Witnessing a positive transformation can generate enough inspiration to follow suit. It’s not uncommon for a CrossFitter to influence family and/or friends in their aspirations for a higher level of fitness and health. Whether it be her incessant CrossFit ramblings, her newly toned body or her sudden refusal of the common holiday cookies, people take note. Initially, the “cult” reputation of the CrossFit community and the intense physical demands may bring up questions and concerns. But as dedication and obvious improvements in well-being trump any negative associations, interest emerges. The discussion shifts from tactical bashing and critical assessments to curiosity and reverence. And the so-called trend invites another wave of eager athletes with high hopes and the willingness to work.
I managed to drag my sister into the gym for a workout once, and now more than a year later, we look forward to competing together as a pair. My brother-in-law began once we opened the doors to our own gym, and he hasn’t stopped since. My cousin recently joined a gym in the city in which he resides, and I’m certain his wife won’t stay away for long. My ex-husband and a group of his college crew joined our gym, one after the other, and have redeveloped their friendships in an amazing way. When my husband and I pair up for a class, our kids join in the warm-ups with excitement and ease. And so the community grows and the network spreads, and the “trend” transforms from a potentially short-term interest to a lifelong commitment. CrossFit becomes a new way for people to bond and grow together.
Jaime Noyce, 2012 sixth-place North Central Regional athlete, knows better than most how a fitness phenomenon can serve as the glue of a physically gifted family. In Central Iowa and the North Central Region, the Noyces are recognized as an elite CrossFit dynasty. The family matriarch, Shelley Noyce, touts a Masters Games Championship from 2011 as well as Masters Games qualifications in both 2012 and 2013. Father Jim Noyce is a box staple and leads the family of fitness junkies. Youngest brother Bobby Noyce placed 11th in the 2012 North Central Regionals and last year led his team to a third-place Regional finish and Games qualification. Siblings Lindsay (Noyce) Vaught and Jamie were both members of that same 2013 Games team. And the year prior, Lance Kellow, Jaime’s fiancé, was also a Regional team participant. Significant others and friends have followed in their footsteps, too. And the list of awards and recognitions goes on and on. Jaime believes this family affair has brought them even closer than they once were.
“I feel like anyone who has ever struggled through a tough CrossFit workout next to somebody knows there is an instant bond/level of respect between those people,” she says. “CrossFit has, without a doubt, made my relationship with everyone in my family even better. Besides just giving us a common interest to talk about or do together, I think there is something great about sharing a common passion. I think you learn a lot about someone, even if they are family, by watching them get pushed outside of their comfort zone.”
And the Noyce family doesn’t just work out together, they compete together. “Being on a team with my sister and brother is actually amazing. Bobby and I are far apart in age, and Lindsay and I played different sports growing up, so we never really overlapped much. In CrossFit, Bobby is definitely the leader in our family. He understands so much about all things CrossFit, it’s almost scary. He sets a great example of hard work, dedication, honesty and integrity. We have a lot of fun,“ Jaime says.
Because the Noyce family owns and operates a gym together and trains together, it’s easy to assume they need some family-free time. But when asked if she ever gets sick of her family, Jaime says, “Honestly, not really. Is that weird?”
A family with a strong foundation can stick together through anything. When health and betterment become a focus, it can inspire and set the stage for generation-spanning changes. CrossFit can serve as a major foundational factor for relationship development, as groups of family and friends develop similar goals, aspirations and interests. Bringing loved ones closer is just an added benefit of a program originally developed to pair fitness and community. Take it from Jaime, a woman with a family dedicated to the sport of fitness: “I think anything you can share with your family is great, and I feel very fortunate to have everybody around me love CrossFit as much as I do.”