Friday, October 2, 2009

Why I Resigned my Affiliation with CrossFit

John Sheaffer- Greyskull Barbell Club

Recently I’ve received a lot of emails asking me why I resigned my affiliation with CrossFit with plenty of paid time left in my agreement. I decided that to set the record straight and/or dispel some of the rumors, I would share some of my reasoning behind that decision.

First and foremost, my resignation was fueled by my observation of the precipitous decline in the quality of the average CrossFit affiliate. When I got involved in the organization, most affiliates were garage gyms, some were operating out of parks, or backyards like mine, and most were relatively legit. The people were those who abhorred what was the norm, the Bally’s, Gold’s, 24Hour Fitness crowd selling long term gym memberships to facilities staffed by individuals deemed incompetent to teach one about fitness and promoting near useless exercise regimens. Over the next few years I watched the CrossFit community in general become more and more like the very people and chains that they set out despising at the onset. Now, hundreds of people get certified every weekend in a course that lasts two days and has no testing or requirements to pass. This certification then entitles them the right to affiliate with CrossFit after paying a fee, and filling out the necessary paperwork (I know, I did it). So now we have a flood of these people taking out business loans, buying all sorts of rowers, kettlebells, cheap bars, bumper plates and the like, and opening up shop in a strip mall or warehouse space. There, they dish out a one size fits all exercise prescription for all who come through the door, and prescribe a starvation diet for them to subside on. They pack classes with 20 people and turn them loose, with some Will Smith pumping, to go to town on the twenty minute “met-con” “chipper” “WOD” nonsense that someone pulled out of their skinny, zone eating ass as a one size fits all prescription for all who enter that morning. The people love the community aspect, the camaraderie and the atmosphere. They bring more people in, charge them $150 a month, and build a nice little business. Their people make progress as any human will when taken out of their normal habitat for a while. The fat people lose a few pounds and inches, the weak males that can’t press 75lb become weak males that can’t press 100lb. The women lose their dreaded tits and asses that they all despise. They get “progress” out of these individuals on a short term basis not because of their phenomenal coaching prowess, but because a chimpanzee could elicit positive adaptation out of an untrained couch potato for a few weeks (and would undoubtedly be stronger). Meanwhile, down the street is a serious facility where serious training occurs, and where people pay good money for help and guidance towards reaching their personal fitness or athletic goals. This place addresses the needs of each individual client, the ones who need to lose fat are put on programs to help them lose fat, the small, weak males are put on programs to make them big, strong males, and everyone is put on a program to make them physically stronger in the absence of adequate strength before getting crazy complicated with anything else. Problem is that both facilities share “CrossFit” as a part of their business name, and as such become universally interchangeable to the layperson. This results in the business owner hearing things like “my cousin does CrossFit”, or “I did CrossFit for a while in _____ so I know what I’m doing”. Between this and things being said like “CrossFit makes girls into men and men into girls” it doesn’t take long for anyone with any integrity, or concern whatsoever for the legitimacy of their name being damaged to realize that they are not benefiting in any way by being associated with that organization.

I’d like to add that my comments regarding the programming, if you would like to call it that, that these shit affiliates dish out are based on the idea that these individuals know next to nothing about programming for conditioning, let alone strength training, and that it is their erroneous application of misinterpreted ideas that causes this problem. While I don’t whole-heartedly agree with everything that Greg Glassman teaches in terms of exercise prescription and design, I do respect the man. He has always been nice to me, and he is very knowledgeable and well meaning in his own right. I like many others was impressed with the performance of some of his Santa Cruz athletes in the early videos that I watched years ago. That served as the major catalyst for my involvement with the organization. Interestingly enough, I’ve scolded many an affiliate that I have met who proudly spoke about showing prospective clients those videos to entice them to join, and yet would not have the faintest idea as to how one would train an individual to get to the level of the athletes featured in the video. This crap that we see today was not supposed to be the norm; it wasn’t supposed to turn out this way. “CrossFit” and “HorseShit” were not supposed to become synonymous at any point. If a person meets ten people from France in their lifetime, and eight of them smell like shit, then one can make a generalization about people from France, and they aren’t an asshole for doing so. Likewise, if people are bombarded by shit smelling CrossFit, then what are they to do but make a generalization about that name? It is unfortunate because there are many in the community that are good people doing good things. (a decent litmus would be if you are offended by this, you probably suck, and if you are nodding your head and/or laughing then you probably don’t. That or you’re delusional and think you don’t suck when you really do in which case weigh yourself for step two. If you weigh 160 and you aren’t 5’2” and your name isn’t Dutch Lowy, go eat and then come to terms with the fact that you suck). Ok so a bit of humor there, but there really are good people out there in this thing, and I really do feel bad for them.

I am not sure of the current count on worldwide affiliates, nor do I care. Over a year ago I spoke with a very well respected member of the CrossFit community who is near and dear to the HQ staff (no it’s not Rip I’m referring to in this one) he told me at that point that he estimated that one in thirty affiliates was actually decent, and wasn’t actively damaging the reputations of everyone who shared the common name but was doing good things with their little piece of the world. That was over a year ago. The count on affiliates at that time hadn’t broken 1000 yet. I spoke with him again a few months later and he said that it was probably one in fifty at that point. Wow, I wonder what his figures would be today. Now, of course that is a representation of one man’s opinion, but given the person’s status in that community, I think that it speaks volumes.

So what then to the person who says that some people just want to go and work out and meet people and have fun, or it’s better than them going to Bally’s or being fat. First of all, no, it’s not necessarily better than going to Bally’s by default. There are many, many strong, capable athletes training in chain, commercial gyms, and many people have transformed their bodies and lives in such establishments, some while even under the tutelage of a not yet so qualified “pin setter” who would grow to be a good coach. Second, I don’t have a problem with those people who want to go have fun and don’t care about actually progressing or being serious about their time and monetary investments. Those types get fired by me as clients quickly and I therefore don’t have to worry about dealing with them. I say let them have their fun. What I have a problem with is their use of the term “elite” fitness in all of their advertising and promotional materials. If you want to go to a fitness themed nightclub during the day to model your expensive yoga wear, do it, but for the love of God don’t pretend or claim to be elite. This goes for the guys as well. The emaciated, pussified, faux hawked nerds who I see at my platform while working certs with Rip who can’t press 105lb for a set of five (true story here, I have had the biggest guys in the group at three consecutive Barbell certs, and not one of them could press 125 for 5. You better believe though that they critiqued Andy Bolton’s bodyweight and appearance, and Vasily Alexiev’s press technique during the video portion of the seminar, and of course they were all wearing cool affiliate shirts with cute tough guy catch phrases like “CrossFit_______ : I’ll fuck your mother” or I’ll beat you to death like I caught you fucking my mother”, elite athletes can talk that talk you know.) Bottom line, I don’t mind that those people exist per se; they just shouldn’t be lumped into the same category as those who aren’t like them. Hence since that type is now the majority, the real people become the minority by default and need to exit promptly.

Since I brought it up, and since they don’t like me by now anyway, I’d like to add that the HQ staff’s reluctance to effectively give a shit about the information brought to the community by their SME (subject matter expert) crew is another reason for my departure. I have listened to numerous lectures on nutrition given by the level one and two staff that tout the Zone as the end all and be all of nutrition. Meanwhile, their resident nutrition guru whom they entrust to teach the Nutrition Certification, Robb Wolf (a great guy, and good friend) has always taught quality first, and focuses on improving the quality of the food people are eating before concerning them with zone blocks or other variables, an approach that myself and others have had tremendous success implementing on clients (unlike the jackasses that tell a recovering anorexic to weigh and measure her food, or tell a binge eater who subsides on french fries to eat 8 “blocks” of foods that Michael Jackson would think were weird, I know a bit insensitive to the now deceased MJ, but hey, he was a homosexual pedophile people). Likewise, and even more apparent to me, working for both the level one staff at one point, and my good friend and mentor Mark Rippetoe currently, is the lack of concern for the fact that you can’t effectively teach the barbell lifts with a piece of pvc pipe. There are significant differences between the way that the CF staff and the way that Rip (their former expert) teaches the lifts which he and others attempted to rectify numerous times in the level one and two curriculum but were met with the old “this is the way we’ve done it” routine. On the subject of Rip for those that are curious as to why he left, the reasons are many, but not unlike mine. Additionally, in his case, was the horrendously shitty communication, or lack thereof at the HQ level which had gotten so bad as to become personally offensive to him.

So now I’ve ranted, made some new friends, pissed some more people off, and filled in the reader on my observations for whatever they are worth. I again would like to say that there are many good people still involved in CrossFit, and that there are probably even some that suck currently that will develop into people that don’t suck. For many (Like several in my immediate geographical area, including one in particular that just keeps ra-ra cheerleading their way into a bigger and bigger business) I don’t see that ever happening, they will go on to suck forever. I would also like to add that I don’t claim to be the smartest, nor the best at what I do. I don’t have all of the answers, and I am a perpetual student of my discipline. I have contradicted things that I have said before, and I am sure that I will years from now as well. What I do have is passion, and integrity, and a commitment and desire to deliver to the best of my ability a valuable service to those who employ me. My door is always open to anyone seeking to discuss these matters or any others.

119 comments:

Bony said...

Very well put.

AFF said...

I'm really interested to see what feedback comes of this.

andy said...

Great article man

Bethany said...

John, Thanks for the explaination and none of it was a surprise to me. I have been kind of put off by the "poser" community that has really come up in the last year and I miss the "badass underground counter culture crossfit". In my demographic the name still helps my business, but long term....?? Hope to catch up with you guys at thanksgiving...and maybe you can give and old gal with some serious back arthritis some tips on getting her back squat back up to something reasonable!

Katrina Burton said...

Great article. I pretty much agree with every single point you made.

I'd like to second the point regarding HQ treating their SME staff poorly. At the 2009 CF Games, who ever was responsible for creating the workouts and their standards did not ask the SME for their opinion or input. We had 5'5" females doing handstand pushups on paralettes that were 3 feet apart. Originally they were suppose to touch their shoulders on the ground, but after a HUGE objection from Tucker they put the plates under. (he had requested to get rid of the paralettes all together and use shoulder width as hand placement)
No input from Rip on the deadlift WOD, no input from Burgener for the snatch standards, no input from the endurance guys on the running events... WOW! You hire all these people because they are smart in their field and then give them the snub at the CROSSFIT GAMES!

kiltedjim said...

