Review of CrossFit in Denver & Comparison to Other Denver Fitness Studios
CrossFit as a fitness phenomenon started over a decade ago, and CrossFit has become very popular. It is practiced in over 7,000 affiliated gyms across the country. The Denver fitness scene is no exception – there is a CrossFit gym in Denver practically every few blocks. if you’re in the market for a new Denver fitness studio, you may be wondering whether a CrossFit studio is the right fit for you. This article will help you decide by walking you through the CrossFit Denver workout, what joining a CrossFit studio in Denver entails, the pros and cons of CrossFit, and other options.
About the Authors: We are the owners of WTF Boxing, a top boxing fitness studio in downtown Denver. We are passionate about transforming our members’ health and fitness, and we’re in the studio every day to that end because we care about every member. Try WTF Boxing without commitment: get 7 days of unlimited fitness classes!
CrossFit became popular workout a decade ago – approximately 4 million people participate in CrossFit workouts which means, by now, you’ve seen many a sweaty photo of fit friends on Instagram expressing adoration for CrossFit. At times CrossFitters’ enthusiasm can seem cult-like but that makes you curious. You’ve heard of Denver CrossFit gyms in passing and maybe even tried a few classes. This may have made you wonder if a Denver CrossFit program would work for you. Here’s what you should know about the CrossFit craze — and how to determine if a Denver CrossFit gym is right for you.
What is CrossFit?
CrossFit is a type of high intensity interval training practiced through strength and conditioning workouts comprised of functional movements.
Totally clear, right?🤣 Let us translate. The exercises in CrossFit are actions from your day-to-day life, like pulling, squatting, pushing, jumping, etc. (that is the “functional” part of it) performed at a high intensity in intervals in a mostly explosive anaerobic workout. CrossFit Denver workouts often include a variety of squats, weight lifting, burpees, jumps, push-ups, etc. in set intervals of time to help build strength. This is in contrast to a workouts that tell you how many reps to do over any period of time. The equipment you frequently use in a Denver CrossFit workout are kettle bells, bars, medicine balls, rowers, jump ropes, rings, dumbbells, bikes, ladders, and barbells.
Generally CrossFit gyms in Denver focus more on strength training than cardio. A typical CrossFit studio workout includes liberal use of barbells (the type of weights where you have a bar and then stack plates on the end to increase the weight – they are featured in the first picture). Some people are not very comfortable with barbells, so this is something to keep in mind when choosing a Denver gym. Also, when using barbells, it is important to use the correct form or you may be putting yourself at risk for injury. (The same thing applies to lifting other types of weights, like dumbbells, but people tend to have more familiarity with those movements compared to lifting barbells.) Some studies have reported high rates of injury from CrossFit workouts, in part because people are attempting challenging workouts without the proper technique. However having an instructor present reduces your risk of injury, so you should consult your instructor if you need help with the technique.
Tip: If you’re still not sure about whether to try CrossFit in Denver versus another Denver fitness studio after reading this, remember that you can always join more than one. Combining CrossFit with a second gym in Denver would be a good way to get some CrossFit exposure while reducing your risk of injury and getting more variety in your workouts. We also have a review of the best downtown Denver fitness studios if you want to consider some other options.
CrossFit devotees say Denver CrossFit workouts develop your power because of focus on speed, load, and distance. CrossFit has a standard “workout of the day” (WOD) that all members of all CrossFit studios complete that day. CrossFit workouts tend to use a lot of terms of art, but there is a guide to their lingo on the CrossFit website. The jargon can be intimidating at first, but you’ll get the hang of it. The WOD is also available on their website.
Together with the WOD, CrossFit Denver provides recommendations (called the “RX”) for the various exercises – for example, this exercise should be performed with a 20-pound dumbbell for women and a 40-pound dumbbell for men. In my experience, the RXes are set to a challenging standard that is not realistic for people of average fitness, sometimes even after they have done CrossFit for a long time. CrossFit programs in Denver have modifications if you find certain exercises too challenging, but some people may feel awkward using the modifications, especially if most other people are not using the modifications.
