March 14, 2012
CrossFit Faith: The Spiritual Side
By Josh Bunch

CrossFit Faith was born out of CrossFit Cookeville in 2011, and continues today to be the spiritual extension of its physical beginnings.

“He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” -Philippians 2:7

CrossFit code of conduct changes little from box to box. Hard work, dedication and consistency are as common as bumpers, rings and ropes. CrossFit Faith, however, adds a little something to the mix. CrossFit Faith adds a spiritual side to their community.

CrossFit Faith started as the brainchild of Chip Pugh and CrossFit Games champion Rich Froning. Both men are heavily baptized in their faith, wanted way to bring their faith to the CrossFit community. CrossFit Faith was born out of CrossFit Cookeville in 2011, and continues today to be the spiritual extension of its physical beginnings.

With 12 team members on its roster, each of them members on its roster are taking the competition very seriously.


Training at CrossFit Faith takes a back seat to worship. For believers such as Pugh and Froning, training is a much smaller piece of their daily lives than what others may believe.

“As soon as we started CrossFitting we realized just how much CrossFit was in the business of service, Serving others specifically, while lifting others up," Pugh. "From the start, we have emphasized service first, and training second."

CrossFit Faith and its members have ups and downs. The difference is their ability to recover quickly and move on justly. Pugh explains that in a faith-based CrossFit community, your workout partners become your spiritual backbone holding you accountable on and off the workout floor. Essentially, this team never calls “time”

“Just like in CrossFit, faith isn’t always fun or easy, but its always worth it. Whenever I am feeling lost in a WOD, I go back to the basics, whenever I fell lost in the world, I do the same thing”, Pugh says.


CrossFit Faith meets in an organized bible study once a week to supplement their daily faith filled walks. On-line via, believers are met with “Spiritual WODs” asking much more than time or weight moved.

“Spiritual WODs” from CrossFit Faith run the gamut of self-improvement. The goal posted for the day may be “becoming a better father”. Maybe followers are asked to show their thankfulness every hour on the hour by commenting about their loved ones. Nothing is off limits.

“Our community at home and abroad is full of everyday average CrossFitters, not average people. We know how important the word is and we want to demonstrate that CrossFit can be much more than a workout”, Pugh Says.

With over 1000 hits/day CrossFit Faith is touching the lives of CrossFitters near and far by adding a much needed piece of the puzzle many are hungry for. Many, who before CrossFit Faith, never really knew existed.


In the book of James we are told “Faith without works is dead”. In CrossFit Faith’s book, work is part of their gospel.

“We are deeply rooted in our spiritual faith which makes everyday challenges easier to handle. However, if we didn’t have the challenges we wouldn’t grow,” Pugh says.

While Rich Froning is busy being the fittest man on the planet, he manages to squeak in time to program for one of the fittest teams of the Central East. Froning prescribes daily strength movements religiously followed by met-cons. “Rich is a believer in the Met-con. He can just get to it,” Pugh says. “Sometimes he will throw up these crazy WODs that most of the team is just happy to walk away from”.

Pugh goes on to say that not only has teammate, and Games competitor Dan Bailey improved from his brief CrossFit Faith stint, but so has the 2012 Froning compared to the 2011 Froning. “Rich has definitely researched and studied over the last year helping the team, and himself dramatically. Last year CrossFit Faith took eighth place in the region, this year we hope to make California”, Pugh says.

You will regularly find team Faith improving their weak points by pitting a particular strength of one athlete, against the weakness of another, or by specifically dissecting a chink in the armor only to repair it stronger than before. Commitment to techniques like these, along with the ability to train alongside some of the fittest in the world makes for a blessed team to say the least.

“After training with Rich and Dan everyday, its hard to be intimidated by anything that could come up”, Pugh says.

Belief or no belief, its easy to admit that team CrossFit Faith has something special. Something especially CrossFit, yet something so much more.