Posts Tagged ‘community’

I read this article this morning.  So much of it rang true that I had to stop myself from screaming “YES! ABSOLUTELY!”.

But then I remembered another article I read– and remember the community of crossfit and how powerful it is. (Note: I’m currently working on a podcast about community).

With all this- I want to share a story:

Monday was “Memorial Day Murph”- which I’ve been looking forward to for months. It’s a hellacious workout (run a mile, 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups, 300 squats, run a mile). “prescribed” is to do it while wearing full gear (or a 20lb vest). I wanted to do it while wearing a gas mask until the final mile and then seeing how long it takes me to run a mile.

I’ve done “Murph” 4 times now. It takes about an hour. The story behind the hero is actually pretty amazing and inspiring. Even though I’m not a military person- this story hits me in the feels every time I read it.

I digress.

The gym breaks down into groups. The head coach, knows that I wanted to do this with a gas mask. He knows my physical goals (of wanting to climb mt. kilimanjaro, training with a gas mask, etc.) He has allowed me for countless practices to use the gas mask while working out. No problem. I know my limits, I’ve never had problems, etcetc.

That morning, his wife, who is “medically trained” told me that I couldn’t wear it because “she’s concerned for my safety”.

I told her that I signed a liability form.

She said “well, but your mother would sue us if anything happened.”

I didn’t feel like arguing. I gave up and started the workout without the mask, pissed off because my whole visualization was thrown off.

After the run is pull-ups. A guy next to me was hammering out the reps and then, all of a sudden, slipped, fell off the bars and right onto his back. He spazzed a little, his eyes rolled back, he blacked out. My WFR training kicked in and I was first on the scene. I secured his head and checked for bleeding. I directed someone to call 9-11 (found out later that my dad was the one who finally got 9-11 on the phone… Not the head coach. Not his “medically trained” wife. She was “trying to” but “couldn’t get the phone to work”. Not the doctor who works out there…. My dad. A patron. An Eagle Scout. I digress again.) He came to, opened his eyes (they were PERRL) but he was still unresponsive to verbals. I asked someone what his name was and asked if he could hear me to open his eyes. He opened them. I pinched his ear, he winced. Good. I explained what happened in small, slow words (not hard for me seeing that my vocabulary is tiny, anyway). I asked him if he could move his fingers and toes. I asked him if I could palpate his body for injuries. I got down to his waist and the “medically trained” staff member came onto the scene and encouraged him to sit up and drink water (funny- I wasn’t taught that in WFR training….)

The paramedics arrived, I delivered my “SOAP report”. They seemed thankful that someone on-scene was trained enough to give such a report. (heh).

He walked to the ambulance and that’s when I continued my workout.

Where was the “medically trained professional”? She showed up on scene when the paramedics did- which was 10 minutes after the incident. The head coach- as soon as made sure that 9-11 was called, continued his workout.

I couldn’t be more disgusted by those decisions. The people who said, not 15 minutes before, that “our member’s safety is our number one concern” were too busy working out and not paying attention to what was going on.

Part of me is glad that I didn’t wear the mask because what would have happened if I *DID* pass out? Would the “medically trained” individual sat on me with a plastic bag? I shudder at the thought. I’ve been debating what to say to the head coach in explaination of why I’m canceling my membership. “Sorry- but I was (poorly) kidnapped in Ecuador and survived the worst Typhoon in history but what makes me really scared is your gym.”

I’ve been to 42 boxes in the world and as much as I didn’t want to agree with it, I find a lot of truth in the first article. It *does* only take 16 hours to get “certified” to teach crossfit level 1. In some countries in the world, you don’t even need that. The lack of safety and the push of “go bigger, go stronger” is prevalent and obvious. Sometimes, this is a key part of the culture. Personally, I had been lifting overhead stuff incorrectly for the past 3 years and it took a Clinical Myotherapist  (my flatmate when I lived in Oz) to diagnose what was going on after my arms went numb after running a 10k (not the 35 crossfit coaches that I had trained under at some point……)

HOWEVER! There is a sense of community that can’t be ignored. Crossfit is this place… this safe haven… where everyone wants me to do well. Where everyone is cheering for me. Where everyone experiences the same terribleness and gets through it, together. THAT is why I “do crossfit”. 

I think this paragraph (of this guy’s blog) sums up my attitude nicely:

CrossFit is a cult!

You’re damn right it is!  Look up the definition of cult.  CrossFitters DO care about what they do a lot.  We ARE very dedicated to our passion.  If that’s wrong, then I don’t want to be right!  I LOVE my CrossFit family.  There is no more supportive, more highly motivated group of people that I’ve ever met.  Go to a college football game and see all the ugliness from opposing fans.  Curses, derogatory names, threats of physical violence, all are very present.  Go to a CrossFit competition and watch everyone cheer for each other. It’s that simple.  CrossFit is love people.  If you want to hate on love, I guess you’ve told me everything I need to know about you.

 

 

Now… If only I can find a safer way to do it….

Crossfit Fuse was opened by Troy back in 2011. I was, (we think) athlete #12.  Now it has hundreds of people walk through the door.

I recently went back to Seattle for a visit and, of course, after 2 years of travels, I had to drop in on my old box. I felt like I was going home after being away at college for a year. Some familiar faces mixed with new- but all the expressions were the same: Glee, Bliss, Accomplishment.

