by Erik Castiglione
As a gym owner, and especially a CrossFit gym owner, it’s very easy to get lost inside my own bubble. I mean this in a few ways. Physically – between my house, the gym, the fact that I spend most of my time in these two places, and the fact that I have conveniently found restaurants, banks, barber shops, grocery stores, etc. between them – I spend much of my existence in an area of less than 4 square miles. Socially – as a CrossFit Affiliate owner, my members are not just clients; they are my friends (this is why we are a Relentless FAMILY). I socialize mostly with people from the gym, and my wife and now father and stepmother are gym members. And mentally – between coaching, my own training, and running the business, the gym takes up A LOT of my headspace. To prevent becoming completely insulated, I’ve been traveling a lot lately. I have to say, nothing makes you appreciate home more. Allow me to explain:
About a month ago, I went to Washington DC to visit some college friends, and realized just how out of touch I am with the non-fitness community. It started Friday night at dinner – we were at a bourgeoisie southern restaurant, so naturally I ordered the chicken and waffles. My college roommate ordered the same. When it came out, the dish consisted of two drumsticks, a thigh, and a half Belgian waffle. Now, my roommate played tennis in college and used to house 2 plates of food at every meal. I was surprised to hear him exclaim “wow, that’s a lot of chicken!” and then fail to eat all of it.
Meanwhile, my normal dinner on a training day is double this amount of food, so I’m sitting there wondering what else I could stuff down my gullet to hit my daily macros. This led to a conversation about nutrition. My Ivy League educated friends (who are without exaggeration some of the brightest up and coming legal minds in the country) still buy into a lot of the crap circulating the internet. Fat makes you fat; too much protein is bad for the kidneys; deli meat causes cancer; eggs raise cholesterol, etc. It was enough to make me want to bash my head against the wall.
Then, last weekend I went to the Jersey Shore to celebrate Independence Day and my older brother’s engagement (and the fact that my wife is 12 weeks pregnant! That’s right folks, she’s still crushing WODs and hitting PR’s at 12 weeks!). My grandfather bought a house on Long Beach Island back in 1978, and I’ve spent time there literally every summer of my life. The first gym I ever went to is on that island. I had to get some training in, so I stopped by my old stomping ground last Friday. This led to one of my funnier Instagram posts. What I did not post was the annoying lecture the gym owner felt obligated to give me post overhead work. “You’re going to tear your rotator cuffs and blow out your shoulders. You should NEVER lift that kind of weight overhead!” I wanted to fight him and his moronic orthopedist espousing this nonsense, but it wouldn’t have been fair since I doubt either have the shoulder strength to throw a decent punch.
In addition to the owner’s unfortunate belief about overhead work, it was apparent that no one in the club had ever had any kind of instruction when it came to training and form. No one adhered to any kind of plan, and form was limited in range of motion at best, and down right dangerous at worst. Furthermore, I wound up talking to a guy who had done EXACTLY the same routine every day for the last 10 years and wondered why he stopped losing weight and making progress 9 years ago. Needless to say, I was happy to run back to my bubble at the end of the weekend.
When it comes to health and fitness, there is an overabundance of information (and especially MISINFORMATION) available. You can find a study to back up pretty much any viewpoint out there, and the studies aren’t even needed since most people adhere to “common knowledge”, which is often flat out wrong. The best way to make progress is through consistency – in both diet and training. Many gyms offer a way to do this, but I firmly believe our way is the most effective (check out our daily whiteboard for PR’s if you’re unsure!).
You all have a number of options available to you when it comes to your fitness journey, so I want to take this opportunity to personally thank each and every member of our wonderful Relentless Family. Thank you for trusting in our coaching staff to help you achieve your fitness goals. Thank you for buying into our vision and mission, and for coming back day in and day out. Thank you for being willing to push yourselves and recognizing that progress only happens if you continuously challenge yourselves. It doesn’t get easier; you get better. Most of all, thank you for making my bubble the place where I want to spend all my time.
See you at the gym,