You arrive at the gym and the cheerleader shoots you a big smile as if to say, “awesome job,” just for showing up. The warm-up starts before you get your shoes on, but fear not! The cheerleader has grabbed an extra PVC pipe so you can join the class seamlessly.
Now into the strength portion of the class. Today it’s something you struggle with. You enjoy it but just don’t feel you quite have it down yet. Out of the corner of your eye you catch a glimpse of what strongman Joe is lifting and think to yourself, “I’ll never lift that much”. But you do the work anyways. You give what you have today and to your delight you hit a strength PR! Since it was nothing compared to Joe you don’t let your achievement be known right away. The cheerleader asks you how your lift went anyway. You sheepishly let out that you hit a personal record. The cheerleader explodes with excitement for you. Their authentic jubilation for you makes you feel like you just conquered Everest.
Fast forward to the workout, 3 rounds into a 10 round WOD and it hits you: “This shit is hard.” The voices in your head start talking, “Why are you doing this? Let’s just lay down for a minute and catch our breath. Are my legs on fire?! Where’d all the air go??” By this point, you are bent over, hands on your knees, seriously considering voice number two’s suggestion when from across the box you hear your name, “Let’s go ____, you got this!” Who else but the cheerleader, there to give you a boost. You’re right back at it. Just a few simple words from someone sharing the same beautiful hell that is today’s WOD breathes life into your lungs.
Time passes… You forge on…
Starting on round 9, you toss another joker on the floor and think to yourself, “how many damn jokers are in this cup?” Still working through the movements your mind wanders as you start to calculate how slowly you can do these last two rounds and still make it under the time cap… You get snapped back to reality by the jubilant cheers and clapping from the faithful cheerleader. Having just completed their final round themselves they left their bar where it laid and came over to give everything they had into cheering on you and the rest of the class.
You complete your reps just before the final countdown of 3… 2… 1… Time! Exhausted and victorious you’re sprawled out on the ground. As you lay there, enjoying the sweet taste of oxygen, the cheerleader appears to congratulate you (cue fist bump). You gather yourself enough to start cleaning up your barbell. You notice the cheerleader puts their equipment away and then proceeds to help others clean up.
You get to your car and you get this feeling. “What is this,” you think to yourself, “and where did it come from?” Reflecting on what just transpired, you realize what it is – you feel damn good about yourself. The WODs tend to do that, but today there is more. There was the cheerleader. They gave you a hand when you were a little late. They boosted your energy as they cheered on you and the rest of the class in the workout. They celebrated your successes. They showed you kindness and made you feel good about being you.
“Wow,” you think, “What an awesome thing to do.”
The next day, you’re back in class again because, you know, CrossFit. You feel yourself start to drag, this workout is getting spicy. A quick glance around and you see it’s not just you gasping for air and suddenly, “Way to work! We got this!” blurts out of your mouth. Stunned, you realize it was you who is cheering. Your classmates quicken their pace. The barbell feels a little bit lighter. Burpees feel a little less miserable. With those few simple words, you boosted others awesomeness as well as your own. And that’s when it all made sense.