Note that CrossFit incorporates a lot of movements from gymnastics training – e.g., handstands, handstand push-ups, pull-ups, kipping pull-ups, toes to bar, muscle ups, various maneuvers on the rings (yes, those rings from men’s Olympic gymnastics), etc. If you have a gymnastics background, this will come naturally for you, and CrossFit will probably be a good fit for you. But if you don’t have a gymnastics background, the prominence of gymnastics movements can be quite a challenge. It is also really important to be careful when performing these movements and use the proper technique or you may risk injury.
Should I Try CrossFit in Denver?
🔸Benefits of CrossFit Denver
There are many benefits to joining a CrossFit program. CrossFit is most definitely a challenging workout – you will get in better shape – and, if you enjoy challenging yourself, you will probably enjoy how difficult the Denver CrossFit workouts are and feeling yourself improve. CrossFit devotees say that CrossFit is beneficial for anyone from teenagers to the elderly, from out-of-shape to super athlete. The reason is that the physical needs of a person vary by degree, not by kind. Whether you’re talking about a teenager or an elderly person, they both need to be able to pick something up off the floor or squat to lift something, but the teenager will be able to perform the movement faster and with more strength. This means that anyone can benefit from a CrossFit workout with the proper modifications.
There are thousands of CrossFit gyms across the world. This means that if you are traveling away from your CrossFit gym in Denver, it won’t be hard to find a CrossFit location if you want to bang out one of your favorite workouts. Note that your membership from one CrossFit studio generally doesn’t work at other CrossFit studios, though.
Also CrossFit Denver is great if you enjoy competition. Many Denver CrossFit gyms have competitive systems, like scoreboards, as motivation. If you are motivated by competition to push yourself physically, CrossFit Denver may help you get in shape fast. There’s also a whole culture built up around CrossFit that is fun to partake in – there are the CrossFit Games (anyone can participate in the first round and, if you don’t make it past that, you can still watch all the way to the best people in the world); there are cool CrossFit brands such as NoBull, etc. Once you get the hang of the movements in CrossFit, you will feel very accomplished because you will have achieved a high level of fitness.
🔸Drawbacks of CrossFit Denver
CrossFit also has some drawbacks. One study found a 20% injury rate among people doing CrossFit’s workouts. A survey found a CrossFit injury rate of 73.5% with 7% of the injuries requiring surgery, but this survey did note that the injury rate was reduced if you had a trainer or instructor helping you, so if you choose to do CrossFit, make sure to get help from your instructor to ensure you’re doing the movements with proper technique. Physical therapists have also reported noticing that CrossFit is frequently a cause of injury in their patients, and, anecdotally, I am aware of a few injuries among my own friends and family resulting from CrossFit, including tears to both rotator cuffs that may require surgery and a back sprain that was manageable with medication and rest. Of course these are anecdotal, and your mileage may vary.
Note that CrossFit has disputed a high rate of injuries resulting from its workouts, at one point prevailing in suing a party that published an article claiming a high CrossFit injury rate. But there is a lot more evidence than just that one article to suggest that CrossFit workouts can put people at risk of injury. Joe Rogan even hosted a chiropractor on his show you intimated that CrossFit helps him pay for his yacht, implying that chriopractors make a living treating CrossFit injuries. It’s not a bad idea to include some yoga, pilates, or other recovery-promoting practices to protect yourself against injuries (e.g., you could try the Fight & Flex classes at Worth The Fight which incorporate pilates and yoga!).
Another drawback is that some CrossFit gyms are intimidating, especially if you aren’t in peak fitness. To be fair, CrossFit is a fairly difficult program when performed at the RX (recommended) level – most people cannot do all exercises at the RX – so maybe it should not be a surprise that Denver CrossFit studios attract a lot of people in great shape, creating an environment that can be intimidating if you’re still getting back in shape. Some people aren’t bothered by this, so it really depends on your personality.
What other Denver gyms should I consider?
