Updated: Oct 9, 2020
If you're into CrossFit then you've heard and if you're not into it - well, then you've still probably heard of it as it's kind of a big deal especially with what's happened with recent events and the founder of that brand.
Here's a bit of a timeline (source) of how this brand was born and came about.
1974 - A young 18 year old College student Greg Glassman, took his first training job as a gymnastics coach at the Pasadena, CA Y.W.C.A. He started to implement his training thoughts on his clientele as he realised what bodybuilding and endurance programs were both lacking, Greg Glassman found success with his efficient, high intensity workout pairing heavy fundamental movements with sprints.
1995 - Greg Glassman is hired to train the Santa Cruz CA Police Department. Greg Glassman opens the First CrossFit gym in Santa Cruz CA.
2000 - Coach Greg Glassman founded CrossFit Inc and the first affiliated gym was CrossFit North which opened in Seattle, Washington.
2001 - CrossFit’s Web Site goes live allowing the world to become a smaller place where everyone can view the WOD (workout of the day) access the video library of workouts and exercise demos, and interact with each other via the discussion forums.
2002 - April 1st, not wanting to fool anyone on this day, Coach Greg Glassman published the first CrossFit Journal article, Foundations, with the purpose, To define CrossFit and inspire and support our community. Till this day this remains the same.
The article went on to become a key part of the Level 1 Training Guide, the companion to the CrossFit Level 1 Seminar and the resource thousands of new CrossFit trainers turned to for answers.
October 2002 the article, What Is Fitness? Was published which placed Greg Glassman as the first to articulate fitness principles in a way that allowed measurable, observable and repeatable analysis of the safety, efficacy and efficiency of a fitness program.
2003 - CrossFit launch the affiliate program
2005 - August 2005 Coach Greg Glassman published Virtuosity.
2007 - The CrossFit Games are held every summer and competitors travel from all corners of the world to battle it out to determine who is the Fittest on Earth! The prize fund awarded has risen as the sport of Fitness has grown increasing from $500 at the inaugural Games to now an incredible $250,000 for fittest male and female in 2011-2013.
2009 - By 2009 there are over 1000 CrossFit Affiliates worldwide, with approximately 2-3 affiliate applications daily.
2010 - The CrossFit Games move location and are now held at the Home Depot Centre in Los Angeles, California. The CrossFit Games broadcast live streaming via the Web live.crossfit.com. CrossFit sign a 10 year deal with Reebok.
2011 - Athletes worldwide competed in 6 workouts over 6 weeks, posting their scores in real time and online anyone who is anyone could compete for a position among the fittest athletes in the world. In all, more than 26,000 athletes competed in the open, making it one of the largest sporting events in history.
2013 - Currently there are more than 6100 affiliates Forging Elite Fitness worldwide and counting.
And the list goes on. Obviously with the ups, there are downs when you are looking at decades worth of work.
Here's another source to read more as it talks about some of the other things the brand has gone through over the decades.
And now, as of yesterday, the man that founded CrossFit resigns.
Glassman's words and actions regarding the death of George Floyd are inexcusable - he was wrong and no amount of explaining will undo it, but here's what I have taken away from all of this based on my experience with the brand:
Over the years, CrossFit has gotten kind of a bad rap among the general fitness community. It started being known for causing injuries and being overall too intense. Not to mention extremely intimidating to anyone just getting started on their journey to better health. The various boxes recognized this and in order to accommodate more of the surrounding communities, many changed their programming to include classes that work on the basic movements often found in CrossFit, breaking them down step by step to reach perfect technique and execution. These would be called "On-Ramp" or "Foundations" classes.
Also in response to this "bad image" towards the brand, boxes also started offering other types of fitness classes like bootcamp or yoga to help appeal to the masses and of course bring in more revenue. Because, let's be honest, business has been getting slower for the brand over the decades and $180 per month for CrossFit verses $10 a month a Planet Fitness is hell of a lot more to someone that's just looking to get active as opposed to a getting to that new PR.
When I made the decision to open GET FIT EGV, I thought about becoming a CrossFit affiliate myself. I'm a huge advocate in the benefits to this style of training as well as other modalities like Ashtanga, Hatha, Yin, HIIT and Bootcamp. At the time, I reached out to neighboring boxes and the general response I got was the $3,000 annual affiliate fee wasn't worth it and if they could do it all over again, they never would have become affiliated. I did not become affiliated after all because of financial reasons and wanting to incorporate my own style of training into the mix but do they realize that they would not be where they are today without that initial affiliation? At one point in time, just thinking the word Crossfit got you members. And then now, with Glassman's recent comments, all of these boxes are dropping their affiliation and brands like FitAid and Reebok are pulling their sponsorship. I can't speak too much to the sponsorship aspect but for the boxes, why are they really becoming unaffiliated. Is it to stand up for racism? Or is it because they wanted out anyways and now they can fall on the sword for a cause instead and save some face - how convenient.
The social media groups I belong to for affiliate owners asks whether we should support the brand or support human rights? Which is the correct answer? To that I asked - what are we actively going to do as a community, as a brand, to increase diversity in our establishments? Not much was said to answer that and I think that is the heart of all of this. I have to say that if it wasn't for the pandemic and months of shelter in place, I don't know that George Floyd's voice would have been heard like it has. "I can't breadth." I think if we were back to our full "normal" routines, his death would not have had the same impact. We needed this because as a society, with the prejudice that is all around us, we cannot breadth either.
So I say to you, that I hope that in your mind the words of this one man does not speak for the brand or style of training but instead tell the story that we need to do better.
We are better than this and everyone can benefit from growth.
If you have any feedback on how we can increase diversity among our members, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be sure to post and share on social media so that we can keep improving.