I know I said I didn’t have much in me last Friday, but today was worse. I got to sleep pretty early last night but woke up a lot. I have been really sore in the upper arms and shoulders so that makes moving in bed sort of painful. Enough to wake me up, anyway. In addition to that, it started raining really hard somewhere in the 2am-4am range. That woke me up too.

The morning class was really small this morning. Like, 3 people small. Me, Hugh, and Cindy were there. Despite the small turn out, we carried on and did the following workout:

AMRAP in 20 minutes:

  • 10 {Burpees, Bicycles (10 both sides), Squats, Push ups}

I got 8 rounds in and about 5 burpees into my 9th when time ran out. Cindy and Hugh both got 9.

I felt done after the first round. My burpees really sucked. They were probably the worst burpees I have done to date, but well, they were the best that I had today, which is kind of sad. My shoulders burned pretty consistently through this workout as well. I think they are telling me to leave them alone for a little while. I think I will listen.

It makes me sad to see such a low turn out on Friday mornings. For the most part, the class is very similar to what Sifu Bren did when he was teaching, but it seems that people are scared off by a challenging workout.

I will be the first to admit that when I first started going to KF, I went to a Friday evening class (Sifu Ryon’s) and didn’t go back for weeks or months, I don’t really remember. I sort of had a “fuck that shit, why would anyone do that to themselves” attitude. Really, when I look back on it, I think I thought that Ryon was nuts, but in hindsight, clearly, I was wrong for having that attitude. The fact that I could not get through the workouts or that I  was sore has nothing to do with the instructor.

I felt that I needed to workout outside of class to “be ready” for that class. That is completely and utterly wrong. Going to classes is HOW you “get ready” for a class like that. It’s ALWAYS going to be challenging. It’s ALWAYS going to be uncomfortable. It’s ALWAYS going to make you feel like a weak ass little baby, but you have to swallow your pride and understand that you are making yourself just a little better with each workout that you don’t “FV” (a popular crossfit term for “quitter”) on.

These workouts are flexing your will just as much, if not more, than your muscles. The will required to even begin a workout like this is more than the average person has. Most would look at a workout and quit before they start. Some have the will to start, but once they see how challenging it is, don’t have the will to keep going. It’s sad to me. Is that how you are in the rest of your life? Do you immediately give up when things get uncomfortable, things are hard, or even slightly challenging and require more than that standard bullshit effort that you quantify as “enough”?

I was talking with Cindy this morning about some ideas for her class to get some people to come back. I think the biggest problem is that people have this idea that Friday’s at the KF school are for elite levels of fitness and therefore, are inaccessible.

They are wrong.

It’s for ALL LEVELS, but you have to understand what you are getting into. You are getting into something that will expose your weaknesses, make you hurt, be challenging, but, in the long run, will make you better at everything you do.

Here are some ideas I had to help make the students a bit more comfortable:

  1. Write the workout on the board along with a few scaled down alternatives, sort of like beginner, intermediate, and advanced. This might give the person who’s will isn’t really that strong the feeling of accessibility to the class. “Well, I can’t really do THAT workout, but THAT one looks a bit easier.” 
  2. Incorporate more KF related activities after the main workout. Perhaps the first part of the class is a crossfit/tabata/fighter style workout, but the second half is dedicated to some skill focus while we cool down i.e. kicks, punches, etc
  3. Talk to the students that show up other mornings and perhaps take an anonymous poll of why they stopped coming on Friday. Are they just not waking up? Do they think it’s too hard? Do they just flat out not like it? It may help to get a handle on this. Maybe the format needs to be tweaked based on that feedback.

That’s really all I can think of right now, but I think that’s a good place to start. It’s important to note that this is my opinion and in no way a reflection on Cindy. Her workouts are great, challenging, and fun as is the class environment. She does a great job of demoing the exercises, addresses any questions that the class has, and is very encouraging during workouts.

I think the above brings up another question, though. When is it appropriate to for an instructor to make a class “easier” for students when they have the option of pushing themselves as hard or little as they deem necessary? If you were to go up to your Calculus professor in college and say “this is too hard, can we tone it down a bit”, you probably wouldn’t like the answer he gave you. Why should it be any different for fitness? Do you go up to your “kickboxing” instructor and say “man, there were too many kicks in there… if you don’t tone it down, I’m not coming back next week”. No, you don’t

This is a hard one and I don’t really have a concrete answer. I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

2 thoughts on “Sandbag’d

  1. Ryon

    I have spent some cycles considering this carefully and will probably write a post of my own on it. Perhaps I will activate the forum software on my website!

    In short: We have to consider the possibility that our activities are tolerated as opposed to encouraged or even welcomed.


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