If you think CrossFit might not be for you, or if you just want to supplement your CrossFit workouts with classes at another Denver fitness studio, there are many other downtown Denver gyms to consider thanks to the explosion of the fitness scene in Denver over the past few years. It is not possible to mention every great Denver fitness club in this article or it would be tens of thousands of words long, but you can check out our article on the best downtown Denver gyms for more information.
One Denver fitness studio to look into is our studio, Worth The Fight Boxing & Fitness Studio, a boxing fitness and HIIT fitness studio in downtown Denver that focuses on fun as the path to fitness. If you choose a fun workout, you’ll do it more, helping you to form a habit of working out. It sounds obvious but the element of fun is often overlooked in fitness programming. WTF selected boxing because it the most fun Denver cardio workout. Would you rather hit your own heavy bag or run on a treadmill?
Worth The Fight has boycotted the word “exercise” due to its association with drudgery in favor of “move more in whatever way you enjoy”, whether that is dancing alone, rock climbing, walking with your mom, building houses for Habitat for Humanity, etc.
Boxing is a full body cardio workout that burns more calories than other cardio workouts like spin, running, or rowing. At Worth The Fight’s signature class, you spend half the time hitting your bag and half the time doing HIIT and strength training. Don’t worry if you’re never boxed before – WTF is expert at helping beginners learn to box. Check out our article on five reasons boxing is a great workout for more information.
Sign up to try a boxing class at WTF Boxing!
Since everyone has their own heavy bag and strength training equipment, you can adjust the difficulty as needed. Boxing with good technique using your whole body is a very tough workout for people who are very in shape while people who are newer to boxing can ease into it. Worth The Fight’s programming does not incorporate movements that the vast majority of adults cannot do, such as handstand push-ups. No one should feel uncomfortable about not being able to do parts of WTF’s Denver workouts.
Worth The Fight’s philosophy is that there is no room for elitism in fitness, so WTF prides itself on its accepting non-judgmental environment.
An accepting environment is mission-critical at WTF Boxing. Some people have said they feel like they have to work out before they can go to their downtown Denver gyms – no one should feel that way! You won’t feel intimidated to come to WTF’s downtown Denver fitness studio no matter where you are in your fitness journey. This is particularly important to WTF founder, Gladys, who lost 100 pounds through only diet changes and exercise (primarily boxing fitness). Gladys knows it can be intimidating to go to the gym when you are not in great shape, and she doesn’t want anyone to feel that way at Worth The Fight.
The path to health and fitness is small, achievable steps performed consistently over time, not restrictive diets, crazy exercise regimens, or six-week challenges. In spite of all the marketing telling you otherwise, there is no quick fix to get in shape or lose weight. Quick fixes can sometimes help you lose weight, but what happens when you stop it? Quick fixes are not sustainable.
No one makes money with marketing that says the path to fitness is long-term lifestyle changes. But that is the truth. That’s how Gladys did it. Shedding the weight and getting very fit was a life-changing experience for Gladys that showed her the power of fitness, and that inspired her to open downtown Denver gym, WTF Boxing, to help other people have the same life-changing experience. If you are looking to get healthier, and you’re tired of quick fixes and six-week challenges that leave you even worse, sign up to check out a Worth The Fight class.
There are some downsides to WTF Boxing. Boxing is a skill-based cardio, so it can be frustrating as a beginner. The punches and defensive moves won’t flow initially. But WTF is great at helping beginners learn boxing, and the WTF programming is specifically designed to help you get even long challenging combinations. Also, because WTF has only one Denver fitness club, you can’t use your membership when you are traveling. Lastly, WTF Denver fitness classes do not have barbell-heavy CrossFit-style programming (there are no barbells at WTF), so you won’t get that if that’s what you’re looking for. Worth The Fight’s Denver fitness classes are plenty challenging, but there are no barbells, pull-up bars, handstands, etc.
Reach out to WTF Boxing on Instagram @worththefightboxing or the Worth The Fight Facebook page with questions. If you would like to try Worth The Fight without commitment, click here to get a week long trial of boxing at our downtown Denver fitness studio!