The Shared Language of CrossFit

December 6, 2019 by
Justin LoFranco speaking at the 2019 Chinese Affiliate Summit in Chengdu, China.
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It’s Friday, 5:17 PM. I just got off stage at the 2019 CrossFit China Summit sharing four trends happening in CrossFit today with an audience of China’s most influential leaders in the affiliate community. 

While we’ve enjoyed CrossFit locally and abroad for nearly two decades, China didn’t get their first affiliate until 2013. Six years later, there are 150 locations across China and two Sanctionals building stronger communities across the country. 

As I listened to the half dozen other speakers espousing the virtues of functional fitness graciously translated from Mandarin through an earpiece, I was struck by the common language we share:

“We arrived at 5:50 AM. From a distance, I saw all the lights were on. Everybody in the gym was energetic which made me feel they were in a bright beautiful place separated from the dark outside world,” said one Chinese Level 1 Seminar Staff. “I had been looking for what I really wanted to do as I get older and I found CrossFit. The best time of the day is the training hours.”

CrossFit has only been in China for around six years, but the virtues are identical — the desire to help others achieve their goals, overcome obstacles, discover their best selves, and serve their community. CrossFit is unique in this approach to wellness. 

“I think CrossFit trainers have great passion for CrossFit. They love CrossFit. For instance, a CrossFit trainer usually starts to work at 6 am or so if the first class is at 6:30 am…That means you have to get up before 5:30 am. You are the first one in, last one out. Almost every workday is a hard routine like this.”

I don’t think anyone except a few English-speaking friends in the room had ever read the Morning Chalk Up, but as they listened through a translated earpiece, nodding heads quietly as I spoke about CrossFit’s ability to reach underserved communities in the most populous country in the world it was clear that the common language we share goes far beyond border and language, it’s family of a deeper kind — the CrossFit variety. 

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