The CrossFit spirit – doing it wrong

One of the things that really drew me to CrossFit when I started about one year ago (apart from the kickass-leaves-you-dry-heaving-on-the-floor kind of workouts) was the welcoming and supportive community aspect to it. I was the new girl in town, having just relocated from New York to Munich without knowing anybody. I’d been curious about CrossFit and decided to give it a try. I researched boxes and eventually settled for CrossFit eo in the east of Munich. From the very first minute, I felt at home at the box and never felt the need to test an alternative. Ever since, I’ve found a bunch of wonderful friends – we’ve sweated, we’ve vacationed, we’ve cheered, we’ve drank (I’m looking at you, Oktoberfest), we’ve WODed, we’ve hiked, we’ve improved together, we’ve been angry at that dropped weight that was so close to a new PR, we’ve competed with one another and we’ve supported each other.

Last weekend, our box held a little Xmas Games competition (before we got to the drinking Glühwein/mulled wine and eating Lebkuchen/gingerbread part). A handful of other  local boxes had been invited to join and after all was said and done, I was reminded again why I love my box and what CrossFit should be all about. A team from another box took home first place. They deserved it. They were fit. But boy, did they also kind of miss what CrossFit is all about.

See, for me CrossFit is about community. It’s about getting fit together. None of that “I need to get fit in order to do CrossFit” BS. Against popular belief, CrossFit is not an elitist sport, but a sport for everybody. You do CrossFit in order to get fit, regardless of what you can do when you get started. It’s about doing the best you, as an individual, can do and letting the community support you. Not all of us are the next Rich Froning or Camille Leblanc-Bazinet. And that’s okay. Because I’m me and my only goal is to be better than the me I was yesterday. Maybe that’s why I love my box so much, but I feel like this is the spirit we live.

At our box, we have a PR board where, as the name suggests, you write down your PRs. It ranges from very advanced moves, like a muscle-up or handstand push-up or deadlifting 120 kilos for the first time, to very basic moves, like the first proper push-up or deadlifting 50 kilos. And then everything in between. Why? Because everybody at our box writes down their PRs. Regardless of whether they’ve been crossfitting for a month or ten years. Regardless of whether they’ve got a background in athletics or whether they’re just discovering working out for themselves. So imagine my anger when I witnessed how the winning team stood in front of our PR board, pointing and laughing, sniggering words like “one double-under.”

To me, this attitude is everything that CrossFit is not. It makes me so mad because it’s people like them who feed the negative image of CrossFit with their arrogance. That one, first double-under was probably just as hard for the person who wrote it down as the muscle-up for the person who’s been coming to class for a long time. And both should be celebrated equally. It’s such poor character to look down upon somebody who’s working hard to get better. But at the same time it’s made me realize what CrossFit is all about and how my box lives those principles. And having traveled and visited CrossFit boxes around the world, I’m also thankful that other boxes share my box’s spirit of an open, friendly community. It’s the assholes who are the minority.


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