Before I start I’d like to state that over the years Crossfit has become very popular and has developed into an amazing method of exercising. However, crossfit has lost sight of what the true purpose of exercising really is. There are only really four main reasons people exercise. To improve athletic ability, improve health, lose weight, or put on more muscle. Knowing this i cannot go about praising Crossfit as the greatest workout regiment of all time. A closer look at Crossfit’s history and how it became what it is today will highlight the many issues at hand. As the former elite Crossfitter Gillian Mounsey once explained,

Crossfit was making her good at exercise, not athletics.

The Beginning:

June 1974 John Jesse publishes The Wrestling Physical Conditioning Encyclopedia which popularizes the concept of metabolic condition. Some have accused Greg Glassman of appropriating the concept of the “metcon” from Jesse without giving proper credit. Source

June 13, 2001 Cross fit was founded in the year 2000 by Greg Glassman. Greg Glassman declares that periodization as planned variations in intensity is witchcraft. Source

October 1, 2002 Greg Glassman releases the first Crossfit Journal article, entitled “What is Fitness?” Among other things, it stresses the idea that the training all people (soldiers, athletes, and housewives included) should differ by intensity, not by type. Source

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January 1, 2003 Tyler Haas conducts an interview with Greg Glassman. In it, Glassman infamously declares that Crossfit will allow an athlete to go from deadlifting 200 pounds to between 500 and 750 pounds in only two years, while only pulling max singles several times per year. Glassman has been asked on numerous occasions to retract his statement, but refuses. To date, no one has demonstrated that the claim is true. Also, indicates that it “inuits well” that being able to deadlift 250 for high reps at a high heart rate means that you might be able to pull 500 lbs at a resting heart rate. Source

January 19, 2003 Greg Glassman offers broad criticism of respected coach and sport scientist Mel Siff. Claims that he knows that Mel Siff’s health conditions are caused by his diet. Glassman says he knows what Siff eats because of his recommendation for athletes in one of his books. Siff vigoriously disputes this. Source

February 23, 2003 Greg Glassman states, “the supremacy of Russian methods, sports science, and athletic supremacy has all the legitimacy of the high carb/low fat diet.” Source

June 1, 2003 Glassman publishes an article in the Crossfit Journal entitled “Metabolic Conditioning.” It was later noted to contain many ergregious errors, including the quote “anaerobic training can match endurance training for aerobic benefit.” Source

April 25, 2003 First WOD with comments posted online at crossfit.com. Source

October 6, 2005 Greg Glassman lambasts respected gymnastics coach Chris Sommers and his athletes. Says that no kid will ever match the power output of any elite Crossfitters, and if one does, he will buy him a new car and pay for him to go to college. Source

December 22, 2005 Stephanie Cooper of NY Times writes an article entitled “Getting Fit, Even if it Kills You”. First mainstream publication to document rhabdomyolosis via Crossfit. Also quotes Glassman as saying, “If you find the notion of falling off the rings and breaking your neck so foreign to you, then we don’t want you in our ranks.” Source

December 31, 2005 Glassman ends 2005 by declaring, on the Crossfit website, that the kipping pullup is critical to arboreal locomotion. Indicates he will laugh as non-Crossfitters avoid the kipping pullup. Source

January 5, 2006 An epic showdown between Greg Glassman and Josh Hillis occurs on the Crossfit website. Glassman publicly attacks the character of Josh Hillis and several others for being weak. Hillis tries to apologize but Glassman declares that he is attacking Hillis’ character. Also infamously declares that the Crossfit therapy for injuries is “STFU.” Glassman refers to powerlifter Jack Reape as “morbidly obese” and mocks Steve Shafley for his Fran time. Source

January 09, 2006 Bill Fox creates a post on the IronGarm X forums entitled “The Couch Thread.” The post began with questioning Glassman’s position that the Olympic lifts will develop speed strength better than the kettlebell lifts. Ironically, Glassman’s assertion is now generally accepted to be true. However, the Couch thread evolved into the #1 location for those frustrated and angry with Crossfit and Greg Glassman to voice their views. Noted for its combination of vulgar attacks on Crossfit, along with more thoughtful critiques of the program. Also a source of Crossfit gossip and rumors, and a place to post pictures of Crossfitters. Source

January 20, 2006 Glassman asassinates the character of Dan John. Dan John is accused of showing a “sad display of virtues.” An author on T-Nation wrote a disparaging article about Crossfit, and Dan John did not attack the author to show his support for Crossfit. Dozens of well-written comments in support of Dan John’s character are erased from the Crossfit website. Source

March 23, 2007 Mark Twight (record-setting alpinist and trainer of 300 actors including Gerard Butler) is lambasted by Greg Glassman on the Crossfit website, accused of stealing Crossfit’s intellectual property. Twight’s documents on the website clearly show that he gives credit to Crossfit, specifically Greg and Lauren, for ideas. Glassman claims that “Mark Twight’s attacks on CrossFit risk the lives of soldiers and police.” Additionally, Glassman states “they’re [sic] best male performance is not a match for our best females in Santa Cruz alone.” To date, no female from Santa Cruz has broken any of Twight’s records. Source

September 12, 2007 Buddy Lee joins Crossfit to offer $500 certifications on how to jump rope. Lee’s relationship with Crossfit quietly ends in mystery within a year or two. Source

