Forging elite fitness
CrossFit begins with a belief in fitness. The aim of CrossFit is to forge a broad, general and inclusive fitness. We have sought to build a program that will best prepare trainees for any physical contingency — not only for the unknown, but for the unknowable. After looking at all sport and physical tasks collectively, we asked what physical skills and adaptations would most universally lend themselves to performance advantage. Capacity culled from the intersection of all sports demands would quite logically lend itself well to all sport. In sum, our specialty is not specializing.
CrossFit is many things. Primarily, it’s a fitness regimen developed by Coach Greg Glassman over several decades. He was the first person in history to define fitness in a meaningful, measurable way (increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains). CrossFit itself is defined as that which optimizes fitness (constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity). CrossFit is also the community that spontaneously arises when people do these workouts together. In fact, the communal aspect of CrossFit is a key component of why it’s so effective.
Today, CrossFit, the company, provides accredited training seminars throughout the world. We publish several websites providing extensive free content, including workouts, training and support for becoming fit, as well as a growing Journal of extended instruction. We have a worldwide network of more than 5,500 affiliated gyms and more than 35,000 accredited CrossFit Level 1 trainers. And, we have created the Sport of Fitness, known as the CrossFit Games, where we crown the Fittest Man and Woman on Earth.
In 2003, we started a “new” blog that would spur a revolution in the fitness industry. The contents were simple: the date, a picture, the Workout of the Day (WOD), and usually some provocative nugget of information. Check out our first full month of posts back in May 2003.
Anyone with an Internet connection and the willingness, curiosity and bravery to try it, could. From this simple blog and a single gym in Santa Cruz, Calif., there sprung an immense community of fitness enthusiasts who have learned the movements, tested the theory and accumulated a huge amount of data supporting Glassman’s equation:
CVFM @ HI + Communal Environment = Health
Today, CrossFit publishes several websites, including:
CrossFit.com —This is the original blog and main hub for everything CrossFit. Come here for the free Workout of the Day. The WOD (as written) is designed to exceed the limits of the world’s fittest people, but can be scaled to meet anyone’s current fitness.
Journal.CrossFit.com —The CrossFit Journal provides the highest quality instruction, stories and videos. This is the place to learn more about CrossFit in theory and in practice. With years of articles and videos on coaching, equipment, functional movements, exercise physiology, affiliation and much more, the CrossFit Journal is the essential guide to all of CrossFit. Get started by browsing the content by category or date published.
Community.CrossFit.com —here, we publish a wide variety of stories, photos, videos, and opinions about the CrossFit community. This page also contains information about affiliation and the process for how to affiliate.
Games.CrossFit.com —Can’t get enough of the CrossFit Games? Check here for stats, archived coverage, athlete stories, interviews and much more.
CrossFit is not easy and it’s not simple. To be fit and physically competent to handle all of the challenges in life is no small endeavor. As you work to become a fitter and healthier person, you will need to learn about:
- Movement - How to move safely and effectively.
- Fitness - What it means to be fit. Its definition, the supporting theories, and how to go about attaining it in real life.
- Nutrition - Eat meat & vegetables, nuts & seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise, but not body fat.
Education is a big part of CrossFit. When you start, you are not expected to have the knowledge you need.
CrossFit is an education about movement, fitness, nutrition and community. All of these things require responsibility, common sense, and work to educate oneself using all the tools available in the community.
Get started by reading recommended introductory content.
In addition to websites and gyms, CrossFit offers training seminars.
The CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Course is an ANSI accredited Certificate Course. The Level 1 introduces students to CrossFit's methodology and foundational movements. Level 1 courses are offered at CrossFit Affiliates around the world, and are a required first step for those that want to be CrossFit trainers. To earn the designation of "CrossFit Level 1 Trainer," individuals must attend the course and pass the test. Find a qualified CrossFit Trainer near you.
The CrossFit Coach's Prep Course is an intermediate level seminar, building on the concepts and movements introduced at the Level 1 Trainer Course. Students will primarily enhance their abilities to coach others, while further developing their understanding of the CrossFit methodology and program design & implementation.
