Exercise That Doesn’t Discriminate: What CrossFit Gets Right

For decades, lifting weights was the exclusive domain of men. Ten or fifteen years ago, you’d have been lucky to have seen a few female athletes pumping iron. Recently, though, with the popularization of CrossFit and other similar exercise programs, women feel much more welcome in weight rooms around the country. In fact, one recent survey found that that 50% of CrossFit participants are men and 50% are women.

The reason CrossFit works just as well for women as it does for men, is that CrossFit is an innovative strength and conditioning program that allows athletes and participants to improve a broad range of fitness skills. Instead of just focusing on bench pressing the most weight or sprinting around a track as fast as possible, CrossFit combines aerobic exercises, interval training, Olympic weightlifting, and body-weight exercise to improve each person’s fitness individually.

Although women and men might run at different speeds or lift different amounts of weight, women are just as capable of lifting or running as men are, which is where CrossFit differentiates itself from other exercise systems. CrossFit focuses on properly performing the actual exercises. You’ll never be denied participation on a team or be booted to the back of a class based on your athletic performance.


CrossFit Competitions Offer Similar Rewards to Women

What’s unique about CrossFit competitions is that they equally large crowds for their male and female competitors. This is in is stark contrast to other professional sports, like basketball or soccer, where men’s teams attract much larger crowds than women’s. Similarly, male professional athletes in many established sports like basketball, football, baseball, and soccer earn for more money than their female counterparts.

From its very inception, CrossFit made it a point to eliminate the purse money differential for men and women. The inaugural CrossFit Games rewarded both the male and female winner with $25,000 in prize money. And thanks to CrossFit’s contract with ESPN, both the female and male versions of the CrossFit Games are nationally broadcasted.


The Effectiveness of CrossFit for Men and Women

What makes CrossFit a true gender-neutral sport is that everybody is welcome in a CrossFit class, no matter their gender or experience level. If a typical CrossFit class, you’ll see people who are young, old, skinny, and overweight. How hard the workout is depends entirely on the participants’ experience and personal level of fitness.

No matter who decides to join a class, CrossFit instructors encourage all athletes to lift together, run together, and work together. Instead of focusing on differences, CrossFit practitioners concentrate on increasing their strength and improving their health. Everybody–male, female, transgender, or non-binary–is capable of developing muscle and boosting their overall health.

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Eileen O'Shanassy

View posts by Eileen O'Shanassy
Eileen O'Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy

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