Lately I have had a strong desire to share a few thoughts with the people who fill our gyms with their dedicated presence each day. When I finally forced myself to sit and jot them down, it struck me how many had been topics of conversation with fellow coaches and fitness professionals.
The fitness industry can be sadly driven by consumer trickery, confusion and profit margins. CrossFit has upended that trend and created a stark anomaly. A CrossFit gym is a business, no doubt, but I am hard pressed to find any owner or coach who became what they are today by viewing it as such. Rather, the first successful gyms started with people who were passionate about their life-changing product and could not keep themselves from sharing it with others. No hacks. No gimmicks
“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” – Theodore Roosevelt
I am not so arrogant that I wish to speak on anyones’ behalf; however, I believe these sentiments are echoed by many of my peers. So, this one’s for you, our beloved athletes, members and friends. I want you to know a couple things about us.
You keep us going.
When we’re a little too tired or get caught up in life stresses, you have the power to turn our day around. A casual remark about improving your press or recalling how far you’ve come since joining the community, snaps us back to the reality that you allow us to pursue our life’s work.
We share stories amongst each other, not about which Games athlete got the best score in the Opens workout, but about a member who PR’d their back squat or shared a life event with us. And we are as stoked as you are.
We are in for the long haul, which means life will have ups and will have some downers, but through it all we are reminded by the faces that greet us each day that life is pretty damn good. This is a privilege we do not take for granted.
We eat crap sometimes, or don’t get enough sleep, or don’t listen to our own advice about training. It took me awhile to realize this does not make us hypocrites. It makes us human.
Because we understand all too well the feelings associated with perceived failure and how to start again.
We speak from experience and with empathy for all the things we encourage you to endure for the things you want to achieve. Failure is a powerful teacher and gives us great insight. Use it. As a record, as motivation, as anything to get you going again. We are in this long life, health, not-getting-killed-in-the-apocalypse-first-thing together.
Trust us. But don’t be afraid to ask “why”.
This is our craft. We study, we observe, we discuss, we experiment. I have never given pullup negatives or hip bridges or reverse side fly’s to someone thinking “Well, at least I’ll get a laugh out of it!” We’re doing it, too.
We want to see the lightbulbs when a movement clicks or yer butt finally starts working in yer squat. And many of us are such nerds we are just waiting for you to ask why so we can launch into soliloquies on proper scapular stability without trap dominance…see what I mean?
Let us be your professional. Use us as a resource for your training, injuries, questions. It is one of the best parts of the job, and we are psyched when given the opportunity.
Slow down. Treasure this time.
I reflect fondly on my time as a 5:30pm group class athlete which effected so many changes in my personal and professional life. It feels all too brief.
I remember racing from my desk job to get to the gym with butterflies in my stomach about those 400m runs (hey, everybody has their goat). Spending lunch hours and every spare second reading articles and watching weightlifting videos. Getting my first pull-up. Whipping myself in a hot, messy corner of the back gym practicing double unders.
I am fortunate enough to witness this stage in many athletes and two things remains true…1) it NEVER gets old and 2) we all find ourselves here many times throughout the cycle of life.
My friend, I encourage you to recognize what a beautiful moment this is. When your coach suggests doing some extra strict pull-ups, focusing on your quality of movement or taking a day off, what we are humbly suggesting is that you trust us, slow down and treasure this time. Don’t worry too much about rushing to the next fancy skill or benchmark – you’ll get there.
You may find along the way that there is much joy to be found in the doing…and isn’t the doing what most of life is made of anyway?