Derek and Stephanie Javarone first met over box jumps, not beers. “I always found him to be pretty witty, and I think he liked that I could beat him in some WODs (Workouts of the Day) and keep up with the boys,” Stephanie says. Their trainer, CrossFit Gantry owner Jay Hachadoorian, attended their wedding three years later.
The Javarones are just one example of a growing phenomenon: CrossFit boxes (AKA gyms) now rival bar scenes when it comes to getting a date, and lots of devotees are finding lasting love while lifting.
So why does CrossFit often play Cupid?
“It’s really conducive to people getting to know each other,” says Christa Guidi, a 34-year-old public-relations professional who met her boyfriend at CrossFit 215 in Philadelphia. Unlike lonely treadmill workouts at the gym or spin classes where you pedal silently in the dark, participants work closely together and spot each other, which creates more chances for chatting—and flirtation.
More so than other workouts, a team mentality pervades, and communities often form that extend well beyond the CrossFit box—to mud runs and Paleo barbecues.
CrossFit also draws a certain kind of person—famously Type As who are up for a challenge. So it can be a barometer for having other things in common and compatibility.
“I think if you do CrossFit, you’re already the kind of person who likes to push themselves and is adventurous,” explains Nicole Tiberia, who is married to CrossFit Greenpoint co-owner Mike Tiberia and has seen lots of couples get together at their box. “And you really feel like you bond with someone when you’re doing these hard workouts together,” she says.
Kelly Plowe, a 33-year-old dietician, definitely felt that bond with her boyfriend, who she met at CrossFit LA, and has now been with for a year and a half. “There’s a different level of trust you have with someone when you work out with them,” she explains. “Plus, they’ve seen you at your worst. I get really beet red and sweaty and my hair goes everywhere—so you can only go up from there.” (Of course, that’s not to underestimate the power of endorphins, Spandex, and bulging muscles.)
One thing all these couples also have in common? After finding each other, they continue to do CrossFit, usually together. “He’s much more skilled and stronger than me, so he used to partner with the strong dudes, but he says he likes partnering with me now. We get to communicate and work through it,” Plowe says.
Stephanie Javarone agrees. “We are approaching our first year of marriage and still CrossFitting. A couple that works out together stays together!” —Lisa Elaine Held