Confessions of a CrossFit Coach

I am about to share my own confessions as a CrossFit coach with the intention to connect and relate to y’all, and hopefully make any of you realize that we are just as human as the next. While I can coach an athlete to an elite level, I can’t coach myself. I need the push just as much as any athlete. And, while I can train and educate anyone into positive lifestyle changes, I slip up and fall into slumps and runts, too.

I just got back from a week-long spring break family vacay in Hilton Head, and while I did run five days in a row, and completed a few sets of push ups, air squats, and sit ups, I also drank some Pina Coladas, margaritas, and beer. I ate too much seafood, devoured all the chips and salsa, and enjoyed some ice cream and other treats along the way. I sat on the beach for hours. Dude, I enjoyed my vacation!

The big takeaway is that I didn’t go overboard.

I didn’t binge and overdo it. I did just enough that my tummy bulged just a bit, my heart was happy, memories were made, and I wasn’t sick to my stomach, no headaches, and no hangovers, and most definitely no ragrets! ;-)

At least two or three times a year, I totally cherry-pick a WOD. No shame. I own it.

Ladies, I still catch myself from time to time comparing myself to y’all. Sometimes, I question my value as a coach on the basis of the size of my Lululemon pants. I still get insecure about certain movements, certain benchmarks, certain lifts, and even certain parts of my body. And yes, I have even wondered if you, or you, or even you actually like me.

At the same time, I have learned that the more I work on being a skillful coach and a consistent athlete, the better I can do my job and function in life, regardless of anyone’s opinions of me. And, the more I work on myself, the more it seems to attract the right clients who want to work on themselves, too!

While I love burpees, I do actually hate wall balls, rowing, snatch, and thrusters. And, I hate them because they are really hard for me to do, and it takes A LOT of strength both physically AND mentally for me to do them. Over the years, I have learned to tolerate them, but alas, a love affair is most likely out of the question for us, and that is okay.

Even though there are things I actually hate in CrossFit (and yes, I do genuinely hate them, so I totally get it when y’all vent about a movement), I have learned to still do them despite my own issues. You don’t HAVE to like a movement to be able to do it well and get better at it. I realize the fitness benefits of the wall ball and rowing, so I just suck it up when the time is needed.

My weight and body have fluctuated many, many times throughout my life. I’ve weighed over 200 lbs before, and I’ve been 115 lbs. I’ve been 9% body fat, and 29%. I’ve been a size 14 pant and a size 2.

I’ve done the 100% Paleo diet challenge. Many times. I’ve done cleanses before. I’ve tried the apple cider vinegar diet (yikes). I’ve taken diet pills. I’ve tried Keto, Atkins, South Beach, and even Slim Fast.

I’ve tried kickboxing, Zuumba, cycling, personal training, Olympic lifting, water aerobics, Pilates, Barre, triathlons, long-distance running, and of course, CrossFit.

I’ve trained 6 days a week, 3-4 hours a day. I’ve also quit and been sedentary for over two years.

I’ve been self-motivated and on top of the world. I’ve also been depressed and hit rock bottom.

I’ve been a winner. I’ve also been a loser.

You see… I am a coach of many experiences, and while education is just as important, I’ve realized through all of my experiences in health and fitness that there is no ONE right way. There are, however, a lot of wrong ways, and I’ve done many of them.

My friends, you are not broken and alone.

You are not supposed to fit into a certain size, weigh a specific weight, fit into specific clothes. You are not required to eat a certain diet, buy a specific protein shake, or wear a cool brand name. You don’t have to achieve a specific “Fran” time, Deadlift a certain weight, or run a set mile time in order to be fit. You are not supposed to post only highlighted reels of your meal prep days and workouts on Instagram, and then shamefully hide behind closed doors when you have a bowl of ice cream or skip a workout. You don’t need chiseled abs to be worth something. Your “Fight Gone Bad” score does not define you.

You can totally sit with us.

You were never meant to be anything other than YOU.

Once I realized that my own health and fitness was MY decision, and NOT the multi-billion dollar industry, my entire existence became whole and meaningful. I was finally in control of myself.

And, to my own surprise, I then became the MOST healthy and fit I have ever been in my life!

And, yes, I still make mistakes and still need coaching and support from time to time, just like any other normal human being. A common misconception about coaches is that just because we are great at what we do, then we must be great at doing it ourselves. Coaching and doing are two different things. This is why an exceptional athlete does not actually always make a great coach.

The more human I can be with y’all, though, the better I can coach, train, and live life.

We are not meant to be perfect. We are meant to improve.

Kara PurvesComment