The Power of a Smile

By Juli Bauer

Could the title of this post be any cornier? Doubtful.

But there really is no better way of explaining it. A smile somehow has power. It somehow changes the mind, which changes the body. Science says so.

In the CrossFit world, we tend to be a bit serious. We are serious about what we eat, how we train, what we wear. Everything is serious. It seems to be unspoken law, that if you don’t look mad, you’re not a badass CrossFitter.

I saw this in real life recently while at the CrossFit Games Southwest Regional. Talk about seriousness. Everyone is serious. And for good reason. We are all competing for three spots to the CrossFit Games. We have all worked hard, we have all pushed our bodies to the max, and we all are about to crap ourselves from nerves. So any smile that might occur usually leaves our faces as soon as we get within an hour of our workout. No one wants to giggle and end up having to run to the bathroom. Especially when clothing is minimal.

I was definitely one of those people over the weekend. As I stood there, no facial expression to be detected, for a moment I forgot who I was. I forgot why I was there. My workout had literally lost its meaning because all I could do was worry and frown.

So I did all I could. I worked out. I gave it my all. Then I walked around in a circle trying to rid myself of the pain. Then, finally, I began to cheer a friend on who was trying to finish the workout. She was having trouble with her handstand push ups. Because handstand push ups suck. Damn you to whoever invented them.

That’s when it hit me. When this amazing athlete pushed through her frustration and pain and locked out her elbows, I couldn’t help but smile. And it made everything I had felt about that weekend, that day, that wod…disappear. The smile that crept on my face in excitement changed my entire outlook for all my workouts to come.

That smile had power behind it. It made me remember why I was at Regionals...because I absolutely love it. I love what I’m part of. That smile gave me energy and that energy gave me a new understanding of who I was. Not a CrossFitter looking to beat others, but a CrossFitter who was ready to do something great for herself.

What I did then and there was the best decision of the weekend. So I smiled, before my workouts, during my workouts, and even after my workouts. It made me feel calmer, more confident, and even more collected. And I PR’d in every workout. I didn't make top three, but I became a better CrossFitter than I was the week before. All because of a smile.

So for all your Regionals athletes who are competing in the upcoming weeks, remember why you are there. Even if that reason is to check out other single CrossFitters, you all have some reason to smile. (Smiles get dates. Fact.)

Remember that every day, you have the ability to do something great. Start with a smile.

Juli Bauer is a regular contributor to Again Faster and the sole author of PaleOMG. She coaches at CrossFit Broadway in Denver, CO.She finished 8th at the 2012 Southwest Regionals.