Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Woodruff, S.J.


Body Image, CrossFit, Eating Behaviours, Self-Esteem, Women




The purpose of this thesis was to use a mixed methods approach to investigate the associations between CrossFit participation and women’s body image, self-esteem, and eating behaviours. Women from five CrossFit affiliates (N = 149) completed a survey composed of both open and close-ended questions. In addition, ethnographic observations were conducted at all five affiliates. Four multiple linear regressions revealed that CrossFit participation was positively associated with body image, negatively associated with disordered eating, and not associated with trait self-esteem (Study 1). Thematic analysis revealed that women chose to CrossFit for its community, sense of inclusion, its programming (i.e., structured), and because it was challenging. Five one-way analysis of covariances (ANOVAs) revealed no differences between CrossFit affiliates and their women members’ body image, self-esteem, or eating behaviours (Study 2). Conversely, thematic analysis of open-ended survey questions and ethnographic observations revealed potential positive (e.g., community, performance over appearance, food as fuel) and negative (e.g., self-comparison, exercising to eat) influences on all three variables, with most themes reoccurring across all affiliates. However, some differing experiences were reported within and between affiliates (Study 2). Thus, this study provides initial evidence of positive associations between CrossFit participation and women’s body image and eating behaviours, with all five CrossFit affiliates creating similar environments. Although no associations with global self-esteem were reported, future research should investigate whether or not state and/or specific domains of self-esteem are associated with participation.