CrossFit – one big, vomiting, sweaty, bloody, broken limbed, happy family

Oh man! Look who’s on the cover of The New York Post, CrossFit South Brooklyn! After months of awaiting this article and feeling the presence of the journalists at our lovely (and completely civil) Paleo Potluck, it is finally here. And there, right on the cover, are my friends & coaches, looking jacked and totally bad ass (obviously), holding a sledge hammer (obviously), a kettle bell (obviously) and sitting in a giant tire (obviously). Ugh…

Along with many other CFSBK members, I was generally disappointed in this article. Yes, it has it’s moments. Yes, there are a couple cute quotes from the cult leader himself, David Osorio. But overall, it is a pretty par-for-the-course, overly dramatized, hyperbolic, tale of CrossFit.  The article is EXACTLY what everyone would expect an article about CrossFit to be — there are no surprises, no depth, no great tales of  your average unhealthy Joe signing up and slowly noticing himself turning into a healthy happy functional person, nothing we CrossFitters haven’t all heard a million, zillion, katrillion times. Nothing we don’t joke about every time we’re at the gym. Within the article our box lives up to every terrible CrossFit stereotype imaginable — We are cheering each-other on for vomiting during our workouts, we’re flipping tires all over Brooklyn, we’re swinging sledge hammers, hazing our new members, drinking tequila, eating meat, bragging about our bruises & breaking our bones! And then, the REALLY crazy part (if you can even believe this), we appear to like it?!?!!! FREAKS RIGHT?! Total freaks.

The real surprise is that through all this insanity and reckless abandon toward form, technique, and skill we can still end up with bodies that are “rippling with muscle”. Jesus.

Either way, this is CrossFit, as far as the media and the general public is concerned. Just to be clear, it’s not only the New York Post and other journalists that spread this image, CrossFit (and it’s members) spread this image of itself every day. In my opinion, we CrossFitters kind-of secretly love this image, even though we all know it’s total bullshit for the most part and has nothing to do with the successes we see in the gym every day. The truth is, this image is fun and it’s kinda bad-ass. Why wouldn’t you want people thinking you go to the gym every day surrounded by your best friends, laughing and hugging and throwing high fives as you all work out until you throw up in an extreme attempt at getting the hottest summer body ever? It’s flattering that this is what people think we do. But it’s hardly what we do.

The truth is, CrossFit isn’t any more extreme than a typical weight lifting & metabolic conditioning program, we just happen to have a fantastic community of friends & coaches there to cheer us on along the way. The community aspect of CrossFit is what keeps it’s members invested and accountable. We see results, not because we’re working out to the point of throwing up (we don’t actually do that, and if we do, it’s terrible and embarrassing) but because we do our well planned workouts consistently a few days a week, every week, every month. We set goals with our friends and then we team up and we tackle them. We work hard, but it’s much more organized, planned out, and well calculated than any article I’ve ever seen written about CrossFit has shown. Then, because we are consistant and dedicated to our well rounded workouts and our healthy diets, our bodies live up the hype associated with the CrossFit image – keeping it going. We all look great (because we consistently go to the gym a few days a week and try to eat well, unlike the rest of America), so it’s easy for outsiders to pretend that we must be doing something harder than they are capable of doing. We’re not doing anything harder than they (or you) are capable of doing, we are regular people. Sure, some of us are firefighters or marines, but just as many of us are writers, accountants, and architects. Just your every day average Joe’s, making their way to the gym for an intense work out a few days a week, on a regular basis.

Other Members Opinions  — stolen from their Facebook feeds 😉

Keith Walter

“I will only speak about our box since I have so little experience with other boxes and how they conduct themselves.

The idea of puking after a workout is not encouraged and certainly nothing to be proud you caused as a coach. There are certainly things we bond over because we all struggle with the WOD as individuals but because we do it as a group it bonds us in that similar experience. We as a community take the time to get to know the people we do this with. Unlike most people in gyms across the country (world) where you just want to get on that mill or find an open bench to lift, anonymity is the norm.

It should have been pointed out to the reporter that the injury was actually not caused by crossfit and that it came from another sport as well. I understand they have editors and are looking for “what bleeds leads” but putting our box out there as someplace that could cause harm is not good for marketing be it our box’s or crossfit’s in general.

The idea of shunning and “punishing” newbies is also something I know first hand will ruin and destroy a community. I have never seen anything like that at our box and I certainly hope besides the joking of smile even if it hurts comments there never forms a hazing of noobs. Maybe we are just lucky in what we have built and made part of our lives there at CFSBK and there are a ton of boxes out there that are much more “in your face” and all about “punishing workouts”. I think crossfitters can punish themselves enough without the need of some egofuled coach trying to push one more rep out of someone. Those kind of attitudes will get boxes closed and cause more harm than good.”

Kristen Hoesl – the Cave Queen herself

“I have to say [the article] paints a more extreme picture than what we actually do there! People aren’t hobbling around on broken legs and swinging clubs over their head, ripping their teeth into giant steaks as a matter of habit. Yes, we train hard – but the instruction is top notch and the workouts are programmed according to people’s ability. You can’t do a push up? Try an elevated push up on the barbell rack, or on your knees instead. Can’t front squat 110 pounds, which is the suggested weight for today’s workout? No problem, squat 60 instead and see how it feels. Think 50 kettlebell swings unbroken is too much for you? Scale it to 30 then. The point of coming to the gym is to challenge YOURself, not to compete with the person next to you and end up in a pile of puke, blood, and sweat on the floor. All of the coaches have explained this in detail many, many times, not only in person but through blogging and articles on the website as well. My hope is that people not be intimidated by the idea of Crossfit and think, “Oh, that’s WAY too hardcore for me!”, but that instead they come and see what their fitness potential is. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, you will sweat. Yes, I have been pushed to my limit there. But ultimately, YOU are in charge of seeing where you want to go with a workout. There’s no Coach Bull there who’s going to be standing over you with a gun to your head, screaming “GIVE ME 20 MORE PULL UPS NOW!!!” Really, I wish more people took responsibility for their own bodies and paid attention to how they were feeling during a workout, rather than just blindly following a trainer, or the latest fitness trend. So do yourself a favor and check us out for yourself – don’t let articles that make us sound like a bunch of cult fanatics put you off! We’re not culty – I swear! 😉 Can you tell I feel passionately about this place?!?”



2 thoughts on “CrossFit – one big, vomiting, sweaty, bloody, broken limbed, happy family

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