Shediquette (Awesome Title Courtesy Sarah Williams)

Hope you are having a great weekend–we had an awesome morning today watching some folks hit Open Workout 13.1…if you are around Saturdays at 10 over the next five weeks, come on in and watch your teammates hit their work hard.  The atmosphere this morning was great!

Over the last few weeks I have talked with a number of you–new members and veterans alike–about ways in which we can help you all have a more effective experience in and out of class here at Woodshed.  This is an evolving discussion and we will do our best to put this stuff to paper and get it up in the gym for easy reference, but for now I wanted to share some things that are coming up frequently.  This is for the newbie who wonders ‘when am I going to understand how these classes work?’ as much as it is for the veteran who can recite the top sets of their last 30 squat days–we want this to help you all get and be better than you were yesterday:

1. Get to class on time and arrive ready to work.  If you are late–and we understand that life happens–it is your responsibility to bring yourself up to speed with the rest of the class.  Talk with your trainer and ask what he/she wants you to do to get ready to work, and then get it done so that you aren’t holding up any of your classmates.  Arriving to open gym times on the hour is always helpful as well–there will likely be a bunch of folks looking to make up a workout and/or do something together and it makes for an easy flow when you can simply work in step with others.

2. Get a notebook and use it.  You should be logging every session here: weights used, reps completed, and how the workout felt.  Was the set at 80% easy or hard?  Did you fail on your top set?  Was it much easier to squat to depth today than it was last week?  Many of our workouts put the ball in your court by asking you to use ‘moderately heavy’ or ‘light’ weights–to go by feel as much as by numbers.  After your first few months here, you are certainly going to be the best judge of what ‘heavy’ is–you need to get good at knowing this stuff so you can get the most out of your workouts.  The notebook is your best friend here.  Ask your trainer and a few classmates to look at their logs if you need some help figuring out how to track your progress.

3. Check the board and understand what is expected of you.  Warmup sets and multi-station work can be confounding.  We do have a standard warmup progression we use for strength work–this is on the right-hand white board (40% or empty barx5, 50%x5, 60%x4 and then the work sets), and where we indicate working by feel you can generally use a scale of 1 to 10, ask your trainer how heavy or light the work is meant to be, and go from there.  But whatever the workout, you need to have a plan of attack when you hit the platform or the mat, even if it is “start with the empty bar and add a little weight each time as your form allows.”

4. Use and Support the Efforts of Your Classmates.  Hook into what we are doing.  The absolute best thing you can do for your progress here is to introduce yourself to your classmates, talk with them about why you are here and what you are looking to accomplish, and ask for help when you need it.  Making friends here is so simple it’s ridiculous–help a classmate clean up his bar and put away the weights, cheer for someone finishing their conditioner, smile at someone after a hard set.  Be here, be present, and be willing to step out on a limb a little bit.  You will get back what you give in manifold, I promise.  We have so many awesome people here from so many walks of life with such varied interests: the next conversation you have here may be the one that changes your life.

5. Understand Your Surroundings.  This is a physical as well as an emotional cue.  Respect the time and space of your classmates and trainers.  I wish we had a 10,000 square foot facility with a tiki lounge and giant parking lot, but until we hit that iteration in gym history we need to ask you to give existing classes the right of way if you are arriving early, to make good time leaving the gym if there is a class on its way or your trainer is done for the evening/day, and from a physical and logistical perspective, understand where you are supposed to be at what point in the workout, who is ahead of you in line, and generally watch out for the possibility that a kettlebell might materialize out of thin air.  Okay, that last part is a bit much, but you get the general idea.  This is a gym, we all have busy schedules and goals–be present when you are here.

6. Work with your trainers.  For us, nothing is more world-bendingly awesome than seeing you reach your goals here.  We live to see you progress.  Understand that an athlete who routinely does what is on the board without adulteration, receives and executes corrections and instruction, and is open to our coaching will naturally attract more and more productive attention.  Be positive, be receptive, be open to accepting coaching as instruction and not judgement, and always, always, always ask for help when you need it…or when you think you might need it.

7. Expect The Most From Yourself.  Give yourself two weeks to differentiate between ‘press’ and ‘bench press’ on the board; learn what the different bars weigh (most have tape on them), how they feel, and what they do; go through warmup hard and get all of the day’s instructions in one shot.  These are just examples but you pick up what we are putting down–we want you to expect yourself to understand how we work in here and challenge yourself to make it happen.  We don’t want to hear things like “I’m just not a good listener, can you go over that again” or “I have ADHD, how many sets on the empty bar”–not because those things are wrong in and of themselves but because we want you to do better than that, and we want to be able to spend our time teaching you how to get stronger, faster, and more mobile instead of going over stuff we’ve already trampled underfoot.

As we mentioned above, this is an evolving discussion.  Your thoughts and suggestions are welcome, as always.  Let us know if this proves helpful!

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