Why Does CrossFit Work?

by Thomas Richards

When’s the last time you were at a globo gym like LifeTime or Planet Fitness? Do you remember what people were doing? Were they working hard or sweating? How many people were really trying hard? Did YOU try hard while you were there (be honest!)? How many times did your workout look like this?:

5 Minute Jog (Actual Length: 90 seconds)

4 Sets of Bench (1 good set with lots of Instagram between sets)

4 Sets of chest machine (maybe some grunting?)

Wander around, call it a day. 🙂

I stopped into a Planet Fitness last summer while traveling and was amazed at how many people were wandering around not doing much. I felt like the black sheep sweating and working hard. I’m not saying there weren’t people putting in work or that “I’m the best”, I just hadn’t been out of my CrossFit bubble in a long time.

It reminded me that CrossFit works because you work hard. If you remember back to my blog post on Stimulus/Recovery/Adaptation, we need to apply a sufficient stressor to the body to make positive changes, i.e. we need to try really hard to get our body to adapt. CrossFit gyms put you at a distinct advantage to do just that because of these factors:

Group Training and Community

People work harder when they are around other people, period, end of story. I can’t count the number of times I’ve finished a workout and thought to myself “I would never have tried that hard alone.” As coaches, we see this play itself out in different classes: If one class has a few really fast people, the WHOLE class moves faster. Whether you’re racing your gym rival, or some person you don’t know well, you’re guaranteed to work harder in a group setting.

Following a Program

Following and sticking to a program is really hard by yourself. You have to have a very specific goal or be very internally motivated to make it happen long term. More often than not, you will plateau because you’ll follow the same comfortable rhythm for too long. The beauty of a great CrossFit gym is the program is already prepared for you. You don’t even need to look at the workout ahead of time if you don’t want to! And most importantly, you’re not going to skip parts of your workout because “you’re not feeling it today”. 

Professional Coach

Everyone that works at SISU is passionate about health, fitness, strength & conditioning, CrossFit, nutrition, etc. We all love helping people reach their goals and want to give back what CrossFit has given us. Coaches spend their free time learning how to teach movements, communicate better, cue and correct more effectively, and exploring our own goals. 

Find an environment that forces you to work hard, ideally with other people around you, and find a program that forces you to progress over time!