If you’re a crossfitter, there’s no doubt that at some point, after a long hard workout, laying in a pool of your own bodily fluids, you’ve asked yourself, “Why the hell am I doing this to myself?” Trust me, I’ve asked myself that same question. Actually, I recall very clearly asking it yesterday, while my already bruised sternum crashed the deck for the
60th friggin burpee of the day. But,if you never came up with an answer to that question, well then my friends, you’ll probably never step foot back in the gym again.

Yep, here it goes, another meat head getting ready to tell you about how Crossfit IS life…(drum roll)

It’s so easy to say that your performance in the gym is just not that important to you. It’s comfortable to hide behind the “I just want to be healthy” excuse and half-ass your efforts. I mean, really, how does deadlifting 500 lbs. or crushing a sub 3 minute Fran have anything to do with your success in real life? If this sounds familiar to you, don’t buy the bag of rhino shit you’re trying to sell to yourself! As a coach and a crossfitter, I’m here to tell you, it has EVERYTHING to do with your personal success. And no, it’s not about how much you lift or fast you finish a workout, but it IS about working to achieve something that you couldn’t have accomplished before.

As a wiseman (who will go nameless because I’m not sure who he is) once said, “Show me a man who is satisfied with where he is, and I’ll show you a failure.”

As far as I know, we’re not training any professional athletes at Trident. But we ARE training people who are striving to achieve greatness in other aspects of life – as parents, providers, students, business people, husbands, wives, soldiers, the list goes on and on. And guess what? The lessons you learn in the gym while striving to improve are the same ones that WILL translate to success in your personal and professional lives. Hard work, determination, perseverance, discipline, and yes, FUN. What better place to learn these things than inside the four walls of the gym.

I myself am a father and a husband first, then a coach, then an athlete. But, you know what? The work and dedication I put into adding 10 lbs. to my powerclean is the same amount of effort I must put into being a better father, a better husband, and a better coach. If I abandon my quest become a better athlete, then my work ethic will suffer across the board, and I will ultimately fall short EVERYWHERE.

Athletes- keep this in mind the next time you’re contemplating giving a workout only half of your heart, or the next time you’re deciding whether or not to attempt a lift for a PR, or the next time you think about skipping out on writing your output on the whiteboard. Work your butt off everyday, and do it with a smile inside, knowing that the right thoughts, along with the right actions, will inevitably lead to success in EVERYTHING you do.

Sure, if you’re not competing, it may not excite you to work on your squat form, or to get your first pull-up, or to set a huge personal record. But what is exciting is that the effort you’re putting forward to improve yourself as an athlete WILL make you a better person,whether it be in the gym,in your profession, or in your personal relationships.

No one came out of the womb as a natural born bad ass (we can’t all be Quatro Deuce), but there is a world of potential within every athlete that steps into the gym. I am lucky enough to see it unleashed every day! I can’t count how many personal records, first pull-ups, first muscle-ups, first mechanically sound squats, and first sitings of non-doosh shoulders I’ve seen since we’ve opened our doors!  That’s the beauty of what we can accomplish in Crossfit…making a once impossible task…very much a reality. The translation of this very accomplishment will empower you to effect positive change in EVERYTHING you do.

Thanks for letting me (and the whole coaching staff) in on your journey to kick life’s ass!!

– Coach Chaddy C


A Love Note to My Coaches

Or

Notes on Trident’s Coaching Philosophy

I used to know it all.  Really, everything.  I had to; I had 8 years of coaching experience under my belt, lots of certifications and a few happy & successful athletes.

Then, in 2009 I walked into a CrossFit to be greeted by the world’s smallest giant force of energy, aka Andrea.  I had been in only once before, had not been coached by this woman and yet, from across the room, I heard her yell with pure joy, “ELLEN!”  Let’s be real; I was confident that she must have noticed and remembered how insanely awesome I was in my trial workout (this was, after all, during my know-it-all awesome years) and I may have strutted, just a bit.  My strut lasted about 30 seconds until the next person walked in and got the same greeting.  She knew our names, cared about our stories and cared to help us be better.  With just one genuine greeting, I had been coached.  The strut ended and my journey into how to be a coach began.

The next day I met the world’s fastest talking man, aka Chriss.  His warm-up made me cry, his instruction made my head hurt, his workout made me sick to my stomach, and his high-five made my night.  This amazingly fit-looking cheetah-man had not once made me think about what I couldn’t do…he had only caused me to consider what I might do better.  With a smile and a high-five, I had been coached.

Until that week in February ’09, I had thought that coaching was about knowledge and information.  Races would be won or lost based on physics and physiology.  Truly disciplined athletes would do what was necessary, as dictated by their coaches and the science, to get it done.  Gifted athletes shouldn’t need pats on the back to go fast…and those that did weren’t the fast ones anyway.

February 09 felt great.  I just thought I had been bitten by the CrossFit bug.  The workouts were a sweaty, burning mess and it was cool to be working hard with a team again.  But deep down something was shifting.  I was being expertly coached by two insanely awesome and energetic people.  They knew their stuff, for sure, but their knowledge wasn’t what kept me walking back through the door.  I wanted another high five and another giant hello.  They were coaching my ego and damn did it feel good.  My know-it-all world was being rocked on its axis.  I didn’t know anything about coaching!  It hurt a bit, but I was in the good hands of generous people who were happy to share their knowledge.

Chriss and Andrea aren’t the only ones who have rocked my world over the last two years.  I recently had a coach throw himself to the floor when I missed a pull-up.  I don’t know if you’ve seen Chad’s special summersault, but it is truly ‘special’.  I had never before felt someone else’s juju do some of my work for me, but I am confident it was his will, not mine, that got that third pull-up in a row (it was the fourth and the miss that resulted in him writhing on the ground).  His joy in coaching, his good humor and his true investment in his athletes is a daily inspiration to me.

And don’t even get me started on the Delaneys.  The poetry in their movement has caused me to understand what CrossFit HQ means by Virtuosity.  Combine that with just enough sarcasm to make your inner underachiever feel bad about itself and you’ve got coaches who are going to make you want to kick your own ass.

At Trident we field a lot of questions about coaching/opening a box.  I think it is easy to see that something is going right and many want to know how we do it.  And so here it is.  Watching and learning from the best has provided me with the Trident recipe for great coaching:

Care.  Care a lot and care often.  Care with enthusiasm.  Care loudly.  Care enough to want to cartwheel when an athlete gets it right.

Listen.  Listen without judgment, without prejudice and without end.

Understand.  Understand goals, limitations and fears even if they don’t jive with what you know to be right.

Keep it simple.  You might actually know everything but no one else cares.  Just help your athletes move better.

Laugh.  If you find steps 1-4 hard to do, laughing and causing laughter is a good cover.

Finally, be grateful.  As coaches we get our juice from the successes of others…we must remember to thank our athletes for inviting us on their journey.

Trident coaches, thank you for my re-education.  Trident family, I am grateful for you.  You are my heroes and my inspiration.  I am lucky to be sharing this journey with you.  Thank you.

Ellen Gallagher