9 May
2011

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?

Okay, so this one time I have a good excuse for going undercover. There was a coach’s meeting on Friday and Jay (my boss/mentor/leader/trainer) wanted to surprise everyone with the announcement of me being the latest victim newbie entering the intern program. So I’ve been keeping low out here and being vague about what’s happening in person. An awesome plan, if enough of the coaches had been in town for us to have the meeting. D’OH!

Since I had already saved up the time off for Friday, I went in to do some 1RM back squats (15# PR, thank you very much) and follow Carla around the floor. She even made me the demo boy for the last WOD to ease my transition into the whipping boy interning world.

My shirt says "CrossFit" because Barb got tired of pinning notes to me.

So Saturday was my first day with my new identity: The Shadow. I spent all day hanging out at CrossFit Milford, watching coaches, lurking in the background and occasionally shouting out seemingly random numbers. It was a Fight Gone Bad day, so I got to be the “THREE, TWO, ONE, CHANGE!” guy a lot. Yelling is fun.

In all, I got to follow around three different coaches during WODs (Jay, Andrea & Adam) and then stalked Colin during a powerlifting seminar. Aside from each coach being different, each class was as well. Jay’s class was large and varied, with most everyone having some kind of CrossFit experience, if not Fight Gone Bad. Andrea’s was smaller and mainly experienced athletes. Adam had both a regular class and the “free intro to CrossFit” folks. I think what impressed me the most about all three was their innate sense of the time elapsing while still paying attention to the athletes and correcting form where need be. If I’m not focusing on the clock, I still get lost in whoever I’m watching/helping at the time.

Toughest part of the day: listening to Adam describe the proper wall ball technique. “…and when you catch it, I wanna see balls in your face…” One of these days, he’s going to catch on to what he’s saying. Until then, I’m going to hurt myself trying to keep a straight face.

For all that is holy, don't do an image search for "balls in the face."

While the first three classes showed me what I have to learn about class management, Colin’s seminar let me see how far I have to go on picking out issues with form. He covered deadlifts, back squats and bench presses and with each one I found I knew about 75% of what to look for. My “something’s wrong here” radar is pretty acute, it’s just a matter of figuring out what’s setting it off. For instance, in the deadlifts, I always think of shoulders and lower back/butt position, then knees/shins. Quite a few folks set off the radar with those set up correctly though. Turns out, it was often a feet-in-the-wrong-place thing.

One last great thing – we had an odd number of people in the last FGB workout, so I got to count for someone. While I counted, I also tried to give her some cues to help out with a couple of the more obvious things that were making my CrossFit Sense tingle. In addition to (honey)badgering her in the last round to beat her middle round reps, Adam told me afterward that he noticed a huge change in her push press form for the better by the end of the workout.

1 May
2011

Begin

I’m not sure what it is about my brain that makes me think that a new adventure requires a new blog, but there you have it. I suppose this new adventure is worth the new blog though, since it all begins tomorrow when I hand in my resignation at work.

I’ve been a web developer for a few years now. Like many of my other careers, it was something that I just sort of blundered into. I had bills to pay, I had a rudimentary knowledge of programming and I had an opportunity. Turns out, that’s not the way to build a career you love. So now, after banging my head against the wall, hoping that I’d start to at least like the career track I had set out on, I’m finally ready to throw in the towel. Like any wrong turn, I’ve gained deeper knowledge about myself – my desires, my weaknesses, my motivations.

I’m not great at creating brand new things where there once were none – I get myself too caught up in the details and overwhelm myself. On the other hand, I’m really good at both working within structures and taking pre-existing things and tweaking them to my needs. I’ve also found I have a strong need to help people. Looking back on my careers, the only times I approached anything resembling happiness was when I was helping someone. I haven’t been doing that for six years or so.

Now, I suppose if you squint your eyes, you could find a way to say I’ve been helping someone in my last few jobs, but at best, that’s helping Company X get more money/clients/customers and that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m happiest when I’m affecting someone’s life, making some sort of difference/improvement in their lives, no matter how small. Even if it’s being the only person at the hospital who smiled at them, the only phone support person who wished them a nice day.

Enter CrossFit. Last week marked the first bumpy year I’ve spent doing CrossFit. Check that. Last week marked a year since I started a new exercise program. It took me a couple of months to truly understand what we have here and get bitten by the bug. It’s still been a little bumpy at times, with some injuries and illnesses, but even at its bumpiest, there hasn’t been a place I’ve been happier to be than in our box, throwing weights around.

I love CrossFit. It not only makes me happy, it’s changed me mind, body and soul. And I love to help people. Could there possibly be some way to combine those two things into one? If you can’t think of a way, take a look at the URL again. I actually have an opportunity here to not only become a coach and help people with something I love, but to learn at the hands of one of the best coaches/teachers around. How could I pass that up?

This new blog shares a similar background with one of my previous blogs, Cancer is My Bitch. Namely, some form of proof that an Average Joe can do something that others think is difficult/impossible. And right now in the CrossFit world, you’re not going to get much more Average Joe than me right now.

Yesterday, I finished WOD 11.6 of the CrossFit Open. Not only did I finish last out of all the men at my box, I’m currently ranked 771st in my region. Out of 777. Ouch. I have a big bucket of reasons why I wound up in this position, but they’re not important right now. And for those of you who read “reasons” as “excuses,” you’re wrong, because I have an even bigger bucket of those. I just keep it stashed away for emergencies.

So now you might have a sense of what you’ll be getting when you read here.

  1. The story of one schmo learning to become a kickass coach
  2. An awful lot of words to read, since said schmo really likes to type.
  3. Occasional humor (I was funny up there somewhere, wasn’t I? I don’t recall and there’s no way I’m going back to see – that’s a lot of crap to read).
  4. A handy coaching tip every once in awhile as I learn them and, perhaps most importantly,
  5. TINFOIL CROSSFITTERS! Yes, now they’ll have a non-Facebook home so everyone can share in the joy of small aluminum people doing work.

One other thing, knowing myself as well as I do, I’d highly recommend you either subscribe to the blog’s RSS feed or become a fan of the From Couch to Coach page on Facebook. Sometimes I get a little distracted and the blogging can be a little… inconsistent. Subscribing to one of those things means you’ll get to find out when I’ve gotten off my ass and posted something without having to remember to come here to see. Omigod, I’m helping people ALREADY!

Also, you might notice some changes/inconsistencies as you return to the site. Since I’m still quite burned out on the whole “web development” thing, I’m kinda half-assing the site design/functionality right now. Eventually it’ll be all pretty and organized and functioning. In the meantime, deal.