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Inside Gym Jones by Russell Berger - CrossFit Journal

Inside Gym Jones

By Russell Berger

In Rest Day/Theory

August 08, 2009

PDF Article

Russell Berger, one of CrossFit’s top athletes, attends a Gym Jones seminar and tries to keep an open mind—but he’s left wondering about the substance of the program.

This is the story of my experience at Gym Jones, but the real story is a lot bigger than me.

The story of my love affair with increased work capacity is pretty typical. I started following the CrossFit main-site WODs and saw astounding results within a few weeks. But it wasn’t long before I again ran into that other website:

Gym Jones is owned by Mark Twight, a 47-year-old veteran mountain climber of considerable accomplishment. Maybe something about my leaving the Army and enrolling in a public college made me appreciate Twight’s unapologetic elitism. Or maybe I just dug the stark black-and-white photography. Whatever it was, Twight’s intentional concealment of his methods added to the attraction. I quit following the CrossFit main-site WODs in the summer of 2007 and began my own regimen based on the few clues Twight disclosed on his website.

Soon after, I started having doubts about my new methods. I began sticking to the CrossFit main site, and a year later, I still couldn’t answer a basic question: “What is Gym Jones?” By that time I was the owner of a CrossFit affiliate in Huntsville, Alabama. But I was still curious about Gym Jones. When the CrossFit Journal offered to pay my $1,800 registration fee for a Gym Jones Athletic Development Seminar, I jumped at the opportunity.

Twight’s pitch was simple: CrossFit has problems. We found them, and we can show you how to get around them.

Unfortunately, I’d never noticed these problems. If Twight’s system really does produce higher levels of general physical preparedness and more successful athletes, he only has one thing to do: show the world. So far, he hasn’t.

Does this mean that Gym Jones doesn’t improve the performance of their athletes? Not at all. But until Twight or someone else can produce athletes with greater GPP than their CrossFitting peers, I’ll be sticking to the CrossFit main-site WODs.

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121 Comments on “Inside Gym Jones”


wrote …

I liked this article, but it was a little too biased and long for my taste. You could have pared it down to 6 pages if you focused mainly on the differences between the programming and not so much the comments from the trainers. Just my person opinion. Other than that, its good to hear about what's going on behind the closed doors of Gym Jones. I do believe that there is some value going on there, even if the volume of value may not be to the level of CrossFit. CrossFit truely is the standard that others have to be held to in the fitness arena.


wrote …

Good stuff. I still prefer a Crossfit WOD to anything else.


Brian White wrote …

I agree with the first comment that it was a tad biased. But thats why it was written. I too have always been curious about Gym Jones. I have thought about attending or joining their "new" website. However, its hard for me to see that its worth the money, especially after this article. Its just CrossFit rehashed into someone's personal beliefs and programming. There's nothing wrong with that, but not worth the elitism that it portrays. Overall, excellent article and it answered many questions that I am sure CrossFitters have, as well as, military personnel, of which I am.


wrote …

Good Stuff brother. I had the same opinion for a few years battling back and forth between GymJones and Crossfit websites. I always thought Crossfit was the source but gymjones intrigued me because of his attitude I guess. When I got back from my last deployment I looked into joining the gymjones sight and also looked at going to a cert but chose not to and just stuck with crossfit. I'm glad I got the inside scoop from this article kinda of opened my eyes I guess.


replied to comment from Brian White

Being new to Crossfit by also way of reading the Gym Jones Website I found myself having the holy Sh#t this is dead on and makes sense article. I will go and read the previous G-Man articles mentioned. I have a feeling now whatever the beef is.. is probably just personal and probably right so and between them and we will wait and see (even though in my op. Crossfit will win because of the simple fact they are more straight forward and will hit a larger target base). I think you all will just get that statement in its organic nature. It is bias but hey Crossfit sent Rus and at the same time I believe him because he pointed out the same things I have been thinking. The question I leave you is, can you start at the day before on the schedule on Gym Jones website and do those and see the results you would see on the Crossfit website and see the... oh wait before I complete that statement it contidicts Mark's statement of individuality and specificity is Crossfit's flaw even though he is doing the same thing to sell a $600 yearly online Salvation memborship which completely breaks down his arguement into shambles. After this article I will look into opening up my own Crossfit Affiliate.


wrote …

Great Article. FYI: Here is the link, (sorry you have to cut and paste) of Jason MacDonald on the CrossFit Mainpage deadlifting (wfs) or two-thirds of the way down. Kinda interesting he turned full-circle and went with Gym Jones.


wrote …

Well the schedules on the gymjones website arent workouts to follow.

Second you see a lot of threads in the forum commenting about elite athletes doing workouts very similiar to crossfit. Well thats the same difference between gymjones and crossfit. Gymjones makes tailored workouts for athletes using very similiar methods to crossfit. Its just so stupid to see how many people think crossfit has invented high intensity training. They havent. They have invented a protocol for people to use high intensity work. Crossfit is good for crossfit, mma is good for mma. No one will ever be elite at anything using crossfit except the crossfit games or maybe they will kick ass at forrest griffins saturday conditioning workout. But they will definitly lose in the ring. What crossfit has done in my opinion is to put focus on the importance of gpp, using high intensity training and creating a good program for the normal guy or girl.

