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Welcome to Sucksville – Population: You

Brent Tiesma | Tech CA

I’ve got some bad news. If you want to get good at something, like really good, you’ll have to be comfortable sucking at it for a long time. This is easier when we’re young but as time goes on it gets harder to be willing to stand out, struggle in front of others and let the ‘ego’ go.

Now I’ve done CrossFit since Dr. Joel opened his gym and though I got stronger my skill acquisition had never really improved. Like most, I struggled with a majority of the CrossFit movements. As a fairly competent athlete in my youth, sucking at something is a tough pill to swallow especially when it feels like everyone is watching you. So I shied away from those movements and guess what? I never got better!

However, this past year I had a good performance in the CrossFit OPEN (in February of each year CrossFit releases 5 weeks of surprise workouts and the world competes) and for the first time since I started CF, I was excited to see what I could do the next year without so many holes in my game. So, I made it my quest to get better. I started with the simplest movement that gave me headaches – Kipping Toes-to-Bar. I worked on them after class, watched every YouTube video out there but most importantly I decided that I didn’t care who saw me sucking so badly at them. This went on for a number of difficult months and then one workout, it all clicked and I could Toes-to-Bar with the best of them. Next, I started working on my Ring Muscle Ups, Handstand Push Ups and Pistols. Again, doing accessory work after class and not really paying much heed to the lamenting voice in my head whispering in my ear, “They’re going to laugh at you”. Again, embracing the suck in front of others paved the way to success in each of those movements and a new found respect for doing small things over a long period of time = success.

But there has been one skill that has always given me big trouble – DOUBLE UNDERS (DU). It’s when you skip but your wrists rotate faster so the rope passes under your feet two times with each jump. I could never do more than 5. But armed with the confidence from learning those other skills – I started skipping. And let me tell you, I REALLY sucked. It was one of my most challenging times. In that time, I bought a few different ropes, joined a 6week DU coaching program and still… nothing. It was frustrating. I tried to stay positive, keep smiling while I endlessly questioned (ie. complained to) my wife why DU’s and I couldn’t be friends. I started wondering if maybe I was simply one of those people who couldn’t double under.

So, what did I do? Well, I continued to push forward. I joined another DU training program and ordered yet another rope. Sure, I was teased about my insane amount of ropes and non-existing DU‘s but I wouldn’t be deterred.

Luckily, just when I needed it my new rope arrived and it was just the one I needed. Heavy, slow but with a smooth turnover and within minutes of unpacking it… BOOM 21 unbroken DU’s! Just a few weeks later I set a new PR of 147.

Oddly, this journey isn’t so different from Chiropractic. When people come in, they usually come in pain when they start the process. Often, they don’t see immediate results. They feel worse and for quite a while. There is a period of suck when your body is making changes under the surface that often isn’t easily quantifiable (pain is a terrible assessment tool). And just because you don’t ‘notice’ a difference doesn’t mean nothing is happening. That’s why we do the assessments we do so we can monitor the changes going on that you can’t feel. Some get frustrated and discouraged with the process and give up, deciding that chiropractic didn’t help them (it did) while the others who embrace the suck will graduate to a better, more vibrant life.

It doesn’t matter what you want to do in life there is always going to be a period of ‘suckage’. The more difficult the skill and the pain the longer you’re going to feel stuck in the ‘suck’ — Plain and simple. In the end, your ability to embrace the process and stick to it no matter what the voices in your head tell you will determine whether you become better than you are now.

Check-out Brent’s CrossRope Customer spotlight and see his progress from DU disaster to DU Master!

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