There is a possibility that I am going out on a ledge right now admitting the fact that CrossFit has by far become one of the most important things in my life. Well, its up there – It would probably be number three after the usual family and friends – still with those leading, number three isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I often walk into the CFNH Box at 545am and wonder if I am the only person that feels this way, if I have some sort of addiction to this newfound sport and that it’s not normal to have this kind of obsession with CrossFit. I wonder if it’s weird.
Back track to February 2012, the first time I stepped into CrossFit New Hampshire - Everything changed. I was looking for a new challenge, a better workout to improve my healthy lifestyle; however, I found so much more!
The CFNH Box in Manchester wasn’t and still isn’t easy to find, but it’s no place to hide. It’s like that secret cave among many mill buildings that holds the key to overall health and leaves you wanting more every day.
The entrance, tucked in the back of an old mill building, looks more like a random door to nothing. When you open the door, you reveal ropes, rings and sleds – but no gleaming machines. Think “Rocky IV” without the snow. It’s scary at first, but you have to move past that feeling. Here, members lift, leap, and push – mostly themselves. I clearly remember one of the trainers tell me, “The workout you do at the gym? That’s our warm-up.” “Challenge accepted,” was all I could think.
Getting through the On-Ramp Course was interesting and not what I expected from CrossFit. Still, You need to start with developing basic skill work before you can move on to the more complicated exercises.” Regardless of what you think you might know or what you feel you are good at – Samy will know how to improve your form, constantly finding ways to improve body posture and performance. Performance is what CrossFit is all about. Performance of each WOD is often scored on a whiteboard clearly displayed on the wall. Tracking the progress and encouragingcompetition area big part of the CrossFit experience. Every morning, people will come in and just stare at the WOD listed for the day, checking times from others throughout the day – and settingtheir own goals on beating at least a few other competitors in this epic whiteboard challenge
You don’t get that kind of challenge at any other gym that you go to! When you walk into other gyms, you have your iPhone playing Pandora, you scan your membership card, nobody knows your name or your number, and no one will scream at you and encourage you.You are off the hook. You are on your own. You have to rely on your own abilities to perform!
You are not off the hook at CFNH. When you walk in our doors, the workout is already made up. You come as you are. The trainer warms you up and you’ll see the clock. They even tweak everything so people with injuries still get the best workout possible. WOD’s vary every day and are influenced by the CrossFit New Hampshire.com website, incorporating a virtual community that encourages members to post their Whiteboard Scores.
You don’t make an appointment to workout – and you never know how many people can buzz in at any time. I get a lot of encouragement from my 6AM community. They are the one that keep me on track. It’s a gym that holds you accountable. If you miss a session, you are guaranteed to get a text or a Facebook message from someone in the morning asking what happened. CFNH doesn’t just preach the 10 keys to physical health: endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy. It’s been a real confidence-builder!!
I can tell you one thing, it didn’t take very long for me to go from just coming in once a day three times a week to coming in everyday including Saturdays and an internal need to simply loiter around the gym for 2 hours just to hang out with people in this epic community.
What the hell is this CrossFit thing? I mean seriously it gets you addicted! It makes you wonder if this is some sort of cult that brainwashed us and we are all going to perform a mass suicide (drill session) while watching the 2012 CrossFit Games.
Seriously though, this sport is like nothing I have ever found in my entire life!! The atmosphere, the sense of community, the WODs, the regular day people from all sorts of lives. Everything CrossFit has to offer to me throughout the last few months has honestly been overwhelming. I honestly go through my day smiling because I know that I get to WOD at CFNH come tomorrow. It’s like waiting for Christmas morning on a daily basis – where 10PM can’t come around fast enough for me to get to bed so that I can wake up at 5:30 to get ready for my WOD session. The friends I have made in these months mean the absolute world to me. The sense of support I have received not only from the trainers and co-WODers during a WOD has even extended past the four walls of the CFNH gym. Tyler – at this point a big thank you to you for my ranting during morning sessions. Samy – always glad to see you and hear you scream your encouraging YEESSS!!
If you come from a big box gym – by this point you know that we are nothing like them! When you tally all this stuff up why wouldn’t someone CrossFit?? CrossFit is more than just a gym membership, for so many people, its life. I’m so happy I walked into CrossFit New Hampshire; in all honesty it changed my life. I have so much to look forward to now, as an athlete, as a CrossFitter, as a better person to my community.
