The benefits of CrossFit are many, but the community aspect is the key factor that keep so many coming back for more. Why is that?
Scenario #1 You show up at the gym, scan your pass at the front desk, and walk to the change room. You put your stuff in a locker, put your headphones on, crank your tunes and hit the gym floor. You give the head nod to a couple people you see every day, but don't actually know their names. You do your usual routine... run on the treadmill for 30 mins, or head to the weight machines, or grab some free weights. You do what you usually do... maybe a weight circuit you found online... or maybe some core work. If you're bored on that particular day, maybe you decide to cut your workout short. Or maybe you're feeling good so you run a little longer or do a few more sets. You've hit the end of your playlist and you've decided you're good for fitness for the day, so you grab your stuff and head out. You haven't really spoken to anyone.
Scenario #2 You arrive at the gym and the music is blaring from the class that is wrapping up before yours. Everyone else in the change room is happy to see you and you chat about the workout from the previous day, or what you did on the weekend, or how your family is doing.
You head out into the gym together and the coach greets you by name. There are a couple new faces in the class so, during the warm up, the coach welcomes everyone and facilitates a group intro. You say your name and something interesting about yourself, and everyone follows suit. You look around and see that, in that class, there is a mom of four kids, a university student, a small business owner, a newlywed couple giving CrossFit a try for the first time, a chiropractor, and some colleagues that work at the business down the street.
After the coach discusses and demonstrates the movements for the workout, everyone gets ready, and the clock starts. As the music is pumping, everyone does the workout together to the best of their ability, but as you sweat it out, you know that everyone around you is sweating it out just as hard as you. Maybe you have a friendly competition going with your chiropractor-friend so you try and push a little harder to beat her. Or maybe the person working out next to you sees that you did your first real pull-up in a workout, so through their laboured breathing, they give you a 'NICE WORK BUDDY!!'.
The workout ends and everyone is sweaty and breathing hard. The coach goes around and gives everyone a high five. After you pick yourself up off the floor, you go around and give everyone else in the class high-fives as well.
Some people really enjoy the solitude of working out solo - just them and their tunes. And that's great. We encourage ANY and ALL fitness because it is far more important to be active than sedentary. By no means are we knocking the solo fitnesser!
But here's the thing. Humans thrive off of community. We are stronger together. We are emotional beings, some of us more than others 😉, so when it comes to doing things that are hard - in this case, daily fitnessing - not only are we more likely to succeed as a group, we are more likely to ENJOY the process. This enjoyment causes us to WANT to be there, day after day. And THAT is what leads to results.
Fitness, health, happiness, and well-being are not destinations. They are long and sometimes arduous journeys. So, why are we more likely to succeed when we are part of a community vs. when we face it on our own?
If you miss two... three... four days at the gym when you are on the solo bus, nobody is going to be sending you the "Where the hell are you?!" message telling you to get your butt to the gym. If you don't feel like going, there is nothing... or rather, there is NOBODY... there to keep you accountable.
Now, if you are part of a CrossFit community, and if you haven't told everyone that you are going to be away on holidays, or away for work, or some LEGIT reason why you aren't going to be at the gym... you have a one-day grace period before you start getting text messages, Facebook messages, and emails from your people asking you where you are.
This makes us feel good about ourselves! We matter. We belong. We are part of something greater than ourselves. And it makes us accountable to people who care about us. That is a MAJOR driver of our behaviour.
We ALL have days where we feel like we can't do it; or we look terrible; or we are failing at life. Sometimes all we need is for someone to give us a knowing smile that says 'I know you're having a tough go, but let's do this one thing together, and I think you might feel a little better afterwards'.
We aren't saying that a CrossFit workout is the cure for all things. I mean... we may FEEL that way but we won't say it out loud. But we have seen time and time again how people show up to the gym, are surrounded by an amazing community for one hour of their day, and they walk out feeling like things aren't quite as bad as when they came in. They feel encouraged by the support of their people.
The CrossFit environment is supportive by design. When you sign up to try CrossFit, your only option is to join a class of like-minded individuals who are there with a common goal... to improve health and fitness. Every member of the class is at a different stage in their fitness journey and so everyone is supported at the stage they are at. This is a very important point! Nobody is made to feel as though they need to be better in order to fit in. What a refreshing feeling! Being 100% supported where you are at... and YET feeling encouraged to push yourself a bit harder to improve.
CrossFit is hard. We do a lot of things that make many people think we are crazy. Why would we push ourselves THAT hard?! Why would we lift THAT much weight?! How can that possibly be fun?! All legit questions to which you may not understand the answer until you have experienced it for yourself.
When we do hard and NEW things, it is intimidating to push ourselves to go a step further. What if we fail? DUM, DUM, DUMMMMMMMM... That HORRIBLE word!! FAILURE!!! We all know that failure sucks. Period. But failure is all part of the journey. It's part of growth. And we are more likely to take that step further if we have people around us encouraging us to TAKE that step. Encouragement in a CrossFit box comes from a place of deep understanding. Members often remember trying over and over and over again to perform a given movement. They remember what it felt like to continue failing. But they ALSO remember what it felt like to be encouraged by others and then to finally succeed.
Believe us... celebrating success with others is WAY more fun than celebrating solo!
These are the three biggest things that make fitnessing with friends so much more enjoyable... even when it doesn't FEEL enjoyable in the moment ;). But by no means is this list complete. All we know for sure, is when we ask our members what they love the most about AI, 'the community' is always one of the top answers.
Who wouldn't want to be a part of that??