I used to do Crossfit. I wrote this piece a while back. I miss it. a lot.
5 NON FITNESS related reasons to convince your friends to join a Crossfit Box….NOW!
Are you the fitness black sheep of your crew? Are all your friends raving about the newest yoga studio while you can’t stop talking about your latest PR? When you drop Crossfit acroynms such as WOD and AMRAP, do your pals look at you like you have 3 heads? They don’t understand you anymore and it leaves you wishing they would know how good it feels to be part of a box. There’s so much you want to share with them but you know the glory of your anecdotes would be lost or fall on plain acknowledgment smiles. Aside from your abs which your friends can see are slowly making their way to be sculpted like Mount Rushmore, there are some other benefits of joining these unique places referred to as The Box. Share these reasons with them and hopefully they too will be chanting the Crossfit mantras in no time.
#1 SENSE OF COMMUNITY
Ok, so there’s a reason why your friend cannot stop talking about Crossfit. One of those reasons is the feeling of belonging to a Community. The camaraderie that is fostered in a box is undeniable and I’ll explain why. In what other environment would you experience such grueling challenges in front of other people. There is no other place where it is conceivable that you may see someone puke during or after a workout (Mythbuster: Puking does not ALWAYS occur after a WOD. As a matter of fact, I’ve NEVER seen it happen but have been close to experiencing it myself). There is no other venue where you see your peers attempt daunting tasks and succeed or fail. The wodding together equals the sustaining together which forms the bond. The WODs force everyone to check their ego at the door. Whether you are lifting 35 or 135, your participation is what makes the box unique and powerful. The maneuvers demand respect for your coaches who in turn appreciate and learn from your participation. You will notice that Crossfit boxes hold many activities outside of gym hours, such as fundraisers, competitions, event planning, potlucks, and even good Ol’ barbecues at the box. This affinity to hang out is not typical in another common setting such as your workplace. I don’t know about you but I bolt out of my office and when I was at a regular gym, I didn’t want to stay any longer than I had to.
# 2 FEELING ACCOMPLISHED
Okay, I know I said the reasons would be non-fitness related and so this one might be cheating. Sue me. You will try things that you have never tried or would never otherwise try in your life. Tell me when else would you be in a position to flip tires, or use sledgehammers? When else would you do handstands or participate in a bear crawl race? Never. Most of us, if we weren’t at a box, would either be home doing home stuff or at a globo gym (globo gym = a typical gym franchise in your neighbourhood. There are probably 3 within a 5 mile radius from where you are now), looking and walking around aimlessly, getting on a machine here and there. Maybe we’d get on a weight machine once in a while just to feel like we’ve really done something that day. In a box, you WILL be challenged no matter what. There’s no place to hide in a box. It’s a wide open space with heavy things and metal poles nailed to the ground. Once you enter, you must face the music, and then your WOD is done, and you FEEL ACCOMPLISHED! This is an invaluable feeling that we do not experience frequently. When else do you get this feeling? I don’t feel like this at work, because there’s just more tasks to be done the next day. Doing house chores does not give us this feeling because we know that our work will be unraveled in a few days. The feeling of having completed something, especially a physical task, cannot be achieved in any other way. Where else would you learn to do Olympic lifting? Snatches, Cleans et al? Ask anyone who’s just executed a perfect snatch and tell me if they don’t tell you that they’ve just performed magic?
# 3 CONSTANT LEARNING
At my box, there’s two beat-up couches that are by the lounge area where people stay post or pre-Wod and chat whenever they can. There is a lot of honest exchange that happens in this area where people relay ideas about self-improvement. Everyone there wants to know what to eat to feel better or perform better. There’s insight tossed around that is based on people’s personal experience. There’s conversations about how to perform movements better and how to gain strength. Everyone wants to improve on something and there’s an implicit understanding that everyone wants to see you achieve your goals. The mentorship that you receive from your Coaches and peers is invaluable. The conversations will range from Supplements to Sex, it’s amazing! Again, this is not a typical range of discourse that would occur in any other place where there is not copious amounts of alcohol.
# 4 BADASS IMAGE OF CROSSFIT
C’mon say what you will but when you tell people that you do Crossfit, they know you’re a badass. They know that you don’t subscribe to the buy workout clothes for the sake of looking like you workout culture . You are viewed as a hardcore DO-er of things, not just a SAY-er. This perception will indulge your confidence and you will feel motivated to keep improving on your skills. You have chosen and are paying to step out of your comfort zone and as a result people will notice and ask you stuff about working out, nutrition, and about other aspects of their lives on which they wish to improve. Even though you are not a coach or a trainer they figure ‘Hey she/he does Crossfit and they haven’t died, they must be doing something right?’ This perception inspires others to change how they do things and whether or not you see it, there is a ripple effect that surrounds you.
