We hear it all the time: exercise isn’t just good for the body, it’s good for the mind too. Not only does regular exercise improve body composition, increase fitness, and reduce the risk of various health issues, exercise is also a tried and true way to both reduce stress and improve mental functioning.
While any type of exercise is certainly better than none, CrossFit separates itself from other workout regimens in many ways. While strength and endurance gains are great, today I’m talking about the things you gain between the ears.
Here are four wonderful mental health gains you’ll get from doing CrossFit:
1. The Support of a Community
When you go to a globo-gym to hit a workout, chances are you’re surrounded by strangers with their headphones in, everyone in their own world. You all just go in, do your own thing, and then leave.
There’s probably some really amazing people there, there’s just not really an opportunity to get to know them. When you walk into a CrossFit gym, music comes from one source and everyone listens to the same thing. Everyone does the same workout at a level that is appropriate for them, and everyone cheers until the last person has finished the workout.
When you all experience the same workout together, encourage one another to the end, and keep each other accountable for showing up and doing it all over again the next day, you really do become a family. The friendships I’ve made through CrossFit in this way are incredible, and are some of the strongest bonds I have to this day.
With CrossFit, aesthetics aren’t necessary the focus. Sure, if you dial in your nutrition and complete the workouts regularly, the aesthetic changes you will see are definitely a confidence booster.
But the main focus in CrossFit is performance: getting your first pull up, lifting heavier weights, increasing your endurance. These are the things we chase and work towards in CrossFit.
How do you know when you’ve reached one? When a flight of stairs no longer leaves you winded at the top. When you find yourself gladly chasing your kids across the yard. When you carry all your groceries inside in one trip.
Working out solely based on the desire to look a certain way isn’t a sustainable reason for most people in the long run, which usually leads to those never ending cycles of getting back into the gym for a few weeks followed by falling off the wagon again.
By taking the focus away from aesthetics, and instead setting performance goals that you want to achieve and discovering all the awesome things your body is capable of doing, there’s a much greater chance that you will stick to it and keep coming back.
And as you find yourself crushing these goals you’ve been working hard for, your confidence continues to build as well, and you carry that confidence with you into all the other areas in your life.
3. Openness to New Things
In CrossFit, there are so many movements that will be brand new to you. Ever done a one legged squat? What about barbell lifts? Tire flips?
When you go to a class and see a movement you’ve never attempted before, it might be a little nerve wracking at first. But the more you keep showing up and trying new things, you’re also developing openness and growing as a person in general, which again transfers to other aspects in your life.
After a few months of CrossFit, who knows? Maybe you’ll finally go try that thing you’ve been telling yourself you would do for years now.
4. Mental Strength and Resilience
We all have our strengths and our weaknesses, inside the gym and outside the gym. At some point, there’s going to be a workout that makes you timid. But you come in and do it anyway, building that confidence, openness, and, over time, mental strength and resiliency.
Picture this: you’re under stress during a tough workout and you’re not sure if you’re going to be able to finish it. But the community is there, pushing you to keep going, so you work through to the end. (If you’ve done CrossFit, i’m sure you know exactly what this feels like!)
CrossFit can teach you how to deal with pressure, and you take that with you everywhere else. Maybe at work you have a deadline for a big project coming up. You remember that workout that you weren’t sure you could finish in time, but also remember that you did it with everyone cheering you on. You buckle down and get the project done in time, because you realize that you ARE capable of producing quality work under pressure. CrossFit helps you to find the tools to manage the stress and get you through it.
CrossFit has helped me so much in these four ways, and I see these things developing in our members daily. It’s a beautiful thing to see someone who entered CrossFit hesitantly, but a month later they’re walking with their head held higher than before, achieving new goals and open to trying new things. I can’t wait to meet YOU and see what YOU can achieve!
Curious about CrossFit, but not sure if it’s right for you? Book a FREE No Sweat Intro with us to find out more and see if we can help you reach your goals! Just click the button below to schedule yours today!