This is the part where you expect me to say “Of course it is, it absolutely is for everybody. Anyone can do it and we can scale it to your needs.”
While that is true.
I’m not going to say that.
The truth for me, which is different from yours, is that I think anyone can actually do CrossFit and get some sort of benefit out of it. But being able to do something and actually doing it or liking doing it are completely different things.
You see if you are not the type of person who really enjoys exercising intensely at all, you may not stick with a CrossFit program. If you love to run and never lift a weight and that is what you love, CrossFit may not be for you. If you want to be a bodybuilder and appear on stage, looking like a body builder is expected to, well again, CrossFit probably is not for you. If you just want to lift some weights at the gym and take a few mirror selfies for your FB or Instagram account, yep you guessed it, CrossFit most definitely is not for you. (please take that as a little joke).
So who is it for? The answer is fairly broad and I think we need to split the participants into 4 groups.
The first group I see are the people that want to shed a few kilos, or a lot, get a good base level of fitness and enjoy themselves along the way. This is where most participants start and to be honest, quite a number of them remain in this group. To me this is brilliant as this is what the CrossFit community is. A group of everyday people getting together and doing something they may never have imagined possible, forming great friendships and creating healthier versions of themselves along the way. They hit the WOD 3 to 5 times a week and really get involved with and engage in their community.
The second group use CrossFit as the cross training for their other chosen sport/s. They want to establish a level of fitness that is better than their opposition and so look for ways to increase their power, strength, stamina, speed, agility, cardio endurance, accuracy, flexibility, coordination and balance. They usually hit a workout about 3 times a week during their season. They train and play the other days and nights. By incorporating movements that are going to further develop their abilities on the sporting field they view CrossFit as an awesome training tool.
The next group is the ones that have chosen to take on CrossFit as their amateur sport. They have turned their fitness program into the sport. It would not be uncommon for them to do multiple workouts in a day, they are incredibly engaged in the community and seek out ways to improve in CrossFit from all sorts of sources, other boxes, magazines, websites, etc. They’re great fun to have around the box as they usually have a friendly competitive spirit and will lift up others when they are in need. They might attend throwdowns on the weekends and all in all just love the program.
The last group are the pros. They make up maybe 1% of the population, they are the ones we see on you tube, the CrossFit mainpage, in sportswear commercials and competing at the CrossFit Games. They are what we look up to, the pinnacle of our sport. Their training can be 3 and 4 hours a day and they make a living out of being a CrossFit athlete. I have met a couple of people from this group and I can tell you they are amazing, not for their abilities, but for their generosity. They have been more than prepared to help out and have a look at programming and even just to watch my technique or WOD and give out pointers on how to get better at CrossFit.
So with those groups I have actually covered everyone. Everybody could fall into one of those categories. But as I said above it isn’t for everyone. You see the biggest thing I see with all of them is their ability to push themselves beyond limits their minds had previously set for them.
We all have self-limiting beliefs but the thing I have seen with 99% of people that stick with CrossFit is that they are never willing to say they can’t do something and they are able to push themselves beyond where they truly thought they could go, time and time again. You see it falls down to mindset. Everyone that sticks with it does not say “the time isn’t right to start an exercise program”, “I need to get fit before I start”, “I am just sooooo busy, I need to do x, y or z before I could get in some exercise.”
The difference is that CrossFitters know it is about your performance in the gym. It is about what you can do and how much you can do. It is not about trying to make your body prettier. We focus on performance, not aesthetics and so you see when you realise that exercising is not about looking better it is about being healthier you find that all the excuses you used to have are gone.
CrossFit is about living longer and living better, not how big your biceps are or how good your after photos look.
This is why CrossFit is not for everyone. If you just want to look better and focus on that, then you won’t get better and will give up easily.
If you want to be better than yesterday, and understand that looking good is a byproduct ofgood health and performance, well CrossFit may just be for you.
About the Author
Jim Ridley is Armidale’s accomplished personal trainer. Having lost over 25 kilos and becoming a PT, Jim knows where you are coming from. He is the owner of Gym Ridz Personal Training and CrossFit Armidale, 2012 Winners of the Health, Beauty and Wellbeing section in the Armidale Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. The only private training studio in Armidale and Armidale’s only CrossFit gym. He is also an avid if not tragic St George Illawarra Dragons fan.