Guest post by Mollie Lipka, Rhapsody CrossFit Member
If you live in a destination city like Charleston, you know that there will almost always be drop-ins at your CrossFit box. Some you exchange friendly banter with, some you may not speak with at all. Others can have a profound impact on your life without even knowing your first name.
As I quietly worked through my first scorching summer as a CrossFit athlete, I began to observe what I now lovingly refer to as the ‘CrossFit Couplet’. CrossFit couplets are the fresh-faced, hard-bodied, kind-smiling folks that are all sugar and spice (and everything nice) before the WOD. During? They are simultaneously competing against and cheering for their significant other. After a summer of watching the dynamic between all the amazing couples that came through the gym, I couldn’t help but someday want that for myself.
Fast forward a few years, and I’m now half of a CrossFit couplet. While I didn’t meet my significant other in the gym, our time spent together there is incredibly important. I still do CrossFit for me (my significant other will joke that he also does CrossFit for me) but the benefits we get as a couple are worth noting. CrossFit is all about building the foundation for healthy, functional movement and I believe sharing it with your partner can help build the foundation for a healthy, functional relationship. But how?
By Focusing on Accountability
In a healthy partnership, we need to be able to call each other on our bullshit. We all have it. Without much warning it will often rear its head. It’s in that exact moment that its nice to turn to your voice of reason for a strong, guiding hand when yours is leading you elsewhere. My significant other and I push each other a lot at the gym. We are also in the habit of doing this outside of the gym, which helps us redirect any of our efforts that have gone off the rails. These conversations aren’t always the easiest to have or to hear, but they are necessary for growth – as an athlete, as an individual, and as a couple.
By Stressing Commitment
Commitment is defined as the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc. You can’t say that you are committed to something without actions to back up your claim. You have to walk the walk, day in and day out – and the walk isn’t always glamorous. It’s the bloody, busted shin after a failed box jump or the guilt you feel after handling a situation with your significant other poorly. Committing is wiping the blood away, shedding the guilt, identifying where you went wrong, and jumping back on the box. These are lessons we learn both in and outside of the gym.
By Emphasizing Encouragement
Because it’s the CrossFit way, we all cheer each other on. When you know what your significant others’ stress levels have been like, how they’ve been sleeping, what their work load is, and what they’ve been dealing with outside of the gym, cheering takes on a whole new meaning. Sprinkle in a particularly gnarly WOD with movements you know they struggle with, and it becomes next level. Healthy relationships require genuine compliments and uplifting encouragement. This should be a very natural thing that you freely offer to your partner without the expectation of anything in return.
By Teaching Perseverance
We’ve all been pushed to different breaking points. Over the past three years, CrossFit has taught me how to embrace those points. They are the exact moments that’ll change you for the better, regardless of how deep in the trenches you are. It is so true what they say about ‘embracing the suck’. Sometimes you are off your game at the gym, and it is really painful to push through. Relationships have ups and downs, good times and bad and it is really painful to push through. If these things are important to you, there’s no question about pushing through – it’s just what you do. CrossFit-ing with your significant other really helps make sure you are both aligned to this way of thinking.
By Allowing Vulnerability
We all have strengths and weaknesses. Healthy, functioning relationships aren’t all rainbows and strength-showers. People have baggage. We go through things. There is an ebb and flow of success and failure. Knowing someone’s weaknesses can strengthen a bond, so why hide them? The fact that I’m a shitty runner, my significant other can’t kip well and that we sometimes have little breakdowns in communication doesn’t matter. What does matter? Knowing that we aren’t perfect and care enough to put in the work anyway. Anything worth having requires work, and lots of it. Are you putting yours in?
Think you and your significant other could use a little outside stimulus? Come join us! You can catch Mollie running slowly and Brian kipping poorly at Rhapsody on the reg, along with all our other amazing athletes – couplet or not! Join us for a free class today and see what Rhapsody CrossFit in Charleston is all about.