Good stuff. Congrats on severing the cord.

Drew said...

PREACH IT, JP! i haven't done a crossfit main site WOD for two days straight in a long, long time; actually about the same time I stopped is when my cousin and her husband jumped on the bandwagon. the "badass underground counter-culture Crossfit" is all but gone. i got the first inkling about this when they joined, and now what eventually becomes true of all subcultures that reach the mainstream has become true for CF.
Keep on truckin', man!

Zarsky said...

It is a shame that better standards were not put in place for affiliates. I laugh at the concept that I myself could start an affiliate. And yes JP you laugh as well.

I have said it before...for those that are serious about being strong(er) there is no better place than Greyskull.

AFF said...

Great article.

It seriously worries me that CF programs in my general area have a link on their site to "the warrior diet" (as a former figure competitor who struggled with eating issues, endorsing an eating program that involves starving all day and then binge eating at night is just plain stupid). It also troubles me when pictures are posted of horrific technique on affiliate sites or stories that coaches (I use this term loosely) don't even know how to scale things like pushups.
But keep adding names to the board.....it's about quantity
of people in the door and not quality of what you offer these days ?

Maximus Lewin said...

I was pointed here by Gita, whom I sent to the Science of Exercise Dry Run.

Interesting post for sure. Here in the Bay Area, the quality of the Affiliates is high, and I have been to many: CrossFit Oakland, CrossFit One World, San Francisco CrossFit, Diablo CrossFit, CrossFit Santa Cruz Central, CrossFit Solano, Jason Kalipha's Operation, Marin CrossFit, etc. Hearing good things about Catalyst as well.

Max Lewin

Owner, CrossFit East Bay

Jen's Gym at Crossfit Watertown, CT said...

Bye, Bye!

gregg said...

Dead right John. Consumers need to do their due diligence when choosing a facility. Slapping "CrossFit" on your sign means nothing.

Esteban said...

Thoughtful and entertaining post. I have had several clients from other local CF affiliates stop in to check us out. Many of these individuals claim to have been doing CF for 6-12 months, yet have never squatted below parallel, performed a power clean, or deadlifted for anything other than high reps at low weights in a metcon. Some have never taken part in anything resembling a strength-building day. It makes my heart sad.

We've picked up several of these clients, but it makes me wonder how many others have stopped at the other affiliates before ours and simply written off CF as shit programming with no standards.

We do post the main site WOD as our own, but adapt it for the majority of clients, many of whom come to us in dire need of developing strength. If you're ever in Cincinnati, you'll have a fine gym in which to get your work done at CrossFit Nasti. Gay name, but then again, so is Grey Skull, when you think about it.

Brady said...

Well said.

And it's okay to rip on MJ purely because he was a pedophile. Sexual orientation has jack shit to do with anything.

pete@crossfit Bath said...

Congrats on being the first to speak up and cement what many of us feel. Rip said that strength is the most general component of fitness, yet crossfit and the zone serve only to leave you hungry and a long way from your genetic potential to be truly strong. As an example: OPT once said that 'size doesn't matter to a guy like Speal'. Clearly. The man is held up so high. Over 100 pull ups, sub 2 min fran etc. Oh, and can barely deadlift over 300 pounds. Did he learn from his 2008 experience? No. Take note people. If you are not strong, you are not fit.

William said...

well written.well apart from the fact that you can't differentiate between subsistence and subsiding.

Dean said...

Great article John! Not sure why anyone would train if they did not want to get strong. Anything else is just a waste of time.

Maximus Lewin said...

Curiosity about the points in this post led me to randomly click on 10 affiliates from the main site, none of which I was particularly familiar with.

9 out of 10 had a significant strength component to the training. 7 out of 10 looked to be of high quality based on the site.


I also found one going out of business:

http://www.crossfitstatenisland.com/

I remain unconvinced about the veracity of your points.

Max Lewin

Owner - CrossFit East Bay

DSC said...

I'm very new to CF (discovered it in June) and the points you raise are all concerns I've come across myself, in this short a time. The fact that learning the 9 basic movements in 2 days gives you the "right" to open a Box and train people is quite worrying for me. Ever since my discovery of CF I have dreamed about opening a Box, I find CF exciting and exhilarating at times, but I was worried from the onset about knowing enough to be able to help all my would-be clients, and not thinking it was possible to do in a 2 day course.
Your words have made me re-think my idea but I will not let go of it totally, because I am the kind of person who prefers to know what I'm talking about and meet everyone's needs individually instead of using the same method for everyone.

Erik said...

Interesting post. I am based in Europe where Crossfit to a certain degree still is a underground movement. Even though the first signs of a mainstream commercial approach is showing. Will be interesting to follow the development the next 3-5 years. You mentioned in your post that Rippetoe is no longer with the Crossfit organiation. We haven't heard about that on this side of the pond. Could you provide a few more details on that story?. I have done his basic barbell (did press more than 125 for 5 by the way:-)), and is very inspired by his approach, and respect his judgment, so I am very curious to hear more.

Tim said...

Coach,

Having been to a couple of boxes and subsequently having decided to go it alone with a buddy in the garage, I agree with much of what you're saying (in other words, "I just drove twenty minutes to get here, and you're going to tell me to push press some 35 pound dumbbells and run around the block? It's clear to me that we're not squatting simply because you've only two squat racks in here. About fifty med balls, though.") Anyways, what are your thoughts on the quality of the main page WOD programming for a fella in the garage? Still quality or suffering from the same carelessness that plagues the affiliation model?

Thanks,
Tim

OhSnap said...

Well shit. My favorite coach from Rip's BB Cert totally trashes the program that has made me stronger, harder and faster than ever. Tits in tact, check. Ass too, check.
Christin Street
Atlanta, Georgia

Boris T. said...

Good post, agree with you on many levels. Those are many of the same reasons I've distanced myself from the community.

Martin Berkhan said...

Excellent post.

Having worked with many CF certs/trainees, I can attest to the fact that 95% are complete morons when it comes to the nutritional side of things (erroneous beliefs, carbophobes, clueless about estimating caloric needs etc).

Adding to that, males tend to be much weaker in the main lifts compared to the average client with a conventional weight training background. They are also more likely to have a higher bf% and inferior body composition overall, despite having spent as many years on a "superior" and "elite" training regimen.

Martin Berkhan, www.leangains.com.

Kevin said...

Excellent! I have tried to drill this into a number of people out here that they need to seriously do their own programming and focus on more strength oriented training. Needless to say, the result is exactly what you described. My own training is entirely programmed for my own goals, these other piss poor affiliates out here simply throw together a one size fits all program and the result? Throw everyone into the grinder with "RX'd" weights that takes them 30 minutes to do because all the men can't press 60 lbs and the woman play with PVC pipe.

jtanizaki said...

I am still fairly new to crossfit and have witnessed many of these same characteristics in my short time with the program.

After reading your article (and this question is directed to everyone) what sort of books/certs/resources exist to teach programming?

I found this article through the OPT website (been following for about 1.5 months now) and have been very satisfied with his programming. However, OPT workouts are very different from the main site crossfit workouts which never seem to follow any sort of programming at all - just a random mix of exercises that hope to hit all the components of fitness.

Nick said...

I have to agree with a number of your comments regarding inferior programming. I purchased a 10-workout punch card to the local box, and didn't even bother finishing it; the "strength day" consisting of two sets of overhead squats with 95 lbs., and two sets of *deadlifts* with *1.5 pood kettlebells* (the heaviest in the gym, I believe), I asked when they were going to do more extensive barbell and strength work. "Well, the owner really prefers kettlebells exclusively, but we're thinking of doing one barbell day a month." I gave up on the place. I've checked back since, but haven't seen anything to dispel this negative impression of their programming.

Stephen said...

Interesting in that this is not a repudiation of the system, just the way it is currently licensed.

Jay Ashman said...

While, undoubtedly, there are affiliates who don't program effectively, there are those that do. I've seen some affiliate programming that I questioned and some that I look at and follow for my own ideas. A lot of these points are valid, with growth comes those that jump into it feet first without any prior fitness knowledge and hope they get lucky, some do, some don't. I don't think JP is trashing the community as a whole, he is just pissed off at the bad affiliates who bring down the name of the good ones.

Being that him and I share a background in strength work and sports conditioning I see a NEED for personalized instruction and programming for those that don't just want to increase work capacity across broad time and modal domains, but instead want to participate in a sport or become stronger while achieving fitness.

Its a fine line and I know it is hard to achieve and requires time, knowledge and a commitment that some people just can't do.

I will guess and say his issues are largely locally being that the tone of this indicates that.

Gym Jones spun off from a CrossFit affiliate and there are others that have done the same. We can all co-exist with each other, as long as the end result is the same: stronger, faster, fitter and quicker athletes should be produced.

While the tone of this will cause some anger in the CF community (of which I am also a part of) lets analyze why it was done and written and work towards fixing anything that could be perceived as subpar towards our goals of introducing quality to the masses.

Greyskull will continue to produce top-notch athletes and so will the good affiliates, quality is the key word. Let's not forget that.

If you are an affiliate owner or coach, ensure that your athletes are programmed effectively and you are doing right by them. In the end, we will all win and become better for it.

I love CrossFit, I think it works, but only when it is utilized intelligently and not with a randomness. A LOT of affiliates do that, let's make even more that do it.

tony said...

Anybody who leaves a Level 1 Cert with anything but a greater respect for the myriad things involved in adequate performance, never mind decent coaching, is a fool. If this same person starts a box the end will be swift and sure; out of business in less than a year. And that's the only point of a L1, to introduce people to the bigger picture that is CrossFit.

I, too, would like to see more testing at all the Certs. And I see it coming. This is still a small enough operation to make those kinds of changes. But as CF grows it will take longer to put those changes in place.

I don't think the answer is to leave but to stay and keep working to make those changes happen. We'll miss you John.

Tony Young
www.crossfitgenius.com

Michael said...

Well said. I could not agree with you more and hope you laugh at the responses those that disagree with you will likely send!

Chad said...

