Once a sport has hit the popularity mark among mainstream media, there is bound to be a wave of businesses that open up and or company partnerships that emerge to specifically cater to the new found target market. Whether it’s a movie that makes a sport more popular, such as Million Dollar Baby that inspired every 30 something year old woman trying to take boxing lessons or an athlete’s performance such as Michael Phelps’ gold medal record, there will be average Joes rushing to their nearby sports center to sign up for the next swim class. Even the dullest sports imaginable have become popular through mainstream hype like archery which has become popular because of the move The Hunger Games. So how does Olympic weightlifting allow mainstream markets to cash in?
Olympic weightlifting has trickled down onto gym rats in variations of intensity levels. For the serious athletes such as body builders, the training regimen, eat habits and workouts fall within a similar range of intensity. Body builders don’t just train because they think a type of sport is cool or fun, it is a way of life, and therefore the weightlifting regimen is a lifetime commitment for most.
For the workout junkie looking for the next high, the snatch and jerk and clean have become well known moves incorporated into the “CrossFit” workout. Cross-fit is an intense workout that spurned into a sport which some non-believers may say is the new “fad” workout. Cross-fit is a high intensity training workout that incorporates heart rate jacking cardio levels with Olympic style weightlifting in a timed segment with competitive incremental weight increases in every set.
The popularity of Olympic weightlifting has grown over the years with CrossFit gyms opening all over the country. The CrossFit gym was created back in 2000 and since then over 3400 affiliated gyms has been opened (according to Hartford Magazine’s article titled “The CrossFit Craze.”) where members are charged from $150 to $275 per month with the occasional Groupon or Living social deal for $50, which introduces the average Joe to the intense competitive workout routines of weightlifting athlete. The sky-high membership rates do give off the impression to a newbie that the gym may be well-scented and accommodating, when in fact it is not. Most CrossFit locations are in warehouses, garages or yards with basic needs for workouts, weights, chin-up bars, mats and jump ropes; so be prepared to bring your own water and sweat.
In NYC alone, there are at least 100 CrossFit locations with classes that cater to all types of crowds; athletes, students, military professionals all of which include a strong percentage of female participants. Weightlifting has become commercialized through CrossFit so much that throughout the years, in the male dominated sport, there has been a sharp increase in female participants and businesses have profited from the commercialization which is most noticeable in the number of female participants in the most recent CrossFit games. Although the CrossFit industry is fairly new in its budding, the analysis of overall profits is yet to be determined but with the increase in popularity based off of the Olympics and Reebok CrossFit games; weightlifting may be able to ride a long steady wave.