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Bringing a CrossFit approach to work

I do CrossFit.

I love CrossFit.

CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program designed to help people gain broad and general fitness. It’s based on a mix of aerobic exercise, gymnastics (body weight exercises), and Olympic weight lifting. It describes its strength and conditioning program as “constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement”.

I can vouch for this. I’ve been a member for a year, go 2x a week, I’ve never done the same work out twice and always feel shagged (but exhilarated) at the end.

Sometimes you’re working out with semi-pro athletes, other times you’ll be with a 65 year old granny because all the workouts can be scaled to your own ability.

It’s designed to prepare you for life and to build you up to a state of ‘physical readiness’, so you are prepared for (almost) anything you may need to physically do to survive.

It’s hard work. But I love it for more than just the physical aspects.

They work very hard to create a sense of community at each gym (or to use correct CrossFit terminology ‘Box’).

At the start of every class everyone introduces themselves to everyone else. So only 5 minutes in you are not a stranger. You know everyone else’s name; you also probably know who’s new and who’s been around for a while. There’s usually been some physical contact too.

You sometimes work on your own, sometimes in pairs, sometimes in teams of 4. But everyone is always working towards the same goal.

The goal of the workout is clearly stated up front. It’s even written on a white board for everyone to see.

People encourage each other along the way.

People (literally) help each other up off the floor at the end, even if they only met 60 minutes earlier.

Some people laugh. Some people puke (rarely). Most people smile. Everyone sweats.

Why? Because everyone works damn hard.

Whether it’s to learn a new movement, go faster than before, use more strength. Everyone is in it together.

So – how to bring this hard working, competitive and community spirit to work?

Easy. Stop conforming to the boring corporate stereotype of sitting quietly at your desk doing what you always do.

Introduce yourself to new people, every day. Make sure no-one is a stranger.

Establish common goals and make sure they are visible for everyone to see

Deliberately take time to break down the different aspects of what you do in order to really understand the process, so you can find a more efficient and quicker way to do it.

Push yourself harder. Step out of your comfort zone.

Can you do more today? Can you finish that horrible task you’ve been dreading? Can you increase your personal or team velocity?

Cheer people along. You are not in this on your own. A little bit of encouragement can go a really long way.

Take rest days occasionally to recuperate in order to go back hard again.

Vary your tasks and practise your skills, so that you develop a state of mental preparedness (is preparedness even a word?) ready to take on whatever the day throws at you.

Keep notes of your achievements.

Not everyone likes CrossFit (or any intense exercise), or practise any kind of mental training or development, because they prefer to stick to a familiar routine and just coast along.

They may go to the gym but I bet they don’t push themselves too hard and I’m sure there’s lots of strutting and general meandering thrown in.

They may do Sudoku on their commute, but I bet they don’t set a timer to apply some pressure and really get the brain working.

Yes, something is better than nothing. But what about going for something more?

If you don’t want to grow, be challenged, strive to learn new things, expand or improve what you can do at work, then fair enough. That’s your choice. Enjoy that contentment.

But if you do, then think about having a CrossFit attitude.

You don’t get what you wish for. You get what you work for.

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