When I was developing the idea of True Spirit CrossFit (6 years ago!) I wanted to create a place where everyone is welcome. I decided then that our gym's core values are safe, inclusive, fun and effective. Every decision we make, to host an event, or to develop a new program must align with those values.
We're just a small gym in Montana and outside of our Bozeman bubble the nation is churning with rage, sadness, uncertainty and being mad as hell and not willing to take it anymore. I, too, am mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore.
When I was in the military I served with hard-working, courageous, brave, and dedicated men and women of all backgrounds. It was an honor to serve along side people who banded together to accomplish the mission. While we did have some tensions based on race, I didn't see those manifest when scud missiles came downrange. We said everyone bleeds red and you can't see anything but green when you're in a gas mask and in nuclear, biological, chemical warfare protective gear.
When Ahmed Aubrey was murdered while jogging it could have been my platoon sergeant out on a PT run. It could have been the "boot" Lieutenant in charge of our logistics department. It could have been any of the black men with whom I served.
When George Floyd was murdered it could have been the Gunny who saved my ass when I caught on fire from burning jet fuel. It could have been my squadron commander who pinned on my sergeant's stripes. It could have been any of the black men with whom I served.
Yes, we have a terrible and tragic history of systematic racism. We also have an opportunity to unite. We have to ask tough questions and listen. We have to not take things personally. We have to not make assumptions. We have to be impeccable with our words. We have to do our best.
How to Return to CrossFit at the Gym
We reopened the gym for in-person workouts on Friday, May 15. Today we start Phase 2 and more of us will be back in the gym. How do you return to in-person CrossFit workouts? SLOOOOOWLY!
It has been over 2 months since we've been able to lift a barbell and seek the intensity we crave from in-person classes. Some of us crushed our remote programming and found ourselves working out more during our #stayhome order. Some of us did the remote programming and found it difficult to go hard, or long, or heck, just do it. We did it, it just wasn't with the same elan. Some of us didn't do a darn thing and well, that's ok, too.
We all had our own individual #stayhome journey, and now we have a very individual #backinthegym journey. Here's how to survive your first 1, 2, 3, 4 weeks of CrossFit classes.
First, remove any performance expectations. You will not be as fast, fit, or flexible as you were before we had to stay home. Even if you did workouts at home, we didn't go heavy, we occasionally went short, and most of our workouts were MetCons or metabolic conditioning workouts in the 10-20 min range.
Without heavy barbells and sprint we weren't able to tap our anaerobic systems very often. This is what's going to be your first "holy crap this is hard" moment when you're in the gym. Anaerobic conditioning is amazing and it's hard and it will make you think your 2 months of MetCons were for nothing.
Second, everything is going to feel heavy. When you first pick up that barbell you might be in for a shock. Yep, it is heavy. Yep, we will be slowly, slowly working on rebuilding our strength. We are starting with deadlifts. These will rebuild our strength fast.
Deadlifts will help us start to rebuild muscle.
Which will increase our metabolism.
Which will help us burn more calories.
Which will help us shed our quarantine 15. It's all part of a lovely masterplan:)
Third, under no circumstances are we to compare ourselves to anyone else in the gym. Did you hear me: YOU WILL NOT COMPARE YOURSELF TO ANYONE ELSE IN THE GYM! You are a special unique snowflake and your back-to-the-gym journey is yours. This process is unique to you. To regain the fitness and happiness you want, just do you. Impress your Coach by doing the scaling and modifications we prescribe, going hard during intervals, resting during breaks, and listening to us.
Fourth, establish a consistent routine now. You're going to be ridiculously sore after your first workout. COME BACK TO THE VERY NEXT CLASS. Movement will help. Some of you saw me on Saturday do the Spartan Sprint after Friday's barbell workout crushed me. Keep moving. It will keep your muscles actively repairing themselves, and more importantly, it will keep you in good mental health.
