Optional Integrity: Is rep shaving a big deal?


[Feel free to offer your thoughts in the comments or on the post on Facebook.

Glassman said, “Man will die for a point.” 

Competition drives progress. Competition gives us a reason to level up, to not settle. 

If we are at the bottom, then the desire to not be there pushes us to improve. And if we are at the top then the threat of being caught motivates us to press on. 

And when this is done in a supportive environment where you are surrounded by equally competitive people who value genuine commitment and effort, your limit does not exist (What up Mean Girls). 

But there is a price to pay in order to have access to this opportunity and it’s too much for some: you must operate with integrity. 

integrity | inˈteɡrədē |


1 the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness: he is known to be a man of integrity.

Vulnerability is an interesting topic. And I know people in this industry that do not agree with me on this, but what we actually are asking of our athletes each day is for them to be willing to be vulnerable in order for them to improve. 

Now, because we ask people to be vulnerable, we, as the team of coaches, and even as the athletes in the class, must protect the environment in which they are training. 

Just as we tell people to mind their own business when we hear them shame someone about what weight is on their bar, we also demand that nobody consciously shorts reps, or turns in a score that is literally unattainable based on their ability and effort level. 

Why does it matter? After all, every time a cheater is confronted, after we get through the normal “no chance I miscounted” then “ok, well I just miscounted,” and finally, and without fail, “why does it even matter? It’s my workout.” 

Wrong. Unfortunately for these people, this is not a business to me. I have fired athletes before. Athletes who were paying money. Athletes who were paying me money that I desperately needed because I could not even afford rent at the time. 

My point? You are not a customer to me where your money is all that matters. You are my athlete when you join Black Wolf. And the means what is owed is your integrity and your effort. And in return you have as much support, feedback, encouragement as you need from me, from my team, and from these other incredible athletes.

We have two rules at Black Wolf:

1) Just try

2) Do not have a negative impact on anybody else in the building. 

Cheating breaks rule number 1 AND rule number 2. 

If someone works their ass off to the point of collapsing at the call of “TIME,” they are incredibly proud. Then, when coach calls their name they report their score and then they hear your Games level score and the excitement is taken straight out of them. They saw you moving. They know your ability and where they line up relative to you. You run a ten minute mile and I run a ten minute mile. Then I tell you I ran my half marathon in an hour and thirty minutes when you tell me you ran an awesome two hour half…….. weird. I guess you just suck. 

If someone is working next to you and they are matching your pace but you miraculously finish each movement when they are only at 70% of the required reps, you have now become a distraction. Is it their fault for not staying focused on themselves? In your opinion, yes. But you do not have integrity so your opinion holds no value here. When I am going rep for rep with a fellow athlete, we are both feeling each others energy. When I bail early because those last 4 reps just seem like too much, I not only sell myself short and lose my opportunity to get better, but I also take the wind out fo the sails of that other athlete. Selfish. 

We owe each other true effort. People are not waking up early, or sitting in traffic after work to come in here and workout next to people who have no intention of working hard. Or who just want something to post on social.

My “friend” who never follows through with what they say they will do, or who falls short on their responsibilities, or always looks for shortcuts does not motivate me to improve. When life gets hard I look at them and at best I think I too can take short cuts, and at worse I lose all hope because it seems like I have to cheat to survive. 

Instead, look to the men and women around you who continue moving forward even when their sprint has slowed to a trudge. They do not move on until the task at hand is completed. These are the people that make life good. These are the people who pull us through our toughest times.

Be the best version of yourself for others when you are not able to be the best version of yourself for yourself. 

[SIDE NOTE: If you have to lie or filter (aka lying) your results for your viewing public (7 likes in 14 hours means stop posting by the way), then you need take a look deep inside to see what’s really happening in your soul]

We as a community are told time and time again that we have the fewest number of cheaters that our athletes who come from elsewhere have seen in their time doing CrossFit. It’s just another testament to how awesome y’all are. And thank you for that. 

For those who hold the standard, stay the course. Do not let those who short reps distract you from your goal. Do not give them that space in your mind. It is my job to worry about them, not yours. Stay committed to your journey and the journey of those who remain committed around you. 

And for those of you who disagree with me, no problem. But this is not the gym for you. No hard feelings. There are plenty of gyms that are happy with you doing your thing or doing whatever it takes to put up a good score. It is just not what we do. I wish you the best and I will refund your most recent monthly payment as a thank you for doing what is best for both parties. 

Do not let your ego stand in the way of your progress.