Ballard Spirit

Good day, BCF athletes!!!

We wanted to take a moment to introduce some gym etiquette points of consideration to ensure a more rewarding and safe CrossFit experience for everyone, members and coaches alike. This may be new information for our newer members. For you seasoned veterans, these should be a little reminder that you can keep in the back of your mind during your visits. This is not an exhaustive list, just some key points:

If The Chalk Isn’t On Your Hands, It Is In The Bucket!

  • Please join me in aiming for 100% chalk containment. Keeping the chalk exclusively in the bucket or on your hands helps to ensure that we have a clean gym for our members all day and all evening long.

  • Avoid excessive chalking (AKA Mickey Mouse Gloves).

  • Wipe off excess into the bucket. Don’t clap it off.

  • Never remove the brick of chalk from the bucket. Never!

  • Keep the bucket clear of your barbell, lest that barbell bounce astray.

Watch as All-Star Member Alan Chirls demonstrates perfect execution!

The exception to this is if you are LeBron James dropping in for a WOD. LeBron, do your thing and take a shirt, my treat!

Give One Another Space!

When working on dedicated strength work, it is critical that we allow each other the space to succeed unimpeded or to fail safely. When you see a fellow member setting up for a heavy Olympic lift (Snatch or Clean & Jerk) or squat, do your best not to walk through their line of vision. Breaking concentration during big lifts is a total bummer. When working within the pullup rig in the side room, the entire space belongs to the individual lifting so long as that person is in the space. Please don’t move through the rig while someone is lifting or preparing to do so.


We Breakdown Our Gear Together!

You guys are already great about this one; let’s keep it up! For safety’s sake, we wait until everyone is done with their workout prior to putting away equipment. Done early? Transition from athlete to cheerleader! This is also a great opportunity to do some cool down work and post-WOD stretching.

While We’re At It, Wipe Down The Gear!

It’s flu season. Let’s turn that gear over to the next person free of germs…and sweat, and chalk, and blood.

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Let The Coaches Coach!

If you see something unsafe, please, please, please hastily bring it to your coach’s attention. You experienced members are also free to clarify any acronyms on the white board for newbies. Other than that, please refer folks to us coaches for technique advice and cues.

Unclear about whether you can provide a fellow athlete with coaching tips? Here’s our litmus test…

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Straightforward enough? Thanks for your cooperation!

Clean Clothes. Every Day!

Coach Paige would fire me if I didn’t include this one. Out of courtesy for the olfactory sense of your fellow members and coaches, we kindly ask that everyone arrive decked out in clean workout gear, head to toe.


We wish for everyone, beloved members and coaches alike, to thoroughly enjoy every visit to Ballard CrossFit. We appreciate everyone in our community helping us to make our gym a safe and supportive environment.

You’re the best!

-Coach BK

Ballard Crossfit is built on two main principles: Fitness at any level and the comrodarie that accompanies said fitness.

Let’s face it, going into a new environment can be intimidating. When everyone around you seems to know each other and the movements, it can be hard to do anything aside from surviving the workout. – esp if you are the shy type!! Anyone who has known me for five seconds or five years is well aware that I do not care for working out (insert ironic pause here). What has kept me doing my fitness? The easy answer is you guys. I call it commiserating, you can call it whatever you like. I will let you in on a little secret though: being outgoing, talkative, and engaging takes EFFORT and PRACTICE. While nobody would call me shy now, I can tell you that this is a skill I have worked on for years.

That being said, as a coach it is my job not only to keep you moving and your fitness growing, but to help you make personal and social connections that will ultimately help you to grow as an athlete – the reason I still love Cross fit and am still doing my own fitness. The more you enjoy showing up to your fitness the more you will show up and enjoy your fitness…. am I right?

So, let’s talk tips for getting out of your comfort zone on the personal/ social level! I’ll start by telling you my number one thing that gets me out of my comfort zone and forces me to connect – touch. That’s right, I make a point to physically ‘touch’ as many people as I can. My dear friend Coach Carlos many years ago made a comment to me that stuck. He’s a big time hugger and he once commented “that hug I give might be the only time someone touched that person all week”. Now while hugs aren’t always necessary I made a conscious effort to put a hand on someone’s shoulder or arm, something just to let them know I’m aware they are alive! Not being a touchy feely kinda gal, this is something that I’ve worked hard to practice when it doesn’t come naturally.

