“Who am I becoming… The challenge and mindset behind a real crossfit athlete”

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by Lorenza Franciosi

“I eat paleo, I go to wods several times per week, I lift!”… All the elements for being a Crossfit athlete seem there, but the question is: can you consider yourself a REAL crossfitter?

Calling Crossfit “an” experience can be an understatement: for many of us, I can boldly say that Crossfit is THE experience that changed our minds and lives permanently. That’s what I am going to share with you along the lines.

The need of starting something new or changing the routine you have been in for a long time is a common human need, as to face something more challenging that can spice our lives up.

In terms of fitness, finding new ways/sports to improve your own figure, health condition or reaching the desired weight (something from the New Year’s resolution’s list?) is always on the spotlight: and what’s better than to jump into something so appealing as the Crossfit “phenomenon” is more and more now?

However, after dipping your toes into this very challenging water, who can become, who can feel him/herself as a real crossfitter?

Being a crossfitter myself I can reckon on the why I landed into Crossfit and how I see (and hear) why others are trying the same.

As the reasons why someone approaches Crossfit can be really diverse, that influences also the results you gain from it.

If you stick in something hard and challenging as Crossfit, for sure you feel a change not only in your body but mostly in your mind… but only if you really want it.

The power of Crossfit is to drag you out of your comfort zone, facing things that you have never thought your body would have been able to do… but again, only if you want to.

I am surrounded daily by crossfitters. I see the drive in who really wants to beat himself, who wants to reach the ultimate goal (the better self) and the constant effort of getting stronger. When this commitment arises in your mind then the change sets up.

Crossfit turns your life upside down in a way that it’s not just doing it to be fit or “going to the gym” but it becomes you and it changes your prospective. Even your life prospective, personally speaking. You can feel it and you can be really motivated for it but it won’t be an easy path: because it will push you over your limits.

And there’s the question: are you ready for this? Do you REALLY want to face all the fears you never expected to have?

Wod after wod after wod there will be the moment you will have to lift a heavier barbell. Being a crossfitter myself I know that fear, and it’s big, and it comes along with the idea of failing. And many times you will fail.

And now there’s the answer: when you are embracing your fears and transforming them into the force that lifts that barbell, when you are ready to start over and over after each failure, when you don’t retreat and don’t scale down, when you feel the confidence to push further, then you are on the path to become a real Crossfit athlete.

The challenge you put in your body when doing Crossfit will give you back the results you wish to achieve only if you want and are ready to challenge yourself in your mind first. And that’s the real power of the “sport of fitness”: you don’t have to be a professional athlete or a former champion for doing (and enjoying) Crossfit. It’s a process. I have seen people approaching it for many different reasons and from the most diverse (sportive or not) backgrounds and I am a witness of how you can build yourself up, with the willingness of trying more and more, day after day, facing every challenge and finding the joy in it.

It’s a transition to reach a better you, growing step by step with others willing to do the same and above all willing to help and be helped along the road. A Crossfit box is a community of people sharing the same passion, ready to help and motivate each other to improve and break the wall of their own limits.

Stepping into a box, the first thing you learn is to leave your ego at the door. The real spirit is not to show capabilities, or to be recognized as the best athlete, but it’s to discover yourself. To be ready to grow through your fears with the help of your companions.

There are crossfitters satisfied of what they can reach without pushing to the limits and taking the fun of every wod, and that is fine. But for others the countdown “3-2-1 go” triggers a new power in their minds, the power of not being just satisfied.

There is no quitting, there is no step back in a real crossfitter. Whatever the wod brings on (there is no “wod cherry picking” strategy in a real crossfitter just to avoid facing his weaknesses), the real athlete is ready to hit hard and keep moving forward. No skipping reps, no cutting corners, no CHEATING, and no “I can’t do this anymore”. In the end there is only one big push of the mind: “Don’t give up! Keep on going! I will show myself how great I am”.

The difference between who is just doing the wod and who is the real athlete is not in the potential, not in the genetics, it is in who is ready to start over again the day after, with big soreness and ready to beat all the weaknesses of the day before, letting the power of Crossfit unlock his potential.


To be eager to face the fear of the heavy barbell, heavier as when hitting a new pr, is what will make the real crossfitter lighten up. Every fear is a creation of the mind and the real athlete works on it, plans, programs, trains, hard and then harder, with the fear of not reaching his goal. Most crossfitters are just feeling “ok” with their level, is not in their mind to use rx weights: too heavy, too scary…or even it would take too much time to finish the wod and it would be a shame to be the last one to close the round.

On the contrary: whoever finishes last, after crushing all his limits and got out of his mind boundaries, is the real winner, is the real athlete. Who is not able yet to bear the rx weights but nonetheless doesn’t’ give up and keeps on trying is on the path, physically and mentally, is the real athlete.

Ask yourself: who am I? Am I prepared for the unknown? Who do I wanna be?

If you feel a real crossfitter, if you want to be a real crossfitter you just have to DECIDE: just decide who you want to be, how you are going to do it, and decide to sacrifice what you are now for what you want to become.

Never be afraid to fail. Failure will be the constant drive to reach the better you and to make you discover what you are capable of and to push even further.

Don’t surrender and always try; and even when you fail at least you have tried, living in the “what if” is not an option for a real Crossfit athlete.

You feel that you are the athlete you want to be when you don’t “just do” Crossfit, but Crossfit becomes part of you. Then you ARE Crossfit.

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