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Tom Parry is a CrossFit instructor and then some. He also owns Chicago's Atlas Performance, where he coaches CrossFit, and holds a master’s degree in exercise physiology and sports nutrition. That’s not to mention his football coaching résumé, which is worthy of Coach Taylor. (He worked as a strength coach for Fordham University’s Division I football team.) It’s Tom’s drive to achieve that makes him a natural CrossFit coach. In CrossFit, motivation is everything, and Tom often has to motivate people who are less naturally driven than he is. Below, he shared some of the CrossFit training tactics he uses to keep students on track. Say no to one-size-fits-all pep talks. "Everybody's different,” Tom said. “Some people just want to go, and if you scream at them, they'll shut down. There's somebody like me where, if I drop the bar, I want my coach screaming in my ear to get back on that bar." Blast some tunes. In Tom’s opinion, the perfect CrossFit song is Guns N' Roses’ "Welcome to the Jungle." Though any song will work, he said, as long as it’s playing loud and it has a good bassline. “You want music that's just going to completely take your mind out of where you are … [and] occupies one of your senses completely." Make it a game. CrossFit workouts are inherently competitive—an ideal situation for anyone who turned every gym class's warm-up jog into a race. Students will perform select exercises “for time,” meaning they attempt to do the moves as fast as they can and, hopefully, beat their former time. “Anybody who's a former athlete or just competitive person in general … [wants] to win the workout!" Speak with authority. “If you’re in my class, you’re gonna know that I’m talking,” Tom said. “I yell.” Try a harmless half-truth. At the end of the day, even if they have healthy goals in sight, many people just hate hard workouts. Period. Tom motivates these students with something like, "Hey, the harder you work today, the easier it's going to be tomorrow." “But that’s just something I’d say,” he emphasized. “You'd come back the next day, and I'd make you do it heavier.” Photos by Matt Schwerin, Groupon Check out our last trip to Atlas Performance: What Is CrossFit?: A Newbie's Guide to the Program Pull-ups are obvious. Maybe so are thrusters. But AMRAP? The minimalist workout’s out-there terminology, explained by a trainer.Read More