I had done CrossFit a couple of times before. It used to be a “family event” on Christmas Eve or the day before Thanksgiving. The local Box we dropped into held a bodyweight workout, so I never was intimidated by the opportunity to lift a barbell.
Throughout high school and college, I had always been an endurance athlete. Running was my jam, especially to the tunes of One Direction. So while I was excited to start my career working at a fitness-centered publication whose mission was to offer expert advice, I never thought I would join the sport because I had never lifted a barbell in my life. So clearly CrossFit was not for me.
A month into the job, I broke both promises. I graduated from a Foundations class at the same Box Heather Hartmann, the editor of Box Pro, attends and I had just begun attending regular-member CrossFit classes. I was also peer-pressured into buying a three-month supply of protein, because according to Cameron Tucker, the more you buy the more you save.
And though I respect the commitment of a promise – I take pinky promises very seriously – I do not regret joining the “cult” of CrossFit.
What is difficult, however, is going home. Not that it’s all I talk about, but I do want to brag a little about how much I’ve lifted recently to my parents. Having never lifted a barbell in my 22 years of life, the fact that I no longer squat like Bambi is something I’m a little proud to accomplish.
But my mom, as supportive and sassy as she is, always shakes her head in disapproval. Never joining us on our pre-holiday CrossFit adventures, she knows little of the sport. And having just started yoga, she believes the stigma of CrossFit — that it’s “unhealthy for your body, causes possibly fatal illnesses or injuries, and is just plain unsafe.”
What she doesn’t understand is that CrossFit actually is for everybody. I moved apartments this past weekend and I managed to pick up a heavy desk and dresser I could not carry up two flights of stairs when I moved here six months ago. More importantly, I picked the pieces up properly. CrossFit has trained my body to move properly, so as not to cause injury now or later.
My mom preferred to opt out of lifting the heavy things, which is understandable and I support. But in the moving process, I had the opportunity to explain to her that I was able to move the furniture not because I lift heavy things, but because I’m moving my body properly.
When I first started my job at Box Pro, I figured I could write business advice and not worry too much about not understanding the sport of CrossFit, and I was quickly corrected. Sure, it’s cool that I’m no longer intimidated to approach a barbell now, but more importantly, I am seeing the long-term gainz of lifting them above my head.
If new members have heard about the stigma of CrossFit, and that has prevented them from looking beyond the sign on the door of your Box, explain that it’s not just about throwing weights on a barbell and grunting as they’re lifted overhead. It’s about moving properly for long-term benefits. It’s about being able to play with your children for hours on end, and holding them for long periods of time. It’s about being able to move three times in one year, and not being scared of hoisting oak desks up multiple flights of stairs.
And it is for everybody at any age.