All these goodbyes lately. First, we had everyone’s favorite squishy, crunchy, hipster-fit coach, Dylan. The man with a heart the size of his beard and a personality to go with it. And an elderly pomeranian with no teeth and fading senses. What’s not to love? Then we bid adieu to our happy-go-lucky PT who I’m pretty sure doesn’t actually own a shirt but just every now and then dons an article an old roommate forgot to pick up. That’s Timmy R., of course. And that’s a nickname I don’t think anyone has ever called him.
And now, me: The cynical, contrarian sourpuss who plays the angry music and admittedly enjoys seeing the face you all make when he adds dozens of burpees to the Saturday partner WOD. The guy who made a spider out of ropes and a kettlebell. That asshole who loves it when you suffer (during a workout, that is; I’m not a monster).
Dylan made you cry. Tim made you think. And, if I could, I’d make you do burpees and stop whining about it—get comfortable being uncomfortable, dammit!
I can’t make you do burpees. Not anymore. But you still should do them. Lots of them. And not complain. You also should push to failure on 1-rep max day. You should rep out on every AMRAP until the clock buzzes. And you should run if you hate running and row if you hate rowing. Why? Because it will show you care. And if you don’t care about what you’re doing, then why are you doing it?
To further push this topic, I direct you to CrossFit HQ podcast episode 18.42, featuring 7x Regional Athlete Tia Wright. (Full episode here and here.) Besides being super positive, über pleasant, and a cyborg of an athlete, she discussed her eventual hiring at CrossFit Industrious, where she coached before (very recently) moving to California. When she first applied to coach, despite her experience and ability, she was turned down. The gym eventually hired her some months later. Why the wait? Because, she explained, before hiring her to represent the gym, the owners wanted to be sure that she was someone who would “give a fuck.”
You should do the same. When you come to Jai, load an appropriate weight on the bar. Move with purpose. Have integrity in your reps—squat below parallel, extend fully overhead, etc. Listen to the coaches—we’re literally paid to make you a better athlete. Respect others—ALL others: new and veteran, friend or foe, member and coach—and the equipment. Give your best effort, whatever it is that day. In short, give a fuck.
And extend that mantra to all facets of your life. I know most of us come to Jai to blow off steam for an hour, sweat a bit (or a bunch), and then go home, not thinking about fitness until the next day. And that is perfectly fine. But take your best Jai attitude with you out into the world. Respect non-Jai others. Give your best effort. Listen to those who have something worthwhile to contribute to your knowledge or life. Have integrity. Give a fuck.
Look, I’m not here to tell you to listen to every podcast or read every article or watch every CF video that’s available. Life is about balance (or so I’m told). What I am suggesting you do, at least when you’re at Jai but best if at all times, is to stay humble. Maintain integrity. And Give a Fuck.
And so… onward.
Thank you to everyone who showed you cared. Whether by showing up and doing the work, giving an hour of your day to sweat and chat, wishing me a Happy B-Day (though I desperately wanted no one to), or donning matching pink tank tops emblazoned with an embarrassing sentence that somehow escaped my mouth. (Team Ryan. Forever.)
The truth is, I did not enjoy every class I coached. I did not love every moment I was at Jai. Because I have never dreamed of coaching others. I did not attend college to teach fitness classes. This was never in my plan. But when my plan failed, and I lost everything else, Jai was there to keep me afloat, financially and mentally and emotionally. So sometimes I’ve had to just grin and bear it, telling myself this would not be forever. Other days, I couldn’t be happier instructing classes and hanging out. And you people made those days. Even when Jai was just a distraction from everything else happening, it was a damn good one. And I’m thankful to have had it.
Unlike Dylan and Tim, I can’t say I’ll be back. Denver holds a lot of unpleasant memories for me that I don’t care to revisit. But if I am here again, you’ll know where to find me… and I’ll be makin’ dat booty phat.
- Ryan ([email protected])