I completely agree with you on all counts. One of my biggest beefs with Crossfit is the "elitism." There is this belief that all other programs are inferior. I have seen a young man who after completing Marine Corps OCS, did his first Crossfit WOD and clocked a 3 something Fran.

Personally, I switched to paleo from zone and my performance has taken off.

And worst, I have seen boxes that were so awful, I felt ashamed. Equally, I have seen boxes so good that I was simply amazed by the quality of relatively new gyms.

I miss the Crossfit I knew when I first started. I commend you for your bravery in publicly stating this.

steveb said...

Great stuff and to the point.

Jon said...

Jay Ashman said "Gym Jones spun off from a CrossFit affiliate and there are others that have done the same. We can all co-exist with each other, as long as the end result is the same: stronger, faster, fitter and quicker athletes should be produced."

Co-existence is fine, but I don't think I've ever seen a CF post about Mark Twight's gym that doesn't trash on him or his athletes.

JP - I wish you the best and have mad respect for you doing this. You're making your own destiny and carving your own path. We ALL should be doing that.

Brandon said...

Great write up, I agree with you on a lot of these issue's and am really happy someone took the time to put it down on paper and get it out there.

Keith said...

I'm not going to go into a long diatribe, but John is 100% correct. The sad thing is other people are coming forward here telling horror stories of half assed "CF Certified training" similar to my own. I kinda hoped that my horror story would be in a minority, but the more I got to talking and asking questions, the more I began to see programming flaws; flaws that hurt my progress as someone trying to improve his overall fitness. I'm not Anti-CF, its just that my eyes have been open to see what is real training for strength and conditioning is.

Thanks John, for speaking up and speaking out. I support your position 100%.

andyp said...

Wow - lots of dialogue here. GREAT! While I agree with what you said in many ways, you are merely stating the facts of the business model that Coach Glassman chose in establishing CrossFit. The way I see it (and believe me, I don't know all the answers here either), quality, knowledge and overall experience at CF Affiliates worldwide looks like a bell curve. You have a few at the very top, the vast majority in the middle, and a few at the very bottom. That's just the way it is... and who is it that decides this "ranking?" - the market. The best not only survive, but lead the way, stay out in front, consistently innovate, are creative, and elicit incredibly great results from the people they train.

I used to have the same concern as you do... and what I've come to realize is that what you're describing takes place in ANY service industry that doesn't operate as a franchise. Is there a difference between one stock broker and another? You betcha - even though they use the same stock market... and what about one graphic designer from another? Of course... even though, for the most part, they all use the same tools, computers and software.

IMHO - Coach Glassman's business system is genius - it allows for individual creativity and innovation, encourages entrepreneurs, rewards excellence, and provides us all with the BASIC operating system that works - CrossFit. What and HOW you use the BASIC operating system is your business.

Now, as a participant in the CF Affiliate community, we all have the choice - do I leave the community that has been responsible for the entire existence of my business and livelihood for the past 4 years because I am not happy with the overall quality of the Affiliate community? Or, do I find a way to be part of a possible solution, using my knowledge, experience and creativity to propose solutions to problems, enrolling others in the community in my ideas, standing for and with the people that are part of this great community, and helping raise the bar for everyone? Personally, I'm up for option #2.

On that note, I think that our entire community could use an injection of quality... pushing the entire bell curve to the right... how is this done? One idea - add an exam at the end of a Level 1 cert to actually make the certification mean something other than just "I paid & attended". Or call the Level 1 Cert a "CrossFit Seminar". I'm sure there are many more ways to do this, but this isn't the time and place to discuss.

I understand and respect your choice for option #1 above... however, though I don't know you personally, for a person with the obvious passion, knowledge and experience you have, I think you took the easy way out.

I guess it's also possible that CF will have to lose some great people before "it" is open to listening to community opinion and making change.

Andy Petranek
CrossFit Los Angeles

travy19 said...

Noob question here...WHAT exactly makes a good affiliate, and more importantly, what defines whether their programming is optimal?

I currently am a member at Northwest CrossFit in Seattle. It is my fourth CrossFit gym in the past year since starting. Personally I think it is the best box I've been to so far. I'm pushed to my limits every time. But, being a relative neophyte I don't know how that translates over to whether or not it makes them great.

I know they won the Affiliate Cup at this year's games, that should (in part) point towards effective programming. Conversely, it could simply mean they produced a strong group of athletes.

Does this make sense? I guess this returns me to the original question, with a focus on programming. What makes the programming and staff effective?

John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

John, good luck to you. Your points are well taken (and your humor is appreciated. I guess that either means I don't suck, or I suck for totally different reasons) I have said for a number of years now that QC would be the biggest challenge for CrossFit and while I like the free market idea of the good ones will rise while the bad ones will fail sink or swim attitude, I think the organization is getting too big for that laissez faire approach.

I'd like to see testing standards and a higher level of experience required to affiliate. Maybe an apprenticeship with one of the top notch affiliates? I don't think losing people like yourself from the community however will help it get any better. Hopefully it won't take too many more good ones leaving for a wake up call.

That being said, I don't get around too much these days, but the affiliates I have been to have been pretty good across the board. Some are missing the mark, but I still see more good than bad.

Robert said...

Great to hear from a guy who has been there and done that. I thought your reasons were well thought out and even more importantly spoken from your heart. Congrats on making a decision to move on.

Jilly G said...

Thanks for being one of the few to actually put these thoughts to paper. For quite a while, I've felt the same way about the quality of affiliates - the watered-down name to suggest CrossFit is simply "fitness bootcamp with weights", and the massive decline of trainers who actually understand what is Fitness and the necessary elements that can actually take an athlete beyond their current fitness level. I began traveling for work a year ago and have been to many boxes, some of which are amazing and truly know their stuff. Most, however, don't know how to program for their students, can't visually see poor form or understand the multiple cues to correct it, and won't take the time to learn the importance of strength and skill work. I am saddened that the hard-core underground CrossFit I started with three years ago has turned into a "body-pump aerobics" class at many affiliates.

michael said...

Great post, and 100 fucking percent accurate. I would mouth kiss you if I could, no homo.

Seriously though, the community is fueled by the one size fits all aspect and it drives me crazy. I would say 85% of the crossfit clients out there can't even do the fucking crossfit named workouts prescribed... makes sense, huh?

This is your rant, not mine.

Markfu said...

Very good post and for me, covers all bases. The best thing I can say about my Crossfit experience, having trained at a good affiliate in SoCal, is that it opened my eyes to Olympic lifting, powerlifting and to a slightly lesser extent, kettlebells.

The Level 1 seminar that my Crossfit trainer got me all hyped up for was a total let-down, a waste of money and was the beginning of my disillusionment with Crossfit, also hastened by punk-ass comments by Mr. Glassman himself.

Today I train strength and work capacity with a true strength and conditioning coach and I am stronger and fitter than ever before. And no, I still cannot do a muscle-up, let alone 30 for time, nor care too.

Zach said...

So much truth in this it's scary. I have recently moved out of a my basement and carport where I've been training for two year. I miss the old beanie and seeing your breath in the air when you getting ready to squat days. I try and keep my athletes aware of where this all came from. I check your site every day and have a HUGE amount of respect for what your doing. Good on you for putting this out there.

ifyoucantlayout said...

I agree with you for the most part, and, if nothing else, it's nice to read something about CrossFit that isn't absolutely glowing. The diehards are getting so numerous and cliche that CrossFit will be as mainstream as Curves in the next couple of years.

It seems that your programming is very different from CrossFit's. It almost looks like you drifted away from CrossFit's style of programming, then took your chance to write a hyper-macho, hyper-cliche rant about how there aren't any good CrossFitters anymore.

AFF said...

For being a modest 800 ft square garage, your opinion has seem to make it across the county and real quick at that!

Lizann said...

Even if I agreed with some of your verbage -- your tone is unprofessional and demeaning. I would hesitate to team up with an oranization which feels compelled to build their reputation by trashing competitors (whether you believe they are true competitors --the fact remains Crossfit Affiliates are competition for you)
If bitterness sells, I am sure you will benefit in the short term. Best of luck

John said...

I see a lot of comments here speaking out against the mainstream of CF. If you feel like it is being watered down, then I can see the trouble. But if you feel like the cool counter culture isn't as cool anymore (like when you looked around and saw everyone wearing your cool retro David Bowie jacket) (No I'm not sure exactly what a David Bowie jacket would look like) then you are missing the mark.

I wish serious training with athletic movements and getting weak people strong went mainstream and I love that CrossFit has the vehicle to do it. What I don't like to see is CrossFit not being performed the way it should be. That is a problem with affiliates not embracing what CF really is, but being glad to capitalize on the growing name recognition.

What troubles me even more is to hear that HQ isn't taking the advice of SMEs and not walking the walk as per the talk of embracing what works and striving for excellence and virtuosity.

But for those who are upset that there are too many nerds joining the cool kids club, get over yourselves and be glad that more people are trying to do it up right.

Rzl said...

I think this is really interesting. I was at one of the best known affiliates and 6 months ago I messed up my back doing a set of heavy thrusters. The staff of the box offered little to no help, adopting the "suck it up approach. I actually went to the extent of writing Rip and e-mail to which he responded, "why are you doing heavy thrusters when you're not working on your heavy press in the first place? You're an idiot." I am, but shouldn't the affiliate owner and coaches have known that as well??

All I'm saying is that for the amount of $$ i was spending to workout, I would expect more than "suck it up" and some yelling from the coaching staff. Personal story that I think echos this rant and I think demonstrates that there is a great way to do this, and that even some of the best are coming up short.

Chadula said...

I just think your throwing the baby out with the bath water. Making sweeping judgements about any community is both foolish and ignorant. Lord knows I agree with some of the points. But I would have said:

I'm breaking away from the CF community because I want my gym to be only elite athletes. No soccer moms, no grandmas, no kids, no people without at least a 225 Back squat.

That would have been much better then trashing some affiliates that were at least TRYING. Something is better then nothing my friend.

Crossfit Tribe said...

This goes out to everyone, be it the kettlebell crowd, Oly lifting crowd, powerlifting/strongman crowd, CrossFit crowd - to every single fitness community out there.

"There is no one right way for people to train--never has been and never will be."

There will be peace on earth once this is understood.

End of story.

Lindsey Love Gallucci said...

