CrossFit Gets the NY Times Treatment Again

DISCUSSION 18 Comments

  1. jay March 24, 2008 at 5:42 am

    Interesting. Doesn’t sound like the writer actually did a crossfit workout.

    The site does paint a picture that everyone as a fire-breathing beast who can lift hundreds of pounds hundreds of times. The truth is that not everyone can lift that much that many times, but everyone can be a fire breathing beast!

    It would be good if crossfit spent a bit more time talking about how people can get started, and spent a little less time focused on the elite level athletes.

  2. LB March 24, 2008 at 5:50 am

    Pg. 19 of the magazine in the print version…

    I do think that the non-fitness content on the site is a bit (okay–a lot) right wing for me.

    But I figure that if I provided free exercise programming, then I would completely sell out to advertising and make a bundle of cash. And all those pop-up Hydroxycut ads would be way more annoying than WODs named after fallen soliders.

  3. Brandon B. March 24, 2008 at 6:22 am

    I think the article provides a cultured depiction of the fanaticism often found in the members of Crossfit. The analogy between religion and Crossfit seems pretty evident, at least on the main site. The majority of the people that post on CF.com drape Glassman in a shroud of reverence usually reserved for the current Dalai Lama or Gandhi. Although I’m not sure that Glassman and Gandhi would necessarily share a similar political perspective.

    Although I disagree with 99.9% of the political rhetoric on the main site and find that WODS based on deceased soldiers a bit awkward, I must admit that I also view people who trudged up and down a stair master at the local 24 hour fitness with all the disdain that my 185lb frame can muster.

    I should also say that I am just as obsessed with finding salvation through a sub 3 min Fran time as anyone else on the main site.

  4. Brad Gilliatt March 24, 2008 at 6:55 am

    I read it. Didn’t think much of it one way or the other. Not too sure what point she was trying to make.

    I do think the author would be amazed with her physical conditioning if she did CF for a three months. Perhaps she’s selling herself short.

    Personally, I love CF. I really enjoy it. But what’s clear to me is that CF is not for everyone. So I can’t expect everyone to love it or to even understand it.

    No big deal.

  5. Jonathan March 24, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    I never really felt like there was an injury-as-right-of-passage mentality at CFO. Maybe at other gyms someone might get that impression, I don’t know. Although I have noticed people love to compare ripped hands.

    I take classes at the Jazzschool in Berkeley, which is directly across from a 24 hour fitness. Every time I come out of class and see all those people barely sweating on the stairmaster, I just think “you’re wasting your time.”

  6. Joe P March 24, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Since everybody does the same WOD, and decides for themselves how they want to scale it, Crossfit avoids officially lowering the bar, which I think is one of its key attributes. There’s a great community in the gym, and support for every person regardless of level. We can decide what we want for ourselves, but we also get encouragement and some good examples to reach for our potential. I find there’s always somebody at CFO that’s focused and dedicated and progressing in way that provides a model and acts as a motivator. Now, if I could just find a painless way to do a thruster…

  7. daniel March 24, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    I agree with Brad. The article did not really have a point.

  8. Robyn March 24, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    I totally agree with everything all of you said – isn’t that how a cult works?

    Joe P: How was the cert?? The pic was so small on the nat’l site that I couldn’t pick you out…

  9. annie vought March 24, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    Brandon I only wish I could have put my response as articulately as you did! I totally agree.
    I have to say that if I thought that the national site represented the experience and ideals of Crossfit Oakland I would not be interested.
    Remember the “drink the cool-aid” t-shirt? The cult like mentality is not lost on most of us no matter how involved we are.

  10. daniel March 24, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    Annie brings up another good point…
    For not being able to even do ONE hand stand push up Brandon is pretty articulate. Good thing we don’t have to write 5 paragraph essays for time!

  11. Maximus @ CF East Bay March 24, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    I’m also posting this article. I liked it, I think I would have been intrigued by it in my pre-cf days.

    It really does annoy me that these articles so often miss the infinite scalability of CrossFit, and seem to think that the high performers were born, like Sparti, fully-formed from the teeth of a dragon.

    I think it would be good for CF Main and affiliates to spend a bit of time promoting this aspect of CF.

  12. Joe P March 24, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    Robyn, the cert was really good, and Freddy C and the others at One World were great hosts. There were lectures, practical instruction, and group workouts. I’m very sore today (4 workouts in 2 days), but I’ll be back tomorrow.

