What is CrossFit?

That’s a great question. Whether you’ve seen the CrossFit games on TV, been annoyed by one of your friends on Facebook post non-stop about their “WOD”, or passed by a group of people running around a parking lot on your drive home from work, you’ve probably had some kind of experience with CrossFit. If you’ve been into a “box” (what we Cross Fitters call our gyms), maybe you’ve seen a ripped up twenty year old doing crazy exercises on the rings, or with a heavy barbell. They were probably throwing heavy weights over their head, doing a ton of pull-ups and totally crushing it. That’s pretty intimidating for most of us, right? Definitely. But that’s not CrossFit.

“CrossFit” was the 65 year old woman exercising alongside that twenty something year old. She’s there because her doctor told her that she needed to be on “x” medications for her health, and because she is on a path to assisted living in a nursing home. She’s someone’s mother. Someone’s grandma. Someone’s wife. She came to the gym with chronic lower back pain, a real and impending perception of her mortality, and a desperate hunger for independence. CrossFit is her opportunity to improve her quality of life. It’s giving her the freedom her to enjoy trips to the lake with her family, or go shopping with her daughter without feeling ashamed as she tries on clothes. Thanks to CrossFit she’s lost 20 pounds, improved her coordination and strength, and most importantly regained the chance to experience life and the special moments in her children and grandchildren’s lives. That’s CrossFit.

“CrossFit” was the guy in the back of the gym that’s 100 pounds overweight, sweating his ass off but pushing past all of the boundaries and self-doubt that were screaming at him inside his own head as he walked in on his first day. It’s giving him the strength and confidence to silence the voices that tell him he isn’t good enough, or it’s too late for him to make a change. He’s there because his doctor told him he’s going to have to take insulin for the rest of his life, because his body has become numb to its effects thanks to the dietary habits he’s learned and developed from society as we know it. He’s been bullied his entire life by people that didn’t understand his struggle or the intrinsic challenges and misinformation that have caused him to be overweight. CrossFit is his opportunity to take his life back, regain his freedom through health and wellness, and most importantly the opportunity to teach him how to love himself, develop confidence and healthy habits that will not only improve his quality of life, but also his chance at being truly happy. It’s pushing the needle for him and drastically changing the limitations he’s come to accept as “life”. Freedom and self-love are worth a hell of a lot more than temporary pain and discomfort.

CrossFit is a wellness program. A subculture of this methodology has developed into a sport, which most of us can respect or at least, to some degree, appreciate. But CrossFit isn’t the CrossFit Games. Its purpose is to save the lives of people through education and compassion. Teaching someone to exercise is great. It can help them improve their quality of life and have fun doing it. However, to illicit real change, it can’t stop there. Building a relationship with someone and teaching them about nutrition, functional movement and fitness will radically change not only their lifestyle, but also the lifestyle of everyone they touch. Sharing these concepts and truth’s will directly influence what they teach their children, parents, spouses, friends and community. While I don’t speak for CrossFit, I can confidently say as an affiliate owner that our core goal isn’t to find the fittest on earth. That’s a byproduct of the methodology; peoples genes will express themselves to their fullest potential via CrossFit as an exercise program. Our goal as a methodology is to save people’s lives by pushing back against chronic disease. Period.

If you’ve never been in a CrossFit gym, that may sound over the top, or dramatic. But as an affiliate owner, avid Cross Fitter, and someone who’s been on both sides of the health spectrum, trust me when I say it’s not. Hundreds of people have lost 100+ pounds thanks to CrossFit. Thousands of people have completely gotten off medications doctors told them they’d have to take for the rest of their lives. Countless people’s lives have been positively impacted by this methodology and community.

If they can have abs too, why not?

Coty Bradburn is an elite cross fitter and owner of Mountain Island Crossfit, a SweatNET affiliated studio.

Cross Fit Podcast Kristen Pedri and her 97 y/o Grandmother who does CrossFit

CrossFit Podcast w/Founder Greg Glassman on what CrossFit is