CrossFit vs Weight Training

A group of people performing various CrossFit exercises in a gym.

You have finally decided to get in shape, lose weight, and improve overall fitness level, but now the debate between the popular CrossFit and regular old weight training is giving you a headache. Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of each and help you make a decision that will help you achieve your short and long-term goals, while enjoying your workout. Let’s get into that comparison of crossfit vs weight training!

Now what are the differences between crossfit vs traditional weight lifting exercises?


So what exactly is CrossFit? CrossFit is an intense strength and conditioning exercise program that is a cross between functional exercises, cardiovascular, resistance training, and geared to fit everyone’s fitness levels.

CrossFit has a “Workout of the Day” (or WOD) that can include any number of exercises including running, squats, push-ups, sit-ups, etc. The workouts are geared to help participants gain lean muscle mass, decrease body fat, and increase endurance.

Some of the advantages of crossfit are:A group of people performing various CrossFit exercises in a gym.

  1. Variety. With CrossFit classes, you will never be bored because the WOD changes each day and can vary from a “light” day to a “heavy” day. You will never have to plan or change your workouts because the coaches at CrossFit take care of that for you.
  2. Group setting. Each class has 5-20 participants depending on the time of the day. Studies have proven that exercising in a group setting helps improve motivation and effort.
  3. Exposure to new exercises. Snatch and Clean, Good Mornings, and Jerk are just a few of the Olympic lifts that you will learn in a CrossFit class. These exercises require proper technique and form to prevent injury and the coaches at CrossFit will help each individual execute these difficult exercises in proper form. Most of us would never even try a Snatch and Clean in our lifetime, but with CrossFit, you are exposed to new and exciting lifts.

It seems obvious that CrossFit is an excellent choice for beginners and professional athletes. However, there are a few aspects of CrossFit that warrant examining before making a final decision:

  1. Location. CrossFit is not available at every gym. Most of us would not want to travel more than 10-15 minutes to go workout and if there is no CrossFit affiliated gym nearby, this can be a huge inconvenience. People adhere best to an exercise program when the fitness facility they plan to be a member of is on the way to work or near home. Think about it, if your gym is 20 minutes away, you will most likely not drive out of your way to go workout, however, if you drive by your gym on the way home from work, you are more likely to be consistent with exercise.
  2. Cost. CrossFit can be expensive. A membership to CrossFit can range from $75-$100 per month for unlimited classes. However, this is an average and I have heard of gyms charging $300 per month for unlimited classes. Be sure to check with the nearest CrossFit to get the most accurate pricing information. Most gyms allow participants to try a class without a membership for $20 for one class, which may help you decide if this is the program for you. Try before you buy.

Weight Training

Muscular man lifting weights in front of a gym mirror.Weight training is an important component to every exercise program. Weight training helps strengthen muscles, increase metabolism, and decrease body fat while increasing lean muscle mass.

Cardiovascular exercise is notorious for burning calories, but by adding weight training to your exercise program, you can increase your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) by 15% or more. Basal Metabolic Rate is the amount of energy (or calories) your body burns while at rest. People with a higher BMR tend to keep weight off easier than those who have a lower BMR. For each pound of muscle mass gained, your body will burn an additional 50 calories per day, or 350 calories in one week! Now let’s look at the advantages of weight training:

  1. Muscle specific. If you are recovering from an injury or have specific muscles that need isolated strengthening, weight training provides a better option for isolating specific muscles.
  2. Less expensive. Weight training can cost much less than a CrossFit membership. Gym memberships that have weight machines and free weights can vary from $10- $60 per month, which is considerably less than CrossFit.

Some of the disadvantages include:

  1. Boring. Many people, mostly beginners, tend to find weight training boring. They state that they do not see results fast enough. While this may be true, the results will manifest gradually if you are consistent.
  2. Basic knowledge. If you decide to weight train instead of CrossFit, it would be wise to do your homework and learn the proper form and technique for every exercise to prevent injuries. Weight training requires a basic understanding of muscles, movements that will strengthen certain muscles, and an understanding of sets and repetitions. It may be helpful to work with a personal trainer for a few sessions to learn the basics.

Now that we have looked at the differences between crossfit vs weight training exercises, you will be better suited to make a decision. However, my advice is to try both and then make a decision. You just don’t know until you try!

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