What makes CF “for everyone”? McLelland and his Theory of CrossFit needs.

A good friend and coach asked this question (somewhat rhetorically) the other day, “what makes CrossFit such a good gateway drug in to weightlifting?” Thinking about it, this is the best could up with.

McClelland’s theory of motivational needs attributes a category (or balance of 2 from 3) to an individual. A person is motivated by Achievement, Power or Affiliation – as coaches, knowing the type of person your student it opens up a whole feast of tools to coach and mentor them, tailoring to each unique person. Usually, they show obvious signs of both. CrossFit lends itself well to all three. CrossFit gives the community (affiliation), leaderboards/whiteboards/scores/times (achievements) and ultimately, competition (power). People from all walks of life can walk in a find themselves in a place that they think has been made just for them, claiming to have found that life-changing element, when in fact it just lends itself naturally to all-comers. It is a marketers paradise. To top it off, CF has the instant gratification element demanded by modern society. Changes come about very quickly when you train 5 days a week, attracted by those other elements mentioned above. No weightlifting classes I’ve ever seen have been of the kind to associate with every type of person at the same time, attracting people day after day……CrossFit has introduced them to weightlifting and many find it is what they have been searching for…..but not all. Many move over in to gymnastics and many into speed and obstacle racing…..but many just stay with CrossFit because psychologically, unknowingly, it ticks all their boxes.

I’ve never been made to consider CF in these terms before…I think I shall put it up on my blog. Thank you for forcing us to think!


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