I agree with you totally and I also love crossfit. I really want to go to aromas and am worried that my current trainers at cf can not get me there because most of the lifts are "too light". Or there is no structure in the programming. I know they try hard but I would pay a lot more money if I was actually getting my butt kicked and improving greatly. Do you know of another place to train that will take no excuses. I LOVE INTENSITY and pushing myself to the utmost limits. Hopefully someone reading this can suggest something?

Jenn said...

This is great. One man has an opinion and it seems to be what alot of people's inner thoughts are, but someone had to have the balls to write it and sugar coated it if you ask me.
I love how some people do not understand that ths was just a general article to set the record straight. If it seems like bashing then maybe that is more of a personal problem ;) you know since Crossfit is sooo great. If it was that great why are there so many people that are feeling some type of animosity or even bitterness about this?
Greyskull seems as though it does not want to have its methods, training and all around good name associated with something that has gone very wrong. That does not mean every single affiliate, member, trainer etc...get a grip people.
Actually, maybe he should write a book!
Paying 1000 to get a cert. that lets you open a gym...I know a 14 year old girl who could do that ;) and would prob do it better than most.

I do not like one size fits all, I do not like trainers that have no knowledge of my athletic background or my general health...how can someone who does not know ME train me? They can not know a client when it is 30+ to a "class" and say the Zone is for everyone. They would not know how to train me because they know nothing about the quality of training a specific individual that is not one size fits all.
They do know me when they make me commit to them by signing a Globo Gym contract...and really they do not hold up their end of the contract by not providing proper training for ME...yet when I decide that I am not getting what I pay for...I am the one in breach of contract....how do you figure?

I learned the hard way about my goals with CF... I was basically in starvation mode for 4 months on my 8 blocks a day and did not know it because I was doing what was the CF way and blinded by what "could be" How does someone unintentionally starve themselves and not lose fat or get stronger you ask...by NOT eating and NOT lifting heavy weights because I listened to my expert trainers.
Go ahead CF...teach the 9 basic movements... but never do them with anything more than a PVC pipe thats the way you get to be an elite athlete.
Great article mister, you have the patience of a saint.

CraigH said...

You sound a lot like a Hells Angel pissed off at all the baby-boomers riding Harleys. Sorry, buddy, they're cool bikes and very fun to ride.

Yah, the newbies are annoying - I probably was too. Admittedly, it was much cooler to be a CrossFitter when CrossFit was an under-ground, counter culture phenomenon.

Having been training for more than 30 years, I abhor self-proclaimed fitness gurus like you who try to mystify fitness as if its frikkin' rocket science thus alienating 95% of the population who don't have time or money for your one-on-one sessions or "elite" programming. Sorry, John, but the equation is very simple: "eat less and move."

Coach has developed a very simple methodology that saves time in gym, has functional application, is scalable, IS FREE, and produces results that are documented in 7000+ testamonials. And, even with less than perfect form, CF works - remember it was originally intended to be done in your garage. Then affiliates just have better equipment.

Why begrudge new affiliates and new trainers? Do you want to kick the ladder out before they begin their climb? Where you perfect when you started? One thing I've seen in the CF community now for more than 4 years, is that CF Followers and Trainers especially, are incredibly thirsty for more and more knowledge, on the message boards, the Journal site and at specialty certs which sell out months in advance. They'll get better, or, their clients will learn of a better place and leave them.

Finally, regarding programming, its supposed to be random. Its very difficult to screw up. Most affiliates copy the main site or one or two large affiliates. If not, they're still likely producing very fit individuals who will learn for themselves where their weaknesses are and likely correct them. Most athletes and average americans don't need a self-proclaimed programming expert to create programming to get fit. Thats just bullshit. Thats why Glassman put his stuff on the internet. Pick something up and put it overhead, jump up onto a box a bunch, throw in some sprints, go like hell and time yourself so you know how you did. Done. Do that and you'll be 100 times better off than you would at Bally's.

Sorry to burst your self-inflated bubble. Fitness just ain't as complex as you'd like it to be. By the way, makin' fun of the CF t-shirts while sportin' that biker-tatto skull logo on your blog seems a bit hypocritical. Embrace the mainstream.

CraigH-Diablo CrossFit

andyp said...

I wrote this yesterday - don't know what happened to it...

Wow - lots of dialogue here. GREAT! While I agree with what you said in many ways, you are merely stating the facts of the business model that Coach Glassman chose in establishing CrossFit. The way I see it (and believe me, I don't know all the answers here either), quality, knowledge and overall experience at CF Affiliates worldwide looks like a bell curve. You have a few at the very top, the vast majority in the middle, and a few at the very bottom. That's just the way it is... and who is it that decides this "ranking?" - the market. The best not only survive, but lead the way, stay out in front, consistently innovate, are creative, and elicit incredibly great results from the people they train.

I used to have the same concern as you do... and what I've come to realize is that what you're describing takes place in ANY service industry that doesn't operate as a franchise. Is there a difference between one stock broker and another? You betcha - even though they use the same stock market... and what about one graphic designer from another? Of course... even though, for the most part, they all use the same tools, computers and software.

IMHO - Coach Glassman's business system is genius - it allows for individual creativity and innovation, encourages entrepreneurs, rewards excellence, and provides us all with the BASIC operating system that works - CrossFit. What and HOW you use the BASIC operating system is your business.

Now, as a participant in the CF Affiliate community, we all have the choice - do I leave the community that has been responsible for the entire existence of my business and livelihood for the past 4 years because I am not happy with the overall quality of the Affiliate community? Or, do I find a way to be part of a possible solution, using my knowledge, experience and creativity to propose solutions to problems, enrolling others in the community in my ideas, standing for and with the people that are part of this great community, and helping raise the bar for everyone? Personally, I'm up for option #2.

On that note, I think that our entire community could use an injection of quality... pushing the entire bell curve to the right... how is this done? One idea - add an exam at the end of a Level 1 cert to actually make the certification mean something other than just "I paid & attended". Or call the Level 1 Cert a "CrossFit Seminar". I'm sure there are many more ways to do this, but this isn't the time and place to discuss.

I understand and respect your choice for option #1 above... however, though I don't know you personally, for a person with the obvious passion, knowledge and experience you have, I think you took the easy way out.

I guess it's also possible that CF will have to lose some great people before "it" is open to listening to community opinion and making change.

Andy Petranek
CrossFit Los Angeles

AFF said...

I have to share some of my favorites that I have found so far...

" aahh, the land of opportunity! isn’t it ironic that when a good thing comes along and works wonders for those who stay committed, it will want to be emulated, whether it be the right, or the wrong way? i too can make alot of money, and what. with growth comes pain, yes, but integrity should always lead the way before money or anything else, and salutations to Greyskull for not compromising in any way shape or form.

harsh, not at all….life is harsh. people want to be lead, and good leaders will sacrifice nothing and do what they know is right. the world is too full of followers, someone needs to lead, even if it means ruffling feathers along the way…….at all levels.
don’t compromise, EVER, for you will become a follower."

One of my favorites from AFD Jack, TeamCFAcademy


I thought this was an explanation to a question...when did it become an "article" ?

Brad said...

It's so amazing to read the comments of the CF apologists and "fencers" who just don't "get it." This only slightly has something to do with "newbies riding harleys" v. "old school". Get a clue.

DM said...

Thanks fot the read.

So what're you doing with all of those 'CrossFit Greyskull' T-shirts and your slogan now that you're against all that?

Clearance sale in aisle seven!!!

Keep it elite and underground!

Troy said...

You know it's funny, you are probably the one person most responsible for starting a park affiliate and eventually opening a box. I took my L1 Cert at CF Baltimore with you in early '08. Being an engineer, with no training background, I walked up to a conversation of gym owners and asked exactly how I should go about starting to learn how to train folks. Long story short, you said: "Affiliate first, start training people, ask questions later." I wonder if you'd have the same advice now? Yes, there is no performance test at the level 1. However, I know it's designed to do exactly what it did for me. I go to the L1-> affiliate-> train whoever shows up to the park once a week for a year-> open a box. No, it doesn't always work out this way, and there are definitely crap "CrossFit Bodypumps" out there. I hate it too. However, I can't agree with Andy P more. Either the good ones bail, isolate themselves, or try to affect change from within. I'm stickin' with it, and won't trash my fellow affiliates openly, but will give my honest opinion if asked. I'll let my growing body of work speak for itself, and I'll make sure the community at my box is a healthy one. I'll do my damndest to keep learning and growing as a trainer/programmer, and do my best to help those who come after me.

I don't think much more needs to be said beyond what AP just posted, but I do want to point out something. I think you criticize CF unfairly in some regards. When you affiliated, was it not a single workout for everyone to perform? I don't think anyone can argue that a custom tuned program wouldn't be the fastest path to ideal fitness, but that's not what we're doing here. The goal of CF mainpage (and hopefully anyone programming on their own) is to deliver a generally solid stimulus, and create a community of common suffering in the process. Perfectly ideal stimulus for each and every person? No. But the way it's delivered has gotten more people excited about real-world fitness than ever.

Best of luck, and thanks for kick starting this journey for me.

Troy-SBCF
www.southbaltimorecf.com

anthonyroberts said...

I'm sure many will be offended by Johnny's comments, and that's a shame. The proper reaction, would be for the powers-that-be to do some soul searching.

Where do they want Crossfit to be in five years? Is the direction simply a bunch of meaningless slogans and silly t-shirts ("Crossfit Kalamazoo: We're such badasses it only takes us half an hour to watch 60 Minutes")?

Crossfitters are mostly weak. I know that's not going to be a popular statement, but look at the Crossfit Games. The only guys who are strong are THE GUYS WHO WERE STRONG BEFORE CROSSFIT. The strong Crossfitters I know are guys who were already strong before training at a Crossfit facility or who run their own facility and focus on strength. That's problematic...

That means, at least empirically, that Crossfit isn't making their best athletes stronger.

Out of the Crossfit affiliates who are within driving distance of me, most of them suck (read: completely suck). As a coach, I know suck when I see it, and these affiliates suck.

If Crossfit is going to become relevant (again?), there needs to be a change. I live in New Jersey and Gold's Gym (Paramus) has Kettlebells, Rings, Rope Ladders, Jumping Platforms and Boxes, and all sorts of similar equipment - for 1/3rd the price of a Crossfit gym).

