One man’s journey to the CrossFit Games

It was my year of exploring new trends in self-improvement. I tried eating gluten-free on a bit of a whim and discovered that the allergy symptoms I attributed to hay fever went away. I also experimented with new ways to set my life and career goals, and organize myself toward achieving them. I was listening to more podcasts to improve my occupational skills as a software developer. I even took an online course on the science of happiness.

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It was in those podcasts and in that course where I came across several references to the benefits of meditation. A couple of the more trusted people I listened to mentioned the Headspace app. I was somewhat skeptical about meditation but I decided to give Headspace a try. That was two years ago. Once I went through Take10, I was hooked—I liked the sense of peace and clarity it brought me. Without hesitation, I subscribed to the app to be able to unlock the other packs and worked my way through some of the ones that represented the attributes I wanted to improve in my life: Focus, Relationships, and Creativity. I made Headspace a habit by giving it a place in my morning routine after breakfast and before my shower. I enjoyed racking up meditation Run Streaks and made it almost a year without missing a day. During this time, I found I could better relate to people I had a difficult time working with. I felt calmer and more focused and was more motivated to work on my career and personal goals. A few months after starting my meditation journey I also got a lot more serious about my workouts and what is now my chosen sport: CrossFit. I already was doing intense, relatively short workouts a few times a week with some friends in their garage but as I got more serious I joined a gym, got better coaching, and started working much harder.

CrossFit embraces constantly varied, high-intensity workouts. During these workouts, controlling your breathing is key, and I found that the techniques I learned from meditation helped a lot. Being able to focus on just doing my next rep rather than the pain and shortness of breath that I’m feeling at the moment and using the “blue sky” concept to help maintain calm and control my breath for a quick recovery helps me through some of the toughest workouts. With Headspace’s Sport packs, I’ve been able to refine my use of meditation in my sport. I have found useful ideas on not just managing the difficulties of a particular workout but also how to maintain my motivation over the course of my training year. I have set personal goals of competing in the CrossFit Open as a Masters athlete with the intention of becoming fit enough to go to the CrossFit Games. Headspace for Sport has taught me how not to become too concerned over the outcome of a single workout but how better to see my overall goal and to relate to the people who will be helping along the way. I came to meditation to try and be a happier person. During my two-year journey, I have seen improvements in all aspects of my life. I’ve enjoyed the benefits of better focus in my career and improved relationships with others. I was already finding ways to apply what I was learning from meditation to my CrossFit workouts but with the introduction of the Headspace Sport packs I feel I’m able to take my performance and competition aspirations to the next level.

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