While gyms swell with eager beachgoers during the summer months, many revert to more sedentary habits come fall.
So how do you pick up a warm-weather workout that sticks? Well, CrossFit is not just a summer fling.
We asked top CrossFit coaches about what makes this cult-like fitness craze so addictive. Their high-intensity classes combine movements from weightlifting, running and gymnastics, and are all about staying strong year-round — because burpees and kettlebell swings are less miserable with friends.
We caught up with three coaches who told us how they cultivate a safe and fun community of fitness fiends, and why, yes, really anyone can do it.
A community of camaraderie
If you ever need a friendly smile for motivation, look no further than the person planking next to you, because the coaches say CrossFit is all about creating a support system. “There’s definitely a mind-set that comes with doing CrossFit,” says Harry Palley, head coach at CrossFit New England in Natick, Massachusetts. “Camaraderie through misery. You feel like you’re bonded to the people next to you after a hard class.”
However, coaches (and anyone picked last for kickball) recognize that group fitness can be intimidating. “It’s challenging [because] people really come here to work,” says Jim Loperfido, owner and coach at New York's CrossFit Solace. “But it’s a welcoming type of community where the focus is on how hard you work, not who has the highest score.”
A learning curve
The coaches also emphasize there’s no rush to be awesome the first time you pick up a dumbbell.
“Everything in CrossFit is scalable,” says Ian Creighton, coach at BRICK New York – Grand Central. “I’ve put a mid-70s couple through our CrossFit academy. Anybody who wants to start, regardless of age and physical limitations, can do it. You don’t need to be lifting superheavy weights from the beginning.”
Palley echoes this sentiment, noting that CrossFit workouts are “universally scalable,” meaning each move can be modified to suit an individual’s needs. And you won’t be alone: “New people aren’t being run into the dirt. A little bit over half of each class has workout modifications.”
Settle those fears
But really, despite the obvious personal incentives, the coaches really believe CrossFit is doable for anyone who wants to try — regardless of your current in-shape status, age or motivation.
“CrossFit meets you where you are,” says Loperfido. “My mother started doing CrossFit when she was 55 and still goes four times a week. Now she’s in the best shape of her life.”
If you go:
CrossFit New England
15 Tech Circle, Natick, Massachusetts
BRICK New York – Grand Central
465 Lexington Ave., New York, New York
38 E. 32nd St., New York, New York