Been to a Big Box gym lately? You know, the Gold's, LA Fitness, etc., types. How many of you belong to a big box gym? I do, it’s not ideal, but at least I can do a decent CrossFit work out. I’m Personal Trainer (I hate that description – I’m a Coach) there, and I'm also a CrossFit Level 1 coach. The good thing is that I can do many CF WOD’s at my gym, and the gym staff is supportive, so in that sense I’m lucky.
Unfortunately, my situation is atypical. Most big box gyms are simply not designed for the CrossFit athlete and many frown on the CrossFit method. The main difference between a typical big box gym and a CrossFit affiliate aside from physical location, equipment, etc., is something much more intangible. Anyone who has been to a CrossFit box can attest to the camaraderie that is clearly evident.
Last year, I went to the CrossFit South Brooklyn affiliate to celebrate the 70th Birthday of Jacinto Bonilla, a CrossFit instructor who trains and coaches at CFNYC aka “The Black Box.” I knew virtually no one there, but within minutes of arriving, it was like I was meeting old friends. The workout which ensued was brutal but it was one of the most motivating and satisfying workouts I’ve ever done. Everyone was cheering and encouraging everyone else, the music was blasting, it felt like I was at a party. Even Jacinto at 70 years young got in the groove. Amazing!
The point is that this experience is replicated every day at every CrossFit affiliate across the country. Go to any CrossFit box and say you are from out of town and a CrossFitter and you will have instantly made friends. It’s that sense of belonging and fraternity that I find so appealing. No pretense, no fancy equipment, or mirrors. In fact, depending on where you go, there may not even be a shower. What you will find are people who are fully and totally dedicated to becoming as truly fit as possible. At many locations, you will find world-class level coaches who actually care about you, and who will demand and accept nothing but your best. You will be taught the correct way to move your body, how to eat so that you understand that fueling your body with proper nutrients is as important as the workouts.
More important, you will gain a sense of achievement through shared challenges and pain. When you do a CrossFit Workout of the Day or WOD, you are competing against the clock and against yourself. Your times are posted for all to see and you are held accountable. You quickly learn to leave your ego and other fitness preconceptions at the door. At first, you dread to find out what the WOD is for that day, but as you get the hang of things, you become motivated because you know everyone else is going through the same thing. You will be encouraged, pushed, challenged, and you will feel a tremendous sense of satisfaction that only comes through hard work, sweat and some pain. And that, my friends, is why I CrossFit.