Why Is CrossFit Focusing On Senior Citizens?

An in-depth article explores the significant shift in CrossFit's marketing.

If you’ve been following CrossFit for a while, there’s a chance you’ve noticed a significant change in the company’s focus in the last year or so.

We’re not exactly talking about the changes made to the CrossFit Games’ rulebook and qualification system, or founder Greg Glassman’s fight against soda.

We’re talking about the way that the Games and CrossFit Inc. have further separated, and how the framing of CrossFit’s notion of functional fitness has shifted away from images of jacked superhumans and more toward, well, average humans. That means not young, and not fit.

The move toward bringing older folks into the fold began a little over a year ago, and Men’s Health explored this pivot in a new article with one of our favorite titles ever:

“Why CrossFit Is Going After Your Grandpa”

Sure, you might have always heard that CrossFit enforces “functional” or “natural” movement patterns that will help you to be mobile and active into old age. But lately, CrossFit has been really doubling down on that.

Consider, for example, the kinds of instructional videos their YouTube channel regularly uploads. It used to always be a young, relatively jacked person (often James Hobart) with a barbell, and while those videos do still appear from time to time, now CrossFit’s workouts and exercise guides often look more like this one from their “At Home” series, which was posted on CrossFit.com a on February 28:

The Men’s Health article quotes communications professor Eric James, Ph.D., who called it a “dramatic change” in CrossFit’s marketing.

(James) views the current shift as a conscious departure from the brand’s public image, from an apostle of elite fitness to an advocate of accessible fitness and a crusader in the fight against inactivity and chronic illness. Convincing older folks, a huge and growing but often sedentary demographic, that CrossFit can work for them as well as it works for Froning and Fraser is a key goal of, and trial for, that transformative push.

A former member of the CrossFit media team, meanwhile, said that it was always part of the plan and that founder Greg Glassman always talked about “starting with the SEALs and then work on the grandmothers.”

Half a dozen coaches and former HQ employees discussed their thoughts; check out the full article on Men’s Health.

Featured image via CrossFit® on YouTube