4. High Intensity Community

CrossFit and its social cousins take over the fitness scene

A CrossFit workout     Photo: Courtesy of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson

High-intensity group workouts dominated the popular fitness culture in 2011. Insanity, a DVD released in 2009 by Beachbody, caught fire, and chances are good that the uber-popular high-intensity, group-oriented CrossFit program opened at a specialty gym near you. Beachbody is the company that introduced P90X in 2003, and they spread the word by asking friends and family to take the 60-day Insanity Challenge. And worldwide, the number of Crossfit-affiliated gyms soared from 1,700 in 2010 to about 2,330 in 2011, with 1,868 in North America

Why group fitness? Mike Price, a kinesiology professor at Canada’s University of Windsor, describes the attraction as a reaction to a down economy: group classes are typically cheaper than personal training. Price notes that it’s an effective fitness strategy—the heightened sense of accountability keeps people in their program longer.

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