It was at a birthday dinner over 2 and a half years ago that I first heard of CrossFit. I was looking for a new exercise routine and the woman sitting across the table from me, a friend of a friend whom I had never met before and have yet to see again, started talking to me about how she and her husband were doing CrossFit and just loved it.
‘Honestly, my husband is addicted,’ she said.
It was summer time and I remember looking at her well-defined shoulders and arms and thinking, I want that. ‘CrossFit?’ I asked. ‘Well, okay, I’ll give it a try.’
I don’t really remember Boot Camp very well. Boot Camp used to be called On Ramp. On Ramp took place in what could now be considered a single-wide. I remember the walls were painted a dreary grey and there was a single rope hanging from the ceiling. I remember staring at that rope and thinking, what the hell is that for? Kevin Houston was my On Ramp coach and Boots his assistant. I remember the first time I was asked (told) to do a burpee and thinking I might hurl.
Fast forward almost three years. THREE YEARS. And here I am. An athlete, a part time coach, but mostly, a student. I consider myself a student of CrossFit. In CrossFit you never stop learning. You will never know it all and I love that. We teach each other every day. On any given day I bet you can name a different reason why you love CrossFit, at least I can. Chances are also good your reasons why change.
Chances are good the reasons why you love CrossFit are constantly varied.
Here’s some reasons Why I keep coming back:
CrossFit kicks your ass. There’s no other way around it. Yes, it sucks, sometimes more than others. But where else can you go to get your ass unbiasedly handed to you quite like this? Where else can you go where you are forced to check your ego and your whining and your excuses at the door and you’re asked to step up? It’s an even playing field. The rubber and steel favors no one. The barbell is not magically lighter for some more than others. There’s no discrimination.
I’ve been able to do things I’ve thought would never, ever be possible. It may not sound like much to some but I was one of those kids who could never do a cart-wheel. So basically while all the other little girls were whirling and twirling around me, my gaggle of feet and gangly limbs would be flailing through space with each failed clumsy attempt. (Editor’s note: in my memory said little girls were also in pick-tails with colorful ribbons and sporting new sneakers. Bitches.) I don’t know why I couldn’t do a cartwheel. Excuses are irrelevant. I only knew that each attempt ended in failure. And I hated it. Fast forward a lifetime: only just last weekend I performed my first handstand, ever. In my entire life. Gangly limbs and all. In all of its simplicity it was one of those magical perfect moments in life that I will now carry with me forever. Just like the Grinch, my heart grew three sizes that day. I did something I thought I’d never be capable of doing. And I did it with the support and encouragement of some incredible people around me. I didn’t cure cancer or invent the Whole30 Approved Oreo, but I did do something that made my soul full and my mind peaceful and in turn I greeted those around with the same.
My family says I’m different. They don’t really understand this ‘CrossFit Thingy’ that I do. But they notice a more calm, confident person. Makes me wonder what the bloody hell I was like before. But truthfully, who knows you better than your family and they’re happy that I’ve found something that makes me want to do the work of being healthy. Having been a caregiver, I believe the ultimate gift that you can give to your loved ones is the gift of taking care of yourself and being healthy.
Lastly, I keep coming back because of our community. Hashtag: Community. The term gets thrown around quite a bit. But there’s a reason for that. I’ve made some of my best friends at ACF. Not only do I not have to explain myself when I order black coffee and an omelet, no cheese, no toast, no home fries, extra bacon, but the person sitting next to me says, ‘You know what, that sounds pretty good, I’ll have the same.’
It also goes deeper that. I was on crutches for 10 weeks this Fall. It was one of the most challenging times in recent memory, on so many levels. There were many lessons in humility and patience, but also in friendship. There are people that stepped in and helped without my having to ask – because when you’re down and out the hardest thing to do is ask for help – from driving me to the doctors, to bringing me some groceries, to just stopping by and providing some company and watching chick flicks, these amazing people stepped in and extended a gentle calloused hand and an open heart. There were times that I felt like detaching, they never let me. These are people I feel blessed to know as a result of being a member of the ACF community. And that’s all I have to say about that.