Since a good deal of black belts, elite climbers, dan john and so on has choosen to train there it must have something valuable to offer. The same way crossfit has alot to offer with a lot of great athletes.

If crossfit was the universal truth all elite athletes would choose it.


replied to comment from Emil Nielsen

I only posted the gym jones scheduled workouts to point out a contraindicated statement in the article "" by Mark (and also "why post them than"). I think by a marketing standpoint it is a possibly indirectly copied brilliant tactic to sell memberships. I have been reading the whole Gym Jones Website decip. columns and think many have tangible applications at least to motivational tacticts. I also believe that the focus on the psycholigical standpoint that Twight comes from is basic and again brilliant. He is a business owner by the way. I do see your stanpoint Emil, and no way am argueing, of the thought of Crossfit taking the "it was us" who invented this workout style but at the same time I hope this is consciously ignorant. Quality personal trainers have been around for years and years and even thousands of years based on your preception of tacticts vs. 21st century internet marketing... I am sure that Crossfit isn't a universal truth in athletic competiton but it is the best I have seen in universal fitness for the masses. All things however can be broken down in to specificts for the individual for any reason.


replied to comment from Mike Hudson

Unless I missed something, what does Jason MacDonald have to do with anything? The trainer from Gym Jones is Rob MacDonald.


wrote …

Really interesting read!

Sounds like Gym Jones is more about endurance athletes and specialised athletes looking at their periodisation plan?

The article is biased, but what do you expect when a CrossFitter turns up?!! :-)

I'm sure Gym Jones has some great elements, but If you can't measure what you're doing, how do you know you're reaching your goals?

It does seem (based on the article and my own previous readings) that Mark is a good bloke, but even good blokes can mis-enterpret CrossFit.

Its easy to do because it takes time, IMHO, to discover the balance of intensity and scaling - And I'm still learning :-)


wrote …

The box I work out at is currently experimenting with both protocols. As a matter of fact we did "Tailpipe" yesterday. It was the suck fest described in the article, but I was very disappointed that I couldn't quantify my results since I had partner. I am planning on trying out the dead-lift/box jump workout, but only 'cause it sounds like a "fun" WOD and I can quantify my efforts. I don't mind the idea of what Twight is doing for sport specific work, it's just not the flavor of Kool-Aid I wanna sip all the time.


wrote …

Thanks for your time & effort on this article Russell. Very interesting read.

Tony Webster.


wrote …

I wouldn't expect any further encouraging e-mails from Mr. Twight, sorry bout that, you must be heartbroken.


wrote …

I can't help but see the absurdity in Gym Jones doing their best to poke holes in Crossfit's philosophy and methods, then contradicting their own claims by supporting Crossfit's ideas: ie: downplaying intensity and then emphasizing it, or saying remove the reliance on a stopwatch yet timing each workout. ALthough the author was biased (automatically as a Crossfitter), I thought he did a very good job of trying to remain objective and reported his experience as neutrally as possible. I feel Gym Jones' attitudes towards some of the foundations of Crossfit (IWCABTAMD for example), were things the readers needed to hear and are relevant when discussing differences in programming. Great article.

Seperately, I find Mark Twight's elitism, both in climbing and fitness to be the lowest form of immaturity and I aplaud Crossfit for remaining on the high road. Gym Jones is very exclusive and Crossfit is the most welcoming community anywhere. Joe Average wouldn't make it through the door at Gym Jones (based on their rants) but if he posts a PR on the Crossfit site he'll have elite athletes from all over the world cheering him on.

Mike Neilson


wrote …

Who is the guy doing the sandbag run on page 12? Not Russell, lol.
Nice Work Russell. Next time I see you hop down from box jumps Im callin' you out.
Brandon Crossfit NE Georgia


wrote …

"Outcome-based training" is a buzzword in the Army right now.....he probably uses it to help his marketing....

Then again, "outcome-based training" sure sounds alot like the black box discussed at Level 1 certs.....


wrote …

I remember there was/is a big ruckus about how Globo Gyms were adopting Crossfit methodology and how it could hurt the Crossfit brand and coach saying the exact opposite. Seems like Gym Jones is the perfect example. People can imitate Crossfit all they want, all it does is lead people to the good stuff. I was one of those guys who came to Crossfit through Gym Jones and I could never imagine going back.


wrote …

I feel the main draw to Gym Jones is the "Cloak and Dagger" aura that it holds and everyone wants to be a part of something, somewhat secretive and selective. That is just human nature.

I personally pull fitness and nutrition from Tons of different sources and believe the key is to be a well rounded athlete and soldier. Obviously, the two Squad Leaders from 3/75 are going to walk away from the seminar and take what they learned and apply it differently then say the Author will at the gym he owns. One thing I do like about Gym Jones is the more specified training tailored to ones profession or training goals. It is kind of like Battle Focused training for a soldier. As a Medic, I know that I need to train to be able to do everything an Infantry soldier can do, as well as have my special skill set and be able to tactically employ it when I need to.

I do some of the CrossFit WODS, but I also find myself pulling from, adding to, and scaling the workouts as necessary. Overall, I stick with CF for the ease of access, generally helpful and friendly people, and the workouts do their job..

