I was getting my haircut yesterday afternoon after waiting in a long line at the post office to ship a box full of wild/STRONG orders - a line filled with what seemed to be the dregs of humanity. Obese, shiftless faces, unshowered individuals picking at open flesh wounds, llimping (in more than one case, literally) through life at a pace I would reserve for a dying hippo.
The usual chit-chat transpired with the hair stylist, who told me about her plans to visit friends in San Diego in a few months.
"I've got to get in shape though, I don't want to be on a beach looking all fat," she said. "You look like you workout, what do you do?"
I am often encountered by these situations, people want to hear about your workout, before telling you the myriad of reasons they don't.
"I train at Crossfit Frontier," I told her.
"Oh man, I've seen that on TV. You guys are crazy. Do you like, puke and have blisters all over your hands?"
Showing her my callous covered hands, with a fresh rip on one finger from doing 21 muscle-ups last week, "Yeah, people puke, and yeah, our hands aren't pretty, but you knew I worked out before I told you, and you are afraid to go enjoy your vacation in California because you want to look like you work out too right?" I replied.
"Yeah, but that sounds crazy. I don't want to throw up! Why would you do that?"
I told her that if the benefit of looking good wasn't enough for her, there were a lot of other reasons to do what we do every day.
1. The community: One of her big fears about trying something new, like Crossfit, was the fear that she would be mocked, or made to feel like she was below the rest of us. The beauty of Crossfit however, is every single one of us has been there. We all remember the first time we walked into a Crossfit gym. We all know how insecure it can make you feel. I've never seen a new member mocked or derided because of their lack of skill. Most gyms have on-ramp classes or beginner WODs. You are always made to feel welcome. Every movement is scale-able. You'll always be able to complete the workout in the fashion that works for you, while still challenging you. This communal system continues long after you pass through your beginner phase. We all go through the same shit, together - and this builds a feeling of team and community like nothing I've ever encountered in the fitness world.
2. The GAINZ: Coming in off the street, out of shape? Nothing will transform your body like Crossfit. You will see results immediately, in the mirror and in your life. Your first 18 months is nothing but a PR Fest, as you learn the lifts and learn to move properly. The motivation to continue is like a fire, that wont stop growing - consuming all the self-doubt you once held on to so tightly. You become a better version of yourself. You look better, you are more confident, you are stronger - you are more fit.
3. The mental fortitude: Overcoming a tough workout or learning a new movement makes you mentally stronger. You realize with the proper training and coaching, you can achieve things you never thought possible. You begin to realize this isn't just true in the gym. You are a god - you are the master of your own destiny. You can chase any dream you ever had and make it a reality - you just have to work hard to get there.
So why do I puke? Why do I rip my hands? Why do I go to work with Fran cough? Because I refuse to be like those broken, beaten-down animals in line at the post office. I refuse to NOT chase greatness every single day of my life. I refuse to only wish I could take off my shirt and enjoy a vacation at the beach. I refuse to look at someone who trains hard and only wish I could be like them. I am a god. I am my own god - and puking, ripped hands and a community of teammates and coaches are what formed me into this deity. That's why I do what I do.