Is CrossFit associated with more positive body image? A prospective investigation in novice CrossFitters

Viren Swami */**

(*) School of Psychology and Sport Science, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK
(**) Centre for Psychological Medicine, Perdana University, Serdang, Malaysia

CrossFit is a strength-and-conditioning exercise programme that combines elements of gymnastics, weightlifting, and cardiovascular exercises. Although the CrossFit programme holds promise in terms of promoting positive body image, studies examining such an impact remain piecemeal. To rectify this, 63 CrossFitters recruited from the United Kingdom, completed measures of positive body image (body appreciation, functionality appreciation, body acceptance from others) one month after beginning CrossFit classes and again after 3 months. Results indicated that scores on all three constructs were significantly higher at the second testing session (ηp 2 = .22-.36), irrespective of participant sex. The largest improvements in body appreciation (d = 0.52) and functionality appreciation (d = 1.07) were achieved by participants who attended CrossFit classes regularly (≥ 4 days a week compared to ≤ 3 days a week). These results suggest that participating in CrossFit programmes is associated with improvements in body image, but further research is needed.

Keywords: CrossFit, Positive body image, Body appreciation, Functionality appreciation, Body acceptance