The Importance of Community.

By Tania Winter

We always talk about how important being strong, consistent and eating well is for CrossFit and life.  In this blog I want to talk about how important community is to CrossFit boxes, and the individuals who make up that community.  

Our community is a vital component of what we call Crossfit. 
A strong community benefits the individuals within the community and society as a whole. All of us who feel a sense of belonging tend to lead happier and healthier lives, and a strong community creates a more stable and supportive society.  Our current society is moving at a fast and detached manner due to technology, busy schedules and the frequency at which we change jobs and home locations.  It makes it harder and harder to feel any sense of community in our culture nowadays. It also can be easy to become isolated in our homes and isolation tends to beget a sense of loneliness and depression.  Being a part of a community promotes mental health and according to Psychologists Smith and Segal, “People who are emotionally and mentally healthy...due to involvement in a community... have the tools for coping with difficult situations and maintaining a positive outlook in which also remain focused, flexible, and creative in bad times as well as good."

Our community begins with fitness and grows with friendships.
There is something special about meeting everyday at the same place with the same people and getting through a tough workout. 
Grinding through reps, lifting weights you never thought you could and pushing through your pain barrier leads to a better version of you. Rep after rep, heavy breath after heavy breath, no time to think of anything else but giving this WOD everything you have - Oh the struggle is real!!! This is the time where your barriers are broken down, your ego is striped away and your at your rawest. 
In the depth of your struggle you start to hear that little voice inside your head telling you to quit, but you cant, you won't!
Then, between the sweaty bodies and barbells you lock eyes with another fellow CrossFitter mid WOD, you suddenly get this sounding relief that you are not alone.  They are pushing just as hard as you are and with a simple glance you both feel relief mixed with motivation as you both start to push each other.  It is in this moment of pain mixed with enjoyment, that you feel the depth of true camaraderie.  It's this feeling that some how makes you dig deeper and go further past your limits.   Before you know it, the WOD you thought you would never finish has come to an end.  You high five everyone in the class and congratulate each other for a job well done!  These relationship we develop during and after an intense workout is one of a kind. 

The beauty is that we get all kinds of people from all walks of life at our Box.   However the one thing we have in common is a pursuit to be better and a drive to push ourselves and each other further.  We find comfort in talking about the struggles and wins we endure during these crazy workouts, and along the way we find ourselves calling these people our friends.
We all started CrossFit because we wanted to become strong and healthy on our own.  Suddenly we find the motivation to get us to the box is not only the pursuit of fitness but because we don't want to let each other down.

Let's be real- Training on your own is shit!  Training with your mates is Awesome!

Remember those old solitary gym days?? 
Turning up to the gym with your headphones on, listening to your favourite tracks that normally get you in the mood to train. 
You scan your membership card at the counter where there is some bored receptionist that avoids making eye contact incase it leads to them having to converse with you. 
As you make your way to the gym entrance you decid what body part you will work on for the day.

Warm up time!! 
5min jog on the treadmill while looking out the window to a beautiful green park on a glorious sunny day. 
Times up on the tready and time to move on to the machines you love to use. Fingers crossed no one is using them. 
By this time you have only talked to people to ask them "are you done using this?"
You walk out feeling like you've done something- "Man I smashed my triceps today!" - Ha.

Ah... them were the days....

These days be like....
Waiting... Waiting.... 
CrossFit WOD posted! 
Let's see let's see!!! 
It's always two reactions, Excitement and fear.
Next…… Book in and check who else is doing the same class as you. 
Yes!!!!! Can't wait to train with them!! 
You can't stop thinking about the WOD while your at work, you have already contacted the guys that your training with to discuss WOD strategy. 

When you think about it, this is a pretty epic thing that we are apart of, for all of this to happen and we haven't even stepped into the box. 
As you walk through the roller door you immediately feel at home, you know everyones name and they know yours. People always ask how your morning or days been and before the class starts the coaches always introduce new members to the class.
During the WOD, if your the last to finish your community is cheering you on and are by your side to the end. If any outsiders were to be watching, they would think this athletes coming first!!  We all start together and finish together. 
You don't go home straight after class because you like to hang around to have a chat to your mates. 

Being a part of a Crossfit community we start to find ourselves out at birthdays, weddings, dinners and much more outings with these sweaty friends. We might not even recognise each other and ask ourselves "who is this person that smells so good, has such a great complexion and dress style".  Knowing earlier that day you were spotting this person to go for that 1RM back squat, yelling words of encouragement and giving each other that hi-five at the end. As the spotter you still felt that you were a part of such a satisfying goal and achievement. Suddenly years have gone by and we find each-other close than ever. 

It all starts from your home affiliate where this belonging to a small group develops and you soon learn how big our CrossFit community really is. From local comps to regionals to the games, we all relate in one way or another, and the one thing we love and keep coming back to is CrossFit. The CrossFit community has been around for over 20years now and is in no way of slowing down.  As humans we all want to belong to something, and how lucky are we to be a part of a movement and community, that is forever changing the landscape of fitness and pushing the limits of human potential.