Why I Do CrossFit

by Janice Marie Ferguson

Back around 2005-06, I found this website: www. That’s where I saw this video:

Thus began my CrossFit journey. It’s been an uphill battle. I started with no barbell or gymnastics experience. I couldn’t do one pullup. Not even one pushup. I had no idea what a clean, jerk, press or snatch was. However, none of that trumped my desire to learn or my willingness to be humbled in the pursuit of excellence. Since then, I’ve spent hours absorbing everything I can about maximizing genetic potential and achieving truly functional fitness as defined by Greg Glassman. There’s still a long way to go, and a lot more to learn. But, I’ve spent the past four solid years testing the validity of those concepts on myself–and now, others. The outcome? Nothing but phenomenal results for myself and those around me.

The Next Step
Just last year, I opened my own fitness testing lab, Bandit CrossFit. A couple years before that, I “only” had to spend $1,000 on one short weekend course at Rogue Fitness in Columbus, Ohio, and I became a CrossFit Level 1 coach with the privilege/option to open a gym. However, any educated person knows it’s foolish to pin the success OR failure of a business, coach, or a fitness method on a lifeless piece of paper that means nothing unless it’s in the hands of an individual with the desire to pursue excellence. That could be said for ANY profession. Ever had a bad teacher? How about a bad doctor? Or mechanic? No matter how rigorous the credentials, there’s always people who do just enough to get by. Always.

What is Fitness?
Contrary to the majority consensus in our great nation, it’s not about getting your body “bikini ready,” or being able to “show off all your hard work” while lounging on your beach towel for all to marvel at the facade you’ve created with “toning” and slimming shakes–all while you can’t even run a mile without stopping, or do one chest-to-deck pushup with all those “toned” biceps.  True fitness is about making things happen–putting your body to use. So, as much as you’d like to, you really CAN’T wear that skimpy bikini, anyway. What if you want to get up off that towel and play a game of beach football? Your activity level just won’t allow that flimsy piece of flashy fabric to stay in place while you’re busy showing everybody what’s up with your fancy footwork on your way to catch that game-winning touchdown pass, 0r tackle. Whatever floats your boat.

Over the years, while I’ve continued on my journey to get faster, stronger, fitter, and healthier, I’ve seen NUMEROUS negative CrossFit-themed blogs and opinions come across social media and television. I’m in disbelief every time I see one. It’s the same feeling I would have as if someone were trying to tell me that the sky was green instead of blue, or that the mullet hairstyle is making a comeback. Their perceptions are complete opposite of the reality in which I live. For the most part, I’ve learned to just ignore them. They are so far off, and I have yet to see any of them present any original ideas or solid evidence involving any real data from an unbiased source. Most of these articles are purely anecdotal, and seem more than likely an attempt to gain publicity than to warn the world against the imminent danger posed by the killer called “CrossFit.” I just laugh and carry on. My results speak loud like a blow horn over those negative and baseless words.

So, without getting into boring scientific studies, which can be found to suit any opinion, OR proving to you just how elite I am as I regurgitate the ideas that were spoon-fed to me as if my young mind were even cognizant to understand the OPINIONS or tactics of “elite Division 1 college track and field strength and conditioning coaches,” I’m going to lay this out here as my own personal opinion. This opinion, much like the negative ones I have read, are formed from my own personal experiences, and from my dedication to a thriving fitness methodology and burgeoning sport.

Why I Do CrossFit:

#1) I like that I can deadlift 300# and then turn around and run a mile in less than 6 minutes. I wouldn’t consider myself an “elite collegiate track and field athlete.” But, my 800m time isn’t too shabby, even for a 37-year old mother of two. And even further, my 2x+ bodyweight deadlift hasn’t really been a detriment to that ability. When I first started Crossfit, my 5k time was more than 26 minutes. In a year of CrossFit, deadlifting, squatting, and risking my life by doing more than “3 Olympic lifting reps” at a time, and NO running-specific training program, my time was 20:35. That’s not “elite.” But, I’m proud of it the same.

#2) I like being a girl who can do pullups–while hula-hooping, if I feel like it.

#3) When Ninja Warrior calls, I can answer.


On the set at the 2014 American Ninja Warrior Dallas SemiFinals.

#4) I like to pick things up and put them down.

Janice Marie Overhead

Just another day at the office doing oh-so dangerous “Olympic” lifts with my weekend CrossFit certification. Oh, the injustice.

5) If I want to race up and down a mountain for seven hours while climbing walls and ropes, and carrying 60# sandbags along the way, I don’t have to stop and wonder if I can. I just do it.

60#sandbag carry

After I had already run four miles up and down a ski resort in Vermont, I carried this 60# sandbag a mile up and down for fun. Then ran another 8 miles up and down the mountain.

#6) I can run 30.1 miles (AKA 50K) whenever I want to.


That’s me smiling (on the right) before I knew how bad it would hurt to run 30 miles in less than 5.5 hours.

#7) It impresses my husband and kids. My kids want to be like me and they brag about me to their friends.


My girls showing everyone how it’s done at the Mississippi Spartan Race. They were 15 and 12, but they’ve been doing amazing things like this since they were 9 and 7.


#8) The people.


I’ve spent my past four years with some wonderful people who have seen dramatic changes in their life because of CrossFit.

#9) Every day, I’m living and breathing proof that haters are gonna’ hate. And, I just keep doing what I do–getting stronger, faster and better, and using my fitness to show my kids how to live for a living. No amount of hate blogs or negative opinions from anecdotal evidence will ever change that or take away the fitness I have worked for and gained from CrossFit–a thriving fitness method, that obviously isn’t for everyone. But, one that’s exactly perfect for me.

Why do you do CrossFit?


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