CrossFit also offers many specialty seminars, including:
CrossFit is also a community of more than 4,500 gyms worldwide. Those are all local, small businesses that share the philosophies of CrossFit and legally license the CrossFit name. Moving well is hard to do, and the best way to accomplish good movement is with a competent coach who teaches functional movements and whose style and personality complements yours. The affiliates have different styles and different cultures. What they have in common is a commitment to:
- Improving human movement
- Building community
Each affiliate is different, and you should ask a lot of questions to make sure the affiliate you work with is a good fit for you. There are great coaches that aren’t a great fit for everyone.
Click here to find an affiliate near you.
The CrossFit Games
The CrossFit Games Season has three stages: the Open, the Regional competitions, and the Games.
First, the online Open invites anyone in the world to prove their fitness. This is the world’s most inclusive sporting event. In February and March of 2012, nearly 70,000 people from 73 countries competed in five workouts over five weeks.
Second, the top athletes from each region advanced to live competition. In 17 Regional competitions, 1,500 men and women competed for fewer than 100 berths to the finals. Only the very best would advance to the final stage, the CrossFit Games, which takes place each summer in Los Angeles, Calif.
The Games change every year, and the details are often not announced until right before each event. Athletes train year-round for a competition that is almost completely a mystery. When they reach the Home Depot Center, they put their training and mental fortitude to the test and take on a rigorous, broad-ranging test of overall physical capacity. At the end of the Games, the Fittest on Earth have clearly distinguished themselves.
The Sport of Fitness is growing rapidly. The 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games are currently being aired on ESPN and ESPN2.
The 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games Season begins in March. To compete, register on the Games Site. Full details and registration dates will be available in early 2013.
CrossFit is an evidence-based fitness program. Meaningful statements about safety, efficacy and efficiency — the three most important and interdependent facets of any fitness program — can be supported only by measurable, observable, and repeatable facts, (i.e., data). The CrossFit methodology depends on full disclosure of methods, results and criticisms, and we’ve employed the Internet as our primary means to support these values. Our charter is open source, making co-developers out of participating coaches, athletes and trainers through a spontaneous and collaborative online community. CrossFit is empirically driven, clinically tested and community developed.
We offer the world's most useful definition of fitness: increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains. Capacity is the ability to do real work, which is measurable using the basic terms of physics (force, distance and time). Life is unpredictable (much more so than sport) so real world fitness must be broad and not specialized, both in terms of duration and type of effort (time and modal domains).
The magic is in the movements. All of CrossFit’s workouts are based on functional movements. These are the core movements of life, found everywhere, and built naturally into our DNA. They move the largest loads the longest distances so they are ideal for maximizing the amount of work done in the shortest time (intensity).
By employing a constantly-varied approach to training, these functional movements at maximum intensity (relative to the physical and psychological tolerances of the participant), lead to dramatic gains in fitness. Intensity is essential for results and is measurable as work/time. The more work you do in less time, the more intense the effort.
In implementation, CrossFit is, quite simply, the “sport of fitness.” We’ve learned that harnessing the natural camaraderie, competition and fun of sport or game yields an intensity that cannot be matched by other means. The late Col. Jeff Cooper observed, “the fear of sporting failure is worse than the fear of death.” It is our observation that men will die for points. Using whiteboards as scoreboards, keeping accurate scores and records, running a clock, and precisely defining the rules and standards for performance, we not only motivate unprecedented output, but derive both relative and absolute metrics at every workout. This data has important value well beyond motivation.
While it challenges the world’s fittest, the CrossFit program is designed for universal scalability, making it the perfect application for any committed individual, regardless of experience. We’ve used our same routines for elderly individuals with heart disease and cage fighters one month out from televised bouts. We scale load and intensity; we don’t change programs.
The needs of Olympic athletes and our grandparents differ by degree, not kind. Our hunters, skiers, mountain bike riders and housewives have found their best fitness from the same regimen.