The Kool Aide

 “It’s a cult, right?”

“Drink the Kool Aide.”

I don’t have a problem with people accusing us of belonging to a cult, or drinking the Kool Aide. In fact, I completely understand what they mean- we spent countless hours every day babbling on about our “kips” and “PRs”, watching YouTube videos on Olympic lifts. We’ll tell anyone who will listen how awful today’s WOD was, proudly showing off our bloody calluses and shins… for an outsider this HAS to seem like absolute lunacy: “Check this out! I tore today on the pullup bar! But still finished with a 30s PR!!”… “You did so many pull ups that you tore your hand into a bloody pulp? Why- the HELL– didn’t you just stop?” It isn’t sane- this MUST be the work of brainwashing… or cult activities.

It IS a cult. (Insert social commentary on the status of ALL religions at some point in their history being considered a cult here…) There is no doubt to those of us fortunate enough to have drunk deeply of the delicious Kool Aide, that this is not only a cult, it is a severe addiction. We’ve been brainwashed by these priests (CrossFit likes to call them “coaches”) into making our health and fitness a top priority in our lives. Proper nutrition and rest are emphasized at every sermon (called “class.”) Members are forced to take time out of their “busy” schedules to worship between 3-5 hours a week! We’ve been taught that “there are no excuses,” that we should “push ourselves,” to “make ourselves better,” and that “there are no shortcuts… sometimes you just have to work hard.”

What a terrible cult! What terrible lessons and attitudes!

I’m fine with being in a cult that prioritizes health and fitness- when you look at the obesity epidemic in our society, I wish more people would join us… We’ve become a nation of lazy couch potatoes, and that is NOT okay. But what I identify with more than “cult” is “addiction.”

Merriam Webster defines “addict” as such: “To devote or surrender oneself to something habitually orobsessively.” By that definition, for me and everyone I know who is involved in it, CrossFit is anaddiction. The obsession with health and fitness slowly wraps its roots around your soul, constantly pushing you to better yourself, to improve your life, to try new things, until one day you wake up with a physical dependency on balanced, nutritious meals, an active lifestyle, and expressing your fitness over broad time and modal domains. CrossFit is not a fitness program- it is a way of life. Those who habitually push for their best during a WOD consistently push for their best at work, at home, and in their relationships. The goal setting and achieving done at the box is mirrored in athletes’ personal and professional lives. CrossFit is an addiction to excellence.

I have no idea why you would NOT want to get addicted. Or join the cult.