If you stumbled into a CrossFit gym, like myself, you were probably looking for guidance. Before I went to CrossFit 1Force, I had never stepped foot into any type of gym. I went because I needed a coach. I needed someone to teach me, encourage me, and hold me accountable. Luckily, that’s exactly the support I received from all of the coaches and the other members. At my second class, I  meet the woman who would change my life, Ann. Her level of performance was something I admired. Watching her compete was inspirational, and seeing how hard she worked to get there is something I’ll never forget. She was and still is a firm believer in “practicing how you play.” When it comes to any workout, competition or not, she sticks to the plan and leaves everything on the gym floor.

When I think about some of the most important lessons Ann has taught me, I think about the values she instilled in me as an athlete. I’ll never forget completing Open workout 12.3 with Ann by my side. I had only been doing CrossFit for 6 months, but she was going on 3 years. The workout was an 18 minute AMRAP consisting of 15 20in box jumps, 12 push press at 75lbs, and 9 toes-to-bar. I still didn’t know any of the CrossFit lingo, and I still confused the push press and the push jerk.

When the workout started, I blazed through my box jumps as Ann and my judge, Scott, counted my reps out loud. Filled with confidence, I bent down and set up at the barbell. I completed my first rep, but instead of hearing “one,” I heard “no rep.” What? I got the bar over my head, why didn’t it count? Before I even had to ask, Ann told me that I re-dipped under the bar. I re-what? What is a re-dip? I tried again and again, and racked up 3 more no-reps. Before letting me go any further, Ann said “relax and just squeeze your quads and butt so that you don’t re-bend your knees.”

I took Ann’s advice and squeezed my quads and butt (I still to this day use this cue with my athletes). I finally made it through the 12 push press and was off to the pull-up bar. By this time, the rest of the athletes were already heading back to the box jumps. I hopped up on the rig and started flailing around like a crazy woman. After getting quite a few in a row, my feet stopped touching the bar and once again my judge stopped counting my reps. It would have been easy for my judge to feel pressured to let my reps slide as he judged me with my girlfriend standing right next to him, but I heard those dreaded words again, “no-rep.” I knew that Ann and Scott were the experts, so I stopped and asked what I needed to do. Ann told me I needed to stop worrying about being fast and focus on making sure every rep counted.

After those 18 minutes, I realized I still had a lot to work on to become better. I asked Ann why they were being so tough on me. She said they weren’t being tough, they were being fair. She knew what it was like to be in a competition completing perfect reps, while the athlete next to her was getting their bad reps counted. She knew what it was like to re-do open workouts to try to improve her score, even if it was only by 2 points. She knew what it was like to struggle in workouts, but also knew how rewarding it was to look back and appreciate her progress. I realized that I wasn’t getting no-repped because they wanted me to have a low score, I was getting no-repped because they cared about me and wanted me to have an honest score- a score that I could record on the CrossFit Open leaderboard with dignity and pride.

All success comes from love. Sure my coaches and friends could have let my bad reps slide, but would that have made me a better athlete? If they let me get away with bad reps, would I have the drive to be better? After the 2012 Open season came to an end, I had a burning desire to improve. I am forever grateful for the CrossFit community for always holding me to a higher standard. The people around me wanted me to be successful, so they held me accountable. They made me earn my success, which was so much sweeter than having it handed to me. Every PR became more meaningful because I valued the process. Every workout I finished, even if I finished last, was an accomplishment because I was fighting for every last rep.

If you get no-repped this CrossFit open season, remember that it is because someone sees the potential you have within. A no-rep can mean many things: you can do better, you need to try harder, do your best, don’t settle for mediocracy, hold yourself accoutable, or set your standards higher. Those who care about you would not let you get away with not living up to your potential outside of the gym, and they definitely won’t let it slide inside of the gym. So whether you are getting ready for the 2017 CrossFit Open, or you are just hitting a workout on another Tuesday night, every rep needs to count, every time. If your wall ball does not hit the wall, you need to re-do that rep. If you have to question whether or not your squat was low enough, err on the side of caution and do it again. Remember that someone who cares about you is watching. As a gym owner, athlete, believer in CrossFit, and friend, I want you to be successful. I can guarantee your entire community also wants you to do your best, but only you can decide to be the best by holding yourself to the highest of standards.

P.S. If you are thinking about completing the CrossFit Open RX’d, I highly recommend completing the CrossFit Judges Course.

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