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Fitness as a Sport?

Fifteen years ago, 2 fitness entrepreneurs, Lauren Jenai and Greg Glassman introduced a new sport to the world – they called it CrossFit.

CrossFit has since revolutionised the way many professional or aspiring (and even non-athletes), think of fitness. It is a sport that aims to improve an athlete’s general physical preparedness, with this being achieved through the development of ten skills

  • cardiovascular & Stamina
  •  strength & flexibility
  • power & speed
  • coordination & agility
  • balance & accuracy

The sport incorporates elements from other sports and training regimes including Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, plyometrics, calisthenics, as well as the more familiar disciplines of swimming and running.

In 2005, there were 13 CrossFit -affiliated gyms in the U.S. and now 10 years on there are over 10,000 CrossFit affiliates around the world. Whilst over half of these are in the US, CrossFit also has a presence in Asia, Latin America, Australia, Europe and in May, the launch of the new CrossFit gym in Jersey.

“CrossFit does a phenomenal job of making itself very accessible to all types of people. All of the weights can be adjusted, and movements modified to allow any individual to take part. Because of this, physical disabilities generally do not limit individuals in their potential for participation. McGill Kinesiology Patrick Vellner

When looking at why the CrossFit Fitness model has boomed, the key factor, in article after article, blog after blog, YouTube after YouTube clip was the word Community. If you have ever belonged to a gym or a dojo, a church or a charity organisation, a tight-knit business or a club, then you have felt the allure and power of community, and experienced the stories that accompany it.

To facilitate its global reach, CrossFit makes use of a virtual community Internet model (Wikipedia 2015), using technology to its benefit and localising the success of this worldwide brand in a way that no other fitness offering has done in the past. Proud members posting daily how amazing there ‘WOD’ was or how close they are to their best ever ‘Fran’ – a language that only a committed CrossFit member would understand.

This ethos is continued locally at the ‘Box’ which is owned and run by CrossFit Accredited Trainers Joe Murphy & Grant Hogan, whose mantra is very much replicating the localisation of the CrossFit brand with a Jersey ‘family’ that radiates the word community.

“We train incredibly hard; harder than most thought they were capable of. Everyday our members break down barriers and set new standards for themselves.
Our training is intense (relative to each individual) and it creates a bond among our members that can’t be manufactured.
The community aspect of Jersey CrossFit is our greatest strength. There are no egos, and no room for bad attitudes. Those type of people just don’t fit here. We are fun and supportive, we are competitive, we are strong, we are humble”.

The ultimate aspiration is to compete in CrossFit’s annual event, the Open, where any CrossFit members worldwide do a series of five workouts. There are a variety of categories, including such as those based on age, where teenagers’ between the ages 14 and 17 years old as well as the ‘Masters’ for those older than the age of 40.

The Jersey Box have 8 team members competing in this years Open, and will also be representing the island at the British Championships held later this year.

However, the foundation of CrossFit is about preparing people for any physical goal, not simply for competition, and the key is for a realistic and achievable target meaning people can feel comfortable knowing they are still part of the community but working towards achieving their individual goal – another attraction that has seen the popularity of the CrossFit brand grow.

Maslows ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ theory states that the top three motivations for any human endeavour are;

  • self-actualisation
  • esteem
  • love/belonging

Given the goal driven approach, the physical and mental success rate results and the competitive community it has created, CrossFit founders Glass & Jenai has managed to incorporate the top three of Maslow’s Hierarchy key motivators as part of their culture. Whether or not Maslow’s Heirachy was discussed or outlined in the original Business Plan, Glass & Jenai got it spot on.

Find out more on Jersey’s Crossfit and see for yourself why CrossFit promotes, #FitnessAsASport .

Alternatively, contact Jersey Box owner Joe Murphy at joe@jerseycrossfit.je for more information as well as the chance to get your hands on a limited number of free day passes when the new gym opens its doors in May.

Have you tried CrossFit? What are your thoughts?

Yours in Health

Dan Ireland

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