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What is CrossFit?

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Just by looking at the title of this blog, I’m sure you feel like I'm beating a dead horse.  Every site and every blog that posts the "what is CrossFit" article is fairly repetitive (in a good way).  The way that CrossFit changes the lives of those who embrace it can't be explored in 1000 words.  Words don't serve us.  Our work does.

I watched the CF HQ video with Greg Glassman (The Purpose of CrossFit) last week, and was content with how it simply explained what CrossFit is (scientifically and socially).   

If someone wants to know what CrossFit is, they have to do it. Period.

For me, CrossFit goes way beyond this.  I know it is a bit redundant to talk about the community that CrossFit has built, but I think it's important, if not essential to address.  What this community has done for me, and countless others, is opened its arms to any person  who wants to challenge or improve themselves.  Anyone even curious about living life with purpose, commitment and dedication is drawn to this community.  How can I define the CrossFit community, then?

My first experience with a true CrossFitter was at a globogym that I trained at in Toronto.  I saw a member doing an AMRAP with kipping pull-ups, situps and OH squats.  At this point, I was training alone, following mainsite, (and watching hours of instructional videos trying to figure out what I was doing) and was no where near my first pull-up.  She saw me struggling attempting the swing and came over and introduced herself to Jake and I.  We talked for an hour.  In Toronto.  To a complete stranger.  This didn't happen in my city-world.  She showed me some techniques to work on my kip, and we chatted about WODs and diet.  I knew more about her from that conversation then I did about any member that had worked out at the gym I grew up training in for 10 years. How was this possible?

CrossFit’s community is both imagined (referencing the sociological writings of Benedict Anderson) and constructed.  My community extends beyond the four walls of the box I work at, to the people posting on whatever CrossFit blog I’m reading, or viral YouTube video was sent to me from a friend I have never met across the continent.

CrossFitters cheer each other on.  CrossFitters enthusiastically support each other.  CrossFitters don't sit around while others are in pain - they encourage, they motivate, and they stay with you until the end.  CrossFitters seek each other out, looking for friendship and encouragement.  The CrossFit community compels competitors to help each other, strategize, and push each other to the last second of a WOD.

The goal of fitness, for me, isn't the only reason I CrossFit.  Self-improvement, commitment, affinity, dedication, passion and empathy are what I strive for to be a better CrossFitter.  Although we pride ourselves on forging elite fitness, true CrossFitters are those who forge boundaries, opening themselves up to be vulnerable to a sense of accomplishment and belonging that goes beyond their own skin.

What is CrossFit? Community without limitations, competition without jealousy, and devotion without ego.


  • October 17, 2015

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