One of the key components of CrossFit and the CrossFit methodology is the class environment. If there is one thing that I see that in any “elite” gym weather it be CrossFit, powerlifting, weightlifting or any sport for that matter, it’s not the equipment they have or cleanliness of the space but the people that work out at the facility and the environment they create.
If you follow CrossFit then you know CrossFit Mayhem. If you power lift you have heard of Westside Barbell. If you know baseball you know the Yankees. What do all these organizations have in common? They have all surrounded themselves with the best people in the world in their sport. The environment that is created in these organizations is that of dominance. I hear many people say well they work really hard so if I work hard I could do what they do. Well it’s a little more than working hard or adding more volume. I know a lot of people that work hard. Many people wake up at 4:30 and go to work. A lot of people stay late in the gym. Yes these things are an important part of it but it can not be all you do. Surrounding yourself with people who push you to your absolute limit are what make or break an “elite” athlete. You have to surround yourself with people who will make you add 5 more pounds to the bar when you don’t feel like you can. You have to have that person make you go that much harder on the last mile of “Murph”. I try to make that the standard in my gym. I don’t want a quiet gym. I want a loud, emotional, and passionate gym. Anyone who knows me knows I have a huge respect for Louie Simmons and Westside Barbell. What I love about the gym is not the constant records they break. It’s not the equipment they have (though I would love to be able to apply them to my own athletes programs) It’s the fact that I have never seen anyone working out on their own. Every one of them have 4-5 athletes pushing them on the bar and correcting technique or pushing them to hit that 5# PR. Never is it quiet. The music is loud, the people are yelling, and records are hit. The best athletes in the world are never alone. They seek out professionals and fellow athletes to make them better. Let’s take a look at Crossfit Mayhem. It never fails but around the months of April through July the best CrossFit athletes make the pilgrimage to Cookeville Tennessee to train with Rich Fronning. Athletes such as Dan Bailey, James Hobart, and most recently Matt Fraser. In the NBA Lets look at the Golden State Warriors. Kevin Durant was willing to take a pay cut to surround himself with the best athletes in order to bring the best out off himself. He could have made a lucrative career and even had a chance to win the NBA finals, yet he chose to be around the best in his conference. Don’t look only for training partners that you can impress. Look for partners who will beat you on workouts and push you to your absolute limit. A facility that creates an environment that makes people push themselves will always create phenomenal athletes.
So who should you surround yourself with? There is more to life than better times or numbers on the whiteboard. For some it is just someone who is going to get them into the gym. For others it’s someone who will add an extra 5 pounds to their bar when they think they can’t lift anymore. For others, it is someone to cheer them on to help get them through a workout. And then there is someone who will just hate the workout with you and gives you someone to vent to but knows that the two of you are making a healthier choice in your life. Outside the gym it could be someone who helps you choose a healthier eating option other than McDonalds, or someone who helps you study for that final rather than going to the bar. Finding others around you who push you to be a better person, parent, or athletes critical for us to create better societies.
This concept can apply to anything not just fitness. In anything you do, surround yourself with the best in your field. Don’t be scared to be beat, strive to be the best no matter what you do. The only way you can possibly see progress is to surround yourself with people that will bring the best out of you!