15 Years In: My Whys

In 2023, Woodshed Strength and Conditioning will celebrate its 15th calendar year in business. We’ve progressed through several iterations–beginning with Woodshed Fitness and a whole lot of odd-hour outdoor kettlebell and dumbbell training in 2009 and threading all the way through our current 6000 sq. foot facility at 53 Ayer Rd in Littleton, where we’ve been since November of 2018.

(Time flies. Holy crap.)
(I still use my fingers to count years when I do those calculations.)

For most of us, for all of us, of course there was that awful giant curveball in 2020. Many gyms did not make it through the pandemic, and those that did have likely spent the last few years in varying degrees of survival mode.

On the toughest days–the days where I truly wondered whether we would make it, I would try to do one or more of these three things, which inevitably gave me strength and encouragement:
1. Look around–we have an incredible team of coaches and athletes at Woodshed. They stuck and stick around because they believe in what we do.
2. Look outside my immediate circle–talking to other gym owners and my mentors helped me to see the bigger picture and keep pushing forward.
3. Consider my whys. Why did I open a gym? Why did I want to coach people to get stronger and fitter? Why did I want to keep going?

That last bit, the whys…that is not so easy to put into a small clasp of words. There are some big emotions, dreams, and fears built into the whys. But ultimately when I thought and think about the whys, they almost always come down to two big beliefs:

I believe deeply in the process of pushing against external resistance to become better than we were yesterday. Sometimes that resistance is a barbell we need to push, pull, or squat. Sometimes that resistance is what we need to battle through to simply show up at the gym and for ourselves. Whatever we push against and through, I believe there is something uniquely noble and, in the best way, deeply human about pushing through resistance towards improvement. I believe when we try to get better, everyone around us benefits. First ourselves, then our family and friends, and then…everyone.

And, I believe deeply in the value of a place in this world that is designed to encourage us to do those things in good company, with professional coaching, and above all, within an atmosphere of kindness. The world today is lousy with comparison and meanness. We can hardly do a single thing without worrying about who’s out there to tear it down, tell us we’re trying too hard, be critical, or shout “no, not good enough.” I want our gym, community, and place in the world to be–above all, above anything else–a support and encouragement: come in, stay strong, stay healthy, keep moving, keep pushing.

As I write this, it’s an unseasonably warm morning in November–the Monday after we’ve pushed the clocks back. This feels apt. Already today we’ve seen drizzle, sun, rainbow, and rain. There’s a lot going on, but it’s been helpful for me to begin the day and the week by thinking about my whys.

I hope it’s been an encouragement for you to read as well. Have an awesome day!

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