Here is the last installment of CF Los Gatos’ trainer Greg L’s globogym adventure. His first two posts can be found here and here. He raises some interesting points about information dissemination and the magic of actual, rather than virtual, instruction. Enjoy.
Chronicles of a Traveling Lifter—The Final Saga
If you’ve endured my ramblings from the last few posts in this series, you might be thinking, “Hey, at least those people in a commercial gym are doing something about their fitness, even if they don’t know what functional movement means.” To that I would say, exactly. My intention in these posts has not been to knock commercial gyms or their members. This is really a matter of practice and culture, and our ability to discern the good from the, well, bad.
CrossFit prides itself as being an open-source community. The CrossFit method has evolved by virtue of community participation and feedback. All of the information—workouts, movement instruction, resources, etc.—is made available for free through the main site. It is safe to say that there is easy access to good information. That is, if you know where to look. Even if information is accessible, good coaching is rare.
Lesson #7: Access to good instruction is limited.
In my final day at the commercial gym, a kid walked up to me while I was warming up for a power clean progression and asked, “Hey, how long you been CrossFittin’?” Amazing! What could’ve tipped him off? My impeccable clean technique? No, certainly not. It was probably my CFLG T-shirt. Anyhow, he explained that he had tried CrossFit and could never think of fitness the same again. When I asked him if he looked into joining a local box, he said he couldn’t afford it. His membership was free through a family plan. Fair enough, I thought.
I took him through a basic clean progression with some light weight as multiple people looked on. I could just imagine the onlookers thinking, “What the heck are they doing?” My new friend’s plight got me thinking. This kid could watch all the videos he wants on how to clean, but his progress is limited without someone like Billy giving him excellent hands-on instruction. The other trainers in the gym, I would assume, would make you pay a lot of money to have them show you how to use the fancy machines, but wouldn’t know a clean from their mop (OK, lame joke).
I’ve learned that we here at LG, instructors and members alike, are fortunate to have access to quality information and instruction. The question is, “What do we do with that information?” Sometimes we can be pretty haughty in our knowledge, pitying those “on the darkside” of exercise. Some of us never say a word about it to our friends or family. Yet, what if we treated CFLG not just as a workout box, but as a classroom? What if we sought to educate ourselves to not only perform, but also understand the proper mechanics of a squat or deadlift so we could share it with others, like my friend at the commercial gym?
We all love to lift heavy and go hard. That’s why we’re at LG. It’s what we do. And we do it well. Yet, there’s more to it than just that. So here’s my challenge to the LG community: pick a simple movement (like the squat, for example). Understand how to teach it and its application to real life. Then, teach it to somebody—a family member, a spouse, a stranger. Use a mop or broomstick if you need to. Become a teacher. My adventures have challenged me to get better at helping people improve their health. What about you?
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