Same Sport, Different Approach

My journey starts on 10 November, which means I have two full months to plan. It sometimes seem to be far from enough as my everyday life is also constantly moving forward requiring my time and attention. I am lucky enough to have a freelance job as a translator enabling me to plan my day in a way that suits my lifestyle. My weekdays start with a morning workout at UnScared CrossFit, which is almost always followed by, you know, CrossFit talks with the peeps. After all, you are not a Crossfitter if you don’t talk about it all the time, right? Not a problem in my case as the majority of my friends I met at the Box and we see each other almost every day. They have been both my friends and family, supporting me in every possible way, being there for me and helping me become a better version of myself. For this I will always be grateful.

It is because I take great joy in being part of this Community and am greatly honoured to be able to be a member of it, that I decided to combine my two dreams into one. Travel and CrossFit.

I have never in my life travelled solo. I know, for some this may be unimaginable, but where I come from (beautiful Greece) it was not very usual back in the days for a woman to travel alone. It took me 35 years, but I finally decided to step into the unknown and for once take advantage of the fact that I can literally work from anywhere in the world. It was not an easy decision to make, but once I got the idea of combining it with my love for CrossFit, it became clear to me. Turning to our amazing Community will be my way of silencing my fears and insecurities. I realized I don’t have to be a stranger among strangers in an unknown place. In all the Boxes I have trained so far, drop-ins that came to join our Box were always welcome and treated as family. This is the core of our Community and I want to make the most out of it.

During my vacation this summer in Greece, it went without saying that I would visit other Boxes! It was very interesting to see the different approaches of each Box when it came to training and community, but also the things they had in common. Coming from the Netherlands where everything is so well-organized and planned to the last detail, I was used to training in a more strict way. By this I mean that for example the 9am class will start at 9. We gather around the whiteboard, our coach explains the workout, asks whether there are any injuries or limitations for anyone and we start with stretching, warm-up and anything that may be served that day. By 9:59 we need to have finished for the next class to start. This works perfectly fine and everyone is happy!

Of course people in each country have their own habits and their own way of doing things, so it should have come as no surprise to me to see the Greeks doing it the Greek way. A more laid back and relaxed approach, which also seems to be working perfectly fine! The 9am class may start at 9:15 and end a bit later and it is entirely acceptable! I can only laugh at the thought of my coach having to delay a class because of people chatting and joking around!

Some might find it disturbing, but I am sure that those of you who train regularly know that if you want to put in the work, you can do it in any Box and under any circumstances. Besides, the great thing about training in Greece is that everyone is so much flexible and happy to accommodate, that they will usually allow you to train at their Box even out of their regular hours. Not to mention that because there is another approach to CrossFit training, there are a couple of morning classes and several classes in the evening but all the time in between is Open Gym time. I challenge you to train at 2pm in August though! I know I was at the beach all day melting under the hot sun.

This said, I must admit I also saw differences in the way people approached me or kept their distance. There were boxes I went in and out going unnoticed, where I made no friends and felt a complete outsider. I should admit though that I am not the talkative type myself either so it would not be fair to blame it all on others. It will be a good opportunity to work on my weaknesses (even those of my character) during my journey and be the one to initiate contact. Again, that’s just being me. Some people prefer to remain silent and don’t want too much interaction when training. I guess everyone picks what is best suited to them. One thing I did consider unacceptable, however, was to train at a Box where the coach read out the WoD from the white board (literally) and without any further explanation, pre-work or skill/strength work said “you’ve got 30’. Good luck”. May be the case that it was an advanced class and everyone was very familiar with the movements etc. but I’ve never heard any of the top athletes saying they have mastered any skill.

I will not specifically name boxes or people, but I do feel that it is only fair to speak about both the good and the bad experiences I had. Again, this is all my personal opinion and perception and I can’t help but compare to the limited experience I’ve had so far in training outside the Netherlands. I am very keen on answering any questions, so feel free to contact me. I am sure that as I go along and meet more and more coaches and athletes and train at Boxes in and out of Europe, I will be able to provide more feedback and have a better understanding of how things are done in each country. So stay tuned!

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