I wouldn’t be the coach I am or will be without CrossFit…

Depending on whom you talk to people have either positive or negative things to say about CrossFit. Most who have positive things to say about it will tell you how it has increased their quality of life, physical capacity, strength, increased confidence or a long list of other benefits.

Out of all the people who have negative things to say about CrossFit, I don’t know any of them who have actually done it and their attitudes towards it are based on things they have heard from a friend of a friend of a friend.

It’s frustrating to hear that people can have a poor attitude towards something without ever experiencing it themselves. I know this doesn’t just go for CrossFit but many other sports, activities, or endeavors that could be amazing experiences.

I was thinking about my coaching path this morning and how I’ve gotten to where I am in this moment. I would say my biggest influence has been CrossFit.

I worked in a medical fitness facility for 14 years prior to opening Starke. I did almost every job there starting out at the locker desk handing out keys and towels.

After that, I got a job at the front desk selling memberships and doing all the front desk duties that came with the position. I also started coaching Kickboxing classes with my background in martial arts. Shortly after I started coaching a class called “Tough Enough” it was a sports conditioning class that had a consistent 30-40 people attending each class.

During that time I was enrolled in Kinesiology at the University of Winnipeg and started taking on personal training clients who wanted to do more than just kickboxing.

I followed coaches like Mark Twight, Pavel Tatsouline, and Dan John. They were teaching things I didn’t learn in university. Things that were practical and fun and different. I learned that just because someone has a degree doesn’t mean they know how to swing a kettlebell, or perform an Olympic lift, or teach proper movement and mechanics.

My “advanced resistance training class” was all done on machines. We were never taught how to pick up a kettlebell properly, how to deadlift, or even squat our own body weight. We were taught to squat on a smith machine (which you couldn’t get away with in real life). We used the bicep curl machine, the hamstring curl machine, and the innie outie machine. I’m sure if there was a deadlift machine we would have been taught how to deadlift. Most of what I learned in relation to real training and movement was from books and videos.

Enter CrossFit… When I took my CrossFit level 1 in 2012 it opened my eyes to better movement and mechanics. It’s not all about “moving weights as fast as possible” like some people say or think. Mechanics, consistency then intensity is the path to be taken with CrossFit. Does everyone do it that way? No. No, they don’t. But it’s not just “CrossFit” boxes or coaches. I watched “trainers” with multiple degrees coaching people with horrible technique and form. Clients were using weights they shouldn’t have been and trainers were allowing and encouraging it.

Don’t get me wrong I’m far from perfect and most of my first clients took my learning curve on the chin (and good handful of them I still work with to this day).

Taking my level 1 was an eye-opening experience to what else the training world had to offer. After having exposure to that course I wondered what else was out there.

It’s been over 6 years since I received my L1 and since then I’ve taken over ten fitness, training, and nutrition-related courses from CrossFit, Strong First, Agatsu, Precision Nutrition, NCCP, FMS, Weightlifting and more. When people ask me “Why would you wan tto go and take a kettlebell course, you already know how to swing a kettlebell?” My response is that it’s not just about swinging a kettlebell, its about learning how to swing it better adn learning how to teach people to swing it better”. When I took the CrossFit Endurance course people asked me why I would take it with my Ironman, adventure racing, and running background. My response was “Because I know I can learn more”. Every course I’ve walked away from I’ve taken so much away from and it’s an amazing feeling to know that you can still get better, bit by bit if you choose to.

CrossFit taught me there was a hell of a lot more to learn out there and I have an endless amount of gratitude for that. I’m far from where I want to be as a coach and have many more courses and amazing coaches I would love to learn from on my hit list. CrossFit didn’t just assist me in becoming a better coach for CrossFit. It has helped me to become a better coach in all aspects of movement and training.

Thanks to CrossFit, I’ll never be satisfied as a coach.

Paul Dyck