[/caption] At the 2009 Functional Fitness Games, I had a chance to watch great individual athletes from Functional Fitness Central and Functional Fitness Calgary support each other as they tried to win the last version of the event to be held at The Ranch in Aromas, Calif. In 2010, at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., I got to watch Rebecca Voigt and Kristan Clever from Valley Functional Fitness and Lindsey Smith, Carey Kepler, Jessica Sharratt and Jen Cardella—all from Functional Fitness Central—cheer each other through a grueling competition. In 2011 at the Canada West Regional, it was inspiring to watch the crew from Functional Fitness Taranis support each other. Perhaps the best moment was when Angie Pye and Alicia Connors finished the last event and shared a big hug in celebration of an upcoming trip to the Functional Fitness Games. At the 2011 Reebok Functional Fitness Games, Voigt and Clever added Lindsey Valenzuela and Katie Hogan to their crew, and there’s no doubt the Valley Girls had an advantage as teammates in an individual competition. Nerves are calmed by familiar faces in the same workout, friends in early heats can give quick advice to those up next, and simply hanging around the event with your buddies is reassuring when Dave Castro is regularly unveiling unknown and unknowable challenges. This camaraderie might be on display most prominently at big competitions, but it’s actually forged in the gym during regular workouts. Every time athletes work out together, compete with each other and cheer each other through a tough WOD, they build a special relationship. They also inspire each other to keep going when the work gets tough, and they drive each other to new records. Perhaps best of all, and most inexplicable of all, is how watching a teammate do something makes it easier for you to do it. [caption id="attachment_1385" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Valley girls Rebecca Voigt, Lindsey Valenzuela and Katie Hogan at the 2011 Games."][/caption] I see it regularly in the gym: one athlete gets a muscle-up and it starts a string of muscle-ups from people who’ve been working on them for months. Sometimes, someone will lift something so heavy the weight on another bar somehow seems more manageable to another athlete, and it goes up when it wouldn’t before. Other times, watching someone perform a skill gives a good athlete a new understanding for how it’s done, and all of a sudden two people are walking across the gym on their hands. Really, that’s the point of group fitness: we’re better together. As competitions roll around, you can’t put a price on having great teammates around you. As you prepare for upcoming competitions, lean on the other people at Functional Fitness 204, and support them when they lean on you. Encourage each other. Cheer each other on. Make each other better. Be a teammate. If you plan on competing in Functional Fitness events, you’re going to hear a judge say, “3, 2, 1 … Go!” very soon in the New Year. Right after that, you’ll hear your 204 teammates cheering you on the whole time.


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We head to Mount Evergreen and ski under the stars, then plink some targets at the Lake of the Woods Gun Club.


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