Community Accountability

There are dozens of things that separate CrossFit from other workouts, but the camaraderie and sense of community are a few of the aspects that keep our grinder coming back for more.
By Jamie Toland, CF-L1 ,

Woody Allen once stated that “80 percent of success is showing up.” While that’s not always the simplest thing to do in terms of attending CrossFit training sessions (see last week’s article), I have found that I am much more likely to show up again and again for CrossFit than I have been for any other type of training I’ve attempted in my lifetime.

I have a pretty good idea why — the people I work out with and compete with each day.

There are a lot of things I love about CrossFit. I love that I have no idea what I’m going to be doing every day. I love that I have accomplished things physically and mentally that society would have me believe I shouldn’t or couldn’t be doing at my age. I love that CrossFit has made me more comfortable with being uncomfortable. I love that it has opened doors to me that wouldn’t have otherwise been opened, careerwise. I love that I’ve been able to travel from one end of this country to the other and even to Europe because of CrossFit.

But those aren’t the things that get me out of my bed at 4:30 each morning. The one thing that gets me up every day is the community accountability. That group of people in the 5 a.m. class who are there, grinding it out, before dawn, in all types of weather is what gets me to come in and train. They don’t call and yell at me if I miss. They don’t post stuff on social media, trying to shame me into coming back if I’m gone for a day or two. It’s not a sense that I “have to” go in and train and suffer with them, it’s that I “want to.” And that aspect has made all the difference.

There is nothing unique about our community. I’ve traveled to and trained in enough places to know that the community we have cultivated at our box is similar to countless communities all over this planet. But to me, to us, being accountable to each other is all that matters day in and day out.

There are other ways to train besides CrossFit. There are numerous exercise-based training regimes that will get you the results you want. I did video kickboxing workouts. I did triathlon training for the better part of three years. I ran a morning weightlifting group with some of my student-athletes for a few years. But the difference between all those and CrossFit is that I knew at the time, I wasn’t going to keep doing them long term. After six years of training and coaching at our gym, I have every intention of continuing to do CrossFit for as long as I’m able to.

Part of it is that I like the feeling I get when I complete a tough workout and there are people cheering for me or I go and encourage another member to finish theirs. But part of it is that I know tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, when I walk in at 10 minutes before 5 a.m., our coach will be there cleaning off the whiteboard, writing up our training session notes for the day, posting the WOD and getting the clock set for another morning of grinding it out with the others in our little community. I know that all people will be there with sleepy smiles on their faces, chatting and stretching and getting ready to trudge through another session.

It’s not for everyone, and it doesn’t have to be. But it works for me and it works for our community, and in the process, we all keep each member accountable. Because of that, we’ve all found a place to belong.

What do you love about the community of your box? What are your favorite things about CrossFit training?

Stay on the grind.

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