Gym Rule #2 No Egos Allowed

“Check yourself, BEFORE you wreck yourself!” ~Unknown


I find the word “ego” has been used a lot lately in what I’ve been reading, watching, or hearing from others.

“Let go of your ego.”

“Check your ego at the door.”

…and in the words of Ron Burgundy, “I’m kind of a Big Deal. People know me.”

When I first started CrossFit, I was coming from a mix of strongman and bodybuilding principles of fitness. I didn’t know any other way and I had only heard about the “negatives” of CrossFit.

My first CrossFit Fundamentals coach beat my ego out of me so bad, I felt like Mike Tyson when he was knocked out by Buster Douglas. Apparently, my first WOD was so impressive, his words to me as I left the gym were, “I don’t think you are coming back, so make sure you have everything.”

What did you just say to me??? Picture the worst looking RBF (Resting Bitch Face) combined with my mouth wide open and bottom jaw nearly on the ground.

My ego was so offended, I was going to prove him right and curse him all the way out of the door. Nut how dare he say something like that! I convinced myself on the way home to feel good about never showing up again.

Somewhere between a few adult beverages (not recommended J) and auditing my self-esteem, the ONLY answer was to change MY attitude. I hated that revelation. More so, I hated that revelation was going to lead me into the doors again to face my coach with complete humility.

I walked in the doors again. I wasn’t easy. It was especially difficult when he tore apart my deadlift technique. I had to have humility in order to grow into a better CrossFitter and inevitably a better person. I had to let go of my ego.

I like the acronym I remember seeing a while ago that E.G.O. equals:

E – Eliminating

G – Growth

O – Opportunities

If you want to grow (get better in the gym) you must outgrow your ego. It will not be comfortable so the next piece of advice, get out of your comfort zone. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Shut your ego system off.

Having an inflated ego creates a prideful attitude and personal judgments towards others. Those things are NOT welcome in a CrossFit gym.

Do not bring them with you!

The price of you having an enormous ego and acting out because of it, comes at the expense of someone else feeling less; a lesser than YOU feeling. Is that really how you want to represent yourself to others? To the gym? To the community?

IOO (In Otto’s Opinion) it seems to be a very lonely description of someone. Do you really want to raise the trophy of your ego to make others feel bad about lacking the ability of doing a pushup? A Muscle up? A certain amount of weight? A slower time on a run? It sounds viciously negative. Negativity breeds negativity.

Check yourself, BEFORE you wreck yourself!

Thinking Zen and considering the principle of Yin/Yang, if negativity breeds negativity then positivity breeds positivity. Bring tons of that shit to the gym.

Don’t get offended because the coach corrects your form. It’s for your benefit and mostly maintaining a safe movement pattern. Encourage those around you by saying great things like:

“Hi, I’m Otto. Great to see you.”

“Welcome back!”

“Let’s crush this WOD!”

Lastly, I think it’s great for someone to finish the workout first. It happens every day. Nothing new here. I concede this reality and will shout this mantra, “It pays to be a winner!” And it does. But in your local box, if you are the first one done, catch your breath, gather your thoughts, but be the first cheerleader for the rest of the group.

Yes, you won, but move on. Your encouragement and positive energy might get them through the rest of their day. Your positive energy just might bring them back tomorrow.

Positivity breeds positivity.

Let go of that EGO!

No EGOs Allowed.

Yours In Fitness,


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