On a side note, Crossfit works. I spent the last 10 of my 15 month deployment in Afghanistan on a remote firebase with no access to good food or a real gym. I picked up Crossfit after I returned to Bragg in late spring and by summer I was in best shape of my life. And again I used Crossfit in past after graduating Ranger school in worst shape of my life. After 4 months of CrossFit WODs and personal favorite WODs I was in better shape then when I went to school.

I'm sure Gym Jones works, but I am a CrossFit follower and love the variety..


wrote …

Thanks Russell, nice to get a peek inside GJ and see what the clockwork looks like.

It is interesting to read the comments and see how hard it is for people to grasp the idea of CrossFit as core strength and conditioning, with a specialty of not specializing. By definition most 'elite athletes' are in a specialty, so they would not be able to be 'world class' with CrossFit alone. They would need ... specialization. That means they are less fit, but better adapted to their ... specialty. Emil, does that help you at all? Saying "CrossFit isn't the best thing for competitive specialists" isn't that helpful an insight.

Of course, the plot thickens when, as Coach likes to point out, most specialized athletes at the top of their game can benefit more from working on their weaknesses than from continued specialization. In this way, CrossFit has something to offer them too.

We'll see more and more CF knockoffs as the years pass. Count your blessings if you got into the good stuff early on and got a clear understanding of why it works. There will be many a victim of phrases like 'muscle confusion' and other marketable but meaningless phrases. I think Coach's focus is right on when he talks about getting not everyone, just everyone that's not an a$$.


wrote …

Great article Russell. Was it bias? Yeah maybe a touch but it's clear you tried to make it balanced. Was it informative? Definitely!

I've tried workouts without measuring them (stopwatch, weight, reps etc) and to be honest its nowhere near as motivating and you have no real idea of how to gauge progress. The observable, measurable and repeatable nature of CrossFit is what drew me to it 5 years ago and keeps me there now.

In short, this shit works; on the sporting field, on the streets, in the desert and on the water. That has been proven time and again.


replied to comment from Emil Nielsen

amen, the beef, if there still is a beef, is between twight and the og's(original gangsters) of crossfit. twight has written some amazing articles that are available to the members. there is no one right way to train, but both sites are an amazing resource for anyone trying to taking their training to the next level. people need to keep out of the gossip and learn from both programs instead of hating.


Kevin Freeland wrote …

While I believe the CrossFit methodology is superior to most others, it is not the end all and be all of every athletic pursuit. There are many cases where a specific focus is necessary to succeed in a given endeavor. Olympic sprinting comes to mind. It is also why CrossFit Football and Crossfit Endurance exist. While based on the CrossFit idea, they are an attempt to be more sports specific. That being said, while I understand the point of the article and it did shed some light on the goings on at Gym Jones, I don't understand the reason for it. It is stated on several occasions that Mark Twight has an apparent dislike for things that are Crossfit related. Well it seems to me that a dislike for Mark Twight and his break with CrossFit was the fuel for this article. CrossFit is growing by leaps and bounds, it's grown far beyond being a fringe movement, and it's introducing thousands to real world fitness. If he has a beef with CrossFit (and he's not the only one by the way) then let him have it. Results are all that matters, right?


wrote …

Russ, you were talking about workout programs while in Florida phase? You are one hard dude. All we could talk about was whipped butter on IHOP pancakes.


replied to comment from Jason Donaldson

Jason I could not agree with you more.

I just did a workout that was 6 rounds of: 1 tire flip/jump through tire/sprint 20ish yards and back (40ish total)/1 tire flip/jump through without timing it and it didn't come close the response timed workouts do. Plus the guys I work out with did that WOD last week and timed it, said it was waaaaaaaay easier without a timer.


wrote …

Twight sounds like a bitter old sourpuss. If you kick everyone's butts at a workout that is timed and then you get ripped into for "doing it wrong" despite following the guidelines of ROM, I don't see much value in Twight's opinion. Twight seems more concerned with being right than getting results. Man, people think CrossFit is a cult... Holy Crap, GJ is the cult here! Doesn't anyone else see this? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!! Dissenters will be mocked and executed... despite best evidence! If you demonstrated to Twight that heavier objects do not, in fact, fall faster than lighter objects, he would probably try to have you imprisoned. What I LOVE about CrossFit is that every affiliate is like a little petri dish. Results speak for themselves. And people doing CrossFit are always looking for the truth of what ultimately works short-term as well as long-term. Do all CrossFitters do things the same? Heck no! CrossFit Football anyone? Strength bias anyone? Scaling? Wounded warriors? CrossFit listens to guys like Dave Tate, Mark Rippetoe, Lon Kilgore, Mike Bergener, Jeff Tucker, Brian Mackenzie, Jeff Martone, etc... Anyone see a pattern here? If you want to know how to get the most out of a specialized discipline, you ask the people that know it best. Do you see Tucker correcting Mike Bergener on how to teach the oly lifts? Nope. But Twight is obviously underqualified to teach these specialties and teaches them with authority anyway. What a quack! I have no patience for people that make boastful claims but refuse to prove them. Twight, put up or shut up! You produce a single athlete that can hang with the likes of Mikko Salo or Tommy Hackenbruck, then maybe you'll have some credibility. Your name "Gym Jones" is so similar to "Jim Jones" that it couldn't possibly be an accident. If your disciples start seeing you stockpile cyanide and kool-aid packets, we might see a sudden surge in interest in CrossFit. Wait a minute, that would only be like 30 people. Nevermind, hah hah hah! Enjoy your sour grapes Twat... err Twight.


