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" Tell me something scary. "
I type the first thing I can think of: " I do CrossFit. And I'm on a CrossFit cruise. "
" Yes, that worked, "replies the Rando I paired with Hinge.
It was the first night of WOD on the Waves Fitness Cruise and I kill the time between events, as each one does: Swiping.
If you admit that you are participating in CrossFit, you can say that you do not like puppies – prepare for an important judgment before you are completely unfairly crossfitters obsessed with their PRs, the "box" (that's "layman's gym") and "The Open."
Those words are simply not in my native language, which is why I do not consider myself a member of the cult – though I do Most diehards have probably cracked their membership in Kettlebell Kitchen to save on the CrossFit cruise, which the founder emphasizes is not affiliated with the official brand Suggest me the excursion by resting more than on sports days.
Forced to see what kind of person spends more than $ 600 to train on a ship, I received a press pass to undertake the four-day trip to the West Coast Bahamas. Advertising on the beach promised Burpees, traditional island activities such as snorkeling and WODs, which were instructed by CrossFit athletes. I can not imagine anything worse than ruining beach time with squats.
What set this journey apart from your standard trip was the array of expensive fitness equipment on the pool decks. Pullup stands, TrueForm treadmills, attack wheels, oarsmen and ski equipment transformed the boat into a marine sports hall.
At the Welcome Pool party, I saw some devilish travelers testing them while hundreds of young people with hard bodies danced and drank to music of the 1940s. It is a common stereotype that cruises are intended only for people who are active in the bingo circles, but everyone here looks as if they are barely out of college.
Earlier in the night, I ducked out of the party and spent time on my phone. Finally, I realize that I do not have anyone to celebrate or eat as a solo traveler. I Google, "What to do on a cruise itself?" And read an ego essay in which the author describes the verdict with which she was traveling alone.
Damn, I panicked even more. I feel happy when I'm going to dinner because I'm excited (and scared) to see what CrossFitters eat on vacation. Disciplined athletes only care about consuming enough protein, whether it be liquid, powdered or roasted beef products. This mentality is a fierce antithesis to the traditional cruiser-driven dessert bars, and I'm wondering if a fancy protein-chocolate-cottage cheese blend was designed to marry them.
I override the buffet for the restaurant, where the host asks if I'd rather sit down with others. Although it is tempting to eat alone, I join another group.
He leads me to an eight-person table already occupied by three couples.
The first are Marta and Junior, who are professional crusaders with 30 expeditions under their belts. Marta loves CrossFit, so there was no question they were going to visit WOD on the Waves. Unfortunately, she died shortly before the trip and injured her ankle so that any physical activity fails.
I am disappointed to see that the menu is just plain American food: grilled salmon with vegetables; Pasta; Chocolate cake. However, there are some elements with a specific kettlebell symbol that indicates it is a good option.
Surprisingly, dinner is not uncomfortable, thanks to what most of us have in common: CrossFit. I talk mainly to Jennifer and Michael, another couple, about their favorite athletes, fitness and nutrition. My CrossFit knowledge is limited, but I am faking the gloomy world of AMRAPS and athletes whose names leave unknown terms.
After dinner, I look at the individual travelers, where I meet Cydnee and Sarah. Cydnee flew all the way from England because she loves CrossFit. And understand that: She's still in college. The expression of a shock in my face must be obvious because it says, "Yes, I know that I look old."
I assure Cydnee that she looks great. The real reason why I'm stunned is that I could barely afford to buy Taco Bell as a student, let alone take a cruise.
Sara is in her mid 20s and has never been to CrossFit, but she loves to work and work out traveling. The combination of the two seemed natural. She found the journey through a Facebook ad and was initially scared that the whole thing could be a scam.
"I was afraid to pay for it," she says. "It just seemed funny."
I mean, yes.
Sara and Cydnee are natural celebrities, so I stay with them. As we engage in conversation, I ask everyone the same question, "Why are you here?"
I am learning some things. First, almost everyone in the blender is young – like Cydnee is young. Second, there are four types of CrossFit cruisers: social media influencers, Instagram contest winners, members of the military (anyone who has won a free or discounted ride), and then the actual CrossFitters.
Surprised by the sheer number of people on board who were on board for free, I asked Christopher Brauser, WOD on the Waves founder, about the trip over it. He explains that WOD on the Waves has donated additional tickets to the Northeast Ohio Foundation for Patriotism, an organization that provides resources to veterinarians and their families. The big Instagram audience is credited with partnering Brauser with Datefit, an app that helps fitness fanatics look for potential swolemates. The app bought tickets to invite social media influencers who then kept freebies on their personal accounts.
Back in the blender, people are looking forward to the Crazy Quest scavenger hunt that night, which I imagine like those primary school icebreakers. You know, the way you find people with certain characteristics, like someone sharing your birthday.