The tipping point is here, people, and Johnny should be credited with pointing it out.

Craig said...

Interesting article. A similar scenario played out with Spinning; the actual Johnny G Spinning, not all the other crap programs. They expanded too much and half the instructor sucked ass.

Anyway a little bit of a gripe: I don't think its fair to make fun of people who cant "press 125". Some poeple are just small. I'm 5'4" 125lbs and ~10-12% bf. I've been an elite/profession level speedskater and amateur cyclist for over 15 years. Being able to put up lots of weight does not an elite athlete make. Someone who's 6'2" and 230 lbs can press lots of weight, but I'll blue them away in anything that needs actual athleticism like MUs and such. I can hardly press 100, but I can deadlift over twice my BW, back squat almost twice by BW, started butterfyling one month after I started, can butterfly pull up over 41 in a row, Can do over 21 UHSDPUs in a row, was doing multiple MUs only 2 months after starting. My V02max is somewhere in the 70s and I set new PRs everytime I come acress the same workout. So, because I can't press 125 I'm not elite worthy?


I think your point would be much more applicable/acceptable if you used percentages in your "ranting" rather than absolute numbers because I do happen to agree with most your ideology.

Or am I just taking this out of context?

Darren said...

Haha CraigH and the comment on the cool skulls and CF t-shirts


But all jokes aside.

He was the King of pop

Thriller still kills me.

Phil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zarsky said...

Chadula, you couldn't be further from the truth. JP accepts clients of all backgrounds. There is no entry test for strength.

He MAKES his clients strong and enables them to have 225 back squats. Although the 225 Back squat is more of a target for his female clients (!?!). I as a female am at 205 (prob higher now) and some are much higher.

Drew said...

I have mixed feelings here--first, excellent article--my buddies and I just had a conversation about this topic the other day.

I see in some of the comments that people talk about when Crossfit was underground and badass and how much better it was to be a part of it then. Sure, fewer people knew about it, your friends thought you were crazy for doing it, and you probably felt like a fuc*ing badass because of it. If that's why you were doing Crossfit--because it made you think you were a badass--then you're the problem that this article is talking about. If you were into Crossfit for the right reasons--becoming fit, since that's what we're after here--then more people doing the mainsite workouts wouldn't bother you. Having undereducated, ineffective affiliates could bother you, but that isn't the reasoning that I'm seeing some of the comments.

I'll be honest--it kills me when guys come into my gym (not an affiliate, was thinking about trying to become one, but this article may have changed my mind, I don't know yet), and they sit there and talk about how great Crossfit is after I had them do a 6 minute workout with band assisted pullups and baby weights on their first day. And I don't dislike them because they're posers--it's because guys like that could give a shit if they get stronger or fitter. They just want to be able to say they do a really hard workout. They'll never clean and jerk more than their bodyweight or snatch more than PVC, but they 'do Crossfit'.

I think this article just changed the programming and overall attitude in my gym from now on....I think my "clients" are going to hate this post....thanks!

and sorry if this makes no sense--I'm posting this at work with my boss sending me emails and expecting me to do stuff. he, obviously, is not very strong or fit.

Nathan said...

I think i can identify with what this guy is going through I didnt know what the word disillusioned meant until i spent 8 years in the Army. Putting so much of yourself into a program or organization makes a person rigid and hard. There are good and bad things to this new persona. You become a standard bearer and a champion for your cause but you also become a combatant. You have identified yourself as standing for something and when that something starts slipping away you fight. Seeing something you love morph into something that you no longer recognize is painful. Having said that a choice emerges and we have to decide to either cut sling load from the thing we love or stop, breathe, refocus, and continue fighting and maintaining the standard. It seems like this guy has decided to go another way; I hate it but i understand it. I am in the middle of making a similar decision about the Army and its not easy. We need to look at what this guy who loves CrossFit has to say and keep fighting the fight. I still love the Army and this guy still loves CrossFit he is just tired of fighting. I appreciate his honesty and candor and because of what he has written I know i will become more vigilant when it comes to shake and bake CrossFitters.

Dutch said...

Well Johnny, you really stirred the pot with this one!

I can't say i disagree with you about overall quality and totally understand your worries about other affiliates reflecting on your product. You are distinct and should embrace that. I also don't think you are out of line in pulling your affiliation. Thats a personal choice and i respect you for that.

Who has never been fed up to the point of saying fuck it? Its not your job to make other people understand (unless they are your clients). I have taken on that challenge. This article and your thoughts are a good catalyst for change and hopefully those of sub-par quality will get the picture, although, from my experience, The ones that we are talking about don't even know they are offering shitty training.

Johnny Pain is an independent thinker and i don't blame him for his actions. I hope he has great success and i plan to keep in touch with him. He is good people and is committed to offering his clients the best info and training he can find.
I think everyone should take note of this and strive to do the same.

kreuzfit said...

Interesting, but I wholeheartedly disagree.

Not that I disagree with what you said, but I disagree with abandoning the CF "counterculture" simply because "posers" have infiltrated our defenses.

If you're so committed and focused to true counterculture, you needs to truly step up and help us keep the faith.

So, as good as you apparently are, I'm disappointed.

CrossFit is clearly diminished without you. However, you have demonstrated your fickle loyalty to the methodology, infrastructure, and organization (people) which helped produce your considerable coaching and programming abilities.

Quite literally, you have taken your medicine ball and gone home.

lance said...

there are clearly good affiliates and bad affiliates. and i agree with a great deal of what your saying. but i still think crossfit done correctly will make 99 percent of poeple stronger and fitter than they have ever been in there entire life. even if they have to get away from an affiliate and do it themselves in order to do it right.

andy said...

Just reading through the comments I found it very interesting that almost everyone disgareeing with John are crossfit "Affiliate" owners and the people agreeing with him are all clients who've experienced the gayness. Crossfit used to be pretty cool as an underground thing, trying to make people stronger and healthier in their everyday lives. What has happened howeever, is that there is just a giant shit pile of gay dudes who only want six packs yet could give a shit if they can squat or deadlift as much as a 14 year old boy. If you look at any good coach they will contradict themselves a lot, bevcause they are always evolving. Any good coach constantly learns new techinques and brings a new approach to training in order to give their clients all that they have at their disposa to get the best results. Look at Louie Simmons (he does steroids so in a crossfitters mind he is Satan, he has articles that he has written that contradict what he wrote ten years ago because he learned more in order to better himself and others. Crossfit coaches don't care about learning new things, because what they "teach" you at the level 1 cert is set in stone. And as far as the certs go they need to not just give it out to anyone and they need to start teaching some of what you learn at the special certs. Why would you waste 1000 dollars to go to a bullshit cert and then pay even mopre for the specials where you learn that almost everything at the level 1 is horse shit.It's ridiculous that I'm a 14 year old and am totally qualified by them to open a gym with their name. It makes no sense.

Justin said...

Someone wrote:

"Someone who's 6'2" and 230 lbs can press lots of weight, but I'll blue them away in anything that needs actual athleticism like MUs and such. I can hardly press 100, but I can deadlift over twice my BW, back squat almost twice by BW, started butterfyling one month after I started, can butterfly pull up over 41 in a row, Can do over 21 UHSDPUs in a row, was doing multiple MUs only 2 months after starting. My V02max is somewhere in the 70s and I set new PRs everytime I come acress the same workout. So, because I can't press 125 I'm not elite worthy?"

Ants and elephant beetles have impressive bodyweight to strength ratios too, yet we can crush them.

Erik said...

I read this chain, (thank god I came across it via OPT's site) and it has sparked me towards continuing to strive to be better. Many affiliates just need guidance, and are hungry for knowledge on how to effectively program for the myriad clients that walk in the door. The only thing that sucks is that you didn't stay in the game to try and affect change--by offering mentorship to the affiliates that might be wayward but want to get it right. The Dutch Lowys and Greg Everetts of the CrossFit World are needed in this respect, and have the capacity to make better affiliates and shift the bell curve Andy P talks about to where it needs to go. Crossfit is evolving, and I think that we can all take a page from the Jeff Martin playbook, whereby he continues to fly the flag, offer alternative programming and scales, offer up new models (eg, Strength Bias), and be a lighthouse for those searching for excellence. John, you can be this lighthouse too. Reach out to some of those affilaliates, show them the way.

earph said...

I think a simple picture of that clown puking is all you need to discredit this "all balls, no brains" approach to strength conditioning, or should I say ego driven over-training.

Maximus Lewin said...

I was pointed to this post (which is getting a lot of traction) and I made a few comments, but I never looked at your programming until today.

It is, in my opinion, horrible. Equally shitty as that of the affiliates you belittle for too much Metcon focus. Training as you do will result in being very, very strong and very little else. At least if someone does train your way they have a good CF base, as limit strength is the hardest of the ten physical skills to acquire, however color me unimpressed by a guy with a 500 or even 600 pound deadlift who cannot run around the block.

I know a guy who is working on 800, but as far as his athleticism goes, I could beat him at, literally any other athletic pursuit, besides, limit DLs or Squats and that includes metcon with 225 squats or 315 DLs. I'm betting I could beat someone who trains your way in anything not focused on extreme limit strength, and I am 43 years old and fat.

Or am I missing something about the training? Is there some kind of component not posted?

Max Lewin
Owner - CrossFit East Bay

joshua said...

good argument... I still like the WODs and the basic Philosophy that coach Glassman envisioned, But the douche bagery and blind bandwagon jumping has gotten way out of hand.

Kevin BMK Sullivan said...

I've been to two Crossfit gyms here in SF. Both times, I didn't feel that the $150 was of value. Meaning, since the WOD's are online, and my current gym doesn't mind me acting like a lone idiot, I figured I could wing-it, buy the cross-fit journal, which I did, and modify to my needs. (I haven't been to OneWorld, which is highly recco'd by a Iraqi vet, who's word is bond.)

I did Fran the other day in under 5 minutes. Not bad for 39/5'10"/195.

So, why should I give anyone $150 a month, if I'm only doing this my particular sport (Rugby) and adjust according to my needs?

To me, the whole model is interesting. Eventually, someone will just steal the info, charge less, and make more money.

Rocky said...

