Finding a place to belong. CrossFit.
I remember having conversations with people about CrossFit many moons ago. I was busy berating it for it’s body-breaking, injury-inducing potential with little knowledge of what it was.
To an outsider looking in, CrossFit looks like a bunch of lunatics swinging off bars and throwing excessively too heavy things over their head. In all honesty, if you are looking for the link between humans and primates, CrossFit is possibly a good starting point. The dictionary definition of CrossFit is probably something like; cross-disciplinary exercise regime / all body torture routine. I would describe it as a mix of cardio-vascular, gymnastics and weight training, all under one roof in a group class format.
So how did I end up in this fitness “cult” as it often affectionately called? I was in the middle of some personal turmoil about a year ago; my relationship was upside down and my constant travel for work meant I was finding it hard to have a solid network of friends and was generally feeling lost in the jungle that is old London town.
My exercise was simply going through the motions of lifting something heavy in the gym whilst looking around at fellow disconnected humans in their own fitness bubbles doing the same. There was no joy, no fun, no exhilaration, but mostly there was no community. As a Londoner this lack of community is something you have to manage in your life. I say manage because if you don't actively pursue it, you can disappear into the cracks of this wonderful city. A community is something you build and CrossFit became my first block.
I began the classes and was hooked within a matter of weeks. I realised what I had been craving was one big shameless high five. I assume everyone knows the CrossFit high five? At the end of every class we celebrate with a big slap to another human’s hand; a Mexican wave of totally cheesy, socially acceptable human contact. We look to each other and proclaim “look how high we jumped?”, “look how fast we ran”, “look I am still alive!” It is joyous. You feel joined together in what you have been able to endure. Let’s not be fooled, CrossFit is the definition of hard work but as I've heard countless times; “it is as hard as you make it”. The most important thing I take away from each class is not how difficult it was, but the relief on the faces of my now friends that it is over and we survived. There is nothing easy about CrossFit, but there is beauty and unity in that struggle.