WOD on the Waves
Instead, Crazy Quest is more like a game show. The audience is divided into four teams, each headed by a CrossFit athlete, and the cruise director is a challenge. She asks each team to find someone with a full-length sock. Inquiries are getting more scandalous, and before you know it, there's a group of guys wearing six packs that have moved out to the skivvies. It was almost like seeing Magic Mike when the Strip Club was moved to a Caribbean Ocean.
"Usually things are hanging," commented the cruise director. "I've never seen so many young people."
The next morning, I wake up in time for the ship-wide training, that of Rich Froning, Brooke Wells and a couple of people whom I believe are famous for CrossFit , is directed. But it's only eight in the morning, and I'm not ready to do burpees, so I watch other people do it.
WOD on the waves
"How many of you, this is your second or third grade [of the day]?" Asks one of the athletes.
People are cheering, and I hear a guy mumble something that I think, "These people are crazy."
After drinking a cup of coffee, I'm ready to play the 9- Master clock bootcamp session. a four-time CrossFit Games athlete. She explains the exercises, including throwing a medicine ball on the floor. As Sakamoto steps forward, a frantic blonde races up the stairs to tell us that we are destroying the mood in her spa.
"I'm sorry, I can not blame you for things," says the spa manager. "Absolutely not."
She is insane, and I wonder why this was not explained on a boat loaded with heavy weights. But Sakamoto commits and instead changes the page for medicine ball.
We connect quickly, and a pretty, tight blonde with a southern accent agrees to be my partner. It turns out that she is a trainer and owns her own gym.
I panic immediately. How will I keep up with a professional? At home, I'm always the last one to complete a timed workout. Luckily, my cheeky partner is 100 percent supportive.
"You're fine!" She yells. That's a pretty generous estimate, considering that I'm doing a burpee for each one of them. Nevertheless, I appreciate the encouragement.
We move through training consisting of burpees, box jumps and side passes. It is rumored that burpees will become easier over time. They do not do it. One year in CrossFit and my body still asks me to stop the nonsense every time it's flung to the floor. But I can do it through the training, thanks to my partner, who is also my personal cheerleader.
After that, I complete two more classes – a kettlebell dumbbell combo that contains too many crazy outliers and HIIT. I am relieved that neither too great a challenge nor a partner is required. After more than an hour of burpees, lunges and cleanups, I take a break for lunch and opt for my fourth practice of the day, a dumbbell class held in the city while drinking an omelet and fruit. We're docked in Nassau, Bahamas now, and I think I might as well get off the ship. The cruise staff tells me it's only a 15 minute walk.
In reality, it takes 20 minutes, which means everyone is done with the warm-up and already put weights in their bars when they arrive. I apologize to the coach for the delay, but he is very nice and mates me with a girl who is in my size.
Except this teen – yes, teen! – is deceptively strong. I can not even make a clean and jerky, let alone 30 with her weight. I undress and fry 30 reps with the bar only – which probably explains why I lose my mind and do a fifth workout.
The end of such a lackluster exercise annoys me, so I go jogging. It only takes a few seconds to realize that this was the opposite of a good idea. My legs feel like there's a morning training kettlebell attached to each ankle.
The people around me are tough. A group of men without a shirt are doing pullups. I focus on a couple of synchronous cycling. I see the toned gym owner sitting on a deck chair with her mother. She beckons, and now that someone has noticed me, there is no way to stop without feeling like an idiot. I finish a mile and fall to a chair.
The alarm rings on time at 6:30 am for yoga. I skip it. And then I gave up the 7 o'clock technique class because my body is too tired from yesterday's training. I finally get up to have breakfast with Cydnee and Sara, whom I met for a drink at last night's toga party. Although there are people of all ages on the cruise, it seems as if only the young people come to play. Compared to Cydnee, I feel like a golden girl, but she and Sara become my new BFFs for cruise ships.
There is a 10k fireball that Cydnee and Sara are determined to complete. Essentially, you're making fireballs while you're on a row of bikes or skis in a row of four kilometers. I make some non-binding comments on joining and imagine how to get rid of the exercises on a fitness cruise.
WOD on the Waves
At the event we meet Meredith, a New Yorker I met the day before. She's here with Anna, another journalist who talks about the cruise. Meredith and I expect to be casually CrossFitters in a sea of Kool Aid drinkers.
People start forming teams, and Cydnee and Sara team up with two guys from the toga party. My muscles are relaxed and I do not feel so stiff, so I reluctantly join the team of Meredith and Anna.
While we wait, I ask if anyone else has noticed that most people seem to be traveling freely.
Anna agrees immediately. "You are stupid if you actually paid for it," she says.
There is an unpleasant pause, and then Sara says, "I have paid."
I feel so uncomfortable. Anna apologizes quickly and the Snafu is immediately forgotten as soon as a rower opens. As a team of three, we row a few kilometers each and change places every two minutes.
