Understanding crossfit vs conventional gym

Crossfit vs gym

Unless you live under a rock, you have probably heard about the biggest fitness trend that took South Africa by storm. Yep, we are talking about Crossfit. 


What is CrossFit?


Crossfit is a form of high-intensity interval training. It is defined as a strength and conditioning workout that is made up of functional movement performed at a high-intensity level. Movements include things like push-ups, pull-ups, squats and weight-lifting to name a few that typically lasts for a predetermined amount of time in order for the “cross-fitters” to build muscle optimally. This is different than your normal workouts where you focus on a number of reps rather than time.  


The CrossFit journal claims that these workouts are so effective due to the emphasis of weight and speed which helps the members to develop great power. The workouts typically include a lot of equipment such as kettle-bells, medicine balls, speed ropes and rings.


What are the benefits of CrossFit?

Build muscle

If you read our blog on HIIT workouts, you probably know why we feel that this is a great benefit. CrossFit focuses on super high-intensity strength training which is why we see so many people who attend a CrossFit gym, develop muscles pretty quickly.


The “vibe”

Yes, the “vibe” is absolutely a thing. Picture yourself driving to the gym, feeling pumped and ready to bend some bars and work up a sweat only to arrive to a gym full of pensioner-ladies doing yoga on some Abba song you don’t want to know. This would kinda kill your vibe, right? That is why a CrossFit gym often does so well. Nothing motivates you more during a workout than a bunch of like-minded, motivated people around you giving it their all. The over-used Instagram caption “Your vibe, attracts your tribe” is evident in CrossFit gyms. CrossFit has managed to combine competition, adrenaline and endorphins as their primary “vibe” which makes it a great environment to workout in. 


The support

Another great benefit of CrossFit is that the coaches are very involved with the workouts and can provide assistance, guidance and support to the members. Many people don’t always know how to do a certain workout, so it is a great pull-factor that you would have a coach nearby who can assist you with questions

What are the drawbacks of CrossFit?

If there is one thing we have learned about CrossFit it is that either you love it or you completely hate it. There are many drawbacks to this type of exercise. 

Possible injury

A recent study has found that around 20% of people who do CrossFit, have injured themselves during a workout. The intense nature of the workouts has resulted in many people leaving the gym with an injury which can demotivate the individual and in worst cases, even prevent them from doing any form of exercise in months. Whichever exercise you choose to do, know that there is always risk involved. You can even sprain your ankle just by talking your dogs for a quick speed-walk around the block. However, engaging in CrossFit exercises may bump up those odds a bit more.

High cost

Having a gym to go to is considered a luxury some people can simply not afford especially when you are looking to join a CrossFit gym. An unlimited standard membership can cost up to R1,000.00 which is more than the average gym-membership price. It is understandable since the gyms are very large and have large equipment that probably justifies these fees, however not many people have the money to invest in CrossFit and they would rather look for alternatives like conventional gyms, boot camps or online classes



CrossFit vs Gym

Generally speaking, these two terms are almost incomparable since they are two totally different concepts. Broadly speaking, a gym is a place where members lift weights, do cardio work and take exercise classes. The word “gym” is loosely used to refer to any physical exercise done within the walls of a fitness centre. CrossFit is a sport and a training method based on gymnastics, weight training, and cardio. It’s possible to do CrossFit in a gym.


If you ask us which one is the better option, we’d simply say it depends on your goals. It is possible to incorporate the same high-intensity strength training at a conventional gym that you would find at a CrossFit centre. We would recommend trying out both ways to see which one fits your style and goals the best. 


Our conclusion - The popular expression “To each their own” applies. We are all unique individuals and what works for you may not work for the next person. At Fitness Fables, we try to have a more holistic approach in combining different forms of exercise for the best results customised to each individual. The truth is that you can get into shape anywhere, whether you want to train in your room with some Youtube videos or you want to physically visit a gym, it all depends on you. So do some research and decide what your budget allows you to do but all we want is for you to start somewhere. Get up, get moving and work towards a healthier lifestyle however way you choose.

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