Monday, June 13, 2011

One is the loneliest number.

I love being a trainer. I am very lucky to do what I do. What I don’t always love is working out alone. It’s an entirely different feeling to hit your own stop watch. And saying “3-2-1 Go” to the walls of your garage seems a bit silly. Likewise, yelling “Done!” just isn’t the same when you’re talking to yourself.

There are several things I miss about working out with a group of people; camaraderie, pre-wod anxiety, laughter, chasing someone, having someone to chase, cheering someone on, and having someone cheering you on.

This is camaraderie in a CrossFit box: You pull in the parking lot. All of you have a similar feeling when you get out of your cars. Jitters, butterflies, anticipation, dread – all meshed. You hang up your bags together, read the board together -- and get the immediate urge to pee. You warm up together. Laugh a bit, sometimes laugh a lot, and tell each other that “this will be hell.” If you were Cari and I, a couple years ago, you’d wait until your coach walked in the house for a minute and you’d whisper to one another, “I can’t do this friend!” And then we would. We’d do it. Together.

Working out alone doesn’t provide me this same kind of experience. Do I still get a killer workout in? Absolutely. Do I still get jitters before I hit “start” on the watch? Yep. But what I miss is sharing it with someone. Some of my best workouts have been side by side with a great friend. You walk in, face the whiteboard, feel slight panic, gut it out and just freaking do it.

Working out side by side gives you someone to “chase.” There is nothing like having someone a couple reps ahead of you, to make you push that much harder, take one more step, or resist the urge to take a drink of water. In the same vein, being “chased” works the same way. You will do what you can to stay ahead of the pack. It creates unbelievable drive in an individual. I have experienced this first hand, more times than I can count. I firmly believe that your wod times are faster when you work out with others. I believe the group drives the level of intensity. In addition, a group provides a feeling of support. They sweat next to you. Feel pain next to you. There is a bond that forms with people that “suffer” together. If you finish first, you’re the one cheering everyone on. If you’re last, everyone is yelling words of encouragement. I’m telling you, it’s a great thing. This stuff is hard. But with a friend next to you, it makes the outcome that much sweeter.

So, I may not get the opportunity to work out in a group very often anymore, but there is so much beauty in what I get to do. Now, I get to live the experience from the other side of the stopwatch. I get to see friendships forged, and journeys shared. I get to watch people learn the value of competitive, supportive, sportsmanship. I get to watch them grow as athletes. I get to see them develop greater physical and mental strength. And although I am not arm in arm with them, I am next them. I am leading them. Every painful, and wonderful, step they take.

Consequently, I may be lonely at times, but I get to be a part of something I truly love. And it is a privilege.

1 comment:

  1. LOL, read this and missing CF! Definitely a fun sport and with a group as well. Those burpees, doubleunders and pushups were rough. Nice to know there is someone suffering next to you! :)