I was fresh off the most physically detrimental year of my life. It was the fall of 2010 and I was recovering from my first and only Ironman Triathlon. After a full year of training myself to move forward slowly, without the aid of batteries or gasoline, I had effectively eliminated an entire lifetime of developing myself into an explosive athlete. I was weak, skinny-fat and always sick. But hey, I could eat and run at the same time…
Sure, I was proud of myself for accomplishing the task that required of me so much determination and dedication, but instead of satisfaction and fulfillment, the emotion I was feeling as I crossed the finish line was relief. I was just glad it was over. I didn’t want to exercise ever again.
The next day didn’t help much. The soreness from 14 hours of continuous, boring, heat-exhausted exercise had set in, and I felt like a 90-year-old with horrible arthritis. I hated that soreness. I hated the constant injuries that I had to keep training through. I hated spending seven hours on a bicycle afraid for my life that some car was going to run me off the road.
If this was fitness, I didn’t want it. Bring on the Doritos!
A few months after the race, I was talking with a friend about my lack of motivation and he recommended that I check out a website that gave out free workouts that I could do just about anywhere. He said that he’d been doing it for a few months and absolutely loved it. The thing that stuck out the most to me was the efficiency of the workouts. In and out in under 20 minutes!
So I signed up, got the email and printed out the first week. When I looked at the first workout, I was immediately disappointed.
400 meter walking lunge
That’s it. I had printed a page with three words on it. I called my friend and asked if it was a joke. Four hundred meters? A quarter mile… Seriously? I was used to swim warm-ups that were longer than that. I asked him if I needed to wear a backpack loaded with weights or something to make it hard. He laughed and told me to just do exactly what it said.
Fourteen minutes later, I was glad that I had taken his advice. My legs and butt were on fire! I could barely breathe and my knees were bleeding from lunging on the paved road. I had found a similar challenge to the Ironman in a fraction of the time, and I was immediately hooked. I didn’t even find out that I was doing CrossFit until months later. And at that point, there was no turning back!
This is the story of how I started doing CrossFit. I tell it to all the people coming into our Foundations for Fantastic Fitness classes. I tell anyone willing to listen. But, I also tell other stories. I talk about my friend Chris who’s lost over 70 pounds of fat in the last year. I tell the story of my friend Kathy who just about did a backflip when she got her first pull-up. I tell about the people in our community getting PR’s, accomplishments and new milestones. We take pictures. We make videos. We celebrate successes.
Coach Glassman is known to say that a key to an Affiliate’s success is their ability to “make stars of your best and hardest workers.”
Everyone has a story. And it’s amazing the impact a good story can have on somebody you’ve never met. Put it out there. Your members will feel honored, and people who can relate to their experience will feel inspired. Every month we have people come into our Box because they could relate to the story of someone else who already comes to our gym.
More importantly, people like it when you make a big deal about them. Your members will feel appreciated, noticed and successful. It’s endearing and creates another level of satisfaction with your gym and community.
We tell people that we’re in the business of changing lives for the better. The message is simple: Tell the story of people doing CrossFit.