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Will CrossFit Make American Kids Smarter? by Lisa Bakshi - CrossFit Journal

In Kids

January 26, 2009

PDF Article

Lisa Bakshi is a 2nd grade teacher in San Diego, California. She has been CrossFitting for a few years, and recently introduced CrossFit Kids workouts to her class. She has seen a statistically significant improvement in their academic performance. She wonders if there is something universally applicable here.

Fact 1: America is falling behind the rest of the world in the classroom.
Fact 2: Classroom time devoted to math and language arts—and to rigorous
testing of these subjects—has increased, and the time spent on exercise and physical education has decreased dramatically.
Fact 3: The U.S. is experiencing an unprecedented epidemic of childhood obesity, which has increased 35% in the past 10 years.

Question: Is there a causal relationship between these three facts? Could it be that the alarming declines in student health AND academic performance are both due to the lack of physical education? And, on the flip side, could restoring physical education to schools help restore America’s standing in the classroom?

Answer: Yes.

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13 Comments on “Will CrossFit Make American Kids Smarter?”


wrote …

Such a great study. I would love to see more of these types of studies.


wrote …

This is a great article I would love to share with some teachers/administrators in my school district. I'd be willing to bet other Crossfitters who support young people (parents/teachers/aunts/uncles/friends) would also be happy to send this article to their School Boards as an example of an education "best practice" that works. Can you make it a free download so it can have wider distribution?


wrote …

Good points. The article is now free.


wrote …

Great idea Elizabeth, and thank you Tony. As a middle school PE teacher, this article is an essential read for myself and my colleagues. Even though we're in Illinois, we're still seeing cutbacks and districts bending the mandates just like the article states.

Excellent work once again by the CrossFit Journal-- thank you.


wrote …

Thank you, Lisa, for this article, and thanks, Tony, for making it available to everyone. Increased well being, intelligence and resistance to obesity and diabieties seem like solid enough evidence/argument for implementation into all educational programs. As adults often times we use CrossFit as an outlet when we are stressed and with what kids face in life they can use the same outlet. I will definitely present this to some friends in the local school districts.


George Gecewicz wrote …

I just turned 15 and have been CrossFitting for a few months, and I can personally say that since I've started, my grades have gone through the roof and I have been eating, sleeping, and feeling so much better. Great article.


wrote …

Not only great article, great application and initiative to get it done by Lisa. But what happens next? Does CF take on Physical Education? Charter schools where teachers may be more autonomous is certainly a good place to start.



wrote …

Nice work and proves again what has been known for years and ignored. Kids who participate in sport at any level are better students and better adjusted young people. Too bad most school distrcts see PE as an expendable activity in the ciriculum.


Jeff Martin wrote …

Great article on an extremely important topic that is near and dear to our hearts. Its awesome to see yet another teacher that has not only implemented CrossFit for her kids but documented it as well.

What happens next, does CrossFit take on Physical Education? The answer is yes. Every CrossFit Kids certification has teachers and coaches in attendance. They are learning how to effectively teach the movements, build and maintain a program, and they are implementing CrossFit Kids in their schools. The CrossFit Kids Magazine has had articles in the last four Issues written by and for teachers, specifically about implementation. Several school districts have officially implemented through the use of the CrossFit Kids Lesson Plans, both Elementary and Teen. There is also an article from a few years back in the CFKM on brain function and exercise, written by Cyndi Rodi of CrossFit Kids HQ, who was interviewed by CrossFit Radio in October on this very topic. She discusses the exciting trip she took last fall to Naperville where some this research is being conducted.


Zach Even - Esh wrote …

right on w/this article! I am still in elementary physical education and w/the economy and budget cuts they were looking to make cuts in PE and increase time to the classroom activities.

Dude, they don't even let kids RUN during recess in my school b/c of an accident some 4 years ago!

They wanted to get rid of the playground / monkey bars b/c a first grader broke her arm

I told them NO FREAKING WAY!

The reason we have accidents is b/c we are IMMOBILE and not focused enough on playing and physical education!

The middle schools here removed ALL climbing ropes, in the high school...NO PULL UP bars!!!

I would love to see our gyms turned into turner halls, but man, this is horrible!

This is a BIG reason why I created my gym, I have plans to bring in more youth training and get these kids into shape, or even offer home schooling for the kids who don't get the fitness.

This fired me up!

Nice article, keep killin it!



Matt Deminico wrote …

We all know the benefits of the free market vs government planning, and our utter failure of a school system here in the US is one of the best real-world examples of it.

We spend more per student here in the US than anywhere else in the world, yet we're consistently bottom in the industrialized world. Obviously it's not a question of funding. Our school system is a socialist government-regulated program, and it has absolutely failed.

And now, as with any massive organization, they follow the trends of the labcoat scientists who suggest more of what works for them (aka physical/social sciences, and math), and we all have to follow it, because "What government says, we must do".

Just take a look at what happens when you have freedom in schools, freedom to choose what to teach, when to teach it, how to teach it, and if you even are going to teach it. Look at Tim Tebow's success when he (as a homeschooler) was given the chance to play in the public schools' league as an athlete.


wrote …

Thanks for the free download.

Another thought occured to me after I posted earlier: Teaching is a physically and emotionally demanding activity. Unless I miss my guess, there was another variable in this study that was not controlled: Ms. Bakshi, but likely very few of her teaching peers, has been a Crossfitter for several years. I don't want to take anything away from the students' tremendous achievement, but great teachers are made as much as they are born. Ms. Bakshi's commitment to her personal fitness is as much a part of her professional development as an educator as her last continuing education credit. I say Crossfit in every school - for the kids AND for the teachers!


wrote …

I found it humorous that academics was spelled wrong in the header. That's actually not important though; this entire article is extremely important and needs to make its rounds through our school systems.

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