The Top 3 Myths About Joining a Gym in a Post-COVID World

 

As he stood there gasping for air after finishing a tough workout, a new member describes a realization that occurred to him a few months prior. While working from home he would spend more time on Facebook and Instagram than he traditionally did at the office. Sitting there one afternoon he became acutely aware that feelings of jealousy and resentment would creep up whenever he scrolled past people on his newsfeed talking about their workouts during his social media breaks. These feelings weren’t new, but it was the first time that he had acknowledged them. As he tells the story, it wasn’t that he disliked these people, rather, it was that he wished he was more like them.

At this point in his life, the quarantine had recently ended but he was still sitting and staring at a screen for most of his waking hours: using instacart for groceries, grubhub for meals, and opting for sweatpants instead of khakis. “I felt run down and lethargic, and I knew that I was putting on some weight,” he told me, “I wasn’t proud of who I was becoming.” He needed something to change. This began his search for a gym.


“I felt run down and lethargic, and I knew that I was putting on some weight,” he told me, “I wasn’t proud of who I was becoming.”


His first stop? Google. “Gym near me” he typed in. He was inundated with advertisements and websites – more information that he could possibly know what to do with. He had to start somewhere, and so he filled out contact forms from some of the gyms that looked like places he could see himself. One of those was CrossFit Southpaw.

During our initial talk on the phone and subsequent free consultation at the gym, he described the journey that got him to this point and where he was hoping to go. He also told me about some of the reasons he had put this process off for so long. The fears that he shared are common among people who are hoping to join a gym and so today I am writing to help dispel some of the common myths people use when they are in the process of joining a gym:

  • MYTH#1: “I need to get in shape before I join a gym” I get it – all over social media and the interwebs, people are taking pictures of themselves with six-packs, defined biceps, and wide smiles. The message seems to be “I need to look like that before I can join a gym.” Unfortunately, the messaging is backward. You join a gym to BECOME leaner, healthier, and more confident. Not the other way around. As coaches, we expect people to walk into the gym with little to no previous experience. In fact, every other member started at exactly the point you are at now. It doesn’t matter where you are, it matters where you want to go. This is easy to say but hard to do. We are human and frequently our ego is louder than our logic. This is why reaching out to make contact with a gym is one of the most courageous steps you can take.
  • MYTH #2: “If I don’t know what I am doing, I should join a gym where I can blend into the crowd” None of us want to look incompetent. However, that is EXACTLY why you need to find a gym with coaches who can help teach you how to exercise correctly. Think about it this way: before you had your driver’s license, did you just get thrown the keys one day and told to “go figure it out” or did someone take you out and teach you how to drive? When you were trying to learn math, did you hide in the corner with an abacus or did a teacher help break it down in a way that helped you understand? Contrary to what our egos tell us, if we don’t know how to exercise, we need to find a gym where we can be taught. Don’t waste years trying to teach yourself something you don’t know. Find a gym that will help you become the strongest and most confident version of yourself now so that you don’t have to repeat this process again later.

Find a gym that will help you become the strongest and most confident version of yourself now so that you don’t have to repeat this process again later.


  • MYTH #3: “I need to find the gym with the most features and cheapest price” This myth is great for people who want their gym membership card to function as a decoration on their dresser or an accessory on their keychain. Don’t select a gym for the features IT has, select a gym based on the results YOU will receive. By “features,” I mean saunas, tanning beds, machines, lifting platforms, locker rooms, etc. Features aren’t inherently bad but they are a distraction from what really matters: the results that you will receive from the gym. By “results” I mean getting stronger, losing weight, fighting depression/anxiety, and feeling confident. I would encourage you to trust your intuition when you are visiting a gym: Do they try to pressure you into membership? Can you see yourself enjoying it there? Does it feel welcoming? And most of all, is the process about THEM or about YOU (“this is what we have” vs. “this is what we can do for you”). Someone greeting you by name or giving you a high-five after a workout will end up meaning a hell of a lot more than that sauna you will never use.

Someone greeting you by name or giving you a high-five after a workout will end up meaning a hell of a lot more than that sauna you will never use.


 

At the end of the day, ANY form of physical activity is better than none. Too frequently, however, we see people invest in home gyms that become coat racks, sign up for discount gym memberships that only serve to take up space in their wallet, or put off the entire process altogether – letting their health and happiness continue to decline – because they don’t know where to begin their search for a gym. Whether it is at Southpaw, or somewhere else, we want to help you become “Yourself 2.0” – the strongest, healthiest, and happiest person you are capable of being. As our new member so eloquently stated: “Now that I am taking care of myself, I feel a new sense of ‘potential.’ I feel confident and strong for the first time in a long time and I can’t wait to see where life goes next.”


