Chicken Legs, Pettiness, and Internet Assholes

Chicken Legs, Pettiness, and Internet Assholes
-by Clark Hibbs
I had originally planned on waking up on this beautiful Sunday morning and writing something about CrossFit/exercise burnout. Burnout is a real thing, it’s totally expected for you to go through it, and there are some fantastic ways we can fight said burnout and get back to normal (first be recognizing we’re burnt out, and telling ourselves it’s totally OK to be burnt out).
It’s going to be an awesome post when I get around to writing it (maybe even podcast it).
But then something happened on the good old Facebook yesterday that I wanted to talk to y’all about/maybe even vent about.
Might even break the norm and get a little petty.
Grab some coffee. This is a long one.
On Saturday, I worked out at the 9AM class. Working out with y’all in classes is one of my favorite things in the world to do.
Context: Last week, I coached 32 of our 36 classes we offer at Yellow Rose. I didn’t have time/energy to workout with the classes. Still worked out, yes, but not with a class.
The feeling of exhaustion consumed me as I flopped onto the couch on Friday night. But my rockstar of a wife said she would coach the 9AM class for me. Any rational person would take this opportunity to leave work, go home, and get some rest.
But I’m sort of crazy.
You see, the thing that originally made me fall in love with CrossFit wasn’t the awesome workouts, the simple (but not easy) methodology, or the feeling of accomplishment that I get after each workout.
It was the group classes.
It was the electric environment of pushing through a workout with your peers.
It was seeing people of all different walks of life and ability levels gathering in one place to do one thing…
To get better.
Everyone’s “better” might be a little different, but everyone walks through the doors to get better.
I was excited to get better with the 9AM class.
“3, 2, 1, GO!”
And we’re off. We were wall balling, GHD-ing, slinging pull ups and throwing bars overhead. (Anyone else satisfied with the GHD burn in the belly this morning? woof!)
It was awesome. Laying on the ground drenched in sweat was exactly what I needed. It oddly enough gave me a much needed recharge after the week! A bunch of us got better yesterday.
I flexed my muscles as hard as I could as Matt (my workout partner for the class) and I took a picture. Then I threw it onto Facebook and Instagram (because you know, if you don’t post about it on social media, it probably didn’t happen).
The post was met with some “likes,” some of those laughing reactions for “team tall, pale, and slightly above average in looks”, and some other comments you expect when you post about fitness on social media.
Then I got hit with the following comment.
“Also, chicken legs. Do you teach the prison workout plan and always skip leg day?”
Neat. Super constructive.
Y’all have probably noticed my brand or online persona. I keep it really positive and up lifting. I try to empower anyone who reads my posts. I REALLY want to help as many people as possible. I feel like that’s what I’m meant to do with my time on Earth.
That why this comment kind of caught me off guard. I could understand it if I went out of my way to criticize others, spoke overly negative of people’s workouts, or you know, put people on blast for not having perfectly proportionate bodies. Then yes, an online bashing of my seemingly small legs would be completely warranted.
But I don’t do that…
Maybe he thought he was just being one of my bros? Maybe he’s just trying to rag on me in a playful way?
I could totally understand this sort of comment if it’s from someone who I see and talk to everyday, or someone who understands my history and knows my story. Or, you know, someone who I’m actually friends with.
But this guy doesn’t. I barely know the guy. We aren’t friends. And he for damn sure doesn’t know Matt. That’s where he really messed up.
Can’t say I’m surprised though. It’s the internet age we live in. People will say whatever they want to online because there aren’t immediate repercussions for their actions.
Very doubtful he would say anything like that to my face. Or maybe he would… but then I could ask him what his training regimen was like, how consistent he’s been with nutrition, when’s the last time he trained, etc, etc.
I could be a REALLY snobby and elitist fitness asshole to him. It wouldn’t be hard. I’m armed with plenty of asshole comments and insults that I could easily hurl at him. I could make them hurt badly, too. Sticks and stones could break his bones, and so would my words. I’d aim them with surgical precision to inflict maximum damage.
But I don’t do that.
I LITERALLY posted about people hurling insults at others on my Facebook page on August 14th. Seriously. I JUST posted about this exact situation 6 days ago. Less than a week goes by and the exact same situation happens.
So, how should we handle these situations when they show up? Seems I’ve been getting a lot of practice these days handling them.
On my original Facebook post, I said, “Do NOT pay any attention at all to the people who try to bring you down. Their opinions are not worth your time, energy, or thoughts.”
