I’m going to start this by sharing some cute photos of my daughter Morgan on the 4th of July. This was her first Independence Day celebration. She spent some time at the local pool with Mom and neighborhood friends. Then she threw on some Red, White, and Blue and rode her rocket around the house until watching fireworks on television with Mom. She sure is growing into a little cutie, I cannot wait to be back home with her.
See, I told you she was cute! Now, on to the topic the title refers to.
I began to practice CrossFit back in August 2010. I started at a free, on post affiliate, Centurion CrossFit Fort Hood. I had some great coaches for my first 8 months of CrossFit. Don and Mel Clarkson, Jenn Kruse, and Tad Lefler were all instrumental in me learning and loving this new fitness program in my life. The programming was well thought out and made sense for an affiliate whose main purpose was to help people improve fitness and their quality of life. The classes were fun. Coaches knew their athletes and cared about their improvement in the gym as well as their overall health and wellness. They practiced what they preached, doing the same workouts as us in class and eating the way they thought we should eat for health. It was a fun place. I learned a lot and made friends I still maintain contact with today.
Fast forward to 2012 after I came back from Afghanistan. Centurion was still active on Fort Hood, though it had moved locations. I began taking classes again. Some new coaches and new athletes, but still fun. Some athletes pushed each other outside of class too. Spending extra time training together. I formed a couple new friendships. Then in 2013, I was given the chance to become one of the volunteer coaches when the affiliate moved to a new location. I took over coaching the 1730 (5:30 pm for non-military folks) class.
As a coach, I learned a lot about how the on-post, free of charge affiliate world worked. I learned that in that world, the coach is really why people keep coming back. You see, in the free CrossFit world, athletes have no financial investment in showing up to class, wanting to learn and improve and be an active part of the community. It’s up to the coach to build and maintain a community of people who want that. The coach needs to find a way to keep everyone motivated and encouraged when the results may not show up right away. I coached at Centurion for about 27 months before I moved to Georgia. I made some awesome friends while both an athlete and coach at Centurion. Heck, I even met my wife there, which believe it or not, happens often in the CrossFit community.
During my time in Texas, after finding CrossFit, I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to affiliates all over Central Texas. Whether for a competition, a certification, or just to meet new people and try out a new gym, I saw a lot of different gyms and met a lot of awesome people. One thing I found in Texas, no matter which gym I went to, every one of them was a welcoming place. Everyone of them was clean and neat in appearance. All of the employees were motivating, encouraging and just seemed to be great friends with each other. These gyms just radiated fitness, fun, and family. I honestly think I started my CrossFit journey in the best area I could have. I’ll forever have friends and connections in the fitness world because of my time in Texas exploring all the CrossFit affiliates I could.
In 2015 my wife and I moved to south Georgia and were stationed at Fort Stewart. We started going to one local affiliate in town because the on post affiliate left a poor impression on me when we tried it by coaching a foundational movement the wrong way. I did not get much time at this local affiliate because of having to go overseas with the Army, but my wife continued to go there when I was away. We did meet some great new friends, one we named our daughter after and two others we have as God-mothers for our daughter. Those three women, along with their families have been massive support for my wife while I was gone. However, while I was gone that time some drama found its way into the affiliate and the coaching there began to become worse and worse. My wife often told me of how she was shamed for not being able to do a workout with the prescribed movements or weights. Not to mention the volume this affiliate was asking people to do was meant for more elite level athletes, not what my wife and I wanted. My wife even ended up with injuries, and as I later found out, so did many others who left that affiliate for a new one in town that had opened just before I left for Germany that year.
When I came home from Germany in 2016, my wife and I moved affiliates. Our good friends we met at the first GA affiliate had already joined here and now we both felt like we were back in a family like group again. For about our first year there I was really enjoying myself again. I had a great group of people in my class. We hung out outside of the gym, we motivated each other and truly enjoyed spending time together. I thought for sure this was going to be the place I enjoyed spending my gym time while I was in GA.
Since I’ve been in Korea, some things have changed back home in GA. One coach left the affiliate and opened up his own gym. From what I see he’s doing well and has a solid group of athletes. I’ve heard a lot of chatter from people back home about more drama that has occurred since I’ve been gone. None of it leaves a good feeling in my stomach because it’s not what I think is good for CrossFit or for people looking to join CrossFit. It has left me in deep thought many nights about where I will train when I go back home. My wife and I have a decent garage gym setup, so I might just spend some time there until I can figure things out for myself.
Suffice to say that I’m hoping that the CrossFit world as a whole is more like what I encountered in Texas than what I have experienced in GA so far. From what I see on social media and learn from podcasts that focus on the CrossFit community, I believe as a whole the community is a fun, encouraging environment. I’d like to believe the overall majority of cities with multiple affiliates see those affiliates complementing and encouraging each other. After all, CrossFit was created to foster a community of like minded people who want to be healthier. That community does not have to be confined to the walls of your individual affiliate location. When you think about it, “Fran” is 21-15-9 of thrusters and pull-ups whether you do it in California or in Finland. Everyone has the same pain and burning fire breath after the workout. We as CrossFit athletes need to remember that. We should encourage all affiliates to grow and teach this program with intelligent programming and a passion for athlete growth, both in and out of the gym. We should encourage all new athletes to CrossFit to try all local gyms and find the one that fits their desires best. The only thing in common is the pursuit of fitness. Different coaches, different facilities, different programs, but one common goal. Let’s help make sure that CrossFit has a good reputation, everywhere we go. Let’s work to build one large, extended family where we all can come together and enjoy meeting new people and growing and nurturing the friendships we make. Like any family there will be disagreements, but if we do this right, family is still family and family always supports each other. If you ask me, that’s what this program was always meant to be. That is why I love CrossFit. It’s one big family, and I love my family.
Here’s this weeks training:
2 July 2018
Power Snatch x 2
Deadlift (I flipped my switch grip around for these) x 10
1500m Row – every 2 minutes (including 0:00) do 6 burpee box jump overs at 24″
3 July 2018
Overhead Squat – Establish 1 heavy rep
95×3 – 135×3 – 185×1 – 215×1 – 235×1 – 255×1
7 Thrusters 95#
7 Toes to Bar
21 Double Unders
Score – 5 Rounds + 10 Reps
5 July 2018
4 Chest to Bar Pull-ups
8 Hand Release Pushups
12 Abmat Situps
* every 3 sets row 30 calories, round only counts after rowing
Score – 3 Rounds + 15 reps
100 Calories for time – 9:05
6 July 2018
Back Squat x 6 (slow and controlled, no bounce)
100 KB Clean & Jerks 53# (5R/5L) every 10 reps bike 500m
Time – 15:18
7 July 2018
135×10 – 135×10 – 155×8 – 155×8 – 185×6 – 185×6 – 205×4 – 205×4 – 225×2 – 245×2 – 255×2 – 265×2
1) 6 Hang Power Cleans 155#
2) 10 Calorie Row
3) 14 Air Squats
5k for time – 7:46