Contributed by Coach Karen
It is amazing how an environment once so familiar becomes foreign. Sounds no longer resonate. Sights blur. Skin crawls. The feel defies translation, other than the sense that something is horribly, terribly, incredibly not right.
Owning and operating a small business is truly an all-consuming labor of love. Jim and I don’t get to spend near as much time exploring the world outside the confines of Elite Athletic Development / CrossFit Arlington Heights as we’d like. That’s why we always pepper our athletes with questions after they visit another CrossFit during a business or pleasure trip, and check in with folks who drop in for a training session or transfer to EAD / CFAH from another CrossFit affiliate. We appreciate seeing what’s right – and maybe not-so-right – at other training facilities through the eyes of our athletes.
Jim and I ventured out Thursday morning for a Valentine’s Day adventure, but ended up in a place neither of us had seen in quite some time: the Globo Gym. The facility was filled wall-to-wall with the latest fitness gizmos, gadgets and wizardry. Equipment whirred. Flat screen TVs flashed. Music pumped. Trainers and staff scurried about. And even though there were hundreds of people working out, the facility felt empty. Lonely. Isolated. And eerily void of any human interaction. It made me sad. I stood in the middle of the very large space and wanted to click my heels three times and magically transport back to the Oz at 12 West College Drive where classes with far fewer people using much less equipment have an abundance of success thanks to four attributes: Courage, Conviction, Brain and Heart. Here’s what EAD / CFAH athletes demonstrate daily, and the people working out at the Globo Gym yesterday seemed to lack:
- Courage to step outside their comfort zone and accept new challenges, even when hard or scary; openly share their “been-there-doubted-that-then-defeated-it (and more)” stories with new athletes; hit each session with renewed intensity; welcome failure, and then kick it in the a$$; admit that they don’t have all the answers, and readily accept and apply coaching from seasoned professionals.
- Conviction to train their weaknesses with vigor; set performance goals, establish a training schedule to achieve them, and stick with it even when they get impatient; connect what they eat, how they sleep and why the choices made outside the gym impact their performance inside the gym; share their “hits” and “misses” to contribute to the success of fellow athletes.
- Brain to recognize that it is impossible to lift Heavy S*** or kill a MetCon on a 1,200 or 1,800 calorie per-day deprivation diet; decipher the nutrition “information” on packaged goods for the marketing spin it is; break up with the scale and instead track performance (… which will lead to body composition change); see through the BS shoveled by the fitness industry about the hot new trend that will change your life; know that training multiple energy systems yields dramatic results; recognize that the body is the best training machine around; and choose intensity over duration.
- Heart to never give up; get back up after a stumble; celebrate success; honor failure; embrace current ability, yet work toward athletic potential; cheer fellow athletes; say thanks to the performance coaches; realize that undoing years of less-desirable lifestyle choices happens over months, not days; and warmly welcome athletes new to EAD / CFAH.
Jim and I always envisioned that EAD / CFAH would be a place where people could become a better version of themselves. We know that means different things for different people. That’s why we’ve surrounded ourselves with the most qualified and experienced performance coaches in the area in Josh, Becky, Kristen, Alida and Ashley, and why we support their continued professional development. It’s why we track the techniques and methodologies used by the top collegiate and professional programs in the country, and innovate and adapt our programming and class offerings. It’s why we ask for your input and feedback, and then take action where there is consensus. It’s why we push, cajole, nudge and sometimes annoy you – because we see something in you that you may not yet see in yourself. It’s why we encourage you to eat clean & green (but not necessarily Paleo), and schedule recovery days so you can achieve your short- and long-term goals. It’s why we coach, coach, and coach technique, and enforce movement standards. It’s why we host free nutrition, running, swimming and other informational workshops / seminars. It’s why we form football, dodge ball, soccer and rowing teams, and travel to area races en masse. It’s why the performance coaches know the name of every athlete who trains with us, and why we encourage you to get to know them, too.
You see, there is no man behind the curtain. It is just a gathering of strangers-turned-adventurers who care, and want to be in the center of something bigger, better, familiar and incredibly right.