So day 4 at Ninja camp by Chosun was a rest day and so we obviously started at 6:30am with a grueling beach workout designed by one of the fittest women on the planet.
It was actually a pleasure... before and after... The clouds over the ocean were stunning. We threw my ultimate disc (essentially a frisbee) around and generally loved life for a minute before a series of warmups that had me thinking that I was the person they were talking about in those CrossFit t-shirts that say “Our workout is your warm-up”.
By the time the warmups were done I seriously considered pulling out of the workout.
The only reason for me to have pulled out would be ego.
It’s tough to be the least fit person around. I’ve led many beach workouts in the past but generally it hasn’t been with a group of CrossFit coaches, action movie-stars, and ex professional cyclists.
In the ‘real world’, I’m in ok shape but here...
At that point I started asking myself “why AM I here?”
The answer is that this is the life I want.
I want to surround myself with people who make me better. I want to live full out and I want to sacrifice the comfort of my ego for the satisfaction of my soul.
That all sounds lovely and like it could be on a greeting card, but it’s true.
It’s true but I didn’t come up with it right away. My ego took a few more hits at the hands and steel-toed boots of my inner critic first.
The rest of the “rest day” was pretty cool. I did some work, I hung out by the pool. I had a private session with Talayna Fortunato and we did a yin yoga class before feasting on lamb and other delicacies created by Josh Davies.
During the private session I was able to ask Talayna to teach me anything but I opted to see where she wanted to go with the session. I’m really happy that I did.
It’s super cool that she’s been on the podium at the Crossfit Games BUT it’s her day job as a physiotherapist that served me the best. As previously stated, I’m an ok athlete but not at the level where I need someone of her caliber tweaking my game slightly to put me over the top.
What I DID need was for her to look at my ankle.
I injured myself playing ultimate frisbee over a year ago and I’ve blamed all of my travels, and the inherent difficulty of communicating with doctors in other countries, for my having mostly ignored it.
Immediately after injuring it I played in a beach ultimate tournament and then a couple of months later, I ran a Spartan Race before realizing that it wasn’t just hurt... it was injured. I was injured
It turns out that Talayna’s never seen anyone tear the ligament that I’ve torn and not get surgery. My foot is starting to shift position as there’s nothing holding it in place and my calf on my left leg is starting to atrophy, something I’d noticed last week for the first time, as a result.
That ego that I was talking about before. It’ll wreck me if I let it as it thinks that I just have to tough things out.
It was a reminder that while focussing on big things can be great, the devil is in the details. I wanted to go in and work on handstands, or dead lifts, or muscle-ups but none of those would make as big a difference in my life as having my ankle working properly again.
In the evening I introduced the Ninjas to a game I fell in love with while living in Korea.
The group took to it like a pack of wild werewolves... which is appropriate as the game is called “One night Ultimate Werewolf”.
I LOVED that the group took to Werewolf (as I call it) so passionately as I love the game but have tried to introduce it to a couple of groups in Bali but they opted out quickly, saying that they didn’t get it. There’s a slight barrier to entry as it seems confusing at first but the Ninjas got it FAST.
We had a blast playing and there was SO MUCH LAUGHTER!
Day 5 A.K.A. today was full of two yoga sessions, one yin in the morning and one stand up paddle boarding in the evening, sandwiching a gym workout with Talayna that absolutely crushed me.
Earlier int this post when I said that I loved everyone at Ninja Camp because they were making me better. That’s an attitude arrived at after some reflection. While I was slogging through the three workouts I just wanted to melt into the wall.
I was mortified at how relatively bad I am at the movements we were challenged to do.
Old patterns came in and I started pulling away from the group. Both emotionally, feeling alone, and physically, by setting myself up to work apart from the rest.
I even started one of the workouts prematurely with the nice sounding excuse that I knew I was going to take longer than everyone else and since we weren’t doing it for time, I figured I’d start first to not hold up the group.
When Ninja Camp co-founder, Robin, saw me doing that she said “uh uh... we start workouts together”.
For a moment I felt resentful that I had to do the 9 overhead squats and 6 wall climbs to handstand that I had just struggled through again, BUT then it landed that I was part of a WE.
No one at Ninja Camp has made me feel less than because relative to the group I have the physique of a mortal.
Every Ninja has been supportive, accepting, inclusive, and just generally awesome.
I’m one of the group, I bring a lot and even though I’m not the best at the workouts, no one else has looked down on me for it. This might not be as profound to others as it seems to be to me.
I mean, I wouldn’t look down on someone else for being at whatever fitness level they happen to be at. Workouts like this are meant to be scaled anyway and I’ve always been very encouraging of people who are willing to train to their level.
At the same time, I think I’ve generally fallen into the trap of being needlessly hard on myself and it was lovely to go through that today and realize that that was all me. If I wanted to let that old story go, I could... and so I did.
Anyway, the point is that I worked out harder today than I have in a long time but I only realized that once I stopped comparing myself to others.
These people make me better and that’s one of the takeaways from this whole experience. Being the worst one in a group at something is a marvelous opportunity to improve and level up if the rest of the group is excellent at that activity. I’m going to do more of this across many areas of life.
We’re up at dawn again tomorrow for another beach workout and so I’m going to put this down for now and get some sleep. I’d love to hear you tell me of a time when you dared to be the worst at something and how it helped you grow.