Wolfpack Mentality

“Hello. How about that ride in? I guess that’s why they call it Sin City. Ha ha. You guys might not know this, but i consider myself a bit of a loner. I tend to think of myself as a one man wolf pack. But when my sister brought Doug home I knew he was one of my own! And my wolf pack, it grew by one. So there were, there were two of us in the wolf pack. I was alone in the wolf pack, and then Doug joined in later. And six months ago, when Doug introduced me to you guys, I thought “wait a second, could it be?” And now I know for sure, I just added two more guys to my wolf pack. Four of us wolves, running around the desert together, In Las Vegas…”
— Zach Galifianakis, The Hangover

Today at CrossFit Kent Island, we take on a partner workout!  I love partner workouts because they automatically add a bit more intensity to the experience – a bit more urgency, maybe.  You and a partner are sharing the assigned work, with only one partner working at a time.  Because you are resting while your partner is working, you feel accountable to your partner and to the results of the team, not just yours, and you move through your reps with a little extra speed.  Maybe just for the 30 minutes of that workout, you are not a lone wolf – you’re a member of a two-wolf pack!  You work hard for the pack, your own needs and wants at the time be damned!

As happens often, this physical training experience with a partner or a team is a great metaphor for life.  We all know that person in our lives that tends to put others needs in front of her own, who thinks about the family first, or props others up on a project team at the expense of her own professional advancement.  Is this a completely altruistic act, or do they know that advancing the cause of the group will also benefit them in the long term?  Maybe it’s a bit of both.  But that does seem to be a point of character that we admire in others, so maybe something to strive for in our own lives.  And what a good opportunity to practice that team-first mentality than in the gym with your friends!

So, next time you come across a partner workout in the gym, try to notice that mental tug to go a little bit harder – not for yourself, but for your wolfpack, as small as it might be.  Use that positive pressure to generate even better results in the gym, and in your life as well!

“For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.”
Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book


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