Before anything, here is a video of Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, CrossFit extraordinaire and the 6th (?) fittest woman in the world, doing muscle-ups, edited at 300 frames per second. Luke Maznio showed this to me one night as he was sharing some tricks of the trade, and it's something that I've watched and replayed in my head many times over the last few weeks. Try not to be completely mindblown by the epic-ness that is slow motion capture tracked to The xx's Intro.
A few weeks ago, I told myself that I would get my first muscle-up by the end of February, or I'd sign myself up for a 10K. It was really a win-win situation. Land a movement that I had been chasing since I had first seen it done in person, or not land it, and sign up for a race that I've always wanted to complete, but never really had the necessary motivation or courage to do.
It is now February 13th and I am looking for a good 10K to sign up for and put on my calendar. Last night, after what seems like countless failed attempts across a very long series of late nights at Golden State CrossFit, and numerous moments spent (both in public and in private) staring concertedly into the distance while thrusting my hips forward, I was able to land my first muscle-up. With over two weeks left in the month to go, it only seems right that I go after two things on my bucket list.
I know I've been on a huge hiatus from this blog, so it probably goes without saying that this moment means a lot to me for me to be writing about it. For me, there is something completely awe-inspiring about individuals who have perfected the muscle-up technique. The movement is a combination of strength, coordination, finesse, and some intangible quality that glues all of the pieces together -- it's that ability to just "make it work".
Even though it looked and sounded incredibly daunting, something about getting a muscle-up was also equal parts intriguing and feasible to me -- it seemed like an attainable goal with hard work, dedication, and some (a lot) of chalk. Each night, through practice, and with the advice of my peers and coaches, I learned something new about the movement that pushed me in the right direction. The improvement was on a slow but steady incline.
But, for reasons I can't quite explain, there was a moment last night where I thought I had plateaued -- that I had perhaps reached the "furthest" point in the muscle-up progression that I could ever go, and that I would maybe never complete the entire thing. At least not by the end of February. Luckily, it was also at this moment that someone at the box who had been helping me with my muscle-ups recently (if you're reading this, hi, Michael), suggested that I try something completely different and new with my approach. "Just try it." And so I did, and the rest is a blur of happiness, relief, hugs, and high fives. My muscle-up isn't close to being where I'd like it to be, but it's leaps and bounds into the right direction, and at this point, I couldn't ask for anything more than that.
The real takeaway from the story is this -- if something intrigues you, figure out a way to understand it. If you want something badly enough, set an actionable goal, and work towards it. If it seems like the goal is becoming elusive, reevaluate your approach. Quitting isn't a viable option and failure is only a state of mind. Set new goals or reset old ones with new milestones if you have to. And if you've set a personal goal, don't feel obligated to go on that journey alone -- seek out and listen to the advice and support of those around you, and include them in your story.
Here are some tips and words of encouragement I've received in the last few weeks that have resonated the most with me.
"Touch your hips to the rings." - Michael Stevens
"Bang your head through the board." - Jimmy Devoti
"Just stick it." - Kate Gordon
"You're almost there." - Everyone
With that said, there are two weeks left in February. What do you want to accomplish?