CrossFit Alternatives: Some Must-Try Options for a Solid Workout
As a leader in the fitness community, a trainer, or a professional in the biz, you’re likely aware of the ongoing situation surrounding CrossFit’s ex-CEO, their recent social media controversy, and the commitment from more than 1,000 gyms who have pledged to stop using CrossFit name.
If you, as a trainer or professional in the fitness industry, feel this conviction, plan to take a stand, and want to choose to pledge against CrossFit as a tool for your business and your clients, know that there are options out there that can replace CrossFit.
From a professional standpoint, we understand the dilemma. CrossFit’s current situation aside, the actual physical aspect of the workout can be incredibly beneficial.
That being said, if supporting an establishment that doesn’t align with what you believe to be right matters to you, then seeking alternatives is the correct choice.
We’ve laid out a few alternate options below to give your clients —and yourself —a proper workout without supporting an establishment that doesn’t align with your beliefs.
You’re probably heard of Orange Theory, but for those of you who are just familiar with the buzzword and not the thorough definition, this is the starting point you’ve been looking for.
Orange Theory, like CrossFit, is a franchised exercise class. It’s a 1-hour full-body workout that’s focused on training your clients’ endurance, strength, and power. Orange Theory is all about using heart rate-based interval training to help your clients burn more calories than a traditional workout. Orange Theory is all about getting your clients’ heart rates into specific zones in order to make the workout more effective—no matter what fitness level you’re catering to.
Orange Theory utilizes treadmills, water rowers, floor equipment, TRX suspension trainers, and so much more!
CrossFit might place a little more emphasis on pure strength training, but Orange Theory brings in more high-intensity interval training, cardio, and calisthenics than CrossFit might.
High-intensity interval training is a technique where you give your all-out effort (like, your 110% effort) through quick, intense bursts of exercise that are followed by short, active recovery periods. HIIT workouts can offer a lot of the same benefits that CrossFit workouts can.
For example, HIIT offers you cycles of exercise like CrossFit does. Because you’re cycling through intense periods and active rest, you tend to get a little more variety in your workout. And, of course, HIIT (like CrossFit) is for people who are looking to challenge themselves. While HIIT workouts can be scaled for any fitness level, they’re ideal for people who dig into the concept of overcoming obstacles (just like CrossFit).
HIIT is all about fast-paced exercise and challenging workouts to help your clients develop muscle tone, stamina, and strength.
There are a few key differences between HIIT training and CrossFit. For example, HIIT focuses on timed intervals. The goal of HIIT is to burn an effective amount of calories and build muscle in the shortest amount of time possible.
Circuit training is a specific technique for exercising where you cycle between several exercises (usually anywhere from 5-10) to target different muscle groups in unique ways.
The entire concept behind circuit training—no matter what it ends up looking like—is to work different muscles in the same session with a minimum amount of rest for maximum results. Circuit training can—and often does—include several muscle groups within a single session, so moving between lower-body exercises to core exercises to upper body exercises is incredibly common with circuit training. All of those exercises are repeated and become a circuit workout.
Circuit training, like CrossFit, is high intensity, but it focuses more on constantly varied moves as well as functional movements (like squatting, curling, crunching, etc.).
The concept of circuit training is used in CrossFit (if you’ve ever been to a CrossFit session, you know this is typically how this unfolds), but it’s not the only workout format.
Jiu-Jitsu (also known as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or BJJ) is a self-dense, martial art technique that’s meshed with a combat sport. It’s based on grappling, on submission holds, and on-ground fighting—but more than that, it’s a killer way to stay in shape, burn calories, and develop muscle.
Jiu-Jitsu, like CrossFit, pushes your clients to accomplish feats they never thought they could. It improves cardio, it develops muscle, and it can boost your clients’ strength and conditioning in more ways than one.
It’s obviously not exactly the same as CrossFit (its techniques ad movement are entirely different), but if you have clients who are looking to reap these benefits without doing CrossFit, this type of exercise could be very beneficial.
Typically, strength training is defined by performing exercises solo while building in size, strength, and endurance of skeletal muscles. Strength training can utilize resistance—like a dumbbell, a bar, or your own body weight—to increase lean muscle mass and more efficiently burn calories.
Typically, strength training is done in a gym under the supervision of a trainer (that’s you!) and includes clients using weights ranging from 5 pounds to 200+ pounds.
Like CrossFit, this helps improve overall health and wellbeing, improves the strength of tendons, bones, muscles, and ligaments, and can improve cardiac function. However, unlike CrossFit, it’s not typically a community-based workout and it might not lend itself toward HIIT training.
It’s important to stand up for values, stand up for what’s right, and be firm about your beliefs—it makes sense that those values and ethics would be integral to every part of your life, including the way you exercise.
So, if CrossFit is no longer your go-to workout, but you’re still looking for a community-based workout that challenges you, makes you better, and encourages you to push yourself further, give these a go!