Since you’re reading this, I’ll assume you’re a passionate member of the CrossFit community. And as a passionate member, you must be well aware of the constant stream of negativity that comes from various media channels and perhaps your friends that seek to denounce CrossFit as a ‘cult’, ‘dangerous’ or full of ‘obnoxious assholes’—to put it bluntly.
But are we the a-holes, or is everyone else?
I hope that you continue to do CrossFit because you enjoy it—perhaps even love it—and when you love something, it invariably becomes a part of your life, in some way. And when this happens, it’s human nature to want to share and discuss one’s passions with others. More often than not this is done through various social mediums. Sites like Facebook serve as a journal for a CrossFitter keen to note a particular milestone or post a video of a particularly epic snatch. Does this qualify as ‘obnoxious’ behavior?
If you were meeting a friend of a friend for the first time, and they asked you what you were interested in outside of work, what would you say? If you had a flair for painting or enjoyed travelling, your eyes would light up and you wouldn’t be able to shut up about a trip you have planned or a painting that’s in the works. So what, are we expected to simply say “I do CrossFit” and not say anything else as it may come across as obnoxious and annoy the person? SCREW THAT. You asked me what I was interested in, and now I’m telling you! If you assume that because I “do” CrossFit I must be an arrogant fitness know-it-all, then you’re not really worth my time.
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And this is a big however (obviously, otherwise it wouldn’t be in capitals), there is an argument to be made that CrossFit a-holes do exist and are among us—it may even be YOU. After all, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. There are some CrossFitters who take the lifestyle a bit too seriously and a bit too far. Much like an annoying salesman, there is a monstrous difference between sharing your opinion, and forcing it upon someone. So take heed, and watch out for these 5 signs that you may be turning into a CrossFit a-hole. If you hit all 5, it’s probably too late…
You might be a CrossFit a-hole if…
1. Critiquing everyone’s diet choices when they haven’t asked for your opinion
If you’re going grocery shopping with friends or joining them for dinner, and there has been NO mention of dietary advice, casually stating that they should stay clear of the pasta carbonara is going to make you sound like a dick. Yes, it is. You may know that that cheeseburger isn’t going to do your friend any favors, but do you really want to act like the food police and judge your pals based off of what they choose to eat or keep in their fridge? You might think you’re helping out, but alas, you’re probably coming across as an annoying tool. Just remember, unless they specifically ask for it, keep your opinion to yourself.
2. Hating on different forms of fitness
If someone is making a genuine attempt to better themselves through a fitness program or sport then they should be applauded for that—even if it doesn’t happen to be CrossFit. The fact that we know that CrossFit is such an effective training methodology for all around fitness doesn’t warrant you brining someone else down because they’d rather do Pilates, boot camps or simply go to a globo gym (shudder). We CrossFitter’s tend to think that CrossFit is the best because we continually see success in relation to our personal goals. With that being said, some people may have more specific fitness goals that warrant a different form of training. Others may have lifestyle restrictions, or simply prefer to stick to a form of fitness that they are comfortable with—and that’s OK. The important thing to remember is that the individual is taking steps to improve their health in the best way they see fit, and unless they ask you in which direction they should turn, there’s no need for you to sell them on CrossFit.
3. Turning every conversations towards CrossFit
Have you ever met your non-CrossFit friends at a bar for happy hour, and had a conversation that goes something like this:
“Hey guys, work sucked for me today, I have this project that I just can’t quite finish, I can’t seem to get over the hump.” “Oh, I know exactly what you mean! I’ve plateaued my 1 rep thruster at the box and it’s becoming really frustrating.”
Yep, you know what I’m going to say. Come on, lets be honest, I think we are all guilty of this one. How can we not be? If you’ve just had a magical day at the box where you PR’d everything, chances are that that news will make an appearance, regardless of the direction the original conversation is going in. Either you’ll carefully groom the discussion to a favorable point where you can make your announcement, or you’ll latch on to the loosest possible connection to interject and proudly exclaim your day’s work at the box like a victorious knight returning to feast at their castle. Only problem is, your friends have likely seen you do this one to many times, and they’re going to get annoyed pretty quickly. If you were meeting up with your buddies for a drink, would you want to talk and catch up on news that you can all relate to? Or would you want to sit through a friends monologue on insert unrelatable/boring topic here. The sad truth is that not everyone gets as excited about CrossFit as you do—even your best friends. So don’t alienate them by constantly talking about it. Save it for the really EPIC news—like getting a muscle-up. That’s just too cool to keep to yourself.
4. Thinking CrossFit athletes are the best athletes in all of sport
We all know how incredible Games athletes are, and if you need a reminder, just tune in to the on-going Regionals to see some amazing feats of athleticism. Because CrossFit is designed to test an individual’s abilities in multiple, varied domains of fitness, we tend to think that the best CrossFitters are the best athletes out there, period. And we’re not afraid to let people know that either. Your friends may marvel at the speed of Usain Bolt or the explosive power of LeBron James, so naturally you have to bring them back down to earth with photographic and video evidence of Rich Froning snatching 300lbs and doing weighted pistols. Problem is, just because you think CrossFit athletes rule all doesn’t mean your pals will too. They may just want to admire LeBron’s ability to get so high in the air when he’s throwing down a dunk, and this isn’t an invite to denounce him as a lesser athlete than Froning (I wonder how James would do at CrossFit?). Frankly, most people won’t care that CrossFitters are fit in so many different ways, and if you keep reminding them, pretty soon you’ll be watching the game at home—alone.
Honorable mention: Subconscious judging of fit-looking people
Have you ever walked down the street or sat in a coffee shop and noticed a particularly in-shape person walk by? You may at one time been jealous of their physique, or even admired it, but now the thoughts running through your head are a little more ridiculous. That guy doesn’t look like he could snatch more than me. Oh I could definitely back squat more than her, she’s got no legs. There’s no way he can do a handstand push-up. To most people, these would be the ramblings of a madman, but to the typical CrossFitter, they make perfect sense. You may start to notice yourself sizing up a random person now and again, and this might even extend to the box. Of course it’s natural to be competitive, but if there is one thing CrossFit has taught us it’s that fitness is relative and that every one of us has strengths and weaknesses in different areas. I suppose a bit of random judgment here and there isn’t too bad. It is subconscious, after all. The problems arise when you start going up to random people (even newbies at the box) and asking them what their Fran time is. So don’t do it. Compete with yourself instead.