Is there such a thing as a “traditional” or stereotypical CrossFitter? Maybe there’s an image in your head of what a CrossFit athlete looks like. Muscular, slender, radiant (or rugged), ripped, youthful. (Hobbling, maybe). You can tell who they are because they are always Talking About CrossFit.
If there is a stereotypical CrossFitter, I am NOT that. I am heavier, older, basically an uncoordinated mess on most days. I do talk about CrossFit a lot, but that’s where the resemblance to that image stops.
I have a long road. Everyone starts somewhere, but many of the people at my box have some sort of sport or physical activity in their background. Swimming, gymnastics, dance, and so on. Not me. So I’m not getting back on the horse or the bike or whatever, but riding it for the first time. I’ve described CrossFit as finally getting to know my body after living in it for 45 years.
Between my lack of athletic background and various injuries, my workouts look different than most of the people I am in class with. I have been doing CrossFit regularly for 15 months and still do many / most workouts with some kind of scale and / or adaptation. Thankfully we have great coaches who know me and help me continue to improve.
Here are some recent milestones that might be unimpressive for some, but were big deals for me.
A couple of weeks ago we had 1000 jump ropes in a single WOD. Five rounds, 200 in each round. Jump ropes are a struggle for me, both in coordination and breath control. Lifting 200+ pounds off the ground that many times is a lot of physical and mental lifting. I was already preparing myself for failure, asking my coach what to do if I just couldn’t get the rope to cooperate. I had to complete it in in sets of 30 or 40, sometimes even 20. But, I made it through it. I’ve never done that many in a single workout before! Celebration!
The second big milestone was burpee jumpovers. Sometimes the workout calls for jumping over a barbell (with plates) or a box. I always either step over the box or jump over a bar on the flat ground. But, this time the WOD had dumbbell jump overs. I was working out by myself and just went over to the little side area of the gym and gave it a try. Ok, so it’s only like 6 inches off the ground, but it was still another mental and physical challenge. So tiring! But I did about 50 of them (without falling) which felt like an amazing accomplishment. (See pic below. Too tired to smile.)
My steps forward may be smaller than most. There are movements that may take me many years to attempt, much less achieve. But, I keep showing up and trying to get better each day. It has given me new confidence. I’m not even afraid of sled pulls anymore! Or embarrassed by doing them in front of people in the parking lot!
I don’t think there’s such a thing as a stereotypical CrossFitter. It can work for anyone, and it’s big for someone like me to say that. As time goes on, I’ve come to see myself as an athlete after all.