More Than A Gym
Strength presents itself in many different ways, through muscle growth but also through the power of community.
By: Wade Johnson
When I built my gym, I thought of having a place to train. We were in commercial gyms, and while we were very supportive, we still needed a place to call our own. I didn’t know then that this was the first step in building a community for like-minded athletes to come and that we were making a community and culture that would enrich other people’s lives.
Now, why does this matter? Support and comradery are strengths and hallmarks in sports, especially in the fitness and strength community. It is not unusual at competitions to see teams cheering others on, even competitors yelling, clapping, and urging their competitors to do their best.
We all want to win, but we are just as happy to see everyone do their absolute best and let the chips fall where they may. But don’t take my word for it. Here are a couple of gym mates that gave me a quote.
From Jennifer Millican, 2-time IPF world champion.
“The Community of powerlifting is a microcosm of the family unit in many
ways. For some of us, when we are part of a gym or team, it’s the first time we feel like a valuable part of a family with a purpose. Each little gym’s culture is displayed at meets, like community picnics or other events. Everyone is excited to be there, eager to share talents and experiences, and always willing to lend a helping hand or lead others. Each has a significant, valuable role, from the organizers of the events to the veterans of the sport, to amateurs, coaches, handlers, and spectators. As with strong family units and communities, we can become the best versions of ourselves when we feel confident, valuable, and purposeful. Those three things are just a few examples that the powerlifting the community can help reveal.”
From Wesley Woodhull, USAP national and IPL World Champion
“Powerlifting is a team sport; community plays a huge part in its success. It may seem like an individual sport, but to succeed at high levels, you must be surrounded by a strong community of people, like coaches, training partners, teammates, and family. I have also found that the powerlifting community, in general, is very accepting and helpful; I’ve never been to a meet where others are not open, willing to help, share gear and cheer each other on. Having a room full of strangers cheering you on, regardless of the amount of weight on the bar, proves the togetherness of the powerlifting community I love.”
It doesn’t take many quotes for you to see a consensus. It is a very competitive world, and you will see that at competitions. However, you will also see comradery and support for one another and competitors cheering one another on. We all want to win, and we all want to see everyone do their absolute best. What you will also find is, with each gym and organization, a network of eyes and minds that are willing to consult and assist other gyms, coaches, and athletes. So, as I said at the beginning of this article, I built my gym so we would have a place to train, and now, it’s a place where we are a team, family, and more, a community.
Until next time,
Lift heavy, train smart, and eat more pizza.