Have you hit your edge? Keep going.

You’re bent over, trying to catch your breath, watching your sweat drip to the floor. Your legs are burning, your lungs are burning, and you don’t know how you can possibly finish the workout. Are you at your limit?

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David Goggins says no. This former Navy SEAL believes that when we hit our limit, we are only performing at 40% of our true capacity. We actually have one more pullup and one more thruster and one more pushup in us, and it’s our mind, not our body, that’s shutting down.

Think about a time that you’ve been suddenly distracted from your pain during a WOD. Maybe that handsome dude walked in early, maybe your coach cheered you on, maybe it’s just a blast of fresh air from the fan. No matter what the stimulus is, we have all experienced that sudden burst of energy giving our legs just a little more life, even when we thought we were d-o-n-e done.

How can we channel that capacity in a safe and healthy way?

The answer lies in edgework. This concept, the work of sociologist Stephen Lyng, means working to your edge – for the sheer joy of finding the edge. It means pushing yourself farther than you could yesterday. It means finding your own personal wall, and going just one step further. It means shifting your mindset, from avoiding discomfort and seeking pleasure to actually finding pleasure in the discomfort itself.

This makes sense for workouts when you’re literally breaking down muscle fibers in order to build them back up. But what about the unsexy “real life”? Good news! This idea of expanding your limits translates to every single part of your existence.

When you decide to treat your life as a challenge, to dance with your edge at every moment, even mundane work meetings take on new life. Can you use the meeting time (which, let’s be honest, could have been conducted over email in ten seconds) to learn to embrace patience? Can you be content in a traffic jam even when you’re late for a WOD?

Spoiler alert: the answer is yes. One of the most practical ways to incorporate edgework into your life is to develop a mantra. A mantra is something that you can repeat to yourself. It’s short. Rhythmic. Hypnotizing. It means something to YOU. Something you can repeat to yourself during a tough workout with every pull of the rower, and a phrase you can silently* say during that inefficient meeting. You’re limited only by your imagination.

We’re going to examine the idea of edgework and how it relates to CrossFit in different contexts – meditation, exercise, even wilderness survival – in the coming months, so stay tuned for more. In the meantime, leave us a message here or on social media about how you have pushed your edge!

* Or out loud, but we don’t recommend that, especially if it’s “I hate my boss and I will get a new one someday.”


If you’re new to CrossFit, welcome! If you can get in the door, you can do CrossFit – no exceptions. Click this link to sign up for your own free, private intro session at CrossFit Sabertooth. We’re here to help, not judge, and we’d love to help you meet your goals.

Social Media Maven Vern

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