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Who are you? (In the workout and in life)

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Who you are in the workout tells me a lot about who you are in life. Especially if it’s an intense CrossFit metabolic conditioning workout. Whether short or long in duration, these workouts test the very stuff you’re made of, and there’s no hiding in them.

When we’re in the gym, your coaches and your fellow athletes see you at your elemental self. We see who has determination and grit. They’re the ones who don’t quit, who don’t waste time getting water or chalk that they really don’t need. It’s also apparent who cheats – whether cutting repetitions or shortening  range of movement, cheating is cheating. We see who lets their ego get ahead of their abilities. People who do every workout at the “prescribed” weights, and who accept shitty movement and form just to move up a few places on the whiteboard.

We see who is insecure and fearful – although those fears manifest in different ways. Sometimes new athletes choose not to try very hard because they fear they will fail. We should build these people up. Sometimes its the best athletes in the gym who fear looking “less fit” than others. These athletes need to refocus on their own progress instead of everyone else.

The people I love the most are the ones who work hard, but never lose sight of those around them – not to just to compete, but to support. It’s the ones who are pouring sweat, and sucking wind, but still have the breath to yell, “Good work, people!” across the gym, or the energy to put the chalk bucket a little closer to someone nearby who needs it. It’s the ones who drag themselves up off the floor right after the workout to high five the others in their class. These people inspire me.

Close behind are the ones who scale down the weights or repetitions because they want to actually get better instead of going to heavy or too hard just to compete with someone else. These people lack ego, and they often turn out to be the best athletes of all.

So who am I in the workout?
I don’t cheat. I decided when I first began CrossFit that I wouldn’t ever cheat, because I knew that after the first time, it would just get easier and easier to do so. My reps might not always be clean – I probably miss range of motion sometimes – but if I know I missed a rep, I do it again. And I am scrupulous about counting my reps and noting my times, and putting them on the whiteboard for all to see.
On a less positive note, I’m one of the athletes with ego. And it’s not particularly well deserved. I’m an average CrossFitter for my age (oldish) and ability (moderate.) And yet, I’ll attempt prescribed weights and movements when I know in my heart I should just work on getting stronger and better.

I’ll try to do a better job of keeping my focus on what’s important when I’m working out with you. And I encourage each of you to keep trying to get better, too – we are all on your side and your team, even when we’re trying to beat your time.