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The squat racks with a loaded barbell at CrossFit 204 in Winnipeg.
The squat racks with a loaded barbell at CrossFit 204 in Winnipeg.
Under construction on Berry Street in July 2011.

We’re heading into Year 9 as an official CrossFit affiliate, though we’ve been coaching CrossFit for almost a decade.

With that in mind I’ll share nine lessons I’ve learned over the years—with thanks to all the coaches, gym owners, colleagues and clients who helped me learn them.

1. No single workout matters, and it isn’t worth being frustrated on any day. Weeks and months and years of training matter. One day does not. 

2. Look at the whiteboard after your workout, not before. Stow your ego, do your very best, then see if you beat your rivals. Whether you did or didn’t, congratulate them.

3. Reduce intensity when you need to. Recognize that life happens, and your best effort doesn’t look the same every. Sometimes you need to reduce the load, slow down and just move. That’s OK. You’re best is good enough, and you’ll still get fitter.

4. Listen to your coach. Your coach isn’t holding you back or showing a lack of faith. He or she is watching out for you at all times—but especially when you’re being greedy.

5. Don’t be greedy. Take what’s there and be grateful. If you hit a PR, smile, unload the bar and cheer for everyone who’s still working.

6. Be patient. You’re building something great. It took 632 years to build the Cologne Cathedral, and it will take more than a week for great things to happen to you. Set your sights on the horizon and enjoy every milestone .

7. Focus on what you can do or what you did. It doesn’t matter what you can’t do or what anyone else did. It only matters that you showed up and did something. Your coaches think you’re a super hero just because you walk in the door.

8. Food matters—more than you think. You will never, ever outwork a bad diet. Not ever. But if you make healthy diet changes—even small ones—everything will get better. I won’t describe the things we’ve seen people do when they eat better because I’ll sound like I’m on an infomercial. But trust me: If you work out and eat better, you’ll be amazed at what happens.

9. Keep going forever. We’ve seen people lose their canes and then need them again after taking time off. We’ve seen people make amazing positive changes and then make equally dramatic negative changes. Momentum is key. To stay healthy, you can’t stop working out—not on vacation, not because you’re busy, not because you’re tired. You have to keep going. You’re a person who works out now, so do it regularly no matter what. If you do, you’ll be richly rewarded.

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