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What’s It Like to CrossFit Deaf?

December 19, 2016 by
CrossFit South Denver
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THE STORY

She sat in the circle by the whiteboard, as the CrossFit South Denver class went around and answered the question of the day, “What made you the happiest today?”  When it was Nora’s turn, she walked over the board and wrote, “My new job.” They nodded and smiled. When it was time for the metcon, Coach Dan demonstrated each movement, making sure Nora was watching. They warmed up to Beyoncé, dropping the bar with each increase in weight. But Nora couldn’t hear any of it. You see, Nora is deaf.

HOW’D SHE GET STARTED WITH CROSSFIT?

It all started with a $25 Groupon for one week of CrossFit. Even though she’s deaf, Nora shares, “I wasn’t nervous, because I grew up in a hearing world, and I already expected people to not know how to communicate in gestures.”

The coaches worked with Nora to make sure the language barrier didn’t prevent her from receiving proper training and skills. “The owner used mini whiteboards with markers to communicate with me the whole time. All the coaches were gesturing to make sure that I understood the new movements.”

WHAT KIND OF CHALLENGES ARE THERE?

Lots. But Nora makes it look easy. “In the busyness of a class, it’s easy for members and coaches to forget that there is a deaf person in the room. This makes it hard to build friendships, get feedback on movements and fully understand the daily skills and workouts, like how many reps or for how long. I have to remember to keep educating the coaches and members about how to communicate with me.”

SO WHY CROSSFIT WITH SO MANY CHALLENGES?

Probably for the same reasons as you and me. Originally, Nora just wanted to lose weight and gain muscle, but over time, CrossFit has become so much more. “My favorite part is the environment – the second I walk in the gym, it inspires me to leave everything behind. CrossFit makes me feel strong and good about myself. I am constantly seeing how much I can do…I don’t mind the challenges, because I have faced different challenges for my entire life and have learned how to conquer them the best that I can.”

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