"THANK YOU! I’m going to miss CrossFit 818! I wish I could take you with me to my new life in the South Bay…just jackhammer the gym up, load it on a flatbed, relocate all the coaches and plop y’all back down in El Segundo.
While my job in Glendale was the pinnacle of bad, I feel fortunate that it was 2 blocks away from the gym my friend, Z, had opened up. I came to CrossFit 818 at the lowest point in my physical health. I was coming off 2.5 years of serious injuries and illnesses that left me with mobility issues, a weak respiratory system, scar tissue, arthritis, 50 lbs heavier, depressed, discouraged and not at all confident I could get back to anywhere near where I used to be athletically.
I’ve been doing CrossFit for a long time and at many boxes, and what I found at CrossFit 818 was far and away better than any other gym! It is a supportive community, our ‘Cheers’ where everyone knew my name and was happy to see me…only we didn’t drink and the dancing wasn’t pretty. The reason I was so committed to waking up at 5am for the first class of the day wasn’t because I was that dedicated to my fitness goals—I came because that hour at the gym was the most fun, welcoming and calming part of my entire day…oh, and I got to lift heavy sh*t. In short, this gym made me happy.
Most people at CrossFit 818 didn’t know what the coaches knew about me, that I struggle with eating disorders. After having E.D. in various forms for more than 30 years, I had only just started a treatment program in the year before starting at CrossFit 818. Having an active eating disorder is much easier than recovering from one. Eating disorders develop to help an individual cope with life—taking that away and learning new ways of self-care has been challenging, to say the least, especially at my age. If I had not gotten injured and could still workout 25+ hours a week, I would never have sought treatment because I didn’t realize there was a problem—or more accurately, I didn’t know there was a different way to live. The human body is not designed to support active eating disorders for decades. The damage I have done to myself is permanent, and I am one of the lucky ones whose injuries are not life-threatening. The CrossFit community can be a very triggering place for someone with E.D. and in fact, other boxes I joined encouraged the ‘all or nothing’ thinking that is the hallmark of an E.D. mindset. I cannot see myself returning to them while continuing my recovery from E.D. but my time at CrossFit 818 actually supported my efforts and provided a foundation for me to continue my recovery.
I am most thankful for CrossFit 818 in its acceptance of all ability levels and non-judgmental approach to incorporating fitness into daily life—no matter what that looks like and no matter what I look like doing it. These two values are tantamount to my being able to continue with CrossFit while I recover from my physical injuries and also heal my mind and refrain from the self-destructive habits of E.D. I was made to feel just as much a part of the community, even though a paleo diet, challenges and competitions are not smart choices for me. What I learned here is that acceptance of oneself is a key element in wanting to try harder. All the years I competed in races, my self-confidence was so low that I would hold back or purposely injury myself just before the competition because I did not think I deserved to do well. Self-sabotage was as much a part of my athletic experience as training was. Now I feel myself pushing harder because I’m ok with who I am, even though I’m slower, fatter and weaker than I’ve ever been in my life. I may never be the best athlete in a group, but I’ve discovered what it feels like to challenge myself without compromise and it’s fun to push past what I thought I could do and not hold back. I still find myself holding back some mornings, but I’m practicing this skill and getting better at finding my true limit on a certain day.
I want to thank the coaches at CrossFit 818 for their willingness to find alternatives and scale workouts without judgment. Sometimes I want to improve so much that I put pressure on myself to do things beyond my current limitations and I injure myself, hindering the gradual pace of healing. Fortunately I felt an understanding of that gradual healing process at CrossFit 818 that helped me reign in my impatience. That helped me to be more accepting of my injuries, my size and weak areas, and I feel like the coaches’ acceptance opened the door for me to accept my limitations and work at an appropriate pace towards improvement that prevented new injuries.
Lastly, I appreciate that CrossFit 818 created an environment that is supportive of failure and encourages effort over success. It was ok, even cool, to fail at a bigger box jump or a new move or a higher weight. Many times I looked less than graceful and that was ok too. And because it was ok to fail, I tried things I didn’t think I could do and sometimes I did them, and then I repeated them, and now I do them regularly. You would think that this happens in all gyms, but it doesn’t. At some of the other gyms I’ve been to, there is a cult of success. You watch people do amazing things, but you don’t see their failures. You don’t see the attempts and the many steps taken to get to a new level. I liked that working towards failure was incorporated into most classes. It became engrained. If you are not failing, you are not working to your capacity. I am the worst jump-roper in the history of jumping rope. I have no rhythm whatsoever, and there is a delay between when I tell my feet to jump and when they actually leave the ground…at just the exact moment when the rope is thrashing my shins. I am also one of the slowest burpee’ers around. But never did anyone (but me) make fun of my inabilities. Because of that, I felt more comfortable doing them in class and that is the only way I’m going to get better at either—having that place that I can go to and practice things I am not good at. There are many gyms I can go to where I can do the things I am good at, but it’s rare to find a place you enjoy going where you feel comfortable doing the things you completely suck at. And you have made that into a pretty fun place!
There are some things at CrossFit 818 I will not miss, except in a nostalgic way…
The 5-deep shower line
The stupid cc processer on the parking meters
All the talk of sci-fi characters I know nothing about
A well-insulated gym in the summer months
And on that note, the Tubbs’ Sweat Spray moves on…I will truly miss everyone at CrossFit 818 and have enjoyed every minute (ok, maybe not EVERY minute!). If anyone wants to learn paddleboarding, give me a jingle when the weather warms up.
CF818 Buns and Guns
*Last did on 9/21/2011
3 rounds for time:
10 Back Squat (185/135)
15 WTD Walking Lunge (45/25)
20 Chin ups
Posted by Zareh.