Dealing with Cheaters…

In 2018, I gave a presentation to a group of about 100 coaches at the Two-Brain Summit about developing relationships with your clients. I made sure to notate that this was in reference to professional/interpersonal, not intimate, relationships – HA! I talked about the difference between listening and waiting, establishing points of commonality, and positivity to name a few topics. But the real gold came about during the Q&A. I honestly didn’t think I’d have many, so when the hands kept going up for 20 minutes, I was incredibly humbled.


One of the questions that resonated most with me was this: “How do you deal with cheaters at your gym?”


After establishing some context and more details, what the question boiled down to was this: Some clients, concerned with their position on the leaderboard, were quietly talking about “that guy” or “that girl” who would always appear to be moving slower than many others yet always found themselves at the top of the leaderboard.


Guess what? That’s happened at CrossFit For Glory. Many times.


Here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter.


I’ll tell you the same thing that I told the crowd in Chicago at the Summit. The same thing that I tell our staff. The same thing that I tell clients who approach me with these concerns:


*I don’t believe people are deliberately cheating their way to the top of the leaderboard in our class workouts.* 


Here is why:
  1. I’ve been delirious during workouts more times than I can remember and have found myself losing count of my reps. In those instances, when I’m deciding if that was ‘burpee box jump over’ number 6 or 7, I call it 6 and keep moving.
  2. I believe that we are surrounded by people of high character and integrity within our gym; folks that wouldn’t deliberately do that. Some may call that naivety, I call it faith in humanity. I always look to the good in people.
  3. What if you, the coach, told that person to do less reps during a workout and the rest of the class doesn’t know that? Or maybe they decided to scale the number of reps on their own to do something more in-line with where they are on that day.
  4. Or maybe, just maybe, they needed that win on that day. Maybe they had a bad day at work, or had an argument with their spouse, and this was their way to escape, get a small victory, and feel better about themselves.


Here’s one final thought – if you’re a coach and you care enough about the number of wall balls someone is doing (or not doing) and you take the time to count all 20 of their reps in a workout with a class of 10 – how much time are you neglecting the other clients for while you do that? It’s bad use of your time at best, and a complete disservice to the rest of your clients at worst.


If you’re a client in that class and have thoughts like this, go look in the mirror and realize that that is the only person you are competing against…if you’re even competing at all.


I love this quote by Pat Sherwood: “The goal is just to get fit. Make it the best hour of your day. Stay safe, turn up the music, high five some people, and blow off some steam. So remember that. Relax. Have fun. Workout.”
people working out in a group fitness class


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