I've been blessed enough to have trained all over the world, with so many different people, training styles and equipment. One of the first places I competed out of was the South Niagara Rowing Club boathouse. It was here that I spent countless hours racing up and down a beautiful 2000m canal course, sheltered by willow trees that created glassy flat calm waters. On the hottest days of summer, I could be found running the hills behind the club, or in the shade of the bays awaiting my next race. Every 4am morning, every hour I spent lingering post practice to get a bit more work in with my teammates, or talk to the community - these were the moments that I will always remember because they taught me how important it is to train in a community that inspires you to be better.
This sense of community is what drew me, like many others, to CrossFit, so I think most of what I'm about to say goes without saying.
1. RESPECT YOUR COMMUNITY.
These are the people that will build you up and show you what you can be capable of. Get competitive, be supportive and have fun. The hours you spend with the members of your fitness community will shape who you become as an athlete and form life long friendships that will help you get through the hardest times. These people are there for you, and you are there for them.
2 . BE RESPONSIBLE FOR MAINTAINING THE TEMPLE.
That's right. Where you train is sacred space. Treat it with respect and it will be good back to you when you're in your last 50 burpees and suddenly you're pretty cozy with that gym floor. Be good to your barbells, don't drop them on their collars! Wipe down your equipment. This simple things will help your gym be the best that it can be and in turn makes for a safe, clean and efficient training environment.
3. TAKE IT ALL IN.
Let those early morning training sessions inspire you, you know what I'm talking about - when the light from sunrise is coming through the bay door juuuust right or the air is so smooth and crisp that you feel like you can do 100 more reps. Those are the moments that you take that fire in your belly and turn it into something greater than yourself. Look around at your community and remember how blessed you are.
I can't emphasize how important this is. There is a good 5 minutes of pure visualization in each of my training sessions, either just before I pick up the bar, or after I've finished a movement. I close my eyes, feel the space around me and think about how I am moving and what I should look like as I try to achieve that perfect technique. Train in front of a mirror so that you can work on the smallest errors you can SEE but might not FEEL.
5. BE GRATEFUL.
Wherever you train, if it be a gym with 400+ members and world class equipment or an old backyard rig with rusted bars...be grateful. Remember where you came from and who has helped you along the way. You can have all of the best equipment in the world but it means nothing without the community and people that make training worthwhile.