CrossFit vs Gym: A Guide To Decide Which Is Better

You can read this article if you want to know which training program suits you based on your goal, whether Crossfit or Gym. Here, I’ve shared everything about a CrossFit gym vs. a regular gym, such as its pros and cons, goals, type of exercises, membership cost, and much more that will help you decide which is better for you.

Things you’ll see in this article.

  1. What is CrossFit?
  2. CrossFit Benefits
  3. Differences Between CrossFit and Gym

What Is CrossFit?

CrossFit Vs Gym
What is Crossfit?

CrossFit is a high-intensity training program that enhances strength, power, speed, endurance, and overall functional fitness.

Benefits of CrossFit Workouts

1. Enhance Cardiovascular Fitness

CrossFit workouts decrease systolic blood pressure in healthy adults, lower resting heart rates, and increase aerobic capacity. 1Crossfit & Heart Health: Effects Of Crossfit Participation On Resting Blood Pressure And Heart Rate – Research Gate

It also increases VO2 max (the maximum amount of oxygen you can utilize during exercise) and upgrades your cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

However, it is not suitable for people with any health issues, such as shortness of breath, high blood pressure, and physical injuries.

2. Increase Anaerobic Capacity

The anaerobic exercises are performed at a greater intensity, typically for 20 seconds to 2 minutes, to trigger lactic acid-forming.

Anaerobic activities, such as sprinting, fast pull-ups, and lifting weights explosively improve a person’s overall anaerobic capacity.

3. Improve Body Composition

CrossFit is one of the best workout programs that improve overall body composition.

You can see the changes in body composition and blood profiles after 14 weeks of the CrossFit exercise program.2 Choi, Eun-Ju et al. “Effects of the CrossFit Exercise Data Analysis on Body Composition and Blood Profiles.” Iranian Journal of Public health vol. 46,9 (2017): 1292-1294.

Number of students: 22 (Divided into two parts)
Time: 70 minutes, two times per week for 14 weeks

Weight (kg)65.13±11.5464.15±11.76
Body mass index (kg/m2)22.70±2.5822.35±2.65
Muscle mass (kg)28.42±7.3028.48±7.24
Body fat (%)22.51±6.7821.20±6.40
Basal metabolic rate (kcal)1466.73±251.691468.27±252.41
Aspartate aminotransferase (U/L)23.73±6.1823.91±9.51
Alanine aminotransferase (U/L)27.91±13.2624.64±10.24
Total bilirubin (mg/dl)0.54±0.140.55±0.34
Total cholesterol (mg/dl)136.18±30.90125.82±39.00
Low density lipoprotein cholesterol (mg/dl)72.73±22.1971.91±25.28
High density lipoprotein cholesterol (mg/dl)50.18±12.0644.09±16.82
Triglycerides (mg/dl)66.45±30.6048.82±22.47
Glucose (mg/dl)87.73±10.7581.91±20.61
Total protein (g/dl)7.35±0.606.35±1.24
Albumin (g/dl)4.97±0.474.63±0.87

4. Psychological Benefits of CrossFit

CrossFit Exercises are fun, exciting, effective, and challenging.

You feel delighted when you complete CrossFit WODs. Completing a WOD gives a sense of accomplishment and enhances overall mood.

Some studies also showed that CrossFit might increase the power to remember things, build self-confidence, and improve thinking.

5. Level Up Your Athleticism

CrossFit exercises help you gain muscle strength, power, and stamina. Not only this, but they also improve balance, increase flexibility, and take your athleticism to the next level.

6. Burn Calories and Help You Maintain Weight

Crossfit WOD is proven to be the best way to burn more calories than other forms of workout.

On average, an 85-kg male or 75-kg female will burn 15-18 calories per minute and 13-15 calories per minute, respectively, during a CrossFit circuit – an article published on the Healthline website suggested.

Gym vs CrossFit (The Ultimate Comparision)

Gym vs CrossFit
IntensityModerate to HighLow to Moderate
Exercise TypeFree WeightsFree Weights & Machines
Number of Reps or SetsHigh Low
RiskHigher Than GymLower Than CrossFit
Membership CostHighModerate
GoalImprove Strength, Power, and EnduranceBuild Muscle, Lose Weight, or Maintain Fitness
  1. CrossFit exercises are explosive, while gym workouts are performed at a moderate heart rate.
  2. Gym training involves performing both bodyweight, free-weight, and resistance machine exercises, while CrossFit involves bodyweight and free-weight exercises.
  3. CrossFit training involves performing exercises in circuits, while regular gym workouts include traditional reps sets method.
  4. The risk of injuries is high in CrossFit compared to gym workouts.
  5. The average membership cost of a regular gym is cheaper than that of a CrossFit gym.