Enough about how I am trying to convince everyone to try it before they judge it. CFNH is where I leave it all on the floor. Here at CFNH is where you will find me every morning sweating, toiling, and laboring my way through epically named WODs that either have a Samy Style names, the name of heroes and or (in my head at least) the names of beautiful women. Those are my mornings where it’s probably the only time where you will find me swearing like a fishermen, sweating and shaking in delirium, probably lying on the floor breathing heavy, and beating myself into the ground with each thruster rep and horribly inadequate pull-up. I can’t even tell you if its penance, self-punishment, or if it’s like my own personal purgatory of punishment that I putting myself through. What I know is that I need it! I crave it! CF has become like a drug to me and like they say, if you were to cut me off from it, I really don’t know what I would do. Seriously at this point, I am willing to throw rocks though car windows and steal spare change in order to feed my habit! So here it goes: Hey guys, my name is Emanuel and I am a CrossFit addict. My ragged calluses are my track marks.
I can’t lie though, there are also days that I dread to come in, days where I have to force myself to go and get up. There are days where I think daily of skipping the WOD, of finding something terribly more important to do: like staying in bed for another two hours, paying my bills, watching the news, or just relaxing. Surely, there must be a way I can quit this habit, find an opportunity for me to just blend back into society. Yet, somehow, this way of thinking suddenly flips around and those same tasks become unimportant in comparison to the WOD that lies ahead of me.
My thoughts literally warp in the grip of this beast known to me as CrossFit. I’m not certain when I left the ranks of normal people, perhaps it was long before CrossFit sunk its claws into me, but it is a done deal now. I am not normal anymore. I am, as the incongruous pairing of the Foo Fighters and Sesame Street would proclaim, “Not like the others.” What has happened to me?? By now you must seriously wonder if I am an honest addict?! I probably will need help.
But you don’t understand – not yet – not if you haven’t gone through a WOD and gotten off an ERG machine after competing with the guy next to you, who got on his rower maybe 15 seconds early, trying to beat him to the finish line and just getting off the machine with an adrenaline rush tingling feeling going through your entire body!
I come here to this place, to this CrossFit Box in this room in the back of an old brick industrial building, where, many moons ago, women in long dresses and serious shoes produced tons of leather material (or whatever it may be) for the entire nation to utilize. Now, in this same space, with its high ceilings and steel columns, CFNH produces athletes and unearths beautiful spirits that have hidden too long in sometimes oversized bodies.
Still this isn’t where this story ends – we don’t just make athletes – even more importantly, we try to grow better people. Here is where I am, in some way, like the others in their efforts – still a work in progress. I don’t always succeed, but I’m trying. God, am I trying.
Even after having passed out on the floor to catch my breath for just a second, I hate to leave. When the WOD is done and I have nothing left in me, all I have to do is sit for a moment or so or even pace in that caged animal way, ready to tackle whatever else dares to stray into my part of the jungle, and I am rejuvenated, refreshed, and reborn. I’ve had my hit and I am high. Then I don’t want to leave. It is at the end of the workout where people tell their stories and the comradely kicks in. We talk about our lives, our loves lost or found, what strange shit is going down in our part of the world today. We want to know about the broken hearts, the new babies, the bad habits, the good paleo recipes, the ghosts of old fears that are holding us back and the trainer commentary on how a Saturday Session can fix those.
You know how people get closer after a disaster? It happened during 9/11 all over the states. It happened during the flooding in New Orleans, during the power outages of Sandy, and out on the field of combat. Once you go through something like that, the person next to you becomes much closer to you. CrossFit in that way is the same thing. You WOD through something that people on the outside think of as impossible and just insane; it is at that moment that the community becomes closer – and the person next to you is working just as hard as you are to complete this fight.
You should know by now that this is the stuff you don’t get at a regular big-box-gym: this community, this support, and this love. CrossFit is our drug and our twelve-step recovery program all in one. Somebody a lot wiser than me once said, “You can’t hate somebody if you know his or her story.” Here, we all know each other’s stories. It’s what keeps us coming back. Here we are, finally, like the others. Here, we belong. Here, if only for a moment, we catch the beast.
So, if you are at this point wondering if you should take the next step – challenge this beast of CrossFit and take it one on one. You could possibly end up lying on the floor wondering why you came and at this point, I encourage you to get up and walk over to the wall and read a picture that hangs there reading the following:
I heard the craziest thing the other day: “I would love to try your workouts, but I have to get in shape first.” I hear this all the time. It used to leave me with migraines, but I have learned to breathe deeply and respond calmly: It’s OK. We are not Navy Seals training for the Olympics. It’s not the Ninja Warrior Challenge. It’s CrossFit. If you’re worried about looking bad in front of others, I’ll let you in on a little secret:
No one cares how you look in the middle of a CrossFit Workout because they are trying just as hard as you are to look good!!! All that nonsense about people judging you is in your head. It’s you judging you.
This is the message that hangs on the wall when you walk out – and it is a constant reminder that even though you might have not achieved all or as much as you wanted to, you showed up. Here, today, you did your part in fighting this beast called CrossFit and no one that knows what you just completed will judge you based on your performance because we know you are just one of us, a fellow WODer and CrossFitter.
Here I welcome you to my world…