Posts Tagged ‘Suck Less’

I love helping athletes get better at fitness. All kinds of fitness!

That could mean making a physical change in their set-up for a lift, discussing how to begin the first kettlebell swing of a set, and even strategy on how to attack specific workouts! CrossFit is a complicated game with so many moving parts, and I’ve always loved helping people “crack the code” to their own success.

Would you like to see me use this blog to share some of these tips and tricks I’ve accumulated over the last decade? It could be a recurring segment (once per week) or could just pop up whenever questions are asked. They would likely be a combination of short text summaries and a quick video demonstration of the skill of the day. I’m completely flexible on the structure of the segment, just wanted to see if there is interest out there from all of you.

The survey is simple:

  • If you would like to see this segment become a reality, simply type YES in the comments. If you already have ideas for what you’d like to ask me, drop a few examples in the comment, too!
  • If you have zero interest in this whatsoever, ignore this post and leave NO comments.

ProTipSurvey1

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Today I received one of the best compliments ever!

A friend of mine, who I’ve coached in CrossFit for a long time, pulled me aside after class and said, “You know, I love coming to your classes, but I hate it, too!” Obviously I needed him to elaborate on this one a bit.

He went on to explain that when he works out on his own, he never warms up properly. It takes too much time, it’s not glamorous, and honestly sometimes he just doesn’t know what to do. When he comes to my classes, he said he always feels as though he is warmed up sufficiently, and ready to go!

Why share this compliment? It’s not to brag. In fact, quite the opposite! While I’m completely humbled and flattered by his words, it could have been me saying them aloud, myself! I ALSO don’t always spend enough time warming up when I work out. And it’s for those very same reasons. I’d rather “use the first round of the AMRAP to get warm” or “warm up as I go” to save time. Butttttt, I know that’s not the right thing to do!

As coaches, I feel it’s our job to prepare the athletes in class to be as safe as possible. That will typically involve some dynamic movement to get blood flowing, a bit of stretching and mobility to work through tension or soreness that may exist, and then some sort of skill work to prepare for the day’s training requirements.

At a previous job, I would write warm-ups for every single day, that would be completed by every class in the gym. To be completely honest, I dreaded doing this some weeks. Why? Because while I could have thrown something together in 20 minutes, that wasn’t my style. I wanted to keep things fun and varied. I wanted to introduce new movements to athletes and give them skills to learn. I wanted to make sure that regardless of ability level, the process I selected for that particular day would be effective for both national-level athletes and beginners alike.

It’s important to realize that as “CrossFit Coaches,” we’re tasked with far more than simply reading words on a white board to a group of people. The responsibility, and quite frankly the privilege, we’ve been given is to make our athletes better than they were when they walked through the door. This could mean helping them prevent or recover from injury, improving strength or range of motion, giving them a safe place to disconnect from the stress of life for sixty minutes, and any combination of the above plus countless other options.

The next time you find yourself preparing to lead a class or train a client, try to remember that. Yeah, my friend told me that he always feels warm when he takes my class, and that feels great to hear. But really, it served as a reminder to myself that by striving to never “phone it in,” I’m actively working to ensure that every athlete I work with has the greatest likelihood of success. I don’t take that responsibility lightly, and don’t think others should either.

Also, it reminded me that I need to warm up more effectively myself before I work out alone. 

Stay safe and have fun out there, friends!

A good friend of mine, Broderick, has been reminding me for years that there’s one way to get better at something:

Do it. Often. 

This is something I’ve always known. Through high school and college I was a competitive swimmer, and never really had an off-season. Since 2008, I’ve been involved in CrossFit in some capacity. As an athlete, I used train 15+ hours per week, and as a coach I constantly strive to learn more to help my athletes succeed. If I didn’t train regularly, study often, or if my athletes didn’t stick to their program, it showed. Progress would be delayed. Breakthroughs and Personal Bests would happen less frequently. That’s just how things work.

When my other friend Adam Griffin, posted how he struggles with trusting that his writing making an impact, it reminded me that I feel the same way. There will always be an audience out there who can benefit from our personal experiences. If we don’t take the time to share our thoughts, however, they’ll never have the chance to make an impact! Just write. Create. Share. And Repeat.

I don’t aim to be perfect in 2018, but I am striving to suffer less from “Paralysis by Analysis” and to quiet the voice inside my head that tells me it just “might not be good enough.” That same voice that makes me think my words may not resonate with everyone. Good news, I’m not writing for everyone. I write as a form of therapy for myself. I write to try and add value to others. And I write with the hopes that I can help even one individual benefit from the words I put on these pages.

I am not a “New Year, New Me” type of person, because I think we’re all pretty great. I AM, however, someone who CONSTANTLY strives to get better! So this year, instead of New Year, New Me…. let’s say:

New Year, Same You!

If you want to fine-tune some things along the way, more power to you! Let me know if I can help. 🙂

To quote Shia LaBeouf, if there’s something you’ve been wanting to do for a while, but just never had the courage…

“Hey, maybe knock that down 10 lbs and focus on staying tight at the bottom of your clean.”

“You could go Rx, or you could go a little lighter and finish in the suggested time domain.”

“Sorry, I know you thought it was a PR, but you didn’t stand all the way up before dropping the bar.”

Just a few of the examples of things I say on a regular basis to athletes in class. Over time, I’m able to create pretty meaningful relationships with most of the people that I coach (thankfully), but there’s always a certain few who refuse to take advice or listen to the suggestion of the person directing the group.

I’m sure there have been times where a coach is jealous that an athlete can out-perform them. Or times where athletes feel like the coach is insulting them by suggesting a lighter weight, or requesting and increased range of motion. I, however, am not one of those coaches who participates in either one of those games. The eye rolls, the weight or movement selection out of spite, the sighing and being bitter for a few days… it doesn’t help anyone!

My job is to help you get better. My goal is to keep you healthy. My responsibility is to not let you do something that could get you hurt. So when I’m leading a class and make a comment to you about slowing something down, or being more in control, please don’t be offended. Talk to me if you have any questions, ask me to video a rep or two and show you what I’m talking about (I’m a very visual learner), or respectfully tell me you’re going to do it anyways. But please don’t think I’m ever trying to hold you back. I’ve been doing this for a long time (in comparison to a lot of people in the CrossFit Game), and have one thing in the forefront of my mind each day… to be able to walk out of the gym and say, “Nobody died!”

As a rule, I’d always rather you go a little lighter and practice perfect form in workouts than “going for it” and risk getting hurt. Besides… almost none of us are going to the Games. We’re doing this fitness thing for fun, to stay healthy, and to look better naked. Get a time that’s 20 seconds slower to put up on the white board, but walk out of here on your own, knowing you did everything right!

Help me, help you!

Safety first. I’ve got your back. I’m here for YOU!

-Smashby