I need to speak plainly in a language everyone can understand. As a trainer, I am known for being gently encouraging and it’s a reputation I enjoy. But there are times when a sharper tone is required, and this is one.
You, client, come to me to help you grow. In strength. In fitness. In health. In power. In ability and adaptability.
And sometimes — every now and then — you need me to help you grow up.
Fitness — let me make this perfectly clear — is about every aspect of your person. It is about the weight you can move and the speed at which you move it. It is about your engine. It is about the courage with which you face a challenge and the grit with which you process it.
And when you get your ass kicked, it is about the grace and humility with which you accept defeat and learn your lesson.
I am not talking about frustration. We have all been frustrated at some point. (Say ‘double-unders’ or ‘toes-to-bar’ to any CrossFitter and you will get a chorus of Amen.) There are things we’re not good at. We have our strengths and we have our weaknesses. That’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about failure. I’m talking about when it seems that Life — or The Programming — sticks its bony thumb in that weakness and presses until you drop and then keeps on pressing just to make sure you know you’re down. Failure.
Understand: there is no one — no one —whom you respect who has not failed.
There is no fighter who has not tasted canvas.
The CrossFit Open is happening, in case you didn’t notice — I worldwide challenge of intense exercise workouts which tax even the finest athletes and leave moderate to beginners sometimes wondering who dropped the anvil on them. Three weeks in, and every week — every week — we coaches have witnessed athletes who have been challenged to deliver work well beyond their abilities. Some have been tested and found wanting. Many have failed.
The heaviest thing you will ever lift is your humility.
Now get up. Shake it off. Learn your lesson. Swallow your pride.
**I initially wrote this as part of the blog for Sisu Elite Fitness, a fantastic facility I am honoured to call my professional home. Though its specific theme obviously relates to the CrossFit Games, the general themes have (I believe) larger implications. Hope you agree.