Every gym has its strong personality types, and CrossFit is no exception. But with the good comes the bad.
Below are five obnoxious “stock characters” who can be spotted at any local CrossFit box. Most of you have probably trained right next to him or her. Heck, some of you may actually be one of them. No matter the case, read on to help identify—and check at the door—those annoying personalities.
1. The Gear Head
He’s got his wrist straps on, knee sleeves ready at his ankles and lifters laced up. As the coach guides the class through the movements in the WOD, the Gear Head rummages through his stores and lays out his lifting belt, his shaker, his grips and his speed rope. He looks up, desperately hoping that someone, anyone, will notice his magnificent arsenal. He makes brief eye contact with another person in the class and hurriedly reaches for his Goat tape and mobility floss. Yes, he’s got it all and he’s ready to use it. Never mind that the WOD is Karen: 150 Wall Ball shots for time.
CrossFit gear is very cool and certainly useful. We all want it and we all use it. However, there is absolutely no need to dump out the entire contents of your bag of tricks at every class. Fitness does not equal how much money you dropped on your CrossFit store and Rogue shopping spree, and it certainly doesn’t matter to the guy out-deadlifting you in his basketball shorts and careworn running shoes. So keep the gear in your bag, and pull out only what you need when you need it.
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2. The Show-Off
Usually not wholly aware of their actual capabilities, Show-Offs think—nay, believe—that they are the absolute best.
There are various subtypes of the Show-Off. You have the Bragger, whose go-to move is to stand over the people stretching and rolling out before the WOD, loudly boasting about how he or she beat everyone in this WOD when it was programmed a few months ago, even when he or she was tired, sick and injured.
You also have the I’m-Just-Gonna-Do-One-More guy, who, despite the fact that the strength component of the WOD is over, keeps throwing weight on his bar and continues squatting because it still feels “light” to him.
And lastly, the RX-Plus-Everything athletes who never heed the weight recommendations of their coaches, because “Go big or go home!” right?
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Listen, it’s great to be confident in your own abilities, but there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. If your boasting serves only to put others down; if your stubbornness serves only your time and isn’t respectful of others; and if your attitude puts your own health at risk, then what are you truly gaining from the experience? CrossFit is about lifting one another up and about becoming your fittest self through a safe and efficient process. Rather than only serving yourself, look to help boost the confidence of those around you, which I guarantee will make you feel a lot better than your next PR.
3. The Lone Wolf
He walks in, passes the class and gives little more than a stiff-necked jerk of the head to acknowledge whomever he’s (mistakenly) made eye-contact with as he makes a beeline for the corner in the back. He gets out his phone, checks his programming, sets up his equipment and places his earbuds firmly in his ears. He finishes his training session when everyone else does, but remains in his corner rather than socializing with any of the other members. He puts his equipment away, grabs his bag and slips out the door like the CrossFit ninja that he is.
OK, this personality type isn’t that annoying, but what can be frustrating about the Lone Wolf is that he could work out alone at any globo gym. One of the perks of CF is that it’s a social experience. People cheer each other on, push each other, and—dare I say it—get to know one another. Gasp! If this isn’t for you, that’s fine. But then again, that is CrossFit. You can stay in your corner and train with your own programming, but at least make an effort to remember that the tall guy’s name is Sean and the woman who always wears the colorful leggings is Megan, not “Crazy Tights McGee,” as you have dubbed her in your mind because you never bothered to introduce yourself.
4. The Whiner
“Oh man, double-unders? I hate double-unders.” “Can I sub running for rowing? I’m not good at rowing.” “Ugh, we’re doing so much power lifting this week. I want to do more bodyweight movements.” “Forget it! I’ll never be able to do push-ups.” And so on, and so on. Whiners are the most dreaded of these annoying personalities. Why? Because they are energy suckers. You’re standing there listening to your coach talk about the WOD, getting you super pumped about tackling the challenging workout, then bam!—your proverbial parade is washed out in a downpour of negativity.
The best way to avoid being The Whiner is simple—choose to be happy. Choose to be in the moment. Choose to challenge yourself. Don’t kill the mood for everyone else with your bad vibes, arbitrary complaints and pointless questions. Focus on what you are capable of doing rather than what you are not. Realize that, like anything else in life, there is a learning curve. And remember that we’re all there for the same reasons: to get fit and have fun doing it!
5. The Cheater
This is perhaps the most offensive personality type. Sadly, like all the rest, every CF box probably has at least one. Sadder yet, you most likely know exactly who that person is. They lie about their reps, don’t finish WODs but claim they did, adjust their times, adjust their scores and say they completed the workout as RX when in reality they scaled some but not all of it. These people are the absolute worst, and not because they are liars, but because they deprive themselves of what it truly means to be an athlete and to be fit.
Don’t be ashamed if someone else beats your time or lifts more than you. There will always be someone stronger and faster than you, just like you will always be stronger and faster than someone else. Instead of competing with everyone around you, compete with yourself. Give nothing but your absolute best efforts in every WOD, then try to out-do them next time around. And stop padding your stats! I guarantee you that people have noticed. You’re not getting away with it, no one trusts you and they all think you’re a phony. Be honest with yourself as well as with others. That’s really all that’s required in this sport.