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What makes people stick with CrossFit year after year? Long-term CrossFit athletes talk about what keeps them interested and motivated after seven, 10 or even 19 years of CrossFit.

In a recent Businessweek article, Yuri Feito said CrossFit is peerless in encouraging people to keep working out. Feito teaches exercise science at Kennesaw State University and studies CrossFit.

Statistics from the fitness industry show traditional gyms generally have a retention rate of about 50 percent every year. Chris Cooper, owner of CrossFit Catalyst in Sault Ste. Marie, Canada, and author of “Two-Brain Business: Grow Your Gym,” said his affiliate maintains an 87 percent retention rate year over year. He also said retention rates for athletes who join though personal training are “higher than ever” at 95 percent.

“CrossFit has a stickiness to it, an addictiveness. It becomes part of people’s lives and changes who they are from the inside out,” said Ben Bergeron, owner of CrossFit New England. “Just about everyone wants to get fitter and look and feel better.”

These factors—and others—have produced a number of athletes who have been doing CrossFit for close to a decade.

Year 1 of CrossFit is not the same as Year 10. Here, long-term CrossFit athletes pass along the lessons they’ve learned, explain how CrossFit has changed for them over the years and share what they wish they knew when they started.

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