Is it All About Competition?

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Saw this article on my Facebook feed…and it got me to thinking.

  • I work at a CrossFit Affiliate
  • I am not about Competition
  • Am I really a CrossFitter?
  • Is CrossFit built around being first or being better?

First and foremost, I appreciate articles like the one referenced above because they are not written with the notion that CrossFit is inherently dangerous.  I appreciate the article because it acknowledges that there is a risk of injury but when you work with a quality coach and a quality affiliate, you minimize (not eliminate) that risk.  It even concludes that CrossFit is a “great way to stay active”.

With those things out of the way, is competition THE component that is pushing CrossFit to grow?

From where I sit and based on what I have seen from the early years of CrossFit (I did my first workout in 2007) in the corner of a boxing club.  CrossFit was not the phenomenon that it is now.  The games were for anyone that wanted to compete and the prize money was pretty much whatever you collected when you passed the plate.  There was no talk of mobility.  The target market was built around ex military and law enforcement.

Then it blew up overnight…thanks Reebok!

It was ESPN and CrossFit as a competition and entertainment started to come through.  It went from being underground to fitness clubs everywhere.  And everyone wanted to compete.  Weekend competitions started popping up and we were hooked.  Your workout is my warm-up became a battlecry. And the athletes of CrossFit started showing up more and more.

So it stands today.  There are affiliates across the globe and more and more popping up every day.  And we are still left with the question posed at the beginning…what is causing this growth?  Competitions have helped, but ultimately, the results that the program gets are pushing the growth.  The exposure to new training modalities are pushing the growth.

The most beautiful thing that CrossFit has allowed to happen is owners to run their gym, how they see fit.  Want to emphasize olympic lifting..go for it.  Enjoy strongman…fill your gym up with Atlas Stones, Yokes, Farmers Handles and get after it.  They say you can train however you want.

Everything within this universe of fitness has been built around exposing more and more people to new ways of training that do not involve treadmills and machines.  Women have learn to love the deadlift, the clean and jerk and kettlebells.  Men got to train like Rocky in an abandoned building, sweating and feeling alive again.  And they got their buddies involved.  And the community grew.

And that is where the reality of this phenomenon’s growth comes from.  Everybody suffered together.  Everyone felt the same misery in the moment and then felt the rush of accomplishment at the end.  We shared an experience and no one had to program for themselves.  We were not stuck on auto-pilot watching television as we tried to figure out the best pace on a treadmill and everyday was different.  It was always new.

So how did CrossFit become the phenomenon it did?  It was not boring; it introduced everyone to new things and it was centered around a community sharing in the same experiences.  Competition is there for you if you want it…but it isn’t everything.