Reflections from CrossFitters on the themes of body and community

by Arild Boge, Ove Olsen Sæle, & Hilde Stokvold Gundersen


Vol. 13 2022, pages 85–110
Published June 9, 2022

Abstract

CrossFit is a form of training and competition that has boomed in recent years. It is part of a fitness culture with a strong focus on the body and appearance, a trend that has become prevalent in today’s society. This study closely examined the reflections of CrossFitters based on the following research question: What are the reflections of a selection of CrossFitters with regard to body ideals, body-image pressure and community? Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a selection of participants (five women and five men) who train at a CrossFit centre in Norway. A qualitative, theory-based content analysis was used whereby the theory dictated the categorisation into the following main categories: body pressure, body ideals and community. Our results showed that the participants primarily associate the body with functionality, health and athletic performance. Several of the participants openly acknowledge that they desire a fit body, but that this is not the most important goal, merely a possible side effect of the training. The participants appear to be highly dedicated to the CrossFit culture, which is perceived as being an identity marker for performance development, training satisfaction and solidarity. The conclusion of the study is that the unique training form and architectural design of CrossFit, as well as the possibility to participate regardless of body size, shape or skill level within a committed and supportive community, appear to contribute to little body-image pressure and less focus on the ideal body.


Click here to read this peer reviewed article in Scandinavian Sport Studies Forum, Vol. 13, 2022


About the authors

ARILD BOGE was an Assistant Professor at the Sports Section at NLA University College in Bergen, Norway. Teacher, college lecturer and section leader in Physical Education within kindergarten education, primary school education and Sports basic subjects. Research project addressing crossfit / functional fitness as a form of exercise and activity. The article is published post mortem for Arild Boge.

OVE OLSEN SÆLE is a Professor at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Education, Arts and Sports, campus Bergen. His interests focus on educational, ethical and philosophical discussions related to Sport and to Physical Education in school and kindergarten.

HILDE STOKVOLD GUNDERSEN is an Associate Professor at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Education, Arts and Sports, campus Bergen. She has a PhD in neuroscience. Her research is mainly related to talent development in sports and to the connection between physical activity and cognitive function.