CrossFit is Real

CrossFit is real. This unique quality is both the lure that attracts CrossFit converts and the glue that holds CrossFitters together to our program and each other. What in the hell am I talking about? First, our program is real because it mimics the real world. We squat, lift, press, jump, throw, catch, run, and maneuver our bodies using  balance, coordination, and strength. Why? Because we must do those things in the real world—every day. We constantly change our routine to match our constantly varied reality. We measure things like loads and times, because something inside us inherently knows that real results must be measurable and verifiable. You don’t have to be a scientist or engineer to know that. Numbers are real, and we can feel this.

Our health and fitness philosophy self-selects and attracts real people. Real people value other real people and can spot fakes a mile away. Real people are flawed and imperfect. They have both weaknesses and strengths. They are not always at the top of their game. They also accomplish great feats on occasion, and when they do they prize most the recognition they receive from other real people. Real people are OK with having their performance measured. They know you cannot hide your performance, and they don’t try. Real people are usually the most humble, because they know exactly where their performance falls, and they’re OK with that. They don’t feel the need to jockey for social position. They’re real, flaws and all, and they’re content being that way.

Because of its unique qualities, CrossFit attracts real people. Once you’ve met real people, the fakes start to make you throw up in your mouth. That’s not to say you have to be a CrossFitter to be real. No, no, no. But CrossFitters are inevitably drawn from society’s pool of real people. Shared suffering in the pursuit of a goal also creates strong social bonds. This happens in many situations of prolonged physical training, and CrossFit is no exception. CrossFitters share suffering each day in their pursuit of excellence during the WOD.  These factors create a culture that values camaraderie and transparency. We know that any experiences we share with our fellow CrossFitters are genuinely real, and this is something to be highly prized. Our world is filled with fakes of every manner, because being fake is easy and supports an ego. Being real is difficult, and necessarily keeps ego in check.

I’m continually stoked about all the real people I get to interact with every day at CrossFit Impulse, and I look forward to more shared suffering.

10 thoughts on “CrossFit is Real

  1. Jeff,
    You continue to amaze me with your skills of putting your thoughts into words. You are exactly right. CrossFit is real. You do meet great like-minded people with similar goals/outlooks on life. Indeed, it does keep egos in check. One affiliate I have visited had a sign that said, “Leave your ego at the door.”

    This post sums up why I do CrossFit and plan to do it as long as I am living. I also enjoy interacting with the CrossFit Impulse family and look forward to many more days to come!

    1. @David- If you put up a sign at CFI it would say, “leave your ego and your cell phone at the door”

  2. Accurately (and beautifully) written, Jeff. Your sentiments speak to my reasons for CrossFitting. I look forward to coming to the box- unlike in past strength training pursuits wherein I felt obligated to do it and generally didn’t enjoy the regimen.

    Thanks to all of you for keeping it real.

    And I like the sign “Leave your ego at the door”…although many of the WOD’s implicitly take care of that!

  3. Sometimes you want to go

    Where everybody knows your name,
    and they’re always glad you came.
    You wanna be where you can see,
    our troubles are all the same
    You wanna be where everybody knows
    Your name
    Ok, so I used a campy television song lyric to describe a lifestyle that is about being raw and tough, but it does really work for CFI.
    It was not until CFI that I fell in love with CrossFit. I think it is the Camaraderie that makes it unique. No matter how bad I feel or crappy life has been, I can always pick up a pair of gym shorts knock out a WOD, that I doubted i could even complete, and enjoy an hour with people that are looking for the same thing. The team aura that seeps out of CFI as people help push other people to be their best is what makes it great.

    Which globo-gym can you workout in where people are secure enough to claim their fart?

  4. At some point superlatives can’t keep up with the content and the message here. Well done. Like all others who have experienced a sleepless night in anticipation of a Hero WOD, I have spent some time pondering how the CrossFit community continuously churns out life changing experiences and even better people. In deference to the essay above I have come to realize that the beauty of CrossFit lies in honest results. Honest being the first part = cheating just isn’t an option. 1. No one cares and 2. in competing with yourself no one likes competing against a cheater. Results being the second part = day in and day out, as you said, repeatable and sustainable. I’ve found that those who aren’t “real people” don’t have the stomach for such dedication.

    At the end of the day preening, flexing, and bragging won’t help you when the clock starts.

  5. Perfectly said Jeff. This sums in a nutshell why crossfit is different and why I have found a home at CFI. You people welcomed me from day one of fundamentals. You remembered my name from the first email that I sent you. And you have spent some portion of your time with me at every workout that I have done so far, including fundamentals, to make sure that I am getting the most out of every rep and every WOD. It isn’t enugh to say that you don’t find that at other gyms, you don’t find that anywhere anymore. I truly appreciate it.

  6. Well said Jeff. I completely agree that true crossfitters are real. Like Greg Glassmen says Crossfit tends to weed out the losers of society. Crossfitters know that you cannot get something for nothing and prove it by going through the pain of the WODs. I have seen a few losers come into the Crossfit world for a visit and realize they are in the wrong place. You never have to worry about leaving your car unlocked or your wallet in the cubby hole at CFI because Fran and Barbara convince the few losers that do come in that they are not welcome.

  7. Shared suffering creates a bond that is more strongly and enduringly forged than any other. Simply put, there’s nothing lik,e a daily dose of hypoxia to make friends. Once you’ve been through it you can all see the other side, and know what matters and what doesn’t. Badass article!

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