We Used to be Counterculture…
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a weird sense of foreboding since I heard about the CrossFit/Reebok partnership. I found this pic on crossfit.com and it didn’t make me feel any better. This pic SCREAMS globo-gym to me. Especially the “10 General Physical Skills” mural on the wall. YIKES!
Now, before everyone freaks out, let me say this: I LOVE CrossFit, the culture and what it has done for all of us. CrossFit changed my entire life. And Glassman is an absolute genius. I’ll never forget the night I read his “What is Fitness?” and was completely blown away by it and inspired. A few months later I was attending every CrossFit Cert I could find…
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the whole story, here’s the official announcement:
The GOOD in the partnership is – for sure – the fact that the more effective CrossFit methodology and training techniques will make it out into the mainstream. This IS a good thing. In particular, the HUGE majority of people who want effective training and have been brainwashed by globo-gyms and fitness magazines into thinking machines and treadmills are the way to get “fit” will FINALLY have access to good information and effective training. Here, CrossFit making it to the masses is a GREAT thing.
And, as I said, Glassman is a training genius and he can do whatever the hell he wants with his baby as far as I’m concerned. He created it, we owe him a lot and he deserves to have “CrossFit” spread to the masses if that’s what he wants.
SciFit posted a really good article about the partnership (good AND bad) recently. It’s definitely a good read and probably has a more positive spin than anything. Here’s the thing: CossFit USED TO BE a subculture. I LOVED that I was part of this wacky, extreme training community that was seen as a little “nutty” from the outside. If CrossFit goes entirely mainstream – and I have NO DOUBT that it will if Reebok is involved – we will absolutely see it take on more of a “group exercise” tone. And, I shudder at the thought, we could even see “career” group instructors “picking up” a CrossFit cert to make themselves more marketable. You know, something to go right along with their Spinning and Zumba certs.
There’s no doubt in my mind that there is going to be a dilution of the core training principles if CrossFit goes “big.” One of the major benefits of CrossFit boxes was that they were virtually always owned by an experienced trainer who took the work very seriously and considered himself a producer of elite athletes. If CrossFit Reebok gyms start opening everywhere they’re going to need to be “staffed” and that is a scary, scary thing…
Everyone’s into CrossFit, no one does it anymore…
To me, the opportunity – and the question – is: “Where are the splinter movements?” Where are the smaller communities and blogs that are carrying on the quality and intensity that CrossFit had at the start of this whole thing? There have been a number of people who have split off from CrossFit – my friend Robb Wolf being one of them and OPT Fitzgerald being another. It will be interesting to see if a bunch of displaced talent comes together to carry on the REAL work of furthering the “sport of fitness” and moving training and nutrition science ever forward.
And, if there are ALREADY some “splinter groups” or schisms forming, BY ALL MEANS drop me a message and let me know!
To sum it all up, I’ll leave you with this:
What you’re looking at above is recognition that CrossFit is now officially an ANSI Accredited Certificate Program Issuer for their Level 1 Trainer Course. Essentially, we’re talking about Level 1 trainers now having a “map” that they need to follow, with rigid standards and black and white rules. As Seth Godin says in Linchpin:
“Our society is struggling because during times of change, the very last people you need on your team are well-paid bureaucrats, note takers, literalists, manual readers, TGIF Laborers, and fearful employees…. What we want, what we need, what we must have are indispensable human beings. We need original thinkers, provocateurs, and people who care…. Indispensable linchpins are not waiting for instructions, but instead, figuring out what to do next. If you have a job where someone tells you what to do next, you’ve just given up the chance to create value.”
When I found CrossFit back in 2007 with the help of my good friend Merle Mckenzie, there was no map. There wasn’t even a written test at the end of the Level 1 Cert I took. For a guy like me, that was GREAT – give me an awesome, intense weekend of training and theory and turn me loose to create MY OWN map and find my own way with a great set of principles.
Maps, standards and sets of instructions are confining and stifling to Linchpins but they’re exactly what you need if you’re planning to replace coaches who consider training others “doing art” with low paid employees who need a manual to tell them what to do next.