Is There CrossFit at Burning Man?

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Cara Silverstein | September 19, 2016 | no comments |

I wonder if there’s CrossFit at Burning Man?  That was my question in the couple of weeks leading up to my first time at the event.  Surely in a city of 70,000 people, someone’s got a CrossFit camp, right?

When I asked around, this was the most common response – ‘Work out at burning man? That’s what set up and take down is for!’ I found out that was kind of true.  I was one of the first of my camp to arrive and one of the last to leave.  Setting up our public camp space included erecting 9 shade structures, installing a 9 hole mini golf course along with posts for signs and decorations.  There were two days of unloading heavy boxes from our truck, driving t-posts into the ground, digging trenches for electrical cords then filling them back in and tamping them back down, setting up a shower and an evaporation pond for the greywater.  It wasn’t quick and intense like a WOD but I was surely getting a workout in.

I’d heard that Burning Man is often transformational for people.  It’s a place where you learn a lot about yourself and can come back a different person; I definitely did.  One of the more minor things I learned about myself is that I like being surprisingly strong.  During setup another woman at the camp was trying to move an amplifier and she couldn’t lift it.  I walked over and picked it up by its handle like it was an empty suitcase.  She said, ‘Wow, you’re strong.’  I paused a moment then said, ‘Yes, I am.’  I realized at that moment that something about being strong when I wasn’t expected to be was kind of thrilling.

I also found out that I can now do the yoga pose, Chattaranga.  That’s the one where you lower yourself from plank position until you’re hovering over the floor.  One morning a campmate was doing yoga in our shade structure so I joined her doing Sun Salutations.  I’ve never been able to hover over the floor before, I’ve always basically flopped down from plank position to laying on the floor.  This time, I hovered – I actually hovered.  In my head I was thanking Wildcat Crossfit for encouraging me to avoid ‘lady pushups’!

I never did find a camp offering WOD’s, but it turned out that the camp next door to me was a workout camp and the camp across the street did 100 squats every morning, announcing it on their megaphone.  After 2 days of setup and a day to rest, I actually did get in a short WOD at the camp next door and then the wave that is Burning Man caught me and I was just going with the flow from there – nothing scheduled, nothing planned – and no working out.

Returning back to ‘the default world’, it took some time for me to get back into a groove where I felt like I could manage my time again, plan things around a work schedule again.  This morning I finally got back in for a WOD at Wildcat.  I was expecting to feel like I was starting from scratch again since it had been nearly a month since I’d been in but it was just like riding a bike.

They say that Burning Man is like going home for a lot of people.  There’s a deep feeling of community there, a camaraderie, a humanness that doesn’t often show up in the default world.  There’s also a tribe for everyone.  No matter what your interests, passions, curiosities, you can find it there. Going back to Wildcat this morning, I reconnected with the CrossFit tribe and felt a little bit like I’d come home.


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