The ask: Film and edit a documentary on a subculture of your choice.

My subculture: CrossFit    

Why I chose CrossFit: My subculture was a cry for help. I was lacking motivation to stay healthy so I picked something that could inspire me personally. I wanted to understand what it took people who did CrossFit to prioritize their health and fitness, despite everything going on in their lives. I was inquisitive about what CrossFit meant to them and what drove them to stay devoted to their fitness by showing up day in and day out, even when they felt like giving up.


  1. People (including me) feel intimidated by CrossFit because of the super fit athletes they’ve seen in the competitive CrossFit Games on TV/Internet. Stereotypically, it’s assumed that people who go to CrossFit are ripped and have prior exercise experience.
  2. In contrast to traditional gyms, at CrossFit, women make up 95% of the members in the barbell class that involves heavy weightlifting.
  3. Culturally, CrossFit has normalized women lifting. It has altered how women feel about their bodies and instilled more confidence in them, with respect to how they want to look. For both men and women, it has changed their perception of femininity and beauty.      
  4. Camaraderie plays a huge role in CrossFit. The focus is on helping fellow members be better than their prior selves. The support members get from other CrossFitters helps them push their limits further, which isn’t possible when they workout alone. There is a strong sense of community and the social bonds they build within the gym are really important to them.
  5. Being a CrossFitter is not limited to working on your physical strength. It involves being strong mentally and changing your lifestyle for the better.
  6. The CrossFit experience impacts members’ personal lives and relationships. They apply learnings like strength, endurance and sacrifice to their personal and professional lives.

Personal benefit:

This documentary has helped me see fitness in a different way that involves steering clear of any crash diets. I am now a teetotaller and vegetarian. I’m eating healthier than before and practicing portion control, though I have my cheat days every now and then. I workout 3-4 times a week. 

My goal is to join CrossFit when I move back to Delhi next month.

Sachee Malhotra