one step at a time.

Spreading myself too thin can be disastrous.  More often than not, I do feel like I am superwoman - daily consumption of coffee (no sugar no cream) & avocados help - but I have learned over and over again, that I cannot do it all. This has been magnified ever since I took ownership in leading and managing a women’s health facility, that has had its share of change over the past few years.

Within my first month of the new position, I encountered what I thought was every worst-case scenario that can happen.  Reminder: I had only been with the company two full-months prior and was still on a massive learning curve of understanding each aspect of the business.

On top of what a general manager is supposed to do on a daily basis, I was traveling – almost every other weekend – because it’s wedding season. Which come to find out is year long. #blessed :) This prevented me from being fully immersed in my job initially, and I often felt guilty for not being there for my staff, because I know they needed and wanted guidance.

Things fell apart because there wasn’t a leader.  I was reacting vs. leading and trying to play catch up at the same time.

Not to say things have slowed down in the least bit, but I have a better grip on this role.  Over the course of three months, I’ve managed to say ‘no’ to a lot more things to allow myself time for things that actually matter: managing and rebuilding my staff.

This stage that I’m in now reminds me of my very first year as a sales coordinator of the HEAT. I’m 90% sure no one knew entirely what the department would look like.  However, we knew where we wanted to be, we had a plan to get there, we had the pieces to make it happen – and a dedicated leader to tie everything together. We created better habits through constant communication of ideas & best practices, we held team-building events to know each other better, and practiced the hard stuff.  The kind of stuff you hate doing, but know you have to do it (re: make X amount of calls a day, role playing, calling that client that you know owes you money but can never get a hold of, cleaning out your inbox).

It’s through my experience of going through the hard times that has helped me handle these worst-case scenarios a lot better than I would have a few years ago. I’ve created enough good habits to outweigh the bad ones, to keep me motivated and driven to make sh*t happen.

Yes, the process can feel overwhelming.  Yes, it does sometimes suck. But I know for a fact that if I dwell in all of the aspects that make me feel overwhelmed, I will never accomplish anything, nor will my team.

If there’s anything that I’ve learned so far in this role, it’s patience.  [Hard] work involves both a commitment of faith and time.

judgment day.

For 10 minutes I was in my element, on the other side of training.  I coached an athlete who recently started CrossFit, as in today was her 5th workout. CrossFit Owings Mills introduced a “new” type of programming wherein every member will be doing some sort of benchmark workout, titled Judgment Day.  It sounds scary and almost Terminator like, but it’s actually quite opposite. For the next four weeks of programming, the movements from the benchmark workout will be a focal point of the next month.  At the end of the four weeks, everyone does the same benchmark workout again, to see if he/she improved.

“Having someone judge your workout adds an element of accountability and pressure that is not always found in the daily WOD.” - Coach Nick

To get a true feel of what it’s like to be in competition mode, this box introduces a format in which members can be the coach/judge and competitor.  In a pretty packed class of about 20-30 athletes, we were broken down into pairs and the head coach explained how to be a judge (e.g. what to look for in each movement, what a “no-rep” is).  In addition to counting reps and looking for good form, the judge is also there to encourage the athlete through the workout.

I didn’t realize how much I missed this aspect of coaching – cheering on an athlete to fight through each rep.  I took into consideration that my partner was new to this (she mentioned she’d never been in a competition like this before) so I made sure I wasn’t being too hard on her.  Since this benchmark had a time limit, in the moments where she was resting I gave her succinct cues on how to strategize the next movement, by breaking down the rep scheme.  As a newbie, and I’ve been through this as well, you don’t necessarily know how to strategize the WOD.  Typically you just fight through each rep ‘til exhaustion, and that’s not necessarily the best way to go about a workout – as in you’ll get burned out early on.

Completing all 270 reps (ranging from single-unders to thrusters to pull-ups) in 9 minutes and 42 seconds, she finished her first competition-like workout under the 10-minute cap.  Although exhausted, and lying on the floor in true CrossFit fashion, she was completely stunned and elated that she got through it all.

Kudos to her for pushing through, and I’m proud to say I had a minor role in her accomplishment.


know when to say no.

An interesting article was posted on on what it means to be a CrossFit coach is being circulated around the interwebs.  I wrote something similar, from my past experience, and this post resonated with me tremendously. This comes about a week or so after this picture* posted by CrossFit Brick New York circulated through Instagram, Facebook and CrossFit blogs causing somewhat of an outrage.

doin' it wrong.

*this image has since been removed from Brick New York’s Instagram feed.

When I first saw this picture, my first reaction was why.  Jaw dropped, shaking my head...why why why.

For the majority of people who’ve probably never experienced a pull-up before (with or without a resistance band) this may not seem like a big deal.  In the CrossFit community, heck the fitness community, the majority of the people were furious.

Since the original post is no longer available, I can’t quote exactly what Brick New York commented, but it was along the lines of: the members pictured completed the WOD and wanted to try this out afterwards. List this under sign #1 that as a coach, you could’ve done better.

The fact that this post is no longer on their feed justifies that they know it wasn’t a good idea.  In this case, bad publicity isn’t necessarily good for the box.  They recently opened their facility and have incredible amenities, but having this picture up couldn’t have been great for their reputation.

I’m not undermining their ability as coaches or athletes, I’m just hoping that they know when to say no to their members.  Hopefully no one got injured from this, and that they use the negativity constructive criticism as a wake up call to understand the potential downfall of not being assertive with their members.

In this particular case, maybe it was a good thing that it went completely viral and caused a ruckus throughout the fitness community.  No one teaches you the morality of coaching.  It’s something that you have to understand and go through by experimenting.  Lesson learned.