• Emily Makselan

You are NOT an exception

Updated: Sep 2, 2019

My husband launched his own affiliate almost 5 years ago now. He wanted to do so because he loves CrossFit, but also mainly because he fully believes in the teachings and methodologies of CrossFit. It’s helped to transform his life and body, and years later it did the same for me. He truly practices what he preaches. If you Google “Fitness in 100 Words” by Greg Glassman you’ll see a literal blue print for my husband’s life. Yet so many people walk through the doors of his gym resistant to those teachings. For whatever reason they have a list of excuses as to why they or my husband are the exception to those teachings and methods.

Like many coaches, or gym owners, at one point my husband was following his own “special” programming different from what he programmed for the rest of his gym. He did this for about nine months until he got burnt out from working out on top of coaching all day. Most days of the week he would be at the gym from 5:30am-7:30pm non stop and would spend his off hours from coaching, working out. As crazy and dumb as that is that he was essentially CHOOSING to spend 14 hours a day at his place of work when he didn’t have to, I think we can all appreciate the dedication there. But I think that if you ask my husband what one thing he would change in his time of owning a gym, it would be this time of not following his gym’s main programming.

After getting burnt out my husband realized he needed to hire extra help at the gym. Hiring other trainers not only took a load off of him, but also enabled him to jump into group classes at his own gym some days for the first time ever! My husband started following his gym’s main group programming then, and this was over 2 years ago now. In the 5 years that he has owned the gym, he has followed the main programming, or WOD of the day for the gym for 4 out of 5 of those years. And in the years prior to becoming an owner, he was following the main WOD of the day at the respective gyms he went to.

But in everyone else’s eyes, Marcin is for some reason an exception. The comments made daily not only undermine all his hard work and dedication, but more importantly THEY UNDERMINE YOUR POTENTIAL. Marcin does things no different than what he asks or expects of his clients. He does constantly varied functional movement 5-6 days per week, and he eats the suggested quality of foods at intake levels that support exercise 7 days a week. But almost daily he is met with comments that seem to suggest that he’s an exception. As if his efforts were easy, or he has some magic trick up his sleeve he’s not sharing with everyone that got him there. Sorry folks, there was no magic trick, he simply practiced what he preaches. His body and fitness levels are a result of his efforts. And those effort could be put in by anyone.

In the past several weeks I’ve heard the following said to my husband: “if that’s your time for the workout then the rest of us should just add 10 minutes”, “yeah, but you workout all day”, “you’re naturally fit though”. Not only are all of those statements untrue, but they are also excuses that are holding you back. By making Marcin or yourself an “exception” in your mind, your also giving yourself an excuse to not succeed. What Marcin has done and continues to do is no more or less impressive than what anyone else is doing. But the point is that he did it. He simply followed the blue print for what he expects from his clients. By undermining that work you are essentially allowing yourself to not do it.

I too have had a similar story to my husband. There was a 9 month period at one point where I did "other" programming. And I switched completely to Olympic Weightlifting for about 6 months once before going back to CrossFit. I don’t have nearly as many comments said to me along those lines as he does. But occasionally I get a “but you’ve always been strong”, or “I’ll never be as strong as you” thrown my way. When in reality, I haven’t always been strong. When I started CrossFit I had to start on banded pull-ups and from PVC pipe just like everyone else. Wherever you are, I was once there too (unless you are stronger than me, then I am not there… YET). But my point is that I made it to where I am, so why can’t you? The comments I sometimes get imply that you can’t. By making me an exception, that’s what you are saying to yourself: you can't. But if I can put in the work, so can you. Instead of making me or you the exception, instead look at what more you could be doing.

At my gym we have the “fitness in 100 words” quote from Greg Glassman hanging up next to our white board. This quote served as the origins and blueprint for CrossFit, and as I read it now it seems like a blue print for my life. As I read off the list of suggested components I can check each and every one of them off with 100% certainty. Can you?

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