When I first started dating Jeff and he told me he owned CrossFit Morgantown, I was less than impressed. My initial conversation with him sounded a lot like this: CrossFit? Isn’t that where people flip tires and workout until they puke? I have no interest in bulking up. I hate group fitness classes, they’re too competitive and make me self-conscious. I don’t want to get hurt.
I had the stereotypical perception that a lot of people have about CrossFit. And, sadly, some CrossFit gyms deserve this because that stereotype is truly representative of what they do. Because of this, despite dating Jeff, I didn’t start attending CrossFit Morgantown classes until after we were married. Thinking back now, I’m saddened by my own ignorance and ego. I have definitely seen positive health benefits since beginning a steady routine at CrossFit Morgantown but, arguably more importantly, I robbed myself of an amazing community for too many years.
I now attend classes 5 times a week. I have a pretty steady schedule of going to the same class each day and have found a secondary family in my classmates. Here’s what I find interesting – I didn’t even know I needed that. I’ve always had an amazing family and friend support system, I wasn’t looking for new friends. So why would working out with complete strangers be helpful to me?
Are you someone who thinks like that? Or maybe you don’t have a great family/friend support system and you’re looking for people. Or maybe you are a loner by design. No matter what the case may be, let me share with you what my extended CrossFit Morgantown family has done for me.
What CrossFit Morgantown Group Fitness Has Done For Me
- Made me show up. Turns out, even when you’re married to the owner of the gym, there are days when you don’t feel like working out. Work can be long, my children can be grumpy, I can feel exhausted, just not motivated. BUT I know my fellow gym-goers will understand and make me smile. I also know that I don’t have to be at 100%. Just showing up and moving a little will make me feel better and my classmates serve as accountability partners, urging me to show up.
- Encourage me. Do you remember being younger and people cheering for you? You took your first steps, “Great job!” You colored in the lines, “I’m proud of you!” You hit the foul shot, “Atta boy!” …What was the last time in your adult life someone cheered you on? I mean literally yelled “Yes! That’s it! Great job!” I can tell you the last time I heard that was at my CrossFit Morgantown class this morning. I was working out and didn’t feel great. Then I heard my coach yell my name. “Yeah Sarah! That’s it.” Shortly after I heard one of my classmates, Elizabeth (a fellow momma with her kiddo sitting in the pack ‘n’ play beside her) “Yeah girl!” Boom! I caught my second wind. Had I been working out alone, I would have quit. But hearing that support, I kept going. I’m not an elite athlete. I don’t have goals of being a professional fitness buff. I want to feel good in my skin and keep up with my toddler. Today I finished that workout and feel great, all because of that encouragement.
- Support me outside of working out. Jeff and I had two babies in three years. Our gym family has shown up for us big time. They came to the hospital, they bought us diapers, they show me grace when I bring fussy kids to the gym, they set up equipment for me when I need to change a poopy diaper right before a workout, they brought us home-cooked meals when we were exhausted and transitioning to newborn life. They love on my babies. And it helps. More than they will ever know. I’ve seen members attend funerals, weddings, anniversary parties, and more. I’ve seen tears, hugs, couples form, etc. We celebrate life together. How incredibly unique.
Those are just some of the benefits I have seen with my personal experience. But don’t take my word for it. Look at the science.
Did you know?:
- A Journal of Social Sciences study found that people take on the exercise behaviors of those around them.
- An Obesity journal found that overweight people tend to lose more weight if they spend time with their fit friends. Also, the more time they spend together, the more weight they lose.
- A Society of Behavioral Medicine study showed that working in a team format improved performance, doubling the workout time of those who exercised alone.
- A University of Southern California study showed that people who work out with friends said they enjoyed the exercise more than those who workout alone.
- A National Center for Biotechnology Information study found that 95% of people who started a weight-loss program with friends completed the program. The friend group was also 42% more likely to maintain their weight loss.
- NBC News talks about the benefits of working out in a group setting here.
What’s my point?
If you are already part of the CrossFit Morgantown community, thank you. You are amazing people who support and inspire me each day.
If you aren’t already taking group fitness classes at CrossFit Morgantown, don’t be like me and wait. Come and see how CFM can change your life. If you’re feeling a little sheepish like I was, start by coming to the free Saturday workouts at 10 a.m. Bring a friend or meet a new one here. You won’t regret it.