And they’re off!

I’m fully underway in Intern mode now and, since one of my rabid fans has been insisting, it’s time to bring you guys up to speed.

Friday was the last day of work with very little fanfare. It occurred to me in my last couple of weeks that I had approached my last job almost like a reality show villain: “I didn’t come here to make friends.”

Plus, I was known to snatch out a bitch's weave on occasion.

Not that they were necessarily bad people, mind you. But most of them lived close to the office, meaning they lived close to me and, most importantly, they weren’t CrossFitters.

Saturday was my first official intern day, which worked out a lot like before – shadow time! We didn’t have any late seminars this time, so I was only at Milford for the first half of the day. It was an action-packed day, being our second annual First Responder Throwdown. Each class in the morning did the same set of workouts, and a LOT of work was done all through the morning. By the athletes, that is. The way Jay set up the workouts, there wasn’t a real need for setup and breakdown people, as those tasks became part of the workouts. Now that’s some genius programming.

Sunday was our first Purge Morning, trying to whittle down our possessions to better fit into our eventual apartment. Barb’s a purging machine when it comes to this stuff, but I can only do it a little bit at a time. I start off detached and ready to ditch things, but the sentimentality starts to build up after a bit and I have to stop where I’m at before I become totally useless and overwhelmed. I did good though – in addition to setting aside quite a few big boxes for Goodwill or eBay, site unseen, I also did an item-by-item search through eight other “Stuff” boxes. Those are generally composed of random things that happened to be near each other which all got thrown into a box during one clean up or another. In the end, I had narrowed the eight boxes down into one and a half keep boxes, one eBay, three Goodwill and half of a big trash bag.

Sunday night was party time – one of the owners of our box, Eric, was having a 40th birthday shindig. This makes him so much unbelievably older than me, since I don’t turn 40 until Saturday.

I still remember the day I first met Eric.

This brings to mind one of the really wonderful things about CrossFit – the Family. The next time the owner of your box is throwing some kind of shindig, mention it to someone who doesn’t know what CrossFit is. I did that one time at the dentist. “So, wait. The person who owns your gym is having a party, and you’re going to it?” What seems so perfectly normal to us is completely foreign to everyone else. Put yourself in their shoes – can you really imagine hanging out with anyone else who goes to your Planet Fitness? Can you imagine hanging out with the owner too?

Monday was a happily full day of wandering. I started with Ye Olde Six AM class to get my WOD in, then I was due at Milford by 9:00. It’s amazing what a difference a half hour and a shorter commute makes. The old job was at 8:30, and I had to race home from the box, shower fast, then hit the road to try to make it on time. Yesterday I came home, took a loooooong shower (stupid kettlebell swings) and actually sat down and ate breakfast. Hot damn!

Got to Milford and caught the tail end of Jay’s class then followed Adam around for his class. Adam’s a great coach and entertaining to watch. I’ve trained with him before, but that was back when he was still new to coaching and figuring out what’s what. Now he’s got it down and really connects with his athletes. Seeing his easy rapport and confidence keeps me going, since I knew him back when he was more like I am now.


Pictured: The Author

During the class, I received a text from Dan, another one of our trainers. He has a gig doing strength and conditioning training at an area high school and wanted to know if I wanted to tag along and help. I checked with Jay and since he didn’t need me again until the next day, it was all systems go for high school football in the afternoon.

I had a few hours to kill at that point, so I gave Carla, Eric’s wife and our box’s webmistress (that’s sure to turn up on some interesting Google searches) a holler to talk to her about our current site. It is, shall we say, less than optimal. It’s great on the front side of things, but the back end is the very model of user unfriendliness. We agreed that I’d meet up with her after her noon class so she could point out all the things that drive her crazy. Since that gave me a couple of free hours, that meant I had plenty of time to do Highly Important Work.


...or something.

Yes, it was time for lunch and a nap, then off to CFNH. I watched the last half of the noon class with both O’Briens, then sat with them to go over the current site. To say things could be better is an understatement. I can see a lot of areas we’ll be able to make it much easier for the folks posting things on the site, and hopefully I won’t have to keep my Web Developer hat on for too long to get us there.

Dan arrived after that and it was back to school. This team has fifty kids on it, all working out in a room about a quarter the size of our box. It definitely keeps you on your toes when you’ve got a lot of kids throwing around weights in there. Dan’s been working with them for a couple of weeks and takes half of them one day and the other half the next. Monday and Tuesday, we’re teaching them deadlifts and sumo deadlift high pulls.


Ummm... no, not quite.

It was rewarding to see just how quick most of these guys picked up the techniques. The only deadlifting they had done up to that point was using a trap bar:


Shorts sold separately.

It was great watching Dan work through a large number of people in a short period of time in such a confined area. I also learned one of the important lessons of being a coach: only one cue at a time. Being Dan’s Little Helper, I had to correct the form of the guys near me and the first couple were more than a little overwhelmed as I tried to correct ALL of their shortcomings at once. “Pull your knees back. Pick your hips up. Think like you’re sitting back into a chair. And pull your shoulders back. Think like you’re trying to put your shoulderblades in your back pockets. And keep your focus in front of you on the floor over there. And keep your core tight. And get a haircut. And yellow’s really not your color.”

Luckily I have a lot of experience confusing people, so I recognize the symptoms when they appear. I narrowed down my cues and kept them as simple as possible. In the end, it went pretty well. I’m going to go over there with him again today before I have to rush over to Milford for my next bout of shadowing.

When we got back to CFNH, the 4:30 folk were just starting to arrive, so yeah – I stuck around and shadowed for a couple more classes. Plus, I got to be Designated Camera Boy for awhile as well. Good Times. One more full day of following and watching in the books, which led me to my current, hectic morning.


...or something.

3 thoughts on “And they’re off!

  1. Awesome, Brian! I didn’t realize Dan, and you, were helping out a high school team too. That’s awesome! Thanks for your coaching and help at the throwdown on Saturday, too. Keep up the great work. And blogging!

  2. Honey badger loves this post. Sqwatts is a funny blogger and an awesome coach.

  3. Thanks for agreeing to help with the site. Keep up the blog! It’s great to see another perspective on coaching. I love climbing inside the minds of all the (and soon to be) coaches!

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