Athlete Expectations

Athlete Expectations for those who train at Black Wolf CrossFit in Houston. This is why the community is special

What makes the Black Wolf community special? The athletes that show up so consistently. And since we opened our doors way back in December of 2014, navigated two relocations, and somehow survived COVID, the athletes have dictated the culture of this place. And that culture, more often than not, is exactly what visitors find some welcoming when they make their way in for a workout.

Writing these rules down made me a bit uncomfortable because too often bosses especially have loved writing out all of the ways things are going to be. Words without substance are meaningless and can unintentionally serve to degrade the quality of experience whether that is at work, at the gym, or in a relationship.

These expectations originate mostly from observations of those who have worked to make this place special for others to join and be a part of. There are certainly a few points added that are indeed from the staff in the hopes of maintaining a reliable and consistent system in order to gurantee the best possible experience for all athletes each day. But even those are based on behaviors demonstrated by the majority of you already.

My hope is that this list is more of a reminder of why you enjoy being here and not a reprimand for behavior that goes against these expectations. This will also help new athletes understand what is expected of them by the community and what will allow them to get the most from their time in the gym.

And, not for nothing, it’s good for me and for the team of coaches to keep in mind in our own roles within this community.

Let me know what you think.

Rules & Expectations

You Must Be Willing to Try

Have you heard “Do or do not, there is no try?” It’s a quote from The Empire Strike Back. And it’s cute. But it’s wrong. See, the sentiment is “I’ll try” is already hedging against success. And yes, people certainly claim to have tried when, in fact, they had no intention of getting it done.

There is no experience necessary to start at Black Wolf but there is a requirement that you be willing to try. You don’t have to be good at anything. You don’t have to excel. But you must be willing to try. That is the only way forward. If all we do is stick to what we know then we never progress as far as we could.

As soon as a person shows they are willing to try then we can get somewhere. If you are willing to try to do burpees even if doing 10 would literally take forever, then we can step in and tell you that you smashing 4 burpees while the veterans smoke 10 is going to be perfect. Then, weeks later you yourself are smoking 10.

Try in this instance is to commit to the task.

Do Not Have A Negative Impact On Those Around You

We do not do cattiness. We do not do douche bags. We do not do cliques. We do not do gossip. We do not do shit talking. We build. We do not tear down. There are plenty of gyms where you can be a catty bitch in a small little clique that ruins the experience for others but the gym owners are too afraid to rock the boat to intervene.

We rock boats. The most important thing is that this place is a place people are able to rely on for a positive experience each day they swing by.

You are allowed to have bad days. But you are not allowed to take it out on those around you. You are allowed to have bad workouts. The expectation is not that you must be all sunshine and rainbows every time you come in.

But on those bad days, keep it to yourself and allow the energy of others to carry you through. Just as when someone else has a bad day, your hard work and energy will help to carry them through.

Sign Into Class: It guarantees your account is up to date and allows us to more accurately track your progress

Athletes are able to sign into class via their PushPress Athlete App or via the tablet posted in the gym.

Singing into class allows us to keep accurate track of class attendance, and it allows athletes to keep their accounts up to date.

Be On Time

[Life happens. The occasional 2-3 minute late arrival is understandable but consistent tardiness is unacceptable]

A 1 hour workout is great. More than enough for general population athletes to see continued results over a long period of time. But that means we are able to start the class as soon as possible in order to deliver the most value in the 60 minutes.

This program requires coaching and setup. Rarely are you rolling into a day that has 0 setup. And if your setup is not done when the warm up brief begins then either you are losing time or, worse, the class is losing time waiting for you to catch up.

We also get up to speed relatively quickly and a thorough warm up is necessary to help you get the most from your workouts. If the first 2 rounds of your workout are just warm ups because your muscles are not ready, then you missed 2 rounds of stimulus that could be working to make you more fit.

