Year Five: Professional Coaching

In 2016, a few things happened.  The end.  Haha, that would be pretty lame, huh?  In looking through our Instagram pictures though (my favorite way of remembering each year!), the year was filled with so much diversity, it’s hard to focus on one thing!

But one theme does come to mind – this was the year that we started coaching the s#$% out of people.

In our Instagram feed, we liked to announce upcoming events or new classes that we were offering, to get the word out and generate some buzz.  Beginning in 2016, the number of non-CrossFit classes and seminars that we began to put out dramatically increased, as we began in earnest to improve our members’ flexibility and mobility through targeted seminars and weekly yoga classes (when it was warm enough!).  Thanks to Coach Josh, our focus and our coaches’ and members’ education on mobility was at an all time high, something I’d like to return to.
We also began offering nutrition seminars through one of our members, Laura, who is a nutritional therapist and amazing at presenting and writing about how to implement nutrition strategies that are right for each individual, and not the classic “everyone should eat this way, it’s the best and only way to do it.”  How could there be so many best ways to do it, and all of them diametrically opposed to each other?
This was the year that we became more complete, more professional, as fitness coaches.  It had finally sunk in that it’s not just about leading a group of people through a CrossFit class.  It’s about looking out for each individual member and offering the education and training that they need to accomplish their goals, as different as they might be.

In 2016 we also were gifted with a new coach, Jason.  Jason was new to Kent Island but not to coaching, as he had coached CrossFit across the bridge for a few years already.  One thing that immediately set Jason apart when you took his class was that he is a professional coach.  I don’t mean that he does this for a living – he has a successful career in sales – but his approach to coaching CrossFit was new to us, and we have learned a lot from him as a coaching staff over the years.  His preparation, his attention to detail, and his presence when leading a group are unparalleled.

Here is Jason’s approach to coaching, in his own words:
“At the basic level, I coach to get athletes to move better and have fun learning to do so.  I try to impart all I have learned in my 40+ years in an entertaining way while also pushing athletes to be their best self, whatever that is to them.  My goal is always to meet people where they are and then help them get to where they want to go.  I strive to really get to know our members on a more personal level.  I think talking about ours and our kids accomplishments, upcoming trips, and big life events is just as important as how much someone deadlifts, their nutrition goals and their Fran time.  Coaching the 5 am class, working with CrossFit Kids, and personal training are often the best hours of my day, outside of the time I spend with my own family.  My hope is our athletes often feel the same way.”

That’s what it’s all about, guys!  Thanks to Jason for joining our CFKI community and making us better for it.

In my own way I took a step toward becoming a more well-rounded coach in 2016.  In preparation for a 50-hour SEALFIT crucible event called “Kokoro,” I began training my mental and emotional game with a program called Unbeatable Mind.  From previous blog posts you might remember that I should have been training my mind a bit earlier, as Kokoro was a serious struggle from the start, but after my event I doubled down on the Unbeatable Mind training.  Fast forward 6 years and I became an Unbeatable Mind coach in 2022!
What I’ve learned about mental toughness, emotional control, and leaning into tough challenges has prepared me to train individuals training for elite sports or the military, to lead other teams through extreme challenges of their own, and maybe most importantly to lead our coaches and our community through the unique challenge of the last two years!

Here’s to five years!  Looking forward to recapping the second half of our CFKI history.


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