It is not uncommon to see CrossFit touted in marketing as a fitness program that is for any and everyone, but is this really true? To answer that question, it is important to first separate the question of whether CrossFit is appropriate for everyone from whether or not general fitness is beneficial for everyone. It is also important to understand that CrossFit is an affiliation, not a specific descriptor of how a given gym owner will design and implement their program.
Of course, staying active and building work capacity at a rate that is appropriate for the individual is something that everyone can benefit from. However, the underlying truth is that each gym, regardless of whether or not it is CrossFit affiliated, is owned and operated by a human, and each person will have their own take on how fitness should be delivered to their members.
So, what considerations should be taken into account when determining if a gym is a good fit for you and if you are a good fit for the gym? The answer is there are several, and they may differ depending on the gym you are looking at. Some are black and white. Some are harder to define. The reality is that by joining a CrossFit gym, you are entering a two-way professional relationship between yourself and the coach, and you both need to work together not only for your own success, but also the success of the gym. Here a few questions to keep in mind:
- Does this gym’s monthly cost fit my budget?
- Does this gym’s class schedule fit my schedule?
- Does the coaching staff demonstrate they are capable of providing the guidance I need to reach my goals?
- Does each class provide the experience I am looking for?
- Do I fit in with and support the culture the gym is striving to build and maintain?
- Am I receptive to coach feedback?
- Can I follow along and keep up with the class?
- Is group fitness appropriate for me? Or do I need more individualized attention?
The truth is that CrossFit is not for everyone. Despite what you might read in marketing campaigns, it is not realistic for a coach to work within an infinite spectrum of individuals and provide the same high quality experience to each person. Each gym has a practical range that it operates within in order to deliver a high quality experience, and if a gym is trying to be everything to everyone, it is more than likely spreading itself thin and providing an average experience at best.