CrossFit and the Unparalleled Power of Words

 “Again, being a part of this community is the best reason to join CrossFit!”

That was the recent Facebook status of one of the athletes we coach at CrossFit 925 posted just hours after our box closed up for the night after hosting the first WOD of the 2013 CrossFit Open for our athletes. How awesome is it that “community” can be considered the foremost reason to embark upon a fitness lifestyle?!

Last Friday night, twenty-five competitors divided among five heats went up against WOD 13.1, a physically and mentally trying seventeen-minute AMRAP (“as many reps as possible”) that tested each athlete’s strength and stamina. For two and half hours, participants of all ages and fitness levels took turns “burpeeing” and snatching side by side, giving every ounce of strength and drop of sweat they had to find out how many reps they could achieve as the clock counted down. [1]

And when athletes weren’t competing in the workout, they were cheering….loudly…

There’s a popular and proven stereotype in the CrossFit community which holds that the athletes in last place receive the most cheers. Our box took that slogan one step further during Friday’s WOD, demonstrating that those who are struggling and battling frustration most cause the walls to shake and roof to be raised with the high-spirited shouts of encouragement they elicit.

I’ll take myself as an example. I completed my burpees and the lighter set of snatches (forty-five pounds) in ten minutes, thirty seconds. I had over six minutes to see how many reps of seventy-five-pound snatches I could do. Considering the heaviest I’ve ever snatched is eighty pounds, I told myself beforehand that I would be elated if I could pull off just one seventy-five-pound snatch that night.

Me vs that 75-lb snatch!
Me vs that 75-lb snatch!

For nearly five minutes, I tried and failed, tried and failed, tried and failed. But the entire time, athletes and supportive onlookers were cheering me on: “Go, Diana! You can do it! You got this!”  They simply wouldn’t stop cheering. They wouldn’t lose hope. They kept it up until I finally accomplished one rep. And with ten seconds left on the clock, I did a second rep, surpassing my goal.[2] With all of the clapping and celebration pervading the chalk-filled atmosphere, you’d have thought I’d just won gold at the Olympics. And I felt as though I had.

The Bible says life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). We all know how devastating words can be. They can rip apart relationships, fracture friendships, and decimate dreams. They can produce doubt, create lies, perpetuate rumors, and shatter confidence in a few easy breaths. But words can also be life-givers and resuscitators.

Words have the power to move a CrossFitter past her frustrations to a personal peak of victory. They have the power to call a dead man from the tomb and to dress dry bones with flesh (John 11:44, Ezekiel 37). And whether spoken to you or by you, they can transform your situation, redeem your day, and rejuvenate your life.

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29, ESV).

I honestly don’t believe that I could have moved that bar over my head had it not been for the confidence-boosting, perseverance-promoting, and exhilaration-inducing encouragement of these wonderful people. Without their voices pushing me to keep going, to keep striving, I would have given up and walked away with minutes still running on the clock. I was marvelously blessed and indeed, built up, by the cheers they provided, for they were a perfect fit for the occasion.



Stay fit, stay faithful ~<3 Di

[1] The snatch is a complex Olympic lifting movement, the goal of which is to lift a barbell from the ground to locked arms overhead in a smooth and continuous movement.

[2] A few hours ago, I did this WOD again and did five reps better than the first time. This further proves that the confidence others place in us can lift us up and carry us great distances.


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