Do you know what we call Thursday mornings? Probably something you wouldn’t expect:
“Welcome to Weird Shit Thursday!”
We purposefully have an awesome time on Thursday mornings at 5:30am with a really cool and really large group of people. The point of Thursdays was to give the body a day of active recovery with tools to focus on the proprioceptive system for balance, coordination & accuracy. What it’s turned into is weird bodyweight exercises, Bulletproof coffee, strange-shit kettlebells and one mile, warm up runs. This is how we form bonds in our box. Bonds encourage social habits, human connection (without cell phones) and habits can even lead to addiction, albeit a “healthy addiction,” if there is such a thing. If you want to establish a healthy routine and a healthy habits, you need to start with us, especially on Thursdays.
Are you addicted to CrossFit?
In our box at CFH, we see people multiple times a week for months and years upon years on end. As strength coaches, life-transformation officer, personal trainers or whatever the title may be, the power of our influence doesn’t solely lie in the uniqueness of the exercises we do each day but rather it lies in the connection we create within a micro-community which fosters accountability & connection. Researcher and author Charles Duhigg discovered that those who craved daily exercise or felt a constant need to exercise didn’t follow through with their routine because of how it made them look but rather how it made them feel afterwards. The neurochemicals a workout can provide such as dopamine, oxytocin & serotonin all provide a feeling of accomplishment and eventually, the brain will begin to CRAVE those endorphins.
Is that the only reason people train with us 5-6 days a week? Because they CRAVE the neurochemical reaction? What is an athlete’s Power of Why and what causes them to CRAVE an exercise program?
I cannot tell you with certainty what drives everyone towards success in our box because each person has their own story, their own needs, desires and goals. What I can tell you is that since 2002, we’ve done nothing more than seek to create a long-lasting connection through personal interaction with people and have become pretty good at it over the years too. For us, fostering a community of fun, with a sprinkle of cool helps strengthen the CRAVE and the relationship. Geeze, I sound like a drug dealer.
When Habits Become an Addiction
I’m talking about a “healthy addiction” (if there is such a thing) or a consistent routine that doesn’t control our life. I’m talking about the habit loop as defined in the book The Power of Habit:
Believe it or not, I HAVE had clients who’ve develop a VERY, unhealthy addiction to exercise (CrossFit, in particular). I came across a study on the unhealthy addiction to exercise by Heather Hausenblas, Ph.D. and Danielle Symons Downs, Ph.D. They developed the Exercise Dependence Scale when assessing an individual for exercise addiction.
- Tolerance: You need more and more to achieve the same effects.
- Withdrawal: Increased agitation, fatigue, and tension if you don’t exercise.
- Intention Effect: Exercising for longer than intended on most trips to the gym.
- Lack of Control: Difficulty scaling back the duration and intensity of exercise.
- TimeSpent: Spending huge amounts of time on fitness related activities.
- Reduction of Other Pursuits: Is exercising too much affecting other parts of your life? (social, work, relationships).
- Continuance Despite Injury: You train even when you are injured.
There are worse things you could be addicted to but regardless, any unhealthy addiction is cause for a little reflection and readjustment of goal setting.
Some people just don’t understand us. They don’t understand our connection, our drive our our dedication and that’s okay. What’s important is that we simply focus on ourselves and improving our community one day at a time and then simply share that experience as we see fit.
We don’t set our alarm clocks for 4:45am every morning because we’re forced to. We set our clocks because we love the weird shit, we love the community of accountability, we LOVE the Outlaw Country on Pandora too (Johnny Cash & June Carter, David Allen Coe, Wayln Jennings & Charlie Daniels). At this point, it’s a habit and our Power of Habit now drives all of us and our alarm clocks too.
Chuck Gonzales, CSCS, USAW, FMS, CF-Coach
Founder, Pacific Personal Training & CrossFit Hillsboro Facebook.com/ChuckGonzales Twitter.com/TrainWithChuck