CrossFit Vs Gym: A Guide To Decide Which is Better

If you want to know which training program can be suitable for you, whether it’s Crossfit or Gym, then you can read this article. Here, I’ll share everything about a CrossFit gym vs. a regular gym, such as its pros and cons, goals, type of workouts, membership cost, and much more that will help you decide which is suitable for you.

Things you’ll see in this article.

  1. What is CrossFit?
  2. CrossFit Benefits
  3. Does Crossfit Build Muscle?
  4. Difference Between CrossFit and Gym workouts
    • Gym Vs CrossFit Equipment
    • CrossFit Vs Gym – Types Of Workout Training
    • Which is Better For Weight Loss Crossfit or Gym?
    • Which Is Better For Muscle Gain, Gym Or CrossFit?
    • The Goal Of Gym And CrossFit Exercises
    • Crossfit Vs Gym – Risk Component
    • Cost of Crossfit Gym vs Regular Gym Membership
  5. CrossFit Or Gym: Which One Should You Choose?
  6. Can You Do CrossFit and Gym Together?

What is CrossFit?

CrossFit Vs Gym
What is Crossfit?

CrossFit is a form of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) designed to perform functional fitness exercises at a fast pace.

Functional exercise means doing all the stuff you do in your daily activities with little or no equipment, for example, pulling, pushing, squatting, jumping, running, etc.

They are also constantly varied, which means you’ll need to do a mix of exercises instead of doing the same exercise with many reps and sets.

CrossFit workouts perform across various time sets, such as a 5-minute circuit, sometimes 15 minutes, and sometimes 60 minutes long. So it depends on what you are trying to achieve.

You can check out CrossFit Workouts (25 WODs) If you do train without equipment.

Benefits of CrossFit Workouts

1. CrossFit training may improve cardiovascular fitness

One of the benefits of CrossFit includes improvement in cardiovascular and respiratory endurance.

CrossFit is one of the best ways to increase VO2 max or the maximum amount of oxygen you can utilize during exercise.

Doing CrossFit with a higher intensity increases heart rate and blood flow, allowing your lungs to take oxygen more efficiently and enhancing breathing capacity.

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

But if you already have a heart issue, you should consult your doctor before starting any cross-fit training.

2. Increase anaerobic capacity

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

Anaerobic activities include sprinting, fast pull-ups, and push-ups improve the overall anaerobic capacity of a person.

3. CrossFit workouts 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.

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
Click on Source to see the actual article.

4. Psychological Benefits of CrossFit

CrossFit exercises are fun, exciting, and challenging. You feel delighted when you complete CrossFit WODs. They make you feel proud, strong, powerful, and productive.

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

5. Crossfit Increases stamina, strength, flexibility, power, and balance

Varieties of CrossFit exercises may help you gain muscle strength, power, and stamina. Not only this, but they also improve balance and increase flexibility.

6. CrossFit 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.

Does Crossfit Build Muscle?

Crossfit strengthens and tones muscles, lowers body fat percentage, and helps you shape your body but it does not significantly increase mass.

The Crossfit exercises did not increase muscle mass in a 14 weeks program – shown in a study published by the Iranian Journal of Public Health. 2 Effects of the CrossFit Exercise Data Analysis on Body Composition and Blood Profiles – Iranian Journal of Public Health

Gym vs CrossFit

Gym vs. CrossFit
Gym vs. CrossFit
  1. CrossFit exercises are highly intense, while gym workouts are performed at an average heart rate.
  2. You can do Crossfit workouts without equipment, while gym workouts primarily require equipment like dumbbells, barbells, and machines.
  3. CrossFit workouts burn more calories than gym exercises.
  4. CrossFit helps you lose weight, while gym workouts beef up muscle mass.
  5. The risk of injuries is high in Crossfit compared to gym workouts.
  6. The average membership cost of a regular gym is cheaper than the Crossfit gym.

Gym vs CrossFit Equipment

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

While a CrossFit gym doesn’t require too much equipment, Crossfit exercises are primarily bodyweight.

However, a Crossfit gym does have some equipment, such as barbells, kettlebells, a Plyometric box, a pullup bar, and a battle rope.

Types of Workout Training


You can do two types of CrossFit exercises, such as body weight HIIT workouts and weightlifting.

You’ll have to perform bodyweight HIIT CrossFit workouts at your maximum heart rate with as little rest as possible between rounds.

Examples of bodyweight high-intensity exercises are box jumps, rope climbs, running, sprinting, jumping rope, bar dips, pullups, muscle-ups, air squats, and sit-ups.

Weightlifting includes activities where you need to lift, pull and press the weights. It usually boosts strength and mass. Weightlifting workouts include deadlift, clean and jerk, shoulder press, clean and press, farmer’s carries, weighted squat, etc.


Different elements of bodybuilding include strength training and cardio.

Strength training related to lifting weights. The heavier you will lift, the stronger you become. Almost every exercise in the Gym is related to strength training except cardio—for example, deadlift, bench press, overhead press, dumbbell press, leg press, etc.

Like CrossFit, cardio is also a part of the gym workout, which improves cardiovascular and respiratory endurance.

Gym cardio exercises include ab workouts, jumping jacks, high-knees, stationary bicycling, treadmill run, etc.

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 Better For Muscle Gain, Gym or CrossFit?

Gym workouts will help you build more muscles than CrossFit workouts. 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.

Some of the crucial reasons include:

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 season, 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.

However, to build muscle, slow intensity is also required because you can focus on the eccentric portion of the rep with slower reps.

The Goal of Gym and CrossFit Exercises

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 enhances balance.

Crossfit vs Gym – Risk Component

The overall injury rate in CrossFit is approximately 20% – 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.

Although, 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.

The Average Cost of Crossfit Gym vs Regular Gym Membership

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 the Gym and CrossFit 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 (2021 Data)

CrossFit or Gym: Which one should you choose?

CrossFit or Gym
CrossFit or Gym

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 and beef up muscle mass more than CrossFit.

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, bar dips, 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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