  13. Candace March 24, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    Ahh… the author employs the old “them vs us” technique. They are crazy, we are sane. They are fit! We are sane. They look good. At least, we are sane.

    The truth is, most Americans (humans?) are fanatical about something. It’s what makes us productive, innovative and competitive. Whether your fix comes from art, business, family or fitness – it’s dishonest of the author to pretend she’s never been a victim.

    I’m proud to be fanatical about something that contributes to my sanity. When get a A-, fight with a friend, or revisit the “what the hell am I doing with my life!?!” dilemma — there’s always crossfit. No need for alcohol or drugs. No need for therapy or whining phone calls home. On the other end of “fight gone bad”, I’m sure to feel better.

    Off to school… and then, to crossfit. I’m going to try to drive without over exerting my shoulder muscles. (jk)

  14. steven March 24, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    im just a groupie

  15. Amy March 24, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    I liked the article overall, and I think it would attract a lot of ambitious elite types to CrossFit because of the machismo, regimented programming it provides. But for the salt of the CF world, it doesn’t describe it very accurately, and here is
    why:

    “This is exercise not for vanity or for longevity but for an imagined moment of heroism that may never come.” CrossFit IS for this moment and longevity: every work out prepares our heart, lungs, bones and mind for today and our 110th birthday.

    “Performing caveman feats …like deadlifting, etc. CrossFitters deliberately overwhelm and distress their bodies, executing near-impossible stunts with as much weight as they can bear.” This is a gross overstatement to make a riveting read. I don’t think CrossFit teaches anyone to ‘overwhelm and distress their bodies’ but rather to reach beyond where their body’s limits once were. Consistently overwhelming and distressing would be bad for business. CrossFit teaches a lot about scaling, resting, nutrition and overtraining…to avoid distress.

    “All you need is a body built for discipline and a mind that can justify so much apparent self-abuse. ” This is somewhat true, discipline is important to attain any important goal. Folks without mental discipline will never be attracted to CrossFit. Sure there are workouts where one feels ‘abused’ for a very short while, but to equate CrossFit with self-abuse is to place it in the ‘fanatical’ category…drawing a line in the sand between those who want to be very fit and those who are nuts.

  16. Tom C March 24, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    If you think the blog in the NYT was poorly written, you need to check out:

    http://themedium.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/14/our-warm-up-is-your-workout/

    That is one awful piece of writing. If someone could translate it into English for me, I would greatly appreciate it. The article linked from CFO is merely bad and unfocused.

    All of this discussion is irrelevant, of course, because exercise is useless and the people that do it are deluding themselves. If want to be happy you either need to:

    1) Eat a lot of doughnuts. Start right now and don’t stop, or
    2) Buy something you cannot afford and don’t need. In fact, buy several of them.

    When you are ready for the big time, practice both of my recommendations and fulfillment is guaranteed. My self-help national tour will be kicking off shortly. For a mere $5,000, you can join me in Reno, NV (my new favorite town) for a life-changing seminar that goes into greater depth on the points I enumerated above. See all of you there.

  17. MattK. March 25, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    I agree that the scalability was not represented at all. I grew up in Virginia with the highest per capita military presence, so all the military stuff and links to The Weekly Standard don’t really bother me and none of that is on the CFO site.
    The reason I hated working out was the huge jock factor/meat market aspect at most gyms. I’m still amazed after three months how nice and encouraging everyone is, especially from the top performers. Also, if the writer would have worked out for a day or two they would have found out that the great thing about crossfit is that women are better at some things and men are better at others and just because you’re big doesn’t really mean you’re going to do that well, it’s not a given at Crossfit.
    I am, however, proud of my blown out callouses! (MK)

  18. MattK. March 25, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    I agree that the scalability was not represented at all. I grew up in Virginia with the highest per capita military presence, so all the military stuff and links to The Weekly Standard don’t really bother me and none of that is on the CFO site.
    The reason I hated working out was the huge jock factor/meat market aspect at most gyms. I’m still amazed after three months how nice and encouraging everyone is, especially from the top performers. Also, if the writer would have worked out for a day or two they would have found out that the great thing about crossfit is that women are better at some things and men are better at others and just because you’re big doesn’t really mean you’re going to do that well, it’s not a given at Crossfit.
    I am, however, proud of my blown out callouses! (MK)