Whether it is at Southpaw, or somewhere else, we want to help you become “Yourself 2.0″ – the strongest, healthiest, and happiest person you are capable of being. As our new member so eloquently stated:”Now that I am taking care of myself, I feel a new sense of ‘potential.’ I feel confident and strong for the first time in a long time and I can’t wait to see where life goes next.”


 

 

Are you interested in learning more about CrossFit Southpaw? Click Here to leave your information and one of our coaches will reach out to you with more information!

 

Physical Fitness in an Automated World

Do you remember the kid who proudly pulled on their jersey? Who laced up their shoes before the big game? Who couldn’t fall asleep because they were envisioning the upcoming competition? Who lived and breathed sport because it was the purest way to express their identity?

Fast forward fifteen years and we find ourselves in a different stage of life: cinching up a tie before opening up a spreadsheet, glancing at the clock praying for 5:00pm to come sooner, meeting up with friends to reminisce about the glory days.

Fitness gym mounds view crossfit

Someone still lives deep inside of us who hungers for competition. Who wants to be pushed outside of their comfort zone. Who misses the purity of physical exertion that cannot be replicated by the white-washed rows of machines in L.A. Fitness.

Feeding these natural impulses of competition and physicality allows us to build confidence and feel a sense of completeness. Humans are physical, mental, and spiritual beings and we cannot feel complete unless we have an outlet for all three. Too often, we find ourselves out of balance: we attribute behavioral or emotional outburst to an imbalance in this triangular relationship between body, mind, and spirit.

At work, we find ourselves challenged intellectually. From the mundane tasks to the more theoretical undertakings, we often seek income from a job that challenges our intellect.

At home, we find ourselves challenge spiritually. This could be a religious tradition that we choose to practice or it could be the more existential questions we find discussing with our significant others. I often find myself sitting there, pondering the more subjective questions in life, while my son falls asleep at night.

However, it seems that society increasingly demands less and less from us as physical beings. Jobs are being automated, we can hit the drive-thru for lunch, groceries can be delivered, and sidewalks are destroyed to make way for larger roads. Obesity rates, diabetes, and most other chronic/acute illnesses are on the rise. Our ability to treat symptoms with a pill has never been higher, yet the prevalence of declining physical capacity has never been higher.

CrossFit has interjected new life into this system. Rather than making exercise easier: adding complicated and expensive machines that make a movement “dummy-proof”, installing TV’s around so you can catch up on the news while you job, and keeping a coke machine sitting in the hallway – CrossFit has started a revolution by returning human physicality to its roots. We are born to jump, throw, lift, hang, swing, and celebrate the incredible physicality our bodies are capable of.

What we have found, anecdotally, is that people who allow themselves to engage in this unbridled expression of human movement show markedly higher performance in other areas of their life. They get promoted at work, they inspire their families, they feel happier, and they find more peace with the existential questions that plague so many of us.

 

None of the three: mind, body, or spirit can exist perfectly in a vacuum. At Southpaw we encourage you to work hard, to spend time with your family, and to engage with your local community. And we also encourage you to find an outlet where you can express your physicality – to satiate that inner voice inside of you who hungers for the purity of physical exertion.

Creation Story

This is the essay that was submitted to CrossFit HQ in March of 2019 with my application to affiliate along with my request for the name “Southpaw”

Affiliation Essay – Nicholas Bock

 

Affiliate Name for application: CrossFit Southpaw

 

Just three short years later, it was time to pack my life into a series of square boxes and begin another chapter as my family relocated. This seemed to be the theme of my childhood and early adolescence. Different states, different countries, and different people were about the only constants in my life. Two things, however, broke that mold: family and exercise. My earliest memories involve flopping around on the floor next to my dad as my frail young frame tried to keep up with him on a set of pushups or riding my bike next to him while he ran. As I got older, every geographical move brought with it new trails to run, parks where I could perform calisthenics, and gyms to experience.

 

For a teenager with a stutter and no friend base, fitting in and trying to develop relationships was a constant challenge. Exercise allowed me to express myself physically since my stutter impeded my verbal expression and exercise was the one thing that I could always count on regardless of my living situation. The lessons the dirt roads and iron weights taught me were invaluable: the importance of discipline, the beauty of simplicity, and the value of hard work. In high school, I took to track and cross country, and in college, I boxed for the Fighting Irish as a lefty – a “Southpaw”.

