What the Level Method Has Taught Me

Before I started taking group CrossFit classes at 7070, I hadn’t worked out in months. I’d been competing in weightlifting for 6 years, and my goal was to be as strong as I could be. That singular focus on weightlifting served me for a while, but eventually, I got burned out. So I stopped going to the gym for about six months.

After that short break, and a hike up Mount Elbert that nearly killed me, I wanted to be in the gym again. I wanted to feel healthier, fitter, and happier.

A serendipitous-in-hindsight series of events led me to CrossFit 7070, and I could not be more grateful.

I started taking group classes almost the exact week that Level Method was introduced. Knowing that I was stepping into a series of assessments, I made a promise to myself: Just show up and check your ego. I was stepping out of weightlifting, a world in which I was very comfortable, and into CrossFit, waters I hadn’t dipped my toes into since 2012.

Through that first round of assessments, I earned myself an “Orange” level. Something that, had I not left my ego at the door, may have bummed me out. But I embraced my Orange-ness, gave each Orange workout my best effort, and eventually earned myself a “Blue” level.

I’ve been showing up, checking my ego, and embracing my Orange- and then Blue-ness for eight months now, and here’s what I’ve learned from the Level Method.

First, although cliche and we’ve all heard it before: Trust the process! The intent behind my doing CrossFit is to increase my fitness, health, happiness, and longevity. How can I do my best to accomplish this goal? I can bring the right mindset to each workout. That mindset is focused on the process; it’s focused on growth and giving my best effort.

If I look at the workout and think, “Ugh, burpees and running? How am I ever supposed to PR my back squat if all we do is cardio?” I’m not going to put my best effort into that workout. If I show up with the mindset of, “Woo! Burpees and running! Two things I’d like to improve!” I’m going to get a whole lot more out of that workout. No, I don’t enjoy burpees and running, but if I’m going to do them anyway, I may as well have a good attitude about it. Even if slightly forced.

Second, and this ties in pretty close with the first one: Consistency is key! Sure, there are days we’d all rather be squatting than doing burpees. That’s ‘cause burpees are hard. But if I only showed up and did the things I like doing, I’d only get better at the things I’m already good at. I may not enjoy burpees, but they sure do help me accomplish my intent: increased fitness, health, happiness, and longevity.

I can’t control the workout that comes up, I can only control my effort and my attitude. I trust the programming, and I trust the process. If I commit to showing up with a positive attitude, regardless of the workout on the board, the results will take care of themselves.

Third is the most important lesson I’ve learned from Level Method: Get outside the gym! The purpose of CrossFit is not to…CrossFit. It’s to use that health and fitness in other ways, outside of CrossFit! You don’t perform routine maintenance on your vehicle so you can park it in the garage and never drive it. You perform routine maintenance on your car in order to maximize its useful life. To use it!

I’ve seen huge improvements in my outside-the-gym life since starting CrossFit. And I’ve seen improvements in my CrossFit since starting to regularly do activities outside the gym. And honestly, it’s pretty fun.

After eight months of following the Level Method consistently, placing full trust in the process, and not being afraid to miss a class to live a little, I can honestly say I love the Level Method. I’m steadily improving in the gym, I’m having more fun outside the gym, and I can even shovel the entire driveway in one fell-swoop, rather than having to do half in the morning & half in the afternoon.

In another eight months, perhaps I’ll have earned myself the title of a “Purple” athlete. But if not, I hope to be fitter & healthier than I am today.

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