With the summer right around the corner, many of you are trying to figure out the game plan to drop those last several pounds or to add much-needed muscle to a less-than-stellar frame. From personal trainers and gym memberships, to P90x and Whole 30 diets, the options are limitless when it comes to fine tuning your body.

Maybe I am a little biased, but out of all the options out there (except maybe personal training), I am the biggest fan of group training, and I would be remiss if I didn’t give credit to CrossFit in making it socially acceptable to do things in a group setting, which is normally reserved for one-on-one training or for sports teams.  Though our Flow Functional Team Training Program (shameless plug) is not CrossFit, I think the CrossFit concept has made programs like Flow Functional extremely popular and a growing part of the Flow Fitness business model. Below are 5 reasons CrossFit has made group training the norm, and not the exception:

  1. Not Everyone Needs Customization: Sure we all come in different shapes, sizes and abilities, but at the end of the day, we generally have similar goals and limitations. We usually want to feel better, lose some body fat, put on some muscle and become educated about fitness. Further, we usually have a weak core, poor mobility and endurance, can barely do a push up or a pull up, and have no clue how to work out.  Except for those with serious health and orthopedic concerns, the above pretty much sums it up for most people.  Thanks to CrossFit, they have taken this into consideration and have designed training parameters that will most likely meet the goals of the masses. Call it cookie cutter; I call it brilliance. We have taken a very similar approach with our Flow Functional Program by designing modules that address the most important aspects of fitness: strength, stability, performance and endurance. (“What about flexibility” you ask? We provide at least 10 to 15 minutes of mobility and flexibility training in each workout.)
  2. Death to ALL machines: Thanks to our friends at CrossFit, most machines have been deemed as completely worthless for fitness training. In response, many facilities across the country are now trading in their leg-extension and leg-curl machines for kettle bells, slam balls, jump boxes, prowler sleds and agility ladders. These allow a larger number of people to get off their asses and train with more functional and dynamic movements, which translate into activities of daily living. Further, with the amount of open space gained with fewer machines, you can run, skip, crawl and climb your way to a much better version of yourself. Look no further than our Flow Functional training area, which is well equipped with some of the best “toys” on the market, as well as some bad-ass turf that allows for exercise variety and the freedom to move in every plane of motion possible.
  3. Picking up heavy shit and putting it down: Probably one of the things I appreciate most about CrossFit is that it has made lifting weights cool and not something reserved for bodybuilders or meatheads. Thanks to CrossFit, you will see business executives, soccer moms and former endurance athletes (who were told NEVER to lift weights) in tears because they PR’d (personal record) their deadlift and/or completed their first muscle up.  Now people come to gyms looking for squat racks, bumper plates and chalk so they can see how much weight they can safely lift. Now people are becoming more concerned about how strong they are and less worried about the scale because, guess what: Those who strength train can drastically change their body composition. Go Figure!
  4. A little competition isn’t that bad: In a generation where people get medals for coming in 1,200th place, friendly competition is something we don’t see as much anymore. This is primarily due to hurting somebody’s feelings because he or she may not have done as well as the person next to him or her. Enter CrossFit, where you are not only competing against the person next to you, you are competing against the clock, a specific amount of weight, a WOD (workout of the day), an RX (successful completion of a WOD as prescribed by the coach) and your previous best. And surprise, surprise, that little bit of extra push needed to keep up with the person next to you, makes you run a bit faster, lift a little more weight, squeeze out one more rep and think twice about taking a rest, which inevitably lead to much better results.
  5. We are family: The fifth, final and most important influence CrossFit has had on the fitness world is the sense of community, wherein everyone truly pushes each other to be their absolute physical best. They enthusiastically share war stories about their last WOD or favorite exercise. They spend time after their workout to just hang out with people they legitimately call their friends. It’s about the closest thing to being part of a grown-up fraternity or sorority outside of the military or fire department. Each person is there to lift you up, inspire you, push you and pick you up when you fall.  And most important, CrossFit is a place where members look forward to coming to work out each and every day.

At Flow Fitness, we are continuing to innovate our services and programming to become the absolute best training facility in Seattle. While we have no desire to be considered a CrossFit Box, nor are we advertising for that brand, we do have the presence of mind to acknowledge and replicate some of the great things CrossFit has done for our industry and to utilize these trends to separate us from the competition. Based on our growing membership, positive reviews on Yelp and other social-media outlets, as well as a member-usage rate well above the industry average, I’d argue to say we are on the right path.  That being said, we have taken an extra-special interest in the community aspect, which we believe will help each and every member surpass their goals in a fun and motivating environment, and serve as a place where members feel welcomed and look forward to visiting each and every day.