Originally devised to train the military, CrossFit was founded in America by a retired Navy SEAL named Greg Glassman. Glassman’s guiding principles have helped people throughout the world increase their fitness by incorporating various weightlifting and gymnastic activities into their routine.
In 2013, former Manchester fighter Samantha Briggs became Britain’s firstCrossFit Games world champion which helped in propelling its popularity in the UK to what it is today. People doing CrossFit usually train in their local ‘box’, which is a large open space akin to a warehouse stocked with various fitness equipment. CrossFit has taken the world by storm, and their unique culture and manner of training has helped in promoting inclusivity. So, let’s take a look at the benefits of CrossFit in creating an inclusive culture.
CrossFit is a functional training program for anyone wishing to improve their fitness and strength. Refinery29's Laura Delaratao shared her experience on trying out the CrossFit training program as a plus-sized and body-positive woman.Initially intimidated by CrossFit, Laura went to the box expecting negative comments about her plus-size athleticism. She found however that nobody-negative comments were thrown her way throughout her training program.Moreover, she shares that one of the best parts of CrossFit is that there’s always a way to modify the workout depending on your abilities and your body.If you can’t do a high box jump, you can do step-ups instead. If you aren’t skilled in kipping your knees to your chest, you can opt for a dead hang. Simple adjustments like these allow more people to try exercises outside of their comfort zone in a friendly and encouraging environment.
Delaratao acknowledges that it wasn’t an easy process, but the slow yet steady progression allowed her to see differences.When discussing her training she says, “Of course, there were days when I wanted to give up. It was either because the workout was too much, or because I was too tired to go out after work. But then, I would think: On day one, I could barely do a push-up and now I can do 10.”
There are more people like Delaratao who have benefited from the inclusive culture of CrossFit. CrossFit communities are known for catering to people with disabilities in order to help them reach their own personal fitness goals. A good example of this is CrossFit athlete Lindsay Hilton who was born with no legs and arms, but can do a mean pull up. Instead of avoiding sport altogether, Hilton did the opposite and threw herself at it. Despite her condition, Hilton's Cross Fit companions help her achieve personal goals and push her capabilities.
What makes CrossFit different from the others is that you workout with a group of people instead of on your own in a regular gym. While this may intimidate others, they soon realise that it isn’t a competition against your companions; rather it’s a competition against yourself. Thus in a sociological study, M. Dawson remarks how it is common CrossFit culture to cheer others on and push them to finish the workout of the day. With the capacity for CrossFit to create such tight-knit support groups, it’s no wonder that CrossFit is popular as a wellness program for companies. While 76% of the UK’s workforce is struggling physically and mentally, it’s high time companies acknowledge the need for wellness programs focused on physical activities that are aimed at including everyone.