Several years ago I read a fascinating book called Never Eat Alone by the world-class networker Keith Ferrazzi. It was a fun and educational book. It explained exactly how you can develop more, and better, relationships in your life. I should probably read it again and start following its advice! Anyways, I brought that up because I pretty much blatantly stole Keith’s book title and gave it a little twist to come up with my post title. Thanks, Keith!
This morning I was driving back from my last private CrossFit session with CrossFit Cameron Park, and the inspiration to write on this topic of working out hit me, in a figurative fashion.
Crossfit has become a big movement in the gym world over the last several years. It has seen explosive growth in the number of people grabbing memberships and joining gyms. In 2005 there were 18 CrossFit gyms, and just last year that number had reached something near 1,700! What exactly is it that people find so fascinating about a workout style where you push yourself so hard you feel like puking? Some people even pass that point and actually lose their lunch. Seriously. I’ve been in a CrossFit gym where they had a designated 5-gallon “barf bucket.” And people keep returning with a smile!
I honestly believe that people are so in love with CrossFit because it embodies a spirit of community. Even on days when I would be crushed physically by the workout, I was always more positive and happy when I left. I attribute that to the stellar level of teamwork, openness, and positivity that was shared with fellow CrossFitters.
Sometimes I see a lonely runner, or a single bicyclist. My heart goes out to them. Maybe they are getting in really, really good-looking shape, but they are skipping out on an experience of bonding that can be absolutely amazing and also very humbling.
So now that I’m back to my home gym and can’t make it in to the CrossFit “box” every week, what am I gonna do to keep from being a lonely figure out on the road and under the barbell? Thankfully, with five brothers and several friends who like to stay active, I’m looking to be in pretty good shape. Again, figuratively, but hopefully also literally!
Working out with another person can teach you so much more about yourself. When the workout gets hard, and the going gets steep, you start to fray a little around the emotional edges. You let your emotional defenses down a little once the physical hurting starts. But in the end, those are the times when you learn the most about one another and have a chance to bond. So you get to know each other a little better AND you’ve accomplished something together. You’ll be amazed how much more fun and play is present, even in the hard moments, when you work out with a friend.
Next time you work out find a friend to join you. It might even keep you safe. A couple weeks ago I was working out with my brother. Encouraging him as he started into a squat with the barbell. Something went wrong. He couldn’t recover and started to collapse underneath the bar. I rushed up and lifted it off as quickly as I could. Boy, was he thankful I was there!
Stay safe and have more fun next time you work out. Find somebody to tag along. Or even turn it into a group thing. Accountability for everyone and a fostering of community. Never work out alone!