Wednesday, April 8, 2015

It Takes a Village to Build an Athlete

In my last blog, I mentioned how accountability to my athletes motivates me to keep working out through the struggle. I find that a lot of my athletes are that way – they aren’t really self-motivated to exercise. That’s not a criticism, it’s just a fact that some of us need to have someone around, who will exercise with us or at the very least expect to see us, in order to stay motivated to work out.

When my wife had our daughter, she was really motivated to lose weight. She was a student and had time to dedicate to exercise. But now that she’s working full-time and has less time for exercise. She has struggled to fit exercise into her day.

There are LOTS of people like her. As self-motivated as I usually am, even I’m like her at times.  There are so many out there that need ‘the village’ to get them in shape. I think what motivates some people more when there are other people around to hold them accountable is FOMO: fear of missing out. Self-motivators don’t need a class. They’ll go to their garage gym and bust out a workout with no problem. But people who have fear of missing out will come to the gym 3-5 days a week just because they have a fear they’ll miss out on what’s going on there. With Crossfit there’s a social aspect.

You know how it is when you put a baby it in another room to go to sleep, but they’re right back up again because they want to be where everyone is? It’s the same thing with Crossfitters: they suffer from FOMO. I think FOMO is a massive motivator for people, because it motivates them to do something they might not otherwise want to do. Take running for example: Crossfitters tend to hate running. They’ll celebrate adding a weight to a rep, but they won’t show up on the nights when there’s a run scheduled. They don’t care if they shave minutes off their 5k. But people who are motivated by FOMO are going to show up, no matter what we’re doing for the workout. They just don’t want to miss anything.

Crossfit has a huge social aspect. Athletes create bonds with the other athletes who workout the same nights they do. By the way, anytime I refer to an athlete, I’m talking about the people who show up to my classes for Crossfit. They are accountants, teachers, nannies, general office workers, systems engineers, finance, real estate agents.  When they walk into my gym, they are my athletes. I just want to clear that up.  But when you come here, you find friends, other athletes that are working hard too, right along side you. And they’re going to notice when you don’t show up. 

FOMO and a good team of other athletes are great ways to stay motivated, as long as you don’t take it to the extreme and get addicted to exercise – the person who HAS to be exercising all the time to feel good. You HAVE to have the ability to slow down. It’s totally okay to need something other than your own health to motivate you to keep showing up. As long as you keep showing up, your health will benefit anyway. And hell, you might even make a few friends.

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