I also said, Here’s my go to phrase when someone tells me something totally unwarranted and unneeded…
“Thanks. I’ve been working really hard.”
I’m clearly not listening to myself right now.
I still think the first part holds true. You really don’t need to pay attention to these people. They are nothing in the grand scheme of your journey. You do not need their approval. You are not on this journey for them. You’re doing this for YOU, and nobody else should take that away from you.
I failed on the second part. I got chippy. I said, “You’re more than welcome to step away from the keyboard and come squat with me whenever you’d like to.”
I put the ball in his court. His response… “I would like [to] but your gym is too far.”
Sadly and unsurprisingly typical.
Do I really care what some guy on the internet thinks of my leg size? No. He doesn’t know the hard work I put in to lose 60 pounds (or the hard work I put in to gain 100 pounds originally… you know, when I was getting called chicken legs everyday for how skinny I was), the dedication to my nutrition each week, or the internal battles and struggles I go through with body image every day. Some day I’ll write about my breakdown I had in a Lululemon dressing room.
He won’t ever know the hard work either. Too many outside factors to blame, apparently.
All talk. No action.
I shouldn’t pay attention to it. I really shouldn’t. It doesn’t do any good for me. I should brush it off and move on.
But I see the same garbage happen on y’alls Facebook’s too.
You guys tell me when your family scoffs at your commitment to fitness.
You come to me and the other coaches when you’re upset about people hurling insults at you.
You go through the same stuff I do.
It sucks. It’s something that is hard to handle, and it can leave us feeling really frustrated, defeated, and worthless. It can make you feel like all this hard work you’re putting in is worth absolutely nothing because people are still cutting you down. The gallons of sweat you leave on the floor, the immense will power to turn down the donuts at the office, the financial commitments you make to your coaching…
It can all feel like it’s nothing because some asshole is going to cut you down.
But let me remind you that for every one person that brings you down, there are hundreds or even thousands that are going through the same things you are. You are NOT alone in it, and there are plenty of people out their that are constantly routing for your success 24/7. These people will be there for you to pick you up, keep you going, and celebrate you at all points of your journey.
If you don’t feel like you have anyone and you’re reading this… know that you have me. I’m here for you.
So, long story long… here are some OTHER things we can do when we come across assholes who cut us down.
1) Ignore it. I can’t, clearly, but maybe you can. Ignore the hell out of it. It isn’t worth anything. Delete the comments, remove them as friends, block them on media if you have to. Just get on with your life.
2) Talk to someone you trust, or someone who has your best interest in mind. It’s amazing what just voicing your frustrations around a group of people who care about you will do for you (Many thanks to Rachel, Ryan, and Cyndi for listening to me vent yesterday).
3) Call them out, but don’t be rude. Put the ball in their court. Invite them to a workout. Invite them to show their nutrition journal. Challenge them to post something fitness related. Get them to show that they aren’t just a mouth on the internet. You will usually be met with underwhelming and hilarious disappointment that they are, indeed, just a mouth, and you can move on knowing that their opinions of you mean absolutely nothing.
4) Use your social media and business reach to publicly blast them and anyone like them to thousands of people in a carefully and meticulously crafted post that will not only attempt to empower others, but simultaneously cut them down to shreds. Purposefully NOT remove them or block them on social media so they can see and read the entire post. Urge your audience to like, share, and comment on the post so the Facebook algorithm will pump the post out to more and more people so there’s a zero percent chance that this person will miss the post. Make it professional and petty.
Who knows… maybe your pettiness will lead to positive change. Maybe it might be a good wake up call to them that words are powerful, and maybe you shouldn’t hurl insults at people who you really don’t know at all. Maybe it might even get someone who’s been cutting you down to get motivated, take control of their own health and wellness, and lead a happier and healthier life!
Pettiness could be positive!
Probably not. But at least you tried.
I actually don’t recommend option 4… I feel kind of like an asshole on the internet right now…
But sometimes it might be the right path.
You don’t have to tolerate people being assholes.
If you always tolerate people spewing hate, you can’t stop the hate.
Being tolerate doesn’t always lead to more tolerance. It can just lead to more hate.
Ok, I take it back. You can use option 4. If you aren’t comfortable using option 4, tag me in the comment thread. I’ll option 4 all over them.
I got your back. If you’re trying to better yourself and someone is trying to cut you down, I will go to internet war for you.
Hundreds of others will do the same. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with this.
Happy Sunday, everyone.
Be relentlessly positive in your support of others in their health and wellness journey.
#DontBeAnAsshole #UnlessItsOption4 #Option4Asshole
-Clark Hibbs


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