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.