If you want to know what CrossFit is, in strictly technical, “I really have no idea of what it is” terms, then this is not the article for you. You should go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CrossFit or www.crossfit.com to find out more. Another option: Google “What is CrossFit” and voila, instant-presto answer.
This *pause for effect*, is an “80’s babies” homage of sorts; a letter to the smart asses, nerds, geeks, gay-bi-trans, colorful folks and general social outcasts to tell them to rejoice: you have found your way and it’s through “CrossFit”.
We CrossFit athletes were the Middle School weirdos because we studied; the High School nerds because we actually enjoyed reading; the College upstarts because we dared to attempt to change what had “always been that way” in relation to Homecoming Court selections, Social Injustice and the availability of something better than Grilled Cheese, Hot Dogs or Rice Krispie Chicken at the campus cafeterias. We didn’t pick on the weakest kid because it might have been us, or someone we were friends with; we ignored or only briefly flirted with the drug(s) of choice (so not cool according to the wasted guy who can barely walk *eyeroll*); essentially we aspired for...something more.
To be significant and effect change through our differences.
In perpetual social exile we were the kids picked last for kickball or double-dutch, reviled the well-known “fact” that pink was for girls and blue for boys poms and preferred summer days watching Sci-fi “StarGate” and “Star Trek: Next Generation” marathons; riding second-hand bikes while drinking “quarter waters”, fishing in dingy hidden streams, reading DC and Marvel comic books until our eyes bled and/or catching “light bugs” in mason jars. We avoided football two-a-days or roving packs of girls that incessantly cruised the local mall in “way too bright for her face” makeup, high heels, short-short skirts and an attitude that reinforced every negative thought possible about what contemplating the disaster of “it” girls together at a clothing store. Side Note: I said “girls” not “women”.
However, in a Box (CrossFit Gym), during a WOD or at a competition, we are at the top of this particular food chain. If you have an issue with being close to or associated with the sexually liberated, people that represent the rainbow of cultures inherent to our country, strong willed and determined women, or the awkward basketcases that walk through CrossFit doors every day, you need not apply to be among the “Fittest on Earth”.
Keep walking into your globally-located, glass and chrome gym with the latest “Mark 47”, elliptical, your absurd need for a daily lemongrass protein smoothie from the state-of-the-art juice bar at $7 a pop. That armor that you jump into, like a warm safety blanket; a snuggie that we peel off layer, by layer, when we discover-live-breathe and survive a CrossFit workout. It ain’t about the machines, the comfort, the warm towels or the insanely expensive training sessions. It’s about Us, the WOD (Workout of the Day) and our ability to improve day-to-day. At the end of the day we compete with ourselves because, quite simply, we have to beat our own fears, doubts and conformist psyche into oblivion by getting incrementally better. Every. Single. Day.
We embrace our outsider, community-oriented ethos. We give back in our own special way (Steve’s Club), we hang out, enjoy libations; we talk in a language you would need a dictionary to understand and we care about hitting our CrossFit, and life, goals. We have weird meaningful comic book-based, sci-fi, and meaningfully tattoos; sleeves and otherwise (very few barb wires here...). We sport full or wacky beards, short-shorts, sparkly pants, shirts with fabled animals, interestingly placed body jewelry and truly embrace living life fully; to go up against ourselves, the elements, and others (during CrossFit Throwdowns or Competitions), and to win at the WOD by mentally compelling ourselves beyond the pain points that our brains keep throwing at us. We check our egos at the door and celebrate individualism together. That concept alone likely boggles a few minds, so let me repeat it: we celebrate individualism, together; physically, mentally, verbally compelling a boxmate to keep going.
Odds are slim that you will find much in the way of bidets and private, executive-level showers at a CrossFit Box. No, really. What you will find are the gangly, awkward tall guys that were maligned for being exactly what they were. Tall. Right now his height and determination has him blowing through 1000M rows at about 3 minutes and 15 seconds. Crossfitters celebrate him and his accomplishment and expect him to aim for sub 3 minutes next time.
You will find the former the “fat girl” that was tortured for being overweight (read: not a size 4) that can deadlift and/or squat 1.5 times her weight, she’s a size 6 and she feels (and looks) a whole lot sexier and more confident about herself than that size 4 eating a romaine salad sans chicken, sans dressing, sans...everything. Crossfitters celebrate her and her accomplishment and can’t wait to see her hit 2X her weight and enjoy some grass fed beef burgers with center-cut bacon.
You will find the African-American woman that is told by a parent or friend or significant other that muscles aren’t attractive in her culture; that she’ll get “bulky” and look like a man if she does CrossFit. She realizes the attempt to cage her in their definition of attractive. Crossfitters celebrate every push up, pull-up and over head squat that she completes and can’t wait for her gun show to go live.
You’ll find cops, firemen, military, moms, dads, granddads, farmers, urban dwellers, emo’s, teachers, the home-schooled and the public raised; jocks that never gave the smaller guy a hard time or reformed bullies that learned that it was wrong to do so ; people with Master’s Degrees, MD’s, PhD’s and every other level of degree. The reality is that we could give a George Clinton (in the 1990 classic movie House Party) “Two tears in a bucket. Fuck it....” about all of those titles or “convenient definitions” that were so sarcastically celebrated in the “Breakfast Club”. Definitions that continue to resonate so well that I clearly used them, and other variations, in this post.
Through CrossFit you see us. You see what we’ve become regardless of the social strata that we had to, and often continue, to live in. You see us how WE want you to see us: as more than just our less-than awesome years. We are the Outsiders all grown up and we love it; we high-five in the absolute dorkiest ways. We yell encouragement in the highest, most squeakiest voice. We made good.
We’re coached by some of the most giving people; entrepreneurs that risked their futures, financial, social, etc., to do something different, to separate from the crowd and effect change in others. Rebels in the health and fitness industry that saw fireworks go off in their heads and hearts when they stepped in a square room with black floors, bumper plates and a board with a WOD on it.
We former loners are Olympic Lifters, Runners, Rowers, Gymnasts, Swimmers, and more - all around athletes and teammates that accomplish more in one hour than most do in a week at a regular gym. Our successes translate to confidence in unfamiliar situations, drive and determination to do something different, a constant feeling of sexy (yeah, I said it. We actually feel good about bodies) and we apply all that to our careers, lives, our families, our kids, our sex lives and our marriages or partnerships.
We take pride in rebelling against expectations that seem so out of touch with what we feel...what we know we are meant to do. CrossFit is the rebellious teenager, the bastard child that understands that it will never truly be accepted in the mainstream fitness industry, even in spite of the backing of major shoe company endorsement and all (although, methinks that they http://games.crossfit.com/ know that).
That’s okay. We Crossfitters keep plugging away; pushing, chipping, taking chances, seeing opportunities to use CrossFit for our next chapter. We celebrate differences while coming together.We are more than people think possible.
We are CrossFit.
Cue the #rebelyell