20X Challenge Greenville Lessons Learned

20X challenge south carolinaBy Billy Fletcher, CrossFit Alliance.
It has been a little over a month since we had the SealFit 20X Challenge at Alliance. There were many lessons learned during this 13.5 hour crucible event.

One lesson which you may have heard about from those who participated, is the concept of “hands off hips”. It all started the first ten minutes when Navy SEAL Coach Chriss Smith got in my face and not so politely said, “Fletcher you have an infection in your gym and I am going to breed that %&#@ out of here.”

Honestly, at the time, I had no clue what he was talking about. But what I soon thereafter was fully made aware of, was that he was referring to our people standing with their hands on their hips. His interpretation of this posture was that it represented a sign of defeat or being tired of which either was unacceptable. Coach Chriss explained that this body language disgusted him and that if we continued to demonstrate such body language we would be made to suffer until it was corrected…and that for every infringement, the punishments would escalate.

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The first punishment for “hands on hips” was 20 burpees, then it was 20 no hand burpees, and before the two hours had passed, it was no hand burpees into a ditch filled with a pile of gravel and sticks. What is a “no hand” burpee? Well, you put your hands in your pockets and you launch yourself hitting the floor chest first hoping to not break your ribs. And, yes, I would imagine it was even more painful for the ladies that were in the Challenge.

Eventually (2/3’s into the day), we managed to keep our hands off our hips and the punishment, at least for that offense, was stopped.

The interesting thing about this one example was that every person’s perception and takeaway from this experience was probably a little different.

I personally took away four things from this particular lesson which I would like to include into the gym in a positive manner.

First, there is incredible power in body language. You can use it to empower yourself and others or you can use it to bring yourself and others down. Your posture, breathing, facial expressions, etc., all play a part in your body language.

Peak performance coach, Tony Robbins, has talked about how to change your state of mind through movement and body language for years. Change your physiology and you can change your psychology and vice versa. This is part of the reason I love training. When I have been in my lowest of lows, training has been the one thing I could count on to make me feel better.

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Second, it is not all about you. Though this is a common saying typically used derisively, it can be more positively stated as taking the focus off yourself and putting it on others. It is one that I have begun to have a better appreciation of over the last several years. I truly believe that ,if embraced ,this concept can play a critical role in developing a very special culture within Alliance and beyond. In fact, the biggest difference between Kokoro and 20X was that I was able to better shift my focus to others in the group. This actually made the work seem easier. I believe if you spoke to any of the graduates of the 20X Challenge, they would tell you that they were more concerned about how their actions affected the team than themselves!

How does this concept apply to putting your hands on your hips? When you are part of a group or team you need to be aware that your body language and attitude not only affect you, but everyone around you. Putting your hands on your hips means different things to different people, but, to many people and in many instances, the connotation is negative. So, if you are aware that your language both body and verbal, affects others, then, you would become more careful of exhibiting any language that is negative. In this example, at least, you would not put your hands on your hips!

Third, a tie in to number three is greater awareness. The Fourth mountain of the Five mountains of SealFit is Awareness/Intuition. In Yoga traditions, it is called mindfulness. Either way, I think it is something very lacking in today’s society as a whole.

If you don’t believe me, then just come watch the body language of some of the customers of our neighboring business come and go from the parking lot. Do you think that for some of these people that they are aware of what their body language is saying or what it is subconsciously doing to them? Not judging, just stating what is. Putting your hands on your hips in most cases is a habit we just don’t think about. When we bring our awareness to the habit then we can change it.

This leads us to the final thing which is that we have the power to change any habit if we truly want to change and if our “Why” is big enough. Changing the habit of putting your hands on your hips may be a small thing but when some of us have been doing it for forty years or more but demonstrate the ability to change in 13.5 hours, it is very powerful. If this can be done with this simple habit it can also, be applied to developing a habit of training on a consistent basis, eating better, and drinking less or not at all. Most of what we do is habitual so if we can change bad ones and add new ones, one at a time, we can change our lives,

Ultimately the idea of keeping the hands off your hips serves as a reminder of these four things:

Tip #1. The power of body language

Tip #2. Shift the focus from yourself to others

Tip #3. Be aware and mindful

Tip #4. You can change anything if you choose to and have a big enough “Why”

Let’s embrace this concept and work to help each other to embrace these four things and apply it to all facets of our lives.

But, to start with, every time you catch yourself or somebody else putting hands on hips, please help me remind and instill this new positive habit: “Hands Off Hips!!!”

SGPT Interviews 20X Challenge graduate Michael Nealon
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