Being a CrossFitter is like being part of a super-exclusive club. We’ve got our own language, we see one another every day, and we support one another through thick and thin.
And sometimes, that super-exclusive club isn’t well understood by people in the wider world. Whether it’s your spouse, your kids, your co-workers, or your friends, all female CrossFitters have run into some strange looks and “I don’t understand what that means” when talking about last weekend’s competition or the upcoming Open.
If you often feel misunderstood when you’re not in the box, here are 15 things female CrossFitters can relate to:
1. Some People Don’t Know About CrossFit, and That Feels Weird
Remember that feeling when you first walked into your box and didn’t know what a snatch was or what all that gibberish on the whiteboard was?
Some people live their entire lives like that, never knowing what it means to be a CrossFitter.
And that can make some everyday interactions a little bit weird.
Say you go into work and everyone’s gathered in the break room. Everyone else is talking about the parties they went to that weekend, or the latest office gossip. But you just hit a PR in this morning’s WOD and want to shout it from the rooftops but … no one else would understand.
So you pretend to be interested in the office chatter and toss in a thought or two as you see fit, but later text all your gym besties to scream over that awesome PR you just hit or how sore you all are from all those wall balls.
2. Handshakes Are Awkward
If you’re in business or you’re interviewing for jobs, you know that people value a good, strong handshake. But for female CrossFitters, that good, strong handshake also comes with a rough little surprise: Calluses and the occasional rips.
This can make meeting new people a strange experience, as we can see the looks crossing their face as they feel the calluses. Do they say something? Do we get out in front of them and explain?
Those calluses are a badge of honor, and they mean that you’re dedicated to getting stronger, faster, and better every single day. Own them!
3. We’re Always Sore
Like, always. Even if we haven’t been to the box for a few days, something always hurts.
Getting out of bed can be a struggle, and your knees may crack when you walk up and down the stairs. You may even need someone to help you reach that coffee mug from a high shelf because your lats are sore.
And with that soreness comes an undying need to humble brag about it. “Man, my back is killing me from that deadlift PR this morning! It makes it hard to sit at my desk!”
While people at work and at home may not understand this need to humble brag (See #1 of this article), your gym friends get it, and participate right along with you.
4. Nervous Peeing Is a Thing
Oh, the dreaded double-under WODs, which strike fear into the hearts of anyone who suffers from stress incontinence.
To prevent this, we make a beeline for the bathroom just as coach is getting the timer all set, hoping to squeeze out those last drops so we don’t have a wet spot in the inevitable Insta story of the day. (Because it’s ALWAYS when we look our worst and weirdest that coach is in our faces with a phone, right?)
Sometimes, this nervous peeing translates into everyday life, when we run for the bathroom before a big meeting, a planned phone call, or watching a scary movie.
5. We Skip Parties … Except Those at Our Boxes
For some people, hitting the gym right after work is the only way they’ll get their workout in on a regular basis.
This dedication comes at a price, though, and that’s that we have to skip after-work happy hours.
While nothing may sound better on a Friday evening than sitting in a bar with a glass of wine, complaining about our boss with our co-workers, we’re chasing those PRs with a vengeance, and can’t skip a day.
But if there’s a party at our box, whether it’s to celebrate a holiday or just because, we’re often the first ones through the door!
6. We Can’t Wear Normal Clothes
You ever try to fit your quads into a pair of “regular” jeans, only to be frustrated that they’re too tight? Yeah, blame CrossFit.
While we love the shape that our dedication to the barbell has given us, it makes shopping for clothes in regular stores challenging. Denim and dress pants just aren’t made for people with our proportions, and forget even trying to wear a regular sweater.
This leaves us either making something work for a while – until we inevitably rip it – or shopping online to find things that fit us properly.
7. We’re Motivated By Time
Pre-CrossFit, you may have found it challenging to finish a 5-minute task even if you gave yourself 10 minutes.
But now, we see every single task as a WOD for time, and we’re determined to crush it.
Need to wash the dishes? Boom! Done in 8 minutes. Laundry to fold and put away? Bam! Finished in 13 minutes.
