Though it only happened once, I have legitimately been asked this question. To be fair, I am part of “the cult,” which is more commonly known as CrossFit. While people often use the word to critique CrossFit, the “cultish” atmosphere is what made me feel a sliver more comfortable picking up my life and moving across the world.
My CrossFit journey started in 2007 when Danny at CrossFit Sonoma County had a dream to open a box, or CrossFit gym. My first workout of the day (WOD) was Fran. It was a grueling 10 or so minutes of work, and I was hooked. Back then there were only a handful of us, all of whom were Danny’s friends. We worked out in the back room of my old gymnastics gym from 9-10pm and as you can see below, we had some fun.
I left for college a few months after staring CrossFit, but every winter break I would come back and workout at the box. By then Danny had rented out his own space. With that space came a big community and no more 9pm classes – I suppose that is a bit late. Though I wasn’t a CrossFitter at that time, everyone in the community always welcomed me for the month that I was home. As a bonus, I returned to college every year in shape for lacrosse preseason.
Fast forward 2 years after graduation. After constant discussions about joining a CrossFit box, Mark told me I needed to shut up or do it. I chose CrossFit Balance in downtown DC. My year and a half there changed my time in DC. The community they built and the coaches’ knowledge drastically exceeded my expectations. I found myself surrounded by people who share my love of working out and my love of beer, generally in that order.
Why is all of this important? Well, because what I have learned over the past 8 years is that the support I receive from CrossFit goes beyond the doors of the box. I have truly become part of a global community. When we looked at the bid list I googled CrossFit boxes in each city – it exists nearly everywhere. I did this because I knew that no matter where we wound up I would have a group of people who would welcome me and make a new place feel a bit more like home. I reached out to Primal Ape CrossFit prior to my arrival because it was recommended by another FSO. I have not been disappointed, the space is amazing (picture below) and so are the people.
Joining Primal Ape has helped immensely with my transition. I now have a daily workout time to help set a schedule and even a job offer. Without it I’m not sure how long it would have taken to establish a routine, especially since I would know even fewer people in Manila. I didn’t leave my community back home either, the coaches and athletes have offered to help with programming for me, discuss classes and coaching, and even visit.
On the surface CrossFit is a workout regime meant to get people fit for anything life throws at them. Yet, the willingness to pay upward of $150 per month speaks volumes about the fact that it goes beyond a general workout class. After college we lose that feeling of being a part of something like a soccer or baseball team. CrossFit makes me feel like I’m on a team again. In the end, it is the highly critiqued “cult-like” atmosphere of CrossFit that makes it a great match for the constantly moving lifestyle of an EFM…or someone who travels on business often, or wants to be a part of a team, or wants the strength to be able to pick up grandchildren, really, anyone, because everyone is always welcome. Maybe we’re not so cultish after all.