You walk in, not knowing what to expect. It’s crowded, chaotic and the air hangs heavy with steam rising off the sweaty bodies laying around you in an exhausted heap. You watch transfixed as their chests rapidly rise and fall. The doubt begins to take hold, and suddenly you find yourself looking for the closest exit. But then,a friendly smile, followed by more smiles and welcoming nods, and you begin to realize that this isn’t some typical gym where egos are flaunted and muscles flexed– it’s a Crossfit box where the humbled are favored. If any of you reading this are Crossfitters then you know exactly what I am talking about. You will never forget your first time walking into the unknown– it’s nerve wracking and hectic and the only piece of knowledge you have is based on haunting tales from people who have experienced this life changing realm of barbells and chalk stained floors.
I have been doing Crossfit for a year and half, and it still continues to push me so far outside of my comfort zone, I don’t even know if I still have one anymore. Unrelenting in its demanding WODs of endless reps and body movements, it is an extraordinary clash of gymnastics, Olympic lifting, endurance, hell, emotional breaking and functional fitness that leaves you in a euphoric state every single fucking time. And no matter how many times I go to Crossfit, in whichever box or whatever country, it is always the same- knots in my stomach and wild electric anticipation. To some this may sound horrible, to me, and any other devout Crossfitter, it sounds like home.
So how can I best describe my love affair with Crossfit? I will admit I fell hard and fast, and happily sip the Paleo Kool-Aid (sugar-free of course). Let’s start at the very core, community. A family grows from the box, People from all sorts of backgrounds and beliefs find themselves lifting side by side, supporting and cheering each other on during an AMRAP (as many rounds as possible), and yell to stand up beneath crushing weight. And It is after the WOD when bonds are especially made, each one of you are captured but the same sensation– lungs screaming for air and bodies ablaze as if all had been dancing in the same inferno.
Crossfit continues to surprise you, and my latest discovery is its ability to cross borders, both physical and cultural, and how comfortably it fits in any country. I was fortunate enough to attend two amazing boxes outside of the United States, one in Dubai and the other in Bahrain. Both boxes resembled any Crossfit gym one may visit in the States– rubber plates, barbells hung up on the wall, buckets of chalk– basically the usual tools of torture that we love. The only differences I encountered was that these boxes had a diverse array of people from a collection countries, and with them, they brought their languages and own exotic flair. For instance, in Bahrain, my coach would bark at me in English or Arabic to complete those burpees or to add more weight to my bar. Personally I find this remarkable, the passion of Crossfit can translate from English to any other language with such ease. If any of you have been watching the news lately you know the world is becoming increasingly polarized in politics and religion, and it is refreshing to see unity, no matter what the circumstance is, between people of different colors, race, and religion. This statement may seem outlandish and somewhat farfetched, but an oasis of peace is always welcomed in a desert of violence, and for that, I am eternally thankful for that.
This is not a crush, or a summer fling, it’s love. Love for the thing that has my heart pounding against my chest so hard that the world can hear it. On my back I lay post WOD, eyes heaven bound, laying in a glorious mess, already wanting more.