If you are an avid CrossFit athlete, then the words ‘CrossFit is my church’ may ring a bell. According to Harvard Divinity School researchers, CrossFit has come to be more than just a way to stay fit in the new millennium: it is filling a gap once occupied by religious affiliation. Essentially, CrossFit is much more than a gym workout: it is a way to connect with others, feel like part of something larger than yourself, and find support for your fitness and personal goals. A recent study published in the journal Heliyon backs the idea that CrossFit’s popularity can be attributed to much more than the physical results it brings.

Who Is Attracted To Crossfit?

The Heliyon study looked at the different factors that motivate athletes to do sport. Their aim was to understand the extent to which different personality types, participatory motives, and reward-based motivation led athletes to choose different workout types. The findings showed that athletes who chose CrossFit and group exercise were primarily motivated by the ability to form social connections. Those who were more interested in activities such as long-distance running and resistance training, on the other hand, were more motivated by the challenges they provided.

crossfitCrossFit Athletes Have The Highest Intrinsic Motivation

The study also showed that people who were motivated by intrinsic motivations such as achieving goals, having fun, and reducing stress, exercised more frequently. CrossFit athletes in particular ranked highest in terms of intrinsic motivation. This may very well have to do with the social/community connections fostered at a CrossFit box. Athletes often feel a strong connection to their box and to other participants. They also prioritize wearing CrossFit gear that protects against injury and is prevalent at their box. Thus, everything from workout grips to weight training belts and calf compression sleeves mark the CrossFit athlete out from someone who may simply be attending the gym for a CrossFit workout.

What Intrinsic Goals Do CrossFitters Have?

Research published in the International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology has found that just a few intrinsic goals that result in adherence to workout regimes include developing skills and improving health. The researchers recommended that trainers emphasize these goals so as to keep participants’ activity levels high. Some of the many skills that are honed in CrossFit include stamina, flexibility, power, speed, balance and accuracy. Fitness trainers should progress slowly but steadily to enable beginners to progress to complex exercises. As stated by experts at CrossFit.com, before completing a wall, athletes may start first with a full range of motion push-up, followed by a dip, then pike push-ups on a box. Undertaking exercises effectively and safely avoids injury and loss of motivation owing to pain or an inability to undertake moves that are too complex for your ability.

CrossFit participants are some of the most motivated people in sport today. Moved by intrinsic goals, they are also ‘people persons’ who value the friendships their sport allows them to achieve. To keep athletes coming to the box, fitness trainers should work on skills and health improvement – two of the most powerful motivators for any athlete, whether they are absolute beginners or seasoned professionals.