It’s a little eerie dropping in on other boxes.
Same stacks of bumper plates.
A congregation of chalky kettlebells.
Bands people forgot to put away dangling from the pull-up rig.
Sweat angels on the mats.
A trash can of PVC pipes.
You pull one out and start your pass-throughs.
But there are differences—is one of their kettlebells shaped like a skull?
And, of course, the fear hovers over you: Everyone can see you’re not a real CrossFitter. You can’t do a pull-up, for crying out loud.
Even at your own box, you feel like a fraud sometimes. And when people outside the gym see your sweatshirt—“Oh, you do CrossFit?”—you flex in caricature and reply, “Ha ha, yeah, can’t you tell by how totally jacked I am?”
This box you’re visiting is 700 square feet in a strip mall. The people couldn’t be nicer. They tell you the 400-meter mark is the second blue fire hydrant. You’re afraid you’ll miss it, but then you remember you’re the slowest runner in the world, so you just watch where the real CrossFitters turn around.
Now you’re at a box at the coast. The people couldn’t be nicer. You’re told sometimes the metcon is to throw a ball as far as you can into the ocean and then swim out to fetch it, 5 rounds for time. Not today, though, which is a good thing because you didn’t wear your suit. And also, even if you did, cellulite. And also too, jeez-o-flip, you’d die. If the infarct didn’t take you down, then the riptide would do it. You imagine being supine on the beach, coughing water into the lifeguard’s face.
"Do you know where you are?" he says.
"Time!" you reply.
Oooh, this one’s 4,000 square feet in a string of converted old warehouses. It’s shmancy. The people couldn’t be nicer. You watch a pint-sized woman, 100% sinew, in teeny shorts and a bra made of less fabric than your sock, do heavy thrusters and burpees. She takes a 3-minute breather and then starts to butterfly-kip one million pull-ups. Somebody calls her name. You look at the wall and notice a placard with that name. On the side it says Reebok CrossFit Games. Whoa, a real live CrossFitter, in her habitat. You try not to ogle.
At all of them, when you walk in, the coach asks, “Have you done CrossFit before?” It’s a liability issue—CYA—but you always assume they’re incredulous. You hear, “Have you done CrossFit before?” and paint one of their eyebrows into an arc with your mind.
Then the warm-up starts. You know these movements—you’ve done them a million times. You snatch the kettlebell. Someone says, “Wow, you’re really good at that.”
At one box, the coach has you do handstands and cartwheels. Ha! You can do handstands and cartwheels!
At another one, you look on the board after the WOD. You out-lifted all the other women there.
And you stop.
And you wonder, how long will this go on? At what point are you a CrossFitter, without qualifications or disclaimers?
When you can do a pull-up?
Or is it when you can do a muscle-up?
Maybe when you’ve got a sub-5-minute Fran?
And it comes to you. You dry-heave a little because it sounds cheesy, even in your own mind, but there it is:
Whenever you say.
For real though, whenever you say.
<hork> (Sorry, still… <hork>)
But seriously, there are people who consider themselves CrossFitters on Day 1 of boot camp, and others who stomp around three years later wondering when it will happen, like there’s a magical threshold to cross somewhere [raises hand].
In reality, the only difference between the girl who calls herself a CrossFitter and the girl who doesn’t is one calls herself a CrossFitter and one doesn’t. Nobody’s gonna come by with a PVC pipe one day and dub thee Legit.
You are a real CrossFitter.
Whenever you say.
Might as well be today.
(One last <hork>.)
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