1. Equipment Needed

Gyms are packed with various equipment, such as stationary bikes, benches, treadmills, rowing machines, core workout machines, smith machines, dumbbells, barbells, and plenty of other machines.

A well-equipment CrossFit gym also has multiple pieces of equipment, such as barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, plyometric boxes, pull-up bars, dip bars, Olympic bars, ballistic balls, and cardio machines.

2. Types of Exercises

CrossFit training involves various exercises, from plyometrics and calisthenics to powerlifting and bodybuilding. For example, Badger (a CrossFit WOD) includes a strength exercise – squat clean, a bodyweight exercise – pull-ups, and an outdoor exercise – running.

On the other hand, a gym mostly includes strength exercises that can build muscles and sculpt your physique. For example, push exercises for training chest, shoulders, and triceps; pull exercises for bolstering back, biceps, and posterior delts; leg exercises for quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes.

3. Purpose of Training

The main goal of a gym-goer is to build strength and increase muscle mass or to be aesthetic.

However, Crossfit is great for overall fitness, as it boosts strength and endurance, improves explosiveness, builds and tones muscles, and helps you build an athletic shape.

4. Risk Component

The overall injury rate in CrossFit is approximately 20% – as shown in a study published by the Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine. 3Injury Rate and Patterns Among CrossFit Athletes – Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine

The shoulders, lower back, and knees were the most common injuries revealed in that study.

However, risks related to gym exercises are comparatively lower than CrossFit exercises.

The overall injury rate of gym workouts is approximately 10% because of the intensity, types, reps ranges, and explosiveness of the activities of the gym workouts.

So, if you fear injuries, you can do gym workouts.

5. Average Membership Cost

The price of membership depends on various factors such as location, goodwill, and accessibility.

Here is a chart of the average cost (in USD) of CrossFit vs Gym membership in top countries.

CountryGym 4 The Price of a Gym Membership in 52 Countries Around the World – The Gate – Boarding Area CrossFit5 CrossFit Membership Prices Around the US & The World – WOD Review
South Africa2172.93
Cost of Crossfit Gym vs Regular Gym Membership

Please note that these prices keep increasing because of demand and inflation.

Which is Better For Weight Loss Crossfit or Gym?

Both traditional gym workouts and CrossFit workouts burn calories. However, CrossFit exercises are more effective because they are highly intense, allowing your body to burn the maximum calories during and after the workouts and helping you lose weight gradually.

Which is Effective for Muscle Gain, Gym or CrossFit?

Gym workouts will help you build more muscles than CrossFit. But it doesn’t mean that CrossFit workouts do not promote muscle gain. They do, but less than the gym workouts.

There are several reasons why CrossFit is less effective than bodybuilding in terms of muscle gain.

1. CrossFit focuses on high volume, explosive sets, and metabolic conditioning routines.

The high-intensity nature of this type of workout allows your body to burn more calories throughout and later during the exercise.

And new muscles develop only with excess calories and not with the calorie deficit.

2. Your muscles do not get enough recovery time and muscle growth only when you rest your muscles with intense workouts.

With Crossfit, you work the same body parts almost every session, and as a result, your muscles never get enough time to recover and grow.

3. Lack of isolation exercises is one of the reasons why Crossfit is not the best way to build muscles. Crossfit exercises are mainly compound movements, utilizing several muscle groups at once.

Compound exercises are suitable for hypertrophy, but doing them with high rep ranges is not a good strategy for muscle growth.

4. Most CrossFit workouts are high-intensity and too explosive, suitable for increasing athletic strength and burning calories.

CrossFit or Gym: Which One Should You Choose?

It depends on your fitness levels and what you desire to achieve.

CrossFit is superior to gym exercises because they are fun, exciting, challenging, efficient, and adaptable.

The CrossFit program includes strength training, cardio, and powerlifting, making it a great option.

Crossfit workouts will help you burn more calories, boost endurance, build up and tone muscles, and improve body shape.

On the other hand, gym workouts will help you increase strength, beef up muscle mass, and develop a firm, aesthetic, and defined physique.

So, depending on your fitness level, you can do one of them.

Can You Do CrossFit and Gym Together?

Yes, you can combine CrossFit and Gym workouts into your workout regime.

You can do plenty of CrossFit exercises in the regular Gym, such as clean and press, barbell thrusters, push jerks, pullups, dumbbell squat swings, squat to overhead press, and deadlifts.

Doing Gym and CrossFit workouts together can help you build a shredded and toned physique over time.


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Murshid Akram
I'm an online personal trainer, fitness blogger, and fitness enthusiast. I love researching and writing about exercise and nutrition. I share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you achieve your desired fitness goal.

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