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Garage CrossFitter Maren Chapman, 37, inspires her family at the 2011 Canada West Regional. Is she any different than you?

I hear a lot about people being intimidated by CrossFit. People troll the Web for CrossFit info, and what they often find are the pics and videos of ripped-up beasts lifting titanic weight overhead, doing 108 pull-ups in a row or deadlifting 505 lb. after running 7 kilometers.

Are those people CrossFit? Absolutely. But there’s more to the program—much more.

Viewing CrossFit as nothing more than elite athletes is a mistake, just as it’s a mistake to say, “I could never do that” and feel intimidated by CrossFit. That would be just like watching the Winnipeg Jets take to the ice this fall and saying, “I can’t play backyard hockey. I’m not Jonathan Toews.”

Top CrossFit athletes are exciting to watch, but they represent the tip of the spear, so to speak, the top one percent. The rest of us look to those top athletes for inspiration, but we set reasonable goals based on our own abilities. They show us what’s possible, and we do our best to become even half as capable as Chris Spealler, Jason Khalipa, Camille Leblanc-Bazinet or any other CrossFit star.

Furthermore, I know of people who look at CrossFit websites and feel intimidated by the pictures they see. People flipping tires, lifting barbells and doing pull-ups can be intimidating if you’ve never done those things, but I’ll let you in on a secret: at one point the people in the pictures had never done those things either.

I’ll give you an example: when I started working with Coach Crystal a few years back, she was a great runner and cyclist. She’d never done muscle-ups or ring dips or snatches or any of the other classic CrossFit movements. Now, when people see Crystal deadlifting 280 lb., they don’t see the woman who struggled with far, far less only a year ago. They also didn’t see her fail repeatedly on muscle-ups until she finally got one.

Another example: I work with a woman who couldn’t do a pull-up a year ago. Not one. Not even if she kicked her legs or kipped. If you walk into class today, you’ll see her confidently walk up to the pull-up cage and haul her chin above the bar. What you didn’t see was the year of hard work that went into building up the strength for that movement.

Is that woman special? Yes, but only because she decided to try and kept trying when others didn’t.

No one in our classes is a professional athlete gifted with elite genetics. We’re all just regular people. Some are stronger, some are faster and some are more powerful, but all share a common trait: they’ve worked on their fitness, and they’re seeing results.

You could be just like those people.

But you have a choice to make when you see someone doing something you can’t. You can say “I can’t” or you can say “Maybe I can.” As Equipment Manager Dale always says, either way, you’re right.

If you say you can’t do it, CrossFit 204 isn’t going to change that for you. You can choose to feel intimidated, you can choose to say you don’t have the time or money, or you can choose to say you’re too tired or not strong enough. Rationalize your decision in any way that helps you sleep at night.

But if you allow yourself the possibility of success and improved fitness, and if you want to challenge yourself to be better than you are, come to a Sunday-morning free class at CrossFit 204.

See what you can do, not what you can’t.

And if you’re still on the fence, talk to these people:

Why Do I CrossFit?

I Am Not Breast Cancer

CrossFit at 63

From Losing 124 Lb. to the Open

“Push Yourself Beyond Your Limits”

The Extraordinary Vijai Raj

Preparing for Masters: Jacinto Bonilla

Julie Foucher-Then and Julie Foucher-Now

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Debbie Peet

Awesome piece. Dale is right. If you want it bad enough you’ll get there.

    Mike

    So true!

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