I’m Not Your Father…or am I?

As a coach, I see a lot going on during classes. There’s the expected stuff: barbells being lifted, ropes being climbed, and sweat dripping down people’s faces. But then there’s the other stuff: Conversations about who got hammered last night, adjusting of tight sports bras, and yes, picking of noses. Needless to say, there’s a lot of visual stimulation from a coach’s point of view. 

But what is my role for cheating? Do I call you out, or let it go if it doesn’t have to do with form? I’m not talking 24 squats when you were supposed to do 25. I’m talking 15 reps when you were supposed to do 30. Is it the coach’s responsibility to take the person aside and have a discussion? Teach a lesson? Some people would say that it’s no one else’s business how people count since it’s the individual’s workout. Others would say that it does matter, since other members might think they aren’t pushing themselves hard enough when they compare times.  

What if it’s a visitor for a few days vs. a full time member? What if it’s someone who cheats but the results are mediocre vs. someone who cheats and has the fastest time/most reps of the day? 

Does the fact that they cheat in the gym actually apply to outside life? Or could it be completely contained in the competitive CrossFit environment?

I’d be interested to hear from all different perspectives. 


6 thoughts on “I’m Not Your Father…or am I?

  1. Great questions… To me it comes down to part of the Crossfit sales pitch – one of the reasons why Crossfit costs more money than a globo gym is that you are getting a high quality product/experience. That would include good programming, quality of coaching and yes, some sort of consistency in the reporting of numbers. In a perfect world, no one would cheat or inflate their rep count but since that doesn’t happen, the lion share of the burden for making sure people are honest falls on the coaches – the people who are being compensated to make sure everyone has a high quality experience.

    One of my favorite quotes is “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”…

  2. This has been an issue that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. Now, I’m not a coach, but I consider myself a pretty ethical person. When I witness people cheating at our box, it’s really hard for me not to say something. The problem is that it’s not really my place, or is it? I know what everyone says, "Don’t worry about it. The person cheating is only cheating themselves", and I get that. The frustrating part is when you are working as hard as you can and someone who isn’t holding themselves to the same standards, or even cheating, does better than you. I guess that’s something that I just need to get over, and just worry about myself. I would think that most people cheating know that they are doing it, but who knows? Maybe they’re bad counters, or maybe they arent aware they’re doing it. I do, however, think that it is completely in the coaches right, and maybe even responsibility to speak to the person about it. I do hear people say, "Don’t worry about that person cheating…they aren’t Rxing the workout, or "They’re not a threat anyway". To me, it doesn’t matter whether the person is mediocore or the "best" in the gym. They’re still taking a standard that we all measure ourselves against and lying about it. So yes, I do think they should be made aware, at least if all it does is make them rethink their next workout…

  3. on of my coaches DCed me when I said that I rxed Karen. I wasn’t cheating, but I didn’t RX it. It taught me not to worry about that shit and just to worry about form and getting better. So, I would say, yes, it is your responsibility to call them out. Cheating and lying makes other people feel like shit about where they are in their training. Not to mention that the biggest cheaters are the biggest shit talkers.

    The most powerful thing about crossfit is not the workouts and the nutritional help, but the community. Everyone, for the most part is there for one and other. I have no room for people with a lack of integrity in my life in any way. Maybe they are insecure and just need to be taught a lesson. Maybe they are just an asshole who needs to go somewhere else. Either way, I would say yes.

    I’ve also been to a fair number of boxes, and I would say that the people who I consider the most badass are the people with the most integrity who are just the nicest guys in the world. See Sam B.

    Its easy for me to not care about such things, because I was never badass and never expect to be, but I know that I strive to be the best me I can be. The numbers on the white board don’t matter as much as how I feel and how I look naked, or, more importantly, how I take the confidence that I have gained from the box and take it into my every day life.

    With the open coming up, its easy to forget what crossfits all about. It’s about changing lives. You will never change anyone’s life if you let them lie to themselves and their fellow athletes. My two cents.

  4. If a coach takes the time and effort to ensure proper form is executed by an athlete during a lift/skill then the least the athlete can do is honor integrity. That’s just personal opinion. I’d rather be called out if I missed a rep or didn’t RX.

  5. If its a form issue ( depth of squats, locking out push ups ) I believe it’s the coaches duty to correct it. The athlete may not know they aren’t doing the movement correctly. If we are talking about shaving reps, that’s completely different. We can not expect our coaches to single out a member and count their reps every workout. As a very competitive athlete myself who checks the blog and compares scores and weights every wod, it does matter to me if someone is cheating however, Does it take away my hard work or change the result of my workout…… No. Will anyone in the gym look at the scores and think less of me… No. If someone feels the need to cheat during a workout so be it. People aren’t stupid. We are a tight community. We know what people can do. Come open time or other competitions cheating just isn’t possible. So inflating your head with bogus times and scores sets you up for a massive failure when the entire gym is there on a few Saturdays in march when all eyes will really be on you.

    Check your ego at the door, train hard and earn your numbers. It will make the reward so much sweeter.

  6. I am too wrapped up in my own work out to really notice what anyone else is doing. I will say I am not a very good counter. That being said, I am there to improve myself and if I truly want to get the most out of a wod that is all I can think about. I really dont care about the games and competitions so maybe that gives me a different perspective. I dont condone cheating, but dont care either.

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