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The 5 Types of Athletes You Meet at the Gym

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Given the popularity of CrossFit and the sheer amount of gyms that have opened in the past few years focusing on it, it’s no surprise that there are a lot of people out there claiming that CrossFit is their preferred method of working out. However, even though we have a large number of people joining our sport, I firmly believe that we can categorize that number down to the different types of individuals that we see in the gym everday. So without, further fluff and adieu, here are the 5 types of athletes you meet at the CrossFit gym.

1. The “Newbie”

The newbie is pretty self-explanatory. They will typically be just out of the foundational/intro classes that your box offers. They don’t know a lot, they’ll ask a lot of questions and their workouts will be scaled for awhile until they get the hang of everything and build up some base strength and conditioning. Think this is all bad? Heck no. The Newbie goes hard no matter what. They don’t know about pacing, clustering, or any of the other fancy ways we game out our workouts. They go hard for the sake of going hard. They may feel like they have something to prove as the new person, so that also contributes to their go-hard or go-home attitude.

Personally the Newbie is also my favorite. They are always open to listening and growing. Sometimes when you get more and more experience, you tend to think you know it all, which makes you a lot harder to coach. Not the Newbie: he or she is soaking up what you’re teaching them like a sponge.

2. The “Bandwagon”

If the Newbie is my favorite then the Bandwagon is probably my least favorite. These are the athletes that waste your time by consistently giving you less effort and not being bought in to a health and fitness lifestyle. They’ll meander their way through the workout, possibly breaking a sweat. They’ll never push themselves when it comes to the strength exercises, only doing the bare minimum or the same as they did 6 weeks ago. Their diet and their lifestyle outside the gym is completely contradictory to the lifestyle that you are trying to help them promote in the gym.

When I think about these folks, I keep thinking “CrossFit’s Popular, so I’m doing it Too…” It’s as if they want to tell people what they are doing, so that they’ll either feel like they are doing something right or others will think that they are cool. It’s as if they are going through the motions with no real plans to change their lifestyle.

Think I have a problem with this type of athelete? You’re right. But rejoice, they can turn it around. I’ve seen some of these Bandwagon folks change their lifestyle after they’ve seen what they are capable of if they push themselves. If you’re a coach, never fear. There is hope.

3. The “Coach’s Pet”

Don’t let the name bring on a lot of negative connotations. This isn’t always a bad group to be a part of. There are two types of “pets” for a CrossFit coach. The athlete that is so skilled/talented/works so hard that you want to spend more time on them and most importantly THEY want you to spend more time with them to get them better. Then there’s the other one: The one that sucks your time because they are complaining, or joking, or just won’t put in the effort… as a person you may really like them. As an athlete, you’d wish they’d listen to you.

Now as a coach, you have to make sure that you’re careful not to allow these people to monopolize your time. You’ve got a group class you need to run, so make sure that you’re focusing on the group, not the individual.

4. The “Everyday Warrior”

This group is the vast majority of the gym populace and rightfully so, it’s what helps CrossFit become so popular. This are your everyday men and women who are serious about health and fitness, and while they may never be a “competitor” in any serious sense of the word, they come in and constantly give 110%. This athlete listens, grows and evolves in their day to day endeavors to get healthier.

This group may range the most in their backgrounds. From no athletic experience to college sports and anywhere in between. From male to female, young to old, etc… This group is the bread and butter of any gym and one of the reasons that being a coach is fulfilling. You’ll see individuals in this group reaching their goals and you’ll enjoy it along with them. This group is also a feeder group for our last one: The “Competitive Athlete”

5. The “Competitive Athlete”

One step above our “Everyday Warrior” group we have the “Competitive Athlete”. This athlete will typically have his or her name at the top of the leaderboards and PR sheets at the gym. They may also be on programming that is outside of the normal group class programming: Individual Program Design, Competitors Classes, etc…

Are these athletes Games bound? Possibly. But they will be a decent player at the local level competitions, and chances are at these competitions they aren’t competing in the scaled divisions.

There you have it. These are my 5 types of athletes you’d see in the gym. Did I miss any? Do you think it’s the strength of these groups that help make our fitness community great? Let me know in the comments below or leave a message on our Facebook page