• Tom Foxley

mental health, anxiety & Crossfit


Looking back, it seems obvious that I had 'mental health issues' from a young age.


Nothing major, but enough to be disruptive and to make me feel like I didn't belong.


Later, the anxiety that began in my mind would develop into physical symptoms - a heart condition named Wolff Parkinson White.


The worse my anxiety, the more likely my heart condition be to would sideline me.


Whilst it was easy to talk about the physical sensation, it's only been of recent time that I've permitted myself to what I consider to be the true cause - unaddressed anxiety.


Fear, dread and the assumption that I was destined for mediocrity riddled my existence.


I couldn't escape it no matter how hard I tried. And while this story is superficially about me, it's about you too.


Mental health isn't a binary affair. You're not in or out of consideration. Mental health is universal and, just like physical health, exists on a continuum.


You have sickness on one side, fitness on the other, and a whole host of possibilities between.


From a purely anecdotal perspective, I see more and more of the population sliding toward the sickness side of the equation as time progresses.


Our modern lifestyle - in the absence of tools to address our mental wellness - heightens our likelihood of creeping further away from mental fitness and health.


It's in light of this scenario, that we consider training for CrossFit.


Your training doesn't exist in a bubble. You don't leave your mentality behind as you walk through the shutter doors of the gym.


As much as the zeitgeist says so, training isn't an escape from your mental health, it's a deep dive into it.


You're slapping hands and grappling with your inner state as soon as you touch the barbell or jump for the pull up bar.


The mental landscape you were trying to avoid catches up with you soon enough and shows itself as comparison, judgement, fear, under performing, negativity and a whole host of other symptoms.


As a community, we should be aware of the fact that training is as much a mental-emotional experience as a physical one.


As such, it's an opportunity - if executed correctly - to enhance our emotional wellbeing, perspective, and inner capacity.


If it's not addressed however, training becomes another nail in the coffin of a fixed non-serving, and painful mindset.


Mental health unchecked and untrained, we become entrenched in the very beliefs which we once sought to free ourselves from, despite being presented with the ideal environment to surpass them on an almost daily basis.


If we're ever going to move the needle of mental health from sickness to health, we must actively train our mindset alongside our physical health.