Okay, now it’s your turn! Here are a few no brainer things you can practice next time you are in the gym.

-Come 15 minutes early, and stay 15 minutes after. Obviously you have to be present for any of this to work.

-Engaging your coaches so they know more about you and can more easily help us connect you to other athletes. We are great at getting info from you guys but you have to meet us half way. Basically, if you give us the some material we can take it from there to make connections with other members who you might enjoy engaging with.

-Smile, make eye contact, and say hello – start with your coach. I CANNOT tell you how many people we see daily that do not make this a practice. Imagine a coach going out of our way to say hello, use your name, and smile – and in return we often get nearly a smidge of response. Same thing when you leave…..My son (he’s four) does not leave the gym before approaching the coach on duty to tell them ‘thank you coach and goodbye’. I want him to learn the important skill of connecting with the coach so they remember him next time he returns, and that they look forward to seeing him in the future.

-Tackled the coach greeting? Now its time to move on to a less familiar face or even a STRANGER!!! This one gets a little harder. This is a great time to deploy the ‘commiseration’ technique.

“Wow this workout looks _____________ (fun/hard/long/devils workshop)”…whatever. It is universally accepted as communication in the gym since everyone is there to do just that and creates a simple way to form temporary common ground.

Ready for some next level skills?

Engage someone during your 15-minute after class hang out. Since you guys aren’t always the greatest conversation starters I’ll give you some of my go to questions for getting the ball rolling.

  • How long have you been a member at Ballard?

  • Did you play sports or have athletic hobbies prior to this?

  • What do you like to do with your fitness outside the gym?

  • Do you have any trips planned soon?

  • What did you do for the last holiday or the one upcoming?

I hope this gives you some food for thought or at least a jumping off point for examining your own approachability. We say it in onramp, this fitness experience is totally dependent on what you bring to the table. If increasing the quality and quantity of your relationships at the gym is something you want to do I hope this helps!

-Coach Paige

The 2016 Ballard Awards

The Ballard Awards are a very special tradition at Ballard CrossFit.

Each year, we celebrate our amazing community at our annual Holiday Bash. We trade our tight lulu workout gear for shirt & tie and dress and we party!  We party HARD. The atmosphere is always electric at our Holiday Bash and for good reason!  At Ballard CrossFit, we genuinely enjoy each other, support and care for each other and are committed to each others' growth and success in this crazy journey called fitness!

The Ballard Awards are designed to highlight particular athletes that contribute to the wonderful culture of our gym.  We have 4 categories: Most Improved Lady, Most Improved Dude, Most Inspirational Athlete and The Ballard Award. Then, we ask members to vote for who they think is most deserving in the previous year in each category!

Here are the results from our 2016 Ballard Awards!


1. Most Improved Lady -  Kendra Lednicky

This years most improved lady has worked her booty off in the gym this year - and it shows!  This time last year she was in a band for pull-ups, and this year has not only achieved RX’d pull-ups but also now has unassisted chest to bar pull-ups as well!  She is constantly pushing in WODs, doing heavier barbell loads and even using a 20# medball for wallballs!  She is working on her technique in barbell club, and is following our strength program as well!  Kendra works a full-time job with an hour commute each way, so getting to the gym is no easy task for her - but she has made it happen!  Congrats, lady!!  


2. Most Improved Dude - Chris Gilroy

Chris Gilroy is one of those guys you want to hang around with. His work ethic in the gym is the reason he has sharpened many of his lifting skills and gotten stronger without any injuries. When he gets to work on a WOD, he cares more about how he executes each task and doesn't care as much about the clock. He leads by example in the gym and is loved by many.    A warm congratulations, Chris!


3. Most Inspiring - Brianna Johnson

Brianna has long been an inspiring athlete to many of us in the Ballard CrossFit community because of her high performance as an athlete, but she has become an even greater inspiration this year as she trained at a high level right up to the birth of her beautiful baby girl, Kenna.  Not long after Kenna was born, Bri was back in the gym working to get her first strict muscle up.  Then she got another one…and another one.  Bri showed all of us that being an expectant mother doesn’t have to sideline you.  

The inspiration is enhanced by Bri’s ever positive and supportive attitude. Members and coaches alike are proud to call her a friend and we look forward to seeing what is in store for Bri and her family!

Congratulations, Bri!  Thanks for your contributions to Ballard CrossFit!


