Posts Tagged ‘What is CrossFit’

A popular question that a lot of us still hear quite often – What is CrossFit?

As of late, there have been a lot of videos that I’ve seen CrossFit HQ put together. The CrossFit YouTube Channel has a ton of of their videos, and I encourage you guys to check it out for cool stories, fun workouts, and more.

Here’s the first one “Let Me Tell You About CrossFit“:

This second video is the most to-the-point description that explains what CrossFit is that I’ve come across yet! What do you think about the “CrossFit Whiteboard: Functional Movement” video?:

There was a CrossFit commercial. On TV. During the NFC Divisional Championship game (that’s football, Juli). That means, I can only guess, that a few MILLION more people saw what CrossFit is all about for the first time.

I was sitting there at a lunch with my friend watching it at a bar (because I knew it would be on during the game), and for the entire commercial, I was just smiling and fist-pumping in my seat. What an idiot! The commercial was over and I said to my friend… “I know I had NOTHING to do with creating that commercial, but WOW did I feel proud watching it!”

A lot of people are saying that CrossFit has “sold out” now due to their partnership with Reebok, but I say, “if our goal is to change lives for the better and make people healthier, why does it matter HOW they hear about it?” I love it. Check out the commercial below.

To accompany that, another short video was released with CrossFit Founder, Greg Glassman, talking about what CrossFit is all about.

So… did CrossFit “sell out”? Well, to jump on a bandwagon that almost certainly saw an INCREASE in the “trending” that #CrossFit and #Reebok must have had on Twitter after the commercial was debuted yesterday, Hamilton Nolan (blogger from released a piece this morning on CrossFit.

The title of his post: Crossfit Is Over

Go ahead and click that title and read the full post over on the site (it’s pretty short), but the point of the post was to say that now Reebok has partnered with CrossFit, that the program is less “underground.” Does that therefore make the program less effective, too? And a partnership with Reebok? “Yeah. Not even one of the cool shoe brands,” he says.

Some of the things he says in the piece (pasted word-for-word):
“Next thing you know Crossfit gyms will be popping up at ever suburban strip mall from here to San Diego, and wealthy stay at home moms will start showing up after their yoga classes, and Jillian Michaels will make a Crossfit DVD, and there will be a Crossfit reality show and some MTV kid will get MADE, into someone who can do 20 pullups. And then there will be the inevitable Under Armour- Reebok- Nike Crossfit sneaker wars, until every Crossfit club is owned and branded, and there will be a pro tour and youth leagues and fashion shoots and celebrity endorsements and doping scandals and cheating.”

Actually guys…. he’s right. It’s been heading in that direction for some time, as we can all tell. You know why? Because people, athletes, companies… are starting to MAKE MONEY with CrossFit. You know where else that happens? Every other professional sport.

Again, though, back to my point, and my stance on the subject…. I don’t train/coach/(live?) CrossFit to make money from it. I do it because it’s hands-down the most effective physical training program I’ve ever come across. I do it because I’ve physically seen it change people’s lives for the better (my own included), not because Reebok now makes “CrossFit Shoes”.

(Sidenote: shoes I will likely NEVER own because of how expensive they are…)

So, is he right in saying “And Crossfit will be full of *ssholes. Too bad.”? No. I think there will be the same ratio of cool people to *ssholes as there is right now. As the sport continues to change, it’s core will still be the thousands of people who do it for the right reasons… and those regular, normal, everyday people are awesome!

You know what WON’T change, even when (even more) celebrities and professional sports teams start using CrossFit, though? I still won’t choose to associate with any of those people.

Final Thoughts:
CrossFit is quickly turning into two different things.

First is CrossFit as a workout program and fitness regimen. This side of CrossFit does, and ALWAYS WILL, be appropriate for anyone. Yes. Anyone can do CrossFit… (And personally, I think everyone SHOULD)

The second is CrossFit as a legitimate Competitive Sport. This is where there will be multi-million dollar prize packages, multi-million dollar sponsorships, scandals and controversies, celebrities, glitz and glam. That just comes with the territory, people. The difference between this and every other sport out there, is when people are in the stands watching the CrossFit Games, almost all of the fans are active participants in the same activities. So, even though we don’t lift as much weight, and move as quickly as those “elite firebreathers”… we share in what they do moreso than any other sport.

