I wrote this piece a while ago for my local box, Crossfit Local.
I’m the other B. Santiago (you often see it on the clipboard for a Kill Cliff- I sneakily have it drafted from Bran’s paycheck) , and I’ve been married to Coach Brandon for almost 2 years.
The longer I’ve been at CrossFit Local, and the more couples I’ve met who do CrossFit, the more I’m convinced that there are a few stages of being with a CrossFitter.(I don’t think that’s even a word)
Stage 1: The Beginning- This typically is the first six month of your significant other doing CrossFit. You smile politely and nod as they start speaking another language that includes a vocabulary that sounds both strange and absurd (burpees, snatch, double unders, etc.). For Brandon and I, this stage started in 2009 when he started doing CrossFit in Charlotte. I had zero interest but pretended I understood for sake of trying to get him to stop talking about CrossFit. Rule 1. Always talk about CrossFit.
Stage 2: The Honeymoon is OVER- Brandon, stop talking about CrossFit. I’m tired of acting concerned about the bruises on your shins, and the weird gross blisters on your hands. You keep jumping on boxes and hanging from bars, you are bringing this pain onto yourself. And I, I want absolutely nothing to do with that form of torture. I just want to run mindlessly on a treadmill and see no weight loss or muscle gain.
Stage 3: The “don’t get rhabdo” stage- After your significant other has been doing CrossFit for longer than a year, those who know you both, begin to associate you with CrossFit. They also begin to make blanket statements like “oh you don’t eat carbs” and the infamous “be careful, I know someone who got injured doing CrossFit”. As someone who is with a CrossFitter but not doing Crossfit, this is an awkward stage because you want to defend the sport, but you know very little about it. Instead you try to smile and change the conversation topic. Never-mind that carbs are in almost everything anyone eats, and rhabdo typically only occurs for people who don’t have any idea what they are doing, or how to program.
Stage 4: The Drive By- Fine, I’ll come to your gym but I’m wearing regular street clothes and you can’t make me do anything in that place but stand in the corner and quietly cheer for you. I make eye contact with no one, especially Chad who keeps trying to let his dogs eat me. The first time I stepped foot into Local was during a competition Brandon was competing in, and it was scary as hell. But there were people doing CrossFit that looked like me, and this is when the wheels started turning that perhaps I too could maybe think about trying this weird place out.
Stage 5: Don’t look at me- Okay, you got me to come to this place. Now no one look at me as I fumble around trying to look cool. I can’t add but hopefully no one will notice that my barbell is loaded incorrectly. I slowly learned where things are and there’s was always someone to whisper to and ask, “wait, what’s a cluster?” I initially wanted to run away and never come back when someone gave me tips in front of everyone else, but then you start to realize that everyone is just trying to help. Unless of course it’s Brandon publicly giving me a pointer, and then it’s all death stares. And that one time he made me cry.
Stage 6: Wait, muscles and curves are a pro at this place? At this point I’d been at CrossFit Local for a few months and I starting to notice that your pants fit funny, loose around the waist and pretty tight around the quads. You’ve also noticed there is way more to talk about CrossFit (read Rich Froning as he’s Brandon’s idol) around the dinner table and the people who I’m choosing to surround myself with live similar lifestyles.
Stage 7: Photo Card Stage- Yup, folks that how I knew I’d been fully and completely converted. We took our Holiday card photos at Local, and I loved being able to hear the range of comments from family and friends including “oh wow, you do that too?” and “ isn’t that weight heavy?” (mind you I only have 55#s over my head in one photo)
So that my friends is how I found CrossFit Local. And once I started, I couldn’t get enough!