The annual CrossFit Games have just concluded for 2021. With Justin Medeiros becoming the youngest male champion ever aged just 22, and Tia-Clair Toomey making history as the most dominant CrossFit athlete yet, it was an exciting and dynamic competition.
But even if becoming a competitive athlete is far from your radar, you can benefit from the fitness sensation that is CrossFit. So what is CrossFit, what are the benefits, and is it for you?
CrossFit was created by Greg Glassman in Santa Cruz, CA, in 2000. It is a branded workout system featuring many different types of exercises. The name CrossFit is short for “cross-discipline fitness”.
CrossFit incorporates elements of weightlifting, high intensity interval training (HIIT), gymnastics, calisthenics, plyometrics, and much more. The purpose is to train the entire body, rather than focusing on just one type of exercise or muscle group.
The physical benefits are clear. But joining a class and working out with others can still feel daunting. Here are five benefits to joining a CrossFit exercise class.
Motivation and Inspiration
There’s no getting around it: CrossFit is hard! When you’re first starting out, you might think it’s too difficult and be tempted to quit. But with other people around you, you can find that inspiration to dig a little deeper and push yourself through to the last rep.
Most CrossFit classes will include people of a wide range of abilities and experience levels. So you can be inspired by that super fit person at the front, but also find mutual support with the other new person next to you.
For many participants, CrossFit is not just a form of exercise but a way of life. When you get into the sport, you’ll be becoming part of a global community. With an estimated 4 million participants around the world, you’ll be joining a huge family of like-minded fitness enthusiasts.
Some fun facts for you: according to CrossFitFortify, CrossFit is equally as popular with men and women, and is most popular amongst those aged 25-44.
Who hasn’t skipped the gym to stay on the couch or watch an extra hour of Netflix at some point? One of the best things about joining a group exercise class like CrossFit is that it gives you accountability and a set schedule. It’s easier to motivate yourself to get to your class when you’ve paid for it, entered it into your calendar, and when your workout buddy is expecting you.
According to one study, working out with others can provide mental as well as physical benefits. Participants experienced a 12.6% increase in mental wellbeing and a massive 26.2% reduction in stress levels after taking part in group exercise programs for 12 weeks.
We all live stressful lives, and that is particularly true in the wake of difficult times like the last year’s pandemic. So why not sweat out some of that stress? Going to your CrossFit class will clear your mind, ground you in your body, and lower cortisol, a hormone that plays a role in health problems including weight gain and diabetes.
If working out where other people can see you sounds like your worst nightmare, you’re not alone. But if you can push through your discomfort and go for it, working out as part of a group exercise class like CrossFit can give your self-esteem and self-belief a huge boost.
If you stick with it, you’ll see yourself getting stronger and more capable with each passing week. This, combined with the encouragement of your instructor and classmates, will have you walking taller and feeling pleased with yourself. Improved self-esteem can benefit you in all areas of your life.
There are over 14,000 CrossFit-affiliated gyms across the world, and more than 5,000 of these are in the United States. So wherever you live, there’s likely to be a CrossFit class near you. The easiest way to find one is to use CrossFit’s Find a Gym tool.
So what are you waiting for? Give it a go—you’ll be glad you did!