That’s one of the biggest differences in CrossFit to me. We all get it. And whether you’re the best athlete in your gym, or a first-timer getting off of the couch for the first time in a decade, we’re all on the same level…. we’re all trying to be “better than yesterday.”

So, while CrossFit may have “sold out” depending on who you ask…. CrossFit is most definitely NOT over.

Nice little rant today, huh?

Post your thoughts to comments!

This video was released by CFHQ TODAY.

Given the post I just put out there a few hours ago, it just seemed like a good supplement.

It’s a compilation of presentations he’s given over the past few years defining that very question:
What is CrossFit?

For those of you who may never have noticed, across the top of my blog is a tab labeled “What is CrossFit?

On that page, I try to provide some introductory resources to anyone who comes across this page to explain what CrossFit is, and some basics of the program. Last night I was asked to approve a comment on the page, and after reading it, I was instantly inspired to type a reply. When I finished typing and hit “send”, I realized that it would all be kept on a rarely visited tab of this page.

Instead, I am going to post the interaction here for all of you to see.

It is critical to me that lines of communication on this blog be kept open and RESPECTFUL at all times. This posted, Rachel, disagrees with CrossFit. However, she is very respectful in sharing why she dislikes it. Similarly, I tried my best to give a well thought-out reply while not resorting to some of the immature Pro-CrossFit stuff I’ve seen out there.

I’m sharing this with you guys to get your input. What do you think about what she said? What about my reply? Am I being a positive “ambassador of our sport”? That’s my goal.

It’s a bit wordy, but I tried my best.


Rachel’s Comment:
My advice is: Don’t drink the Crossfit Kool Aid. Don’t go into a Crossfit gym, even if they offer you free intro classes. Never sign up on a Crossfit mailing list. Don’t watch a friend’s Crossfit Class.

I am a runner, and I know some runners that decided to try Crossfit as a way of cross training. These were not weekend joggers, but people that run half marathons and marathons. Most quickly decided the Crossfit program’s workouts were too extreme for them. The WODs were making them too sore to do their best running. So they decided to go back to working with a personal trainer.

A few other runners decided to stick with Crossfit and see if they could get used to the workouts to the point they were not feeling so sore. Unfortunately, both got injured doing Crossfit WOD, and as a result, were not able to compete in some races they really wanted to run. After that, they also decided that doing Crossfit was counterproductive to their running goals.

For every Crossfitter that becomes an Elete Crossfit athlete by subjecting their body to the torture of Crossfit Workout of the Day routines, you can be sure that many, many more will end up in the emergency room with an injury that will sideline them from doing ANY exercise for weeks, if not months.



My Reply:

I can see that you have experienced quite a few major issues with the CrossFit program and how it has impacted some people close to you.

I 100% respect your experiences with, and knowledge of, CrossFit, and in response I can only offer my personal experiences with the methodology.

Have I ever known a friend to injure themselves doing CrossFit? Yes. But I can also tell you that the number of athletes I know who have been injured is a fraction of a fraction of one percent compared to the number of people I know (and have seen first-hand) change their lives for the BETTER through the program. Health Metrics (cholesterol, blood pressure, etc) improving, weight loss (in situations where that was critical to personal health), increase in overall fitness/flexibility/strength/energy levels/focus, etc. Those are the overwhelming number of stories that I see or hear about.

Is there some inherent risk with the program? I think it’s obvious that there is. However, have people also injured themselves running outside? Bench Pressing? Rock Climbing? Yes.
There is always a RISK for injury in any physical activity, and with CrossFit, in my opinion there are two things in particular that can impact one’s likelihood of injury:

1- Proper coaching – I’ve been an athlete for most of my life, and don’t think I’ve participated in anything as technically challenging day-in and day-out as CrossFit. The form, coaching and practice required to “master” these movements enough to perform them at the demands of the program are significant. Here’s the catch… at MY gym (I don’t own it, but where I work), I try my best to coach our athletes to a point where they can maintain safe form regardless of whether or not I am there to coach them.

