How CrossFit Came To Rule The World

If you haven’t come across CrossFit, we can only assume you have been living under a rock for the last decade.

What is CrossFit?
Nerd Fitness describes it very nicely: “CrossFit is a training program that builds strength and conditioning through varied and challenging workouts.  Each day the workout tests a different part of your functional strength or conditioning, not specializing in one particular thing, but rather with the goal of building a body that’s capable of practically anything and everything.”

CrossFit is the brainchild of Californian fitness entrepreneurs Greg Glassman and Lauren Jena. Their vision for a part philosophy, part fitness regime incorporates workouts that include elements from high-intensity interval training, Olympic weightlifting, plyometrics, powerlifting, gymnastics, calisthenics, and strongman with a lifestyle focussed around community building and wellness.

Over the past decade, 1,100 CrossFit specific gyms have appeared worldwide, with its army of instructors delivering multi-discipline regimes created by the franchise owners to more than 2,000,000 people.

How it works:
CrossFit workouts follow a structured pattern of activity, starting off with a warm-up, followed by skill development, a high-intensity or strength based “workout of the day” (or WOD), and a warm down. Performance on each WOD is scored to encourage competition and to track individual progress.

The Gyms:
CrossFit gyms use equipment from multiple disciplines, including barbells, dumbbells, gymnastics rings, pull-up bars, jump ropes, kettlebells, medicine balls, plyo boxes, resistance bands, rowing machines, and various mats.

So, Why has it been so Successful?
In short, the focus on results, health, and happiness established within the community.

CrossFit has gone beyond simply training and into the establishment of a holistic lifestyle “culture”. Its members are connected and vocal advocates of a “hard work = results” attitude. The CrossFitter’s sense of belonging and passion for the “CrossFit way” has driven its growth through social media, where a combination of timing and consumer engagement have seen it thrive. In creating this community Glassman and Jena have been able to deliver the perfect balance of lifestyle and culture and created a $4 billion business in the process.

As Greg Glassman puts it: “CrossFit is all about the sacrifice, (and) the soreness, it’s the getting up in the morning, it’s doing one more rep when you think you can’t. It’s drawing from somewhere really deep, it’s learning that ultimately the best things in life come out of commitment, out of sacrifice, out of working harder than the other guy, getting up earlier, staying up late.”

For Glassman, CrossFit has become a living and breathing way of life whose advocates are buoyed by a vision of living well, making the right decisions and being measured by your actions.

In many senses, Glassman and Jena have created a fitness religion, whereby its dedicated followers have found solace, not from a book, but from the community they enter into and the feeling of well-being they derive from the lifestyle.

If it sounds like you want to know more? Why not find your local CrossFit gym or head back here next month for our blog on the “CrossFit way” and our look at the CrossFit Games.

Happy CrossFitting!