I moved earlier this year, and with it, lost my nice basement lifting space. At my new place, I walk by a small CrossFit box every day, so I figured, “Why not? I’ve been thinking about trying CrossFit forever, it’s convenient, and I need a place to lift.” Also, one of the coaches lists “transgender justice and advocacy” as one of his interests, so it just felt like everything was lining up.
The gym also has this statement on its website, which I think is great and should be something that all gyms (or service-oriented business) should have:
“We’re a community that strives to be supportive of all people, regardless of your background — you’re welcome regardless of your skin color, gender identity, sexual orientation, or economic background.”
Granted, the gym is a $160-200/month expense, so that’s already prohibitive to many people, but the thought is nice, and sometimes even just using the word “gender identity” means so much and can make someone immediately feel safer. The gym even has two single-stall bathrooms with gender-inclusive signage, so I feel like I’ve really lucked out.
Lifting in a gym, with coaches and other people around, was a huge hurdle for me, given my self-consciousness and anxiety about being a trans woman in a gym space. Fortunately, everything has gone really well, and it’s definitely one of the bigger positive milestones of the year for me! I definitely think a smaller, less intense, and less competition-focused CrossFit gym is the right fit for me — I’ve really enjoyed having other people around to work out with and talk fitness with; I find that I push myself harder with other people around; and it’s a lot easier to just show up and follow the programming than to program workouts for myself, though in exchange, I’ve lost some of the ability to focus on squats, deadlifts, and Oly lifts to the degree that I want.
Since joining, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that I have pretty OK technique on the Olympic lifts, and also that the weight that I can move is pretty respectable! So, it’s something I’m very proud of, but I also feel like I will be able to really refine my technique with active coaching and feedback, which is something I struggled to do on my own (especially on the snatch). I also feel more free to push myself at a gym, since I don’t have that lingering fear of injuring myself alone in my basement.
On the cardio side of things (metabolic conditioning, or ‘metcon’ as CrossFit calls it) I’m awful and have no capacity for it, but on the plus side, I feel like I’m making newbie gains, which is always gratifying.
Overall, joining a gym has been an incredibly positive change for me, and has had just as much of a positive impact on my life as when I started exercising on my own!