2- Self-Awareness – Once the coaching piece has been addressed, I still feel that athletes need to be self-aware enough to identify when they are working out. The three “steps” in progression that they coach in CF are: Form, Consistency and Intensity. So, by the nature of the program, athletes should be sure to feel comfortable with movements before increasing weight. I have stopped my athletes many times, worked with them on form and then suggested (required 🙂 ) a drop in weight before they could continue, when I felt that their safety was in jeopardy. It’s part of the game.

You will never be able to eliminate the chance of injury, but I do think that the best gyms out there create an environment where athletes are better prepared to be as safe as possible, and understand why they do what they do.

Furthermore, part of CrossFit’s approach is that we specialize in NOT specializing. In the event that an athlete is training for a specific event (Ironman, marathon, hockey tournament) I think they should focus primarily on their sport-specific training, while using CrossFit as a supplement to increase strength/flexibility, etc. Have I seen people train only using CrossFit, then run their first marathon, remain injury free throughout their training and then not get injured during the race? Yes. That person is me.

Now, did I qualify for Boston with my time? OF COURSE not! Ha! But, that wasn’t my goal. My goal was to complete a marathon using CrossFit, and I did. And was safe and healthy throughout the process.

As I’ve said a few times on my blog, I’m not trying to coach someone to become the next “Fittest Man or Woman on Earth”. My goal in coaching is to continue to help people improve their health and wellness through working out for a few hours per week. All of the other positive stuff that comes from that is just icing on the cake!

That’s not the most eloquent reply I’ve ever written, but I’m on my lunch break and wanted to get back to you as soon as I could.

There’s no reason that we ever need to agree on this topic, and the most important thing for me to note is that I appreciate your input and thank you for your time put into sharing those thoughts with me! This it the type of dialogue I love having with athletes from all over! Thanks again, Rachel.


As CrossFit continues to blow up in popularity, more and more media sources are going to start covering the “emerging sport.” The latest article I’m sharing comes from the Fast Company website, which is a site founded on the concept of, connecting “ideas and people.”

They cover as many different lifestyle topics as you can imagine, and I have a feeling that this article is going to reach a much larger demographic through its posting. Also, it’s written from the perspective of a relatively new CrossFitter, so many of “our” concepts, terms and thought processes are actually written so the “Non-CFers” out there can understand.

I’ve shared a few parts of the article below, but go ahead and click here or at the bottom of this post to view the entire piece.

~During my four-month experiment with the growing exercise brand, I learned that CrossFit proposes that elite athleticism and seemingly impossible workouts can be survived with a little help from supportive peers pushing each other through the pain.

Group workouts pack the most functional movements of olympic lifting, gymnastics, and calisthenics into a 10-20 minute sprint. The routines are slowly creeping their way into the regiments of all-star athletes and armed forces divisions around the world. They’ve put me in the best shape of my life.

~”I think CrossFit can be for everyone,” says Val Voboril (who is … 9 months pregnant). “It made my pregnancy easier,” she contends, as the “strength, conditioning, and endurance,” helped her deal with the added weight of carrying another human being.

At CrossFit, however, men aren’t always the alpha dogs, such as 106-pound Ting Wang, who deadlifts nearly 3x her body weight in the video below (I still can’t deadlift double my own weight).

Here’s how the author, Greg Ferenstein, closes out his post. I would say it’s not too hard to agree with him with at least the statement below. The next 12 months will be very interesting for the future of the “Official” CrossFit movement.

The strength of CrossFit’s market-oriented approach may also be its biggest challenge. Since workouts and individual culture are largely decided by independently owned gyms, CrossFit can only maintain a level of quality to the extent that trainers buy into the core philosophy and execute smart business practices. Moreover, since Glassman can’t patent “functional, high-intensity movements,” there’s nothing to prevent a Gold’s Gym or military division from wholesale adopting CrossFit’s basic approach without renumeration or giving credit. Ultimately, the survival of the official brand will depend on Glassman’s ability to maintain its community as the exercise program swells.

Click here to read the entire article!