I was listening to Ben Bergeron’s podcast the other day and the episode was Ben discussing his 3 core values for his members: Hungry, Humble, Happy. As he went into further detail to explain why those three and what they meant to him, I began to go off on my own tangent; what are three notions we can employ to have the best experience at the gym? It seems easy enough, right? Smile, work hard and everything else will fall into place. We can do better though.
It starts with attitude. How do you walk into the gym? How engaged are you during chalk talk? These small things often go unnoticed, but play a vital role in how our time at the gym will be spent. If you’ve taken one of my classes, you know how I feel about yawning. I would rather you fart during chalk talk than yawn. Not that you can always help it, but yawning sets the tone for your workout. When you cave in and let out a big long yawn, you’re telling the class that you’re tired and you’re just here because you already signed in on Zen Planner. It will be a miracle just to make it through the workout at this point, let alone get better. Attitude sets the tone for the day, so next time despite how tired you might be or what you have going on in your life, ignore it and walk through the doors eager to get to work. Everything else can wait an hour.
What happens in the comfort zone, stays in the comfort zone. Sometimes that’s a good thing. Who doesn’t like to be comfortable with little stress or anxiety? The problem lies in that the comfort zone will always be there, you can always retreat back to it. But what about progress? Do you want to get that first muscle up? Are you willing to work on drills that you might not be very good at? You’ll have to get out of the comfort zone and that’s the best thing you can do in the gym. I try to pick one thing to focus on during a WOD (aside from breathing), and the focal point changes every time. Sometimes the goal is to go unbroken on a barbell piece. Will this yield the best score? Maybe, maybe not. That’s not the point for that day. Instead I want to test myself and see if I can go unbroken on those power cleans. Anyone can do fast singles, but who’s going to be able to cycle the barbell when it shows up at a local competition?
Lend a helping hand. Being positive and encouraging to your fellow athletes can make all the difference. I’m a millennial, trust me. You’re going for a new 1 rep max back squat and no one is around you to yell and push you, do you get it? Maybe, maybe not. Even if you did, would it not have been a bit more special if you had a few other athletes giving you words of encouragement? We are all coming to the gym for the same reason, to get better. If we can’t support each other, we lack one of the most fundamental notions of CrossFit. There was a series of events the other night that most of you probably didn’t notice. I had at least one person in each of my classes finishing the workout after everyone else. Instead of everyone to continue sprawled out on the floor in agony, people were clapping and cheering as those athletes finished their last few reps. You have already done so many reps at this point that no one would blame you if you wanted to give up, but when you have your fellow athletes at your side it’s hard to quit. That sense of camaraderie is contagious and elevates the vibe of the gym. Don’t underestimate how much of an impact the simple gesture of cheering each other on can have.
These are three basic ideas that anyone can begin implementing immediately. Come in ready to work and leave everything else at the door. No whining, complaining or excessive yawning. Carpe diem, b*@$#!% Pick one thing that day to focus on. Don’t worry about always putting up your best possible score, get uncomfortable and progress will follow. Support your fellow athletes. Go lift with the new person in class, catch your breath and cheer on those still working, go high five someone after the workout. Never underestimate the effects of ditching routine, an eagerness to get to work or the power of a high five. These are just a few simple things we can all start to work on the next time we are at the gym. The little things are the big things in the long run.