The heaviest thing you will ever lift is your humility

**This is a post I wrote recently for Sisu Elite Fitness, the magnificent gym I have the honour of calling my professional home. We, like most gyms with any affiliation to CrossFit, are currently taking part in the CrossFit Open – a sort of worldwide workout competition. The exercises are open to everyone from true beginner to premier athlete even as they are uniquely challenging…and frequently a little soul destroying.

I may have written it for our clients there, but I feel it applies to some larger themes…

I need to speak plainly in a language everyone can understand. I might be known for being gently encouraging, and it’s a reputation I enjoy. But there are times when a sharper tone is required, and this is one.

You come to us to help you grow. In strength. In fitness. In health. In power. In ability and adaptability.

And sometimes – every now and then – you need us to help you grow up.

Fitness – let me make this perfectly clear – is about every aspect of your person. It is about the weight you can move and the speed at which you move it. It is about your engine. It is about the courage with which you face a challenge and the grit with which you process it.

And when you get your ass kicked, it is about the grace and humility with which you accept defeat and learn your lesson.

I am not talking about frustration. You have all been frustrated at some point. (If I say ‘double-unders’ or ‘toes-to-bar’, can I get an ‘Amen’?) There are things we’re not good at. We have our strengths and we have our weaknesses. That’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about failure. I’m talking about when it seems that Life – or The Programming – sticks its bony thumb in that weakness and presses until you drop and then keeps on pressing just to make sure you know you’re down. Failure.

Understand: there is no one – no one – whom you respect who has not failed.

There is no fighter who has not tasted canvas.

The Opens are happening, in case you didn’t notice. Three weeks in, and every week – every week – we, the coaches, have witnessed athletes who have been challenged to deliver work well beyond their abilities. Some have been tested and found wanting. Many have failed.


The heaviest thing you will ever lift is your humility.

Now get up. Shake it off. Learn your lesson. Swallow your pride.

And grow.