Be respectful of the class. If you want a solo show where you are only impacting the coach, feel free to sign up for 1on1 training. For some, a unique schedule requires this and we would love to make it happen for you. For others, you are simply being inconsiderate or undervaluing showing up a few minutes early.

  • Miss the Warm Up Brief, complete the “Late Arrival Warm Up.” This will be a warm up that requires minimal setup and minimal explanation to get you moving as quickly as possible in order to catch your body up to the other athletes.
  • Miss the Warm Up Entirely and wait for the next class

Say “Hi” to Others, Especially Guests

Walking into a new gym can be very intimidating, a smile and a hello is more memorable (and meaningful) than you may realize.

When we lost or last building due to COVID, we found ourselves completely closed for 2 months while we waited for permits to allow us to turn on the electricity at the new location. During that time athletes took the opportunity to drop-in/temporarily join other gyms in the area.

The number 1 indicator of a good experience was whether the other athletes at that gym said hello. And God forbid you end up at the gym where the staff didnt even say hi.

Bumper Plates on Barbells Can Be Dropped

Everything else you set down nicely.

Some misguided souls think CrossFit means slamming all equipment. My favorite are the athletes who barely get that last rep of dumbbell snatches over head but then manage to spike the dumbbell like they just scored a touchdown.

Dumbbells are not meant to be dropped. Have you picked up a dumbbell with a wiggly head? Yeah, that was treated like a football at one point.

Kettlebells are another item people like to let go of mid flight. Here’s a tip, don’t drop odd objects. Why? Because you can’t predict the bounce. Only your lower legs suffer when you bomb kettlebells from the top.

Im not going to list everything. If a barbell is loaded with bumper plates, drop it. If it is not a barbell with bumpers, set it down.

Wipe Down Your Equipment

Your sweat and chalk are not a present for the next athlete.

Back in my day we were lucky if the gym had a single towel hanging on a rack somewhere that was never washed. And I don’t remember seeing spray bottles outside of the big box gyms.

Thankfully, things have changed. There are spray bottles and there are towels and that means we are able to keep things nice and clean after we use them.

Clean equipment is more appealing and fun to use. But also, not being a gross human is nice too.

Sweating is good. Passing sweat along is not.

Do Not Clean Up Until the Last Person has Finished

An old adage was “CrossFit is the only sport where the last person to finish gets the loudest cheers.” And it definitely was something special in the highly cult like days of CrossFit back in the early 2010s.

But if you’ve ever been toward the back of the class in terms of finishing, it’s not always a great feeling having 8 or 10 or 20 athletes staring at you as you do your best to survive whatever God awful workout coach put you through on that day.

Unfortunately we overcorrected. Instead of waiting for the last to finish because we don’t want them to feel self conscious, we now clean up faster than ever and are sitting at the doorway tapping our foot ready to go while they get through that last rep.

Athletes will not clean up their equipment until the last athlete has finished (so long as the class is on time). Instead athletes are encouraged to stretch, go for a walk, cool down on the bike, go do some curls, literally anything other than drag their barbells across the face of whoever still has 10 burpees to get through.

Then, when they finish, we will clean everything up together.

Be Consistent: Athletes workout 4-5x p Week when life allows

Yeah, that’s right. I expect you to show up. You are not just a number. I am not happy you pay and do not show up. And eventually I will cancel your membership if I do not see you enough.

CrossFit requires consistency. Constantly varied means we are utilizing countless exercises and skills and getting as many practice reps as possible is the only way to pick them up quickly.

But community also requires reliability by those who make it up. If the other athletes are not able to count on you being there then they are less invested in you on the rare days you do show up.

And if your coach cannot plan on you being there then they are unable to make modifications or changes based on your unique goals or challenges.

Finally, progress requires consistency. Like there is no progress without consistency. You must show up if you are hoping to progress.

If you’d be interested in jumping into a FREE Week of Classes (7 consecutive days with no obligation to stay), click the link below to setup your account and get started.