that direction.


I really thought about it last night: the Q word. Quitting. Stopping. Saying “No mas.”

I thought “Just stop. It hurts too much. Say you’re too old. Too tired. It doesn’t feel right.”

I could deadlift until the proverbial paleo cows come home, but the hang power clean is my nemesis, and the push jerk is its brother. I’d rather full squat clean everything — and the push jerk wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t have to come back down. But it does. And it crushes me.

But who would I be if I quit? Who would I be if I just sat down and watched the others march deeper into the fight, the pain, the struggle — and I left them? How would I feel when they emerged on the other side — tired, but happy, and triumphant?

I would be a lesser person. And I can’t have that.

If I give up here, I’ll give up in other parts of life. If I fail to do my best here, I will fail when other people need my best.

CrossFit is like life: Either you’re someone who sees things through to the end, no matter how difficult or painful or hard — or you’re a quitter. Or a cheater. Or a liar. CrossFit can show your true colors in 15 mins with a barbell and a stopwatch.

The Japanese have an old belief that you have to see someone drunk to witness their true colors, but I think we have something better. Watch someone CrossFit: It’s the ultimate truth serum.

Decide who you want to be in life — and show that person to us on the gym floor. It really is that simple. Don’t just tell us the truth. Show us CrossFit.

Lisbeth Darsh – CrossFit Watertown 



Pushing through the desire to quit, taking breaks as needed and learning how to keep going are some of the best lessons I’ve taken away from doing CrossFit, ones that apply to other areas in my life as well. How about you?


“Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.” – Lance Armstrong


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