Four Letter Words

Are you guilty of using four letter words in your CrossFit class?  Do you hear four letter words being used around you?

We know that as people engage in difficult work they might swear, and they may even swear in frustration when they get something wrong or miss something.  We get it - emotions run high and language filters may slip slightly, but that’s absolutely fine.

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What is not fine however is using one of two poisonous four letter words that you may not even notice that you’re using.  What are there words though?

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Consider the use of language here:

  • “I only did 3 rounds in the AMRAP today”

  • “Oh, you only used 40kg instead of 60kg”

  • “Just do ring rows instead of pull ups”

  • “I just used the 17.5kg dumbbell instead of the 22.5kg”

Whether you are the person using the words, or someone is using those words to describe your effort or performance, look at how negative the sentences become.  

Talking about workout options in a negative manner implies that anything other than what is on the board is a lesser option and will be treated as such.

Viewing yourself as lesser than someone else because they used a heavier weight or went faster than you is a surefire recipe to short circuit your own fitness journey.

What does that say about your self worth? What does that say about how others view your efforts?

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As staff we have various roles and responsibilities.  

One of the responsibilities is to provide an inclusive environment where everyone can make progress towards their own goals without fear of judgement or feeling like a lesser person because their workout didn’t look exactly the same as someone else’s - you’ll get more out using personalised movements and rep ranges if you’ve got limitations or injuries.  

Another responsibility is to help guide people towards an intended workout stimulus such as target finish time or target number of rounds - if 12 people in a class score 9-10 rounds on something and one person gets 6 then they’ve been guided wrongly and that’s the coach’s fault.

We also have a responsibility to make sure that we model correct use of language and pull people up for talking down to themselves.  So don’t be surprised if you catch one of us bringing someone up for talking themselves down!

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Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and SCCF

To follow on from last week’s piece about trees and spreading your roots, here’s another psychology piece.

Abraham Maslow, was an American psychologist who, developed a theoretical framework in 1943 to help describe people’s needs and how lower level needs must be being met for higher level needs to come into the picture. 

Logically if you are struggling to have one of your basic needs met then the more in depth ones above it take a backseat - we’ve all been hungry and not been focused on our creativity.  Or been tired and not given our friends the attention they deserve.

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So where does your gym and last week’s article about trees link to this?

It should go without saying that your gym should be meeting your physiological and safety needs, so that you can then start focusing on the friendships formed there.

Whilst it may be true that you can feel a sense of accomplishment without having friends around - the social setting of a gym full of like minded individuals definitely makes that feeling greater.

Bear in mind that each moment could be hyper analysed to see which need is being met or not met at that moment in time, but that level of self-analysis may be a path you don’t want to go down.

What does this mean for you and for us?

We will continue to do our utmost to meet your basic and psychological needs so that you may work as often as possible on your self-fulfilment needs.

We also trust that you will strive to help meet other people’s psychological needs (by spreading your own roots) so that they too may work towards achieving their full potential.

Are you helping people move up the pyramid with your words and actions?

Trees and CrossFit

Imagine for a second that you are a tree.

You start life as a seed and, presuming you find favourable growing conditions, start to grow.

You start to gather the nutrients and water you need from the soil around you and grow upwards towards the sun.

If we presume that the sunlight is sufficient to stimulate photosynthesis then the availability of nutrients and water from the ground will become the limiting factor.

If you are planning on surviving for as long as possible and are planning on being as resilient to harsh weather conditions then you’d better hope that your root system develops quickly and over as large an area as possible.

It can be no coincidence that the tallest, most durable and thickest trees have the largest and strongest root system.  It is therefore also logical to suggest that trees that try to grow too tall, too quickly without an adequate base of support inevitably bend and break.

So, what about some fitness talk then?

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Imagine that you want to be able to do everything you want to do for years and years.  Imagine that making progress, or staving off decline, is important to you.

Imagine if your root system was shallow and narrow - would you be able to keep making progress?  Would you bend and break if you neglected to expose yourself to a broad range of types of exercise? What about when the things that you’ve been avoiding come up - what happens then?

Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit, once said “we fail at the margins of our experience” and we truly believe that.

What about if we take the idea of a broad root system and apply it to the gym as a social place.  How many people “go to the gym” but never have any form of meaningful interaction with another human when they’re there?  Will those people still be “going to the gym” in a few years time?  We’d be willing to bet that the majority of them won’t be.

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Next time you’re in the gym, spread your roots.  Start a conversation with someone, lose the headphones and the ego, expand your social circle and we’re willing to bet that you’ll go home happier.