The Deeper Side of “Pukie”

By Coach Manny

“Pukie” the clown was an old unofficial CrossFit mascot. The image of a clown vomiting after a brutal workout was like a right of passage for the CrossFitter back in the day. Pushing yourself to the absolute limit and projectile vomiting, not from working out on a full belly, but from pure exhaustion was bragged about like it was a badge of honor. Overtime, however, we realized that it was silly and probably borderline dangerous to push yourself to that limit. As we entered another era of CrossFit, we no longer bragged about puking after workouts or the ripped calluses we got on our hands. We even shamed those who continued to post pictures and videos of such things. As a community we became better educated and more sensible in regards to our well-being and realized that puking after a workout was simply not cool (anymore). Now that we know the history of “pukie” and where we stand with him now, I think there is something extremely positive to be said about puking after a workout.

Puking after a workout isn’t something to brag about necessarily. And I am not condoning it or saying it is good for you. It is probably not great for your health, especially if you do it often. But how you got there says a lot about who you are and what you are willing to go through to achieve something. People that possess the ability to push themselves to the point of puking are a different breed of people. These are the people that generally have less fear, they are more goal oriented and are very competitive. Please note that puking as a side effect of being really out of shape or because you ate dinner before a workout is different. I am talking about going to war with your body for the sake of achieving something and not being afraid to go to that “dark place.”

The “dark place” is scary. It is a place that  most of us don’t like visito very often. This physical experience goes so deep into your psyche that your brain wants nothing more than for you to abort the mission. If you still don’t know what I am referring to, then you’ve probably never been.  This is why most people actually have never been there or experienced it. Most people retreat and listen to themselves when it gets to that point. For the most part, it is probably a smart idea. However, it is a valuable skill to know that you can “go there” if and when needed. This has a direct carryover to obstacles you can face outside of the gym. Your ability to go there is what literally teaches the common phrase “mind over matter.” Your ability to overcome under large amounts of stress is largely innate, but can be improved with a lot of practice. Having the ability to go to that “dark place” will prepare you for life’s unexpected challenges like a disease or sickness, a car accident etc. Your ability to stay positive and focused during the most physically and mentally enduring challenges will improve your chances of survival, period.

Every now and then I like to purposefully test myself to see if I can go to that dark place. For me it’s like mental training because I know life is tough and challenges can sometimes be unexpected. I know that there’s a chance I am going to have to battle something big and I will have a tough choice to make. Kill or be killed, eat or be eaten. I always want to make sure I am mentally prepared for anything, even if it means pushing myself to the point of puking every now and then. I know I am not going to like it, but I know when I come out of it I will be mentally tougher. Over enough times you’ll be able to turn it on and off like a switch. Only experience can cultivate this skill, so if you’ve never been there, I suggest you give it a try.