MARION MANAKER

stars“APPROACHING MY LATE FORTIES, I WALKED INTO ESCF CURIOUS TO FIND A WAY TO GET INTO—AND STAY IN—SHAPE. I HAD NEVER CONSIDERED MYSELF AN ATHLETE. BUT I WAS FEELING THE EFFECTS OF MIDDLE AGE. I WAS ATTRACTED BY CROSSFIT’S EMPHASIS ON CONSTANTLY VARIED FUNCTIONAL FITNESS—REALLY JUST A MIXTURE OF OLD-FASHIONED CALISTHENICS, OLYMPIC WEIGHTLIFTING AND SIMPLE GYMNASTICS. I LIKED IT ENOUGH TO URGE MY WIFE TO JOIN. SHE PROGRESSED FARTHER AND FASTER THAN I DID. BUT COACH DAN’S INFECTIOUS ENTHUSIASM KEPT ME COMING BACK THROUGH THE FIRST FEW MONTHS WHEN I WAS EXHAUSTED AND SORE.

DAN HAS AN UNCANNY ABILITY TO MOTIVATE. FROM A RISING HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETE TO A SEDENTARY PERSON LOOKING TO GET MOVING FOR THE FIRST TIME TO A NEW MOTHER TRYING TO RECLAIM HER BODY TO ASPIRING CROSSFIT COMPETITORS—DAN REMEMBERS YOUR ABILITIES, KEEPS AN EYE ON YOUR GOALS AND MONITORS YOUR PROGRESS. HE SHARES YOUR AMBITIONS; HE’LL OFFER YOU PERSONALIZED GUIDANCE; AND HIS EBULLIENCE CARRIES YOU THROUGH WITH MORE CONFIDENCE THAN YOU CAN MUSTER FOR YOURSELF.

BUT IT ISN’T JUST DAN. WHAT MAKES CROSSFIT SOMETHING MORE THAN A GYM FOR ME IS THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY. AT ESCF, I LEARNED AS MUCH FROM MY FELLOW MEMBERS AS I DO FROM THE COACHES. WHEN I WORRY A WORK OUT IS TOO HARD OR I WANT TO QUIT, I LOOK OVER AND SEE SOMEONE WITH NO GREATER PHYSICAL GIFTS THAN I WORKING THAT MUCH HARDER; AND I THINK, IF THEY CAN KEEP GOING, WHAT’S MY EXCUSE?

FIRST I LOST WEIGHT; THEN, I GOT STRONGER. OVER TIME, I PROGRESSED THROUGH NEW SKILLS, HIGHER PRS AND FASTER TIMES (FULL DISCLOSURE: I’M STILL USUALLY THE LAST ONE TO FINISH.) EACH WORKOUT SEEMS LONG AND CHALLENGING BUT THE YEARS HAVE PASSED QUICKLY. I SURPRISE MYSELF STILL. WHEN I TURNED 50, I LEARNED GYMNASTICS MOVES I WOULD HAVE NEVER HAVE TRIED AS A FIT 20-YEAR OLD. I GOT ADVICE, ENCOURAGEMENT, INSPIRATION AND PLENTY OF TEASING FROM EVERYONE I WORK OUT WITH. TOGETHER WE MAKE OUR WAY THROUGH EACH CLASS LIKE A PLATOON OF RECRUITS—DIFFERENT SIZES, AGES, OCCUPATIONS AND BACKGROUNDS—THROWN TOGETHER ON A MISSION. EACH DAY WE COME TOGETHER WITH ONE COMMON GOAL: TO FINISH THAT WORKOUT! WE DON’T GO AT THE SAME SPEED OR USE THE SAME WEIGHTS OR HAVE THE SAME SKILLS. BUT NO ONE GETS LEFT BEHIND.

IT IS NOT UNCOMMON TO SEE COUPLES IN CLASSES TOGETHER OR PARENTS WORKING OUT WITH THEIR KIDS. THERE IS NO SIGHT MORE SATISFYING THAN WATCHING A CHILD ROOT FOR, COMPETE WITH AND ENCOURAGE A PARENT TO TRY HARDER. THE CAMARADERIE OF CROSSFIT HAS KEPT ME AND MY WIFE MOTIVATED AND ACCOUNTABLE FOR MORE THAN FIVE YEARS AND COUNTING. WITH A COMMUNITY LIKE THE ONE DAN HAS BUILT AT ESCF, YOU’LL FIND OVER TIME—AND WITH DETERMINATION—THAT YOU ARE ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH MUCH MORE THAN THE GOALS THAT FIRST BROUGHT YOU TO THE GYM. CROSSFIT HAS CHANGED THE WAY I EAT, IT HAS CHALLENGED MY MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL RESILIENCE, AND TAUGHT ME VALUABLE LESSONS ABOUT MYSELF.”

-MARION MANAKER