I remember the first time I stepped into a CrossFit gym, I was terrified. I had been a long time member of a traditional fitness club. You know, the kind with spa locker rooms & childcare centers. My mind was made up that I was going to feel awkward and completely out of place and trying something new. I walked in and was stretching before class when a woman sat down next to me and said, “Are you new? I haven’t seen you here before.” I had been a member of my previous fitness club for over four years and never had anyone approach me and strike up a conversation. I immediately felt the difference in culture and knew I was in love with it.
That instant feeling of belonging, despite being a total beginner, is very rare in today’s society. The overall welcoming nature of all the members, from other beginners to superstar athletes, was shocking. I was confident I had found my new home.
This is the striking difference between a gym where you go workout and CrossFit. The connection you gain with those you ‘go into battle with,’ is deep. They become your family. We cheer for each other, celebrate each others success, pick each other up when we’re down, and high five after a workout. There is never any judgment! The bonds you create come naturally and those feelings-of-family touches even those not looking to find it.
One reason Crossfit builds such strong community is that we train in such close proximity no matter the difference in ability. It’s like a ripple effect where every athlete pushes the others around them. Those badass elites at the gym feel the drive and see the hard work of those striving to get better, and that, in turn, pushes them to work harder. We are all doing the same workout, some modifying up or down depending on level, but in the end, we are all participating together in the same WOD. We all battle together to be the best versions of ourselves. We are inspired by each other and keep setting & hitting bigger and bigger goals.
It’s like this; if one person in the gym has a goal, then everyone has a goal. When you see someone working to develop a new skill, you offer help. It’s not about staying ahead, but instead about helping others reach their goal. We then celebrate a collective win. This is the reason that people come to one CrossFit class and never leave. This feeling of being lifted up, as well as that great feeling of lifting others up, is why we get better results than when they just go workout alone. Those amazing results make us never want to stop talking about our CrossFit family and the workouts we do together.
A common scene in every box is when the last person completing the workout has the support and encouragement of the entire group. It doesn’t matter how long ago the first finisher ended. It simply feels good to cheer and be cheered for, encourage and be encouraged, and to pour belief in others while they pour their belief into you. It’s something most of us don’t receive in the other places of life. It’s this encouragement that breeds success! I’ve carried that over in so many other areas of life.
The community is key and no community is stronger than a CrossFit community.