collects stories and ideas from John Kelly


A few days ago, I celebrated my one-year Crossfit anniversary. “Celebrated” is a bit of a weird word to use here, isn’t it? Would you say you “celebrated” being a year in a gym? I’ve never marked this in any of the gyms I’ve been a member of, so what makes Crossfit different?

For me, going to the gym has always been a solitary thing. You go, you set yourself up at your little station, you work out and you don’t speak to anyone. You’re in the zone.

Crossfit is different. Crossfit is about the sense of community. I go to Ronin Crossfit and, honestly, I’ve never found anywhere with such a consistently solid group of people. They don’t just make you feel welcome, they make you feel like you’re part of a team.

I’ll give you an example.

In February, they organised a sponsored 100 burpee challenge for Suicide or Survive (if you don’t know what a burpee is, consider yourself lucky). Lots of people said that one of the conditions of sponsoring me is that I had to make a video of me doing the burpees. I’m glad I did because it captured something I really love. Here’s that video:

Now, as you can see from that video, I’m not an athlete. I found the 100 burpees really hard and I was so slow it’s kind of embarassing. But did you see that? At the end of the video, when people had finished and I was still struggling and wanted to give up, people — real athletes who had finished ages ago — came over to cheer me on. One guy had finished his hundred and did my last ten burpees with me. He wasn’t showing off, he was showing solidarity.

Crossfit isn’t about being the strongest athlete in the room or beating other people, it’s about beating yourself. It’s about finding your own limits and pushing them. The other people are there to help you achieve this. And that’s the exactly what you see in that video. Without those people cheering me on, maybe I would have given up, I dunno, but I know I definitely would have taken much, much longer. And they’re celebrating with me because they know I hit a wall and kept going. And that’s not just reserved for special occasions. Even in our daily workouts, the person who lifts 40kg for the first time gets as big a cheer as the person who lifts 120kg for the first time.

That’s what I love about Crossfit. Here’s to another year.