Tuesday, June 9, 2020

What now for CrossFit?

What is CrossFit?

CrossFit is a 'way of life', from the promoted paleo lifestyle, to the 'functional fitness' workouts and the community.

For a long time I had a negative view on Crossfit and actually called it 'CrossFad', (Personal Trainers tend to be snobs when we have a biased opinion on a topic in fitness and nutrition).  When I came into the industry, CrossFit was still in its infancy, but growing rapidly.  I remember once speaking to a PT that I was on a course with, that had just done 'Crossfit' in the gym before the class.  I was like "mate, you've just done a circuit, that's all - that isn't CrossFit".

The issue a lot of Strength & Conditioning/weightlifting coaches and Personal Trainers have with CrossFit is that it's not necessarily programmed or periodised. The workouts, at one point, seemed to be made up on the spot and involved a high volume of weight, reps, speed and ego.

'Coaches' could do a CrossFit Level 1 course and start 'coaching' without having previous industry experience and teach technique for weight lifting (clean & jerk and snatch) or gymnastics.  You would get amateurs trying to perform complex movement patterns when they weren't ready to do so, causing injury.

It's also referred to as 'functional' fitness (which is another 'political one' in the industry right there).  High intensity and complex movements are thrown together to create a WOD (Workout Of the Day) to beast the hell out of the 'athlete'.

There are nightmare videos of overloaded barbells being dropped, lifted inappropriately and spines buckling to make you cringe.  However that being said, Physiotherapists, Chiropractors and Osteopaths love CrossFit.

(Don't get me wrong, there is a high standard of coaching and professionalism within the CrossFit boxes, so that's not to tar every coach with the same brush).

Recent Events 

In recent events CrossFit has seemly been condemned, and now looks like 'CrossFad' may have been the right expression.  Founder of CrossFit Greg Glassman posted an inappropriate tweet in a time of mayhem around the world, which has cast a dark shadow over the organisation.

Many affiliates around the world are discontinuing their affiliation with Crossfit, meaning many 'Boxes' (CrossFit gyms) that had 'Crossfit' in the title, are now deciding to rebrand under their own identity.   

There are over 15,000 CrossFit affiliates globally, each Box pays an annual affiliation fee of $3000USD, you do the math on that.  CrossFit inc. is said to be (was) worth $10USD Billion and Greg Glassman $100USD million.  But right now the future looks bleak for Crossfit inc, as key athletes speak up and against the comment, Boxes cut ties and major sponsors, like Reebok (branded sportswear) and Rogue (equipment sponsor) pull out their contracts by the end of the year.

CrossFit Community

What I have previously respected and admired about Crossfit, however, is how the brand had brought together a movement in the fitness and nutrition world.  The brand has created a mass community, that has managed to trickle down into smaller communities, into the individual Boxes.  It has brought together people from different backgrounds and abilities.  It has shook the science, research and food industries, as well as providing so much respect, awareness and fund-raising for various charities.  It also introduced the world to the sport of 'training', with the CrossFit Games

I don't know how Crossfit Inc is going to come back from this one.  Even if Glassman resigns, it's still a tainted connection.  Now Boxes have their own communities that are loyal and with the additional cost of the affiliation fee, there's no reason for Boxes to be part of the organisation any more. 

I wouldn't call myself a 'Crossfitter' and have only recently joined a Box and started CrossFit training and I actually love it, it really is a bit of me.

I was very impressed with the community of my box at Innervate and it's participants.  I mean, there was literally a blind 60+ year old aunty (senior respected female in Singapore) lifting weight and doing double unders, it was remarkable.   There were kids, co-workers, friends and different ethnicities grinding together and putting in the effort.  So for me it is sad to see such stupid comment made by the leader, potentially cause the crumble of something so great that he created-such a shame. 

I guess only time will tell and maybe after the Crossfit 2020 games (if they still go ahead) there may be a silver lining???

Keep it real folks 



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