So a year and 2 months ago I went to my first class at Atomic Athlete. My friend called me after the class and asked me how it went.
“I’m in love” was my response.
The journey I have taken over the past year has been unique… challenging… frustrating… uplifting… and the best thing that has happened to me in a long time. The highs and lows, failures and accomplishments; all have drawn me closer to the people who work with me in training and the coaches who have taken the time and energy to invest in me as an athlete.
Why. Why do I love it? Why do I keep coming back to the pain, past the suffering, and through the suck?
Because it is awesome. And because I keep getting better. And stronger. And faster. I keep pushing myself past my own limits and am becoming more of the person I never dreamed I could be.
And also because of the following reasons….
- PERIODIZED PROGRAMMING – A twelve week cycle consisting of strength, work capacity, and stamina that enables athletes to become stronger while working on endurance and cardiovascular health as well
- COMPETITIVE BUT SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT – The person working next to you, on the barbell with you, and in the next class as you: YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO KNOW THEIR NAME. We are encouraged to introduce ourselves to our neighbors. This is a community. If you are an asshole, you are invited to leave.
- A “NO BULLSHIT” ATMOSPHERE – You are also invited to leave if you don’t show up, or if you don’t put out when you are there. We don’t care if you are paying, if you don’t show up, you are worthless. Show up, do the work. Or leave.
- GREAT ATHLETES – I need competition. There are athletes shorter, smaller, and stockier than me that will out lift and out run my ass. Good. I need to be pushed to do my best.
- COACHES THAT PUSH ME – Nothing is more motivating than hearing YOUR NAME called out in a sucky stamina session for being a giant pussy. Everyone else is sucking it up too. You’re not allowed to be a little bitch.
- PROOF IN THE PUDDING – I am stronger, faster, and more well rounded as an athlete than I have ever been. My coaches care about my goals and about keeping me safe from injury while I try to accomplish them. Who knew I could front squat my body weight? Bench press 100 lbs? Shave a minute off of my mile? They did. And now I do.
They know what I am capable of, and I constantly work to make them proud.
Last week, I gained 10 pounds on my clean one rep max. To me, hitting 100 pounds was a celebratory moment. When my coach came up to me and told me how much better it looked compared to the cleans in the last cycle, comparing my “jump and shrug”, position of my elbows, and progress in the rock bottom position, I knew at that moment that I mattered. Regardless of my level of ability or strength, my coaches cared. They remembered my strengths and weaknesses, and acted as real coaches should by working to improve me as an athlete.
After a year and a month in this gym, it is the longest relationship I have ever had… and by far the most rewarding. I rely on them for strength within the gym, but also for strength within myself. Sometimes the only part of my day that I enjoy is those 60 minutes I’m sweating, sucking, and grinding it out along side my fellow athletes. Sometimes, it’s the one thing that I look forward to that gets me out of bed and ready to face the world.
No matter what, there is always the gym. And this is where I belong.
Check out my other post about Atomic Athlete’s stamina session HERE. Embrace the suck.