CrossFit is the brainchild of gymnast Greg Glassman with the first affiliated gym established in 1995. By 2000 the program travelled across North America. Since then, it has become one of the most popular exercise regimes since the invention of jogging. The program focuses on strength and encompasses the components of fitness—including power, strength, endurance, flexibility, speed, agility, cardiorespiratory strength and endurance, coordination, and balance. The pace is fast as participants move from one station to the other while working up a sweat and leaving shaking from the intensity. To say that CrossFit has become a popular fitness pastime is putting it lightly. The culture of CrossFit has influenced a “take no prisoners” fitness mindset that is attractive to some and terrifying to others.
Although there have been numerous reviews of the pros and cons of CrossFit as it relates to the physical benefits and possible injuries, there have been fewer examining the psychological results of participation. If we were to apply the basics of exercise psychology to the examination of Cross-fit what would the pros and cons be?
1. Pro: CrossFit May Enhance a Sense of Mastery
Mastery may be defined as having a sense of control, command, and skill over a task such as an exercise or series of exercises. By establishing a sense of mastery over something it may enhance the motivation and commitment to continue the task. CrossFit may offer the participant an opportunity to develop skill sets related to lifting techniques and the coordination needed to perform the exercises of the class.
The benefits of mastery motivation include an elevated level of self-confidence when coupled with social support and words of encouragement from the trainers. Additionally, a sense of accomplishment and changes in skill level and physique also play a role in the adherence to the program.