Sunday, January 17

The Walk, the Pause and the Expression...and the Envy

I have a secret to admit. I am jealous of every CrossFitter that is a member of our wonderful gym. Now I am sure that there are many attributes of all of you that I could envy and be in admiration of, but the one that I am speaking of right now is strictly limited to the programming that you are subjected to each and every time that you step foot in the gym. What is it? Let me paint a picture for you.

Being a trainer at CrossFit Spokane is great and has it's perks. Being a trainer does allow me some flexibility with when I can workout. Obviously I am not thrashing myself while I am training, but having a key to the facility allows me to show up early or stay late and provides the opportunity to workout whenever I can fit it in. Most of the time I can get it in during a class time when I am not training, but sometimes not. And if not, it is great mental training tool to conduct a CrossFit WOD completely by myself with nobody around to help push me. But as a head trainer that is responsible for 50% of the programming (and access to the other 50% of Mike's programming) I am confronted with the heart of my jealousy of you, the hard working CrossFitter.

One of the simple, yet entertaining, pleasures I get at the gym is at the very beginning of a class, usually even before it starts as each of you enters the gym a little early to start a personal warm-up for the next session. It's at this time that I enjoy watching the "steps" of everyone that comes in. It usually goes as follows:

First, the "Walk". The CrossFitter swings the door open with energy and enthusiasm. Depending on the time, the individual is either fresh from their home and ready to "get their pain on" early in the day or it might be that they have come from a long day at the stressful office; and now they are ready for a solid hour of vacation away from that commitment. Whichever the case, that entry through the door is strong; it is also full of excitement due to not having any idea what the white board will be directing for the day.

Second, the "Pause". This is where the CrossFitter stops their gait as they approach the white board and proceed with a very close examination of what it says. What happens next is the best part. The third step is usually a back and forth between it and the "Pause".

The "Expression"; my favorite part. As they read the the warm-up and then onto the skill based practice, followed by the main WOD, I dare not take my eyes off of their face. It's a weird change, depending on the person, that happens. It does not matter whether you are considered a fire breather, a beginner, etc, a change happens. Some might squint their eyes and tilt the head like a dog hearing a high pitched sound. Some starting nodding up and down as they immediately begin breaking the WOD down into a way that they know will bring them the best time, intensity and efficiency. And still others, and this is the golden ticket of expressions, will get the "deer in the headlights" look by eyes widening and the jaw dropping as they quietly question why they came in today to subject themselves to this. This stage is also usually accompanied by a low-key four letter word:) No matter what the reaction, everyone will finish reading the board and then continue on to change, switch footwear, and start their personal warm-up while mentally prepping themselves for what is to come. And this brings me to the main point of my rambling....the unexpected.

Since I personally form half of the programming that you do every day and know ahead of time what the other half will be, I am subjected to not having a very key ingredient which is known throughout the CrossFit world...expecting the unexpected. Why? I already know, to some extent, what I will be doing that day long before I drive to the gym. Now, this may seem as not a very big deal, especially because on the weeks I am not in charge of programming I only might have as little as a few hours before I workout where I know what I will be doing, but it doesn't compare to finding out only 10 minutes beforehand.

Now, there may be times when we will let you know if a Benchmark is coming so you can prepare the best in the days leading up to it so you can get the best possible PR, but this is rare. And I encourage you to love it! It's the one thing that I wish I could get back from long ago before I was a trainer. Why, you may ask? Because it is that "not knowing" that truly can get your adrenaline flowing, your energy spiking and your body ready for anything.

So I want to remind you of how empowering that feeling is; to walk into a place after a possibly "chill" day, read the white board WOD and within ten to fifteen minutes find yourself executing high intensity workouts. And believe me, this really is empowering. Think about what you subject yourself to when you train at CrossFit Spokane! Regardless of what level you are at, if you have to scale, if you don't score as high on the score doesn't matter! You test your limits every single day! On the days you walk in and feel like you could move mountains or maybe just feel like crud, you execute what life (read that as 'white board' in this context) throws at you! And you do it!

So think where you can apply this acquired skill in everyday life! With possibly the exception of parenting, everything else in comparison should seem tame and mild (although as a recent uncle I know that better fitness can definitely improve that energy for corralling up those two year old kids...which might put every WOD to shame:).

Being prepared for such quick changes within your environment can allow you to approach the world's challenges with a much greater zest! Let me ask you a few questions, after CrossFitting for awhile, have you attacked snow shoveling in a different way (like utilizing a Deadlift posture and proper midline stabilization)? Have you used your squat and Deadlift skills to move odd objects like couches, trunks, boxes, box springs, etc? Have you utilized your overhead presses to play with kids, lift bags to high cupboards, etc? Have you gone black diamond skiing and found you can "push through the burn" better and longer than in years past? I know I have. And usually these everyday activities are not things you prep for as you go to bed the night before, instead they are the events throughout the day that you do without prior knowledge. They are the things that make up LIFE!

I was asked recently about what the WOD was going to be that following day. Now, every now and then I will actually tell people so they may get a better PR, but other than that, good luck getting it out of me:) In actuality I don't get the privilege of having everything so unexpected. Even when my programming brings up the movements that I am horrible at, I still get a slightly longer amount of time to prep for it. But I wish it wasn't so. I long for the anxiety that you get while walking into the gym. It is a precious gift that you get while being a member of CrossFit Spokane, whether you realize it or not. Relish in it; love it.

-The new website is coming very soon! Once it is up we will be updating many of our videos so be camera ready!:) We know it has been taking some time, so thanks for being patient with us while we get all the last minute changes and details made:)
-Due to scheduling, not as many of our former "games" CrossFitters were able to register this year for the Sectionals for the CrossFit Games, but we do have a few already. Please enter if you are able to make it...guaranteed a good time!
-Please refresh yourself on the monthly challenge that is coming up in two weeks (posted on white board). Lets get a good showing!
-CrossFit Spokane's first Boot Camp is going great and we are really excited to have our new members ready to join the normal classes here in a couple of weeks! And we also have several people ready to join the next Boot Camp starting up in February! Can't wait!
-Also, I have just recently been graciously given the gift of the Vibram Five Fingers! Stay tuned for the the start of a month long testing of street/trail running (short to moderate distance) with these new shoes that take a different approach to footwear. Once started, I will keep a weekly journal on my findings using these shoes for running and post a conclusion upon completion. And to Matt A., don't even think about busting my chops...even if I end up loving and recommending them I will still give you a hard time for wearing them; Marines have to make fun of Airmen no matter's an unwritten, unofficial rule we are taught at our Boot Camp:)

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