I signed up for CrossFit in early 2011, a few months after graduating from college. I had spent the better part of a decade destroying my physical health and appearance through nonstop binge drinking, drug use, and consumption of every tobacco product known to man, and didn’t want to die of a massive heart attack in my late twenties, so I figured it was time to get my shit together.
My sister and boyfriend (at the time) actually talked me into it; their sales pitch being that I would love trying something other than long-distance running, of which I was growing tired. I signed up for a monthly contract, opting for three sessions per week, costing an admittedly expensive $108 per month.
I learned a lot over the course of that grueling year.
First, no amount of structure, or coaching, or community support will ever be able to hold me accountable to staying in shape. I am responsible for my own behavior. It’s called being a person. The boyfriend who got me to join still jokes that I used to be out of shape, but am now much healthier and happier. To be fair, I never made any stupid excuses as to why I couldn’t move my lazy ass for an hour per day.
Second, CrossFit is a cult, and I love it.
Here are 10 wonderful things about CrossFit and everything that goes with the cultural phenomenon:
1. People who post Facebook statuses about CrossFit.
Hello, my work out is “what is on my mind.” My updates and mastery of technique are scaring you? Have you considered that this may be exactly the point? I am a yolked badass, and my Facebook updates help me to relay that message to the world. Anyway, motivated people would see the information and be driven to work harder. Stop posting photos of the unhealthy trans-fatty donuts you had for breakfast, and maybe I would stop sending healthy messages via Facebook.
2. Being a girl who destroys guys.
I kick my own ass every single time I step into the gym. I feel all around happier, healthier, and stronger than ever before. When men come up to me at the gym thinking that I’m interested in how “big their dicks are,” which I assume is just a bad parallel to create an analogy about physical fitness, they are sadly mistaken.
I started my workouts by scaling to a lower weight. If you consider strength to be so masculine, why would argue that it is unfair for a woman to lift less weight than a man during workouts? Are you really so insecure as to feel inadequate when a person is moving less weight more quickly than you? On the other side of that spectrum, it seems that the only options you allow women are to be either a little skinny girl or a freak beast. Is there no middle-ground here? Either way, the fact that I could probably “beast” you in a workout should not be emasculating. Your whiney response, however, should.
Speaking of which, Mr. Bolen, strong CrossFit women work out in hopes that scrawny, weak men (probably like you) will view us as frightening so that you stop approaching us in the gym with the desire of “showing us how big your dick is.”
3. Everyone is cheering you on.
You’ll never feel more supported than when you’re the last to finish a workout, but the rest of the class is pushing and cheering you on. If you are a real CrossFitter, you’re probably more interested in your health than getting bombed regularly at happy hour, so this shouldn’t be an issue.
It is normal to feel accomplished after finishing a workout, even if you’re hungover and vomiting, meaning that you are tough as hell and not a quitter. If the fact that people want you to succeed somehow makes you hate them, it seems that you have masochistic qualities. You may want to get that checked out. Finishing a workout with people chanting and cheering you on motivates you to work harder since you know people are watching. I’m sorry you hate yourself.
4. You do not care about beach muscles.
Bolen, Didn’t you mention that you wanted to join CrossFit to prevent a heart attack in your late twenties? Have you changed your mind already or are you actually interested in living a long and healthy life?
If your goal is chiseling out a six-pack and some gnarly biceps to impress bitches at the pool, you’re in the wrong place. First, if you want to impress bitches, don’t call them bitches. Second, don’t workout like a bitch.
These people want to turn you into a fucking monster, not a precisely toned piece of man candy. Any kind of man who wants to be “man candy” is obviously insecure and focused only on outwardly appearance. The point of CrossFit is to develop an overall healthier lifestyle, making us elite, which we are.
5. There is nothing cooler than a CrossFit couple.
Developing a sexual relationship at the gym is just awesome. There’s nothing sexier than strength, passion, dedication, and the overall developing of a better self. Especially since the focus for Mr. Bolen is to become a piece of “man candy” and “show the ladies how big his dick is,” which I think is the creepiest revelation in his article.
This phenomenon is far better in a CrossFit gym, because you’re in small groups with the same people day after day. You get to know a person based on their personality and drive over time. Furthermore, you find someone who has shared interests with you that reach further than getting bombed at happy hour.
I’m guessing the divorce rate for drunkly debauching couples has to be over ninety percent. Oh, you met in the middle of a happy hour when you couldn’t see straight or remember your own name? That’ll be a cute story for your alcoholic and obese offspring.
“Daddy used to creepily stare into the depths of mommy’s inebriated face before he threw up from alcohol poisoning and burritos from the taco stand on the corner downtown.”
6. It’s a lifestyle, and something that you always look forward to.
Getting off work and knowing that I get to go master a new movement or just help myself to become overall more incredible is the best feeling I have encountered post grad.
Mr. Bolen, you might be asking, “Why can’t I be more like you?”
The answer is because you’re lazy and misogynistic. Also, if your most difficult life problems are your workouts, you should reevaluate how much you challenge yourself in general. I worry that you will always be lazy and out of shape.
7. If you hate yourself and moving, you have zero chance of actually getting in shape, whether you’re a CrossFitter or not.
It is scientifically impossible to change your diet and physical habits without changing your body. If you’re overweight with a drinking problem, then you’re not a CrossFitter. If you join CrossFit and change these habits, you will change your life. That is a simple fact. There is no such thing as being “cut out” or “not cut out” for something. This is an excuse that lazy people use to justify their unhealthy behavior. You create your own inner-drive for success.
The man you’re describing in this article, which I think is likely an image of yourself, can still be changed. I have hope for you! This probably makes you hate me, but it’s okay because I can’t help but feel sorry for you. Just quit going to Chili’s happy hour and lift a weight once in a while. You just may find that it makes you feel better.
8. Eating Paleo will make you feel better and live longer.
I’m a fit girl, but I wasn’t always. I had a lot of belly fat and no muscular definition. I’m talking total lack of health and physical fitness. It’s a developed trait that I cultivated from being born into a society who values pizza rolls over vegetables. I was raised on McDonald’s and Hot Pockets. This changed because I changed.
The CrossFit coaches constantly urged me to eat food that my body naturally knows how to digest. Are you fucking high, sir? This is Louisiana. Here in the South, we are masters at eating shitty and being obese. But, I digress.
Paleo, also known as “the caveman diet,” changed my life. We live in a country where there is fast food available on every corner, but fortunately for me, I developed will power. It’s not that hard if you try it. How in the name of God am I supposed to eat Taco Bell when it isn’t even actually food?
9. It’s dangerous in there.
Any trainer will tell you that working out with improper form is incredibly unsafe. For this reason, proper form is stressed to no end in a CrossFit gym. This is because you’re doing an absurd amount of different lifts and motions on a totally sporadic basis. It is dangerous, and challenging, and rewarding.
The easy solution is to learn proper form. In dedicating five days a week to learning technique, I have never suffered an injury from my CrossFit workouts. This, again, is my own responsibility since I am an adult.
Most of us will have no clogged arteries at the age of thirty as we’ve resisted the Burger King on every corner.
10. It is a cult, and I love it.
I’m not saying all non-CrossFitters are masochistic shallow people who want to be perceived as “man candy.” Just you, Bolten. And I am happy to adhere to the title of “health nuts whose lives revolve around the prospect of daily self-improvement via unnecessarily intense exercise in a military environment, who have nothing else to live for outside work other than the one hour a day where they become master of their domain by throwing kettlebells around.”
It’s true, I value my health above most everything else. This makes me stronger, faster, and happier than you probably will ever understand.