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Crossfit and the Deaf community

Melissa: Hello, this is Fritts Mosshart, he’s a deaf crossfit coach!


Melissa: As I’m sure you know, Crossfit is becoming extremely popular. It’s all the hype right now and I’m curious, can you sum up Crossfit for us?


Fritts: It’s an extremely high intensity workout that gets your heart rate up. Every day is different- it’s not random, but it’s rare to do the same thing day after day. What you do this week, won’t be the same next week. Next month you’ll finally hit something again-- everyday is different so you never work with the same body parts. This helps you stay in shape and become more fit.


Melissa: I’ve heard that Crossfit is dangerous and it’s easy to get hurt, is that true?  


Fritts: Yes and No. Yes people do get hurt, but it’s the same with any sport- football, baseball...what usually causes this is a bad coach. A coach who doesn’t pay attention to your form. That isn’t helpful for deaf people who rely on their sight. A good coach will monitor you and make sure you’re safe. Client safety is priority number one.


Melissa: So how is Crossfit different than going to a normal gym?


Fritts: The difference is Globo people tend to go to the gym themselves, and for those who aren’t body builders you’ll be lost trying to figure out what to do. With Cross Fit when you come in, you’re in our hands.


Melissa: Could you explain what Globo is...?


Fritts: Haha, Globo is a common gym when you go in they look the same, exercise machines, ellipticals, they look the same, and we rebel against the status quo. Those gyms are all the same when you come in, you sign up for a membership. If you quit, you don’t come back. That’s globo. If you don’t come to Crossfit we reach out to see what’s up. If you’re discouraged, we encourage you to come back, and we push you to be the best.


Melissa: I want to ask about your experience as a coach. When did you start?


Fritts: I started as a coach a year ago in July. A friend of mine told me her father owned a Crossfit gym. Her Dad asked her how they could be more Deaf Friendly and my name came up. They asked to meet me and I said sure, I thought they needed reinforcement. We chatted and hit it off, and they hired me on the spot. They paid for my certification and I became committed to getting my certification and never looked back. This is my life now, I love it.


Melissa: What is the certification process like?


Fitts: For level one, the beginners, it’s a weekend workshop. They explain the theory, logistics and their beliefs in what a coach should do to be safe. Then you take a test and if you pass it, you get your level one. From there if you desire to advance even more you are encouraged to do so. Right now I’m pursuing level two.


Melissa: How do you communicate with hearing clients?


Fitts: Luckily, I spent summers with my hearing parents who told me that we live in a hearing world and you must learn to fit into that world. Here there is loud music, I can lip-read, the cool thing here is that people shout, and most of the time hearing clients are very accommodating with gestures and I can give them simple commands, plus we write on the board. So far there haven’t been any complaints about not understanding me.

Melissa: So, what is it like having a deaf CrossFit coach compared to a hearing coach?


Scott: There’s a big difference, with a deaf coach they can sign. With a hearing coach you have to gesture and you’re never sure what they’re saying, will they tell me I’m doing something wrong? Whereas a deaf coach will be more hands on, deaf people are generally hands on, so Fritts works with me and that benefits me tremendously, so having a deaf coach is a huge advantage.


Scott: Crossfit is all about seeing how far you can go. When I came in on my first day it was awkward, I thought I couldn’t do it, but as I kept going I saw my numbers increase with my weight, my endurance, and I knew I could do it.


Melissa: What made you want to hire a deaf coach?


Kevin (NO VO): My daughter Nora is an interpreter and she actually worked at a competition that  Fritts happened to be at prior to us opening our doors about 6 months before, and she encouraged me to hire him. At first I was like “How is this going to work?” But as soon as I met him I hired him on that same day.

Fritts: Everyone should be healthy in their life no matter how old you are, and I would like to see more deaf Crossfit coaches, there is definitely a place for us.


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