I am Sisyphus

For most of us the Crossfit season is over.

altas stone copy

We trained all year to see how we would rank in the Open. It was fun, and hard, and inspiring. But it’s done.

Like many of you, I walked back into the gym on and realized that I still have passion for this. I still have weaknesses. And I still have goals for next year.
I am 34 years old and have been doing Crossfit for five years. Yet here I am again, at the bottom of the year-long hill, ready to get rolling.

I am Sisyphus.

Let’s talk about the Legend of Sisyphus. Sisyphus was a King who apparently was deceptive or dishonest. So the gods cursed him to push a boulder up a mountain. But when the boulder reached the top, it just rolled back down. Sisyphus was cursed to do this seemingly futile work for all of eternity.

We can take one of two approaches to this story.

First there are those who identify with the soul crushing futility of work. They see only external rewards, a number on the Scale, or when they fit into that pair of jeans. In Sisyphus they only see toil with no true reward.

The Second group says Sisyphus actually fell in love with the toil. It never goes into great detail of the psyche of Sisyphus but there are plenty of us who know that whatever our life goals and aspirations might be, we are all perusing goals in some way overlooking the futility of it all and just learning to love the process.

As a trainer, I work with people who come in with goals. Usually they want to lose weight, especially around their mid-section. I try to tell them right off the bat that those who fall in love with the process see the best results. These results come when you aren’t paying attention.

For some the scale is the boulder. Every morning it’s telling them they aren’t good enough. They want results—bad—, but they also want the process to end once they reach the top. Sadly, this mentality is usually not enough to keep the results they want. Sometimes, they get the boulder to the top, but they hate the process. And it’s crushing to watch it go back down the mountain.

Results can even get in the way sometimes. People can get all sorts of benefits from exercise but not recognize it because they aren’t a certain weight or dress size.
For others the process becomes they thing we love. We live for gym time. Oddly, we love the challenge, and the struggle. When the boulder goes down we see it as opportunity.
There’s another skill we can learn.

There’s another challenge we can conquer.

There’s another Open next year.

Is that crazy? Is it futile? Maybe.

But here’s the truth: One way or another, we are all Sisyphus.

We can either let the boulder crush us, or we can learn to love the process.


One thought on “I am Sisyphus

  1. Well stated! I am one who loves the process. The physical benefits are simply pleasing byproducts of the effort spent on that process. I love measuring my progress… I love being able to do things I never thought I could… I love disappointments because they give me the motivation to overcome.


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