Doing Crossfit means that you are not willing to settle for a mediocre way of challenging yourself. You are willing to put your body and mind through some heavy challenges. You will notice that this discernment will bleed into your life. You will approach new tasks and new methods in your life with the same courage that made you try Crossfit in the first place. All of a sudden other seemingly daunting tasks in your life don’t appear to be so insurmountable. Heck, you might even ask that cutie at the coffee shop out on a date, start a fundraiser at work, or buy high heels. You will try new things because whatever it is, it can’t be as bad as FILTHY FIFTY (a series of 50 reps of various movements, it’s God awful!). Crossfit has given your life a shake and you’ve begun to question the rationale of how you operate and that is part of the evolutionary process of being human.
#6 CONNECTING WITH PRIMAL SELF
Yes, yes, you know the connection between Crossfit and Paleo, but this is not where I’m going with this, I promise. Your ancestors moved in many different awkward ways, not for the purpose of making Regionals, but for Survival and in the grand scheme to increase the prospects of their family’s future. Our current world of computers, sofas, and Ketchup flavoured Doritos (I was suprisingly intrigued when I saw them by the checkout counter today) has turned us into a shell of what we used to be. Think about it, would you be able to outrun a bear now? Or carry some timber back to the nesting ground acres away? These types of tasks are in your gene pool but have been dormant for all your life. It’s time to reawaken them. Don’t ask why? Just do it. (Insert Nike Royalties here) For the sake of all the sacrifices of humanity, do something to honour and further the strength gene of humankind. I guarantee that when you are mid-Wod and feel like you cannot push further, but you do, and finish, you will feel this connection to both your past and future at the same time, both your history and destiny.
#7 BEING IN THE MOMENT
This concept is not new to most of us. This phrase is given so much lip service that it’s practically a branding slogan now. We’ve all tried to achieve this ‘in the moment’ oasis in Yoga class, only to have our brain wander to our next meal, that cute sweater you saw on the way to class, and that comment you made earlier today which left you hoping you haven’t pissed off your boss. When you are performing a rep in your WOD, there is no other option but to be in the moment. Being mentally elsewhere will result in you not fulfilling your rep. At this time, there is no other place to be but firing your neurons together and executing your rep. And if you want to execute it properly, then there is even more brain juice required. The overwhelming effort that you make during your execution will snatch all of your attention and oblige you to focus on the task at hand. Most of us who work in offices are constantly thinking of something else, other than what’s in front of us. As a matter of fact, the concept of multi-tasking requires this of us and is seen as a ‘positive’ attribute of an employee. Many of us are required to handle battling deadlines, be pulled into adhoc meetings, while deflecting ongoing distractions in order to remain employed. When you are in mid-Wod, there is just ONE task and your Body is relying on your Brain to focus on that ONE rep. Your mind -body awareness is crucial for working together to get you through the movement at hand.
# 8 LEARNING TO COPE WITH FAILURE
Unless you are JAY-Z or Richard Branson, the life we lead is pretty predictable. We go to the same places to do groceries, we pay the same bills, we are in the same place between the hours of 9am to 5pm EVERYDAY. We may try a new place for lunch once in a while, but that’s only when we’re feeling adventurous. We’ve created a nice hub of security for ourselves that offers us comfort which is necessary and important. However, we are now realizing that there are other feelings that we are meant to experience such as rational fear, fulfillment, joy, and pain. None of these can be achieved when we walk on the same pathways that we’ve been treading. You cannot experience elation without knowing what sadness is like. Whoa! Getting too deep right? Similarly, you must attempt things that you have not already mastered because that is when the growth occurs. That is where your experience bank becomes richer and from which you will draw future successes. It is crucial for your growth as a human to fail, and fail again because the odds are that you will succeed in future attempts. The science of Crossfit, as in Life, will support you. It cannot be negated. It is written that you will prevail and thrive. The culmination of all those double under attempts will finally pay off to that wondrous moment when you feel the wire go beneath your feet twice. All those banded pull-ups will result in one glorious time when you shall see over the top of that bar. You will learn that to fail is to succeed, the timing may vary but it will happen.
Ask anyone who does Crossift (ie. your annoying friend) and I’m sure that they will give you many more reasons why they value their Crossfit experience. You could dedicate an entire article to any one of the reasons above. Each person’s individual experience is as unique as the Crossfit boxes themselves. Next time, you are pondering what the new thing is that you’re going to try for this season or what you’re going to be all about for the next while, give Crossfit a try and discover your own gifts that you haven’t opened inside of you. Greatness awaits at a box near you.