Why CrossFit?

barbells on a rack

Whether you’re a so called “CrossFitter” or not, you’ve asked the question or you’ve been asked the question: Why CrossFit?

A while ago I was in my box warming up for a short WOD talking to a fellow member. We asked each other how and why we started CrossFit. Both of our stories were pretty similar in the sense that we made fun of the sport before actually trying it.

The expressions and questions we shared were what almost all of us have said at some point. CrossFit isn’t safe. It’s a cult. I don’t want to be cheered for while I work out. It’s intimidating. Why doesn’t anyone wear a shirt? Why isn’t there air conditioning? Why is it called a box? Why do I have to be competitive? Why is it so expensive?

Sadly, all of the concerns above are valid. I’ll try to answer those concerns and questions in the best way I, a near two-year CrossFitter can.

There are CrossFit boxes that aren’t safe. I’ve been to a few that just throw anyone into a workout the first day they walk in without testing their fitness level with either an on-ramp class or even so much as ask them if they’ve picked up a barbell in their life. Like finding the right gym for you, you need to find the right box for you.

It can feel like a cult, or become a clique. That’s the community aspect CrossFit prides itself on. Try it for a month and you’ll see it’s not a cult. It’s a way of life. Pushing those around to be the best they can be.

We do cheer for you while working out whether you like it or not. A few months in and you’ll catch yourself cheering at the top of your lungs at the athletes finishing up a WOD.

It is intimidating because it’s — at the moment — not the workout norm. I have a feeling it will be one day due to the worldwide growth and the ability to get a really good workout within an hour. I’m still intimidated by it, but that’s the challenge. The constantly varied workouts day in and day out would make the average athlete intimidated to a certain extent.

Some don’t wear shirts because they look really good shirtless and it took a lot of days in the box to rip off their shirt in the middle of a workout. Not everyone takes off their shirt. Some days it’s just really hot in the box and your shirt feels five pounds heavier with all the soaked up sweat.

There are a lot of gyms across the country that don’t have A/C, and there are plenty of CrossFit boxes with A/C. Again, find the box that’s right for you.

I honestly don’t know the answer to why a CrossFit gym is called a box. I’ll get back to you on that one.

You don’t have to be competitive, but if you spend a few days a week in the box you can’t escape the competitive atmosphere. It challenges you to not just compete against your friends at the box, but compete against yourself. Nothing feels better than completing the same WOD you did two months ago and obliterating your old time.

The reason why it’s so expensive is because you get an amazing workout that is within an hour time period with a certified coach who usually knows what they are talking about. They genuinely care about your functional fitness. At most places, you don’t get that.

CrossFit, at its core, is for the betterment of you, not CrossFit. CrossFit has a vested interest in making its athletes look and feel good. Trust me, I didn’t think I’d be writing an article about CrossFit. I wish I had stepped in my box sooner.


Editor’s note: The views expressed herein are the author’s and don’t necessarily reflect the views of The Barbell Spin.

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Jim Isbell
Jim Isbell is a contributing writer at The Barbell Spin. He trains at Crossfit Fort Worth in the great state of Texas.

4 COMMENTS

  1. They are called boxes becuase they can be generally found in old shipping warehouses and such, which is literally just a concrete box. The cost is high partly becuase of the coaching as you described but mainly becuase they use a different business model than regular gyms, which is for people to sign up and never use the facilities or stop going and forget about the bill or jist don’t care becuase the cost is so low, boxes don’t have that luxury.

  2. There’s lots of nice info in this article about what attending crossfire might be like for a newbie but the reader still doesn’t come away knowing why the author (or the fellow crossfitter they were chatting to) started in the 1st place. Still curious, esp given the discribed intimidation felt.

  3. Well a lot of the questions and concerns I posed at the beginning were what me and the fellow crossfitter asked or had been asked by other athletes hesitant about CrossFit at first. Only reason I had answers to those questions were from discussions with other members and those who don’t CrossFit. The article was to inform those who never tried it to give it a shot knowing what they know now from reading the article, and to those who do CrossFit and still feel intimidated walking in — know that they are not alone. Thanks for the question!

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