Tobias Neal wrote …

First off, I am a CrossFit Affiliate and one of my trainers attended a Gym Jones cert and brought back for me his binder and workouts. Also, I see quite a bit of generalization of Gym Jones and Mark Twight. I saw this many times when I first began to CrossFit. So, in my true investigative fashion I called him and asked questions about him, about his elitism, his anger for CrossFit, his affiliation. I spoke with him and his wife for a bit and what I got were answers that didn't fit with what I have heard on here.

During the conversation his wife was very kind, and at no time belittled CrossFit. I found this to be more professional than some of what I have seen on here. I asked about the elitism. Simply put, he said that he wasn't looking to make a living at this like most CrossFitters. He is an accomplished author and athlete and because he was getting older and his time was limited he wanted to spend time with people that liked to train as hard as he did. He has a small amount of people because for him its not really a mainstay business that he needs. If he was trying to do this as a business he could understand the need not to be stand-offish.

While I see CrossFit growing I don't really understand the point of this article yet again pointing out the clash between these two. He isn't trying to grow into CrossFit purportions nor have I ever seen or heard him bash CrossFit as I have seen the opposite done here. After all this time, why is the CrossFit staff paying for someone to go to a "cert" to see his secret discredit him? and why? if his methods don't work then by coaches own agreement the market will sort it. It's like writing about the "secret" methods of anything, people by it because it creates secrecy and we love to know what is going behind the door.

I have done many of his workouts thanks to my assistant and I have to say I love them as much as CrossFit. If it kicks my butt, looks super challenging, and wipes me out at the end, all I can say is hell yeah.

So, can we possibly use the $1800.00 towards something better, aka, the wounded warrior project and keep on keeping on, I wouldn't be surprised that the CrossFit games is televised next year and it continues to improve.

I love this community! I love CrossFit, but I am a dissenter at times, I intially was a kool-aid drinker and then walked away from it, only to return because it truly lends to great training. I say this because I don't blindly jump on the bandwagon and at times holy disagree with the way HQ does things. But hopefully Coach was telling me the truth when he said that I am a dissenter and an organization needs those as well. Thanks everyone for tolerating my .02.



replied to comment from Tobias Neal

If Mark Twight truly is what you describe, then my apologies to the man. If, however, Russell isn't full of crap, then I make no apologies. I don't subscribe to dogma. Not in fitness, religion, nor any other realm. My suspicion is that you caught Twight on a day he was in a good mood and are basing your opinion off a single conversation and a binder you were given. Was Berger biased? Sure. But I doubt he is a liar that set out to discredit Mark Twight. Look, if Gym Jones offered something CrossFit lacked for GPP, then assimilating that would be the most obvious and intelligent approach. Do you think Dave Tate will be doing CrossFit anytime soon? Not likely. But he knows power-lifting. And he knows it well. Therefore, many of us are thinking "Maybe box-squatting is something we ought to be doing". And for the record, if dissent wasn't tolerated in the ranks of CrossFit, I wouldn't call myself a CrossFitter. It would just be another dogma. Lastly, I'll always tolerate people's .02, just won't always agree with it ;-)



wrote …

Great read, really.


wrote …

I don't know who this guy is but I really don't care. CrossFit has proven results. It sounds alittle suspecious. CrossFit for LIFE!!


wrote …

I do think there's a place for workouts that aren't "for time" in the usual sense. My preferred brand of Kool-Aid is Coach Rut's, and he has a lot of short metcons that involve doing a single movement or a couplet or triplet for a fixed number of reps, "on the minute" for 10-15 minutes. We've also done similar WODs at Crossfit DC. Typically (assuming selection of an appropriate load) you get 15-30 seconds rest in each round.

As with breathing ladders, you get a high volume of work with a constrained amount of rest. As in a traditional "for time" workout, you get high intensity because of the pressure to keep up with the clock, and because the harder you work on each set, the more rest you get. But form stays more solid in the "on the minute" efforts, in my experience. In some ways it's like an extended Tabata set except for the mixed modes and the fact that you lose rest time, rather than reps, as you fatigue.


wrote …

Could this article make us as a community look anymore ridiculous. A gym that trains only 30 athletes, using basically the same methodology as Crossfit, and CFHQ is going to spend $1800 + expenses to send someone to pick them apart. There are many other non crossfit sites that use similar methodology, are we going to start attacking them too. If there was anyone wondering why non-crossfitters view us as a cult, this is why. We have won the Gym Jones vs. Crossfit war, we have hundreds of affilates, our own games, and hundreds of thousands of hits on the main site and affilate sites everyday. Stop beating up on the smaller kid!

