Absolutely! But also, no. Certainly maybe 🙂 Without a doubt, Crossfit has been life changing and awesome for me. Does that mean CrossFit is great for everybody? Of course not. Both activities have a place in the world of exercise and both, at the moment, are very popular.
1. Growth CrossFit challenges me. That doesn’t always mean it pushes me to go harder, faster or lift more. Sometimes it challenges me to be smarter about my training – to add more variety or more rest. It challenges me to work on my self-talk and self-compassion. It provides opportunity to do things that scare me and make me nervous (which as I’ve mentioned in, I believe is essential for growth). I think it’s great that yoga promotes mindfulness, which I will mention later. However, overall I have not experienced as much personal growth through Yoga as from CrossFit.
2. Community So much socialization! My closest friends have been made in CrossFit boxes around the world. I see the people at my box every day and they are like family. If I were to move to another box, they would probably become family too. CrossFit has a strong sense of community that is simply not found in other exercise regimes. As an added bonus, surrounding yourself with people who value health and fitness make it easier to stick to your own exercise and health goals.
3. Competitiveness Yes, I was an athlete and so competing is important to me. I love to participate in local competitions. Plenty of my friends are not competitive, but they still benefit from the culture of CrossFit competitiveness. People tend to try harder at a task when someone is watching or counting – so we time the workout. If the person next to you is running their heart out, you might just run a bit faster too. These little pushes make a difference to fitness and consequently health. It creates accountability to show up every day because your class will miss you if you’re not there.
4. Health It is my belief that lifting weight is the most important exercise for maintaining independence and functionality throughout life. Lifting increases bones density so they won’t break when you’re elderly. Muscle mass allows you to move things, including yourself, without becoming injured. I refuse to get ‘old’. I refuse to not be able to do the things I want. I believe CrossFit can help me do this – I do not believe that Yoga offers the same protection.
5. Variety I get bored very easily, but I’ve been doing CrossFit since 2012 and I’m still challenged by it. I still can’t do all the movements (3 years without muscle ups people!) and there’s no shortage of things for me to work on. CrossFit addresses many aspects of fitness – strength, flexibility, endurance etc. Yoga is great for flexibility and perhaps endurance but is lacking the completeness of CrossFit.
6. Weight management My current reality is that without CrossFit, I gain weight. Admittedly, I still have a lot of work to do on my nutrition (who doesn’t?) but CrossFit has helped me make more progress than anything I’ve done previously (including professional sports programs with some of the best trainers in the country). The increase in muscle density from lifting increases basal metabolic rate, causing better weight loss than an hour of cardio. The intensity and physiological systems used in CrossFit are just not comparable to Yoga. I need those calories burned!!
7. Meditation There is one thing Yoga did provide that I have not experienced in CrossFit – mindfulness. Stress management is very important to health. Research is still being done on the specific effects however there are suggestions chronic stress can be just as damaging to health as smoking! Everybody has stress; the key to good health is managing it effectively. Meditation is great for this. I wish I did it more often – I don’t. Yoga is a great way to schedule in some time for mindfulness and to wind down.
8. Personal preference Fun fact: I cannot stand with my arms above shoulder level for more than 60 seconds. It does something to my brain that makes me want to yell and throw things. It is possible…. maybe, that I lack patience and stillness. I’m grateful that CrossFit very rarely requires me to do this. It bothers me endlessly that Yoga requires it all the time. This information is irrelevant to you, but very important to me. You must understand your self and your own body. Choose an activity that makes you happy and allows you to achieve goals that are important to you.
If you love CrossFit, that’s fantastic. I hope we get to WOD together some day. If you prefer yoga then that’s awesome too! I hope it gives you as much joy as CrossFit does for me. Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you – and please don’t hesitate to comment with all the things you love about CrossFit (or yoga) that I’ve missed.