CrossFit is a fitness regimen developed by a man called Greg Glassman. He defined fitness in a meaningful, measurable way – increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains. He then created a strength and conditioning program specifically designed to improve fitness and health.

CrossFit is described as “constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity”. All CrossFit workouts are based on functional movements, and these movements reflect the best aspects of gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing and more!

I started Crossfit about 6 months ago attending sessions twice a week and have since upped my membership a few times in that period and now attend 5 times per week. I have found CrossFit to be very effective and moreover very addictive. Not only in the sense that I attend more often but I have become completely obsessed with the sport and all things CrossFit. In this article I wanted to explore some of the reasons why I think CrossFit is so addictive for me and many others, looking beyond the fact it provides desirable physical changes to our bodies.

  1. Social support

Social support can be described as an observable and perceived phenomenon related to the experience of being cared for and loved, valued, and esteemed (McColl, 1995). Most research makes a distinction between various forms of social support, including practical support, informational support, and emotional support. The CrossFit community covers all of these areas.

The community at CrossFit is something not to be underestimated. It is hugely different to a commercial gym. Everyone at the box (CrossFit gym) knows each other – by name! Supports each other and cares about your progress. No one is left to struggle through a workout on their own. Someone is always on hand to offer advice/guidance, moral support and encouragement; this could be a coach or a fellow member.

  1. Data

The CrossFit program is driven by data. Every workout uses a whiteboards to keep accurate scores of what was done each day. It is encouraged that everything is written down in a personal log to track progress of weights used and times/reps achieved during workouts. This data has important value well beyond motivation; I find the main benefit of recording everything is that it enables you to set goals.

Goal setting has been widely researched. Studies of goal setting have found that specific, goals lead to better performance and goals affect performance by affecting effort, persistence, and direction of attention (Locke & Latham, 1985) The implications of these findings help explain why CrossFit is so addictive. Who doesn’t like to get better at things?

  1. Competition

As mentioned above scores after a workout are written up on a whiteboard for everyone to see. This allows you to compare your performance with others in the box and create an element of competition. I sometimes found it extremely difficult to push myself during workouts at a normal gym when working out alone and I no longer have to worry about this since starting CrossFit. I find myself pushing harder and striving for better performances when I’m working out at my CrossFit box alongside the other members. In a study testing aerobic exercise Irwin et al (2012) found that participants improved their performance by an average of 87 if they did it with a partner rather than by themselves. this proves the power of working out alongside others.

Looking at the above three factors I think it is clear to see what it is about CrossFit that makes people like myself keep coming back for more.