If you’ve been doing CrossFit for any length of time, you know that coaches are the true heroes when it comes to saving us from ourselves.
They do everything they can to teach us, guide us, and get us to the finish line.
But wouldn’t it be nice if we really knew what they were thinking when they were ‘coaching’ us?
Wouldn’t it be cool to peak behind the curtain and figure out what our coaches were really thinking when we add another 45 plate on each side?
Well lucky for you, we put our research team to the test, not to mention the 40 pots of coffee in a 3 day time frame, and we decoded everything a coach says and got its true meaning.
What we learned was pretty remarkable. Enjoy!
Says: “Hey, let’s work on your Snatch form a little.”
Means: “ Dear God stop before you injure yourself and others!”
Sometimes functional movements look more like a baby trying to stand for the first time than a, you know… functional movement.
The job of a CrossFit coach is to try and push people to push themselves.
Sometimes, this means making people do tough movements, like the snatch, even if their form is not quite perfect.
Other times, it means stopping someone before they accidentally rip off both arms while swinging a heavy weight over their head.
But deep down, CrossFit coaches tend to be nice people.
They don’t want you to get discouraged and give up on an exercise, so they break it to you easily.
It’s the equivalent of you saying “it’s not you, it’s me” when you broke up with your high school girlfriend, even though your girlfriend was a pyromaniac who enjoyed setting your clothes, books, and hair on fire.
It was definitely her. But you’re being nice, because you don’t know how she would take you telling her the full truth.
Also, because she’s a pyromaniac and you liked your house not burnt down.
So the coach tells you in the nicest way possible.
They tell you that your form is SO CLOSE to being perfect, but there are a few, minor, 127 little things you could tweak to make it better.
Maybe they even pretend it is their fault, saying that they haven’t taught you well enough yet.
Whatever the case, just remember that your coach is an awesome person who just wants to see you shine.
They love the sport and they love the people.
They combine these loves by helping other people enjoy CrossFit through running gyms and setting up workouts.
Sure, you’ve probably thought about killing your CrossFit coach before.
Nobody can make you work until you’re about to pass out, then tell you you have 11 minutes left in the workout, without having some negative thoughts thrown their way.
It just comes with the territory. It’s not that you ACTUALLY hate them, it’s just that you hate them for however long the workout of the day is.
But overall, CrossFit coaches are awesome people. After all, they have to put up with all of us.
They’re the ones who come in early and stay late in their CrossFit box, sometimes running multiple CrossFit classes for hours.
Most importantly, they’re the ones with seemingly endless amounts of positive energy and feedback when all you want to do is lie on the floor.
Says: “Really slam those medicine balls!”
Means: “Haha, I just got to say ‘slam those balls’.”
No matter how mature and focused your CrossFit coach seems, odds are they’re a bit of a child at heart.
After all, they love hanging out with people, running around, and yelling all day long. That is the unknown dream job of preteens everywhere.
And of course every kid loves to say anything to do with the word ‘balls’.
It is just a funny word. Getting to say ‘slam’ leading up to it? That’s just icing on the cake.
‘Balls’ is a word that can be used in sentences that are constantly varied and endlessly fun, but ‘slam’ is a top 10 word you can use in a sentence containing the word, and they know it.
So if you see your coach giggling after he calls that out, they’re not laughing at you.
Their inner 12-year-old is just loving every moment of getting to yell that at a group of adults who are trying to take things seriously.
It’s a big bonus of the job.
Today Is A Good Day To Die
Says: “Today we’re going to warm up on the Assault Bike.” Means: “Today we’re all going to die before we even begin.”
Yes, your CrossFit coach knows that the assault bike is basically a modern day torture device.
Yes, they know that the word “Assault” does not exactly conjure up images of leisurely bike rides through the park for your warm up.
No, that doesn’t mean they care. Pain is just a part of CrossFit, so get used to it.
But sometimes you wish “warm up” just meant “warm up” and not “workout part 1” to your coach.
Your coach doesn’t care.
Maybe they had a bad day at home and are purposefully taking out their anger at their poor gym goers, but more likely they just want you to improve, and they recognize the Assault Bike is a part of that.
You Can Run But You Can’t Hide
Says: “Wow, I didn’t even notice you during warm up today.”
Means: “I know that you were hiding in the bathroom the entire time we were on the assault bike.”
So your coach wants you to improve. You get it.
So do you, just not quite enough to force yourself onto that torture device.
You’re there for a CrossFit workout, for a strength and conditioning program, not for a quick lesson in physical pain before you even begin.
So you loudly proclaim “Wow, those 13 tacos from Taco Bell sure are having a fiesta in my small intestine right now!” and head to the bathroom.
Wow, you think, I am a genius. Another perfectly executed plan. Now nobody will suspect anything while I spent 15 minutes sitting on the toilet, scrolling through memes.
But your coach knows. Oh, you’d better believe he knows.
