WOD Wisdom: What does CrossFit look like?


If you’ve ever seen a Reebok CrossFit advertisement then you probably have an idea of what CrossFit looks like. Good looking, genetically-gifted people lifting an absurd amount of weight or doing some sort of cool gymnastics movement.

Or maybe you’ve watched the CrossFit Games and that’s what you think CrossFit looks like. Dozens of athletes with six-pack abs glistening under the California sun while they make every heavy lift, sprint or pull-up look easy.

While those athletes may get a lot of public attention, that’s not what CrossFit looks like. That’s what less than 1 percent of what CrossFit looks like. For the majority, this is what CrossFit looks like.

CrossFit looks like the stay-at-home mom who squeezes in a WOD between taking her kids to school, running errands, doing laundry, cleaning her home, making dinner and a dozen other things that go unnoticed. She doesn’t have six-pack abs, at least not yet, but she’s the toughest woman in class after giving birth to three kids. Her back squat is a fraction of what CrossFit Games athletes can do, but it’s twice as much as her friends at church.

CrossFit looks like the business man that struggles to get in the gym three days a week. His workout schedule is sporadic because he’s always traveling for work. He cherishes the one-hour long class because he doesn’t have to take sales calls or answer e-mails. He’s in pretty good shape, but know he would be in better shape if he could get in the gym more. Picking at his calluses is routine while taking long plane rides. He finds a nearby CrossFit box when he lands in a new city.

CrossFit looks like the 55-year-old that’s usually the oldest person in the class. He or she is not intimidated by the other members half their age. They are slow to move during the warm-up, but by the end of the class they are pushing the person next to them. They have no dreams of six-pack abs or being first in a CrossFit competition. They just want to be healthy and not need assistance to move around like some of their friends. Running, jumping, pushing and pulling are things they brag about to their 20-year-old children, who shake their heads in amazement.

CrossFit looks like the out-of-shape person that has never worked out in their life. Their eating habits are terrible. Their health is horrible. They are tired of it. They want a change. They’ve never been pushed and that’s why they are out of shape. They need a coach to encourage them, but to also correct their movement. They spend hundreds of dollars on blood pressure and cholesterol medication. But after a few months they see the dosage from their doctor dwindle from their improved health at CrossFit. The first few weeks in class, they are the last one to finish a WOD at every workout. But they never quit. They struggle with bodyweight movements like push-ups and burpees, but they know they are going to crush it on deadlift day.

CrossFit looks like the former high school or college athlete. It’s been 15-20 years since they last played a sport. They still have that competitive edge and CrossFit is what has been missing. They are humbled by weightlifting and gymnastics movements they could do so easily when they were younger, but now they struggle. At least at first. Once they check their ego, they begin to see results. They get a little stronger, a little bit more confident and they begin to relive their youth, at least for an hour each day while they WOD.

That’s what CrossFit looks like. It looks like ordinary, everyday people we see every day at work, church, the grocery store, wherever. CrossFit doesn’t look like the less than 1 percent we see on TV or advertisements. When Coach Greg Glassman founded CrossFit, I don’t think he ever intended it to be what we see through the media. It was meant to be for the stay-at-home mom, the business man or the grandparent wanting to be healthy and fit.

What does CrossFit look like to you?

— Coach Brandon