The last one standing. Usually that person is the winner, someone who has outlasted the rest because of their strength, skill or wit. Most people aspire to be the last one standing – alone and victorious.
In CrossFit the last one standing holds a badge of honor, but it’s not a badge of traditional victory. Typically the last one standing is struggling the most. While the rest of their friends have already finished the workout, the last person feels weak, exhausted, and defeated. The badge of honor that comes from being the last one standing happens in the moment where the rest of the class turns their attention and begins to cheer. They encourage. They rally behind the last one standing by coming around and supporting their friend. The bade of honor is bestowed upon the last one standing for their grit, their determination, and their persistence. They know that everyone is there for support.
You see, in a CrossFit community the dynamic of shared suffering through the workout creates camaraderie, support, and sincere care for the people around you. As a part of this group, you want everyone to finish because everyone has a common goal; an aligned mission. Yes, each person has different fitness goals and paths, but everyone in the room wants each other to succeed. It’s not a competition of who can finish first, but a revelation that each member can profoundly impact the performance and emotional well-being of their teammate. It doesn’t matter who can lift the most weight, run the fastest or who looks the prettiest. The prized qualities in CrossFit are the grit and persistence, the care for one another, and the simple act of encouraging the person next to you.
CrossFit is all about exercise. We exercise muscles and movements that allow us to do many functional things outside the gym. We practice picking things up, pushing, pulling, and running because we know that by exercising these muscles we will be able to perform better in our lives. What we often overlook however, are the mental and emotional “muscles” that are being exercised in CrossFit as well. Those “muscles” such as persistence, grit, encouragement, and gratitude are being strengthened as well. Each class and every workout is an opportunity to not only become stronger and more physically fit, but also an opportunity to build strong relationships and become better leaders, spouses, friends and employees.
Next time you find yourself finishing a workout before someone else, turn around and strengthen the person next to you by offering them encouragement and support. You have an opportunity to honor them – and you will both become better from it.