It’s really hard to wrap my head around the fact that it’s been 13 years since first opening the doors to CrossFit Torque. To think of the number of people who have come through our doors is mind boggling (over 3000). It’s also humbling. And I’m even more humbled by those who first came through our doors 13 years ago and are STILL with us today!
There are a lot of “thanks” that need to be spread around; thank you to each coach (past and present) for your dedication and loyalty to the TorqueNation community. The countless hours in and outside of the gym, sacrifices and time away from family, sweat and cheers that you have given to each member of the community is greatly appreciated. Coaches have come and gone, but each one of them has truly cared about our members. #AliStrong
Thanks to each of the members for your determination, drive, support, energy and smiles. Each day is a new chance to be a little bit better, and when you show up to Torque whether its at 5 in the morning or 6 at night, you’re on the right path to a healthier and happier life! Thank you for believing in yourselves.
And finally thanks to my wife and co-owner Sara, and our family for your unwavering and unconditional support. Sara – we are unstoppable together. My Family – I feel like I can’t thank you enough for always understanding the demands of the business. You’re always the first to support me at any Torque Event, and I know the first to read my emails all the way through 😉 I love you and thank you so very much!
Here’s to continued years of success and growth, #TorqueNation!
I’ve learned a lot of life lessons. None of which are specific to running a gym, all of which seem to be good life rules in general.
SUPPORT THE DREAMERS. They’re the ones who will change the world. When we first were opening I would ramble on about the power of community. I was the dreamer that wanted to take this idea and change the world. About this workout that was efficient and powerful, but that was much more about relationships, and supporting each other. How people who live near each other but don’t know each other will create community and support each other outside the gym. About helping people through disease and injury and addiction. About how people of any shape, size and condition can be on a “team” together and that’s how we save the world. 13 years later, and we’ve done all that, and more. I have never experienced anything like this. We must always support the dreamers. If they can see it, find the path, and we support them, they will change the world.
WE ARE ALL BROKEN. Our bodies are broken. Our souls are broken. I have yet to have one single person who didn’t have some sort of body or soul owie that we didn’t have to work around. The physical ones are easy, we can scale any move. Hell, I did CrossFit with one arm for a few months after a softball injury was repaired; I even worked out with an air-cast on one ankle. The emotional ones are harder to scale for, until you realize that all you have to do is be there with an open heart. I literally cannot count the number of times people have cried in the gym. Sometimes from stuff happening outside the gym, sometimes from doing – or not being able to do – something in the gym. And then they go to our secret Facebook page and say “thanks for letting me cry” and dozens of people chime in, supporting them. Or like a grown ass adult who is moved to tears by the power of people being raw, honest and open. These are not things that I ever associated with a gym. I thought gyms were about shame, fear and towel-snapping.
WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER. See above. And above. But it’s more than that. We’ll have a member post that they’re doing some competition or race or something, and then others join. And suddenly you have all these people out in the world doing stuff they wouldn’t have done otherwise. We celebrate bright spots each Friday in class and in our private group supporting and celebrating the little and big wins. We’ve had members go through major life changes – divorce, childbirth, illness, death, addiction, suicide – and ask for help in our community. We’ve had dogs walked, plants watered, moving assisted….. Ask for help. Help when you can. That’s how the world works best.
BODY SHAME IS CRIPPLING. I coach the Torque On-Ramp classes, in which we bring in total beginners and slowly acclimate them to our particular brand of sweaty awesomeness. As part of that, we always asked people to share their goals. 90% of the time, the goal was to lose a certain amount of weight, or be a particular size from their past – or that magazines have told them they should be. This is the #1 thing we work against. After years of being told their bodies are bad, we do the opposite. We tell them their bodies are amazing, and can do incredible things. We shift goal setting from “look a certain way” to “do particular things and feel a certain way.” I have never hated the fitness industry as much as I did once I became part of it. We are so guilty of setting up goals based on looking a certain way and being “the best” at everything, meaning being better than other people. At Torque, we’ve 10000% committed to not doing that, ever. We take the focus away from appearance and competition, and instead put it on helping people find joy and power in their own bodies, their own lives, their own way. Have people lost weight and stuff at Torque? You bet. But it’s a side-effect, and nothing more.
THE MYTH OF THE BEST IS KILLING US. As a society, we are totally focused on being the best. It’s an unnecessary hierarchy that inherently creates masses of people who feel like losers and a handful of winners who have to do anything possible to stay on top, lest they be treated like the losers they created. We focus on having more money, more muscles, more toys more….. It is killing us. We are stressed, depressed and in debt in pursuit of the myth of the best, as proven by having the most. At Torque, we ask people to track their progress and workouts in an app so that they can be tuned in with their process. But we will often go months without writing scores on the ubiquitous white boards, because for many people, comparing themselves to others is really harmful. It will, physically, cause people to do sloppy reps in pursuit of getting the most reps. Emotionally, it can be a constant reminder for some of “not being good enough.” So we go back and forth.
PEOPLE OVER PROFIT. This is a big one. We pay a living wage to every single person who works for us, including those who clean and manage our member software. One of the dirtiest secrets of CrossFit gyms across the country is that they will often not pay coaches, just have them work enough hours to work off the cost of membership. Or barely pay them minimum wage. Not here. We are trusting these people to empower the bodies and souls of our members. They are the most important thing in the world to us. We pay them really well, and we’re proud of that.
VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE. I have not yet gotten bored with CrossFit, because it’s different every time. But also, repetitive stress injury is a thing. And no, we’re not immune to it in CrossFit either. But I believe, with all my heart, that the diversity of training in CrossFit not only reduces such mundane injuries, but makes us stronger humans over all. If I gave into my tendencies, I would do nothing but watch TV on and maybe go for walks every day. But CrossFit is shit tons of fun, I don’t have to think, and I use my muscles and joints in ways that I wouldn’t otherwise. Which, in turn, makes me more able to do things I enjoy, and my body is truly ready for whatever life throws at it.
TRAIN YOUR WEAKNESS. We will inherently avoid doing the things we suck at. Which is fine if what you suck at is translating 14th century Spanish poetry. But if what you suck at is hanging from a bar, or deadlifts, or…. that’s probably because it’s a movement pattern that you’re not accustomed to and / or a muscle group that is weak. While there’s no reason to win a contest at those things, there are plenty of real life physical reasons not to have a weak lower back, and to be able to squat comfortably. Life will throw those reasons at you, and you want to be safe when you have to handle them, am I right?
When I look at my life right now, I am just blown away with blessings. I am so fortunate. I feel so connected to my community, so safe and empowered in my body. So much of it came from CrossFit Torque. I met my wife Sara and started our family thanks to Torque. I have Torque to thank for my nephews and neice as my brother met his wife and started his family through Torque. Hell, our daughter broke her femur and was out of her full body cast after five weeks because of the strength she built up during her workouts at Torque.
Happy anniversary, Torque. We are stronger together. All of us.