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I see it every time I go to the box. “Better than yesterday”. It’s written right over the door, and is very hard to miss. It’s become something of a mantra for some. You hear it often at the box, see it on Facebook, and may have even had it said directly to you. But what does it mean?

This is one of those things that will mean different things to different people, I am sure. For me it means that I showed up and I gave it my all (even if I have the world’s worst cold, which I do, and can only give it 60% or so). It means I am continuing to take the steps I need to in order to become stronger and healthier. It means understanding that change to undo decades of bad habits isn’t immediate, but every time I go to the box, I get a step closer. It also means taking the time to reflect on the changes, and really think about why I am “better than yesterday”.

The day after Thanksgiving the five of us that are participating in Fit for Life met Eric and Sarah at the box to complete the same workout we did one month before. The first time we did this workout, we were all new to CrossFit. In fact, we had not yet been chosen for the Fit for Life project! It was a preliminary workout to give us a taste for CrossFit and to develop a baseline for where we each stood physically.

My goal was to complete one round of the workout in the time allotted. I did. I finished one round, and had just began my second when time ran out. After time was up, I collapsed on the floor and stared at the ceiling trying to convince myself that I would eventually catch my breath again, and that I was not actually near death. A few minutes passed, and we all regrouped. Sweaty and breathless and looking at each other bewildered and scared. What had we gotten ourselves into?

I went into my car after the workout, and texted my husband that I had survived. Then I sat there. For about 10-15 minutes I just sat in my car. My arms already hurt, and I still felt winded. I made it home eventually, and took about three days to recover. Flash-forward one month. When I realized we would be doing the same workout, I was thrilled and terrified. I wanted to see my progress, but what if after all of my hard work in the month that had passed, I did the same? Or what if I did worse?! I would never be able to show my face there again! I really didn’t need to worry.

One month after completing the workout the first time, I was able to DOUBLE my last performance. I completed two rounds (by the skin of my teeth, but I did it). I was able to row twice as much, swing the kettlebell twice as much, and jump twice as much. IN ONE MONTH. Did I mention that this was the day after Thanksgiving? Literally the day after we all eat until it hurts? But that was not the best part. The best part came after the workout

You see, unlike the first time, when this workout was over, I didn’t lay on the floor. I didn’t have to. I caught my breath quickly. In fact, I was able to start helping to clean-up right away, and I was able to hold a conversation while doing so. I wasn’t exhausted, I was energized!

When I got to my car, I didn’t sit for 15 minutes because I was afraid I was going to pass out while driving on the highway. I didn’t text my husband that I had survived. I texted him that I had doubled what I had done last time, and asked if he needed anything at Costco. I didn’t have to go right home because I was sore and exhausted. I felt great! I was ready to start my day!

Those are the changes that I am finding sneak up on me. I don’t know the exact day I started sleeping through the night, but I do now. I don’t know when I was able to carry two Costco size cases of water from the car to the house at the same time, with a couple of other things thrown on top, but I can now. I don’t know when it became a habit to do push-ups off my kitchen counter when cooking, but it is now. In one month, everything has changed. Better than yesterday!

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Christine O'Malley

Christine is a participant in CrossFit Nashua's 2015/2016 "Fit-For-Life" program. Participants track their progress in the CrossFit training program during the coming 1-year period and log their progress in this blog. Best of luck Christine, in meeting your training goals!

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