The decor has changed slightly. There are more achievement-based plaques on the wall (Murph times, Cindy reps, etc) There are more racks for pullups. But the environment is still the same and the community is stronger than ever.

Troy actually does a bunch of really interesting things to build up the Fuse Community that I’m going to list in no-particular order:

1) He has special training class for aspiring coaches. Essentially, after you get your level 1 cert (1 weekend, 16 hours, 1000$USD) you are “certified to teach crossfit”. But anyone who has been to a GREAT crossfit vs a BAD one know that the coaches need to have more experience than just this weekend class. The things you need to know and see are athlete’s bodies. How they move, how they respond to cues, etc. Basically- you need experience. And that level 1 cert doesn’t give you that. Troy figured this out early and has an amazing solution to the problem that doesn’t involve unpaid internships.

2)I remembered the “monthly challenge” board where you put your name on a magnet and counted how many double-unders you did in the month. (10,000 was the goal). If you reached the goal, your name got put into a hat for a prize. The actual prizes weren’t nearly as awesome as the bragging rights you had when your name was at the top. 🙂 This still exists.

3) Whole Life Challenge. 

4) Fuse Throwdowns. (competition within fuse that is scaled and handicapped so everyone gets a fair shot).

5) Baseball/softball league signups

6) Paleo facebook pages. (to keep you accountable, people can post pictures of their food and encouragements. Changing your diet is WAY EASIER if you have a bunch of encouraging things on your FB feed- rather than pictures of drunk chicks.)

7) a PR (personal record) board (otherwise known as “the Brag Board”). A place where you can write down your personal achievements that you’re proud of.

8) The “Fuse Open”. During the Crossfit Open he divides everyone who has signed up for the open and divides them into 4 groups. The groups pick team names and colors, set up facebook pages and then a page of ‘how to earn points’. Teams can earn points in various ways:

a) showing up to class

b) wearing your team color

c) taking pictures of your paleo food

d) guessing what the open wod will be. (couplet, chipper, the moves, how many reps, etc.)

e) achieving 100 kettlebell swings = 1 point.

f) having friends come and do a workout.

g) having friends swing kettlebells with you (you need to get this on tape).

h) challenging other people in the gym to do crazy stuff. (like jump into Lake Washington… In March.)

 

There are heaps of ways to build community within your box and I may be biased, but I think Fuse does the best job of all the boxes I’ve been to so far.


 

I showed up on a Saturday and asked if we could do my favorite WOD of all time:

The Zombie Apocalypse team-wod

-divide group into 2

-everyone runs 200 meters. Slowest member’s group (zombies) needs to push a 400lb sled 200m first while faster group (humans) does “work”. Once the zombies are back, the group switches. Keep repeating until one group finishes.

WORK:

300-wallball (brain toss)

300 pullups (blood on the bars)

300 doubleunders (suppression fire)

600lb sandbag drag (50m) (injured buddy)

300 box jumps (jump high or die)

600lb “dead-body move” 200m (with or without sled).

 

(Note: It’s easier the more people you have in your group. You also have to pace yourself. With 8 people per group it took 32min. With 5 people per group it took 45 min.)

 

With all this said: I had someone ask me “You went to Fuse- but that was ages ago! Would you go back?” And the answer is a resounding “YES!”. If you want to be trained by athletes who LOVE what they do and are passionate about making you comfortable, stronger and better- then go check out Fuse.

Today I went to Jab Crossfit near the University District in Seattle, WA. My friend Carissa works here (I’ll be taking her kickboxing class next week- so wait on a follow-up blog on that!) and convinced me to do the last wod of the open with her.

14.5…. guh. 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 thrusters and burpees. I’ll kevetch about that later.

Alpha Martial Arts is a kickboxing, karate dojo and crossfit box all in 1. They have kid classes and multiple spaces so nothing seems chaotic, but it’s awesome that you can drop your kids off and go work out yourself. (FAMILY WORKOUTS!).

They are a small box, so my class size was perfect at 8 athletes and one amazing coach (Tyler) who’s take on crossfit is that it should be fun, “yes, we’re getting a workout, but it doesn’t have to be so serious.”

As far as the culture, Jab felt like a mini-family that was there to have fun. To work out and get the “that kicked my ass!” accomplishment feeling while smiling. Not many (if any) are there to compete, but instead to build a healthy life balance.

In regards to the community that it spawns: everyone knew everyone and the intimate details of their lives. Exhausted and out-of-breath cheering occurred during the WOD, everyone got fist-bumps at the end. I will say that I always feel like Crossfit is a great way of networking and this box is no different. I met a bunch of people that I wouldn’t mind grabbing coffee (hey! It’s Seattle, after all!) with at some point.

In general, everyone has to go through a fundamentals class so nothing is new/scary for the new victim athlete. Tyler has the eye and drive to make your form more efficient, effective and perfect before moving onto something more difficult which I greatly appreciate. He also loves to make his programming fun. Like incorporating the PeeWee Herman dance into kettlebell swings. (Yea, you read that right!)

The WOD we did was the Open’s 14.5. It was terrible. Awful. Dreadful. I’m going to do it again tomorrow. 😛

Lastly, I won’t spoil it for you- but the cool-down was my favorite part. Especially after that wod.

 

So if you’re looking for a box that will treat you like family and that you can have fun with- go check out Jab Cross(fit)! I highly recommend them. 🙂