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 Reach out to her about exciting events or programs your club has implemented, or to share the amazing accomplishments of a member.

1 Comment

  1. Donna Snow

    November 20, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    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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