Not long ago there was an online article where the author
was talking about the need for an Internet Bill of Rights:
an updated set of regulations and protocols that would help ensure data security
in the internet era. Given the number of high-profile
data breaches we read about in the news these days, that might not be a bad
It’s also an easy jump from there to thinking about what participants
can expect when they come to a box for a CrossFit workout. Perhaps a “bill of
rights” isn’t necessary, but there are a few things that anyone—first-timers or
old pros—should be able to count on when they walk in:
- What happens at the box stays at the box
Each WOD is tailored to the individual, so
how experienced you are (or you aren’t) at CrossFit doesn’t really factor into
performance. In some ways, we’re all beginners, every time we come in…so it stands
to reason that even the pros sometimes get their wires crossed, and the results
are quite often comical.
And you know what? There’s nothing wrong
One of the best things about CrossFit is
the community, and sometimes there is nothing more fun than busting a gut with
your friends, whether you’re laughing at your goof-up or somebody else’s.
BUT—in order for that to happen, there has to be a certain layer of trust. You
have to trust that people are laughing WITH you, not at you. And part of that
is knowing that your misstep isn’t going to turn into dirt for the
gossip-mongers (or the internet … we’ll get to that in a moment). It’s
fine—healthy, even—to enjoy a hearty laugh with your friends; spreading the
story outside of the community, on the other hand, should be considered taboo.
- You have the right to say when
This one can get controversial. Again,
because we are a community, we’re interested in everyone pushing themselves to
the max and beyond: that’s what makes CrossFit so effective. You’ll be
encouraged to do more than you think you can…but if you’re obviously
slacking, you’re going to hear about it from your peers.
Having said that, no one should know your
body better than you do. If you’re convinced that something is wrong—or
especially if you feel you’re in danger of hurting yourself—you shouldn’t be
made to feel obligated to continue.
Admittedly, sometimes the line between
pushing you to push yourself and pushing you too far can be very thin, indeed.
At the end of the day, though, only you can make choices for you.
In case you haven’t heard the news, the
internet is forever. Once posted, even the things that DON’T go viral are
online for good. So we make it a rule: no pictures or recording allowed without
the person’s permission. Period. And that goes triple for anyone under the age
of 18. Put the cell phone away—you came to work out.
Even within a community, there’s sometimes that
one person who can’t help kicking others when they’re down. You don’t dare make
a misstep while that sort of person is watching: you’ll never hear the end of
But you have the right to not be bullied.
Sure, we understand that good-natured ribbing will happen, but there’s no excuse
for demeaning others just to make yourself feel good. As Aunt Eller said in Oklahoma, “I won’t say I’m no better than anybody else, but I’ll
be danged if I ain’t just as good!”
- No one here is keeping score
Another beautiful thing about CrossFit is
that while we may get competitive, your only REAL competition is YOU. Trust me
when I say that no one is counting the number of times you miss a move; if
anything, we’re counting the number of times you succeed. We’re human, and
we’ve been there: the only way to know how far you can go is to go until you
can’t go any farther.
Well, there you have it. Five things you can reasonably
expect from a CrossFit gym/box. These are good parameters for CrossFit, but
going back over the list, they’re also some pretty good rules for life. Of
course, outside of a controlled environment like the box, you can’t expect
everyone to play by the rules…but remember that other people’s behavior isn’t
an excuse to alter our own. Like they say: be the change you want to see in the
Or in the box, as the case may be.