 

I felt an element of my life go dark after I graduated from college and took a job in politics. I soon realized what was missing: my social network had been tied to sports. Working out at the local L.A. Fitness was not a sufficient substitute for the community I had been surrounded by on my collegiate boxing team. I joined my first CrossFit box in Indianapolis and fell in love with the methodology and efficacy of the workouts and the strength and camaraderie of the community. CrossFit quickly started consuming my life: giving purpose to the mundane, providing a social network, and teaching me to overcome adversity.

 

After moving up to Minnesota in 2014 and floating around between some sales, management, and consulting jobs, I became a part-time CrossFit coach at a local box, where I quickly learned that coaching felt more like a vocation than a job.

 

I have heard “vocation” defined as the point that your interests and talent intersect with the needs of the world. Exercise has taught me about life. I learned about mental toughness, humility, discipline, perspective, and balance (to name a few) and I found that my coaching style quickly morphed into one with a more holistic view of the human: developing the body and the mind. As a CrossFit coach, I was simultaneously able to act as a personal trainer, a leader, and a social worker. I was able to use the knowledge I have gained in aspects of leadership and fitness to convey the importance of mindset, relationships, and physicality to the athletes in my classes.

 

Within the next year, I was coaching full time and eventually transitioned into the position of gym manager. Managing a gym taught me many valuable lessons about owning and operating a CrossFit gym. Two lessons, in particular, stood out to me from my experience: 1) I know little about the nature of entrepreneurship and 2) business and financial acumen are not enough to open and run a successful gym. Longevity in the industry is contingent upon a foundational desire to serve.

 

While I am not a business guru, I have the requisite belief in myself, the foundational knowledge, and the necessary capital to open the doors of my own CrossFit affiliate – intent on building a successful business that will help people develop their minds, bodies, and spirits. More than anything, I am keenly aware of what I do know and what I am good at, and what I do not know and where I need to seek assistance. I plan to build a gym that focuses on creating an interdependent community that develops individuals who are dedicated to maximizing their potential as humans.

 

The front room the day we signed the lease

Inside the gym a few months later!

Our grand opening!

 

An Open Letter From Nick

To be honest, a large part of me has wanted to stay silent. Social media is on fire with reactionary comments to inflammatory remarks. As one person described it, social media has become a “dumpster fire” – uncontrolled chaos. As another said, it’s become a “popularity contest” – everyone feeling the need to throw their log onto the fire: the social pressure to do so seemingly insurmountable. I, too, have felt that pull. I feel that if I don’t define myself or Southpaw online, that I will be labeled because of the things I am associated with.
 
But isn’t that exactly what has been causing all of this divisive rhetoric in the first place? Judgment based on surface-level observations rather than taking the time to get to know the human underneath?
 
As a small business owner, I have been watching the tragic events in Minnesota unfold over the past weeks. I watched in horror as the CEO of CrossFit made inflammatory remarks that increased the divisiveness and racial tensions that have been fanned to levels we have never seen before. The lack of thoughtful or productive leadership will cause us, as a company, to evaluate our affiliation. But to focus on his rhetoric, right now, is to give him attention that he doesn’t deserve and to take away from the more important conversation that needs to happen.
 
The conversation is this: we have a cultural problem that needs to be solved on an individual level. The systemic issues that plague our institutions will only be truly reconciled when each of us, as individuals, learn to acknowledge the humanity in others. Are there policies, procedures, or other structural changes that can help? Absolutely. But the beginning and the end must be in the hearts and minds of each of us.
 
To me, THIS is why I fell in love with CrossFit, and what CrossFit epitomizes to me. Let me explain:
_____________________
 
One of the primary reasons I love group fitness is that it brings people together. There is something about suffering through a physical challenge that unites those who participate. Why does this happen?
 
Throughout my years of coaching, I have come to this conclusion: in the midst of suffering, we recognize the common thread of humanity that we share with each other. When I see someone clench their jaw – their face creased with pain – as they fight to get one more rep, it allows me to see myself in them. They are human. They struggle, too. They search for love, acceptance, and meaning in their life. They have moments of joy, they experience failure and doubt, and they continue to press onwards.
 
