Back in late 2008 or early 2009, I joined San Francisco CrossFit (after I thoroughly embarrassed myself at the other CrossFit). The first 3 sessions were about getting beginners introduced to CrossFit and getting basic movements coached. Not much depth or detail - just barebones to get you moving.

Angel, my coach for the day, taught us (there were 4 of us) the squat and the burpee, and maybe one more thing. Once that was done, he gave us a circuit to do for about 10 minutes, and went over to the main class. Remember, that I know absolutely nothing about anything here. Yes, I've spent more than a year at a gym with machines and all that. But this was a rather new experience - much like how the first day at The Quad is probably for someone who's new to training and fitness.

Thank you @reneefisherandco on Unsplash for this photo. The arrow can represent months or even years! It is the grind!

I never lacked for spirit, although I lacked strength and endurance and every physical attribute one can look for. And damned if I was not gonna last this circuit out! Finished 10 minutes and am lying on the floor. The other 3 (first day for them too) are breathing a bit hard but sipping on water and chatting. Am still happy and proud to have not repeated my debacle from earlier. First day - success. Count it!

And then Angel comes over and says "Are you guys warmed up?". And I guffaw thinking that is the greatest joke ever. Coz I just destroyed myself and you hint that it is a warmup - hahaha and all that. It takes me 10 seconds to realise he's not joking. He had genuinely just had us finish the warm-up. Seriously, W-T-F?!?!?!?!

Time and effort is relative. While it might have been 10 minutes and a few measly squats and burpees - they were the extent of what I was capable of. And here I was, celebrating my victory over my abysmal body in lasting my first day. And apparently I was only 10 minutes into it.

I did something smart (and as part of appreciating myself, I've been thinking back at a lot of things that I did right - and I will write about them slowly) and sat out most of the main workout coz I was nowhere near the base levels of fitness that one needs.

It is a grind

I knew that all that was between me and getting 'there' was putting in work. And doing that for not a day or a week, but a few months at least. That was clear. The plan and the path was crystal clear - show up to class regularly for a few months. All that was left was for me to do.

And I did. And so can you.

As Coach Dan John says,

  • Have a plan
  • Follow the plan to its completion
  • Dissect what happened. Repeat.

It is a grind. You have to learn to love the grind. Instant gratification, magic workouts and supplements, looking for something that's more cutting edge - all of it is wasted energy. Nothing beats grinding. Nothing will get you faster to your goal in nutrition and fitness than the easy-to-ignore words of Coach Dan John above, and just grinding it out.

Do we really think the fancy tricks a skateboarder pulls just happen? Or Roger Federer is just "naturally talented". Purposeful practice, good coaching - sure there are 100s of things. Putting in the work - grinding - is common across the board.

The journey is the point. Along the way, you get smarter. And stronger. And better. And you learn. And you meet people and coaches and mentors. And it snowballs.

The grind does not stop. Do not look for it to stop. Because without it, there's nothing!