CrossFit is defined by its intensity. Intensity is what gets us our results. It’s a great thing and necessary for us to develop into stronger, more capable human beings. And with the intensity of the program comes some intense followers. CrossFit’s critics see the community as a big group of zealots, and while I find that viewpoint pretty funny, there are members of the community who don’t do much to prove it wrong.

Think about the group at your affiliate. You probably know a zealot. Anything and everything BUT CrossFit is WEAK.

Yoga? For weaklings. P90X? Man aerobics.

It’s okay to think CrossFit is the most bad ass exercise program around. You feel like Rocky when you train? That’s awesome, I kinda do too.

But while CrossFit is all about forging elite fitness (and making people feel bad ass), an elitist opinion could be driving potential members away from your gym who might not realize that the zeal we all have does not make CrossFit an exclusive, “members only” club.

A friend of mine said a few days ago, “CrossFit IS for everyone… but only if they have the right attitude.”

If you approach someone – a friend, a roommate, your sister, or a stranger on the street – with an “I’m better than you” mentality, they probably won’t be very willing to listen to you. Even if you have information that can change their entire life (and we all know CrossFit can), who wants to listen to Mr. or Mrs. High & Mighty?

You know the best way to change someone’s opinion? Stop trying to force them to see it your way and show them. Live and lead by example. Plant the seed, but don’t stand over it watching or trying to make it grow. You’ll either kill it or waste valuable time.

When I first started talking to strangers outside of my affiliate about CrossFit, I encountered a lot of, “Oh, is CrossFit like the P90X/Insanity/circuit training I do?”

I’d respond, “Well, no. It’s better than that.” People didn’t respond too warmly to my put-down of their program.

How do I respond to that question now? “Well, kinda. But with CrossFit…” or “A lot of people who’ve done those programs do CrossFit when they want a different challenge.” Or you can take a different approach and congratulate them for staying active.

We see a lot of people in my affiliate who trained with P90X before trying CrossFit. So if someone who’s interested in CrossFit has trained with P90X, that means others working out with those at-home programs could be interested in CrossFit too.

It’s important to make people feel welcome. Your passion can be mistaken for elitism. Tone it down a notch, plant the seed and do the necessary work, but give it time to grow. And see who’s willing to listen.

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