Fitness fads come and go, many fading into memory as the next big thing arrives. CrossFit, however, doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of disappearing any time soon. One of the most popular fitness trends across the country, there are thousands of affiliates and gyms, known as “boxes” in CrossFit slang, established in the United States alone. While devotees know exactly why they stick with the hardcore training regimen, it can be baffling to an outsider. If you have no experience with CrossFit and wonder about the secret behind its staying power, here are ten of the reasons it’s probably not going to go the way of legwarmers and Jazzercise.
- It’s Effective – While it’s far from the only driving factor behind the program’s longevity, it is one of the most powerful: done properly, CrossFit is incredibly effective. Enthusiasts do see very real results through dedication, changing their bodies and boosting their own self-esteem.
- Existing Members are Strong Recruiters –Those results achieved because CrossFit is effective have a sort of two-fold power. Because they look great, CrossFit enthusiasts are a walking advertisement for the system. Because the program works so well on so many levels, these enthusiasts also become evangelists for the program. Because numbers of participants continue to grow and continue to reach others, the growth potential of CrossFit is incredible.
- A Sense of Camaraderie – CrossFit isn’t just exercise, and participating at each session is akin to running a gauntlet. Going through such physically demanding and intense workouts while encouraging one another to go harder, faster and stronger builds a sense of community not often seen in other fitness programs.
- It’s a New Approach to an Old Problem – Getting and staying in shape is by no means an exclusively modern concern. Fitness buffs have been trying to find a way of revolutionizing exercise for decades, but many systems are rehashed or retooled versions of those that came before. CrossFit tackles the problem head on, without relying upon the often confusing equipment, aloof attitudes and elitism of typical gyms.
- A Culture of Coaching and Support – People love to make a real difference in themselves and the world around them, but even the most seasoned athlete will appreciate some support from time to time. Unlike a traditional gym membership which will typically consist of spending money to use complex equipment incorrectly with no guidance, CrossFit is built around guidance and support.
- Providing a Strong Sense of Accomplishment – One of the things most often cited by CrossFit devotees is the sense of accomplishment they get from doing something they never would have thought their bodies capable of before starting the program. By accomplishing astounding feats in boxes around the country, CrossFit participants stimulate the reward centers of their brains. Very literally, the brain of a CrossFit fan rewards them for pushing their limits at every turn.
- Strong Beginner Programs – CrossFit may have started as an underground sensation, but it’s firmly planted in the mainstream of fitness culture now. One of the reasons for not only it’s continued growth is the scalable nature of workouts designed to benefit the most machine-like specimen of the human body and the absolute beginner alike. Paired with the guidance of coaching staff and the supportive attitude of other participants, CrossFit is as able to court beginners as it is to keep established members coming back for more.
- Inclusive Attitudes – Traditional gyms and programs are places where gender lines can be sharply divided, with women feeling left out, harassed or marginalized in many traditional gyms. Almost sixty percent of long-term CrossFit participants are women, and this culture of inclusion makes for strong growth and staying power among both sexes.
- Active Recognition – It’s human nature to want recognition for a extreme effort, something CrossFit knows and capitalizes upon with not only verbal congratulations at every turn, but daily rankings for all to see. People keep coming back because they’re striving for that recognition, just like they’re striving for the perfect body.
- Formal Competition Opportunities – When you’re great at something, it’s natural to be interested in formal competition. If you’re great at Zumba or a master of the elliptical machine, though, there aren’t too many opportunities to compete. CrossFit competitions, though, do exist and are publicized, giving people a definable goal for which to strive, which keeps them coming back and working hard in boxes across the country.
Like any popular exercise system, CrossFit has its share of detractors and naysayers. Still, even the vocal nature of these critics shows no sign of slowing down the growth of CrossFit around the world.