Are You in the Cult?

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.

Xfit Old Days

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.


MAAC, FACT, and Farm

It’s been a busy couple weeks as I near the end of my time in DC.  I got to compete in the Mid Atlantic Affiliate Challenge (MAAC) last weekend.  It was a long, but fun weekend.  Balance gym showed up with something like five teams, the balance van, a couch, and some mats.  Clearly we rep our gym hard and have a good time.  My team (two guys and two girls) placed 15th out of 60 or 70 teams.  Plus, we all looked pretty badass. 


 I was lucky to be able to take some time off for the FACT course – Foreign Affairs Counter Threat course.  As stated in the description online, it provides defensive driving training, firearms familiarization, information on emergency medical care, etc.  While I am hopeful I never have to use what I learned, I was glad I took the course. It was fun, there was useful information (not just for post) and I got to know some of Mark’s colleagues a little better.  If you’re a spouse and you can take the course, I say go for it!  If nothing else, you’ll have a blast with the cars.

As a bonus, during fact training I received the email that I passed the Crossfit Level 1 Trainer exam!  One tiny step closer to hopefully finding a job in Manila.

In the not so fun world of saying goodbye, we had to drive our beloved truck, Fred, home to my aunt’s lavender farm, Blue Skye Lavender.  You can see him below looking fabulous as I hug him goodbye.  We have had him on loan and will miss him dearly, but know he is home at the farm.  I’m not so sure I will know what to do when I get to Manila and have air conditioning, automatic windows, and a radio – mind will be blown.


We had quite the adventure at the farm.  We put the boat in the water to take a little trip out to the island and as I was driving it over to the dock I heard a thud. I looked back to see the wheels from the boat trailer rolling away.  Apparently the springs had broken and the axel became detached.  Mark did wind up fixing it, but it was not easy.  After his stressful day of working we got a last trip out to the beach, followed by a fantastic crab dinner.  

It’s sad to say goodbye to one of my favorite places, the farm, as you can see, is a beautiful and relaxing place.  Luckily it will be there when we get back for more adventures.  Hopefully adventures that don’t include the boat trailer breaking…


Next up exams and pack out.  Here’s to my last couple weeks in DC!

Hello world!

With packout a little less than two months away I thought I’d get this blog thing started.  I’m hoping this will help me keep in contact with people back home or at least let them know what I’m up to across the world.  So, here goes.

The question I get asked nearly every time someone finds out I’m moving…”What are you going to do in Manila?”

Answer: TBD

One thing is for sure though, I’ll have more fun than Mark.  HA! He has to work all day, but I get to workout, volunteer, try to find a job in a new country, apply to grad schools for physical therapy, get in-home massages, pedicures and manicures, get a PUPPY, meet new people, travel, and relax.  I guess I have lots to do.

Until then I’ll be trying to make a dent in my DC Checklist and saying goodbye to friends and family.