Community. Compassion. Care.
Every year I donate blood on or around my birthday (October 24) to celebrate another year on this planet with the hope that it will give someone else another chance at life. This year is a big year for me as I am turning the BIG 4-0.
Since I was a child, I have always had an inherent need to help others, and that need gets stronger as I get older. So this year, for my birthday, I ask all of you who read this to take a moment sometime this month to donate blood, especially for those who live in areas where a disaster has recently happened. If you are unable to or can’t donate blood, donate your time to volunteer at a clinic or some other organization that works for disaster relief or mental health. Please.
Our country has reached a critical point where we need to come together and work to resolve the lingering issues that are dragging us down the dark hole in which we are currently falling. Yelling about politics has gotten us nowhere. We are all in this together. One love.
PRs and What They Mean
Last week was an incredible week. We tested your strength, skill, and mental fortitude. Everyone did amazingly. As coaches, we love to witness these kinds of weeks. All the hard work our athletes have put in has really paid off. I guarantee though that these may be the last PRs some of you see for a while. I don’t mean that to sound so sinister. I mean to say that many of you are passing from your beginner CrossFitter stages to your intermediate stages. Some of you have probably been in your intermediate stage for some time now.
You may have started CrossFit anywhere from a few months to a year or so ago. You’ve been making unbelievable progress. I’m writing to tell you this isn’t just normal, it’s expected. Much of the progress you’ve made has been from honing your technique, and of course you’ve been getting stronger, too. That’s not to say that you can stop working on technique. You’ve only really just brushed the surface of the rabbit hole of movement technique. But now is the time when you need to start really becoming aware of your body because not all PRs are increases in speed or weight. Some PRs come from moving from a once modified movement to the real deal (like moving from ring rows to pull-ups, or from incline push-ups to push-ups on the floor). These don’t look like PRs necessarily because your times are probably going to slow dramatically. Other PRs come from the difference in how you feel. Maybe your Fran retest time didn’t improve, but you didn’t feel like you had to throw up. That’s a huge PR.
Also remember, that you are your own person with your own life, health considerations, advantages, and limitations. That gym frenemy that you constantly compare yourself to (whether they know it or not) is their own person, too. It doesn’t matter if they’re making PRs and you’re not. To each their own. Focus on you, and train smart. Slow progress is lasting progress.
Much Love My Friends,
Patience & Persistence
This is something that I’ve been really thinking about over the past few months while watching you all get your fitness on. It’s also something that I preach when coaching. No matter the level of the athlete, member, client, or whatever you liked to be called, there are two key ingredients that must be present in order to grow and succeed: patience and persistence. There are those that have the ability to pick up movements within the first 5 minutes, and there are those who may take years. What we all need to remember is that we can all improve in some way whether it’s the elite athlete focusing on consistency and increasing work capacity, an intermediate athlete adding more weight to their lifts, or a beginner athlete increasing their body awareness.
With this work comes the understanding that what we do takes time, heck, everything in life worth anything takes time. You must have patience and know that there will be days where your body and mind are aligned and your workout goes fantastically. Other days where you will feel disconnected. However, you must refuse to give up. This is where persistence comes in. You know you can be better and do better, which is why you keep coming back. Don’t let that one thing, movement, day, person get in your way. Come back into the gym and tackle that movement. You make that bar your bitch!
A memory from my competitive gymnastics days popped into my head while pondering this topic. Balance beam was my favorite event. (Who thought telling young girls that doing flips, spins, and leaps across a 16 feet long, 4 inches wide, 4 feet off the ground piece of wood was a good idea?!) It was scary, but I loved the challenge. I loved how it made my body and mind feel. I remember first learning my “series”, which was two back handsprings in a row. I can’t even count how many times I fell, or my foot slipped and I crashed to the mats, or I “crotched” the beam. There were so many. However, looking back, I never realized how brave I was to get back up on the beam to try it again. I never realized how persistent I was to master this movement.
This is how I see all of you. Your continuous drive to come in and improve your body and mind inspires me every day. Sometimes you may cry, sometimes you may get angry and throw shit, and sometimes you may just sit in a corner to have a moment with yourself, but you do not give up. So, with this month’s “Ninja’s Notes” I want you all to know how much I appreciate your dedication, loyalty, and persistence to be better people, and I am beyond grateful that you choose to do it at CrossFit Santa Barbara.
Coach Ninja xo
Ninja’s Notes: 20 January 2017
Today is an important day in our country – Inauguration Day. Some of us are happy, many of us are angry, and a bunch of us are numb. I always do my best to live my life through the belief that “perspective is everything”.
Note: this is not a post about politics, as this is not the venue for that.
The reason why I bring up this historic day is because there are so many heightened opinions, thoughts, beliefs, and emotions floating around that I don’t think it is possible to escape. How we choose to respond to the life swirling around us shows our true character. Are we reacting emotionally or rationally? Are we thinking before we speak, or are we going to regret what just spewed out of our mouth?
CFSB 2.0 has been open for a little over seven months now (there was a two month transition period between CFSB 1.0 and 2.0 that I like to refer to as purgatory, haha!), and within these past seven months, I have learned more than I thought I ever would; not only about the business side of things, but also about myself and people in general. (My degree is in Sociology, so I thrive on learning about and studying people!) The main theme that kept presenting itself to me was compassion.
As a first-time business owner, I made a lot of mistakes. I have no problem admitting that. To be honest, there were plenty of times where I was worried that I took on more than I could handle. That thought still pops into my head, but not as often anymore. However, what kept me going were particular members and coaches that had my back and believed in me that I could do this. Their compassion helped me overcome my doubts and their belief in me keeps me moving forward. This sh#t ain’t easy, but I love what I do and I am unbelievably grateful that I have the opportunity to provide for this community.
CrossFit started as a small online community, and grew to over 13,000 affiliates because of its followers’ belief in community. I am proud to say that I am part of the first CrossFit gym in the Santa Barbara area. What started as a small gym inside of the garage of a retired US Marine has now grown into something amazing, all because of its members.
Since 2008 when CFSB was established, six gyms have opened from Goleta to Carpinteria that are either CrossFit affiliates or are no longer affiliated, but still offer similar workouts and programming. At first glance, it could appear to be overwhelming; there are so many in such a small area! How I choose to view the situation is this: there is something for every person. Every single CrossFit gym in this area has a different vibe. What may work for one, may not work for another. We’ve had people leave to go to another gym, and we’ve had people leave and come back. When people leave my gym to go to another gym, there are two thoughts that go through my head: We either 1) did something wrong, or 2) did not provide what they needed. Sometimes what they need is something that we could not provide, and that is okay. That is why other gyms exist. If we did something wrong, I take a step back, assess the situation, solve the problem, and move on.
Let us now reflect on the three themes of this post: perspective, compassion, and community. In order for us to succeed in the gym, in life, or as a community (or even as a country), we need compassion. To have compassion is to look at the situation from a perspective that may not be our initial choice. It is to look at a situation through the eyes of the other. Perhaps it’s having compassion for yourself. This is where we begin to understand others, which will then help us understand that of ourselves. We all come to CrossFit to grow, both physically and mentally. Growth comes through understanding. When that exists, that is when our community grows.
CrossFit is community.