4. The Ballard Award - Aaron Smith

Aaron Smith is a great candidate for The Ballard Award just by his work ethic alone.  He works HARD in the gym!  He's made huge progress in our program, he's involved in every event and supplemental program we offer, he pushes himself every time he steps foot in the gym... we could go on and on!

But what truly sets Aaron apart is the way he supports and encourages others. To know Aaron Smith is to love Aaron Smith!  He is one the most encouraging, positive men you'll ever meet.  When you see him in class or in the gym, he'll greet you with that infectious smile and take a real interest in you and how you're doing.  He truly embodies the community of support that we strive for at Ballard CrossFit!

Congratulations to Aaron Smith, our 2016 Ballard Award Winner!

What Makes a Successful Athlete?

Are you a successful athlete? What makes a successful athlete?

1.  A successful athlete is Coachable.

Coachable athletes are humble.  They’re willing and eager to receive feedback. They know that they have more to learn and they know that they need guidance along the way.  They trust that their Coach has their best interests at heart and they listen closely to feedback on ways in which they could be performing better in the gym.

As athletes, we’re always growing, always pushing, always looking to improve and be more efficient.  Coachable athletes get this and it makes them better athletes.  They are constantly learning and gaining new information, and then they employ that information in their training.

As athletes, we are the sum total of the coaching we’ve received. We each have a team of people behind us that have contributed to our athletic career. Coachable athletes recognize the care and investment that they’ve received, and they look to grow that investment all the time.

On the flipside, proud athletes often make little progress. They don’t think they need coaching which results in blindspots in their training. And, inevitably, they get stuck.


2.  A successful athlete is Driven.

Driven athletes constantly want more.  They want more knowledge, more time in the gym, more opportunities, more personal records, more.  They recognize that these gains take hard work and they discipline themselves to the task.

As athletes, we’re inspired by other athletes that are driven.  We love to see an athlete dedicate themselves to improving.  And, when they reach their goal, we eat it up!  We love to see hard work paying off.

Driven athletes have purpose every time they step foot in the gym.  They often take detailed notes as to what they’re doing and how it compares to what they’ve done in the past.  They test, retest, succeed, fail - and learn from their failures.  They set tangible goals and they dream big. They are often thinking in the midst of even the hardest of WODs. “What was my goal here?  Can I do more?  Can I hang on for a few more reps? Can I make this movement more efficient somehow?  What other experiences have I had in workouts that can help me here?”

Driven athletes inspire us!  Driven athletes make other athletes better.  Other athletes learn from their dedication and look to imitate their successes.  Driven athletes breed driven athletes.


3.  A successful athlete is Encouraging.

Successful athletes appreciate others.  They recognize that the community they enjoy is built on caring for and supporting others. They recognize that the support and encouragement they’ve received is fundamental to their success - and they look to give that same support and encouragement to others.

The success of CrossFit is rooted in our ability to be a community of people that cares for each other.  Encouragement is infectious.  When we receive it, we immediately desire to give it.  When we recognize how important the support and investment of others has been to us athletes, we long to pass that on!

We remember those people that gave us encouragement when we felt like giving up.  We remember those times when someone followed up with us, kept us accountable, sent us an atta-boy/girl.  Those little moments of encouragement and support got us through tough WODs, self-doubt, laziness, etc. They made us feel like we belong.  They made the gym feel like a second home.

When we stop to think about the people that are in our corner, we appreciate the value of looking to pour into the lives of others.  Encouraging athletes breed encouraging athletes and a community that is vibrant and full of life.


4.  A successful athlete is Positive.

Positive athletes come into the gym with a mindset of wanting to get better, and choose to stay positive even when confronted with difficulties. They never complain, whine, or make excuses.  Instead, they expect hard work, difficulty, and inevitably, they expect their success.  

Positive athletes recognize the importance of facing their weaknesses - movements that humble them or worse - movements they can’t do.  When an athlete runs into a movement they can’t do, they have two options:

1 - Leave.  This program is too hard.  This isn’t for me.

2 - Stay.  I want this.  I’m pissed that I can’t do this.  So, I’m going to stay and work hard at it.

Positive athletes stay motivated when things get frustrating.  They find the positives in the midst of difficulty. They believe they will overcome.

Positivity, just like encouragement and drive is contagious.  We all have someone that comes to mind when we think of a positive influence in the gym! We look to position ourselves near them, and we’re encouraged by their positive outlook.

-Coach Joe