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Industry Buzz: What We Can Learn From CrossFit


shutterstock_194981807CrossFit gets a lot of flack in the health and fitness community for its over-the-top mentality and extreme reputation. Although the validity of that reputation is up for debate — one thing is undeniable: People love it.

This year, CrossFit crossed the 10,000 mark of opened Boxes, and the trend continues to grow. This got me to thinking: is there anything the health club industry can learn from CrossFit?

I believe the answer is yes.

I have quite a few friends who have begun drinking the CrossFit Koolaid, and when I asked them why they love CrossFit so much, the answer wasn’t, “Because for the first time in my life I have a six-pack.” Instead, the answer had much more to do with living a better, more functional life.

“When I first started CrossFit, my coach gave me a lecture about how CrossFit’s goal is to help you live a better life,” said Heather. “It’s not about being skinny or having flat abs — it’s about being able to play with your kids or lift heavy boxes.”

My other friend, Emily, agreed: “My first coach told me that if I was here to get skinny, then CrossFit wasn’t for me. I was here to get strong. In fact, I recently moved and when I was carrying heavy stuff up the stairs, I thought, this is why I do CrossFit.”

Of course, this sounds very much like functional training, a trend the health and fitness industry has welcomed with open arms. However, where some clubs have only accepted the fitness component of functional training — and left out the nutrition part — CrossFit preaches both. “Diet is as important to CrossFit as the workouts are,” said Heather. “It’s a lifestyle.”

Although a lot of people do want to just be skinny, or just boast a six-pack, ultimately I think most would be happy living a more functional, healthy life. And that is a lesson I think we can learn from CrossFit. When it comes to your members’ health and fitness, consider taking a more encompassing approach that includes fitness, diet and well-being — not just looks.

I’m not asking you to start drinking the CrossFit Koolaid, but maybe think about just trying a sip.


Rachel Zabonick is the Editor of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@clubsolutionsmagazine.com. Reach out to her about exciting events or programs your club has implemented, or to share the amazing accomplishments of a member.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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1 Comment

  1. Donna Snow November 20, 2014

    Cross fit is a paradox … it doesn’t feel like a gym but it is everything like a gym. I think the friendly competition helps with goal setting without really thinking about an end game. I also think that promoting “fitness” activities outside the gym creates a reason for cross fitters to feel like it’s about life and not just working out at the gym.


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