“You don’t seem like the CrossFit type.” I hear it all the time. Honestly, I think it’s code for “you don’t look like you’re in that great shape,” or something like that. But I also hear it when I say that I don’t usually feel like working out. Or that I don’t care about the Games. Or we don’t sell some MLM magic powder that will make you yoked. Or that we run
So does that make me “not the CrossFit type?” Does that make Rocket not a “real CrossFit gym?” No. It makes us precisely and exactly the CrossFit type. If you think that CrossFit is about following some sort of orthodoxy and giving a fuck what other people think of you, I think you’ve got it all wrong.
I am an almost 50-year old woman with a broken neck, two surgically repaired shoulders, a serious sweet tooth who is fundamentally both cynical and lazy. I am also in the best health of my life, stronger than I’ve ever been, in less pain then I’ve ever had since breaking my neck, and am pretty sure I can do anything I want to do with my body, any time. Because I am a CrossFitter.
So, I don’t “look” the part? I’ve got news for you. The vast majority of people out there can be in the best health of their lives, and still not be skinny, or “cut” or whatever else it is that people like to think is the visual indicator of health. I can squat my body weight, I can out run a zombie in the apocalypse, I can carry heavy things, jump on one foot. CrossFit measures fitness across 10 domains: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy. (None of those is “size 2 with washboard abs.”) I train all of those things every day, and have more of them then I’ve ever had in my life. As a result, I would add that my ability to focus is so much better that I rarely take ADHD meds. My immune system is so much stronger that I almost never get sick. My mood is better, all the time. And I sleep better. Sure, I’m also bigger and softer than I’ve ever been. So what.
Do I wake up dying to workout? Nope. Most of the time I have to force myself. But I do it because I know that once I’m there, I’ll have fun. And I will feel better immediately afterwards. I know this intuitively enough that I can usually make myself go, at this point, even though my louder inner voice is “but it’s so comfortable here.” But also, the people in the gym are my safe place. They are my emergency contacts. When I go to the gym, I feel more connected to the world around me, and even when I don’t feel like working out, I do feel like seeing them. And that matters.
I don’t walk around with a shaker bottle full of magic, because I’m just a regular person, I don’t need it. CrossFit isn’t about supplements to make you puffy and shiny, it never was. It’s always been about real nutrition. The mantra has always been “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar.” Eat food. Real food. If you follow my instagram, that’s exactly what I do. Some people do keto, some paleo, some Zone, some….. But mostly, I just eat food. That isn’t sugar. (Unless I’m on vacation, cuz everyone needs a break sometimes.)
And yes, I’m cynical as fuck about how food is marketed, and some of the “science” behind it. As I told someone earlier today, it was “science” that told us to eat high-carb, low-fat diets…. and as a nation we’re sicker than ever. Well, that “science” was bought by industry that wanted to promote sugar. That’s been shown. And there’s more science to back up how fucked up that advice was, but it’s largely suppressed. I do think that the medical-nutritional industry has a vested interest in a sick population so that they can sell meds. And yes, those are the ideas that CrossFit was built on. That the status quo isn’t always right, and you can’t always believe what “authority” figures are telling you. Greg Glassman isn’t your typical Quixotic hero, but he’s tilting at some pretty big windmills, and I’m happy to sharpen swords with him.
People talk about CrossFit as if it’s a cult, and we all see and think and do the same way. No. The heart of CrossFit has always been Iconoclastic. Even within. It’s always been about changing the status quo. You can’t do that and preserve the starting point at the same time.
That is the heart of CrossFit.
I am a totally typical CrossFitter. In every way. That idea you have of what a CrossFitter is? I’m guessing it’s either a CrossFit Games Athlete (which less than .5% of us are,) or some douchebag you saw somewhere….. but most of us aren’t that. I can tell you that I am an absolutely typical CrossFitter. I am the average member in our gym.
Maybe our gym isn’t typical, but it’s pretty typical for every gym that I personally know. Sure, I’ve written about why I think that a lot of the standard practices in gyms are wrong. People, many of them gym owners, are quick to cite something that was said at a CrossFit seminar years ago, and cite it as gospel, unalterable truth. Like RX weights. But if you pay attention to anything that’s come out of CrossFit in the last year, you’d see a pretty steady move away from the idea that everyone should be doing the same thing.
CrossFit is a living, breathing, changing movement to put the power of fitness and nutrition in the hands of individuals, wherever and however they can. It’s not to create super competitors, it’s to fight the health revolution without the needs of meds and a corrupt system.
It has nothing to do with being a Games athlete, and everything to do with winning the game of life.
So ya, I’m tired of being told that I don’t seem like the CrossFit type. I am totally the CrossFit type. And I think it’s getting more and more that way. There are more than 14,000 gyms out there. We are opening and closing at an incredible pace.
If I could see into the future, I’d say that the ones that survive will be the ones who recognize that our greatest calling is saving lives. Is fighting against both media and industry trying to keep people trapped in a system that makes them sick. Whether it’s battling the idea that processed food is healthy for you, or that old ladies like me, with broken necks, should just take opioids and wait to die.
Because when I broke my neck, I had to look far and wide for a medical team that would tell me that the best thing to do was use my body. I knew it, for sure, but one doctor after another told me that I would never be an athlete again. So I looked and looked, until I found one who said “hey, so, you can’t run anymore, but you can lift weight.”
That’s what CrossFit is. It’s a way of taking every single person, and finding a way. It’s a way to look at conventional wisdom and saying “that doesn’t work, I’m going to find another way.”
It’s about walking into a gym of people who support me, looking at the workout and knowing that I can change it to be whatever I need. I don’t run, but I can row. I don’t jump rope, but I can burpee. It’s about looking at a challenge, and finding a way. Your own way.
I literally can’t think of anything that is more perfectly, typically, really CrossFit than that.
So yes, I hear you when you say “you don’t look all that fit.” But you’re wrong. I also hear you when you say “conventional wisdom says I can’t do that.”
I say you can.