The dynamic landscape of CrossFit means that it is constantly evolving. Every month, new boxes open across the country, every week, hundreds of new coaches sit nervously for their Level 1 certification test, and every day, a new, timid, but excited face walks in the door of their local gym and signs up for a membership. However, everything is Crossfit is so much more than simply signing on the dotted line. The community orientation of what some might call the “CrossFit Cult” means that every action taken within the four walls of the crossfit box and outside in the greater crossfit community is a commitment to the community of crossfit. An owner sending in their application for affiliate status and opening their doors makes a commitment to their members towards providing them with a space to grow and change and a community and culture to lift them up and support them. A coach filling in the scantron card on their Level 1 examination and applying for internships and coaching positions makes a commitment to their athletes. To always put them first and to believe in them even when the athlete themselves may be losing faith.
This commitment from owners and coaches is what makes the selection of a gym so important. A membership contract is so much more than a new years resolution or a last ditch effort to get in shape for beach season. It’s a commitment to the community and culture of the box you join. Six years ago, this was an easy process. A quick google search of your zip code plus the word “CrossFit” spit back your local gym. You drove there, and tentatively signed up for the fundamentals program. If you liked it, you stayed and became a part of the greater crossfit community. If you didn’t, you left and went back to your 24 hour fitness or your daily schlep to spin class. There were no other options.
Today, the world of CrossFit looks significantly different. Search CrossFit and your zip code, and you may return five or six boxes within a quick driving distance of your house. If you live in the city, the opportunities might be even more widespread, the greater Boston area alone has over ten boxes all with different communities, cultures, and benefits.
As crossfit continues to saturate the market, the power of the athlete continues to grow. The athlete now has options. However, too many options can sometimes be more of a burden than a blessing. Breaking into a community and understanding how it works and your role within it can be a difficult thing to asses from a simple drop in, and with so many options, it’s likely that you don’t have time to spend 3-4 months at every gym in your area until you find a community that fits you.
However, there’s a much easier way, and it starts with the coaches. Think of a gym like a tree. At the very bottom, we have the roots, the owners. The people who provide the nutrients and the water needed to run a well oiled and efficient box. A strong root system means you won’t need to be worried about chalk running out or equipment breaking down, and similar to a root system, it’s often complex and relatively invisible. Unless you peel back the dirt at the bottom of the tree, the roots remain unseen by the naked eye. Steadily providing the resources and nutrients a box needs to run.
Journeying further up the tree, we arrive at the branches, the coaches. Just like the branches give a tree its shape, the coaches give the box it’s culture. Every coach’s unique experience and perspective shapes the culture and the shape of what the box is.
Midcoast’s coaches are no exception. Military, dance, baseball, running, rugby, weightlifting, climbing, skiing are just a few of the elements that the coaches bring to the table. While every coach at Midcoast stems from the trunk of the same tree, educating themselves in the fundamental cores of crossfit, each branch travels off in a different direction exploring different opportunities inside and out of crossfit and allowing members to pursue their own unique crossfit journey down each of the branches.
An athlete who travels down the endurance branch will find themselves being coached by seasoned marathoners and distance runners with years of experience in events like GoRuck, Spartan, and ultra.
For athletes who choose to pursue weightlifting, travel down a branch built on coaches who have competed nationally and internationally and who help to train other coaches to coach weightlifting.
An athlete who prefers to go down the more traditional route of crossfit will find themselves walking down perhaps one of the oldest and sturdiest branches in the northeast. As one of the original crossfit gyms in Connecticut, many of Midcoast’s staff have been actively involved in crossfit since before 2010 (that’s before Oprah went off the air to give you a sense of how long that is). CrossFit is the biggest and strongest branch and is the basis of what we do here at Midcoast crossfit. Aside from the basic requirement of the Level 1 certification, all midcoast coaches are certified in other unique facets of crossfit, including weightlifting for crossfit, mobility, competition, and endurance for crossfit. The coaches here have coached all levels of athletes from the beginning crossfitter to regional and games level athletes.
It’s these branches that give Midcoast its shape, character and culture. Each branch travels in its own unique direction, criss crossing with other branches along the way to make the best program possible for its athletes. The commitment from the coaches is what makes the branches strong, and the diversity of the coaches is what makes this tree so unique.