Summer days in Florida are hot. Stifling. Almost intolerable.
Air-conditioned cars, homes and shops become oases of comfort and an escape from the oppressive humidity. Surprising then that in the midst of this sauna, tucked away from the road in an unassuming grey warehouse devoid of air conditioning or even windows, a group of people gather and voluntarily spend hours of their time, every day. Men, women, young, mature, short, tall, wealthy, poor, big or small, it doesn’t matter here.
There are many stereotypes out there about CrossFit: about how it’s a cult, how it’s dangerous, how once you start it takes over your life and will change you. Crossfitters get defensive, of course, but as with all stereotypes, there is truth behind these words. Misinterpreted, misunderstood truth perhaps, but truth nonetheless.
CrossFit is a cult, if that means we stick together. We are a cult, if that means we’re a team, a family, that we will fight for each other and what we believe in. You can call it a cult, if that implies that we are loyal to a fault. Dependable. Reliable. Devoted. If that’s a cult, then so be it.
Maybe CrossFit is dangerous. If dangerous means pushing you beyond what you thought were your limits. If that means going outside your comfort zone, trying things you never considered, doing things you never thought possible. If that’s dangerous, then we are so dangerous. We take calculated risks, we push boundaries, we test the limits of our bodies, our faith and our belief in ourselves. Maybe we will fail, but at the end of the day, we will know that we gave everything that we had. We know that we laughed in the face of danger and left it all on the floor.
I’ve lived those stereotypes. But, for me, CrossFit stands for the courage that I’ve gained and continue to gain. Honestly, whenever I get ready for a workout, I’m terrified but I do it anyway. Sometimes the fear gets in my head and I miss my lift, drop off the bar instead of going for one more pull-up or rest too long in-between movements. Other days, I find it inside me to pick up the weight, to keep moving, to finish the workout and every time I do, I become a little bit stronger, a little bit more brave, a little bit better and that makes everything worth it.
Increasing my max lifts isn’t about being able to meet a record or win a competition with anyone. It’s about becoming stronger, mentally, emotionally and physically. Gaining strength in the gym means gaining strength in all areas of my life and when I’m faced with problems at work or other daily challenges, I know that I can overcome them, because I’ve trained and prepared myself to be brave, to persevere, to be continually working towards improving inside and out. If that’s the stereotypical CrossFit experience, could it really be so bad?
CrossFit is a constant paradox; it is the simultaneous breaking down and building up of the body, the fear and excitement before the WOD, the elation and dread after it’s over and it is the impossible tasks that become unbelievable accomplishments.
We pick sh*t up and put it back down. We throw around iron, run, jump, lift, stretch, move in an interminable number of ways, encourage one another and push each other, always fighting for improvement.
We are all there to be better.
So maybe the stereotypes are all true. Maybe CrossFit will change you and maybe it has changed us. But maybe like us, you’ll become the person you’ve always wanted to be or maybe you’ll find the version of yourself you’ve always been searching for.
Author: Gabriella Sweezey
Editor: Katarina Tavčar
Photo: Arctic Warrior/Flickr