Anyone walking into a CrossFit gym in Sydney for the first time usually does a quick double take and wonders what it is that they have just walked into. CrossFit is still relatively new in Sydney and for people seeking information about this new fitness trend they have heard about, there is often a few seconds of bewilderment while they digest what CrossFit is and the sort of training that happens in classes.
Many people walk into a CrossFit gym (box) expecting to see rowing machines, elliptical trainers and people with headphones on working out in their own little world. Instead they see wooden boxes, an oversize jungle gym, kettlebells and climbing ropes. The participants would not even notice that you are there. They are focused on nothing else but they task in front of them and you can see by the expressions on their faces that the challenge they have in front of them is not trivial. It is rare to turn up to a CrossFit gym and see anyone working out solo. The classes for CrossFit are built around team motivation and a strong sense of in-the-trenches fellowship. There is a healthy amount of competition between members in the group, but primarily you are in an atmosphere of collective encouragement and it is infectious and maybe a little bit frightening for anyone seeing it for the first time.
Working out as part of a group has proven to be highly beneficial for both motivation and in getting results. It is too easy to cheat and cut corners on your training when you are on your own, especially if you are having an off day where your heart just isn’t in it. When you are training as part of a group and you have an audience other than yourself, you will train harder. The harder you train, the quicker you will see results in your fitness and physique. This will encourage you to train even harder and when you start to experience this kind of success as a group you have a training community that is fun and rewarding to be a part of.
While this is a great story to sell to newcomers, un unfortunate side issue is that people observing CrossFit for the first time can find it intimidating. People looking to lose excessive weight or improve their fitness from a low starting point are embarrassed to start classes as they don’t want to be that person. At CrossFit 2010, a busy CrossFit gym in Sydney’s CBD they advertise and are proud of the fact that 50% of the membership are females. They are well aware of the fact that many females are daunted by walking into gyms dominated by males. For many prospective trainees walking into a CrossFit gym for the first time is the hardest part, but if they can summon the courage to sign up and get started and get over being the new person, they will later wonder what it was that they were ever afraid of.
While much of CrossFit’s initial success was attributed to it being new, trendy and something that established fitness enthusiasts were keen to try, the growth in popularity across Sydney has been due the following:
- Newcomers who are able to stick with it for the first few weeks see very positive initial results quickly.
- Community based training sees people returning more than other forms of fitness training. This higher than average retention rate means a faster growing community.
- Friends, family and colleagues observe these positive results and ask about CrossFit. More than 50% of newcomers are introduced via word-of-mouth.
- Established participants see a huge variety of exercises in their WOD. It isn’t as boring as sitting on a rowing machine for 60 minutes every day or repeating the same routine 3 times per week.
Anyone considering CrossFit for the first time should sign up and take a look. Most gyms will offer a week for free so people can try it out. Go and see what all of the hype is about.