One of the great things we see happen in the gym is the development of a support network within our members and trainers. A community. A group of people with a common belief system who interact constructively with each other.
We were misfits, a lot of us. Clowns or carnies looking for a circus to join. And a circus we did find in CrossFit.
You see the analogy, don't you?
At first glance a CrossFit gym is like a circus tent or an old fashioned carnival... so much wonder and awe with so many things going on... people moving in every direction, swinging and lifting and screaming and laughing. The music and the fanfare. It's a little chaotic yet it flows, all at once. And yes, there are freaks too. Just a different kind here.
Besides the weekly workouts and programming, it's something newcomers often cite as a major reason they join; there's an irreplaceable sense of community radiating upon first setting foot inside a CrossFit gym. Lots of CrossFitters came along for the circus ride because a friend or family member told them to. They heard of the wonder, and came to see for themselves.
See, you could work out alone, at home, or in a gym with a couple friends. Many do. And for them it works just fine. But there's also something different and satisfying about being in a place where people don't put earbuds in or avoid eye contact so they won't have to talk to you. There's something special about that type of atmosphere that can bring out more in a person than they could on their own. A place that accepts you no matter what your fitness level is. From acrobat to oddity, if you will.
It's not like this is something unique to CrossFit facilities, though. This happens in lots of gyms and weightlifting clubs. In sports and any team atmosphere. In a neighborhood or other social/support groups. Sometimes in the workplace.
But it's definitely worth pointing out that the positive attitude seen in a group environment creates a sense of worth, a place of belonging. This social connection is an important part of the human experience, so of course it makes sense that greater fitness results can be seen in a place that emphasizes hard work, consistency, and camaraderie. Challenging oneself while remaining accountable through positive peer pressure. All while having fun with friends.
We talk all the time about our Amplify Family. And it's the truth.
There's a write-up about the 2013 Amplify Regional experience here that proves how much support comes from our gym. If you haven't read it yet, go check it out. It really was something great to behold, but the same can be said each year about every gym and every individual represented in competition. The community at large is often an indescribable entity in the appeal and experience of a CrossFit gym. We just fit.
At the risk of this becoming too trite or redundant, let's keep it short and to the point. There are a few things especially noteworthy in the discussion of community, particularly within a CrossFit gym:
1.) Your positive attitude matters.
- Ever been in a negative, cynical environment? It's draining. Like a spreading virus. Outward negativity is probably a reflection of one's own self-esteem. Feed the right wolf.
2.) People notice what you tell them.
- Especially the compliments. But make sure it's not just lip service. Mean what you say to each other.
3.) We care about your PRs and missed lifts.
- Most of us know that feeling... share the good news of a personal record or tell someone about the "almosts." But realize the difference between that and attention seeking behavior. This is a community. Check your ego at the door.
4.) We care about things outside of the gym too.
- People have lots going on besides just the gym. This is a support group, and we can relish in the highs or have sympathy during the lows. While it's okay to use the gym as a get-away from stress, it might also be a relief to vent to a listening ear in between strength sets or after the WOD.
5.) Don't be a whiner.
- Sure, complain about a workout... we all do. Then embrace the suck. Too much whining about too many things in the gym leads us back to point number one.
I'll leave you with the image below: a great quote entitled "We are different" by Jonathan Heuer, which hits the nail on the head for a CrossFit community. Open it full screen and take a read.
Thanks for being our family outside of our family. And keep up the great work, you clowns.
- Scott, 7.21.2013