YES! The Stereotypical CrossFitter

The CrossFit Games are back on TV and they are certainly fun and inspiring to watch- amazing athletes doing event after event of seemingly superhuman tasks.  Perhaps you recently turned on ESPN and saw the women of the Games paddling through the open ocean, blazing through Murph with weight vests, snatching nearly 200lb, or sprinting hurdles with ease.  Or you saw the men doing legless rope climbs, walking on their hands, and wielding barbells effortlessly- impressive to say the least!

But let us not be intimidated or skewed into thinking that this is all that CrossFit is.  CrossFit is also the inspiring things we see in local gyms day in and day out.  The father PRing his clean in the morning before heading home to get his kids off to school.  The mother who now has the ability to lift and take care of her kids better from the strength gained in the gym.  Our first responders who can better serve our communities due to their increased work capacity gleaned from their time training.  The countless young women who have become more empowered through their new found strength and prowess in the gym.  The silver haired men and women who show up to the gym everyday to start another day of their retired life- now with the increased sense of independence knowing that despite their age they are still capable of moving well and better taking care of themselves.

The majority of the CrossFit world that people from outside of our community see is what they witness on TV.  But that’s a microscopic piece of a much, much bigger picture.  As I approach nearly 10,000 hours of coaching CrossFit I have had the good fortune of seeing another side of CrossFit- one that inspires me more so than even the athletes we see at the CrossFit Games.

Recently I met someone outside of the gym who told me they didn’t like CrossFit because they didn’t like the “stereotypical CrossFitter.”  Upon questioning he didn’t really know what that meant- somewhere along the lines of a meathead, obsessive, know-it-all-gym rat.  He didn’t reference the amazing athletes of the CrossFit Games or the everyday superheroes named above- just a hazy, ill-informed notion of what he thought CrossFit was.

His comment admittedly threw me a little off guard, as I spend my days working with people from all walks of life- all ages and abilities, all with unique gifts, talents, and challenges.  As he nonchalantly threw CrossFitters under the bus, I couldn’t help but get defensive- these are the people I see everyday striving to make themselves, and those around them, better.

In another recent interaction, however, I met a young woman at a wedding who had been doing CrossFit for two years.  Knowing that I own a CrossFit gym, she sought me out in the crowd to tell me how CrossFit had changed her life, had brought her out of depression, had empowered her, and given her both physical and mental strength.

She told me that CrossFit had allowed her to say yes to more things in her life- things that she previously would not have had the confidence or ability to do.  And this I find, the ability to say YES, is perhaps what best defines a “stereotypical CrossFitter.”  Yes to more challenges- whether they be physical or mental.  Yes to opportunities, wherever they lie- in work, family, or life.  Yes to yourself- a strength and confidence in yourself coming from a knowledge that you are capable of amazing things.  This ability to say yes, to not be scared or intimidated by challenges but rather view them as encounters ready to be attacked with vigor and determination, is part of the essence of a CrossFitter.

Whether it be the Games athletes we see on TV or the everyday men and women who choose to be part of the CrossFit community, the ability to say yes and accept the challenges of this life is one of the most inspiring qualities of the “stereotypical CrossFitter.”  Certainly this is not exclusive to CrossFitters, but it is a trait seen in CrossFit gyms across the world.  Whether you have been an athlete your entire life or never stepped foot in a gym before, CrossFit is for all people willing to push themselves and say yes to the challenge.  I feel lucky to be part of a community who embraces challenge and never cease to be inspired by those I encounter each day in the gym.

© Michelle Kaye Photography

©Michelle Kaye Photography

Tim and KFal High Five

©Michelle Kaye Photography

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