If you’re like me you came to CrossFit looking for exceptional fitness and stayed because of the incredible community you discovered.  CrossFit isn’t at all like the tedium of going to a commercial gym alone with headphones on pretending you’re in your own little world while you wait for a stranger to get off the piece of gym equipment you are waiting to use.  CrossFit is more like playing a team sport.  You face each workout together and through the struggle and suffering you get to know and love the person next to you.  Most of my best adult friendships developed through CrossFit.  And whether or not I’m motivated to exercise, I always look forward to hanging out and laughing with friends so if I have to sweat and strain a little to be part of the team, I’ll show up and get it done.  You may not look forward to the workout but you always look forward to the camaraderie.

Consistency is key to getting fit but community is the secret sauce that keeps you coming back so, to my mind, there is nothing more important to the CrossFit methodology than community.  And the Empower community is extra special!  But maintaining a healthy community requires daily effort.  It requires us each to think of our fellow community members and act accordingly.  For the most part we do a good job of it but with many new members and after a long time operating under COVID protocols many of us are out of practice so let’s review some of the behaviours that have proven integral to making our community work so well:

1) Start Together, Finish Together
At Empower we do offer daily open gyms to members which are appropriate if you need to run on your own schedule, for these you can arrive and depart at your pleasure.  For group classes we play like  a team.  Under the coach’s direction we start the workout together and we finish it together.  Be conscientious. 

Arrive early so you are ready to start on the hour and the class and coach do not need to wait for you to get organized and settled.  Every now and then we all mess up, if you find that you have arrived late, please don’t interrupt the coach and class, just quietly do 25 burpees to get yourself warm and ready for whatever work you are about to do, the coach will get you caught up when they have a chance to do so. 

If you’re first across the finish line you are first to start cheering for your classmates helping them battle their way through the workout.  Just like you’d never abandon a team mate, you do not leave your classmate to finish the workout unsupported.  Of course sometimes the real world interposes.  Perhaps you have a child that needs to be picked up in a hurry.  It’s the life of a parent, we’ve all been there.  If a real need arises that prevents you from cheering your class right to the finish, offer up a 25 burpee apology on your way out the door so they know you’re not abandoning them lightly.

Unlike regular gyms, the group class emphasis is on group.  It is not about the individual.  When you attend a group class, you are part of a team.  If you are just looking to do your own thing – and sometimes that is exactly what you need – then open gym is what you’re looking for and we have those too.

One day, on some workout, you will find yourself the last one to finish.  On that day you will be touched and overwhelmed by the warm feeling of knowing your classmates cared enough to wait for you and cheer you across the finish line!  

2) Meet & Greet
Believe it or not I’m a shy introvert.  In my role as a coach I have to pretend I’m not but I am that guy who would be more comfortable sitting quietly at the back of the gym working out without making eye contact with anyone.  Until CrossFit.  CrossFit drew me out of my shell as we were required to meet and greet all our classmates.  And to my surprise I loved it!  At CrossFit we don’t work out with strangers.  We exercise with newfound friends.  Many have become my fondest friends.  For health reasons we’re not yet doing handshakes and group photos as we used to but we do encourage you to introduce yourself to someone in class that you have not yet met.  When there is a partner workout option, grab that new guy or gal, make them feel welcome and wanted.  Cheer for each other.  Whichever class you’re in, those people are your team that day.  Make sure you know their names.  We will test you on this!

3) Class Registration
We frequently hear horror stories of people who have gotten injured attending gyms with group classes of 20+ participants in a small space.  Even before COVID we capped most workouts at 12 attendees.  To be clear, this is not to the benefit of the business but to you, our valued members.  During popular class times, Empower would profit greatly from allowing 15+ attendees.  Except conditions would be crowded, equipment availability would be limited and coaching attention would be highly diluted resulting in far higher risk of injury.  The class caps we have adopted are for your safety and benefit.  This reflects the commitment we have made to delivering a quality product. 

