What does it mean to be a “CrossFit Athlete”? – Jason Yule
Last night I was watching “Killing the Fat Man,” a documentary created by CrossFit, Inc years ago. I had the opportunity to meet Gary earlier this summer, so I thought it would be interesting to watch his story first hand. The documentary is basically about a man (Gary) who had hit rock bottom in terms of his self-image and self-worth. He didn’t value himself and had grown obese and out of shape. The documentary is his story to self-betterment through CrossFit, and I found the beginning episodes quite interesting.
When I started CrossFit just about 5 years ago, I already had 8 years of strength and conditioning experience, plus I had tried countless other training and exercise programs. While I was nervous to try CrossFit because it was brand new to me, I wasn’t nervous about the physical aspect. In the documentary, however, Gary said something I thought was very interesting. When they asked him what he thought of CrossFit, he referenced the tagline of Building the Fittest Humans on Earth, and he thought that is what it was. He wondered how he could ever fit in somewhere like that when he wasn’t even fit, let alone the fittest.
This caught me off guard because I know that being the fittest on Earth is really only being sought by a handful of athletes in each gym. Most are just trying to become fit, as Gary was, but it was an important reminder that CrossFit does have the often intimidating representation of being uber competitive. So how did Gary feel after his first time going to the gym? He said he finally realized what it meant to be a “CrossFit Athlete.”
It doesn’t mean to be the fittest on Earth, necessarily. Gary said that being a CrossFit Athlete meant finding out what you are capable of – what your body is capable of – and then busting your butt to improve it. For some that does mean trying to be the Fittest on Earth, but for someone like Gary, on the totally opposite end of the spectrum, it meant fighting for the ability to do the most basic movements we should be able to do as humans – to stand and sit without assistance.
So, when it comes to being a CrossFit athlete, it just means that you are working your butt off to improve. It doesn’t have to mean you are the best of the best, or incredibly fit, or uber competitive. All that it means is that you realize you can be better, and you are in pursuit of that better, whatever it may be.
If you felt like Gary did, and don’t possibly see how you can fit in at a CrossFit gym, please remember that anyone truly can be a CrossFit athlete. The objective is always improvement, but it doesn’t matter where you start. And we all start somewhere.