Every time a fitness movement comes along, people try it. They mention to their friends that they’ve tried it, and they give their capsule review: it’s fun, sweaty, expensive, makes me sore, etc. It’s a polite girls’-night-out topic, like movies or new restaurants. The conversation moves on.
Except if the topic is CrossFit.
If it’s CrossFit, your girlfriend is obsessed with it. She doesn’t say that it’s fun, sweaty, expensive, or makes her sore (although it does all of these things).
She says, “It’s changed my life.”
She explains how functional fitness, complex whole-body movements, gets results that can never be matched by a cardio machine and crunches. At this point, there is often a snarky put-down of “globo-gyms,” the CrossFit moniker for gym franchises. Then there’s some ecstatic raving about the strong community at her CrossFit “box” and how the Paleo or Primal diet is really working for her.
In between, there’s a whole bunch of CrossFit lingo like WOD (“Workout of the Day”), AMRAP (“As Many Reps/Rounds As Possible” in a fixed amount of time), “PR” (personal record) and weightlifting terms like “clean and jerk” and “one rep max.”
And then, the conversation does not move on. Because she’s very insistent that you have to try CrossFit.
“There’s an intro class on Saturdays! You’re not doing anything on Saturday at 8am, right? We’ll go! You’ll feel like you’re going to die – it’s awesome!”
And you’re thinking, who are you? You wonder whether to stage an intervention for her, not realizing that this whole conversation is her intervention for you. And if more than one of your girlfriends is talking this way around the brunch table, well, you’re done. You might as well just drink the Kool-Aid.
So, what’s going on here? Why is your girlfriend so obsessed with CrossFit. Why is the recruitment pitch so relentless?
1) CrossFit actually gets dramatic results in ridiculously brief amounts of time. Most of the workouts are under 20 minutes. Some are under 10 minutes. The intensity of the workouts is brutal – but you only have to suck it up for twelve minutes.
2) Combined with the dietary changes many CrossFitters make – a switch to a caveman-like vegetable-and-meat diet (notice the “no toast” request to the waiter) – the workout results are even more eye-popping.
3) CrossFit gives you dozens of physical benchmarks you can improve. So beginners are constantly setting personal records, and that merit-badge sense of accomplishment keeps them intensely motivated. It’s like being a Girl Scout, with barbells and a stopwatch.
4) CrossFit gets women focused on athletic achievements, not physical appearance. It’s liberating to stop thinking about (and comparing) hips, butt and thighs, and just concentrate on getting a pull-up, or doing push-ups on toes instead of knees. Freedom from body-image neurosis infuses most women with cult-like fervor. As the CrossFit warrior princesses say, “strong is the new skinny.”
5) CrossFit gyms are packed with hot guys who think it’s awesome when athletic women with no make-up beat men at competitive workouts. Type-A women love this.
6) CrossFit builds confidence. The intensity of the workouts demands (and builds) mental toughness, so at the end you feel like G.I. Jane (surrounded by a band of brothers-and-sisters who are also laid out, gasping and grateful for their very survival). That sense of victory, “OMG that sucked – but I crushed my previous best time” does transform your personality. Victory is good for the soul. It’s something you want to feel again and again. It’s something you know your best friends are missing in their lives.
And there’s an intro class on Saturday. . . .
Photo Credit: Ammentorp Photography