The Beauty of Fitness

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Every once in a while I am moved, emotionally, by something in the fitness world. Now, I’m a softie and I admit that, but sometimes you just come across something extra special. 


Last weekend, myself and 4 other athletes competed in a local competition. The experience was fun but the environment was what really resonated with me. We were put through a series of workouts to test our strength, endurance, physical abilities and most challenging of all, mental toughness. The workouts were HARD no matter how you shake it. Strict presses with heavy weight, 1 rep max snatches, thrusters, barbell complexes, etc. The people organizing the event thought of some really challenging WODs and us as athletes gave it our best. 


But what I learned, and what made such an impact on me, had nothing to do with the actual workouts, myself, or any of our TW athletes. It was a complete stranger who had me holding back tears. 


The event was simple yet spicy. Multiple rounds for time of a barbell complex: 7 deadlifts-5 hang cleans-3 push press with an 8-minute time cap. We were waiting for our heat, watching other athletes complete the workout. As I was watching people pump out reps and finish, I noticed a few athletes left persevering through this tough workout.


Most of us know the feeling of being one of the last people left on a for time workout. If you don’t like attention it can be a bit awkward, and make you feel self conscious. That’s what I was noticing out of one woman in particular. She was cruising through reps but still had a few rounds left. As others finished, you could tell she was getting slightly uncomfortable. Our team started clapping for her, cheering her on. Other athletes joined in. Soon she was the last person left, with about 3 minutes left on the clock. She had 3 rounds left. She looked up and tried to stop. 


I saw her mouth to the judges, “I’m good, that’s it.”


We encouraged her, “Don’t stop! You got this! Get one more round.” 


And so she picked up that barbell and cranked out another round. As she put it down she said again, “I’m really good that’s it!” 


Again, and now others had joined in, we yelled, “Come on keep going! You can get a few more reps!”’


There was still time left on the clock, and so she picked it up and got that second to last round done. She put it down again. Most of the athletes in the gym had gathered by now. We were cheering, yelling for her. She had a minute left. Now we were screaming words of encouragement. 


“Just pick it up, go for it! You can do it!” 


She went for it. As she powered through the reps, the whole entire gym got behind her. The place erupted with clapping, cheering, yelling, all for this one woman. You could tell she wanted to stop, but we encouraged her to try. 


And try she did, the closer she got, the louder we got. Every single person came together to coach her through her last reps. The seconds ticked off the clock, she had 3 reps left, 10 seconds, 2 reps, 5 seconds, 1 rep, 2 seconds… 


She finished that workout at the buzzer and the gym nearly exploded. Dozens, maybe even a hundred people were going crazy for this one person. I was jumping up and down, I didn’t even know her name. People were hugging her, she was emotional and it was beautiful. I genuinely had to hold back tears at this moment. You could feel the electricity and energy in the gym. 


A bunch of people, most of us strangers, came together for one common goal. It didn’t matter if this woman finished the workout. The point is, she kept going with everyone behind her. We encouraged her, gave her positive energy and an environment where she could succeed. 

That’s the beauty of fitness.

At the end of the day, we are all here for one common goal: to each be better, and to encourage each other to be better. That’s why I became a coach. That’s why I get up every day excited to go to work and get to do what I do. And that’s especially why I love our gym. We have that type of place, it’s special and it’s rare. It’s something we can all come together over and celebrate. It’s something that we have to continue to protect, to continue to encourage and to continue to get excited about. I hope to continue sharing that for a long time to come.  


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