I'm not sure if it's just me, but it seems like lately, I've seen a ton of articles written about CrossFit. CrossFit is bad, CrossFit is evil, CrossFit causes injuries, and everyone who does CrossFit never shuts up about CrossFit. I'm not going to write a blog screaming that CrossFit is the best thing and that everyone who wrote those articles is wrong, because I think there is some truth to them. But I think the truth has to do with what stage of Crossfitdom you're in. I know, I know, I just invented another new word...you're welcome. But I think that honestly and truly, CrossFit is kind of like grieving, in a way. They always talk about the stages you go through with grief, how it's a progression. I think the same can be said with CrossFit. By now I'm sure you're scratching your heads and going what in the world is she talking about. Well, allow me to humbly explain what I think are the stages of Crossfitdom.
Stage 1- The Window Shopper
CrossFitters in this stage aren't really CrossFitters....yet. These are the folks who are pretty curious about CrossFit. They heard about it through a friend or coworker and are wondering about this mysterious cult like thing. They do a little light digging on the interwebs and perhaps ask a question or two of the friend or coworker like "How often did you go when you started?" Or "How sore were you when you started?" From their inquires, folks can tell they are interested but need a little help jumping into Stage 2. These people can often be easily spotted doing a slow drive by or by pressing their faces to the glass of local Crossfit boxes. These CrossFitters are harmless to non-CrossFitters and can still function in outside society.
Stage 2- The Newb
As the name implies, these are folks who are brand spankin new to CrossFit. These folks are often found in elements class or doing trial classes at local boxes. Their curiosity has grown to the point where they have decided to dip their toss in the CrossFit Kool-Aid and they are learning whether or not they like the movements and atmosphere enough to stay. CrossFitters in this stage will begin to have discourse surrounding their exercise as they may begin to be noticeably sore or notice an increase in energy. The CrossFitters in this stage are still relatively harmless to non-CrossFitters and can still function in outside society.
Stage 3- The Novice
These are the folks who have graduated elements and have been doing CrossFit for 1-3 months. In this stage they begin to dabble a bit with the idea of making some dietary changes, or coming in more often to the gym. CrossFitters in this stage are seeing noticeable changes in their bodies and are beginning to become more and more in love with the CrossFit world. While they are not chugging the Kool-Aid from the bottle, they are sipping the libations quite freely and are beginning to discuss what they are doing, as others are noticing changes too. It is in this stage that we first begin to see the "conversion" factor. It is in the "Novice" stage where we begin to see CrossFitters begin to try to bring new members into the fold. They tell everyone that they've "never felt better" and that they (their friends, family, coworkers, SO's) should really think about giving it a shot. CrossFitters in this stage can still function in outside society, but can at times be annoying to non-CrossFitters.
Stage 4- The Honeymoon Stage
Depending on the CrossFitter, this stage can last anywhere from month 4-years. In this stage, EVERYTHING about CrossFit is the best. This is the stage in which the first rule of CrossFit becomes crucial. The first rule of CrossFit is.... always talk about CrossFit. And why not? CrossFitters in this stage are in love with EVERYTHING! They're making great gains. Times are dropping, weights are increasing, they've discovered Paleo and the whole world is their oyster. They feel so damned fantastic that they want EVERYONE else to feel just as freakin' amazeballs as they do. These CrossFitters have the best of intentions, they really do, but unfortunately they routinely piss off outside society and can only be seen with other CrossFitters because of.... the first rule of CrossFit. And perhaps we should include in the first rule of CrossFit, always talk or FACEBOOK about CrossFit. If the only thing you ever talk about is CrossFit, well eventually those people who DON'T CrossFit will get annoyed hanging out with you. At some point, this stage will end, however, this may be the WORST of the CrossFit stages.
Stage 5- The "CrossFit Competitions are FUN" Stage
Now, the interesting thing about this stage is, some people skip this stage and head straight for stage 6. Others skip 5 an 6 all together. But, with the rise of CrossFit competitions, it's only natural that many CrossFitters will at some point wonder just how well they would do if they competed against other people who were doing the same thing. These CrossFitters have set goals for themselves and really ought to be commended for setting goals and working hard. However, in this stage, the first rule of CrossFit still applies, and even though they are not serious about competing at high levels, there is still a lot to worry about in this stage.... particularly competition day outfits. To outsiders, this type of conversation is both baffling and frustrating. Who really needs to know where to get knee high socks? Ah yes, CrossFitters. CrossFitters in this stage have limited success interacting with outside society, and although again they are competing just for fun, they tend to intermingle with just their own, especially as during this stage diet is key. Eat for performance. Paleo only. No, I will NOT be going out for wings and beer....mmmmmmm beeeeerrrr.....
Stage 6- The "This shit is serious, and I mean business"
For people in this stage of CrossFit, rules #2-3 of CrossFit become important, in addition to the first rule of CrossFit. Always talk about CrossFit, always be doing CrossFit, and when you're not doing CrossFit, read up/watch up on CrossFit. These CrossFitters really want to be the next Rich, and take it very seriously. Diet is key.... must get protein and my Progenex. True story? Sometimes these people are annoying even to other CrossFitters. It's great that they have goals, but if their goals are causing them to judge others, it can become a bit dicey. CrossFitters in this stage do not interact with outsiders. They're too busy talking about CrossFit, doing CrossFit, or reading up/watching up on CrossFit. Not all, but many CrossFitters in this stage simply need to be left alone.
Stage 7- The Healthy CrossFitter
The CrossFitters in this stage have come full circle. They have had the honeymoon stage where they have been in love with everything, and more than likely they've gone through one of the competition stages at some point. They've realized that while training and diet are important, there is a balance to everything. These CrossFitters realize that it is possible to be stupid, and know when to back off (probably because they learned the hard way once). They also respect things like rest days, and understand that even at this stage, scaling is an option. These are the people who want to be fit for the sake of being healthy and having a great life. They understand they have limits, but that CrossFit is a fantastic way to help them maintain an active lifestyle and still be pretty damned ripped. These CrossFitters are fully integrated into society and you probably wouldn't even realize that they were walking among you, except for the fact that you just saw a totally normal looking office chick save a child's life by deadlifting a car off his small frame while wearing 4 inch heels. Dead give away.
Now, some may ask if it is possible to revert through the stages. Absolutely. Full blown injuries (ie bone spur removal!!!) can definitely take you back a few stages. It can seem frustrating to have to go through it all again. A healthy CrossFitter can also decide to re-enter the competition world. The important thing to understand is what stage a CrossFitter is in so that you understand how to approach them. Asking a honeymooner about CrossFit may wind you up in an hour long conversation about CrossFit. Approaching a serious competitor may wind up with a "do you even CrossFit bro" look. But, if you keep your eyes peeled and know the signs, you'll know which stage a CrossFitter is in, and be able to gauge their ability to interact with you on a non-CrossFit level.
******In the spirit of full-disclosure, I have been in all of these stages, except for the really serious stage. I have however, watched many people go through that stage, and at times, it can be very off-putting. Everything I say about the stages, is said very tongue in cheek. Well, except about the beer. I never joke about beer. In all seriousness though, all CrossFitters though do deserve to be commended for finding something they enjoy and working towards being healthy.