In our society today, everybody is looking to jump on board with the latest fitness trend. Things like Zumba classes, P90X videos, and yoga classes are all the rage. But, there is a new type of fitness that is becoming more and more popular called Crossfit. According to Crossfit Inc., “CrossFit is constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity. All CrossFit workouts are based on functional movements, and these movements reflect the best aspects of gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing and more. These are the core movements of life.” This fitness trend began in the late 1990’s in Santa Cruz, California, and now has over 13,000 locations worldwide. Crossfit has expanded as a brand rapidly; even hosting a worldwide competition every year to name one male and one female contestant the strongest man or woman in the world. Crossfit has a few unique terms, such as WOD (workout of the day), or box (the gym). Crossfit is typically performed as a class that can be as small as two people, or as big as 20 or more people. While Crossfit is a highly profitable business, what sets it aside from other gyms and workout regimens is the community. This community provides many advantages the typical gym does not, including a family, a cheering section, and an attentive coaching staff for every class.
Crossfit is a Group Experience
Pete Diprimo wrote in his book, The World of Crossfit, “Crossfit is a group workout. There are no earphones or iPods or doing your own thing. You know your coaches and other members by name. Coaches cheer you on when you struggle and when you set personal records. Members push and encourage each other.…” This particular quote represents not only what Diprimo experiences at his Crossfit box, but it accurately describes the best part about being a Crossfitter, the community. Every Crossfit class entails loud motivating music, a coach making sure every athlete is safe and performing every exercise correctly, and a Crossfit family cheering each other on through a tough workout. This sets Crossfit aside from the typical gym.
Crossfit seems intimidating. However, WODs can be scaled for anybody at any athletic skill level. The unique thing about WOD’s is there is always a way to scale a movement to match somebody’s current ability. This makes Crossfit the perfect exercise regimen for athletes of any ability and age.
Crossfit is a Motivator
When an athlete is working out alone and becomes tired, they typically stop pushing themselves as hard. Sometimes, that athlete gives up their workout regimen all together. The Journal of Sport Behavior conducted a study called “The Relationship between Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction, Behavioral Regulation, and Participation in CrossFit.” and found that, “Of those participants who do attempt physical activity routines, there is often a lack of persistence as nearly 50% of participants will drop out within the first six months.” This could be the result of their only motivation being to get in shape or lose weight. Crossfitters on the other hand have a different motivator, the community. The article states that Crossfitters are “…motivated to pursue the activity for the inherent interest they have in CrossFit, beyond any external forms of regulation to participate, such as the guilt felt from others or the seeking of rewards, is a noteworthy finding for sport and exercise practitioners to know.” This shows that the Crossfit community provides a welcoming and encouraging place to lose weight or to get in shape; that improves people’s odds of achieving their goals.
Crossfit Cares About the Community
Members of Crossfit boxes not only look out for fellow crossfitters, they also help their neighborhood and community outside of the box. For example, Crossfit for Hope is a foundation that donates 100% of funds raised to many different causes such as Hope for Cures, which raises money to fight childhood cancer and other illnesses, and Hope for Brains, which provides educational opportunities for the less fortunate. Crossfit for Hope manages to donate 100% of donations to their charity by having Crossfit Inc. pay for their overhead. It is estimated that thirty cents of every dollar raised would typically be taken to run the organization without Crossfit Inc.’s help. While this is charity on a national level, most Crossfit boxes perform their own fundraisers as well. For example, Crossfit Thunder in Huntington, West Virginia performs a WOD called “The Twelve Days of Christmas” every year at the beginning of December. All members of Crossfit Thunder come together to complete this difficult WOD and raise money to buy children in the area Christmas presents who otherwise would not have presents for Christmas. This fundraiser raises over $2,000 every year and usually supplies presents for at least 10 kids in the Huntington area. This is just one of many fundraising events the box puts on every year.
As an avid Crossfitter, I am proud to be a member of Crossfit Thunder. This is the box I have called home for over three years. While we all come from different backgrounds, we call each other family. This community of approximately one hundred members provides encouragement, strength, motivation, and a third place. No matter how stressful the day has been, I can work out with my 5:30pm crew and forget about the worries of the outside world. This group of people push me to my limits every time I perform a WOD, but most of all they provide a sense of kinship and camaraderie. I asked members of my Crossfit box a few questions in the Crossfit Thunder Closed Group. One of these questions read “What motivates you to keep coming back to the box?” Answers to the question varied, but the one thing every answer contained was “the community.” This shows the loyalty members have to this community.