Paul Manfre
Crossfit Power Athlete Affilate owner
Centerville Ohio


wrote …

This article is soooooo news from the early 2000's.


wrote …

I think the reason the beef still exists is because of Twight's deception with pulling his CF affiliation, reinstating it and pulling it again, along the timeline while he was shopping his "improved fitness system" to the military as well as passing off information synthesized by Crossfit and written with an eerily similar voice to Greg Glassman's as his own and placing a copyright on it. If you look at his website, Twight makes ominous threats against anyone violating "his" copyrights. The Glassmans and Crossfit have become hugely successful by openly sharing their program and have no problem with anyone adopting their methods and philosophy. I think the problem lies with Twight backdating his copyright to 2001 and passing off things like the fitness heirarchy pyramid as his intellectual property. Crossfit did not invent high intensity training, or functional movement. They have however produced an extremely effective, measurable system. I refer to it as old school training with new school science. I have no doubt that Greg Glassman is not threatened by Gym Jones' 30 athletes. I do think he will defend Crossfit from attacks and criticism and challenge detractors to come up with something better. I like to think Crossfit paid Russell's course fee to find out if Gym Jones had in fact developed anything worth adopting. Glassman has always said Crossfit will adapt to any system that proves it can provide superior fitness to Crossfit. I have no doubt that given Twight's ego that he is a victim of his own poor programming (as Russell hypothosizes) and he is doomed to continue bashing Crossfit instead of looking inward.


wrote …

I support Coach. I support Mark. (Coaches name got mentioned first because this is his site.) No, I am not a fence sitter or a kool aid drinker, and yes, I can have it both ways. Apples and Oranges.... This discussion should not be occurring.

When I am at Gym Jones, I work out according to their standards, when I am in a Crossfit box, according to theirs, when I am at home/on my own I use a little of both. Nice work on the Jones Crawl Russel.

Cut the crap! Get back in the gym... Time starts now.


Tobias Neal wrote …

Also, when I talked to his wife they said they were never an affiliate, this can be proven pretty easily I think but it was surprising that she told me that. In light of everything I heard and that could also be on both Coaches and Marks description of what affiliated meant at such an early stage.


wrote …

These are interesting subjective observations, but I'd be curious to see if anyone has actually done a randomized study comparing the Crossfit method with alternative training regimens. For example, I'd like to see a study in which individuals were trained under the two different methods without labels attached to the regimens (essentially, a single-blind study). I love doing Crossfit but I'd like to see more real data.


wrote …

As Mike Neilson stated, the beef with gym jones and CrossFit is intellectual property. Coach Glassman asks that if you are going to do CrossFit then call it CROSSFIT. That is why affiliates pay to license the name. When Twight took many of Glassman's methods and stated calling them his own the problem began.
Also, just as with anything in life, the free workouts are posted and it is up to the trainer or athlete to execute and scale appropriately. Good trainers will scale appropriately and adhere to good ROM/form for the best results of their clients. Problems with following .com may not be because of CrossFit, they may be problems with execution and interpetation.

I always find it interesting when something defines itself by being so vehemently NOT something (Gym Jones is NOT crossfit). If the force to be reckoned with was not something important you wouldn't need to come up with such elaborate reasons around it or why you are not that.

I have no problem with CrossFit sending someone to a GJ cert. If there was something original they had to offer, I'd love to have that information available to improve all our training. There will be many more CrossFit knockoffs as this community continues to grow. Let's call it CrossFit when it's CrossFit, something else if it isn't and let the results speak for themselves. I believe they already have.


just for the record, I also spoke to Twight's wife, and she was and extremely sweet, helpful woman. Both Mark and his wife were nice, polite people.


replied to comment from Clayton Nall

Why do we need a randomized study?
Use yourself and you own training.
We are looking for observable, measurable and repeatable data.
Try one program, measure your progress, try something else, measure you progress, I bet you will come back to CrossFit.


wrote …

I've done a few gym jones workouts while deployed, in group setting, and by nature, it was competive, and fun, and timed. Why else would we do them in a group? I've done CF since Feb 2005, and love it. As a Soldier (I'm 42 now, been at it awhile), nothing has come close to preparing me for the random events I incur on a daily basis. I would be extremely eager to see what the train up is that would prepare me for a year long deployment, or how I can use Mark's method to train for the date of my next firefight, since I get to plan those.
Good ol GPP saved my butt, and got me through 3 months of Walter Reed, and a VA polytrauma unit. How much periodization training do you need for getting blown up, and would that be an endurance period, or a strength period?
I can't speak for everyone, but in my line of work, you have got to be prepared today, for anything. Nothing else out there does that better than CrossFit.
Mark Twight shares similar personality traits of alot of other elite climbers. That is part of that atmosphere. Kharma is a b!tch though. It will all work out in the end.


wrote …


Good article.


I have been a leo for 17 years. I am thankful you do not charge $500 a year to use your site or information. I am thankful for the respect and admiration you give to those who serve. Even when you first started and you were barely making it the site was free. When Ted Socha introduced me to Crossfit in 2003 I was amazed and still am at how friendly and open the community is.



wrote …

I've been to the Gym Jones seminar and found it fantastic. However, if I went in with the attitude that the author had I'm sure it would have been a bad experience. I think even Coach would agree that the main site has evolved over the years. Mark Twight broke off several years ago due to the fact that the athletes at his Crossfit affiliate had difficulties with endurance and strength after simply doing the Crossfit site work out. It seems that he has simply evolved in a different direction, kind of like Martin Luther breaking off from the Catholic Church. The underpinings of faith are the same, only the methods of expression are different. Mark did not bash Crossfit at the seminar I attended, and I wonder how much he was baited by Russell to make these comments.

