I have been doing crossfit workouts since I was 13 years old. My dad and I, along with some local neighborhood kids, would go out to the track and do the free workout posted on crossfit.com. We made do with whatever equipment we could find, sometimes buying cheap sports equipment from Craigslist. I enjoyed the daily novelty of the workouts, the wonderful feeling after pushing my body, and the time I got to spend with my friends. We eventually moved to a globo-gym so that we could do the prescribed weight training with actual weights (our former weights were cinderblocks or the odd piece of football equipment left on the track). I first found a gym called Crossfit Bolt by hacking my way through a half mile of brush and scrubby trees at the back of my neighborhood. I walked up covered in burrs and was greeted by Matt McCraney. I think one of the first things I told him was that I didn’t think it was a real crossfit gym, because it didn’t have a pullup bar yet. He explained that they had just moved in and the pullup rig was currently in transit. For the next four years, he was like a big brother to me, a steady mentor who cared for me and managed to be both a friend and a coach. We competed together many times, both as teammates and as coach and athlete, and I’m grateful to have shared the formative experiences with such a great person and leader. Matt helped coach me to get to crossfit regionals, and I included both a link to his gym and a link to an article about that regionals trip at the bottom of the page.
I’ve been around since before crossfit was a popular workout, and I expect I will still be around if it falls out of popular favor. In my opinion, there is something fundamentally special about crossfit. It provides me a chance to move in a healthy way, in a way that I believe my body developed to move. A perfect squat clean or a series of clean muscles ups is a beautiful thing. It’s timing, it’s grace, it’s strength exercised with control in a manner that is conducive to the way that evolution designed our bodies to move. Crossfit properly implemented is a combination of Cardiovascular and Respiratory endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy. When I move this way, I am rewarded with a feeling of fulfillment, the ability to consistently move in a healthy manner, and a capacity to go out into the world and do what I desire with the tool that is my body. If you are interested in the science behind design of the crossfit plan, I urge you to watch some videos of Greg Glassman, where he discusses his design for a new fitness program circa. 2004 – 2013. Ad hominem discussions aside, I respect his ideas and have found value in their implementation in crossfit gyms.
Aside from the fitness aspect of crossfit, the program affords me the chance to belong to something bigger than myself. Our gym, Koda Crossfit Norman, recently completed a workout for a former member named Rawson Shephard who took his life from battles with mental health. The workout requires a team to hold a medicine ball off of the ground while completing many other movements. The heavy ball is meant to symbolize the weight of mental health struggles. The workout emphasizes how an individual could never bear the weight the whole time, but through friendship and teamwork, the weight can be supported and shared. It was through ideas like this that I came to appreciate my friends in my gym and how they add fulfillment to my life. I used to have a severe distrust of organizations – political parties, campus groups, religious focus groups, etc. I was talking about this distrust with one of my close friends, and she helped me to see that organizations are how people get things done that are bigger than themselves. She helped to show me that, despite the flaws they sometimes have, organizations can bring people together around an idea, and that can be a very positive force. Koda Crossfit Norman and the larger crossfit group itself are organizations that I am proud to be a part of and that I believe make a positive impact in the world.