Not only does our task-completion skyrocket, but our gym efficiency does, too.
Rather than spending two hours in the gym wandering from cardio machine to weight room, we get in, get things done, and get out in an hour or less.
8. Chalk Is Not Just for Sidewalks
Female CrossFitters love chalk. Seriously, it’s the best thing ever.
Whether we need it to go over and under our grips for pull-ups, to keep the bar from slipping during snatches, or just because we want to use it, it’s an uncommon day when we leave the box without chalk somewhere on our clothing.
9. “The Ladies” Are Not So Nice
Sure, we may be perfectly sweet, nice, helpful female CrossFitters, but “the ladies?” Well, they’re terrible.
Annie. Diane. Grace. Helen.
When we see a woman’s name on the whiteboard, we know we’re in for a really tough, unpleasant workout.
10. Sweat Angels and Butt Prints Are Signs of a Good Workout
When you workout in a regular gym, you may be embarrassed for people to see you sweat. And if you accidentally leave sweat prints on a bench or one of the lifting machines? Grab a towel and wipe it away before anyone sees!
But in CrossFit, who sweats more is often a daily contest, with people comparing their “sweat angels” or butt prints on the floor after everyone peels themselves to standing.
And you know it was a really great workout when you can make out the letters on your shirt on the floor.
11. Have Extra Money? Buy More Gear!
Working out at traditional gyms is pretty much a case of making sure you have a few key items with you: Your shoes, your workout clothes, your headphones, and your phone. Everything else is there for you, and you rarely have the need for extras.
In CrossFit, though, you’ll soon be swept into the world of gear purchasing, finding something new you need all the time.
And if it has a funny CrossFit-related saying or a cute print? Add to cart.
12. Shoes Are Everything
And we don’t mean finding the perfect pair of heels.
No, when you’re a CrossFitter, you may spend days – even months – searching for that elusive pair of shoes that will get you through your WODs. You want something that’s relatively flat but cushiony, supportive but not so stiff that you feel your feet can’t move.
You’re always checking out the feet of your fellow classmates, asking them what they like and dislike about their shoes.
If you’ve got the CrossFit sickness really bad, you may have multiple pairs of CrossFit shoes: One for your everyday WODs, a pair of lifters for the strength portions of class, and a pair of running shoes for Murph or other WODs that include running distances over a mile or so.
13. CrossFit Is Also a Spectator Sport
Many people love watching sports, with the World Series, Super Bowl, and the Olympics being social and sporting events rolled into one. Many of these fans don’t participate in the sports they’re watching, they just observe them.
But for us CrossFitters, we enjoy both actively participating in our sport and watching it, and we’ve even got our favorite players once the Games roll around.
Even when we’re not participating, just watching fellow athletes complete a grueling WOD can get our blood pumping, and we stand up and cheer even if we’re just watching a live stream.
14. We Like It Loud
In most of our daily lives, music is background noise. It’s there just to add a little ambiance, but not be intrusive. Sometimes, it’s even so low that we can’t recognize what song is playing.
In CrossFit, though, the louder the music, the better!
We know it’s about to get real when coach turns up the volume, and all that can be heard over the pumping music is clanging barbells and grunting athletes.
Even if we don’t like the song, the beat drives us on, making us push harder, move faster, and lift heavier.
15. We Just Want to Share Our Love
Once you’re hooked on CrossFit, there’s no going back. The feeling of accomplishment you get walking out of the gym every single morning is like nothing else, and that high is especially good when we crush a PR.
We only want to share that same feeling with our friends and family, inviting them to join us for a grueling but fun workout.
We promise them the biggest physical challenges of their lives, but also the best rewards, and we lure them in with talk of all the great people we’ve met along the way.
It’s not that we’re pushy. We just know how great CrossFit has been for us – physically, mentally, and emotionally – and we want to share that same great feeling with the people we love.
What about you? What’s something you think only other female CrossFitters understand?
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March is the founder of the Barbell Beauties. Her goal is simple… Empower every woman to grab a barbell and LIFT. She’s been an active CrossFitter for 7 years and credits that sport for turning her into a true athlete.