[UPDATE: Read the post. Not the commentary in your head about the post. The actual post. Then read this. THEN, if you still feel like it, go ahead and comment. Some o’ yous are saying that I’m saying shit that I’m not actually saying.]

I am a fat CrossFitter. And I love it. Not the being fat. The CrossFitting. I love that I can clean and jerk 113 pounds and deadlift 213. I love that when I started, I was doing black-band (a.k.a. Johnny Jump-up) pull-ups, and now I use the blue. I love that I do nothing but bona fide push-ups. I love that I can hold a handstand against a wall for over a minute and a freestanding one for a couple seconds. I love CrossFit.

And I love you, my coaches and fellow athletes. Probably 94% of the reason I go is because I get to hang out with y’all.

But there’s some etiquette that I think is lacking in the community in general. It’s OK—don’t blame yourself—you didn’t know. I didn’t know not to drop an empty bar until somebody told me.

So here are some suggestions. And I think I speak for many fat CrossFitters.

1. RUNNING

See how I’m running half as fast as everybody else? Yeah, that’s actually my dead sprint. You’re thinking, “No…that can’t possibly…” Yep. It’s true. I’m pushing myself as hard as I possibly can.

Coaches, have some technical critique? Good. Say it. Keep it brief. Make it simple. And don’t give me more than one to think about. Just one. Remember, I’m about to die here.

Fellow athletes, think you need to cheer me on? If you really need to for you, go ahead. But if you don’t, that means I can pretend that nobody sees exactly how slow I am.

2. WODs

Notice how everybody’s finished with the WOD, and I still have an entire round left? At this point, in case you were wondering, I’m terribly, terribly embarrassed. As many times as this has happened, and it’s a lot, I still feel like hiding under a pile of ab-mats.

Do you feel like you need to run with me? Do kettlebell swings with me? Count for me? That’s so sweet. You don’t. Do you feel the urge to do solidarity burpees until I call time? That might accomplish the opposite of what you were intending. On top of my shame, you’ve just piled jealousy (fantastic—look how much fitter she is than I am) and/or guilt (oh shit, dude’s gonna have to do over two hundred burpees).

And imagine you decide to swing a kettlebell with me, the coach chooses that moment to watch and give pointers, and a third party is just staring and cheering. Three people studying my slow ass. That’s a good combo to make me spiral into a Cyclone of Despair.

Here’s what you do. You sit or stand far away. Across the gym. You pretend to talk to someone else. Once, just once, you look over and yell, “You got it, [fat CrossFitter]!” which makes you feel supportive and me watched, but not too much.

3. PHOTOS

Those photos you took of me working out? Restrain yourself from uploading them to Facebook. I’ll write my name and shitty time on the board. I’ll fess up to a measly 2-pound PR in the comments on your website. But despite all evidence to the contrary, I like to maintain a fantasy that I’m a badass when I work out. Your public photos show me how delusional I am and the internet exactly how many chins I have.

4. COMMENTS

Comment on my push press PR. Chat me up about my good back squat form. But please don’t tell me I’m looking skinny. We both know that’s a lie, so it just makes things awkward.

That’s it. Follow these guidelines, and fat CrossFitters everywhere will think you’re a sensitive, supportive, all-around-awesome person.

[UPDATE: Before you comment, please read this.]

[UPDATE: Also, follow-up post.]

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