Some months ago now I severed my last tie with CrossFit.
In truth, I haven’t done a CrossFit workout in years.
For seven years I worked as the Program Director of CrossFit Los Angeles. A few years ago I left that job to change careers entirely – to go from CrossFit coach and personal trainer to writer and editor here at Breaking Muscle. In doing so, I moved from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon.
When I arrived here in Portland, one of the first things I did was seek out a new CrossFit community. CrossFit had been the center of my life in Los Angeles, and it made sense to find a new center in my new home.
I tried a number of CrossFit gyms in Portland, but didn’t find any fully satisfactory. Nothing felt like my old home. For a brief time I attended a gym in the Woodstock neighborhood, where I met my husband, but before too long we both stopped attending that gym and stopped doing anything that resembled CrossFit.
I have my reasons for ceasing to CrossFit. Just as you may have your reasons for continuing to do it. Our reasons are personal, no matter on which side of the line we fall. But, sadly, there appears to indeed a line and I want to be authentic with you all.
For many years CrossFit was the center of my life. It was my career, it was my source of friendships, and it was my business education. Through it I met some of the most important and influential people I’ve ever met. My life would not be what it is had I not met Andy Petranek.
I first discovered CrossFit in 2005. Well before it was a household word. The gym I trained at called itself Petranek Fitness because back then CrossFit was not a marketable name. Of course, it’s now known as CrossFit Los Angeles. There, at CFLA, I grew as a human being, physically, mentally, and spiritually. I still have all my workout logs to prove it.
And for years I attended CrossFit certifications every few months. Back then they were led by Greg Glassman himself. Regardless of your opinion of Glassman, there were many profound things I learned in those weekends and many things I was gifted with, not the least of which was inspiration.
During those weekends, I was coached by Annie Sakamoto, Nicole Carroll, and Eva Twardokens. I watched them work out. I had never met women like them. They made me want to be stronger, to be better. To know more and be more. For the first time in my life, I had women I admired and wanted to model myself after.
I worked my way up to a CrossFit Level 3 certification. Did you even know those exist? Well, I’ve got one and there’s no expiration date on it, so I guess I get to be that for as long as I want – and perhaps then some.
I’ve met fabulous, wonderful, well-meaning people through CrossFit. Genuinely good people. People at my gym and people from other gyms. People the worldwide. They were out there when I started CrossFit and they continue to be a part of the growing community now.
But things change. People change. Companies change. Some people move on, and some don’t. The “unknown and the unknowable” occurs, in workouts and in life. Eventually I found the list of things that came after, “I love CrossFit, but…” out-shadowed the love I’d had for it.
It’s like an old relationship. There are things about it that make me smile, things that make me sad, and things about it that I wish had gone another way. Some part of me deeply mourns the loss of it – the empty space where my community once was, the personal records that came with the practice of it, and the energy and joy of it all. But much more of me is grateful for what I’ve learned and realized since I took a few steps away.
On a personal level, it’s been quite some time since I’ve talked about CrossFit. I haven’t posted about doing a CrossFit workout in a couple years. I stopped attending CrossFit events or judging competitions. I never publicly said anything negative, but I also stopped publicly advocating.
But I never came out and told you all the simple truth – that I just don’t do it anymore.
So, a few months back I messaged Andy Petranek and said that in good conscience I could no longer continue to write my weekly blog for CrossFit LA. If I don’t live it, then how could I coach people who do? I didn’t want to be a hypocrite, no matter how much I loved that community back in Los Angeles and no matter how much my love for them had nothing to do with CrossFit.
Perhaps it’s self-serving in that way. I don’t want to be inauthentic and I don’t want to be labeled as something I’m not. But I do want to have a real relationship with you and I want you to know I’m being honest with you. So here it is:
- I don’t do CrossFit.
- I don’t teach CrossFit.
- I don’t recommend CrossFit.
But if you do it, love it, and learn from it, then I’m genuinely happy for you for all of that. I am glad you have all of that in your life. If CrossFit has empowered you, that’s wonderful. If it has literally and figuratively made you stronger, then I love what it’s done for you. It did that for me, too.
If your CrossFit community means the world to you, then I am unspeakably grateful that you have found your people and your support. I know what that’s like and I know what that was for me.
But you are you and I am me, and I don’t do CrossFit anymore.