Inside The CrossFit Culture, Part II: The Overhaul

Briana Drost: Police dispatcher, grad student, competitive Crossfitter. Photo: T.J. Murphy

Momentum: Success Breeds Success

Briana Drost competing at the Left Coast Invitational. Photo: Irene Mijia/CrossFit Elysium

May 13, 2011. A huge day for Drost.

To enable beginners to train alongside more experienced Crossfitters and even elite Crossfitters, scaling techniques are applied across the spectrum of movements. With pull-ups, dense rubber bands are looped over the bar and the Crossfitter uses the bottom loop like a stirrup, the elasticity allowing the newbie a springy boost. Drost’s goal was an unassisted pull-up, no band. “I wanted that so bad,” she recalls. “I was pissed off about it.” On May 13—no band—Drost glided through an unassisted pull-up. “Oh hell, yeah!” she said with glee, and bounded over to report the breakthrough to Estrada.

Drost described for me Coach Paul’s reserved response. Estrada took in the information, nodded slowly and, with a vocal inflection one might use to report the weather, said, “Good.”

“He understands it’s just one goal,” Drost says with a smile. “He always knows there are bigger fish to fry.”

After watching Drost’s consistency and commitment to the program, Chang was not surprised by the progress.

“To put it simply, Briana is a very strong-willed and dedicated person,” Chang says. “She is willing to work hard and make sacrifices to get what she wants—in this case, physical fitness. In this day and age those are particularly remarkable traits. Most people talk about what they want but are completely unwilling to lift a finger to help themselves get there. It’s as if they expect the world to do them a favor. Quite honestly I think this is infuriating. By contrast, for financial reasons Briana had to decide between cable TV and training with us—and she cancelled her TV subscription. I bet 99% of couch potatoes out there would have prioritized things the other way, thereby generating a convenient excuse why they ‘couldn’t work out.’ Her job involves her working long nights, and often she’ll train AFTER having been up all night. She is that dedicated.”

Chang continues. “It’s a shame her schedule is so busy because if she had half the time to train and rest that most people have, she’d be even further along in her journey to elite fitness. Briana deserves all of the success she’s had, because she’s earned it. Briana really is an example of the phenomenon of ‘success breeding success.’ Each achievement she’s made, each milestone she’s passed has only served to drive her to new heights. It’s actually amazing to watch as a coach and a friend.”

I asked Chang what his advice was for people who might be interested in joining a CrossFit affiliate.

“Go for it,” he says. “You have nothing to lose. Anyone truly can do CrossFit with the right coaching and right attitude. Our community has had multiple amputees, geriatrics and the morbidly obese all working out alongside elite athletes. At virtually all CrossFit affiliates you’ll find a community of regular people, all supporting each other in becoming more healthy.”

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