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CrossFit is for Firebreathers and Buttercups


CrossFit is for Firebreathers and Buttercups

By: Eleanor Brown

There are people whose CrossFit journeys seem to go like this:


And then there’s the rest of us. Sometimes our CrossFit experience feels a little more like this:


Images adapted from Mpressvinyl.

That first group seems to have it made. They come out of On-Ramp breathing fire, and three months later their scores sit on top of the leaderboard every single day.

But for us mere mortals, it’s not so easy. We have a good month, and then we go on vacation and when we come back, discover we seem to have traded our PRs for margaritas and nachos. We’re slamming out Rx’s and then we get injured and everything needs to be modified.

Or sometimes it’s just this simple: things are going great and then, suddenly, they’re not.

So how do you keep going when you’re not progressing? How do you keep showing up every day when you’ve come to the realization that you are never going to make it to the CrossFit Games, maybe not even as a (gluten-free) beer vendor?

Here’s how: by recognizing that CrossFit isn’t really about the sport.

CrossFit is about making the commitment to do something just for you.

CrossFit is about trying – just trying – for a new max, even if it looks impossibly heavy.

CrossFit is about failing every attempt at a snatch or a muscle-up or toes-to-bar, or whatever your personal bugaboo is, again and again and again, and coming back for more.

CrossFit is about putting aside your post-gym to-do list and staying to cheer for the last person to finish the WOD.

CrossFit is about learning that sometimes change comes at a glacial pace.

CrossFit is about the moment in the middle of the WOD when you think, “I can’t,” and then you take a deep breath and finish it anyway.

CrossFit is about missing the box jump and getting right back up to try again.

CrossFit is about coming in day after day, even when the results are non-existent, or tiny, or less than you’d like to see.

CrossFit doesn’t care whether you’re a firebreather or a buttercup. The rowing machine doesn’t judge you on how fast you can row 500 meters. The barbell doesn’t know whether it has 25 or 250 pounds on it. We can use those metrics to help us evaluate our fitness, but there are so many things we do in the box every day that matter just as much. Maybe even more.

So when you hit a plateau, or when there hasn’t been an Rx by your name in months, or when you look at your old max and wonder who lifted that, because it certainly wasn’t you, remember that the numbers only tell one part of the story.

You are changing. You are growing. You are making yourself better every single day, just by showing up and getting it done.


Eleanor Brown is the author of WOD Motivation, and of the New York Times bestseller The Weird Sisters. She has been CrossFitting for more than two years and is a member of Modig Fitness. You can learn more about Eleanor and her books at