Hedge fund guys do CrossFit. So do cops. And construction workers, engineers, and professors. (Even rock stars, too!) Here are their personal stories from inside a global fitness phenomenon.
Ellis Henican is a New York City-based author and political analyst
“You can do it,” Rorke Denver said to me, and I swear I wanted to believe him.
We were standing on the sand in Coronado, California, the pasty-faced writer from New York City and the former head of training for the U.S. Navy SEALs. If you saw Rorke and me together, you wouldn’t have much doubt, which one of us was the SEAL.
The SEALs have a famous obstacle course at their beachfront compound—monkey bars, a metal pipe to squirm through, rows of barbed wire to slither under. I figured I could handle most of that. But then I noticed one station that scared the living hell out of me. It was a giant climbing net that must have gone 300 feet into the blue Pacific sky. Or maybe 1,000, I don’t know. You had to climb up one side then down the other.
“You wanna try?” Rorke asked.
This was two summers ago. He and I were writing a book together called Damn Few. I was working hard to see the world through SEAL eyes. But suddenly, some very un-SEAL-like thoughts were racing through my head: I know what’s going to happen here. I’ll get halfway up. I’ll be too scared to go any higher. I’ll be too scared to climb back down. They’ll have to send up a beach crane or a couple of wiry SEALs to grab me. By the time I return to earth, Rorke will be demanding we change the book title to Damn Shame!
“Tell you what,” I said, reaching for my best Plan B. “When I get back to New York, I’ll check out CrossFit.”
“Don’t worry about the net, brother,” Rorke said. He really does call people brother. “But you’ll like CrossFit. I have my sixty-nine-year-old mother doing it. They can scale the program for anyone.”