What CrossFit training can teach you about your business

Taking recovery breaks between training sessions is essential – and it’s no different in business

I’ve always dedicated time to sports, whether it is horse riding or swimming. A few years ago, I decided to take on a new challenge and I joined a CrossFit training programme with a professional trainer. Shortly after, I was able to do things I couldn’t imagine my body was able to do, such as climbing ropes, carrying heavy weights and handstands.

I trained for two years and my body’s strength transformed immensely. But then a business venture of mine grew and the pandemic swept the world, which made me shelve my training programmes, horse riding and all of my outdoor activities, and utilise that time to focus on my company.

Although I exercise almost daily, maintaining social distancing during the pandemic and training indoors meant my exercise regimen wasn’t the same as it was when I worked with a professional trainer, who had designed a tailor-made programme to help me push my limits.

When a friend recently asked me to take part in Dubai’s 30 x 30 Fitness Challenge, disappointment swept over me because I knew if I took part, I would be the slowest I had been in years and I would need to face the fact that I’m not as fit and strong as I once was.

For a long time, the way I trained embodied how I dealt with my career and life. I strongly believed there was no way but up for my career development and that slowing down meant I was failing. I made sure to constantly develop my skills, find better career prospects and looked for ways to expand my business.

I wasn’t comfortable with doing absolutely nothing. Even on holidays, I was determined to learn something new. Like many of my entrepreneur acquaintances, that pressure was amplified by living in a world that pushes us to hustle and grind.

Yet even though I knew my fitness level isn’t as close to where it was when I was CrossFit training, the conversation with my friend inspired me to start a new fitness chapter. It was a reminder that we can train and come back stronger and that it’s never too late.

If the Covid-19 pandemic proved anything, it’s that for many of us who slowed down, life didn’t fall apart. Slowing down presented us with an opportunity to reflect on our business and our careers, to revisit our prospects and to re-think the ways we want to conduct our business and live our lives. It was a wake-up call for many of us on both personal and business levels.

I may not be as strong physically as I was when I was CrossFit training, but slowing down didn’t mean I failed. It’s just a phase and isn’t indicative of my success and shouldn’t define how I feel about my fitness or my life. I will go back and train again. I will slowly regain my strength. And, more importantly, I will remind myself the same applies to my career.

The business cycle isn’t a linear process and there will be times when we need to slow down, not because we are performing badly, but because it’s necessary to reach our goals.

It took me a while to be able to carry heavy weights or climb ropes when I was CrossFit training and taking breaks to recover was an essential part of my development process. In fact, it was only when I took a break in between training did my body gain strength and I was able to achieve my training targets.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati journalist and entrepreneur who manages her marketing and communications company in Abu Dhabi

Updated: November 14th 2021, 3:30 AM