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A hard thing to do in CrossFit is build patience. Results come quickly and there are so many benchmarks and “high speed low drag” type things to do in CrossFit that it’s hard sometimes to slow things down and focus on refinement. Coach Glassman (CrossFit Founder) stresses that it’s the people who do the common uncommonly well that are the ones who progress the furthest.

I know there are CrossFit gyms out there that don’t use an On Ramp program and have their members roll right into group classes, but after I’ve seen results from both having people go through the program compared to those that don’t, it’s a night and day difference between the rate at which people progress. The ones that go through the program have a much stronger base in mechanics on which to build upon.

The On Ramp program really slows our growth as a business, but it helps the students progress with higher quality and yields longer term results. I’d sacrifice quick growth for quality growth any day. Keep it up recruits!

3 rounds each for time of:
200m run (100 single unders)
10 thrusters

Anne = 1:27, 1:37, 1:35 (15#)
Sage = 1:20, 1:33, 1:34 (15#)
Mary = 1:36, 1:45, 1:46 (15#)
Victor = 1:15, 1:27, 1:12 (45#)
Mike = 1:05, 1:10, 1:00 (65#)
Kunol = 1:54, 2:10, 2:28 (25#)
Quang = 1:18, 1:53, 1:56 (25#)

Disclaimer: You will have to verify with my wife regarding the accuracy of this post! I kind of don’t like this post because it’s like a magician revealing his secrets, it might come back to bite me in the butt! =P

With that said, let’s start the discussion. If CrossFit wasn’t effective at changing me or the trainees physically, we wouldn’t be gushing all over it so much. And, it’s pretty safe to say now, that the workouts also require a strong sense of mental commitment. What’s been interesting for me is how being both physically and mentally stronger has carried over into my marriage life.

My wife has joined me in training a few of our relatives, and she has seen first hand my coaching technique and style. It’s been said that there are two golden rules in training. One is that you don’t get romantically involved with your clients or students. The other is you don’t train your wife or significant other. At first, there’s no specific reason given to these two rules, except for the observation that both will end in bad terms. My wife wants to train in Crossfit, I love my wife, and I love CrossFit, but even I know that training my wife in CrossFit would be challenging at best.

Why this is would require a whole other dialogue. But, I’ll focus on some specific points that will help illustrate the problem. One point my wife brought up after she observed how I coached was how I could be so patient, supportive, understanding, and openly communicative with my trainees, but be so blunt and cold when it came to helping or teaching her about a subject. My first response was that I guess it’s because I expect more out of her and that I had an attitude of “If I’m the one doing the coaching, I expect her to just follow my lead, and stop questioning what I’m trying to teach her!” Both she and I would end up irritated and I would pretty much give up. Not a good experience for either one of us to say the least.

This left me to rethink my logic and try to see things from both her and my perspectives. I did find it odd that I really was giving my all and trying my best to be patient and communicate with the trainees, anyway I knew how, to get them moving correctly and effectively. I would also try to explain my theory on the movements and discuss any questions they had without any judgement. If one method didn’t work for the trainees, I would use another, and then another, and so on, and I would try to never give up on them. But, I didn’t know why I couldn’t do this with my own wife. And why was I expecting more out of her, when I really don’t expect anything less than excellence from all the trainees? I figured that it pretty much came down to ego and pride, both of which my wife and I have no lack there of.

I tell the trainees all the time, that ego has no place in our training. Whatever happens, I just want them to try their best. Whether it’s a workout or a problem in front of them, we’ll focus on the task at hand and figure out how to solve that problem one step at a time instead of being overwhelmed by it. If we get stuck, we’ll just find another way around it. This way of thinking is something I’m trying to change in our relationship, and at least from my perspective, I think it’s been having a positive effect.

When we get into an argument, I can feel the tension in both of us elevate and boil over. Instead of fueling the fire, I’ll try to remain as calm as possible (just like in a workout) and tell myself to “Let go of the ego as it will do nothing to improve the situation, focus on understanding what’s at the core of the problem (i.e. read through the lines), actively open up to communication, and then execute the steps that will take us towards resolving the issue.”

Far from being 100% effective, I think this process at least gets us in the right direction. The old me would just shut down, clam up, never actively pursue bringing up the issues, or I would just plain blow up and walk away. I can’t even think about walking away from a workout, so how can I walk away from my own wife. Not to say that temporarily walking away doesn’t have it’s place, it’s just that you can’t just leave the problem go unaddressed. Just like our workouts, you can take a rest if you need to, but the clock is still running, and that workout isn’t done until it’s done. I hope this change in thinking will slowly get us to a point where we’re training side by side one day.

Another aspect of how CrossFit has improved me as a husband is just the increase in my SIU (suck it up) factor. How many of you have heard “Can you take out the trash, hon?” and thought “Serious? The game is on!” or “Does it really have to be taken out now?” or the famous “I’ll get to it, don’t trip.” Well, that’s how I felt about a lot of things. And even as I told my wife that I was willing to help her out with maintaining the house or supporting her in other areas, what it really meant was that I would only do it when I felt like it, or worse, only when it was convenient for me. Not the most synergistic and supporting relationship.

If I can get into the gym 6 days a week, punch out some ridiculously intense workouts, travel from one end of the city to the other to teach 2-3 sessions a day 6 days out of the week, can’t I put in a little bit more effort towards taking care of things at home, where it really matters most? I hope I can answer yes. Like always focusing on the quality of our movements in our workouts, I need to put that same constant focus in the quality of our family life.

CrossFit’s method lies in constant variation. I don’t like every workout that comes down the pipe, some of them plain suck, every one of them is a challenge. Some of them are so hard, that it makes everything else afterwards seem not so bad. So what if there’s a new challenge at home? So what if things get tough? If you want to experience tough, try to achieve a sub 5 minute “Fran” or try on a “Murph” for size. After that, mood swings, melt downs, financial problems, time management, talking out issues, taking out the trash, costco runs, and cleaning up the house just don’t seem as hard.

I’m not going to lie. Marriage is probably the hardest thing in the world. We don’t even have kids yet. I’ll probably read this in 5 years and say what a complete idiot I was. Keeping a family together is a ridiculous challenge in our society. But, through the development of a stronger mind and body, seeing the potential for lives to be changed for the better, and being surrounded by so many inspirational people has helped me keep things in perspective and fortified my trust in the idea that “There is no quitting”.