The Case For Hosting A Pride Workout

June 27, 2023 by
Photo Credit: Instagram @meredith_root
Enjoying Morning Chalk Up? Access additional exclusive interviews, analyses, and stories with an Rx membership.

June 28th marks the anniversary of Stonewall Uprising, a multi-day rebellion that is credited for being a tipping point that propelled the modern LGBTQ civil rights movements. 

The short of it: The push-back was a response to the regular raids and harassment the queer community faced in communal spaces (like at gay bars), as well as in public.  

Society at large commemorates these activists’ bravery with a month-long celebration, rainbow-washed paraphernalia, workshops, memorials, and the age-old tradition of keeping our introverted asses home and watching Golden Girls reruns. 

But in CrossFit, we honor this iconic moment in history — and celebrate the LGBTQ community as a whole — with a pride workout, known aptly as a ‘Stonewall’. 

“Stonewall” is a 15 Minute AMRAP that can be completed as an individual, as well as a partner, workout. 

AMRAP 15 Minutes:

  • 6 Squat Cleans 135 (Marsha) / 95 (Sylvia) 
  • 28 Double-Unders 
  • 6 Shoulder-to-Overheads 135 / 95 pounds 
  • 9 Burpees 

The girls: While traditional CrossFit Rx workout weights are demarcated as ‘men’ and ‘women’, the suggested loading weights for Stonewall named ‘Marsha’ and ‘Sylvia’. 

Why? To honor the two transgender women of color who led the uprising: Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. 

  • “If you are a gym owner or programmer, hosting a Pride workout is an opportunity to show your members that being inclusive is important to you,” says 2018 CrossFit Games athlete Meredith Root, founder of Tactic Functional Nutrition

For the LGBTQ+ members of your gym, the power of this inclusive display cannot be understated. 

  • “CrossFit’s methodology is marketed as being inclusive of and for all people,” says Root. 

The first sentence of the CrossFit Training Guide, after all, states: From the beginning, the aim of CrossFit has been to forge a broad, general, and inclusive fitness.

  • “But on the ground and online it can feel like CrossFit is only for a very specific crowd,” says Root. More specifically, a crowd that does not include queer, questioning, and gender-expansive folks. 

Indeed, while the people who are prejudiced against queer people are just a small portion of the CrossFit community, they are very vocal online. (Case and point). 

  • “This very vocal online minority scares queer and non-binary people away, and makes them feel like the sport isn’t for them,” she says. 

But it is. 

People all across the gender and sexuality spectrum can benefit from safe, effective evidence-based fitness, community, and sound nutrition. 

  • “Hosting a Pride workout is also an opportunity to educate members who hold a more negative opinion about the queer community or about Pride Month as a whole,” says Root. And maybe even soften those opinions, she says. 

It takes guts to stand for something: A lot of gym owners shy away from programming “Stonewall” or otherwise hosting Pride events because they are worried that some community member is going to say that sexuality doesn’t belong in the gym. 

But, it’s not really about sexuality, says Root. “At the end of the day it’s about love and community,” she says. 

It’s about loving thy neighbor. 

  • “As much as I understand that being a business owner is hard, programming a Pride workout helps your community inside the gym and shows the greater LGBTQ+ community outside of the gym that your space is inclusive,” says two-times CrossFit Games athlete Meg Lewis-Reardon, founder of Wags & Weights.  
  • “People who have never stepped foot in a CrossFit gym may hear that you’re hosting a Pride workout and feel like they can give it a try,” she says. 

In other words, the idea that hosting a pride WOD is bad for business is hogwash. 

Inclusivity after June: Supporting LGBTQ+ portion of the CrossFit community doesn’t stop being important when you flip the calendar page. 

  • “A CrossFit box can and should work to be inclusive 365 days per year,” says Root. 

What does that look like, exactly? For starters, that means not tolerating hate speed amongst your membership or coaches. 

It also means doing little things that aren’t actually so little. For example: 

  • hanging a Pride flag
  • putting a rainbow bumper sticker on your front door
  • including a pronoun section on intake forms
  • de-gendering single-stall bathrooms
  • hiring queer coaches
  • putting people of all genders on your marketing materials and walls

The bottom line: “LGBTQ+ people are still being denied human rights and getting killed for being LGBTQ+,” says Root. “Inclusivity and visibility matters as much, if not more, now than it ever has.” 

In one million ways both big and small, CrossFit has the opportunity to provide inclusivity, support, and invisibility and should. Not just because the sport posits inclusivity at its center, but because doing so can literally save lives. 

Get the Newsletter

For a daily digest of all things CrossFit. Community, Competitions, Athletes, Tips, Recipes, Deals and more.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.