Tag Archive for fitness culture

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.


 

 

Between Performance and Beauty: Towards a sociological understanding of trajectories to drug use in a gym and bodybuildning context

by Jesper Andreasson


Vol. 4 2013, pages 69–90
Published May 22, 2013

jesper-andreassonAbstract

Emanating from an ethnographic study of Swedish bodybuilders, this article aims to present a sociological understanding of various circumstances influencing the decision to begin taking performance-enhancing drugs. Theoretically, the research builds upon a constructionist approach, in which actors’ identity claims, the way they describe themselves and their group affiliation, are understood both as individual stories of identity construction and as discursive statements. The result shows that the willingness to perform, to focus on the body’s function, is a paradigmatic narrative being expressed throughout. As such, this performance oriented lifestyle can be related to traditional values saluted within organised sports and also understood as a fairly stable part of a hegemonic masculine construction. However, the results also show how the performance logic is entwined with a strong zest for bodily aesthetics. In the article, this cultural ambiguity is used as an analytical window through which one can see how different understandings of gender, health and doping continuously are socially negotiated in relation to contemporary fitness culture and public health organisations in Swedish society. By analysing doping trajectories in this way the article suggests that drug using practises could be understood as an activity performed along a continuum of cultural and societal (over-)conformity, rather than actions representing societal abnormality.


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About the Author

JESPER ANDREASSON is associate professor of sport science at Linnaeus University and has a PhD in Sociology. He has written mainly in the field of gender studies, and the sociology of sport. Andreasson’s doctoral dissertation, The Gender of Sports from 2007 (Swedish), focuses on how gender, the body and sexuality are constructed within Swedish team sports. His more recent work is found within the field of gym/fitness culture, gender, bodybuilding and doping. He has a qualitative and ethnographic approach in his research and is currently working on a book-project focusing gender, health and pedagogies within gym and fitness culture.