I think we should all do what works for us, and not get down on Mark Twight because he has black boxed his own method. Stay positive!


replied to comment from Johanna Lamb

Hi Johanna,

That's a good question, and it speaks to the difference between so-called innate or native knowledge knowledge and scientific knowledge with replicable methods and results. Why do a quasi-blinded randomized experiment? I can think of about five reasons.

1) Removing preferences and biases. A Crossfit fan comparing the two methods is likely to change their behavior and effort depending on which technique they're using. If I'm out to prove that Crossfit is better, my workout behavior will reflect that. These personal biases are often unconscious, and I wouldn't want them to affect my workout.
2) Establishing clear benchmarks for performance ex ante.
3) Statistical power. Differences between training methods are likely to be small. A single individual, or even a small group, won't be large enough to detect differences between methods (i.e., the margin of error will be too large). This argues for a larger-group randomized evaluation.
4) Supervision and documentation. A principal investigator can track how individuals cheat/shirk and modify their regimens, and can adopt standards and models to adjust for these differences.
5) Avoiding problems with "interference" that come about as a result of training. This is a fancy way of saying that the person I am in month 1 is not the same person in month 2, and the training I receive in month 1 could affect what happens in month 2. (In fact, that's the point of training!) Suppose I decide to alternate methods each month, and do Crossfit during month 1. I increase my overall pushup load by 30%; I then switch to Gym Jones, and only increase my pushup load by 15%. Was that because Gym Jones was half as good, or is it because I was going to hit a plateau anyway regardless of which method I was using?
6) Ending the use of anecdotes as evidence in debates over training methods.

Now, this is not to say that there isn't a place for individuals to do a more rigorous job comparing different training methods, and to make their results available, and even to organize information from these individual trials in a way that would be useful and generalizable to the community at large.

What you seem to be arguing for is doing n-of-1 experiments. These are an increasingly common technique in drug trials, and athletes have used them to evaluate the personal effect of supplements like caffeine:,%20Gina. But any n-of-1 study can run into problems.


Russell Berger wrote …

I just want to remind folks that this article was written based off of my own experiences at a single seminar. I'm not surprised that others have been to Twight's seminar and heard and seen very different things. My guess is that because his audience was primarily military, and every one of us with the exception of one student had previous experience with CrossFit, it was natural for Twight to guide conversation towards comparison between CrossFit and his own methods without any help from our group.


wrote …

What is CrossFit? According to Russell the only true CrossFit program is presented on
"The answer turned out to be simple. During its time
as a CrossFit affiliate, Gym Jones hadn’t followed the
main-site WODs. The workouts posted on Twight’s
website looked, smelled, tasted and felt just like CrossFit
workouts. But Twight’s experiment with CrossFit, much
like my own experiment with Gym Jones, was woefully
inadequate. Both were based on subjective interpretations
of methodology, complete with the possibility of
self-induced regressions and shitty programming.
Twight might be dead-on in naming too many highintensity
circuits as the reasons for his poor results. But
he was the one calling the shots, designing the workouts
and setting the schedule. If he thought he could do it
himself because he knew better, he was wrong and was
blaming CrossFit for his own mistakes."

Is he saying then that once an athlete or affiliate deviates from the main-site WODs they are no longer doing CrossFit? What, are we not able to control our own destiny, create our own path? This is precisely the value that I find in Gym Jones' philosophy, and the point I think most people miss. Mark Twight encourages athletes to explore, dig deeper into the "how" and "why" of training. He says it over and over throughout his website. The workouts posted are only there to stimulate further thought/discovery. But most importantly it stresses individual accountability.

Was your time better because you shaved your range of motion or the equipment was configured differently than Bob, from the comments, who you beat by 5 minutes?

Yeah you rowed a 6:55 2000 meters but did you pull hard enough? Could you have broken a 6:30 if you didn't puss out because you felt 6:55 is "pretty damn good".

I believe the Gym Jones' philosophy would cry "shame on you" if you just drank it's Kool-aid only and without question.

With that I am not drinking just any one Kool-aid. I am trying to create that "suicide" mix that works for me and my clients. I just may use more of one flavor than the others depending on the taste I am looking for.


replied to comment from Charles Haywood

HA!!! I was thinking the same thing.


wrote …

In reference to Clayton Nall's last comment:

This is not the first time that someone mentioned the idea of a single blind study and I think that most people would like to see one done on both sides of the fence. However the problems come when realistically trying to set up such an experiment.

-People's lifestyles. Do they have previous athletic backgrounds. Are they overweight/extremely fit before the experiment starts?
-Assuming you could balance out both previous lifestyles for each group, how can you ensure they strictly adhere to the training principles. Do some do construction work while others sit at a computer all day? Are you going to have them sacrifice hobbies such as rock-climbing, soccer, or football to ensure that only the training stimulus is affecting their performance?
-With a large enough group I would imagine these variations would cancel each other out but large groups require lots of money. Who is going to coach these people? Who is going to pay the coaches? How can you ensure the quality of the coach for Group #1 is better than the quality of Coach #2? Same for equipment.
-supposing you could even cancel out the coach and equipment biases, how long is this experiment going to run? 6 weeks? 3 months? 1 year? The longer the experiment the more money it's going to cost and the bigger chance of drop out rates which will affect the data.
-Supposing you could ensure a 100% retention rate, what about claims such as Mark Twight says that eventually the CrossFit training stimuls plateaus and that you need "to send consistent messages" to your body. People such as Mark Twight or people that think CrossFit is dangerous in the long term would probably like to see a long-term study and to do a long term study you're going to run into all the problems before again.

