A Different Culture

By: Mike Collette B.S CES C-PT (Owner/Head Coach at CrossFit Prototype)
There really is no argument anymore that CrossFit and your traditional “globo gym” experience is much different. You cannot argue that the community aspect to what CrossFit has built inside and outside of it’s affiliates is nothing short of something truly amazing. With the experience and community portion of CrossFit being of much higher value than what you will get at your traditional gym, you also get coaching and training; a 1-1 feel in a group setting. The value of this often gets overlooked when comparing price points from those people who have never truly had an experience at a CrossFit affiliate.
Your traditional $19.99 1 year commitment “globo gyms” provide exactly that value. They run crazy deals to promote growth and increase membership with the hope that people actually don’t show up. You walk in, no one knows your name, you are a product of “people watching” and judgement (in a judgement free zone sometimes : ) ) and your experience is really nothing special. The globo gym is a place for you to “workout”. Now, I am not criticizing that format. Some people want a place of solitude where they don’t talk to anyone and workout out there own, awesome for them, I respect that.
For the most part however, many people have little to no idea what they are doing and set themselves up on the “exercise express line” where you perform exercises on several upper and lower body fitness machines that need little to no instruction. From a positive outlook, this makes me happy because people are moving. It is better than sitting on your butt doing nothing and hoping to “get fit”. There is some proactive action happening here which is good. What bothers me is  the mentality and culture within many of these facilities. Those people who walk into a traditional gym (I should say walk out) and have no idea what they are doing have a fear of embarrassing themselves and feel intimidated trying that exercise they saw in that fitness magazine that told them it would give them “6 pack abs in 2 weeks!”. Some will argue it’s that person’s fault going into the gym without any knowledge or not seeking out the advice of a professional to help them. I would argue however that it’s the facilities fault for not providing a service to educate people and help them along their fitness journey. You can’t expect people to know what they are doing just like you can’t expect people to know how to put together a piece of furniture by themselves (I for one can’t do that!).
Now here is where CrossFit has had great success. When you walk into a CrossFit affiliate regardless of age, gender, fitness level or experience you aren’t expected to know what you are doing. It is the coaches and trainers responsibility/job/passion to educate you and help you on your fitness journey. When you start working out at a CrossFit facility, especially at Prototype, there is no negative judgement (really there isn’t). What happens when you commit to getting into the best shape of your life and working hard is you earn respect from everyone. You don’t know how to do that exercise properly yet? No worries, you worked your butt off trying and you will get it eventually because we are going to help you. The CrossFit culture within the community has a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset.  A “growth mindset,” thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of inability but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities. A “fixed mindset” assumes that where you are and what you are doing cannot be helped, fixed or changed. I for one like the former vs. the latter.
I am not making this up. I was in the corporate fitness world and saw this on a day to day basis. I worked out all through high school, college and shortly after college in this setting as well and know  how it works first hand. I have received open, honest candid feedback on member experience within these big gym settings and it aligns with what I have described.
What I found through my CrossFit experience is that no matter how “fit” you are or not, you earn the respect from others for working to your capability. There is no judgement on what you can and cannot do or what you know or what you don’t know. If you are looking to continue to prosper and grow, recognize that there is a difference between the two. Take the plunge to a better method and fitness lifestyle, earn respect for working hard and commit to being in an environment that encourages you vs. discourages you!