Power Dynamic

If I (Gary) may, I’d like to share an experience I had with Lacy (my partner) the other night, that spurred the following thoughts.

Lacy and I were having a fruitful conversation about certain topics of the mind. She shared with me a gratitude for some of the things I had taught her. I instantly had this unease with the word “teach.” For me, it suggests a teacher/student relationship that implicitly harbors a power dynamic, and (based on so many issues in our world today and beyond) power dynamics have the potential to cover the spectrum from painful to catastrophic. Besides, all I was doing was sharing information that had either been shared with me or was something I experienced, in the same way she does with me that I am grateful for an learn so much from - I certainly don’t feel a teacher.

In last nights post we talked about the idea of choice, and how taking responsibility for ones experience can lead to a much more creative process, instead of mindlessly being told what to do. Another important aspect of this is the implicit presence of a difference of power between coach and client. I’d like to offer a different way (or maybe you already see it this way) of approaching this relationship.

It’s quite simple - we all have information we were given at some point that has lead us to believe a certain thing. Information can come in many forms from words heard, movements felt, to pages read. We may come one day to being in a position where we are asked or requested to share such information. There is something in this process where I believe we get lost (myself included). We come to think that we are somehow now the source of truth on a particular topic. Do you see how the power dynamic starts to form?

I love CrossFit. It has given me a beautiful frame to understand the whys, hows and whats of fitness. I am forever grateful for these teachings. The issue though that comes up for me in CrossFit is the apparent dogmatic approach to their offerings. There doesn’t (from my view) seem to be much wiggle room or nuance - it’s as if the answers have been determined and there’s no room to explore or discover other possibilities. And that to me is a massive red flag.

Choose ten Olympic lifting gyms from around the world or country even, and you’ll find sometimes drastically different ways of approaching the same lift. Who’s right?

My contention here is that the one who is telling instead of sharing, is lost. The idea is to instead of tell, share, or offer, and then - here’s the crux of it, which I think is why so many “powers that be” struggle to not “tell” - to offer support in whatever the individual chooses. Can you see how this would be scary for a business, teacher or father? There is no control - it’s completely letting go, and letting go with love.

Somehow we came to love again ;) and as uncomfortable as that made me feel writing (actually not horrible - just worried what others will think), I also see it as crucial to put out there.

Thanks for taking the time. Hit me up if you have any thoughts!

If you have another minute (or 10), I strongly recommend watching this Ted Talk:

“Not knowing is not failure, it’s the first step to understanding.”

We had some muscle ups today in Saturday’s metcon, and next week we’ll be working on tightening up the kip swing. Being able to dynamically swing while holding tight positions can assist greatly in an efficient muscle up. Here is one of the ladies teaching one of those classes next Saturday, demonstrating some of that tightness - notice the toes! See you then :)


4 Sets: 6 Single Arm Push Jerk @3xx1 tempo (same weight as last week)
6-7 Double DB Bent Over Row @ 3030 tempo (adding a little more weight if possible)
:25 Hollow Hold

Teams of 2:
2k Ski Erg
30 Rope Climbs or Ring MU
1 Mile Run
*Partners can split distances and reps as they want

Tell Me What To Do

Do you have any thoughts on the dynamic of choice in CrossFit? Specifically, do you ever think about your CrossFitting as a function of choice or do you see it more as being told what to do?

I know I’ve heard that folks like to come in and “be told what to do,” and that’s all well and good, as long as it’s a choice. True choice always comes as a function of awareness - no awareness, no choice.

But why is choice so important? It’s important because without it, we aren’t bringing (or living with/demonstrating) our authentic selves.

Push your knees out - weight in the heels - chest up!
These are (at one time) hard line cues that have revealed to be much more nuanced than previously thought

Every generation has (on some level) the impression that they have things figured out, but come to find out, they weren’t even close - fad diets, coca cola, cigarettes etc. In CrossFit, I’m sure (if you’ve been around a while) you’ve noticed cues and technique tips have a propensity to change a bit. Sometimes this change is very slow, but when inspected, there are changes in coaching happening all the time.

The idea here is simple - because each individual is unique and mysterious, and everything is always changing, coaching “advise” or cues can (ideally) be digested more as an offering or sharing of information, i.e. consume the information and then do as you wish.

From this place of choice there is much more empowerment, curiosity and awareness, which are pillars for learning and enjoyment.
Who gets to be the source of a particular subject anyway?

The truth of the matter is that I notice this very strongly in myself - a history of telling people what to do in CrossFit because my experience made it true.

It’s a matter of “shoulds.” You shoulder warm up, you should be strong, you should go to school, you should be skinny, you should be tough, you should _______. (Side note - if you haven’t explored/inspected your “shoulds", you may find it a fascinating project). Doing what we “have” to or “should” do takes all the choice out of life, and can lead to tragic ends.

Although this may seem a lofty concept for CrossFIt, it’s not the least bit a stretch to apply it to performance.

Looking at Logan’s set up below, can you see some things she’s doing “right?” Do you know where your idea of the “right” sumo deadlift came from? Experience? Coaching cues?
These questions are invitations of curiosity and exploration.



OT2M 3 Sumo Deadlift
Building to a 90% feel over the 5 sets

400m Run
30 Bar Facing Burpees
60 Wall Balls(20/14#)
Rest 3 Min
60 Wall Balls
30 BFB
400m Run
Rest 3 Min
30 BFB
60 Wall Balls
400m Run
*Track splits and goal is to keep all 3 blocks at same time even with the different order