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My Most Embarrassing Moment

And how it will help you get started in the gym

I had been sailing before.

In fact, I had spent an entire summer sailing at the United States Naval Academy.  I was both an Academy Graduate and a Lieutenant in the United States Marines.  I didn’t need someone to show me how to sail.

My bride and I were on our honeymoon in Acapulco and we decided to rent a catamaran and sail around the bay.  The guy renting the boat asked if we needed a driver, or a lesson… for an additional fee. Confident in my abilities, I turned down the offer of help.  So we boarded the boat and I was captain.    

Right away things were not working as I expected.  I understood sailing, and I understood how to use a rudder, but this was not turning where I wanted. I didn’t have experience in this type of boat and these conditions. I was in over my head and it took all of about five terrible minutes under sail for me to build up speed and t-bone another boat. 

Boy was the guy in that boat mad…so was the guy who rented me the boat. He was yelling at me from shore. Worse of all, my brand new bride was in shock. I was mortified, scared, and embarrassed. What next?  How do I get out of this? Will I go to jail? How had this happened?

This is perhaps my most embarrassing moment of all time, and I haven’t really told anyone till now.  Why am I telling you and the rest of the world? 

I want you to understand why we start everyone in personal training at CrossFit PTC. I also want you to understand why it’s worth it and essential.

When folks come in to do a fitness assessment they are usually in one of two flavors.  They either have a background in doing fitness related things (sport, gym rat, military, etc) or they are new to fitness.  Makes sense huh?

It is pretty obvious that we want to work closely with someone who is just getting started in fitness. We emphasize form, communication, using the coach to stay inside your abilities, as well as learning to push a bit harder when appropriate. We want everyone to feel capable, confident, and safe. We also want you to hit your goals. After many years we know that personal training with one of our coaches is the fastest way to get to your goals, and if your first goal happens to be going to group classes, one on one training is the fastest way to get you up to speed so that you can join group classes easily.  

What’s not so obvious is that folks who have a background in fitness probably need that one on one training just as much, if not more than someone who is just starting. Yes, I said they need it more. I know that seems counterintuitive, but it is true.  Like me in the catamaran, someone with a fitness background thinks that they know all they need to know. We have seen otherwise. A background in fitness is hugely helpful, pre-existing capacity and capability are always a big bonus. What our coaches do is help that person understand the movements, fix form issues and understand more accurately the limits of their capabilities. In other words, they help the existing sailor to understand how to steer this particular catamaran under these conditions so that they don’t t-bone another boat.  

We want you to be happy, healthy, and productive. 

So what happened? 

While we were stuck t-boned, the owner got out to us on another boat, jumped aboard, and yelled at me.  He grabbed the tiller and took us out for a quick training run. Once I had a bit of confidence and demonstrated the capability to maneuver the boat, tack, and deal with traffic, he had us drop him off. We finished our time on the boat unscathed (except for the huge dent in my pride). When we got to shore I had to pay for the training that I was trying to get out of initially and negotiate to pay the damages to both boats. I was already on a tight budget and spending extra money on that damage was tough. I could have avoided it easily by investing a little more time and money at the start. Boy, was that a tough lesson to learn.

When you come into the gym I want you to hit your goals. Take the lesson I learned and avoid the pitfalls of getting started by investing in personal training to get started.  Some lessons are better learned from a coach. 


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