The origin of the discipline
CrossFit is the contraction of the English words cross and fitness. In French, it means physical cross training. The discipline is a mix of gymnastics, weightlifting and cardio work. It was created by an American gymnast in the 1970s. First confidential, the method became viral in 2001 when its founder published his workouts on the Net. CrossFit has been a registered trademark since 2000.
A growing sport
In 2022, there are 12,000 affiliated rooms, that is to say able to use the CrossFit name, in 149 countries. The phenomenon landed in France in 2011, first in Paris. In Brittany, the first Breton cinema was created in Brest in 2012, and today there are 20 of them. In total, France has 767 cinemas and more than 200,000 members.
“A sportsman as complete as possible”
“The philosophy of CrossFit is to make people healthy. We are on the movements of everyday life, ”explains Marie-Anne de Lignières, head of the Morlais room for three years. “The objective is to be as complete an athlete as possible. You have to know how to do everything: a five-minute sprint, like a 30-minute effort, with or without a load. We are not specialists in a 10 km run, even if we know how to do one, but we know how to lift heavy loads and we know how to walk on our hands”.
By mixing gymnastics, weightlifting, athletic strength and cardio techniques, the CrossFit sessions are varied and are available almost endlessly. “We never get tired because each training session is different. Coming to class, people don’t know what they’re going to come across. You have to be ready for the unknown,” warns Marie-Anne de Lignières.
“The idea is to always vary so as not to be faced with a habit and to constantly step out of your comfort zone”, adds Julian Foster, director of the CrossFit brand in France.
All ages, all levels
By typing CrossFit on a search engine, we find videos where we see young hyper-muscled athletes, finishing their exhausted exercises. “That’s not CrossFit,” insists Marie-Anne de Lignières. We go step by step, adapting to the level of practitioners. Some come for the purpose of fitness, others are there to decompress after work and meet people, others come to do physical preparation for other sports”. This is the case of the dean (68 years old) of the Morlaisian hall, a runner who came to seek physical preparation for a 100 km.
A community spirit
For Julian Foster, the success of the discipline also comes from the community spirit. “There is a lot of support. People encourage each other and that makes you want to surpass yourself. The notion of community takes on its full meaning because we face an ordeal together every day. CrossFit connects.”
A sport at risk?
Is there “breakage” in CrossFit gyms? “No, answers Marie-Anne de Lignières. We are one of the sports where we hurt ourselves the least. We are on controlled movements, we are not going to lift a load that we do not control. We are complete athletes, without gaps. Everything is well reinforced at the muscular level”.
Zero injury does not exist in any sport and the most assiduous sometimes have tendinitis due to exercise repetitions.
10% growth in Europe
If CrossFit rooms are multiplying, you need certain skills to be able to coach. The minimum required is to obtain a BPJEPS (Professional Certificate for Youth, Popular Education and Sport). After having followed a CrossFit certification and paid the annual fee (3,000 euros), it is possible to open its room.
“If the methodology is common, no room is alike. Everyone builds it in their own image,” assures Julian Foster, who is surfing on annual growth of 10% in Europe. “At the start, the room managers were above all passionate about the method. Today, we see more mature projects, with an expert in training and an expert in the business world. It is becoming more professional and it is creating jobs”.
At 24, she opens her CrossFit gym
Marie-Anne de Lignières, at the head of the Morlaisian room, studied Staps (Sciences and techniques of physical and sporting activities) up to a baccalaureate level + 5. During her training, the idea of opening her own room sprouted. During her last year of studies, she set up a business plan and she realized her project in a year and a half. Her room opened in April 2019. She was then 24 years old. Today, the former French university weightlifting champion has two employees and coaches 250 members in her room called CrossFit Baie de Morlaix.
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