Fitness, Health & Wellness
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COMMUNITY: A typical CrossFit class at Heyday Elite Fitness. (photo: Eddie McKenna)

Have I told you that I love my job? Or just how much I love working in my gym? I meet unique and exciting people every day. 

The interactions and relationship-building with our members have become my favorite part of the job. The community and culture we have developed have been the most rewarding part of my job. Last month was a reminder of how great CrossFit is at bringing people from different walks of life together. 

We get visitors often at my gym. Last month, I was invited on a “hiking” trip called Cactus to the Clouds by a new gym member I have only known through doing CrossFit together for the past six weeks. He is from Germany, and his hobbies include mountaineering (ice climbing with axes) and CrossFit. If I were to describe him to you, he looks like he’s been genetically modified and sent back from the future specifically to climb mountains and be good at CrossFit.

We had a third, Armon, who also did CrossFit and was friends with the German. I was inclined to like him even before meeting. When asked how he knew the German, he said, “We worked out once, and I immediately felt like he was a brother from another mother.” That was all I needed to hear because that’s how I felt about my German Terminator. 

When we began our climb, I talked about everything you are not supposed to discuss: politics, religion, and money. We didn’t agree on anything, and it was great because we had differing opinions but could respect each other’s different points of view. 

Armon said, “Man, this is great! I can’t discuss this with my other friends. We fight.” I laughed and thought about how enjoyable it was for the three of us, all from different walks of life, to have a pleasant conversation about all the things that usually cause people to fight and argue. I’m not saying you must do CrossFit to be cordial with people, but the three of us would never have met if we didn’t share that common interest.  

That’s what is great about CrossFit; it’s a melting pot of people. You can go to any gym worldwide and see all levels of people ranging from kids, moms, dads, former athletes, pro athletes, people of different religions, grandparents, people with disabilities, and the list can go on and on. 

It creates a bond of respect between one another on a different level. It’s like being on a sports team, and the workout is game time. When everyone finishes the workout, we all win the game. I witness people high-fiving and congratulating each other as if they have just won the national championship all the time. 

CrossFit gets people fired up in a good way, and it’s a good feeling. I’ve seen a Bruin and Trojan chest bump post-workout. When was the last time you finished a workout and someone came up to you and said, “Nice job, way to crush that workout!”? It constantly happens in CrossFit. 

Why am I telling you this? Over the past 13 years, the most common reason I have heard people give for quitting a gym or not going into one was that they didn’t feel welcome. Isn’t that crazy? Not feeling welcome is a horrible feeling, and it is double horrible if that’s your reason for not going to the gym. 

You want to be able to go to the gym to be celebrated, not just tolerated. In CrossFit gyms, the loudest cheers tend to be for the people finishing the workout last. 

What are you waiting for? Find your community and climb your mountain. spt

Eddie McKenna

Eddie McKenna is co-owner of Heyday Elite Fitness. For more info, visit