This is something that is almost impossible to convey through hashtags, a filtered picture, or a message in 160 characters or less. There is something primal about person-to-person interaction: something that cannot be replicated on social media no matter how hard we try. While it IS important to establish a brand identity online, it is much more important to build a culture – and a community – that embodies the values we claim to hold.
 
__________________
 
The suffering and tragedy our society is experiencing right now is heartbreaking. It is important to acknowledge that we, as humans, ARE different: different colors, different jobs, different socioeconomic statuses, different builds, different genders, different religions, and different preferences.
 
Our differences can make our world beautiful: they can allow us to learn from each other, to engage in meaningful dialogue, to collaborate, and to create things we never could have imagined from our individual worldview.
 
But our differences can also make our world ugly: they can be used to spew hate, to justify derogatory behavior, to bully, and to incite destruction.
 
Now, more than ever, it is important for us to seek out the humanity in others. To try to understand where the pain is coming from. Our collective suffering is showing us that people on both sides are hurting. They are crying out for help – they are living in fear.
 
There is no path to reconciliation that does not involve empathy. To persuade, we first need to understand.
At CrossFit Southpaw, we want to learn about you. We want to get to know your story – what makes you unique? What makes us similar? How can we help each other grow? How can we make the world a better place? As a company, as a community, and as a gym – we must begin here.
 
And we must draw these lessons, that have not been easily won, into society as a whole. We need to acknowledge our differences and we need to use these differences to collaborate and heal. Though we are facing a collective problem we need to begin and end on an individual level: seeking first to understand.

Athlete of the MonthApril

Rim Felegy

Career: Teacher

Mother, Wife, Teacher, Athlete

Rim is a staple of the “Teacher Crew” who can often be found at our 5am class during the school year and either 6am or 11:30am during the Summer. She is a mother, a teacher, a wife, and an athlete. Rim is quieter than some, but what she lacks in volume she makes up for in work ethic.

When we think “work ethic” we almost always assume heavy weights, a blistering pace, and sprinting towards the finish. While Rim has certainly demonstrated she is capable of all of these things, one of the most impressive demonstrations of her work ethic came in the form of restraint.

Having been plagued with lower back issues, she took time off of heavy weights and fast paces. She worked on her mechanics and made tremendous progress. Her discipline and patience have allowed her back to begin the healing process and there is no telling what the future has in store for her!

Saturday 4.4.20

NOTE: Starting tomorrow (Sunday), we are transitioning all of our workouts and workout recordings to WODIFY (either the app or the wodify website). Aka, we will not be using this website anymore.  I believe most people use wodify already and I hope that this does not add confusion. This is being done for a couple reasons: it will streamline our process and get everyone on the same page, and it will save quite a bit of time every day that is currently spent posting the same workout information in two places. This will allow us to serve you better! If you need help figuring this out please feel free to contact us!

Coach Led Recording

Class View Recording

Yesterday was fast and intense.

Today we have a more sustained effort and a great time to focus on your shoulders and core.

For those of you who have a jump rope – this is the day to bring it out! If not, don’t worry… We have a great modification we will show you in a second.

We are starting out with Turkish Get Ups. we will review the movement and then do an alternating EMOM for 10 minutes:

Even Minutes: 2 TGU (alternating arms)

Odd Minutes: 5 Single Leg Deadlifts per side

We then get into a great 12 minute AMRAP of:

40 Double Unders

20 Russian KB Swings (10 each arm)

20 Alt. V-Ups

We will be able to modify all of these movements to whatever size dumbbell you have available! We hope to see you at class at 9:00am otherwise post your score in the Southpaw Squad!

Friday 4.3.20

ANNOUNCEMENT: We are going to be transitioning AWAY from this webiste and onto Wodify exclusively. Don’t worry! The recordings will still be posted! However, we are current adding information onto 3 different platforms which is redundant and takes time away from where our time could be better spent: checking in with you! I am posting todays recordings here, but I encourage you to go to Wodify (log on to wodify here or through the app) as well to see the recordings there! They will be there when you first log on! 

Recording from Coach View

Recording from Class View

 

As the week comes to a close, we hit a class CrossFit couplet. Based loosely off of a CrossFit Open workout from a few years ago, we have a “For Time” workout involving Thrusters and Burpees.

Look for this workout to move fast. Keep the pedal down and push through the sets – even when you feel like you can’t go any harder. 21 Thrusters (on each arm) followed by 21 burpees over the dumbbell, then 15 of each, and 9 of each.

