Flower City CrossFit Wodmagedon

People keep asking me if I still do CrossFit.  Yes!  I go to Flower City CrossFit!

There are many reasons why; the overall health benefits that exercise brings is what you pay for.  But then also the not so much talked about side of things too.  Since CrossFit is so effective there is a good portion of people that will stay for the long term.  So inevitably there is a lot of spill over to other parts of life that must continue to be and grow stronger together.  Businesses, relationships and everything in between such as the Art I designed and printed for the annual Flower City CrossFit event; Wodmagedon.  To me this is important on so many levels but I will only focus on three.

Art is so psychological and to apply it to sports and the idea of representing you as a human being you are thoughtful as to what you ware or in my case design for others.  Athletes are just as fickle as the next market segment and when it comes to things like Graphic Design like colors and garment selection you have to think on a community level and not one athlete.  When designing I have noticed it is better to keep it simple.  I have been known to have "flare" in my work and garments all together.  But that "flare" can be too much in different settings so I have had to learn to turn it down.  Way down! And when it comes to the masses and making a design that fits everyone's desire's you are not going to satisfy everybody.  So the best way to handle it is start simple and build on it.   In general art for social settings like sports; less is more!  Take a look at sports logos and what has been used as far as amount of colors and shapes.  They are limited but with much effectiveness.  The result is a very recognizable logo that stands out quicker to the intended audience.  Not much intricacy is used.  Once the design and uniform is set and people are happy the added value of having custom designs for a competition can really help create a longer lasting effect.  People love to have memorabilia and shirts are great way to keep your brand in peoples minds long term.  And this in over all helps build a stronger bond in the community.  As an artist this gives me a lot of gratification to have had a long lasting part in it. 

And in these settings when you and the person next to you are out there giving your all; your gonna have something to relate to.  Its nice to know you have that connection.  We have emotions and it's really good to share them and be aware of the fact that going to the gym helps put a lot of daily stresses in check.  Like in a major way!

Stress relief!
I am so less irritable and handle stress so much better and with action more than ever before.  You really find a moment of Zen in all the physical activity at the gym.  Simply getting to the gym can be so challenging.  But if you can find time to go for an hour of intense training then you can do anything.  Learning your capabilities are somethings people like myself still haven't met the boundaries of and you can and have the power to do so so much more than you may think.   But back to that "Zen moment"......like say when you are twenty minutes in to the work out and you are so winded, you are breaking down in strength and feel like laying down and just falling a sleep right there in the middle of the gym in front of everybody like "who cares"........  but you have to reach deep.  You have to face yourself and ask:  "Am I going to suck it up and finish what I started or am I going to throw it all away?"  In all the inferno pain your body goes through you have a mental state of awareness. It's generally this laser focus I feel when creating art creeps in to my thoughts.  This time it is accompanied by physical pain so I wouldn't exactly call it laser focus but there is this autopilot feeling that kicks in and starts pushing the inner you.  It truly is a strange and wonderful thing.  It is not anything I have mastered but I do have this realization that I have learned to find the same strength in when creating art as I do in the work outs at the gym in really stressful moments, physically or mentally.  You have to remain fully conscious of yourself.  If you grind through it until the bitter end it will get easier with time.  Life is consistently challenging and things will arise but in the end the result will build you up like bricks to a wall that help create the fortress you call your body, mind and soul if you push through.

No it doesn't happen over night.  But you develop the ability to look at something like work with a lot more ease.  In the same way I would handle a big work out I would apply that to the task that gave me anxiety and litterly take it one step at a time until finished.  But when said and done with any work out at the gym I think to myself; if I can handle that I can pretty much handle any load of work I have for the day too.  Anxiety isn't magically turned off or anything but you tend to feel less and less of it.  And find the fun instead!

Sasa Woodruff of NPR News reported "A New Prescription For Depression: Join A Team and Get Sweaty"  where she breaks down the affects and correlation of exercise in social settings to the anxiety control and stress relief it creates. The journal from a recent study from the Lancet Psychiatry took data from The Center of Disease and control Prevention of 1.2 million people across age, gender and education.  And It does show that those who exercise have experienced less bad days mentally than those who didn't.  Interestingly to me is also it shows that those in team environments with more social activity even suffered less mentally bad days.  Social Activity is so important. And as an artist I have to take a lot of time to do my work and it means being a lone a lot.  And it can be a very interesting thing to be a lone for days at a time.  But thanks to going to the gym 3 days a week for just about 7 years now I have been less stressed than ever in my life.  Yes I have moments still when I wonder about my business and finances but I know that I can make a lot of situations work so I have more of a foundation when it comes to fallowing the path I set before me.

So on to more important things like making friends in this world, weather you are trying to or not.  Because you are human and everybody wants someone to talk to every now and again.  At Flower City CrossFit one thing I love about it there is the level of respect you are greeted with.  This is something a lot of people fear when going some where new, gym or not.  So many times I have heard from friends say they are scared or they are not going to fit in.  Stop thinking on that level and ask yourself what you can learn.  There are so many people out there that miss out on opportunities because of fearing fear.  Don't get it wrong; you are not going to be friends with everybody.  And yes it is nice to have a place to go where you have people that care about your general well being and take the time to help you.  So when you recognize that then stay. 

I myself never thought that my business would spill in this side of my life in the manner that it did.  But when you start showing to people over time that you are capable of something they really do reinforce that in you with support!  You are human!  People learn from others.  They grow on each other.  Then you start learning together and feed off this energy that one can create and share as they grow!  That's one of the most fundamental things about life is that you are constantly learning.  And people like to help people!  The community has brought me a lot of business.  I was always experimenting with my work and being able to adopt to the environments theme can be challenging when applying art to it.  But with effort and constantly experimenting with designs over time I found my niche.  At first I think as an artist it was fun and challenging but on the business side of things I wish I was faster in developing this skill set.  Time is hard to grind through when things don't come to you right away.  The experimenting was costly too.  Mistakes just don't take time they take money and well needed inventory so you have to keep an eye on all sorts of things.  Once I felt I had a grip on a style I try to use it as much as possible at first to get it out of my system.  As an artist if I like something then it's on my mind a lot so why not use that inspiration. Creating art can be stress relieving when in the moment. I can get in a zen like mode where nothing else exists.  I am in tune with my motives and I my human body goes through the motions and I am in the brain the entire time.  Feels more like a dream or meditation as I laser focus in on my project.  This is usually more likely to happen when drawing for me.  Or when I am in the middle of a WOD (Work Out of the Day) at the gym and you want it to end so badly.   Those moments of extreme fatigue where it is so mentally and physically challenging that I have to drive through it all.  The reward of simply finishing is so gratifying.  The direct correlation to relieving stress to me is hand in hand.  That sounds strange that something stressful relieves you later on but the reflection and frame of mind you are in when combined with this most exhausting work out can have extremely beneficial mental affects long term.  When you start to make friends and share all this together it really creates a bond that can only be used as a foundation to the over all community.   If that person next to you is in the game too then synergy is made, there is a force that two or more souls can create that even witnesses feel.  There is a reason stadiums get packed and the roar of the crowd can be felt.  This community thing is of high importance and should be more of the mantra at events. 

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