Unspoken Rules of the Tribe


The CrossFit community is unlike anything else in the world, and in my gym specifically I view it as a precious, priceless thing. The BRIO community is a self-replicating, magical entity all its own. We call it family because that's the closest word we have to describe the feeling between these people, even though that doesn't entirely capture it. It's a tightly knit group of amazing individuals willing to work hard, strip away their egos, expose their weaknesses, and do it day in and day out. It creates life-long connections between people that are so often missing in our over-connected, yet totally disconnected modern world.

But this connection doesn't happen for everyone. There are those that don't mesh with the tribe. They end up self-selecting out, describing CrossFit as "cliquey" or "culty". Their experience isn't magical or life-enhancing... but why not? In my nearly 10 years of experience owning a CrossFit gym, I've come to realize there are unspoken rules to this tribe and anyone that finds themselves not fitting in is, mostly unknowingly, violating one of the rules.

Today me, tomorrow you.

People bond in situations where they feel vulnerable. CrossFit creates tight bonds between people because there are plenty of times where we feel very vulnerable. If today's workout is full of everything I suck at, but I'm here anyway, slogging it out, probably the last to finish, the unspoken agreement is that when the workout is full of your goats you take your turn sucking at the workout in front of everyone too. If you only ever show up for the workouts that you're good at, you're not holding up your end of the deal. You owe it to the community and to yourself to be here for the good days and the bad days. If you're only in it for the good, then you're not really in it at all.


No Complaining.

We've allllll got problems, stresses, and complaints, so you simply cannot enter the gym and unload your shit on everyone else. If you did that, and the 14 other people that are here did that, well... that sounds like a nightmare. The mutual agreement between the folks in a CrossFit class is that we are leaving all our baggage outside the door for this one sacred hour. This hour is the best part of our day, the time we have carved out to do something good for our physical and mental health.


No shortcuts.

We are here to put forth our best effort, regardless of what the day holds. If you attempt to gloss over, obfuscate, or hide your weaknesses by doing shallow squats, completing 19 reps when it should have been 21, or choosing an easy weight to avoid struggling then you are absolutely not giving it your best. Time and time again, we have seen people cut corners and attempt to pass it off as a full effort. In the end they are fooling no one, except maybe themselves. It is only the work that makes you better, not the score on the whiteboard. Training solely for the best score is to lead with your ego. No one cares at all if you're slow, but everyone cares if you cheat. It creates a sense of resentment because it violates the rule that there are no shortcuts here - only hard work and persistence.