Chasing Demons


Chasing Demons

By: Donny Diaz

In 2017, I was at the top of my fitness game.  I was training 6-7 days per week and twice a day, 3-4 days per week.  I had success in local fitness competitions and I was absolutely murdering workouts in the gym.  I was constantly in “the zone” and couldn’t hit the reset button, let alone the off switch.  During these workouts, from a physical standpoint, I would go to a very dark place every…single…day.  I trained alone.  

The highlight of 2017 was my performance in the CrossFit Open.  It’s a worldwide competition, of which 1 workout gets released per week, for 5 weeks. There was a judge that made sure you did the repetitions properly and also someone counting your repetitions.  There was a window time to complete the workouts and submit scores. Thursday night after the release until Monday night.  Participants were allowed to do the workout an unlimited amount of times in the allotted period and choose their best score to submit.  Now, the pros were doing the Open workouts 4-6 times.  Me on the other hand, would do them once, nearly killing myself each time, which resulted in my body being out of commission for 4-5 days. I’d enter my score and not pay attention to where I was ranked and didn’t pay attention to anyone else’s ranking.  However, this year was different.  I was receiving random calls and text messages from friends and family affiliated with various gyms asking me if I knew my ranking.  I didn’t know and didn’t want to know.  Eventually, something that I didn’t want to become a big deal, became a huge deal. I did the workouts on Saturday mornings and it became a production. 

Much like a fighter, I had an entourage of 6-7 people with me talking strategy daily, coaching me, keeping my confidence up and my nerves in check.  I even had a bucket that I puked into just before each workout.  The most encouraging yet terrifying part was the crowd of athletes that gathered in street clothes just to watch me go HAM.  When it was all said and done, I finished number 31 in the region and number 5 in the state.  To me, it was far from good enough. It didn’t matter regardless of the high praises I received from the community, my loved ones, and of course, my loyal entourage.   I didn’t celebrate nor did I take even a second to feel proud of myself or fully take in the accomplishment.  I was already overtraining and all this experience did was make me train harder.  I ended up running myself into the ground, which then led to injuries that forced me to shut down shop. I needed this time to heal physically, but looking back, it was more important to heal mentally and emotionally. It forced me to reassess my aim and my relationship with fitness. 

I lost sight of why I fell in love with it and I passionately write this because it happens so often in this industry.  The epiphany was that I was chasing something that didn’t exist…perfection.  There was no shot at qualifying for the Games, but I was training like I was going to the damn Olympics!  I was chasing that perfect performance, the feeling of worthiness, and that high we all feel as soon as the timer beeps and we complete a mission that I believed could be perpetual. I knew I had to refocus my lens and think back to what it was about group functional fitness that was so compelling.  The answer was simple once I slowed down, reflected, and put some pen to paper.  I fell in love with the like-minded people that simply wanted to “be better” and the environment of non-stop encouragement.  However, the undying love stemmed from the mere fact that it magically cleared any cloudiness in my head.  It gave me peace of mind and it didn’t matter how I looked, but rather how I felt.  I could face any obstacle in life and it was because my mindset was stronger than ever.  I don’t know why or when, but somehow that got lost along the way.  It was the last year I participated in the CrossFit Open and I’ve never looked back.

104010 is NOT a CrossFit gym.  We are not anything, but we are everything.  We’re adamant about aligning your mind, body, and soul, all parts equally as important.  Outsiders believe we’re about fitness, but that’s completely inaccurate.  We’re about all around wellness. We strive to provide our community with so much more than a “workout”.  That is always and will always be at the forefront of our minds.

So, the next time you’re beating yourself up over results or chasing demons, stop and smell the roses. Take some time to celebrate your accomplishments. Look at an old picture of yourself and feel proud of how far you’ve come.  There’s beauty in our journey that quite frankly, will never end.  Fitness is such a big part of our lives and it will always be here. Such as life, there will be highs and lows, but they can all be tempered if you’re aware of it and consciously take steps to transform your mindset.  For me personally, the mental and emotional benefits of training outweigh the physical on any given day. 

In 2017, I was at the top of my fitness game…so I thought.