I agree with much of your post. I don't think an indictment against every Crossfit affiliate is in order, nor do I think that is what your intentions are. From personal experience, I was a member of a Crossfit affiliate for 6 months. As a LEO, I was intrigued by Crossfit and it's integration with the LEO and MIL communities. I spent four months doing Crossfit programming as prescribed by my affilate, along with following the zone diet. Results were less than expected. At the end of four months, I started Military Athlete workouts and have been going strong and gaining strength (which I lost on Crossfit) while still maintaining both my aerobic and anaerobic capacities. I finally left my affiliate b/c I got tired of hearing the owner ask me when I was going to "Race the Clock" again. It appears as though some affiliates only know one way to program...maximum met-con workouts. I have never understood the Crossfit certification process; too many people who aren't qualified to operate a fitness facility. With all this said, I still think there are some great affiliates out there, many that I would gladly follow their programming b/c it is smart.

john said...

This was an awesome post!
"If a person meets ten people from France in their lifetime, and eight of them smell like shit, then one can make a generalization about people from France, and they aren’t an asshole for doing so." I laughed so hard at that, anyways I recently did my CFL1. I have been working as a Personal trainer for the past 2 yrs and I had a lot of criticism for the ppl at the cert. how it was run, the structure etc, Alot of the reasons listed in this blog were in an email I sent to HQ which took me the bones of an hour to write (very long) and the only response I got was "thank you for your detailed email"
In relation to crossfit in general I think it has its place but is not the be all and end all by any means. Different clients have different goals and there training should reflect that. In my continuous education in this industry i plan on using a lot of different methods with clients each for a specific reason.
good post

Schmieding said...

re: San Francisco CrossFit

$150 is to minimize your incidence of injury while receiving top-notch coaching.

I own a CrossFit affiliate, and have been CrossFitting since 2002. I've competed at the games, am happy with many of my strength and met-con numbers, and have a super-extensive gymnastics background.

I have learned something new and invaluable nearly every time I've stepped foot and TRIED at San Francisco CrossFit. If your experience has been different, you're being too quiet.

re: Greyskull

I'm sorry the CrossFit affiliate down the road from you took some of your clients and your co-worker is having some issues with CrossFit HQ. Every single person I've talked to about your article OFF of the internet has wondered if you were drinking more and more as you wrote it. While it began as constructive criticism, it ended with eyes rolling in front of peoples' monitors.

Apolloswabbie said...

Paraphrase - "I resent the cheerleader down the street's success, and I look down on people who don't worship strength in the slow lifts like I do, so I hate CrossFit." I don't know if the CF world's going to miss you much dude. Paul

Tsypkin said...

http://evolveyourfitness.blogspot.com/2009/10/response-to-john-sheaffer.html

A response to this article written by myself and Russ Greene.

andy said...

The world doesn't care about pound for pound strength which is the main methodology of crossfit. I'd rather weigh 225 pounds and deadlift 700 then weigh 135 and deadlift 400.

live11wire said...

Great read. Your article makes me think back to FGIV my crossfit trainer and i made sure form was proper through out every stage of the rounds where as you have Affiliate owners doing presses half assed elbows bent. SDHP to their upper abdomen then bragging at the end at how many reps they pulled off.

i have been cross fitting for 5 months now and it has got me in the best shape of my life. For people to claim elite fitness and have nothing to back it is a real character flaw. It is a shame that CF HQ will let anyone with a lvl 1 affiliate because like you mentioned a small percentile of the Crossfit community are among the elite.

Justin said...

I'm confused as to why anyone thinks JP should go out of his way to help other CrossFit franchises, ESPECIALLY without compensation.

Aside from him actually trying to do that in recent memory, why is it his civil duty to un-fuck other people?

The people that he is supposed to help charge quite a premium for their services and thus should provide a service that is valuable.

A methodology and organization that cripples itself is not going to prepare anyone adequately for such a task.

Oh, and Bony for president.

James Jr. said...

John, Came across this today on MtnAthlete.com:
"My name is Mike and I am a CrossFit Affiliate. I am currently training for an olympic distance triathlon, using crossfit and crossfit endurance stuff. I would like to get deeper into tri's, but I don't think just mixing those two will allow me to be competitive. I feel like the high intensity stuff is good, but also some longer stuff would be good as well. I am already strong enough, being a former NFL Offensive Lineman. I also don't know if I buy into the fact that CrossFit will prepare you to go long."

Your post is awesome John, the new problem is that now crossfit boxes are opening up across the street from other boxes and both go out of business because neither one can survive with 35-50 clients. There's no quality control and in the fitness industry it's slowly becoming CrossFit = Fitness Fad. Things will even out eventually once it becomes "uncool" to do crossfit and hopefully the good boxes will still be around with their great coaching and programming. More affiliates equals more money, and more money always gets in the way of the right decision.

Neil said...

CrossFit is as you perceive it.

Experience shows that MetCon brings in more clients while Strength and Power brings better quality clients. So for the huge number of affiliates just starting you can certainly expect them to MetCon until their memberships rise. After a year or two those same boxes might look more like yours.

It is great to hear you have found YOUR niche and will give your clients 100%.

More affiliates could thrive if they specialized in what they love. Offer CrossFit WOD, Oly, endurance, parkour, gymnastics, kettlebell, powerlifting, whatever they know and love.

Yvie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bony said...

Thanks Justin

Daniel said...

"The world doesn't care about pound for pound strength which is the main methodology of crossfit. I'd rather weigh 225 pounds and deadlift 700 then weigh 135 and deadlift 400."

A little math - 225 and deadlifting 700 is more pound for pound strength than 135 and deadlifting 400. Maybe a better comparison would be 160 deadlifting 365 and 200 deadlifting 415. But here's the thing - for sports a lot of times being a little lighter has advantages in terms of speed, quickness, endurance, jumping ability, and the ability to change directions.

trainee0 said...

In evaluating the validity of the criticism about eroding standards, please bear in mind the overarching idea: good gyms will drive out bad gyms over time.

And consumers will get more sophisticated. And affiliate owners will help them make informed choices.

This is from CrossFit Toronto at www.crossfit.com.

Are All CrossFit Gyms The Same?
Good question. The answer is a resounding Heck No!

All CrossFit gyms are individually owned and operated; we are not a franchise. Basically, all gyms “do their own thing”. Our affiliation to CrossFit is based on our passion for quality training and programming; love of functional movements done at high intensity; and much admiration and respect for the founders, Greg and Lauren Glassman, who brought their vast knowledge to the masses.

What does this mean to you? You should check out the facilities, the coaches, and the classes.

Some gyms may omit Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics and other modalities. Some programs are based on bodyweight only. The experience and skill level (not the same thing) of coaches and trainers also vary. What do you get with your membership? Are there workshops or community events? Are you just paying for someone to tell you what to do (definitely NOT the same as someone showing you what and how; and getting you to understand why). Is there real coaching going on? Are you learning new skills and moving forward?

So again, we are all similar, but can be vastly different. Choose what fits you best and your goals. No matter what, we are glad you found CrossFit. Done correctly, it is the BEST strength and conditioning programming around!

If you are new to the methodology of CrossFit it’s important to understand what a quality program should look like. When searching for an affiliate take a good look at their programming… this will give you a good indication of what they are all about. A few simple things to look for in a quality CrossFit Affiliate:

DEDICATED STRENGTH TRAINING is offered at least once per week/training cycle. (Olympic Weightlifting, and powerlifting)
GYMNASTICS are regularly taught and practiced.
“CHIPPER” workouts do not appear more than once per week/training cycle. (A chipper is a large volume of work composed of more than three exercises. For example, 500 jumping jacks, 500 push-ups, 500 sit-ups and 500 burpees.)
QUALITY INSTRUCTION is being delivered. Take a good look at an affiliates instructors credentials. Have their instructors earned quality certifications/training that enables them to teach CrossFit properly? Do they actually use CrossFit as their primary training method?
You can also review this theoretical template for CrossFit programming to gain some additional insight on proper programming: http://www.crossfit.com/journal/library/06_03_CF_

andy said...

Yes, but that's not the point of strength training. Strength training makes it possible for you to get faster, more agile, jump farther Etc. I know someone who weighs 235 and they can broad jump twice as far as me and have twice as much explosive power yet they weigh 35 pounds more than me. So is there really that much of a benefit to being light? not so much if you are big and strong. the point of strength training is so that you are equipped with everything that you require for this world. Why do people go to nursing homes? because they are not strong enough to function on their own. and with the pound for pound thing yeah if you weigh 160 and deadlift 365 and if you are 200 and deadlift 415 there is some pound for pound strength there. But in GENERAL strength the 200 pound guy is stronger. let me rephrase what I said in my earlier post. The world doesn't care about pound for pound strength, just general strength and crossfit doesn't try to build general strength. you get these homos saying "Oh well for my weight I'm strong". it makes no difference in the world, the guy who is strong in general has it better than the guy "strong for his weight".

Bobby said...

I have to admit, I agree with a lot of this. (Ignoring the MJ was a homo part which is not weird, even though his uber love of kids was regarless whethere it was boys or girls).

The fact that any idiot can get a CF level 1 cert in 2 days is nuts! And no testing.

The problem is that so mant CFer's are so caught up in the "its cool" crap they are blind to the issue.

People with no fitness knowledge at all get certified in 2 days. No testing. No one to oversee them. No need to retest or continue in training. It make no sense. I have been a trainer for 10 years. I do CF, MMA, Krav Maga, hip hop, yoga, parkour and more. I have a KB cert as well (not from CF) and I find the courses for regular trainers to be BS. Can fit, ACE all a bout a week long, and this is triple the time it takes to get a CF cert.

Here's how it should work, if it weren't all about $$$$$$!

1. Weekend CrossFit bootcamp and you practice what you learned.
2. Minimum 1 month later a calisthenics week long cert.
3. Minimum 2 months later, test this, if you pass a week long Gymnastics cert.
4. Following the same system, month, test, progress.
- KettleBell
- Powerlifting
- O-Lifting
- Flexability, yoga and injury
- Nutrition and supplements
5. Finally a week long test on all these. 6-8 months, 7 WEEKS of training. You get the HONOUR of getting a CF cert that matters.

6. Break it all up financially. Set it up like a diploma, academia.
Give free affiliate name, cause the name now matters!

combatcrossfit said...

