This image is of the January Challenge group

January Challenge: A Big Picture Reflection

Our 6-week challenge: reflections from Coach Andy

“It’s going to be a lot of work…are you ready?”. This is the phrase our master commander Jeff Binek challenged me with at the end of 2017. At this point in the year, we as a coaching staff had done some reflection on our accomplishments for the year and where to creatively take our facility in 2018.  Each coach was to have a specific focus to start off the year and we had been brainstorming and toying with different challenge ideas. Yes…the whispers you have heard are true…The Bulk-Up Challenge 2018 is in the works! (cue the AC/DC, dimmed lights, late night sweaty chalk sessions in all Champion Sweatshirt/Sweatpant attire often referred to as a graoutfit). We quickly landed on a fitness paired with a nutrition challenge which let the participants make a bet with themselves…put a little skin in the game and if you crush it as we would expect — you can win that money back as cash or invest it as a membership. BOOM! Gauntlet thrown!

After laying out the structure over some whiteboard bro sessions —  the following few weeks consisted of us assembling our team of challenge participants. It quickly became clear that those who loved our facility and vibe, engaged in conversation easily and can see the value in what CrossFit, especially here at Friendship, can have on their lives (See Tim Stiffler’s post here) were going to be the right fit for what we were offering. Each had a unique story with emotional roots and from a coach’s perspective — these are the things that we want to see knowing they are the catalyst to create lasting and lifelong changes. Challenge participants were told they’d have accountability weekly through social media and phone calls, weekly weigh-ins and in-person discussions, programmed and scheduled workouts and a nutrition plan to follow. Our stance was if they can’t be successful here then they weren’t ready to be successful. Suddenly, after scanning through hundreds of inquiries, an equal number of phone calls and dozens of in-person meetings — I acquired 11 individuals who were eager to change their lives and were now looking to me for the answer. This both scared the daylight out of me and motivated the hell out of me.

After an initial nutrition presentation, workouts kicked off January 21st. This was the first of 24 potential workouts they could attend over the 6 weeks. El Jefe (Jeff) and I systematically programmed the workouts just like we would for our introductory clients; teaching the deadlift on day 1 (ya’ll remember that?!) and building to more complex gymnastics and olympic lifting movements by the last few workouts. Now, #realtalk, teaching these on a 1-on-1 basis can be difficult. Not everyone responds to coaching the same way or has a sound understanding of their own body awareness. Multiply that by 11 and it’s a whole new ball game. Thankfully, the level of coaching we provide day-to-day in our group atmosphere had groomed me to be prepared for this level of oversight and instruction. Something I say often is everyone is a work in progress …and damn was it exciting to see things start to click, energy build and confidence grow amongst all participants over this month and a half.

An added requirement for the challenge was for the participants to check-in on Facebook every time they stepped foot in the gym. This provided an additional level of accountability to ensure workouts were consistent week-to-week and helped create a groundswell of positivity behind each participant — which many of us know is a huge indicator for success. If we don’t have the support from our spouses, close friends and family… what we’re working towards in life at any level can be extremely difficult. I’ve got to admit, reading through people’s social media posts about their accomplishments, their commitments, their triumphs and their failures is one of my favorite past-times. Seeing the support provided by each person’s social network helps me remember why this community is so special and helped these guys push through the end. Although humility in all things should be a way of life — sometimes a bit of bragging can be good for the soul!

The weeks came and went and we suffered through the suck and the tail-end of winter’s cold together. Pounds melted, confidence grew, and skill levels improved. We were becoming a cohesive unit. Dance parties erupted and the energy between the 6-week challenge crew, coaches, and community was building. It was clear we were accomplishing what we set out to do…if not laying a strong foundation to do so in the weeks to follow. From a coach’s seat my goals were clear; change lives and find awesome people to invite on to stay with us forever. I wanted to be their Coach for Life. I am continually humbled and in awe by each person’s journey and story. Becoming personally and emotionally invested in each one of my athletes, in my mind, is the only way to ensure they are as successful as possible in reaching the goals they set out to accomplish the very first day they step foot through our front doors. In the end, our group of 11 averaged >3 workouts per week, lost ~11 lbs and collectively lost ~30% body fat! A majority of the crew has stayed on with us here and a lot of you have already met these amazing people!

To my athletes, I am so proud  of what you all accomplished. We trusted in the process — we crawled before we walked and now we are off and running. Your relentless pursuit to take your health & wellness head on is admirable and the energy you bring is contagious. Never forget how you felt on day one as there are always those who are and will be in that same boat. Thank you for an amazing coaching experience and keep your 6-week crew bonds tight!

Here is a recap of some of the Ladies thoughts on the challenge! Guys coming soon!

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