One of the most exciting things about CrossFit, besides the results (and the “Sh!t CrossFitters Say” video), is the community. And CrossFit, from a global sense has dubbed “community” as one of the many facets of the regimen that sets it apart from other gyms and general fitness centers. When they talk about community, it’s generally done with reference to working out. I show up at the gym, put myself through about 40-50 minutes of hell with a room full of people, and we all develop a respect for one another. Because I know what the WOD just did to me, I can respect the guy next to me laying on the ground because the WOD did the same to him. Putting yourself through something strenuous on a regular basis with the same people starts to forge a friendship (and muscle tone).
It gets to the point that folks show up and look around for the people they expect to see. I’ve had members ask me if I’d heard from so and so because they’ve missed 2 or 3 days and something must be wrong. So and so would never miss 2 or 3 days. Most of those conversations end in me checking up on someone. But nonetheless, community is building at CrossFit Northland.
But I think our community is a little different than other places, and this is why:
The other day I was cleaning up and when I reached up to clean off some shelves I noticed a stack of flashcards, multiplication tables. I’m not sure who they belonged to, maybe Mark Dobos, but they were left on the shelves at CFN. This little, minute facet of my cleaning made me happier about the community taking shape at CFN than anything else has since we opened in September.
CrossFit gets a bad rep amongst newcomers and fitness gurus sometimes (not Biggest Loser’s Bob Harper-congrats on getting your level 1 cert, Bob!) because they think it’s dangerous. They think it’s too hard, intensity is emphasized above form and technique, and that it’s a passing fitness fad that will have no real staying power. I had a conversation with a guy at work I was trying to bring to the gym and he turned it down because he wasn’t nearly in as good of shape as those guys he saw on ESPN (2011 CF Games coverage). I’ve spoken with others that had friend that went here or there and they didn’t like it because everybody was crazy ripped or talking about supplements or freaking out because somebody beat their times, etc. Like any gym, CrossFit has its stable of superior athletic freaks. They’ve got people that work out 4 times a day and scoff at you when you eat bread or don’t drink coconut water. And we’ve got some guys at CFN even who have made monster progress and are putting up great results lately and could likely compete with some of the best around.
But you know what else we got? We got flashcards. If we have flashcards, we have kids. And kids have moms and dads. We have regular people here. We have a community of people that squeeze in their time at CFN between Susie’s soccer practice, Billy’s piano lesson, and dinner. We have working husbands and wives that meet each other after work at the gym, talk about dinner, then get after the WOD, sweating it out next to each other on the mats. What I’m saying is that I love the group of people we have, and I’m happy that we’re not an either/or place. Because our firebreather guys motivate and encourage everyone else in the gym without coming off as insincere or disingenuous. And everyone else reminds our firebreathers that there’s more to life than a fast Fran time. At CFN there are amazing things happening to people every day. Not the least of which is memorization of multiplication tables. Thanks again CFNers for making it fun to show up each day and get to impact your lives for an hour here or there.