Wanting to Sweat Together: The Relationship between Community and CrossFit
Physically-active leisure offers numerous physical, psychological and social benefits (Shiraev & Barclay, 2012). Further, heightened benefits occur when physically-active leisure occurs in community environments (Iwasaki, Zuzanek & Mannell, 2001). This study examined the relationship between sense of community and intrinsic motivation within CrossFit. Through a mixed-methods, cross-sectional design, participants (N = 235) were recruited from CrossFit gyms. Quantitative data was analyzed with a correlational analysis, and written responses were analyzed using thematic analysis. Data analysis indicated a correlation between intrinsic motivation and sense of community (r = .413, n = 227, p < .001). Using a thematic analysis of written responses, active living, mental health, personal fulfillment, and social connections contributed to individual motivation. Belonging, mutual support and activity ‘outside’ the gym were evident within participants’ experiences of sense of community in the context of CrossFit. This study suggests that the social aspects of CrossFit may serve as intrinsic motivators.