I think overall, you have some good points. But, a lot of people that have responded with the "The market will sort out the bad ones, etc" are also right to a certain point, too.

While we are young compared to many affiliates, I feel like we offer a great program, including the strength training, oly lifting, gymnastics, endurance, etc. But, maybe just because we feel like offering those other disciplines is fundamentals, doesn't mean that other affiliates care to add quality.
I care about how many members we have, but I also know that the members we have come back to us and refer their friends because we offer better quality than they will get somewhere else.
The scary thing is that there are people I know of that have gotten their L1 cert and plan to open affiliates, and they have no business doing so anytime in the near future. Why? because they see dollar signs and they want to pose off CrossFit. They can't do the strength programming or specialty training that the good affiliates do, but they can program ridiculous chipper wods every day that will tear people down.

Now here's the point several people have made in argument: if you don't like it, be part of the solution. John, I absolutely respect your decision because it sounds like you've made it with good intentions. Personally, I would like to fix the problem from within because I love CrossFit, I love running an affiliate, I love making people strong and fit and I love the way I feel at the end of the day knowing that I gave my personal best to everyone that walked in the door. Have you ever suggested any of these ideas to HQ (hopefully in a non-confrontational way) as a means to try to help increase the quality of affiliates without making it unattainable to those trainers who really are great trainers?

just a thought...and good luck to you with whatever you do and wherever you go from here.
Sarah Lewis--Combat CrossFit

InfidelSix said...

An idiotic rant ... at best. I suspect it's just a smokescreen b/c he's losing to a competitor and HQ won't do anything about it. Why don't you just become a better gym and let the results speak for themselves?

Say Hi to the Thundercats for me.

john said...

Spot on explanation! I'm a strength coach and have been using functional training/ oly lifts/ strongman/ and "crossfit" exercises for years, and I am almost sick by the current vanity and popularity of crossfit. It has become a new fad with many posers and it sucks for those hardcore knowledgeable members. It's very much like this p90x craze... if you are fat and lazy and do ANYTHNING constantly for 90 days you will see results! I'm highly irritated by people's ignorance that anyone that walks into a gym knows what they are doing. I'm not gonna have a dentist do my eye surgery and an optometrist pull my cavities! Seek out a trained professional with REAL experience and education. As well, great point on the weaklings... I'm only 175lbs but I can easily hit 200 percent on any big lifts... who cares if someone has an 8 pack if they crumble like a coffee cake. I'm amped up now, gonna go lift something heavy! haha

Eileen Schreiber said...

I've been doing Crossfit for a year and have the unbelievable luck to be based in Flagstaff, AZ with Lisa Ray. She is world class, Period.

This post HAD to happen. Any movement that starts out in a garage and gains momentum will dance with EVERY aspect of selling out, money, posers, and losing quality.

Think of crossfit as Punk. Indie Rock. Rap. At one moment a truly revolutionary form, at the next, a way to gain sales in Wal Mart.

If HQ can engage this conversation and do something to TOUGHEN the standards, Crossfit can morph into a hugely successful, yes - mainstream - way of life that started out in a garage. It can remain revolutionary and still grow.

If HQ lets anyone with a level one cert continue to open a box, one day we will see news articles of injuries, death and lawsuits. That will certainly shake it up.

Either way, the play between staying true and growing into a multinational business is normal. Let's embrace the growth, understand we can't stop it, and make our OWN practice impeccable!

huey said...

@pete@crossfit Bath

Um, Speal hit 375 DL at games, which is almost or in excess of 3x bodyweight. To most reasonable standards of "strong", that's pretty strong.

Perhaps your meathead can't compute.

craigslist items said...

I am speachless! That was outstanding, well written and well backed (and effing hilarious!) You and I come from the same school John, and what I teach, at my non-affiliated gym, is the sound foundational philosphies, belief systems and "music" that brought me into CF nearly 4 years ago. My clients follow that protocal, there are no choices or exceptions and their are no dicussions about it, not one, ever.
Call it crossfit, call it functional training, call it increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains....call it fuckyoufuckme. A side note there, I have asked dozens of L1 certified "trainers", as they regegitate the "increased work capacity" statement showing they "know" CF if they have any fucking clue how long broad time is (ps- for those of you scratching your head and saying "I never thought of that"-broad time= one second to an infinite amount of time) and what a modal domain is (pick an activity, a movement, any one, yes, any backward shotputting rollerblading running cleaning pulling jerking fucking movement (meant literally and for humor.....3 round of ass fucking for time is some of the bs workouts that you were describing early in your post John, I have seen them as well! lol) ---------and not one had a clue. NOT ONE!
I agree with you across the board John, and although CF has lost a legit affiliate....it is not about CrossFit, Glassman (also have much respect for the man and owe him a debt of gratitude that I was able to express face to face in Maryland early this month), fuck your Fran time, Fuck your mother shirt wearing MJ's, logos, whiney ass (please stop your fucking whining about E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G) staff, or ANYTHING ELSE whatsoever EXCEPT for ----------(of course you know the answer to that John) the clients successes and prgressions.
I highly dout, although this is simply my former mr. contraversey (YOU have taken my title and I dig that about you brother!)guess, that you did not lose a single client when you dropped the CF badge, not one. Because if you(said in the broad sense) are a legitamate amd great trainer(notice that that I said nothing about having L1L2phDL3MDDOCPA after your name and not being able to teach a bloody thing to anyone...not correctly anyway)clients continue to come because of successes they have established by overcoming opposition with your guidance and thier best interest ALWAYS is kept in the forefront of all curriculum, conversations, motivations and the like....not because you have CF label on your window.
I thought that since the last time I posted on the main site was the birth of my three month premature son Jackson (who is strong, healthy and beautiful), I would crash your party for a few minutes, toast and knuckle up before my exit......
Keep up the good work, thank you for a great and entertaining read and God bless!
~JroCk~

Chris said...

"It has been our aim from the beginning to forge a fitness that is broad, general, and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing." If your only goal is to get stronger, than obviously CF is not for you. So bashing the community because they can't all meet YOUR strength standards reeks of ignorance. Is it not a huge gain for a guy that could press 75# to be pressing 100# a couple months later? I suppose you could take him from 75# to 200# with your "elite" programming? Every single person that has backed this ridiculous rant has been of the same mindset that strength is king and nothing else matters. Great. Go lift heavy shit and drink your milk and talk about how awesome you are for being able to lift hundreds of pounds while being able to do little else. But don't try and paint CF as some type of inferior trianing program because it doesn't meet your goal of getting as strong as possible. CF never stated to be that type of program. Deal with your issues some other way that doesn't involve making an ass out of yourself on the Internet.

Garrett W. said...

huey,

Using this as a resource:

http://games2009.crossfit.com/competitors/athlete-profile-chris-spealler.html

It would indicate that he's at around 2.7xBW Which is no where close to 3xBW.

This would leave him shy of the the advanced level of Deadlift via Rip's WL Standard chart:

http://www.crossfit.com/cf-journal/WLSTANDARDS.pdf

Now Chris weighs less than the max amount (significantly less) for the weight class, but using BW standards is unfair when gross size difference exist between athletes. (See chart for evidence.) Also, no one is trying to portray him as some sort of computer desk jockey. However, compared to other competitors he is weaker in both an absolute and relative comparison.

Maximus Lewin,

You never answered my questions over at the blog where you accused Ross Enamit of stealing everything he knows from CF. Perhaps you didn't see them. I'll repost it here for you:

"Max,

More unsubstantiated lies please.

Also, how did you manage to plateau at <400lbs DL for a year and a half? I assume you're a grown man. Maybe not per the definition of 70sBig, but more like a medical definition. How did this happen? Were you happy being that weak? Why did you tolerate it for so long? How big are you now? Did you call yourself fit before being able to DL 400? I thought strength is a component of fitness."

CStreet said...

Maybe you've read this, John. Great article in the CF Journal...
http://library.crossfit.com/free/pdf/CFJ_Handson_DilutingTheBrand.pdf

Conor said...

Ha, some of you are bringing up "scaling" and I've seen it as a common comment on other blogs in response to this post.

If you're a male and you've been "training" for some time and can't full press 135 or hang snatch 95 you're not "scaling the workouts" you're "being a pussy".

Have all the cute programming you want, but ultimately you have to add weight to the bar or you're just screwing around.

For all their posturing the hardcore wannabes who aren't progressing their training weights are exactly the same as the much maligned bodybuilder wannabes who do 30 sets of arm work and never increase their weights because it "feels" hard.

Just because you laid on the floor and threw up doesn't necessarily mean you accomplished anything any more than does the bodybuilder's pump and burn.

James said...

Wow! I just recently attended a CF LVL 1 cert and am very enthusiastic about continuing to learn as much as possible about CF and be able to train other people.

It's funny that I came across this because I have wondered about the knowledge and legitimacy of some that do and train others in CF.

I am almost 42 years old and have been practicing CF for a good year now. I have never felt in better shape. I think it's a great sport and great training.

I will definitely be checking out your web site regularly John!

Matthew said...

Conor,

I too am leaning towards a strength bias w/ my crossfit programming. Specifically, I am starting to do a slightly bastardized version of Jim Wendler's 5-3-1 program twice a week w/ Backsquat/Shoulder Press/PowerClean on Mondays, and Deadlift/Bench Press/ Power Snatch on Thursday. I think the linear progression will really help my main lifts improve. That said. I was still making progress with Crossfit-stlye programming, going balls-to-the-wall on every WOD or strength day. Strength gains were slow, but my times were and are always improving, as was my strength. I see you guys are almost only concerned w/ strength, and that is fine to have different goals. But I think it is arrogant and foolish to say that a "weak" crossfitter that puts everything into a Met-con workout day after day is wasting there time similarly to your average bodybuilder in a globo gym.

There are other fitness domains. And my experience is that every crossfitter sees substantial strength gains for a long time. If there goal is different than yours you shouldn't knock on it. They are happy and their fitness is improving, so there is no reason to bash their accomplishments. And I think it is incredibly rare for a crossfitter to not make strength gains, unless they were a powerlifter turned crossfitter. At every crossfit gym I have been to clients are pushed to hit strength PRs and add more weight to the bar. You have a flawed view of what actually goes on in your average crossfit gym.

