All it takes is a five-minute conversation with a dedicated CrossFit athlete and it becomes obvious that this is much more than a fad workout. It’s a lifestyle.
It has the “misery loves company” aspect of a military boot camp which has helped to bond soldiers for generations. Plus, it has the constant variety of physical activities, led by a well-trained coach, that are almost impossible for a self-directed individual to conceive of, much less execute. And finally, it has a very strong since of camaraderie among other CrossFit participants that one would never experience in a traditional health club.
According to Ross Lawrence, in an article he wrote for Active NORCAL, “CrossFit has another, important aspect which sets it apart. “It is universally scalable. Essentially, this means that a ‘CrossFitter’ can cater workouts to his or her own physical capabilities by choosing the size of the weights used and doing less taxing versions of certain exercise.”
He also reiterated the advantage of CrossFit’s variety of exercises. “As a means to stave of exercise boredom, CrossFit instructors vary group workouts every single day. Rarely, if ever, will you find yourself doing the same routine you’ve done before. Constantly mixing up programming ensures that athletes are utilizing and strengthening different muscles every time out. Using all the muscles in your body, and working them out in varying ways makes it impossible to plateau. Within one group lesson, you might use row machines, pull-up bars, elastic bands, ropes, barbells, kettlebells, PVC pipes and medicine balls.”
“Attendees at group classes benefit from the great amount of skill and education that coaches possess when it comes to the design of the workouts. Interestingly, for the purpose of keeping each and every muscle in their bodies fit, coaches won’t even design their own routines for fear that they’ll exclude movements they subconsciously don’t like to do.”
The CrossFit lifestyle continues even when the workout is over.
Just Follow the Money
In 2015, an Atlanta-based, consumer banking marketing research company called Cardlytics began studying the purchasing patterns of millions of people who visited fitness centers that year. They analyzed the spending of people who worked out at traditional health clubs, CrossFit gyms, boutique cycling studios and yoga/Pilates/barre studios.
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, the company “looked at the transactions of everyone who spent at least $30 on fitness in 2015 after not spending on that type of fitness the year before.” The results showed how spending on fitness compares with the purchases outside the gym. This includes what they spend on eating out, which stores they shop, what they value and what they buy.”
It will surprise no one in the CrossFit community, that their group is dramatically different from the others!
For example, people who work out in traditional health clubs spend a whopping 14.6 percent of their food budget on the empty calories of fast food. As the Planet Fitness CEO, Chris Rondeau noted in the WSJ article, “If I look at a CrossFit client, they’re probably a much more avid, enthusiastic, maybe overcommitted exerciser. So, they may tend to eat a little better than someone that isn’t quite a serious or as fanatical about it.”
That word “fanatical” seems to show up quite a bit when CrossFit athletes are being discussed!
There are other fascinating aspects of the people who adhere to the CrossFit lifestyle. For example:
Sports apparel companies like Reebok have taken notice of spending power of the CrossFit members. The company started making CrossFit-specific gear in 2011 and now offers about 250 apparel items and 16 footwear items for men and women. This is about twice what the company had planned to offer when it first started launched its CrossFit line.
A Lifestyle That Drives Healthy Choices
Whether they are in the middle of the often grueling WOD, shopping or having dinner at a nice restaurant, the CrossFit athletes maintain this unique lifestyle and it drives their healthy choices.
“What we notice though is that people at our gym realize that if they eat or drink to excess, the next day’s workout is going to be really difficult. So instead of having several drinks they only have one. The shift in overall health happens organically,” noted Bryan Schenone, owner of CrossFit Redding, California.
“There’s an element of camaraderie with CrossFit because everyone knows how crappy it feels to be suffering through the workouts. No one wants to be last. But first or last, everyone is cheering for you the whole time,” observed Schenone. “CrossFit Redding is a really tight-knit group. We have barbeques and go to the movies together. We go out a lot, and it has become our social network.”When an exercise program becomes a social network, there’s a strong commitment to fitness. Do you have a story about how the CrossFit lifestyle helped you feel better and helped you overcome the bad habit we all have? Contact us and share your story. We’ll share it with everyone else.