"That's MY Workout!"

Reposted from February 2011.
Nick is eight years old.  Two weeks ago, he didn’t like burpees. But today, he’s belting them out, one after another. Rep. Rep. Rep. Drop. Kick out. Jump. Rep. Rep. Rep. Nonstop. Unbroken. Not smiling, but not grimacing, either.
When it’s over, I get him a drink and a high-five. “Wow, Nick!” I say, “Where did THAT come from?  You HATE burpees!” And then Nick – under five feet tall, with his ‘big-kid’ haircut – said something that changed my entire coaching philosophy.
One of the keys to change is identifying Bright Spots – stuff you’re already doing, or things at which you already excel. It’s a trick we play on newbies: find something you’re good at, right off the bat. Everyone’s good at something, and if I can find it in that first precious 60-minute Assessment, then I’ve got my hooks into you. Tall guy? We’re deadlifting next week. Deadlifting is YOUR workout. It’s your badge. When a deadlift workout is on the schedule, you’ll show up early…..I know you.
But someday, we’re going to find something you’re NOT great with, and you’re going to make a sour face. And then we’re going to do it anyway, because that’s how you grow. And then we’ll do something you like, and then revisit That Exercise Whose Name Cannot Be Spoken again.
When we saw Whit’s workout lineup for OVERDOSE last weekend, my immediate thought was, “that one is MADE for Whit. Muscle-ups and front squats? Might as well call it ‘Pagnucco.'” Things were not always this way.
This morning, reading the CrossFit SubZero’s Intergalactic Throwdown menu, I see a rowing/front squat challenge and I think, “Carolle.” But Carolle wasn’t always our rowing superhero.
After training with the Green Army Sectionals Team for the last month, I post the CrossFit workout every day and think: “That doesn’t seem bad at ALL.” Sometimes, in fact, “that one’s made for ME.”
How many people do you know who can link 50 double-unders? What if you knew that, eighteen short months ago, none of us could do ANY? Would you be surprised? What if you knew that, a year ago, NO women at the Park had deadlifted 300lbs….and now there are SEVEN?
Lisbeth Darsh, in her essay “Doing More of What You Hate,” made this timely observation last week. It reminded me of an eight-year-old’s epiphany from three years ago. Looking up from the floor on his hands and knees, Nick said, “I take the one I hate the most and do it until it’s my favourite.”
Practice until it’s YOUR workout.