The downside to this is that it requires you to plan in advance which classes you wish to attend and take the extra step of booking your session.  But having done so, you are now assured space, equipment and coaching at that time slot.  But if it is a popular time it is likely that other members are waitlisted for that same time slot.  And this is why we request that you cancel your reservation if you cannot attend the class.  The cancellation window is 2-hours for afternoon and evening classes and 8-hours for morning, weekend and holiday classes.  These are the times requested by our membership to ensure waitlisted members have sufficient notice when you cancel and they suddenly get your spot. 

Accidents happen of course.  We’ve all registered for a 5am when we meant to choose 6am and found ourselves in the wrong class.  However, if you repeatedly block other members from attending classes by reserving spots you do not attend, your advance registration privileges will be revoked.  Here are the very simple steps to follow to avoid this outcome:

1) ONLY book class that you know you will attend.

2) If you are on the waitlist for a class, check inside the cancellation window to see if you got in. 

3) If you are on the waitlist and have decided not to attend, cancel your spot on the waitlist so you do not get into the class unexpectedly when someone cancels their reservation.

4) Double check your bookings.

This does require some action and accountability on your part.  It requires each of us to be proactively conscientious for the benefit of our fellow community members.  A functioning community requires members to look out for others as well as for themselves.  Please conduct yourself accordingly.

Remember adulthood is realizing that “Just because it is not your fault does not mean you are not responsible.”

In Case of Illness
Of course, if you develop symptoms of illness inside the cancellation window, you are asked – also for the welfare of the community – not to attend.  Protecting the community from the spread of illness takes priority over protecting registration access!  In this case we will ask that you let the coach know ASAP and that you refrain from attending classes until you are 14 days symptom free or have had a negative COVID test.  If you should test positive please alert your coach immediately so that we can notify all members who may have been in contact with you over the past 7 days.

Pleading sick isn’t an easy way to avoid consequences.  For the safety of all we will require that negative test result or a 2-week symptom-free window before readmitting you to class. So please don’t use this excuse to avoid repercussions when you decide to sleep off a hangover Sunday morning!  

Group Classes About We, Not Me
If your previous group fitness experience is limited to drop-in HIIT, Yoga or Spin all this community stuff might feel unfamiliar.  But if you’ve played team sports you probably get it.  Give it a minute and you will find that being part of a community like Empower is an amazingly gratifying and rewarding experience.  And it requires a little extra work from each one of us.  It requires each of us to sometimes prioritize community needs over our own individual desire.  I’ve found over the years it is absolutely worth it.  Being part of something bigger than myself has proven far more fulfilling than working out at a commercial gym alone.  Learning to share and work with others has made me a better person.  It has transformed fitness from a shallow, vain pursuit to an enriching meaningful life journey shared with people with similar values.  Fitness has stopped being a “me” thing and become an “we” activity.

Monday Make Up Day – Finally!

1) 5K Row

2) 2021 Games Event 4
Thrusters 135/185#
Wall walks

3) Virtual Games Event Part 1
550m Sprint

Then Virtual Games Event Part 2

4) 2021 Games Event 9
Echo Bike (Cals)

5) 2021 Games Event 10
30 T2B
1.5 Mile Run
30 T2B
1.5 Mile Run
30 T2B

6) 2021 Games Event 15
600m Row
90 C2b
36ft Walking back lunge
36ft Walking front lunge
36ft walking overhead lunge

7) Empower Reset #18
1 min Breathing in Squat
30/30 sec Head Nods/Rotations in squat

2 mins
10 Heads-up Cross Touch Deadbugs
10 Windshield Wipers pressing head into floor

3 mins
10 Frog Rolls
10 Judo Push Up Rocks

3 mins
10 Full Body Rock
20 Cross Crawls

3 Rounds:
1 min Hands and Knees Hourglass Crawls
30 sec Leopard Hourglass Crawl

3 mins
Max Bar Hang
10 Plate Get Ups

400m Bearhug Plate Carry @25/45#