Often times when we hear the word ‘community’, we instantly associate it with ‘unity’, ‘togetherness.’
Within the realm of CrossFit, ‘the community’ is most often the #1 response of every day folks who report on what keeps them coming back to their box, day in and day out.
And while the CrossFit Games this weekend was about the sport of fitness—boasting the talents of some of the elite of the elite within the sport—there was no denying that a huge draw for the thousands of spectators in the crowd, on live-feeds around the world, and even the athletes themselves all stems back to the community.
As human beings, we all have an innate desire for community, togetherness.
In fact, statistically speaking, the happiest people in the world are reportedly those who engage with people—face-to-face human contact upwards of 6-7 hours per day, according to a Gallup-Healthways Happiness report.
First and foremost, community gives us a sense of identity. It helps us understand who we are and feel part of something larger than ourselves.
In addition, by nature we are social creatures, so it makes sense that connections with other people are central to our happiness. Think about human emotions and behaviors, for instance (ie. Kindness, love, compassion, reciprocity, gratitude, generosity, laughing, laughing)—all natural feelings you experience in a given day throughout your life that are intertwined with your community and relationships, others in your life. Or think about how difficult it is to end ties with people, or experience change in relationships (often painful to do so)—we are people ‘people’.
Interestingly enough, researchers have also found that “people with strong social connections have less stress-related health problems, lower risk of mental illness, and faster recovery from trauma or illness. Friends and family can also encourage and support us in healthy lifestyle habits, such as exercise and moderation.”
It’s simply how we are wired.
Many of us initially stumbled into group training, or CrossFit, simply looking for community—coming together with a group of like minded people, working hard alongside one another, encouraging us to do things we would not do on our own, or to gain the support and push of others in our own endeavors.
Community, in this sense, is what some may call the ‘magic’, or the heart, of group training.
Where the rubber meets the road though happens in your own fitness.
Eventually, in a matter of time, many of us have also ‘hit a wall’ in progression.
If your goals are to truly improve your own fitness, then eventually, the generic group training template or model will not work for you.
Enter: Individualized design.
A common misconception of individualized design, however, is that it means you must forego the community aspects you know and love in your training, or that you must ‘go it alone.’
At OPEX, we hear this all the time from those considering a more individualized approach to their own training or gym, but who are hesitant to ‘give up’ the community aspects of their training:
“I love the community too much man.” Or…
“I hate training alone.”
“I don’t get the same push when it’s just me.”
“I can’t have everyone in my gym doing different things.”
Contrary to popular belief though, the reality is quite the opposite.
Community can, in fact, occur within an individualized design model, while concurrently empowering you, or your clients, to progress individually in their own fitness, strength, health and lifestyle endeavors.
Team OPEX is a shining example of this.
This past weekend, the six individuals on the team, who have each been following their own individual programs this past year, came together to compete alongside approximately the top 1% of athletes from around the world (i.e. a very slim margin who actually make the cut to the CrossFit Games).
There is no doubt that they each have what it takes to compete at an elite level—and they did not get there by following a cookie-cutter approach to their training.
Even if elite fitness is not your end goal, individualized training most certainly applies to you (if not even more so than the super-humans of this world). Think:
– Improved blood work or lab results
– Enhanced body composition
– Doctoring or working a program around a former shoulder injury
– Upping your anaerobic power output, as opposed to constantly pounding your endurance (aerobic capacity)
– Working on your personal weaknesses, rather than occasionally tackling them when they show up on the whiteboard
– A smart progressive program that keeps you from injury and doesn’t overtax you in the process of ‘getting better’
– The opportunity to work solely towards your personal goals, and have accountability and guidance in ‘getting there.’
The OPEX model of individual design in our onsite facility represents true community in every form of the word:
– Like minded people doing like minded things
– Support and encouragement of one another’s endeavors
– A place of belonging and support
– And enhanced happiness in all spectrums (relationships, your health, your fitness, your lifestyle) because you are concurrently following a program centered around these aspects solely for you
In other words, “you CAN have your cake and eat it too”:’
– Smart, effective, progressive and safe individualized design programming that improves and enhances your own personal fitness
– And, a community atmosphere, where you come together, alongside others in the gym, who, though they may be following their own programs as well, are working just as hard and push one another to be ‘better’ every day
It’s a NEW concept still that many coaches, gyms, athletes and clients are still trying to wrap their heads around, but one that will take your community to the next level.
We will ask this one more time, what does community mean to you?
Chances are, it’s not necessarily “a one-size fits all approach.”