A Tale of Three Members

This is Alex

He is an accountant in his late 20s. He has a girlfriend and a 2 year old pug.

He’s not in terrible shape. He has a good metabolism and runs a couple times a week, but has never really lifted weights and wants to bulk up a bit for his girlfriend. 

He sees an ad for a local CrossFit gym and knows a guy at work that does it and is in great shape. He never played sports so is intimidated by the loud, intense group setting when he walks into the gym. 

The coaches were very nice and encouraging, so he signs up for a month trial period. 

He learns about the movements in on-ramp, but they all feel so awkward. He’s never done anything like them before. His confidence is low, but he decides to stick with it through the trial period.

He enters the normal class, but has to scale the weight a lot. He feels kind of humiliated that the experienced female next to him is lifting more weight and still beating him. 

When the class maxed out their clean, he tries to as well. It was a disaster. The weight wasn’t heavy, but he just felt so awkward and unstable he just kept dropping it. He is embarrassed and looks for reasons why it is not going well for him.

He’s not bad at the bodyweight movements and does well with running and rowing, but is so limited by the weight portion of workouts he never places well in the class and feels he’s just not good at CrossFit. 

The coaches say nice things, but to him, the proof is in the leaderboard. Everyone he heard say bad things about CrossFit is right. It’s dangerous and not for him.

This is Marcie

She is a wife, mom of two and a school teacher. 

She has worked out all her life, but doesn’t enjoy it. CrossFit is different and exciting. There is good energy and it makes working out fun.

She went through onramp and learned a lot. She starts in the classes, but doesn’t really know where her biggest weaknesses are. She jumps in, excited.

At first, she PRs a lot and feels great when the coaches and class celebrate it. After a while, she starts to forget what her maxes are and they start not to not matter as much. She doesn’t want to get bulky anyway.

She tries to track her lifts, but often forgets. When she uses percentages during a workout, she just guesses conservatively. 

Several months in, she knows she is getting better, but can’t quantify just how much better or what her goals are to be working toward. 

She’s always wanted to be able to do a pullup, but can’t come close strict. She tried a few kipping and tweaked her shoulder. She doesn’t like modifying, so instead, she took a little time off.

When she comes back, she feels like she lost everything. She starts working on getting it back, but is a bit defeated.

She likes the people there, but she feels like the leaders and “core” members take CrossFit so seriously. For the other members like her, there is a lot of turnover and a couple of her favorite members left recently.

The holidays come up and are always crazy and money is tight. She decides to put her membership on hold until after the holidays. 

She comes back in after the new year for a while, but gets busy with a house project. Finally, she decides she is paying too much and it doesn’t fit her schedule. She starts the regular gym again. 

This is Roger

He is a software engineer in his early 50s. He’s divorced with 2 kids.

He has never really worked out and sits most of the day. He is overweight and very immobile. He is depressed a lot and overall very unhappy. At times he wonders if life is worth living but uses his kids as inspiration to keep going. He needs a change.

He sees an ad with other overweight people doing CrossFit and one of his kids does it and loves it. He decides to give it a shot.

When he comes in, he takes a set of standard tests that were challenging, but doable for him as-is. He scored the lowest level in some tests but found, in comparison, he is great at deadlifts and kettlebells. He feels great about that. He feels like maybe there is hope.

When he enters the class, he has a workout specifically designed for his skill level. He doesn’t have to “scale” anything and isn’t comparing to other versions of the workout going on at the same time. They are at a different level.

He finds some other members on the same level as him. They all took the same tests so there is a connection there. They talk about the things they each need to work on to level up. Each is different. They encourage each other to keep after it to get to that next level together.

Each day he comes to the gym he effectively completes the workout he is prescribed. This is a win for him. He’s never been the “working out” type, but now he is. He’s even lost a little weight. He is starting to like the new him.

After a period of time, it’s time to re-test his level. To his astonishment, he has drastically improved in most tests. In some, by a lot. He officially leveled up.

The entire gym recognizes this accomplishment. He is cheered for, has pictures taken and receives a certificate. He has never had an athletic accomplishment in his entire life and assumed he never would. 

He rarely gets recognition for anything these days, and this feels great. He has a smile on his face the rest of the day. He’s starting to wonder how far he can take this.

As the accomplishments come, he gets more and more into it. Each time he levels up he gets new versions of the workout that challenge him, but are doable and safe for his skill level. He is constantly learning new things, getting stronger and feels a part of something.

As he climbs the levels he sees where he came from every day and sees new members come in at that level. He gets the chance to be a mentor and an encourager because he used to be there too, and look where he is now.

It’s now a year and a half in. His office moves and it is farther away. Instead of a 10 minute drive, it’s now a 35 minute drive to the gym. 

The gym has become such an important part of his life he doesn’t give up or switch gyms when inevitable roadblocks come up, he figures out how to overcome them. 

He drives the extra time when he has to, but made a deal with his boss to work from home two days a week. His boss sees how much confidence and enthusiasm he has had recently and noticed the improved impact at work.  He wants to keep Roger happy and decides to give it a try.

Rogers starts to have a new take on life. He starts naturally liking healthier foods. His gout goes away. His kids comment on how great he is looking and how they love the new him. He even asks out that neighbor woman he’s had a crush on, but thought was way out of his league.

He looks for every opportunity he can to get more out of the gym. His mobility issues are what seem to be holding him back, so he starts taking the yoga and olympic lifting upgrade options offered by the gym. He buys the supplements they offer and doesn’t mind buying Fitaid and protein bars there to support the gym. 

He is happy to spend more at the place that made him excited about life again. What better investment can he make than his health and quality of life and the people and gym that made it happen. Everybody wins. 

Mather Wiswall

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