The founder of Barefoot, Craig Weller, was a member of a special operations unit in the Navy. Becoming a member of a special ops unit requires going through a “selection” process – a grueling ordeal that can last for months or even years, designed to filter out almost everyone who volunteers until only a handful remain.
A single day may entail 10-15 miles of running in a uniform with a rucksack, 2 miles of open-ocean swimming, obstacle courses, sprints up and down sand berms and countless pushups, burpees and flutter-kicks in the middle, most of it while soaking wet and covered in sand.
During selection, Craig and his friends had a saying, “The worst part of the day is getting out of bed.”
It was a common way to answer a “How you doing?” greeting. They’d see each other in the pre-dawn morning, before the chaos of the day had started, and shrug, “Well, the worst part of the day is over.”
Considering what was in front of them each day, that seemed like an odd philosophy, but it worked. Quite often, the hardest part of anything is simply taking the first real step.
During Craig’s special ops selection training, the first step each morning was crawling out of warm, peaceful bed, putting on boots and a uniform that was still wet with saltwater from the day before, and stepping out the door. After that, it was just a matter of keeping the momentum going until it was over, one little piece at a time.
What’s the hardest part of training at Barefoot?
We see the same thing at Barefoot. The hardest part of the entire process is just walking through the door the first time.
If you haven’t yet, watch the video at the bottom of this (if you’re in a hurry, skip to about 4:40 for this part).
You’ll see that many of our members, who have now been training with us for years,were very hesitant to get started with their first day.
In fact, when we ask people how they found us, it’s not uncommon to hear that they waited as long as a year before taking the first step.
One girl had our brochure on her refrigerator and looked at it every day for six months before she finally called us.
The reasons for this can vary, of course. For some people, it’s a feeling that they should get in shape through some other method before they show up, so that they don’t feel too far behind everyone else. For others, it’s that they’re not sure that they’ll fit in, or they’re worried that they’ll be like the awkward new kid at school with the funny clothes on their first day. Sometimes, it’s that they’re just not quite ready to make a change just yet.
Whatever the reason, there’s another thing that we hear very consistently. It’s that when people wait a long time before trying us out, they regret that lost time. They wish they could get that six months or one year, or two weeks back.
This is because they inevitably find that their worries were unfounded. People in our workout groups are at all levels of physical fitness, and they can work out side by side at their own best intensity level. As you’ll see echoed over and over in the video, we’re not an exclusive clique. There’s no high-school-y cool kid group here.
“When you’re here, you’re family.”
As Dawn put it, “When you’re here, you’re family,” and you’ll feel welcome and accepted from the moment you walk through the door.
And for those who were undecided if a fitness program was necessary, they end up finding that they’d forgotten how much better they could feel, and that Barefoot is what helped them regain the physical freedom that they had in their youth. Having that freedom back is easily worth the 2-3 hours per week it requires.
None of that means that the first step is easy to take, though.
We’ve all been there. Just like getting out of bed each morning during special ops selection, the hardest part is the first step. It can be intimidating, scary and uncomfortable. The little voice in the back of your mind can cook up all sorts of reasons why you should stay in bed a little longer, or wait another week before you check out the gym.
Just know that if you’re feeling that way, you’re not alone. That’s pretty much how every one of us felt on our first day.
The girl who looked at our brochure on her fridge every day for six months before calling? She’s a Barefoot instructor now. She’s had an amazing journey over the past few years.
If you’re feeling a little stuck at taking that first step, send us an email or give us a call.
Abby: 605-881-1127, Abby@Barefootfts.com
Kelli: 605-645-7167, Kelli@Barefootfts.com
We can help you out with any questions you’ve got, or share some stories of other people (including both of us) who have been in the same position, wondering about taking the hardest step, and trying to figure out what to do.
– Kelli and Abby