We now take a quick break from your regularly scheduled trip down memory lane for an announcement that has been painfully obvious to those of you that have ventured into the gym this week… IT’S HERO MONTH!!
Making the month of May “Hero Month” is something that we started to do in the olden days (pre-pandemic!) and has become more organized and official every year. Whatever CrossFit programming we have been following up until that point takes a backseat for a month, and in May we complete an extraordinary number of Hero workouts.
For the uninitiated, a Hero workout is a tradition that CrossFit started on July 6th, 2005 when they posted the Workout of the Day (WOD) and it had a name: “J.T.” This named workout was not like the others, it wasn’t a benchmark workout to be repeated regularly to test your fitness. J.T. was a real person. Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff Taylor was a Navy SEAL that was killed in action the previous month.
Hero workouts were a huge reason that I started doing CrossFit a couple years later. I loved that even in a training methodology known for intensity and daily workouts that prompted me to yell at the computer screen, “you want me to do WHAT??”, there were some infamous Hero workouts that were known for their relentless demand for even more work, even heavier weights, even higher skill. And they meant something. These workouts represent a person who dedicated their lives to hard, miserable work for the greater good. They loved doing it, but now they can’t anymore, so it’s up to us to honor them by pushing through a workout that no normal human has any business taking on.
The idea of dedicating an hour of sweat and pain to a fallen warrior, and that others throughout the world were doing the same thing that day, drew me in big time. They became my favorite workouts, and they still are. Taking on a new Hero workout is a solemn experience, and repeating one turns them into brutal benchmarks of fitness and determination.
We choose May for Hero Month because it culminates every year with Memorial Day, and the “Murph” workout. Murph is by far the most well-known of the Hero workouts because of it’s traditional tie to Memorial Day and because of the staggering amount of work to be completed, but as we will see this month there are other Heroes that will test us just as much, if not more. These Heroes, many times delivered back-to-back on consecutive days, are designed to test you physically, for sure – CrossFit is after all a physical training program. But more than that they are designed to test your will to give something everything you’ve got, and then do it again, with what feels like no time to recover. This is where we find mental toughness and resilience. This is where we find grit.
Is this a smart training plan for an extended period of time? No way.
Will you be more sore than using a “normal” CrossFit regimen? Absolutely – this is your body responding to an overload in training volume.
Can you complete the whole month? I guess we’re going to find out.
Your coaches are here to help you navigate each daily challenge with smart scaling strategies that adapt the workout to an appropriate challenge for you. We will not make it easy on you, if anything you will find out this month that you can do more than you think you can. But we will keep you safe and healthy. You just keep showing up with a fighting spirit befitting the warrior we honor that day.
Now onto a couple administrative points. In previous years we have given away t-shirts for Hero Month. This year we are going to focus our t-shirt energy on our 12-hour Hero Challenge that is going down on Saturday, June 11. So get pumped for that! We do want to commemorate our Hero Month in a special way though and celebrate everyone that took on the challenge of completing all of the Heroes we throw at you in May. More specifics to come, but our Heroes names, along with YOUR NAMES, will be a part of our gym forever.
Also, you do not have to complete each Hero workout on the day that we program them. Work, kids, travel, these are all enemies of a regular training schedule, and may prevent you from getting in the gym every single time you want to. You can complete these Hero workouts anytime during the month of May. Come in for Open Gym on the weekend. Ask a coach if you can meet them at the gym to knock out one that you missed. Maybe they’ll throw down with you! Do a workout on vacation with a sandbag or a big rock to replace your barbell (get a picture for Instagram, ok?) Be creative and honor the fallen Hero, and you’re adhering to the spirit of Hero Month.
If you can’t tell, I’m more than a little fired up for Hero Month. It’s an oversized physical challenge characterized by mental struggle, emotional turmoil, and yet always big smiles and solid fist bumps. It’s the best part of CrossFit, and ties us back to the men and women that shared our passion for fitness, and service.
In the movie Lone Survivor, Shane Patton, who was killed alongside Jeff Taylor in a mission to try to save Michael Murphy and his team, quotes an old salty World War II verse called The Ballad of the Frogman.
“Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards.”