CFW and Community
I’ve been around the ‘CrossFit community’ for about a year now. That’s not to say that I haven’t ever trained or worked out, but not since the military have I been part of such a tight-knit group of people who are essentially bonded by mutual suffering and sacrifice. CrossFit training, in its broad sense, has motivated people to refocus their fitness and heath goals. It has turned many long standing dogmatisms about ‘working out’ on their collective heads. To the average Gold’s Gym or Planet Fitness member, we are a rather energetic and aggressive bunch who perform a bunch of sometimes alien movements and have an almost cult-like lingo. Unfortunately, what all of this sometimes breeds is a belief by others that something we are doing is wrong, or that it is a fad that will die out as quickly as it came into mainstream society. This belief by outsiders or naysayers is, in part, rooted in poor coaching and programming. After all, nothing we are doing is new. Gymnastics, circuit training, and Olympic Weightlifting have been around for at least a month (or maybe even two) before the concept of “CrossFit” was introduced. However, there are some CrossFit affiliates who focus more on doing a fast “Linda” workout than actually knowing what the hell a “clean” or proper dead-lift actually is, or is supposed to look like. This, in turn, gives rise to injuries, dropout rates, and haters.
Now, I’ve been to CrossFit boxes whose instructors are knowledgeable and proficient at
coaching, but still inappropriately cheer you on during a “WOD” as your form goes to sh*t all for the shared satisfaction of writing a superior time on that whiteboard. Four months ago I joined CrossFit Wilmington and all became right in my world. Gone became the days where I could unintentionally snake on proper form because my ego said that I needed to be able to write the most reps in the least amount of time on that board. It became about something more, something that I had lost in the mix of doing WODs because they looked cool and impressive on YouTube videos and at the Games. That something that many others and I had forgotten was the basics – the fundamentals.
CFW instructors do not accept that you are sacrificing form for speed during a workout. Not only is proper technique crucial to the competitive world of Oly Lifts and gymnastics as means to establish standards, but also prevents injury and often forces you to utilize your entire, amazingly versatile body. The instructors at CFW are professional and approachable, but they are also serious about what they do. Their impressive and ever growing knowledge about anatomy, movements, and recovery constantly yields gains while minimizing injury. Their dedication to the fundamentals and proper technique is simply something that I haven’t seen elsewhere.
My point here is this: CFW exemplifies what it means to be physically and mentally at the top of your game. I was asked the other week what I thought about CFW and my response was simply: “Well…every week I get to write ‘PR’ on the whiteboard.” I originally said this as a laudatory statement of my continuing personal accomplishments, but I think the implications are far more reaching. What I was implying was that every week I come in and make myself a better person. On the surface, it means that I overcame a physical marker that I previously set. Underneath is the truth that I am, and we are, always capable of more, physically and mentally. And it is always done with the encouragement and support of not only the CFW instructors, but with the friends I grow with while I’m there.
Finally, there’s a reason I refer to CFW as a community. Because as all communities should, we join together to improve ourselves and our condition. We all make each other better people. It seems that many people are OK with just being OK. This celebration of mediocrity does not exist within the open doors of CFW. We always strive to be better and to do more. The charity events and support networks promoted by CFW only scratch the surface. At a very fundamental level we care about each other and care that we preform life with ‘proper form’.
- Nate Dzbenski