To a CrossFitter the world is divided into Lovers and Haters. In fact we’re so baffled by the Haters that we can’t even hate them back. What? CrossFit’s not for you? Of course it is! CrossFit is for everyone! In fact, my box is having a free community workout on Sund…wait! Where are you going?
We joke about the Haters – that “friend” who unliked you on Facebook because she couldn’t stand any more stupid CrossFit acronyms cluttering up her newsfeed; the coworker who scurries past your office door because yesterday when he said ‘Good Morning’, you started to demonstrate the banded good morning (in a skirt and heels) – but hey, you thought he’d asked. We know the Haters are out there, and we know we’re a bit nuts about our sport. It’s all good.
But what if you suspect – no, impossible! – but just maybe – it hurts to say it!
What if your spouse is a Hater?
When I decided to join CrossFit, I asked my husband to sign up with me. Once upon a time, he had been serious about weightlifting, and I thought that CrossFit looked like the perfect blend of weights and cardio. I was pumped, but he just wasn’t interested. He was used to my ‘hobby-hopping’ and most likely thought I’d try CrossFit for a few months before moving on to something else.
But I didn’t move on. What started out as a casual three-classes-a-week gym membership slowly evolved into an unlimited 5-6 classes a week obsession. I couldn’t help it. I could feel the changes in myself even before I could see them. I was becoming stronger and that strength was leading to better choices in nutrition, more confidence at work, and a lot of CrossFit talk at home.
My husband is my best friend. I know a lot of people say that, but the moment I met him I felt I had found a home. So when I started to get a hint that something was wrong, it nagged at me. My life was in an upswing. I was fulfilling the promises I had made to myself for years. It felt like I was about to hit a major PR, but there was a tiny rock in my shoe.
One Saturday we were driving to the comic book store. I was mid-sentence when I noticed my husband was staring at me.
“What?” I asked.
“CrossFit. That’s all you ever talk about,” he said.
And I found it. I found the tiny rock.
I wish I could tell you that I was a total adult, that I listened calmly as he told me he was sick of hearing about CrossFit, how he didn’t care about the box (stupid name for a gym anyway), how heavy my thrusters were (stupid exercise anyway), or how my overhead squat sucked (why even do that?). I wish I could say that I acknowledged his feelings and understood his point of view.
But I only felt panic – as if everything I had achieved for the past six months depended on my husband’s acceptance of CrossFit and now it would all topple over because he was a Hater. And I was pissed – because he was a traitor…because he was supposed to enjoy hearing about my successes. Because eventually he was supposed to join CrossFit and we would rename the dog Murph and adopt a dog named Fran and have some of those stupid pictures taken where we’re kissing during a handstand.
I vowed never to mutter a word from the CrossFit dictionary again! I would quit and get fat and be depressed and it would serve him right!
But that didn’t happen. Even though we were at odds over CrossFit, I knew that ultimately he wanted me to be happy and healthy. I hadn’t considered that the changes I was making to myself were also affecting him. For the first time we weren’t on the same page. It was a bit scary standing alone, but wasn’t part of the process to move towards the fear?
So I tried to understand.
1. Routine is(n’t always) the Enemy
I’m a homebody. I love watching TV while sitting on the sofa with my dog and my husband. I read and write. I cook. I’m a classic introvert and I’m most comfortable in our little family of three. When I started CrossFit, that changed…a bit. I would hit the box after work, come home, take a shower. We started eating later and I often missed our regular TV shows. I no longer slept in on Saturdays because I wanted to get in a morning WOD.
It doesn’t seem like much, but it was enough to put a dent in a routine that we had taken years to develop. We. Together. If our positions were switched, and he had a new interest and started to be absent more than present, I’d wonder what the hell was going on.
My husband is worth my time and attention. He deserves for me to be present when we’re together – present and in the moment we’re sharing. I can work on that. And he can work on getting used to my new schedule. I can’t stop talking about CrossFit – it’s a big part of my life – but I can tone it down…or try to.
2. The Price We Pay
I think this one seals the deal. I truly believe that if my CrossFit membership was only slightly more expensive than a normal gym membership, he wouldn’t be such a Hater. But it is more expensive. A lot more expensive. And we usually don’t spend this kind of money on anything except utilities, vet bills or an emergency car repair. Is CrossFit overpriced? Yep (sorry coaches and box owners). But is it worth it for me to pay it? Yep. This isn’t something I can change. I know he feels like he’s been hit in the gut whenever he thinks about the cost, but I can’t budge. I work hard and this is how I play hard.
But I can try to limit the money I spend on gear, CrossFit apparel and shoes. I mean, I can try…
3. Beast Mode
I can (almost) understand how it might be disconcerting to hear your wife plotting about how to dead lift you, or (please no) back squat you. Or to see her run out to meet the UPS guy in the driveway so she can carry a heavy box to the house. That might take a little getting used to, especially if you’re used to being the strongest person in the household.
My husband has no issues on this one. In fact, I believe he takes advantage of the situation. Yes, honey, please show me how strong you are and bring the television up from the basement…
4. He Doesn’t Get It
My husband is not a CrossFitter. He doesn’t get it. It doesn’t sound remotely fun to him. He will never be a CrossFitter and we won’t be naming our next dog Fran. But he takes pride in my progress. He cheers for me at competitions. He even took me to the Central East Regionals for my birthday. I’m grateful for his efforts, and I know that my hater loves me as much as I love him.
Most likely you began CrossFit because there was something lacking in your life and you decided to make a change. But somewhere along the line you started to neglect the areas of your life that were supposed to benefit from this self-improvement. Part of being in a marriage (or any committed relationship) is making allowances for the ebb and flow of change over the years. It’s not always nice. It’s not always pleasant. Sometimes it’s difficult to know when to compromise or when to say ‘get over it.’
I can’t say we’ve found a perfect balance, but we’re now able to address these issues with a touch of humor. Occasionally I’ll still feel that little rock in my shoe, and I’ll know it’s time to refocus on my life outside the box. Because, ultimately, what good is this journey without my best friend by my side?
And we should probably be nicer to Erin Simmons for her article “Why I Don’t CrossFit.” It’s so obvious her husband (or ex) is an obsessed CrossFitter.