When my husband, Spencer, and I were still just dating, we were training for a triathlon together and often went on long bike rides through the breathtaking back roads of Marin County. We were also big fans of the Tour de France and loved the use of cowbells to cheer on the cyclists, especially through the tough terrain and finish lines.
So, we got a cowbell and carried it around in our car so that at any given time, if we happened to drive by a cyclist or runner on the road, we would cowbell them on. It was always a great surprise to them to hear the bell and realize we were cheering them on, and made Spencer and I feel like we were spreading a little bit of love into the fitness world.
At our wedding, one of our party favors was a cowbell.
You see… We need more cowbell in the world.
The other day, I saw a well-intended Facebook video challenging everyone to see how many burpees they could do in one minute. The video was a woman trying her best in her living room. It was a valiant effort. Out of curiosity (And, an ever so slight hope for humanity), I read the comments. Without fail, the very FIRST one was, “And no burpees were done that day. Maybe she should learn how to do it correctly!”
I kept scrolling… Hoping to find at least ONE positive comment.
“Her form is sh**. Why would you guys post such a crappy video?!”
“NOT how you do burpees. Those suck. Zero score for her!”
“WTF?! That’s what you call a burpee? I could do 100 of those in a minute!”
“She looks like a dying dolphin.”
“I bet she learned how to those at CrossFit.”
And… It went on… And on… Although a tiny few did try to stick up for her and say something nice, they were quickly muted by the trolls and haters.
From a coach’s standpoint, her burpees were safe, meaning, she moved mostly well under intensity and did not do anything dangerous or unsafe in the video that I would have stopped her for. Her burpees and her efforts were legit for fitness!
Now, if she were in the CrossFit Open and I were her judge, then I would have to correct her to meet the Open standards. She didn’t clap at the top, and her hips did not fully extend at the top (Almost, though). These are Open standards, though. She wasn’t in the Open. She was in a random video promoting general fitness, and trying to engage the world in a fun 1-minute challenge.
A common tendency I see in fitness is when someone finds something that works for them, and they work really hard at it and take pride in it, they tend to project that on to others and go off on a self-righteous rampage telling others “how it should be done.”
I hate to say it, but many CrossFitters have this disease. We see a video on social media, and we want to “correct” them and “no rep” them. I hate to say it even more… I was once one of those guys early on in my CrossFit journey.
Okay, friends, so here’s the thing - WE NEED MORE COWBELL
And a heck of a lot less judgement, “correcting,” ridicule, and shaming. Your “standards” for a burpees are not the only way. The CrossFit Open & Games standards are NOT “right,” nor are they the Bible. Just like any other sport, there have to be specific standards to make expectations and achievements equal and fair. In general fitness, though, we just need to move well, move safe, and do our best efforts.
We need more cheering. More support. More high fives. More benefit of the doubt. More love.
Imagine how much easier it would be for all of us to achieve our health & fitness goals if the world was cheering us on, versus judging us!
Go get a cowbell. Leave it in your car. Surprise a stranger. Spread the love!
More cowbell! :-)