Twice a week, our box performs a team WOD. For these work outs, everybody forms groups of two people, sometimes three or four, and complete a work out as fast as they can. Team members come up with a plan to perform as efficiently as they can; playing on one another’s strengths and weaknesses. This provides us with a very efficient work out. I know that somebody is waiting on me when it is my turn to bust out a few reps. Because of that, I feel the need to work harder, which forces me to push myself to my limits. These work outs help to strengthen our bonds that we share at Crossfit Thunder.
Crossfit as a Family Experience
While Crossfit Thunder feels like a family, some members of the gym are actually family. There are many parents and children who work out together, such as my parents and me. This time together is a great way to bond and train for competitions. My family runs 5k’s together, and with our training at Crossfit Thunder, we have won 1st place trophies together. This makes for great family memories; memories to be proud of. The practice of families Crossfitting together happens all over the world. The Crossfit games conducted an interview with the Noyces family called Meet the Noyces. This is a family of five who are all Crossfitters, and four of them Crossfit together. While parents typically teach their children, things work the other way around in this family. Jamie Noyce, the daughter of the family is a Crossfit coach at the box the family attends. This means Jamie coaches her mother and father when they are at the gym together. Jamie’s mother Shelley loves to compete in Crossfit competitions. In fact, she won the 2012 Crossfit games in her age category, declaring her the 55-59 year old Fittest Woman in the World. Jamie’s sister, who does not regularly Crossfit with the rest of the family, competed in the Crossfit Open competition, which is the qualifier for the Crossfit Games. When she competed, she placed in the top 100 in her region, despite being seven months pregnant.
Hero WODs for Our Heros
The Crossfit community is also very appreciative of our service men and women. Any service man or woman who was a Crossfitter and died in the line of duty has a WOD dedicated to them. These WODs, called Hero WODs, are named after the service man or woman and are extremely difficult. For example, the Hero WOD Clovis is named after Clovis T. Ray, a US Army Second Lieutenant. This WOD consists of a 10 mile run and 150 burpee pull-ups, which can be broken up however the athlete pleases. According to @Crossfit_IoTA, these Hero WODs are not completed for training purposes, but are completed to honor the fallen hero. When executing the Hero WOD, it is extremely important to do it for the hero and think about their sacrifice to our country when the work out gets tough. There are hundreds of Hero WODs currently, and the list unfortunately continues to grow. Although Hero WODs are traditionally for our service men and women, boxes make their own Hero WODs as well, based on significant tragedies that have impacted the community.
Crossfitters Express Sportsmanship
As Crossfit continues to grow, so will the community. However, the community is already very large and caring. Even the most elite Crossfit athletes represent the encouragement and motivation found in any Crossfitter. BOXROX Competitive Fitness Writes that Sam Briggs, the female winner of the 2013 Crossfit Games, cheered on her competition after she had completed WOD 13.5, a qualifying work out for the Crossfit Games. Fighting exhaustion. Briggs began to cheer on her Competition, Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet, to complete a few more reps. This kind of sportsmanship separates Crossfit and its athletes from other competitions and organizations.
Although fitness is not for everyone, the Crossfit community will always hold a special place in my heart. The friendliness and compassion expressed by members all over the world makes any box feel like home. However, there is no box that will be as close to my heart as Crossfit Thunder. The members of this box support and encourage me like I am family, and I do the same for them. I have never experienced a fitness community as unique as Crossfit. It is very rare for something so big to have such a positive community. Crossfit has the only worldwide fitness community that focuses not only on fitness, but building communities within boxes, donating to charities, and expressing thanks and gratitude for our service men and women
The pictures below are from memories I have made with my Crossfit family, my parents, my brother, and some of my friends. The first group of pictures come from group events with my Crossfit community. The first picture actually comes from my first Crossfit class called On-Ramp where new members learn how to safely exercise and lift weights. I completed my first month of Crossfit with them, making memories I'll never forget. The second picture is from a fundraiser 5K for the Juvenile Diabetes Fund, and the third is from Memorial Day at Crossfit Thunder after we completed the Hero WOD, Murph. I am forever thankful for my Crossfit family and for the challenges I concur with them.
The second group of pictures are memories I have made with my parents. On the left is my step father while he worked up to a one rep max deadlift, in the middle is myself doing heavy deadlifts during a cardio WOD, and the last picture comes from a 5K where my mother and I took first place in our age groups. These are memories I will keep forever.
The last set of pictures come from times my training at Crossfit Thunder has paid off. These pictures were taken after different running events I have completed. On the left is my friend Collin and me, and the last two pictures are from the Warrior Dash, a 5K obstacle course through the mud I completed with friends and my brother. These events make me thankful for my health, athletic ability, and most of all, my friends.