By Coach Shawn 

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Earlier on when I started CrossFit,  I was driven to have the best times. 

The top lifts (If Nolan wasn’t around that day) or the most reps in a workout. 

I would train with a few of my closest friends at the time and we ALWAYS wanted to beat each other. 

Out lift one another. 

Not in an unhealthy way, but a competitive way. 

We HELPED bring out the best in each other. 

We were all training to be competitive in the SPORT side of CrossFit at the time. 

It was no question whether someone went deep enough in a squat, or locked out their arms or even did all the reps. 

Of course we always did.

No one was bragging about a squat above parallel, or a score they didn’t do or work they did not perform. 

We all had movement integrity because of a few factors:

  • We were all striving to move well. 
  • It’s the movement standards.
  • None of us believed in cutting corners.
  • Self respect. 
  • Respect for one another.
  • Personal integrity. 

The fellas and I always kept it healthy and we always expressed mutual respect because we always knew the guy who came out on top on a particular day possessed movement quality, did the set work and we all knew the effort it took to do what he did. 

Where Do I See This Go Wrong In Group Classes?

“Letting #’s Define Me”

  • People attaching their overall worth in a specific lift or number. 
  • If it didn’t go as planned their morale or self esteem is down. 
  • If their closest ally, friend, or workout buddy outlifts them by even 5lbs they get upset, feel inferior or even disappointed within themselves.

“Making the Wrong Compromises.”

  • In an attempt to lift “more” or even what one has previously done (or worse, what they tell themselves they SHOULD be able to) they cut form.

Most notorious culprits… 

  • Squatting high (above parallel) 

You will never, EVER hear me ask, “was my squat low enough?” 

If you have to ask, you already know the answer. 

If you can’t squat the weight below parallel you do not have business squatting it. 

*unless we’ve SPECIFICALLY programmed that for you due to knee pain or working around a particular issue. 

More culprits,

  • Rounding the back to get the deadlift, not getting chin over bar in a pullup, or the workout gets tough so instead of digging in cutting corners/shaving reps to make it easier.

“They Let Someone Else Drive Their Car.”

Friendly push, friendly competition can be healthy, and give us the push we need.

When it becomes UNHEALTHY, it becomes dangerous and toxic. 

When we gauge our performance, results, scores or lifts in comparison to others whether we did “good” or “bad” we always set ourselves up for ultimate failure

EVERYONE is going to be better than us at something. 

Who cares. 

Here is a secret I have known for awhile and I encourage you to own.

If you truly, truly want to get better…

Work hard, relentlessly and optimistically on your weaknesses. 

Turn your weaknesses first into middle ground movements and eventually into strengths.

You will feel so good about that movement, yourself and you will KNOW the hard work you’ve put in to make it that way.

And that effort, that pride, is one of the most refreshing feelings. 

Run your own race. 

“Constantly Complaining When Things Don’t Go Their Way.”

I “coulda” “shoulda” “woulda.” 

The best thing we can all do after a workout (again if you really want to see continual progress and not just break a sweat) is immediately reflect on your performance. 

  • What did you do well today? (First question to ask yourself)
  • What’s getting better? 
  • What did you learn? 

Want to kill the vibe? Spread negative energy?


Complaining is cancer.

It’s toxic.

It’s like lighting up a cigarette, blowing your smoke in others faces and asking them to either (inhale) aka feel bad for you or join the party and smoke with you (complain too)… 

Don’t be a complainer.  

Be above complaints. 

You can live small and always feel bad for yourself or you can learn and actually get better. 

“Not Listening.”

The percentage says 65, 75, then 85% yet I look over and I see a person I normally lift around lifting way more than I so instead of following the percentages I just lift heavier. 

And here’s where things spiral…

  • Weights too heavy so depth gets cut. 
  • Forms out the window so the chance of injury goes up. 
  • Eventually my (insert body part) begins to hurt.
  • I avoid listening to it in an attempt to still push myself and PROVE (whatever I’m trying to prove.)
  • It eventually bugs me so much I have to take time off.


This could all be avoided by…


Listening to the Coaches, the program, your body. 

The biggest growth I know that needs to occur for all of us is between the ears. 

I’m not saying it’s easy. 

It’s difficult. 

But on the other side of consistently putting in this work has the highest rewards of 

Personal fulfillment, 

Consistent and steady progress

Continued development as a human (that others want to be around)

Our lives are not defined by our back squats or amrap scores. 

However, our ability to perform these with the most integrity and the personal pursuit of quality, efficacy and dignity speak loudly of our own self reflections. 

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