April 19, 2008 Brian MacKenzie declares on the Crossfit Endurance website that he will attempt to finish in the top 10 at the Badwater 135 Mile Ultramarathon and the Crossfit Games in the same year. Source

July 14, 2008 Brian MacKenzie DNF’s from the Crossfit Games. Source

August 8, 2008 Makimba Mimms, a victim of rhabdomyolosis after performing a short Crossfit workout, is ridiculed on the Crossfit website for his lack of fitness. Source

September 11, 2008 Reknown football combine coach Mike Boyle explains how Crossfit exercises such as high-rep Olympic lifts are ill-advised and may lead to injuries. Source

November 4, 2008 Chris Shugart posts “The Truth About Crossfit” on T-Nation. Perhaps the most balanced and accurate third-party article to come out on Crossfit yet. Source

November 8, 2008 Greg Glassman ridicules a NSCA and ACSM-certified trainer for being less educated than Crossfit’s best, and for making minor grammatical mistakes, despite the fact that Glassman’s posts are often filled with the same. Source

November 11, 2008 Greg Glassman claims that Crossfit is the world leader in prevention of rhabdomyolosis. Source

November 14, 2008 Tony Budding says that doing Crossfit WODs will make you competent in almost any real-world activity, but says that sword-fighting and tightrope walking are not seen in the real-world, so they can be discounted. Ironically, does not provide instances of where one would see a double-under or a wallball in real life. Source

November 23, 2008 Man makes forum post on Crossfit forums asking if any other gay men do Crossfit. Thread is locked. A week and a half later, any discussion of sexuality is officially banned on the Crossfit forums and all instances of the word “gay” becomes censored. Source #1 Source #2

December 11, 2008 Greg Glassman ridicules Brandon Oto and claims he doesn’t understand fitness, physics, or mathematics. Refuses to recant his statement that Crossfit will give you a 750 lb deadlift within 2 years, even though there is no proof. Refuses to recant the idea that Crossfit will be a better program for bodybuilding than actual bodybuilding (drug-free). Also declares exercise science a myth and says that no achievement in human performance has come even in part from exercise science. Source #1

January 6, 2009 Glassman gives a presentation at the Naval War College. Khakis look like they were rolled up in a ball before he put them on. Source

February 3, 2009 Another Glassassination. Greg Glassman learns of an email between Air Force higher-ups suggesting that the military is moving away from Crossfit. Calls the authors of those emails cretins and morons, and offers a $1000 bribe for the full identity of the authors. Source

February 18, 2009 Massive security breach of the Crossfit Forums occur. George Mounce is granted administrator access and views the moderator forums. Mounce posts screenshots on the Couch thread. Screenshots show moderators privately making fun of individual members, referring to one as “pudgy.” Moderators discuss censorship and make “Gym Jones” a banned word on the Crossfit forums. Mounce is promptly banned from the Crossfit Forums and the title below his name forever reads ‘Banned for integrity and ethical violations’. Any discussion of this incident on the Crossfit forums is banned. Source

February 21, 2009 With the help of some mathematical wizardry, Glassman defines a three-dimensional solid that represents the continuum between sickness, wellness, and fitness. Viewers are flabbergasted. Source

April 14, 2009 “The 100 Mile Movie” project premieres. Project aimed to document Brian MacKenzie and Carl Borg complete 100 mile races using the CFE protocol. Project ends in failure as neither MacKenzie nor Borg completed any 100 mile races from that point on. Source

April 22, 2009 Glassman gives a speech to the 3rd Marine Division in Okinawa, Japan. He is shown wearing wrinkled cargo pants, a wrinkled t-shirt, and hiking boots. Source

April 25, 2009 Greg Glassman publicly challenges Michael Caviston (Director of Training for the Naval Special Warfare Center) to participate in a charity demonstration. Glassman suggests that the demonstration involves both Glassman and Caviston performing a deadlift while shirtless. In the same message, Glassman also makes statements that some interpret to be homophobic. No shirtless deadlift demonstration ever occurs. Source

June 19, 2009 Brian Mackenzie of Crossfit Endurance declares that he refuses to “destroy his body” by completing a qualifying race to be eligible to run Western States 100. Asks permission from race directors to skip qualifer. Denied, of course. Source

June 20, 2009 Respected trainer and one of the first elite Crossfitters, James “OPT” Fitzgerald, acquires “physiological symptoms of death” after completing Crossfit workout during the 2009 Crossfit Games. Describes releasing dark urine, extreme cramping and soreness, and being curled up in the fetal position — symptoms of adrenal fatigue and rhabdomyolosis. Source

July 10, 2009 Crossfit Games banner unveiled. Reads, “the strength and value of CrossFit lies entirely within our domination of other athletes. This is a truth derived through competition, not debate.” Source

Does this look smart to you?

I’ll continue with the rest of this history lesson about Crossfit’s origins in the next post. But don’t believe everything you hear. The heavier the weight one uses to lift will always increase the chances of getting injured. There are better and safer ways of doing everything crossfit offers. Don’t drink the Crossfit cult’s cool aid. Unless your a complete fitness nut, who just works out with no goal in mind, but for the sake of getting that exhausted feeling. If your one of those crazy people who just love the feeling of pain and tiredness for no reason then Crossfit is for you. But for the other 95% of people who exercise with a goal in mind, please be smarter.

About the Author

by Mfk A Nutrition and Fitness enthusiast
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