Happy Thursday! The weather is beautiful. The weekend is almost here. It’s a great day to be alive. For real. For real. 

See, I really want this blog to inspire people – especially all you fitness enthusiasts in the Upstate of good ole’ South Carolina. But ya know what, I really don’t have a lot of inspiration to give ya most days. Or weeks. And I’m not the best with my words. But I DO know some cool people, so I have that going for me at least. And I do know that people get inspired and fired up when they hear other like minded people’s success stories. So, I would love to start featuring other people on here weekly. You get to see a lot of life change in the gym. People set goals and do cool things, and that’s always inspiring.

And with that, it is only appropriate that I would begin with this 8:30 class at CFEC and how they have changed me and helped me to become a better coach and person in general over the past 18 months. 

So, let’s start at the beginning. It was sometime around LAST December (2015), I had just gone to Charlotte to get my CF Level 1 cert, which I originally just did for myself after I quit my full time job. But I found out that I kinda wanted to be a coach, and I kinda knew NOTHING really. So, Nick and Cindy were kind enough to let me start “helping out” at the 8:30 class. One, because I didn’t have a job to be at anymore, and two, because it was by far the smallest class at CFEC. Well, after a good bit of time hanging around, learning, and coaching with other coaches watching and giving me all the feedback, I started coaching solo at 8:30 on the daily, as well as building up a small number of clients to do personal training with. This eventually led to the opportunity to coach a good bit of other classes, at different times, especially in the mornings at CFEC. But 8:30 is where it all began. 

For those of you who don’t know, or if you don’t have friends that CONSTANTLY ( I know, so annoying, right?) tell you: There’s way more to CrossFit as a whole AND more specifically, coaching CrossFit than helping people get six packs, improving their Fran time, and helping them get their first unassisted strict or kipping pullup. I would even vouch to say that CrossFit is about more than keeping people out of nursing homes, helping them get out of a chair without any assistance or pain, and even getting them to a place where they have the energy to play with their kids and do their 9-5 job without getting winded. It is about the relationships that are formed inside the gym walls, and how that carries over to life outside of the gym as well. 

This picture isn’t everyone. And there are some people in there that may not come to this class on the daily, but it’s a representation of this class and this community. You can see that everyone looks different. Each person comes from a different background, with different athletic abilities. There’s a handful of people in this pic that played sports in college. There is a handful of people over the age of 50. There’s a baby in there that gets to watch her mom workout every single day(shoutout to you, Raegan), and she’s not even the only baby or young child that comes to this class daily. There are stay at home moms in there, moms that homeschool their kids working moms in there, nurses in there, small business owners in there, people who have been at CFEC since way before me, and some who just started. There are college students in there, and maybe even a future pro basketball player in there. Each person in this picture has different goals. There are several people in there that I believe have the potential to be really great at competing. There’s a girl in there who power cleaned 140 lb today not even 3 MONTHS after having a baby (how does that happen?) And there are a good bit of people in this pic who have drastically improved their range of motion, strength, and overall quality of life. They all have different goals. BUT they share a common bond in that they support each other, they keep showing up together, they put in work every single morning together, and they love each other. 

These people inspire me. Over the past year or so, I’ve had the opportunity to watch this class grow from a few people to a fun party every day – not because of anything I’ve done (I’m just glad they put up with me…believe me) but because of who they are and the community that they have formed. 

And with that, there is usually some person (or group of people) that has to almost act as a backbone to a group like this, and that person isn’t me. But I would like to give a special shoutout to Jeff House (Tonya’s man, and not pictured in this picture because he was at work) for consistently being the center of this community for the past year or so, always making people feel welcomed and just being a cool dude. You can follow him on instagram at @j_datdudehouse for some motivation. 

Also, this is an appropriate time to give a special shoutout to Dick. Not only has Dick improved his overall range of motion, his strength, and his ability to run 100 meters at a time, he makes an effort to get to know everyone in this class. He looks them in the eye, remembers their name, and shows them around – all the while putting up with me pulling him back and trying to prevent him from overdoing it every day because he just loves CrossFit that much. And that has inspired me. Oh yeah, Dick is in his 70’s. 

They cheer each other on, they always do way more than expected (even when it keeps them in class past 9:30), they don’t complain, and they look out for one another. A large handful (or two handfulls) of them get to the gym early and talk together, stretch together, and even do secret handshakes together. I’m still waiting for the day when they will finally teach me that handshake.

My intent in writing this isn’t to persuade you to come to CFEC or to this class, but to inspire you. I 100% believe that each class at CFEC is like this in their own way because I’ve seen it over the past 4 years now, and I’ve been to every class, and it’s practically Daniel’s and my second home. But even outside of CFEC, if you’re a part of a CrossFit affiliate or some other group fitness gym, hopefully you can relate to what I’m saying, and hopefully you have similar relationships with the people around you. If not, you’re missing out. I’m not ignorant or naive. I’m sure there are other CrossFit gyms out there, and more specifically, other classes out there that are cooler in their own sweet way, with a way better coach. BUT, I’m thankful to be a part of THIS community. I know that as time goes on, the people in that picture will keep showing up – not only to get fitter, or become some elite CrossFit competitor, or to even just simply stay out of the nursing home. But more importantly, they will keep showing up so they can get better – alongside their friends in this community. If you know that feeling, or are a part of a community like this, you know it’s rare, and sweet, and shouldn’t be taken for granted.