But don't get your hopes down. I believe I read somewhere that if there was a feasible way to do such an experiment and some researcher was willing to perform it, CrossFit HQ might (don't quote me here) provide you with the funds to carry out such an experiment.


replied to comment from Joe Mercurio


Thanks for your comments. I understand the skepticism about performing a randomized trial. They can be difficult and expensive, and studying exercise is a lot more difficult than, say, giving someone a pill or placebo every day and watching them take it. In a field trial, people can cheat or violate the terms of the trial in lots of different ways. The answer isn't to give up, but to figure out how to design the trials to minimize these risks and to minimize the effect of problems when they occur.

Speaking to the difference in people's lifestyles: By definition, a correctly randomized experiment will, on average, balance out these factors. That is the beauty of randomization. But, you make a good point that there is going to be a lot of "noise," in the form of different coaching styles, etc. In one of the experiments I've worked on, we address these concerns by blocking people according to their background characteristics. So, for instance, you'd want to create pairs of coaches or athletes with the same past or workout level, then flip a coin within those groups. This can substantially improve the efficiency of the experiment. See the top two articles at

Re: your concern about retention rate, it's worth noting that one "post-treatment" consequence of a workout regime is the extent to which people actually stick to it! That's not trivial. One reason I have continued with Crossfit for the last 5 months is that it is not boring and keeps me interested. Surely that is one outcome of interest that could be used to compare programs? There are also statistical methods to deal with non-retention in these kinds of studies if you want to measure outcomes like all-around physical performance.

Further considering that people may not follow their assigned treatment, one option is to conduct what is known as an "encouragement" design. That is, randomly encourage some people to do Crossfit and give them strong encouragement to do so, while giving no encouragement to another group. The resulting estimate is known as an "intent-to-treat" estimate.

Finally, the n-of-1 trial that I mentioned (essentially a single-person crossover trial) could be implemented as a field study using multiple volunteers with few overall costs. Even if the goal was not a peer-reviewed publication, adopting a uniform standard by which people could randomize their own workouts and test different programs on their own could provide more credible evidence than anecdotal statements on message boards.

Thanks again for your comments. I've enjoyed this discussion.


Jay Ashman wrote …

One question... why does CrossFit feel the need to go after Gym Jones in this way? I am a CrossFitter, I plan on affiliating very soon and I don't see the problem with Gym Jones AND CrossFit coexisting.

In my humble opinion, the more people get off their asses and move their bodies, the better.

Competition is healthy, it produces systems that work better and create fitter individuals.

If CrossFit really wanted to produce an unbiased article about the difference between the two, they would send 5 athletes (who are non-CrossFitters and non-Gym Jones'ers) to BOTH gyms for workouts and let them write about both of them and let us see unbiased conclusions.

I love CrossFit but this article is unnecessary and only adds fuel to a fire and makes Gym Jones say "see, they are afraid of us, since they are trying to convince their own they are better than us".

Think about it...


wrote …

I still think the main issue is the alleged adoption of Crossfit's intellectual property by Twight and passing it off as his own, complete with copyright. It seems plain to me that Mark Twight recognized an opportunity to market a high intensty training system (to the military initially) blending it with his climbing credentials, once he saw and understood the potential that Crossfit was starting to realize. He saw Greg Glassman giving it away and decided to sell a similar product. Too bad he seems to have done it in an underhanded way. Crossfit claims to be vindicated by their high powered legal opinion and seems to be content with that. I don't blame them for vigorously defending their IP, especially within the Crossfit community. I am sure Mark Twight seems like a nice guy. He is selling a product. If you read Kiss or Kill or Extreme Alpinism, his disdain for mere mortal climbers comes through time and again, and Gym Jones seems no different (maybe it's different if you have $1800). I have never met Mark Twight. As a climber I bought and read both his books; Extreme Alpinism is like a Bible for Alpinists, but the elitist tone is hard to stomach and I fail to see why a true "nice guy" would project an attitude like that.


Jay Ashman wrote …


I think 600 dollars a year for "Salvation" membership is incredibly excessive, greedy and reeks of elitism, I still say...

Let the workouts and the individuals speak for themselves.

Gym Jones has the 300 movie as their claim to fame.

We have the rest of it.


wrote …

I think in all the discussion as to the value of this article and the controversy it rekindles there is a value that is being missed.

As a matter of coincidence I was trying to sell CF to someone about a week ago and they just so happened to reply that they liked Gym Jones as they're source of pain...or something like that. There choice of phrase was consistent with what I'd said about CF so I thought nothing of it. Having never heard of Gym Jones I went to the website and found it cryptic and "odd." I quickly lost interest and thought nothing more of it.

As a matter of personal preference I don't care for elitism or arrogance in training, it's present in CF and everywhere else in life I freely admit, but it's seem doctrine from Mark Twight's writings. So on this alone I was not interested in anything he had to say.

