Brad Hawley

I don’t know if you’re the praying type, but if you are, Brad Hawley and his family could certainly use your prayers.

On Monday, while training at a local Iron Tribe Fitness, Brad slipped from a chin up bar and landed on his head.  He was rushed to the hospital and had surgery for a cerebral hemorrhage.  At the latest report from his family, he is recovering but still having trouble breathing on his own.

I do not know Brad.  I have no direct connection to his family or to Iron Tribe Fitness.  I discovered this news via Facebook.  Iron Tribe is a competitor and I’ve been an admirer of their marketing for some time.  I keep tabs on them like I would any competitor.

Those who know me well also know I have been a critic of some of their methods.

I do not glibly write this post.  In fact, I’ve undergone a great deal of internal debate over whether I should publish my thoughts on this subject at all.  The last thing I want is to further my business at someone else’s misfortune.

Brad Hawley’s accident is a huge misfortune.  One that he and his family will be dealing with for some time.

Because I am not intimately acquainted with Iron Tribe I do not know what their internal processes are right now.  Through Facebook and online I see the outpouring of tremendous support.  Iron Tribe is to be commended for having formed such a tight knit community that readily jumps to one another’s support.

What I hope is going on is an internal reassessment of their methodologies and general approach to training.  Iron Tribe is no longer a CrossFit affiliate, but they began as one, and have brought with them some of the less desirable qualities of this successful affiliation of gyms.

My main criticism is the valuing of volume and work capacity at the expense of all else.  The exercises that CrossFit and Iron Tribe employ are not the issue.  Movement is movement and, depending on your goals, any movement can be valid.  Taking a complex movement and performing a high number of reps as quickly as possible, however, is a recipe for disaster.

My heart goes out to Brad and his family.  I wish him a speedy and complete recovery.  I hope that Iron Tribe is able, a year from now, to use this story as one of personal triumph and inspiration.

I also hope the coaches and mangers at Iron Tribe see this for the warning that it is.

I believe, as a coach and a trainer, I am responsible for what happens in my gym.  I set the tone.  I train my clients, not only how to perform exercises but to have an internal dialog.  Part of that dialog is learning to know when enough is enough and when to pause or even stop.

The purpose of your time in the gym is to build yourself up, not risk your life.

Stay strong.


Filed under Fitness, Motivation, Movement, Personal Development, Personal Training, Recovery, Strength, Strength Training

5 responses to “Brad Hawley

  1. jgdfs

    Totally agree about what you are saying here. I was a “Triber” as they call themselves and myself along with many have been significantly injured in this place with thier workout programing. Crossfit can be great, however the same aspect that makes it so impactful can also make it dangerous. Back and shoulder problem abound at this place and a number of folks have gone either to other boxes or taken thier WOD to a home gym. I took my wod home and get the same results with no injury. They are a very tight group that also doesn’t like to let injuries or negative press get beyond the tribe. If things don’t change here Brad unfortunately will not be the last person to significantly hurt himself. Luan needs to get some education around CF programing as well as liability law. They are now selling franchises and unfortunately this place is more about marketing than safety. Thier fees are outrageous when compared to other CF gyms in the area, but I guess when you pay for that much marketing that is to be expected. Let’s also not forget that when several Fitness Together’s this group owned closed, unfortunately there were many members that were owed money….right Luan? These guys are marketers first that care about the dollar not the client.

    • Thank you for your comment.

      It’s important to acknowledge that we are all in the business of making money. I offer my services will the full expectation of an exchange of value for value and I see nothing wrong with that. That being said we must also acknowledge that we are dealing with human beings and the atmosphere you create greatly impacts how people interact in your environment. I’m all for working hard, making gains and improving yourself, but I believe it must be done intelligently and with an eye on actual ability, both to maintain safety and to accurately surpass any current limitations.

  2. Brad Hawley here. I am not sure if it is appropriate that I offer some comments or how much this comment will be read. I simply want to offer a sincere thank you to Agoge Fitness for the above message and for any thoughts and prayers that were offered on my behalf. It has been 11 months and 3 days since my accident. Life has been very difficult for my family since August 27th, 2012, but I continue to get better on a daily basis. I had to re-learn to walk, see, and swallow in addition to regain 25 pounds. I still suffer from lack of taste and smell and my balance is not perfect, but I strive to once again become strong, fit, and offer support to my family and friends. Now more than ever, I appreciate life and those around me. I hope more than anything that my story can serve as a lesson to those that pursue crossfit that we all need to do it safely. Injuries happen and life is fleeting.

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment Brad. I’m very glad you’ve made such a successful recovery. As a fitness professional it pained me that anyone in the attempts to better themselves would suffer such a severe setback. Your persistence and will in the face of such adversity is commendable and I’m honored that you took the time to comment. Thank you.

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