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You Can Do It

Marilyn pumps iron.

My mother is an avid CrossFitter.  She trains upwards of five days a week and reads blogs and watches videos and goes to competitions. She has always been athletic and excelled in sports and various activities. She competed in the US Nationals for swimming when she was younger, and played ice hockey in the boys’ leagues (there weren’t any girls’ leagues) into her teenage years.

But, she never lifted weights. For most of her life, girls just didn’t do that kind of thing. If they did, it was pretty ineffective resistance ‘toning’ (see above, although it is a great pic).  Not heavy deadlifts and front squats, snatch balances and cleans, weighted pullups and toes-2-bars.

And here we come to one of the greatest benefits of the CrossFit movement.  CrossFit has made real training, such as the movements listed above for example, accessible to everyone. Prior to CrossFit, how many women (or men for that matter), outside of specialized programs in high schools and colleges, were being exposed to Olympic weightlifting? Powerlifting? Agility work? Gymnastics movements such as muscle ups and levers? Practically none, and even in those college programs it was often frowned upon (reread about Jocelyn’s old coach in her post yesterday).

Where did women in their sixties go a few short years ago to learn all those skills? Hah, no where. Snatch grip deadlifts for my mother? Split jerks? Overhead squats? Virtually unheard of. But CrossFit has changed all that. It has opened up whole new worlds to everyone, but especially to women and the middle aged and above.

But more than just making this kind of training accessible, CrossFit says you can do it. Old, young, male, female, athletic, not athletic, out of shape, in shape, whatever. It doesn’t matter, there is the attitude that you can do it. Squat snatches, pullups, resisted runs–you can do it.  No matter who you are, you can do it. How completely liberating is that.

Not only can you do it, but it is even expected of you.  At first this sort of freaks people out.  It scares them. Confronted with something they have never been told they could do, there is almost always the idea that “I could never do that“.  But that attitude changes. It steadily morphs into one of I can do it. Maybe not right now, but in a while, with perseverance. Because, all around you in the CrossFit gym there is the underlying attitude of you can do it. It is the most positive place most people have ever seen.

Not only can you do it, but the tools do help you do it are available. Stiff and inflexible? Try these stretches and mobility work. Overweight? How about this nutrition plan and this workout schedule. Weak? This back squat and power clean program will add some plates to the bar.  Knee pain getting off the couch? Let’s see you squat and, by the way, ever heard of myofascial release. Yes, you can do it and we will help.

There is always a lot of buzz about the CrossFit Games, star athletes, WOD times and weights, but I think you can do it is maybe the unsung hero of the CrossFit movement, because that great attitude, engendered with weights and lifts and pullup bars, starts in the CrossFit box and ends up in every aspect of your life.

You can do it.

Please post thoughts to Comments.



Back Squat

7×3 (add 5#)


5 Rounds

250m Row

7 Power Snatches 135/85

7 Box Jumps 28/24″

7 Pullups C2B


  1. Great post, Sam! And so true.

    PS, Nancy is freakin’ amazing!

  2. Love this post, Sam! I think the ‘you can do it’ is one of the main reasons why I love Crossfit so much. And Nancy … she’s an inspiration in so many ways, so glad you introduced her to Crossfit … I’m eternally chasing her PR’s! Yeah, that’s my mom, just sayin’.

  3. Nikki Orth

    Nancy is awesome! And so are the camp leggings she made me. All the Burbank crossfitters are JEALOUS!

    Crossfit is definately a positive and encouraging space. I never thought I would be able to do those lifts… Coming from a background of running, yoga, dance, and rock climbing. Power lifts were the farthest thing from my workout experience. I love it now :)

  4. Thanks, Sam.
    CrossFit is the best thing I have ever done for my body and mind. Yes, I so wish CrossFit had come into my life earlier, but I am so grateful to have it now! There is nothing like it, and the community-the best!
    It is so encouraging and inspiring to see everyone with the “you can do it” attitude!
    I love CrossFit West!

  5. leslie h

    Nancy, when I first started, I remember seeing you work so hard pushing it to the limit on your presses and thinking, “Wow! She is really giving it her all! …Is that okay for her?” But now, I know of course that it is, because you are so strong and determined. That made a big impression on me, and your encouragement and contributions to CFWSC are amazing. Go, Nancy! I miss you!

  6. Jocelyn

    Nancy is amazing. CrossFit West would not be CrossFit West without her! Thanks for being such a special part of us Nancy! Great post Sam!

  7. Nancy, you are probably my biggest CrossFit inspiration and I miss working out with you (work schedule)! Sam, I feel like a broken recrod when I say this: Another awesome post!

  8. Jenny D

    Nancy . . . you are something special. You are an inspiration. And thank goodness for Crossfit because it would suck to be middle-aged without it. Thanks Sam for another great post.

  9. Yes, Nancy, you are a wonderful person (and an outstanding CrossFitter). We are all blessed to have you here!

    (And your son write pretty great post too!! :)

  10. Nicole N

    Nancy is definitely an inspiration!!!!! :-)

  11. Great post!!!
    Nancy, you make CFWSC very special.
    We love You.

  12. Everyone is so kind. I am so thankful to all of you for making CFWSC such a great place for me.

  13. Stephanie Lutz

    Well said Sam!

  14. my brother is a crossfit coach in fairfield. i finally got into the movement and joined the nyc gym and crossfit is changing my life one step at a time. ive been at it for a little over a month and i can feel the energy seeping in.

  15. Sascha

    Nancy has more grit and guts and a bigger heart than just about anyone I know. Thanks, Sam, for posting this inspiring tribute, and thanks to all of you trainers and athletes at CFWSC for showing our mom such love.


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