Millennials and CrossFit have come of age together, fitting together like barbell and bumper plate. Young people have taken to it finding that CrossFit benefits body and soul.
Another interesting societal trend has coincided with the marriage of functional fitness and people aged between 24 and 38, give or take a year.
In 2017, Pew Research Center found that over a quarter of Americans identify as “spiritual but not religious.” That’s up 8 points since 2012, so you can imagine going on 2 years later, what that number is now.
Here are the telling figures. In 2012, 20% of the 18-29 age group identified as spiritual but not religious. In 2017, that figure jumped to 29%, a 9 point jump.
In 2012, 20% of the 30-49 age group identified as spiritual but not religious, jumping to 30% in 2017- a 10 point jump.
Those age groups work with the rise of CrossFit together like a squat rack and a kipping pull-up.
So what does it mean?
“CrossFit is My Church”
Check out this thought-provoking piece from Vox.
Millennial refugees of Sunday sermons have replaced them with CrossFit boxes, using their neighborhood gyms to add meaning and purpose to their lives. The sense of community and personal fulfillment provides functional fitness fans what they feel their churches no longer can. You might say it's an "act of WOD."
"There’s one really simple thing: You can’t look at your phone when you’re on a bike or lifting weights. Simply by exercising, you’re physically and mentally present in a way that you can’t be if you have in a phone in your hand. The second thing is that in our culture, especially among high-achieving, Type A people who are in these classes, there’s a pressure to perform, to meet a standard — what you look like, who you’re hanging out with. And by getting ugly sweaty and being pushed through those limits of physical comfort, some of those barriers are broken down and you’re left in this raw and vulnerable experience together."
"My Church is Not CrossFit"
Not everyone agrees as you'll read in sharp this rebuttal from Mockingbird, a Christian faith ministry.
The Vox piece by Tara Isabella Burton struck some church bells and caused religious folks to hear some ringing in their ears. People of faith don't agree that CrossFit benefits body and soul. In fact, their rebuttal came swift and fierce.
"What is happening in the church when the Workout of the Day sounds like better news than the Gospel?
Jesus is not a personal trainer or a guru espousing wisdom. Jesus is Lord, and he calls to each of us, saying, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
"The Holy Church of CrossFit"
Ultimately, even The American Conservative agrees to a point that CrossFit benefits body and soul in this piece.
I welcome the effort on their part to find a middle ground in an era of ever-increasing polarization. It's not easy acknowledging fault(s) when so many of our long-held institutions show signs of cracking and crumbling, while no longer fulfilling the original needs of their social contracts.
"In many ways, CrossFit is the perfect religion for our individualistic age, because it is not “spiritual” at all. It focuses on the transformation of the tangible and quantifiable outward self. In today’s world, we can understand submitting ourselves to a given order, ritual, or vulnerability in order to sculpt our bodies. But soul submission and soul growth are much harder for moderns to comprehend."