The Power Of Community

The Fitness Lab Triathlon team hanging out post Muncie 70.3!

When I first started The Fitness Lab, it was me and a small group of loyal personal training souls.  That was almost 10 years ago!  A year after starting The Fitness Lab, I started my coaching journey and endurance became a key part of my business.  Little did I know that the people I would meet through the business of triathlon would change my life in a million different ways.

I didn’t make too many friends in college; thus, my twenties were kind of lonely! I am an introvert, a homebody.  I had a lot of “friends” and new a lot of people, but I didn’t have a community.  I felt like I could pick up and move anywhere in the world and not too many lives would be changed. Here we are, almost 10 years later and I look around the gym, at any given point in the day and I see a thriving social network growing stronger every year! I love seeing new bonds created and friendships formed.  It has been the highlight of my career and it brings me more FULFILLMENT then I could ever imagine.

During a bike class last weekend, I looked at everyone working hard on their bike trainers and what I noticed was inspirational.  Sure, each person was in there trying to push their fitness needle forward, but most of all they were doing it as a unified entity.  It is hard to train for anything by yourself!  But, when you are sweating it out next to others there is something bigger happening.  We push each other, we drive each other, we INSPIRE each other, we do it as a social unit, altruistically.  Sure, sometimes we have to grind it out by ourselves…but life is too short for that much solitude.  Socialization is a huge part of sport, both as a child and an adult. On the same note, after a yoga class I went out with some of our members and as I looked around the table I could genuinely say I would do anything for these people.  They are a part of my past, my present and my future.   It’s like no matter what happens to anyone, we have each other’s back.  I can’t imagine not having that now that it has been cultivated.

Another day, I had dinner with 2 of my lady friends, and then a long run with one of my best friends and clients…same feelings, just different people.  I did a yoga class on Friday night after a Crosstopia Barbell Class and there was a really cool vibe in the room because of the community aspect of our gym. Not to confuse it with religion, but there was something spiritual and meditative about sharing the experience with your friends.

As a sun worshiper, I used to hate the winter.  Then we started organizing Computrainer classes and something changed in everyone’s demeanor.  Winter wasn’t torturous anymore.  It was a time for us to really connect with our friends, our teammates our athletes.  There were new opportunities to meet new people and make new friends.  Those friendships then flourish through the summer and grow and grow and grow!

This doesn’t just happen with my clients and members.  I see it happening as I run down the monon or when I’m out on a bike ride.  We all find our “group”, the people that we connect with.  For some it is the Fitness Lab, for some it is a CrossFit gym, yoga studio, another local triathlon, bike or run group, ect..  Life is short to swim/bike/run/lift without a group (even if it is just once a week).

The bond that my athletes and clients have with each other and myself is lifelong.  We are in this crazy journey together and that is what makes it special.  It is a community built on loyalty, support and trust.  There is no man or woman left behind in this group.  We care about each other and would do anything for anyone that chooses to be in our tribe.  We start or continue this sport to get in shape, to find out what we are made of., to conquer some personal quest for athletic success.   However, it’ doesn’t end up being about the finish lines crossed and medals accumulated.  it’s about making new friends, training with your buddies, the road trips taken and the therapy sessions during long runs and bikes.  THIS IS WHY I LOVE SPORT

So, while I sit here and type I keep hearing the voice of my husband saying “what inspired you today?” I am inspired by community and the group of people that I am surrounded by every day.  I am inspired by the people in my life who choose happiness, friendship and positivity over hate, jealousy and anger.  I am inspired by those who show up every day and work hard but don’t take themselves to seriously.  I value community – I choose happiness and friendship.

Whitney