It’s tough to find a more challenging combination that these two movements. Long range of motion, compound body movements, executed at a high pace. Simple, classic, and effective!

Class will probably be a little shorter today and we want to hear from you afterwards!

Thursday 4.2.20

Recording of COACH View

Recording of CLASS View

We have a great workout for you today! This workout will get your hamstrings fired up and is a great combination of strength + capacity.

We are starting out with some weighted hip extensions. There are a number of variations so watch our coaching video if you want to see the particular one we are using! We can add/subtract weight, “squeeze” at the top, or do a single-leg variation to increase or decrease the level of difficulty.

The workout is a 12 minute AMRAP of 10 Sumo Deadlift High Pulls and 10 Dips. The SDHP is going to be more challenging with a DB, but we will show you how you can do it! For the dips, try to find two chairs, or use some type of surface (bench, ottoman, coffee table, etc). If none of those are available just do pushups!

Have fun with this one, guys! Score is Rounds + Reps!

Wednesday 4.1.20

Link to Coach Led Workout

Link to View of Other Athletes

“Tabata” training is a type of HIIT (high-intensity interval training). It originated from the research of Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata. The objective was to find out if short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by shorter rests might condition the body better than a continuous moderate-intensity exercise.

To determine this, they worked with two test groups—one doing moderately intense exercise and the other high-intense. Moderate-intensity exercising consisted of a one-hour workout, five days a week, for six weeks. The high-intensity exercising consisted of a four-minute workout, four days a week, for six weeks; each workout consisted of eight sets of 20 seconds of exercise at maximum effort each followed by a 10-second rest. To do the math: (8 x 20) + (8 x 10) = 240 seconds (4 minutes).

The results of the study showed that the moderate-intensity workouts improved the aerobic (or cardiovascular) fitness of test subjects but did little anaerobically (that is, in muscle strengthening). The high-intensity workouts, on the other hand, benefited the test subjects more significantly both aerobically and anaerobically, which, evidently, was due to the unbalanced exercise-to-rest ratio. The reasoning behind this is that a shorter period of rest in between longer periods of intense exercise during a workout does not allow the body to fully recover. By the second half of the workout, the body is forced to work at maximum capacity physiologically, causing the heart to pump faster and the rate of metabolism to increase. In the end, the high-intensity routine builds endurance and muscle, and burns lots of calories—and it only takes four minutes of pushing yourself to the absolute limit four or five days a week.

Now, onto today’s workout! Tabata workouts have developed a reputation for being unusually grueling. The way this workout is programmed, holding an active position during the “rest” period will force you to work harder HOWEVER, it will also be an incredible way to work on stabilizing different muscle groups.

Here is how this workout is going to work: we will do 8 rounds of each movement (4:00 total per movement). 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest= one round. The “rest” station will be dictated by the typed parenthesis next to each picture. For example, with bottom-to-bottom squats, you will rest in the bottom position of the squat. When you start, rep one will be “first up then down” rather than a traditional squat where we go down first and then go back up.

Modifications (see below)

MODIFICATIONS: The first way I would modify this workout is by having the “rest” be a rest. Rather than bottom to bottom squats, I would have you do regular air squats. From there, some of the movements are scalable and others might be tough. The ones we can modify are listed below:

Squats -> Lunges

Pushups -> Knee Pushups or Countertop Pushups

Bent over row -> two handed row

Mtn Climbers -> knee tucks/high knees

Questions? Comments? Feel free to ask us on the live call (7am tomorrow!) or send us a message directly!

Tuesday 3.31.20

 

Recording of COACHES leading class

Recording of ALL ATHLETES performing the warmup/workout

We have a long interval workout today! After yesterday – one minute on, one minute off – this workout should feel more fluid. 5 Rounds: 4:00 on, 1:00 off.

We are introducing a new movement – the skater jump. This is a great way to incorporate some single leg explosive work without any added weight! To modify, I would go with either air squats, goblet squats, or lunges.

Next we have Single Arm DB Floor Press. Just in time for beach season. The floor press is a great exercise. I perform it (at least) weekly at my house. You will do 8 reps on each side before moving on to…

Single Arm DB Deadlift. 12 on each side. You can do these either “sumo” or “suitcase” style. Neither is right or wrong. If you have had lower back issues in the past I would go with the sumo style!

Through this workout, try to find a solid pace to settle into- time your rounds or go by feel. If you can, pick up the tempo as you go! *Pro Tip: think about how you are going to get in/out of your floor press. That is precious time you don’t want to waste!