Fifth, don't should all over yourself. There is no should. There is right now. Accept where you are right now. Trust this process. Your fitness will return to where it was in March. It will take some time, and it will get there. Be patient.
How are you doing for our #getout in May Challenge?
We have just a few more days remaining in May and now that spring is finally here it's much easier to get out and have some fun.
I hope you've been enjoying our #getout challenge. This past weekend I was able to mark off 21 things on our list. The Ruby Valley is a great place to #getout and the birding was most impressive.
You might wonder why we have regular challenges at the gym. Perhaps just exercising is challenging enough?!?
Our challenges are meant to help us practice and establish healthy lifestyle habits. Fitness is more than just doing the workout of the day. Fitness is how we eat, how we drink, how we handle stress, how we handle difficult situations, it's the strength of our social relationships, it's how much sleep we get, it's how we spend our "leisure" time, basically it's everything we do when we're not exercising.
For some of us, the Covid-19 pandemic has created a bounty of leisure time. For others, it has completely eradicated leisure time.
We want to help you have some fun in May with whatever leisure time you have. Perhaps it's only 10 mins at the end of a long work-at=home day. You can still #getout and take a walk in the fresh air. I bet you can find a nest or explore a neighborhood trail in 10 mins from your front door.
Maybe you have plans to #getout and go camping this weekend. Well, you have plenty of opportunities to find all of the plants and animals on our list.
We will have another opportunity to attend at TSCF outdoor workout this Saturday. We are participating in the Spartan Virtual Race and will set-up a 5K course that encompasses Oak Springs park and the Gallatin County Regional Park. Stay tuned for details. You can learn more about the Spartan Virtual Race here.
We're revisiting Hero workout Chad today.
Today we are doing the Hero WOD Chad. This workout takes most people about an hour. If you have a small backpack that you can load up, use it. You can step onto your stairs, a step-stool, or a sturdy box. You could even get outside and climb a hill.
The story of Chad's Hero WOD is fully detailed in The Morning Chalk-Up. You can read the full story here.
The workout is named after Chad Wilkinson a 22-year active duty SEAL stationed in Virginia Beach, who took his own life on October 29, 2018.
I programmed Chad, or our version of half Chad, because it's a workout that has meaning to many of you, and I want to highlight that May is Mental Health Month.
Chad committed suicide. Here was a man who was a fierce warrior, a husband, an athlete, a mountain climber, a friend, and a tortured human.
The Covid-19 pandemic is one of the greatest obstacles of our lifetime. Collectively, we are experiencing grief, anxiety, boredom, anger, sadness, and uncertainty. Never before in our lives have ALL OF US gone through this together. Individually we may have overcome more challenging times. Together, we are experiencing a vast array of emotions.
Now, more than ever, we need to be open and honest about our mental health. While we are still supposed to be physically distance from each other; please, let's be sure we are not socially distant. Reach out to your friends, family, gym buddies and make sure they know you care. If you feel lonely, reach out to me.
One of the things I absolutely know to be true is that working out improves my mental health. While I have personally been through more difficult times than the Covid-19 pandemic, (pretty sure nothing will ever top being in a war), I have had many down days during the past 2 months. Worry about the future of True Spirit CrossFit, uncertainty about what I would do if we had to close, and anxiety about how we will make it through the summer.
These feelings and emotions feel like the weight of the world on my shoulders. Every time that I feel like I won't be able to surface out of the dark hole of despair I start moving my body. I literally start with an inchworm. Then I do another inchworm. After about 4 inchworms I feel my body start to respond to movement. Then I know I can do the WOD. Doing the workout of the day always, and I mean ALWAYS, brings me up. I have never, ever regretted doing a workout. I have only regretted when I don't.
This year's May is Mental Health Month is focused on 5 practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase resiliency.
You can learn about all of the mental health tools available in this year's May is MentalHealth Month toolkit by clicking the image below.
Record your WOD on Beyond the Whiteboard.
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