getting started in fitness

Getting My Squat Back – You Don’t Have to Be Perfect to Start

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You know what kills me? When there is a workout or a race or something and a friend expresses interest and I say, “You should go for it!’ And they reply with, “Oh that’s easy for you – you are naturally good at that kind of stuff.”

Nothing could be further from the truth.

I started my fitness journey about six years ago and when I started taking classes I realized very quickly that people could move very differently than I could. I am simply not as mobile as many folks. One thing that stood out in particular was the ability to squat down. In my first classes in my first gym, I noticed it, but it didn’t seem like that big of a deal.

Then I moved to CrossFit.

In CrossFit, being able to squat below paralell (so your hip is below your knee) is one of the foundation movements. You use it in air squats, wall balls and almost every type of weightlifting. This is when it became really obvious to me that my body didn’t bend like other people’s. One of my worst moments was during the CrossFit Open 16.2 when I could not squat clean properly. It was so bad that the weight was actually dangerous for me and a Coach cut me from the workout.

In the past three years I have worked with three personal trainers, a chiropractor, a physical therapist, and a massage therapist. I have done dry needling, scraping, and countless hours of mobility work and classes. I can now, after three years, confidently squat below paralell.

Just recently it hit me as to how far I had come. I was researching the standard height of dining room chairs for another project. The seat height is roughly 18′-19″. When I first started CrossFit my coaches had be squat to a polymeric box during wall balls – first a 20″ box and then a 18″ box. In other words, I used to have a hard time consistently “squatting” to a dining room chair – I was 40 years old and couldn’t sit properly!

Now, I am stubborn and refuse to believe there is much out there I can’t learn to do eventually, (given enough time and money.) But the real point here is that you don’t have to let something like that stop you. Sure, I had to do a fair amount of modifications, and I still do in some things. (I do Olympic Lifting, but I power clean instead of squat clean.) But it would have been easy to let something like that sideline me. Instead, I jumped in anyways and kept going.


And that is the point. As adults, we struggle with perfection. We want to be able to do anything at anytime. And unfortunately that isn’t always the case. We aren’t always good at everything, or even built for it. That doesn’t mean you should let that hold you back. Jump in! Try it! Have fun! And if you aren’t as good as everyone else, who cares? Remember learning to ride a bike as kid? You probably fell a few times. You probably even fell once you were good at riding. That’s still true today. Thinking about starting something new? Expect a few scraped knees, but don’t let that keep you off the bike.

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