He can tell when you walk out of the bathroom with a big smile on your face.
Nobody actually feeling the effects of 13 Taco Bell tacos could have a smile that big.
Participation Trophy (not really)
Says: “Good job today.”
Means: “ Well, at least you tried.”
Notice the period at the end of that sentence. That signifies a lack of emotion from the coach.
Maybe he noticed you were slacking a little. The workout was more “adequate intensity” than “high intensity”.
Since you only put in an average workout of the day, or WOD, you only get an average parting with the coach.
Think about it like this.
If you were a farmer in the 19th century, your horse would plow your field for you.
And if you spend hours encouraging your horse, training it how to properly pull the plow, and teaching it the merits of hard work, you expect something in return.
If the horse then proceeds to poorly drag the plow in haphazardous circles around the field, you’re probably not going to award it with many carrots at the end of the day.
You are the horse. Your coach is the farmer.
If he spends hours investing in you and you only give him ‘meh’ in return, you’re not getting the carrot of the coach telling you how awesome you are at the end of the WOD.
Beast Mode Activated
Says: “GOOD JOB TODAY!”
Means: “ Man, these guys are awesome!”
This is the carrot on the end of the stick. To continue the analogy, now the horse has tilled the field perfectly, and with time left over before dinner.
You gave it your all. So did everyone else in the class.
Yes, all of you are lying on the floor with glazed-over eyes, but that is OK.
Hours later, when you finally recover enough to form a fully-cognizant thought, you’ll realize the coach being that excited means a lot.
It means you walked into the belly of the CrossFit beast and came out alive.
You gave it your all, impressed the dungeon master, and got his blessing at the end of the quest.
You gave it your all, and the coach of your local CrossFit affiliated gym recognized that, What more could one ask for.
For The Love Of God Please Do NOT Miss This
Says: “Make sure you work on that mobility today.”
Means: “ I know you’re going to lie on your couch all night regardless, but I’m at least going to remind you.”
Your coach knows that nobody ACTUALLY does mobility, but does that stop him? No.
He knows that to really improve, everyone at the gym needs to stretch.
Lots of gym-goers can’t even touch their toes, but then they want to compete like the professionals at the 2019 CrossFit games.
Those professionals can basically bend themselves into a pretzel, and it really helps with their functional movements.
So even though they know they are basically saying those words into a void, coaches still tell you to stretch.
They want you to have what you don’t even know you need.
No Pain No Gain
Says: “C’mon, get those double unders!”
Means: “ How bloody will those shins be before they give up?”
Jump rope is already tough enough. Skipping is just jumping over a little razor wire as fast as you can. That is not easy.
Those come straight from the bowels of hell.
Skipping is usually a fairly straight forward transaction between yourself and the rope: you jump once, the rope goes under you once.
That rope gets even payment for what it gives you.
With double unders, you try and get the rope to do twice the work with the same pay.
If you’ve ever tried to get 2 Subway sandwiches for the price of 1, you know this will end poorly.
The rope does not like you taking advantage of it like that, and decides on retribution.
The rope’s revenge comes in the form of frequent lashings to the shins.
No matter how hard you try, you never seem to get better at double unders.
What’s the point, anyways, you’re not training to make the NBA.
Your CrossFit coach knows that you’re not going to successfully complete 50 double unders without screwing up at least a handful of times, so every time he tells you to go harder, he knows that you will end up causing some accidental self-harm.
All he wants to see is that you push yourself and don’t give up right away just because you’re struggling.
Forgive Me As I Have Sinned
Says: “We have a… fun workout today!”
Means: “ I’m apologizing in advance please forgive me!”
Every CrossFitter has experienced this.
You walk into your box and the coach stands there with a big grin on his face, equal parts nervous and excited.
He tells you the workout is going to be “fun”, but you know that is coach-speak for “incredibly difficult”.
Coaches do this for a few reasons.
First, they want to begin the session on a positive note.
If people walked into the gym and the coach said, “Well, this is going to be f*%king awful, I hope none of you pass away mid workout.” odds are a lot of people are going to leave.
By jokingly saying that the workout is going to be fun, the coach shows he is on the same page as his clients, knowing the workout is tough but going into it anyways.
It’s a running joke in CrossFit that masochism is part of the reason you love it.
Even Dave Castro, the CrossFit Games director, constantly pokes fun at how much we love to hate our workouts.
Second of all, a small part of every coach loves working their clients to the bone.
They know this is what is going to separate the people who LOVE CrossFit from the people who only like it.
They also know that these workouts are going to cause people to need to lean on each other as well as themselves, which will help create a family feel in their CrossFit gym.
In the end, they want their gym to feel like a family.
Coaches may seem like hardasses, but CrossFit and the people that it introduces them to are a second family.
Everything they say and do has your best interests at heart.
So maybe next time you’re near death on the assault bike and you see your coach walk by, blow them a little kiss instead of planning their unfortunate demise.
Speaking Of Demise…
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