I’ll admit: I had zero interest in CrossFit®. I had the opposite of interest – I actively refused to try it.
I lived in the mountains west of Denver in the fall of 2012, right when CrossFit® started to hit its stride. A lot of people I worked with were trying it, and some even opened their own boxes. They had crazy diets (how can one person eat so much meat?!), eschewed beer and never. stopped. talking. about. CrossFit®. They bragged about how much they could deadlift and complained every time a WOD included a 400-meter run. I was a former vegan, an avid runner and a carbohydrate enthusiast – it seemed pretty obvious that this trend was not for me.
I’ve worked at Zen Planner for almost three years. I spend my whole day talking to box owners and managers. All of my coworkers have done a WOD or two here and there. A few months ago, I looked around and realized…I’m the only one here who hasn’t tried a class. My smug attitude was just misinformed, not enlightened. I was finishing a training cycle for a marathon in early May and thinking about what to do next when a coworker mentioned that she’d joined a box near our office, which she claimed had an incredible, diverse community.
Let me be clear – I’m not afraid of a good workout. I played team sports all through high school and college; I’ve run nine marathons and have logged hundreds of miles on my road and mountain bikes. Although I’ve tried Pilates, barre, hot yoga, Orangetheory and the like, it seemed like CrossFit® was…for zealots, if we’re being honest. I didn’t know why anyone would choose to do burpees, and the Olympic lifting intimidated me. Erika’s assurance that “people like us” belonged to this box made me think: it’s worth a shot.
My CrossFit® Experience
So I signed up for a free class on the box’s website. There was plenty of information there on what to do as a beginner, and Erika answered the questions I had (what shoes should I wear? Do I need a towel?). I got an email from the owner/coach the day before the class, thanking me for my interest and sharing the current class schedule. He also added: “Keep in mind that if you’re newer to CrossFit®, the workout may be scaled or modified to keep you safe and having fun,” and that was super encouraging.
Long story short, the class was a BLAST. It worked me over, but I came back the next day for more. And then a couple of days later (after the soreness wore off). And then I signed up for a membership. I’m a little embarrassed that I resisted it for so long when I’m enjoying it so much now; suffice it to say I’m happy to eat my words (and they don’t taste like steak).
My Recommendations for Box Owners
I share this story with you because I was part of a large population of people for whom CrossFit® is a little misunderstood, and if you can
find creative ways to reach these people, they may become your box’s next devoted athletes. I’m really surprised at how accessible the workouts are – in other words, you don’t have to know your way around a barbell to be successful. Coach Darin is so helpful in teaching and perfecting technique, as I’m sure you are with your new CrossFitters. Play up how personal your coaching is! If people know they can start from scratch – even people who haven’t worked out in years – they may be willing to try something new.
Also, I’m incredibly hooked on the community aspect. After years of going to the same yoga studio, I only know the teacher’s name – but after just two weeks at CrossFit®, I have at least a dozen new friends who cheer for me by name and check me into class on the Faceboard when they see my car pull up. It’s intergenerational – there are high school students and retirees next to me in class – something that, as a millennial, I can’t find anywhere else these days. That alone is worth the price of membership. Be sure to show off your diverse community on your website, social media accounts and marketing materials; it will make your box much less intimidating to newbies.
So there is it, I am now a proud to consider myself an avid CrossFitter. And best of all, as it turns out, burpees aren’t THAT bad.
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