The Evolution of the CrossFit Community

Community is key.If you reached this blog, you may have also caught our other blogger, Ben Isabella, and his blog this week. He’s a mighty fine writer, so if you missed it, please finish mine and then head on over.

His most recent blog made me really appreciate how CrossFit is evolving and how Affiliates are building terrific Boxes and communities. A few weeks ago I was telling my wife how unique this CrossFit concept has become and how I feel that it truly reaches back to the essence of humanity.

It’s not so much the fitness that encapsulates this concept, but it actually has more to do with the community and health aspects that survive in each Box. The community supports its people, operating like a tribe bettering themselves each and every day. In addition to fitness, a lot of Boxes offer meal plans, supplements or other nutrition items. They have parties and get togethers. They even venture out of the Box every once in a while to interact with other Boxes.

To me this is how humans were designed to exist. I don’t think CrossFit was created for this purpose, but the business concepts of CrossFit have clearly been in favor of such a scenario since the beginning. Like Isabella stated in his blog, it’s more about the community keeping people involved.

When I’ve presented my feelings about the community, people often quip with the results. Sure, the results are fantastic, but at least in my opinion, it’s more about the community. It’s possible the community doesn’t come up first in everyone’s mind because they see the community in a different light.

For example, a lot of the guys I talk to that enjoy their Box do so because of the competition. If someone is lifting more than you or moving faster, it’s human nature to want to push harder. This is also a case for a lot of women, especially for those that are on a competitive level. What they don’t see is that the competition is part of community. If you’re running down the street and a person passes you, it’s not in your gut to chase them down and pass them. It might not sit well to be passed, but you are probably in your own zone striving for your own fitness pace. At a Box, when a person passes you, you may push harder and literally run them down. Yes, that’s competition, but it’s also community.

Likewise, the motivating factors are much more about community than teamwork. Sure, people on your team will cheer you on, but that’s typically because they will receive a similar outcome if you perform well. What does one CrossFitter receive if another person succeeds? They don’t receive anything, but possibly the same response when they struggle with a WOD. That’s not teamwork, that’s community.

Truthfully, CrossFit all stems around the community. It’s a sales proposition, it’s a retention tool and it’s a motivator. In all reality, although the fitness is fantastic, it comes second to the community developed in your Box.

You may have designed a great place for athletes, day-to-day CrossFitters or stay-at-home moms, but regardless you have established a community to galvanize individuals and achieve results.

But, as always, I’m curious as to your stance. What comes first at your Box, community or results? Tell me why in the comments.

Tyler Montgomery
Tyler is a former editor of Box Pro Magazine.