I will always remember the hot summer day I straggled into Ultimate Crossfit with my trusty dog, Spencer, as we were searching for 210 Rampart Street on foot, having failed to find it from the car. I met Lance, who welcomed us with a smile, handshake, and bowl of water (for Spencer, not me.) And my Crossfit journey began.
I used to have an Olympic games tshirt that said something like “Stronger, Higher, Faster”, and that applies to Crossfit. I’ve never been a competitive athlete, but I’ve enjoyed exercise for a long time. But Crossfit is a whole new enjoyment – the people, the workouts, the support, the challenge, and the puking (mostly in the summer).
But where Crossfit is a whole new level of experience, in my opinion, I believe starts with Lance. I have never met a business owner who was more concerned with the quality of the product he is providing, of leaving no one behind in the experience, of trying to accomodate whatever challenges people have in life. And I’ve found this attitude to be shared by the trainers and the members who become part of the UC family. (Finally, the “trickle down effect” works.)
People reading this are probably wondering “Who is this Nancy? I don’t remember working out with her.” Well, it’s not that I belong to the elite early o’dark 30 club. I belong to the elite (and don’t join me) “two back surgeries in one year” club.
This club is psychologically, physically, and socially devastating. At age 45, a year after my first discectomy and six months after the re-discectomy, I find myself unable to work, unable to walk for 20 minutes without lying down, unable to lift more than 15-20 lbs. It truly limits your existence, (or it has for me), except for gaining weight, thanks to dysfunctional eating/drinking and lack of exercise.
So when I sent Lance an email (because I miss Crossfit immensely), his response wasn’t “oh well – I have a thriving business with tons of members. Too bad for you.” It was “Let’s see what we can work out so you can participate in the classes and get back in the world of Crossfit.” And so far, that’s what we’ve done, with the skilled assistance of Trainer Meg Harris modifying the WOD so I can be there and do what I can do, which is really all Crossfit ever asks of you.
But the difference between Crossfit and the rest of the world is that if you are weak, everyone tells you that you will be stronger. If you are out of shape, nobody looks at that. They tell you that you will be better. If you feel out of place, they tell you that you belong. If you are a beginner, all will assure you that you will catch on. And competition means something different at Crossfit than it does everywhere else. Nobody dances around and says “I won and I’m better than you” when they finish the WOD first. Usually they are encouraging the person(s) coming on next, telling them they can do it and to push a little harder. And if you are that person, you look at the “winner” and think “I want to be like him/her” with admiration, not jealousy or malice.
I have read the stories posted on the web of combat damaged veterans joining the Crossfit communities in other gyms, some from wheel chairs. I can remember a video clip of one guy born without legs, competing at a regional event, finishing last on the sandhill run, but determined to not be last on the kettlebell press ups. But I couldn’t see myself back at Crossfit, from my pit of despair. And Lance said “We can modify it. Come back to the gym.”
So in a world full of obstacles, from both outside and inside, Ultimate Crossfit is one of those rare places where there is always a hand reaching out, a pat on the back, a word of encouragement, a push from behind and the message of “You can.” There are a lot of fun tshirts boasting the brutality of the workouts, which are as hard as you make them with personal effort, but the true UCF tshirt would say on the back “You can!!”
So that’s my testimonial – too long, and probably TMI, but it’s how I feel.