The first few laps are surprisingly easy, but I'm soon ready to give up and think about an injury. Is that even possible on a rower?
After all, there are only a few hundred meters left.
I push my feet back and pull the handle to my chest. My legs are burning. My hips are tight. I just want it to end.
A guy from Sara's team cheers me on.
"They are almost there! You're great, "he shouts.
I know he's lying, because the ad shows I just slowed down, I look at what's left, and make a little countdown in my head.  "40 yards away," I think, "That's just four sets of 10 more."
And then I'm done.
Everyone is wiped out and we cool off by watching the other teams Girl next to us is frustrated because her oarsman is not working, she jokingly demands batteries as soon as possible, but Meredith takes that seriously.
"That was aggressive," she says. "These people scare me."
WOD on the Waves
If Meredith was afraid of the overzealous oarsman, she could not handle the crowd at the Q & A athletes later that night. It was a Froning fanfest.  As an outsider, it is difficult to discuss It's all about training, open and the boys' achievements.
A man interests me a lot because he cheers every time Froning talks, and even an occasional "Hell yeah!" Place. His excitement can only compete with my own shrill cries during a Backstreet Boys concert.
I have to meet him.
After questions and answers, I head straight for the fanboy who is not surprisingly sitting in front and lurking while chatting with Froning.
"Hello, I noticed your excitement during the panel," I say, sinking the moment he leaves. "Do you have some time to talk?"
I take Eric and his wife Lauren to a quiet corner.
"So what brought you on this cruise?" I ask.
"We booked this for a honeymoon," says Eric.
I have so many questions. When did you get married? Would you like to drink Mai Tais on the beach? And more importantly, what does Lauren think about that?
It turned out that it was her idea.
They explain that three years ago a motorcycle crash left Eric with a broken back and a permanently paralyzed hand. Lauren's brother is a next-level CrossFit advocate, and she thought the community would be good for Eric, a former Marine.
"I did not think I could do something like CrossFit," he says.
About seven months ago, Lauren finally convinced Eric to try a Memorial Day WOD. He was addicted
"They were so warm," he says of the people in his local box in San Diego.
One day, Lauren rummaged through Instagram and discovered that her favorite athletes, Bridges and Froning, were on the cruise. They did not hesitate to book the trip for their honeymoon.
Eric says he feels particularly attached to Bridges, a former military.
"He was our first flock," he reveals.
They began digging Froning after watching The Fittest Man on Earth recording the athlete's career.
"He is such a god," enthuses Eric. "I tell you, see The Strongest Man on Earth ."
Meanwhile, Lauren is thrilled with Froning's virtuous qualities.
"It has everything to do with everyone else, and that's what CrossFit is about," she says. "We are all out to help and improve each other."
Eric hopes to be like Froning this way. He wants to open a gym geared to adaptive athletes like him, as the CrossFit community is constantly supported.
"They keep us going every day," says Lauren.
I skip the training sessions for the rest of the cruise. Instead, I watch some people around the pool, look at the work and make new friends. I meet Bill from Florida, who also chose this trip as a romantic honeymoon. He looks incredible and repeats humbly to be 50. I chat with Brian, a 20-year-old bartender, who was traveling alone because his boyfriend stayed home due to an emergency in the family. And I meet the CrossFit athlete Elijah Muhammad, who asks to be included in this story because it would be cool to tell his children that he was mentioned in Men's Health .
It is clear that they are all too over-zealous, though they are not particularly offensive or, in Meredith's words, scary. And no matter how much I look at people who are obsessed with their PRs or refuse to eat cakes, I have so much more in common with them than I think.
Confession: I spend hours talking to Brian, Dana, and Matt, three CrossFitters, whom I met through Cydnee. And I really enjoy it. In fact, I need people like her. Yes, they are a bit obsessed with fitness, but their positive attitude blasphemes the participants (like me!) Who are motivated by hard training. They make me turn up when I prefer to skip leg day to eat ice cream on the sofa.
Plus, if you spend your waking hours talking about CrossFit, it's no worse than thundering over Game of Thrones spoilers: an argument that I've never thought about myself before Jason Ackerman, a fitness studio owner in New York, entertained.
"Yes, we are crazy," admits Ackerman. "But you know something, I think we were all passionately busy with something worse. And if we're passionate about health and fitness and the best of us, that's a pretty cool thing to be passionate about.
One month after the cruise, I receive a notification from Hinge, in which Brandon, a video editor, can be seen Brooklyn, I liked my profile. Several messages in, he cops to be a member of two very expensive New York gyms. In return, I have my mistake.
"I admit … Crossfit people are driving me crazy," he replies. "It's a bit cultic."
"🙄," I shoot back. "I mean, it's just like any other workout."
Melissa Matthews is the health care practitioner at MensHealth.com and has written for Newsweek, Men's Fitness, Inc.