CrossFit or the Gym: Which Is Better?

The gym gives you the most classic workout and CrossFit has arrived with a new way to boost your muscles. Each one is aimed at a specific type of person.
CrossFit or the Gym: Which Is Better?

Last update: 29 July, 2022

The reality is that the gym has been in our lives much longer than CrossFit has. For this reason, some people are looking for an alternative to classic training.

CrossFit is a renewal of training models and methods; it adds new trends and routines that are very physically demanding. It takes place in an area known as a box, where you exercise large muscle groups or even the whole body. The programming is conducted by a coach who develops a class for a group of people.

In the gym, you usually work out alone. Even if you go with someone else, or have a group of friends there, the training is done by each person in isolation.

The gym usually focuses on small muscle groups to develop them. Another characteristic is that you´ll use many more machines for weight training there.

It’s up to you to choose which of the two disciplines suits your goals.

Benefits of CrossFit and the gym

There are many advantages that both CrossFit and the gym can bring as you aim to train your body. Each has its own style and methodology, but both aim to increase your strength.

Advantages of CrossFit

One of its great advantages is that you can perform comprehensive training, which goes beyond working on aspects such as power and strength. This means that you´ll also increase your respiratory capacity and endurance.

CrossFit is a very complete discipline. It includes WODs, which are the “workouts of the day,” in its daily workouts. The goal is to integrate a wide variety of exercises in short intervals of time.

This discipline would be perfect for you to tone up and slim down, as well as making your muscles bigger. On the other hand, there’s a social aspect, as the sessions are taught and practiced together with other colleagues. In this way, you’ll meet new people with similar tastes.

The workouts are more dynamic than those at the gym, giving the impression that time passes faster. The schedule is different every day. Until you get to the room, or box, you don’t know what you’ll be working on that day.

Crossfit in a group.

Advantages of the gym

Practicing a workout inside the gym goes beyond running an hour on the treadmill or lifting dumbbells with a lot of weight. Strength and bodybuilding routines should be linked to compensatory work that minimizes the risk of injury.

Here it’s easier to work specific muscles because the machines help you with the technical component. You are guided to adopt a good posture.

In addition, you can focus. For example, when it’s your turn to practice your back, your legs will hardly get any work.

The routines vary with the choice of the body part to be exercised each day. The lower muscle groups are very much taken into account, as they’re strengthened with the wide variety of machines available.

Another advantage of the gym compared to CrossFit is that it’s usually much cheaper. Here you can also consult a trainer to guide your initial steps, giving you individualized instruction. Over time, you’ll be able to perform the routines on your own.

Training in a gym is the basis for excellent performance in most sports. Soccer players, tennis players and runners attend gyms to improve their discipline.

Which is better, CrossFit or gym?

In order for you to decide between these two options, it’s important that you know their disadvantages as well. CrossFit has the disadvantage of the high degree of difficulty of some movements; and it’s essential to perform them correctly to avoid causing an injury.

It’s also more expensive than a gym and this could determine your decision.

On the other hand, in the gym, it’s difficult to find or renew the motivation to continue practicing. Especially if you do it alone and without partners. If your schedules are similar to other people’s, you’ll most likely have to take turns with them to use the machines.

So, which is better? If you’re able to make sacrifices and are consistent, then you’ll achieve your strength and fitness goals regardless of the formula you choose. Discipline and perseverance are what give results.

For versatility, fun, and group routines, the best option may be CrossFit. However, you’ll need to see if your schedule can adapt to the classes and whether you can afford the monthly fee.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to work on a specific physical attribute, the best option would be the gym. It’s also ideal for you to do compensatory work for other sports, such as cycling, soccer or paddle tennis.

Both disciplines are healthy if you practice them according to the rules. Therefore, the best option would be to try both in order to make your decision.

A man in a gym.
In the gym there are machines that were designed for specific muscle groups, helping the posture.

Take these tips if you still can’t decide between CrossFit and the gym

Self-knowledge is essential in the decision-making process. By knowing your likes, abilities, and limitations, it’ll be easier for you to make the right choice.

Focus on what encourages and motivates you to achieve your goals. If you think too much about the future, the consequences of your choice, and the possible outcomes, you may be hindering your ability to choose.

You must be able to identify the risks, and define the advantages and disadvantages of training with CrossFit or in the gym. As it’s going to be part of your new routine, you need to give it the importance it deserves.

Be careful about allowing others to pressure you. It’s your choice, and as such, it’s up to you to choose.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Costa F, Parodi A, Magallanes C. Efectos del entrenamiento de sobrecarga tradicional vs crossfit sobre distintas expresiones de la fuerza. Universidad de la República: Uruguay; 2021.
  • Soliveri A. La influencia de la inteligencia emocional en la frecuencia de entrenamiento de crossfit. Universidad de Alcalá: España; 2020.
  • Broocks D. El libro del personal trainer. Primera edición. España: Editorial Paidotribo; 2001.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.