AFF said...

http://journal.crossfit.com/2009/09/crossfit-pia-grand-opening.tpl#comments

AFF said...

Interesting reading

http://www.irongarmx.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5075&start=10875

Here's more from that Parker kid from several pages back in this thread, on the same comments page I linked with the concrete "KBs" above:

Quote:
"I will make this post and leave the floor to Greg to respond. Thanks to everyone for chiming in. I appreciate the intelligence and care you all showed. No, I did not train or injure anyone including myself, no I'm not Mark Twight (but thanks!), yes it matters VERY MUCH Greg is unfit (he was the original CF'er therefore his "data" is the most precise and has the longest history-and yes the data after his injury is quite pertinent). At my level 1 cert they told me this was an open forum. That was a lie and they (it was Andy Stumpf who said it, in fact) cannot make that claim. I also feel that as I plopped down $1,000 and have never once posted on here, I have a right to do so. Those who don't like my posts can simply move past them, not insult me or tell me to go away. I raised legit questions and got harassed, blocked, and deleted-not to mention the people who saw my questions and completely ignored them, showing a distinct lack of critical thought. Furthermore CrossFit is NOT empirically driven. As stated, CF defines fitness as super-wellness. It has defined metrics to measure super-wellness and I have never once seen any blood panels or those metrics posted, including those of Greg Glassman's. I will not just take what I want from this website and leave everything else when there is the potential to save someone else the cash required to get certified, not to mention the satisfaction of exposing false claims. Yes I know this is getting old, but if someone (someone who speaks for crossfit.com and someone with enough personal knowledge of and experience with my questions) would have simply answered my questions this wouldn't be necessary. To repeat my questions:
1. Why my post was deleted
2. Why Greg Glassman is unfit (IT MATTERS)
3. The Multi-Level Marketing nature of CrossFit
4. The lack of "super-wellness" aka fitness hard data (i.e. biological markers-cholesterol, etc.) to support Greg's claims, despite constantly harping on empiricism.
So to sum up, no this is not an open forum, no this forum is not open to all opinions and ideas, no CrossFit is not scientific and emperically driven, no crossfit is not a program designed for longevity, and no cf will not express your highest genetic potential. I challenge all of you to unplug from crossfit.com for a week or two, meditate on what I have said, and make your own conclusions. There is, in my opinion, only one conclusion to arrive at after thinking critically on these things. I'll leave that to you though.

I have saved all of my posts, so if anyone wants I can post any of them again. Just ask. I await your response Greg! "
Comment #106 - Posted by: Park3r at October 28, 2009 7:21 AM

andy said...

Having faster times on "met-cons" does not mean shit. It simply doesn't. Doing helen, or fran or whatever other gay shit you want to do in a faster time means you can do it faster, not that you are stronger. While doing crossfit there were women who were stronger than me, and no matter what I did I couldn't change that. After I did a linear progression I was much stronger than those women and in general. You see if you get stronger, your "met-con" times will be faster because the weight is lighter for you, as a result of lifting really heavy weight. Thus allowing you go be a huge fag and brag to your cultfit buddies about how you fucking murdered fran. Now on the other side of the fence I'd much rather just be strong, and be able to squat and deadlift 750 and bench 400 by the time I'm a senior in high school, and not ever need to give a shit about my six pack "that has a layer of fat over it" or how fast my helen time is compared to any crossfit gym rats

Robbie said...

I don't belong to an affiliate. I've been to a few, tried following a few...Now I do my own programming. As a full time, fully certfied and experienced personal trainer who spent a lot of time and effort getting my cert, I worry about the quality of a level 1's capability to scale, identify problem area's, fix those and program a clients workouts. I don't follow the main site, and with good reason. It doesn't work for me. I'm not experienced enough to be doing Olifts for 1RM. Yet I see some members in my globo gym doing thrusters, cleans and even snatches with Rx'd weights....scary.

My first workout at an affiliate, I thought I would get run..but my strength alone put me in the top 2 in their box that day...I had been crossfitting for 2 months...strength and quality movements first..then met con. I plan to open a box within 2 years. But it'll be a lifting gym first and foremost, as it should be.

Stephanie said...

"And it's okay to rip on MJ purely because he was a pedophile. Sexual orientation has jack shit to do with anything."

Fucking THANK YOU.

Otherwise, amazing article.

DC said...

The irony in this whole deal is that Greg Glassman stated that with the system set up the way it is, the good affiliates will, by order of natural selection, take out the shitty affiliates. But it seems to me that the shitty affiliates are so numerous that they are the invasive species here. The best affiliates can only try to fend off the hoards of shit that is infiltrating what they believe in and love, and in the end what happens is the entire system crashes. Its too bad, they have to see it coming

Rory said...

Hi there. I have to agree with you and I've been saying this all along.

The L1 weekend should be an intro weekend to the methodology, not a cert course. Its nuts!!!!

Heres how it should be done.

Weekend Course. learning about the CF system, theories, metholodolgy, etc.
Cert begins at least a week later, and they must have emergency first aid and CPR to take course.

Part 1:
5 days on body weight exercise and row and running technique. Last day a test, 70% to pass
A two week-1 month break to practice

Part 2:
3 days on O lifting, followed by 2 days of KB.
Last day a test, 70% to pass
A two week to 1 month break to practice

Part 3: 2 days on gymnastics, and 2 days on nutrition.
Test given at end, 70% to pass.
Day 5 of this week. A full out test demosntrating chosen techniques from all disciplines. And written test with case studies on different levels of clients.
Get an L1 cert

This is how Krav Maga does it. The cert takes 2 months and 21 days of training in total.

This isnt popular with the CF people I have spoken to, because it requires DEDICATION, and actual WORK. But this will give you GREAT trainers, and insurance rates will reflect this. A Can Fit/ACE trainer only has to pay $200.00 a year. Not that Can Fit or ACE is good, buy even it has testing and CECs

All affiliates also have to get CECs each year to stay current. Including online test with articles from th CF journal. And keep first aid and CPR current every year.

Basically all Affiliates should be great and certified in
O lifts.
KBell
Gymnastics
Running and cardio theory, running gate, etc.
Basic Nutrition.
Business ethics.
Basic First aid and CPR


The a month later

Jon said...

Looks like this article was the catalyst to what happened at the Black Box Summit.

The Black Box Summit Or How I Got Fired from the CrossFit Nutrition Certification

Jeff said...

I also hate those shirts with the "I'm a badass" cute comments. Real badasses typically display humility, and certainly don't need to brag on t-shirts.

Evan Morris said...

Awesome post, man.

I almost had a heart attack when you mentioned that Rippetoe used to be hooked up with Crossfit.

That's a crazy factoid I'd never heard!

Thanks for writing it--it was a great read!

Danironman said...

This is the best article I have ever read! It's just the american way, Capitalize on the "in" thing. Just stay true to yourself, that's all that matters in the end. You can't control what other people are going to do. Let it go or it will eat you up.

Project Swole said...

I posted this response somewhere else, but I think it bares repeating here:

I say make Crossfit work for you rather than working for them. Doesn't anyone see the value in being both CrossFit and independent? I'm thinking about a gym where CrossFitters can go to get a CF workout, where fighters can go to train for both conditioning and skills (boxing, kboxing, bjj, wrasslin, aikido, etc...), where strongmen can go work on their odd object lifting (truck pulling, tire flipping, atlas stones, sled dragging, etc...), where powerlifters can go to powerlift (deads, squats, glute hams, presses, and all manner of equipment allowing them to do so), where bodybuilders can go to pose in the mirror after every set with their shirts off (... ok, maybe not), where teens can learn and build a resistance training foundation to last a lifetime, where women can go train like they are supposed to: heavy and hard, shit I'm even in support of having a licensed yoga instructor on hand at all times to provide REAL yoga classes for clients.

I know what I'm talking about is essentially being everything to everyone, which is nearly impossible, but moderation is the key and I feel strongly that athletes should open their minds to all other forms of training. I spent a month in a CrossFit box and learned some decent stuff, including the fact that full-time CrossFit training is not for me, but that WODs can be used effectively for a ton of clients in a wide variety of ways.

In conclusion I can't express sincerely enough the importance of learning as much as possible about every methodology out there, taking what you can use, and tossing away the rest. I can't tell you how many times I've learned something new or received feedback about one of my training programs, and gone back to redesign the whole thing. It's all about learning and adapting.

I think because you were involved with CrossFit HQ, that you might have a really bad taste in your mouth. The first time I heard a CrossFitter talking about sipping the fucking koolaid, I nearly shot myself in the face... where are we in Charles Manson's Camp for Serial Killers? But honestly if drinking the damned koolaid gets lazy bastards off the couch, then I'm all for it. When their training program plateaus and they lose some faith in the CrossFit, maybe they'll look to you or I for renewed inspiration and some real personal training.

Thanks for the great post.

Steve

Dan Segelin, CSCS said...

i never wanted to comment here but i just have to. i started XFit about 5 years ago, long before it was even a known entity on the east coast. i never liked Greg Glassman, and after meeting him, i like him less. a very smart man ,indeed, who is a complete cocksucker. Arrogant and rude.

anyways, John, nice rant. i have been saying this for years and you couldn't be more on target.

also, Zone Diet: dumb. I am a soccer player and if i didn't eat carbs, i'd be useless in the 90th minute. who are their nutritionists? mine is the sports nutritionist at an ACC school. She seems to know her shit.

Lastly, I have had to opportunity to work with some of the world's greatest athletes and trainers at a certain facility in Arizona. The quality of trainer and athlete under that roof makes crossfit laughable. They also employ metabolic conditioning but they call it "metabolic conditioning." They also know that programming Fran 3 days before a game is a ridiculous idea.

(Meanwhile, i was villified years ago for even bringing up the fact that i thought LaDanian Tomlinson is a better athlete than the guy who won the XFit games. Do people realize LT POWER CLEANS 300#?? His squat is over 550#. Do you think he would even have an isssue with that retarded 135# x 30 snatch workout?)

i do wish all the affiliates well, however, they need to understand it's not about the piece of paper that says "certified," it's about really being competent at what you do.

Lose the labels. Seek out those who are better, and learn from them.

Dave Lemanczyk said...

Boom!