What I have learned from doing Crossfit and fitness in my 40’s.

Jan 24, 2018

Life Lessons I’ve learned from Crossfit in my forties.


I have always tried to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.  Fitness has always been a main part of my life.  From my days preparing and playing football at the university level, to working my way through chiropractic school as a personal trainer and fitness consultant, to presently helping with some of the programmings for our functional fitness classes with Ben and coaching the kids class at Crossfit Limestone.


Three years ago, I jumped on the Crossfit bandwagon, as a system for ultimate functional fitness and living.  Yes the workouts can be hard and intense, but after being in fitness for the last 25 plus years,I have found cross fit to be the most effective training program for fitness.

This is some of what I have slowly learned over the last few years, and the lessons learnt in a hard workout at the local gym or at home, can be extrapolated to everyday life.  That is probably the most profound and elegant aspect of cross fit.  That it is applicable and appropriate for everyday life. The same can’t be said for many other types of fitness.  How functional is it to a bunch of weighted calf-raises or heavy bicep curls?

So, here are a few of the key ideas I try to apply to my everyday life.  Let me know if they sit well with you.  I would be happy to discuss them anytime.

1. Be in the moment.   Focus on the next step, the next rep.  You can always do one more.  But the work and effort can be insurmountable if you are thinking way down the road if you are thinking that you have 60 more reps to do, or 8 more miles to run.  That is how all things are achieved, one step at a time, focusing only on the next rep or mile, rather than how far you have to go to finish.

This is equal in life, where we can chip away at our goals by focusing on the present moment.  What we can do that morning or afternoon, rather than the entire project or goal that must be done.  At some point, it is beneficial to take a bird’s eye view and look back at what happened in the past, to help guide you in the right direction,  and to reflect on future goals and where you want to go.  But the day to day and moment to moment we should be focused on the present.

2.  Disassociate yourself from the outcome.  Put forth your best effort, and leave the results up to the higher being, as it is out of your hands at that point.  You cannot actually control the outcome, only the effort you put in, which is maximized by your training and preparation.  Whether you come in 1st, 5th, or last in a competition,  you put in your best effort and try not to worry about the outcome.

In life, we should focus on our prep work, make our best effort, and leave it at that, worries aside.  The stress, anxiety, and negative thinking will only harm your performance, impair your thinking, cloud your judgment and negate any positive lessons or outcomes learned from the experience.

3.  Life is not a linear progression.  Your results and effort differ day to day, based on many different factors.  That is why the best Russian weightlifters of all time train by feel, rather than a standardized chart or mathematical formula.  So don’t beat yourself up if one day you feel great and strong, and then have a day of feeling weak and incompetent.

As a master athlete, there are days when I feel I am ready to go full out, and then there are days when I am struggling to move, feeling stiff, sore and tired.  I change my training plan accordingly and am willing to adapt my volume and intensity based on how I feel.

As in life, we can’t always be producing top results, there is an ebb and flow, max effort followed by recovery and reflection.  Recognize this and stop beating ourselves up over the less productive times.

4.  I am in it for the long run.  Anyone who has done cross fit has heard of the terms “redline” and burn and die.  This refers when we attack a workout too aggressively, with an unsustainable max effort.  Eventually, we run out of gas, and become slow and perhaps even unable to continue.  I exercise and follow fitness to age well.  I am in it for the long run.  I want to be able to run, play and handle activities with my grand-kids when I am in my 60’s 70’s and beyond.   So I try to approach life and my workout plans with the idea of slow and steady improvement.  Each day getting closer to that never-ending road of better performance.


Dr.Peter Pain