Stunned by the news that the box I attend would be closing in three days due to unexpected circumstances, I found myself experiencing emotions I couldn’t label or fully understand.
My relationship with Crossfit has always been complex. I’m a nonathletic middle-aged woman with various chronic conditions who hates to exercise. For the past 16 months, every other month has been “my last month dealing with Crossfit.” On the other hand, I’ve seen the symptoms of my chronic conditions disappear thanks to dietary changes and intense exercise. I can pick up heavy things with confidence, and I have developed so much muscle that although I’m at my heaviest weight ever, I’m three clothing sizes smaller than I was at my plumpest.
I decided earlier this year that prepaying for my membership would be what I needed to do to keep the threats to quit at bay. Just two weeks ago, I was wondering if I really wanted to stick it out until the end of the year or if I wanted to freeze my contract to give myself time to think things through.
And then the announcement came.
As I processed the thoughts and feelings I was experiencing, I realized a few things:
- There really is such as a thing as the “Crossfit Family.” Although I had many polite conversations with the other members, I didn’t create any new friendships that spread outside of the box. Imagine my surprise when I realized how much I’d miss the men and women who have cheered me on and supported my efforts. Although we didn’t have a relationship outside the box, we still had a bond. Just like what happens in a real family.
- The benefits of supporting a small business outweigh the risks. Businesses big and small go under. Larger businesses have more support, investors, staff, and opportunities for a “Plan B,” but they also tend to be impersonal. When you personally know the owners of a small business, you know about the ups and downs of their lives. You are faced with the very human side of business. You know that their business was their creation, their baby. You are aware that there is a story behind the closure and that you (the customer) are not the only one who is affected when it closes.
- The Crossfit choices on this side of town are overwhelming. When the news came out about our box closing, we began to get offers from other boxes in the area. Some were familiar, others were not. They were kind enough to offer to let us keep our current terms- including prepayment. Scrolling through the websites, looking at the schedules and reading the trainers’ bios was very insightful.
- I love Crossfit. I don’t fit the Crossfit mold, and that’s ok because I don’t fit any molds. I dislike more of the workouts than I like, and that’s ok because I like the results I get. Truthfully, my least favorite workouts are the ones I most proud of when I complete them. I’m checking out two boxes this week and will find my new fitness home. I look forward to becoming part of a new family (and will likely come across some of my fellow transplants).
- It’s not that serious. My knee-jerk reaction was “Why is this happening to me?” Never mind that I was contemplating taking a break from Crossfit. At that moment my Crossfit box was the most important thing in my world, and I didn’t want it taken away. I waxed nostalgic as I looked through the Instagram pictures and videos. Soon, though, I realized that if the unexpected closing of my box was the most upsetting thing to happen to me this month, I’ve got a pretty darn good life.
- Bonus insight: I am indebted to all of the men and women who were a part of my training. They pushed me yet protected me from injury. They were patient and willing to accept the fact that no matter what modifications they made, I was simply not going to be able to do some things- such as stand on my hands. I always felt accepted even though I’m sure I drove them crazy at times. They gave me health and well-being, and for that I am immensely grateful.
Cherishing the past, embracing the change, leaping toward the future….I continue my quest for wellness as I cultivate relationships with my fitness family, old and new.