What Boxes Are Made Of

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Borderline cirrhosis at the young age of 22 was not cool. Your crush not having a crush on you was even worse. Everyone knows that fitness must be a part of life for many reasons. I was ready to give in. Some of my personal motives were for health, a better figure, and work-life balance. Along with other friends, I got into activities such as boxing, cycling, globo/conventional gyms, even summer classes for dancing and making dreamy commitments to wake boarding weekly (permission to laugh given) to achieve our fitness goals. That said I was so game to try out most anything since I was actually on the verge of searching my fitness niche. I wanted change.

One day the girls in my “sweat group” were jumping in excitement seeing a good deal at a promo site to try a session from one of the branches of CFMNL. Good news! Bad news? The promo only entertains girls. Oh well, guess I’ll just pay more than them and still give it a try since my friends are onto it already. We arrived and point number one, aside from the receptionist, a member came to the front so randomly and welcomed us – weird but wow! A stranger talking to us, willing to step out of his cycle to welcome co-strangers? What a friendly community! Something new, strange, but so light and such an attractive feel! Point number two, which was actually what caught me, I don’t recall introducing myself to anyone but at one point while in the workout I suddenly hear my name being cheered on as I race with the clock. The activity is actually racing to a faster time or most number of reps a.k.a. being competitive is part of it…but, could it be? Could it be possible that there is actually an existing environment that does not have
that crab mentality vibe? Aside from Church, there is actually an uplifting environment, and even promotes it?

Day in and day out from work, school, or what have you, load just creeps in; how competition is bread as part of the environment gets so draining; the negativity of crab mentality suddenly minimizes your fire from your first day high and eats your passion to work and perform well. And then suddenly, you step into this place called a “CrossFit box” wherein you don’t really know anybody (yet) and everyone cheers you on and reminds you that you can do more than you think. People around you, both students and spectators, congratulate you for your achievements, and give you a high-five every time you “fail”, or safe to say, build your character. Wow! SIGN ME UP!

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Funny, I’m sure while they were cheering me on, it was just a normal day for them and even most, if not all, don’t remember me anymore. But to this day, that simple gesture made an impact on me, maybe even changed my life that could probably stream on to
change others’ as well. From that day on I couldn’t stop dreaming of getting more CrossFit in my life. That amazing, positive energy is deserved by everyone! I think I have found the niche I want to be in.

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So my next step was to look for a box accessible and, of course, affordable. How did I do my search? I literally jumped from one box to another, collecting cheap passes and even free trials, both here and in the US. From what I did, I experienced a variety of CrossFit box cultures/characteristics/personalities. But one of the most thankful outcomes I have gotten from being a box hobo is meeting new people, in turn, gaining friends. And with these new found friends, we started with one common ground which unfolded everyday to more values shared that uplifted us, linking arms to growth, and so on. It’s so nice to have dreamers and goal-diggers as your circle of influence. Karamay, as they say. But in this karamay to progress, I would want to recall one of my friends’ beautiful quotable quote that most CrossFitters may relate with – “Came for the workout, stayed for the family.” We are each other’s motivation, or at least accountability partners to the goal, whatever our individual goals are.

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Fitness and health became a common language. For most, progress has been a blessing. Now, a friend who can’t even do a single push up can do pull ups and carry a bar at body weight over her head one year down the road; a parent who is a cancer survivor has
been healthy and active for 3 years now; a team mate did not just lose weight but lost so much inches from his mid section, and the story of individual successes would go on and on.

This brought about the dream. What if we can share this blessing of health, fitness, and progress with more people? That is basically not just having a chance of a longer life, but a lengthier health span/quality of life. What if what we went through could be the same story for others as well and be blessed? What if there could be a chance that we could pay it forward? What if we can give back to the community and help them #RegainFitness?

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That is the heart of CFMNL Quezon Avenue. It’s not just a business; it’s even more than an advocacy. To us partners, it is a movement. CFMNL Quezon Avenue is a blessing to us and we can’t make our personal motives a priority. It is just right to use this blessing as a tool for the Lord to bless others, to change lives as much as doing CrossFit with CFMNL changed ours.

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It all started with a dream. And funny how, along the way, we were tested with how much we wanted it. The 2-month construction phase wasn’t smooth. But I guess in everything it is like that – like an athlete having intense training to be a better version of him/herself than yesterday; a rose is pressed so hard to emit it’s fragrance and produce the best perfume; a wood is scratched, scraped, and rubbed harshly to fabricate it’s best figure and texture; a piece of dirt or rock passed through immense pressure and heat to bring into being a precious diamond. Probably, again something the partners could be thankful to CrossFit, with the time we spent doing the “sport” we naturally honed a character of optimism. We were able to cling on to each other for strength, admitted our weaknesses, and straight away turn to being solution oriented.

Opening day was just incredible. There was laughter, stories told, dreams shared, tears-of-joy shed, smiles gleamed, prayers offered and answered, thanksgiving, hugs, high-fives, selfies, camaraderie –  a beautiful image of hope. We took a picture at the façade, and we thought, yes, the sweat was worth it. But more than that, we saw a place where we’ll be able to be God’s channel of His blessings to churn people slowly, every time they come out there, into diamonds.

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That day was more than a celebration of opening or a new beginning. It was a celebration of thanksgiving. Thankful for a chance to have a new beginning not just for us, but hopefully a (new) beginning for others too – to be healthy again, to finally have a sport, to be strong, to be fit, to look better, to be healthy again, to be that happy place and get away from the drag of the outside world, to unlock new skills, and the list goes on.

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We call upon everyone and together let’s take that leap of faith and track on that trail to being a blessing to others.
Grateful? Definitely. Ready? We are. And to you, blessings be.

Get after it!

Magnum Bakunawa, CrossFitMNL Makati/ Quezon Avenue