Finding A ‘Fit
I have always wanted to be active and fit in with my peers. From a young age, my mother planted that seed by signing me up for various activities such as horseback riding, ballet, and sports camp just to name a few. Fitting in is something that is unnecessary, but is something that people do not often realize until they get older. However, growing up having Cerebral Palsy, and using a wheelchair I had a difficult time fitting in and being accepted by peers’ my age and oftentimes even adults. That being said, there have also been those times when I knew I completely fit.
Three years ago, my sister-in-law told me that my town had a CrossFit box and that someone there had experience with adaptive sports and CrossFit. This seemed odd to me since my vision, and limited exposure to CrossFit had been pictures of extremely fit and athletic men and women. Nevertheless, thought I would give it a try and I met with Bethany, one of the coaches at Swift River CrossFit.
We talked about my current strength level and future goals. Bethany asked me to show her some of my mobility in my arms and legs. She explained that I would need to take Foundation sessions to be shown how to do the movements, and to try them myself. The next week I started my first of three foundation sessions
My sessions were directly following the afternoon CrossFit class, and I “walked” in and sat to the side as the class was ending. Every single person in that class that day came up to me to welcome me and shook my hand. This was one of the few times in my life that I have felt so welcomed so quickly. That day I also met Connor, one of the other coaches at the box. For the next three sessions, I learned all of the movements, and exercises that would be done in a regular class. We also talked about ways to modify or scale the warm-ups or workouts of the day (WOD’s).
At the end of the third Foundation session, I thanked Bethany and Connor for creating such a community that was so warm and welcoming, that it can be shown by something as simple, yet powerful as the shake of a hand, and saying hello. I told them a little about myself and explained how that has not happened to me often in my life. I am pretty tough on myself and my progress, but with all the positivity I felt like I fit there, and I had not even started the class yet.
Fast forward three years now: coaches have changed but that sense of community and camaraderie remains strong. I have spent some time away from the box for periods of time through the years for various different reasons,including some “life happens” moments. I have gained strength, confidence, motivation, and setting goals skills, as well as a stronger sense of community. I know that WHEN I return to the box (and I will), I’ll be greeted with open arms as if no time has passed. Coach Bob will continue to push me, and encourage me to push myself. He also knows when to remind me to not be too tough on myself, and be mindful of my gains, and the journey that I have been on since the beginning. CrossFit has taught me that anything can be adapted or scaled. You can exceed your own, as well as other people’s expectations. Even when you are having an off-day, you can always try again tomorrow.
These are Swift River CrossFit’s principles:
INTENSITY: CrossFit training is for everyone who wants to dramatically improve their level of fitness and improve their ability to express their fitness in everyday life. The scalability of CrossFit means we can adapt any workout to anyone of any ability level. Our needs and the needs of elite athletes differ by intensity not by kind.
COMMUNITY. We are more than just a gym. We are a community. Our group classes result in a unique shared experience. We share in each other’s successes and failures. We know each other’s names and motivate each other every day. We do not judge.
You do not need to be “in shape” to join us. CrossFit is all about functional movements that are infinitely scalable to any athlete. We have worked with people of all ages and ability levels. We will work with you to make sure you succeed!
I thought it was vital to include all of Swift River CrossFit’s principles because they are in line with so many things that I care about for myself, and others. People are always growing and changing. CrossFit may not be the thing for you, but find the things that you are passionate about and go for it! Try your best to be open, and not to judge a book by its cover. You never know what you can learn from, or what you can teach others when you are part of a community.