Today is my 1-year CrossFit anniversary!
I came to CrossFit having taught myself weightlifting in my basement, and that’s still what I love the most, but the variety of CrossFit is what has really kept me going. Since that first day, I’ve learned all sorts of gymnast-y things including all sorts of kipping and butterfly pullups, handstand push-ups and walks, double-unders, bar and ring muscle-ups and more! There’s just an endless list of skills to develop and train, and while at times it feels overwhelming to keep all your shiny new skills in practice, it also means there’s always something exciting to work on!
Overall, I’m super happy with the progress I’ve made in the past year. On top of cardiovascular/engine and gymnastic skills gains, my Olympic lifts have gotten much snappier and more consistent and I’ve seen significant PRs there due to technique improvements (turns out having a coach watch you and give you advice is better than going it alone in your basement), and while my big maximal lifts haven’t increased much, strength work is going to be my focus for year two, now that most of the skills are coming along nicely.
Putting all the exercise talk aside (which I love), I think maybe the most transformative part of CrossFit has been the community. As everyone who does CrossFit will probably say, the community is what makes it all work. Suffering together really does build strong relationships!
Additionally, for me, this is probably the first time in my life that I’ve felt a sense of actual community. I’ve had groups of nerd friends with shared nerdy interests, but CrossFit is truly is a community and a local one at that — it’s not just making friends, though you make plenty of those as well — it’s seeing people from the gym who you might not know that well yet, but knowing you have something in common with them and that you’d instantly help them out and vice versa.
Friendship for me has often meant hanging out with people (in real life or online) who are very similar to myself who have a relatively narrow set of similar interests to me, and while we all have CrossFit as a shared interest, being part of the gym community has meant building relationships with people from a wider range of backgrounds and experiences, and that is something that’s really important and healthy. I also have had to get used to (in a good way) constantly seeing people I know as I’m out and about. It’s like living in a small town again, but instead, it’s a small community that’s part of a big city.
Finally, my biggest fears, about being discriminated against for being trans, ended up being the least important aspect of my entire experience. The gym has been wonderful, and there were already a ton of queer and trans or gender-nonconforming members already. I don’t know exactly numbers, but a significant portion of the gym is queer and nerdy, so it’s absolutely perfect. I won’t say my fears about gyms and CrossFit and transphobia in general were unfounded, but my lesson in this instance was there are already queer and trans people out there, doing what they love and what you want to do — you just have be brave enough to go and join them. This sounds melodramatic in retrospect, but a year ago, fear was keeping me from doing something I’d wanted to do and find a community around for years, and now I’m doing it and I can say with certainty — the rewards far outweigh the risks.
Some highlights from the past year include doing my first CrossFit Open, doing OutWOD, a traveling CrossFit workout and fundraiser for LGBTQ CrossFitters, and meeting Katrin Davidsdottir at a Reebok store!