Now Mr. Berger's article has a view point for sure (call it bias if you prefer) but it serves a very important value to shareholders (affiliate owners) in CrossFit from a commercial standpoint. Just as CFHQ has decided to get CF "accredited" to forestall California from allowing government to infringe on the freedom of people to train and be trained, CFHQ has some responsibility to CF affiliates to "open up" the competition that GJ's competing theories, approaches and methodologies present. The fact is some people may read this and say, "screw this CF stuff, GJ is for me." Just like the seminal CFJ articles are freely available for discussion so is this one, and it wasn't free to produce.

Despite the refutations offered by Mr. Berger, I believe at least the scope and nature of the GJ cert were presented in a way that did not strike me as one sided (I wasn't there, don't know for sure). Twight has not, in so far as his previous obscurity would suggest to me, made an attempt to publicly prove the superiority of his methods, and yet he alludes to it in so much as he makes his program moody and obscure.

The open source nature of CF and it's profit motivated nature are neither easily separable nor mutually exclusive.


replied to comment from Rob Schoenenberger


Thanks for your service and it's great to hear your CF success story.

That's a great point about periodization. For those who are involved in a particular sport with some fixed parameters, some kind of periodization makes sense. At the most basic level, if you know your weightlifting meet, season opener, or first attempt at Mount Kikyeras is on Sept. 10, you probably don't want to do "Linda" Sept. 8 followed by a 10K on Sept. 9.

For those who engage in unpredictable activities (whether combat or just trying to be prepared for whatever life throws at you), it makes more sense to choose a program that tries to steadily and constantly increase work capacity across ... well, you know.



Karl Eagleman wrote …

I've been waiting for something like this!


replied to comment from Paul Manfre

Paul I agree with your comments. This article gave me a sick feeling. The information presented was interesting, but paying someone to go, spy, then publishing training techniques and "he said/she said" is shady and underhanded at best. Certainly not necessary from a class act like CF. What the hell was the folks handing out the money hoping to gain?? CFHQ does not have to do things this way, we have the best product out there.

Jeff Denton


Jeff and Paul
I went to Twight's cert to satisfy my own curiosity, largely because I learned from many of my friends still in Ranger Battalion that he was attempting to sell them on his methods.

The point of this article was to share my observations and views with everyone else. CFHQ had nothing to do with how I formed these arguments and opinions, and the CrossFit Journal is doing what any good journal should do- find interesting/controversial stories and share them.


wrote …

Russell, you're a brave man to take on this article. I knew as soon as I read the title it would be controversial.

From reading your account, it seems that Rob MacDonald is the one making the majority of negative comments about Crossfit and contradicting himself. I'd be interested to hear why Rob has chosen Gym Jones instead of Crossfit. Perhaps the "elite" environment of Gym Jones is more comfortable for him than training with some of the bad ass Crossfit moms. I know I've had my ego bruised more than a few times after watching a girl half my size decimate my best time. I'd like to think there's a better reason than that, but that's the first thing that comes to my mind.

As for specification and periodization.... I must ask, what is Crossfit Football then? A specific and periodized program for developing an athlete playing a specific sport. What is Crossfit Endurance? A specific program designed to emphasize endurance. What is wrong with specificity and periodization? I believe that 99.9% of people should follow the Crossfit main page. But, if my goal was to play a professional sport, then I would certainly alter my training to reflect my sport. Does a lineman need to have the capacity to run a 10K? Sure it would make him healthier and more fit, but will it improve his performance on the field? Similarly, let's consider Olympic Weightlifting. If I'm training for the 2012 Olympics, I'm certainly not going to be running any distance, my training will be largely sport specific, and I will follow a periodized program so that I'm peaking at the Olympics. All I'm saying is perhaps we should be a little more open minded about specification and periodization. I do believe it has its place, even if it's only for a very small percentage of the population. Sometimes you do have to train for what it is that you are going to do.

Overall, I found the article to be insightful. I find it interesting that Twight often makes statements that are parallel with the Crossfit philosophy, only to turn around and criticize Crossfit. I expect he will post a rebuttal to your article on his website in the near future.

In any case, thank you for sharing your experience and perspective.


wrote …

On all the comments on why CrossFit HQ would pay for someone to go to his seminar is the same reason why they paid Dave Tate to come in and give his views on powerlifting. Some of Tate's statements flew right in the face of some of CrossFit's best trainers as you could see from the video series. I thought the article was very well written and was as unbiased as a CrossFit Affiliate owner could make it. The author I'm sure flew down there in hopes of taking away knowledge he could share with his clients and the fact that he didn't find any is of no fault of his own.

Now I must give big props to Mark Twight as I was introduced to this type of training through a friend who heard about the 300 workout. At the time I was stuck behind and desk and desperate for something different. I am now a proud CrossFit Affiliate owner,trainer and athlete and in some way I will always owe him for that.

Kudos to HQ for doing this as I think they have proven in the past that if there was benefit to his training method it was going to be shared for the community as a whole.

The Pie
CrossFit Lions


wrote …

Came here to comment and see Mike Neilson (above) captured what I was going to say.

I'd like to see this tried to see if there truly was any IP theft; the information presented certainly makes compelling argument that this is the case.



I definitely agree with you on the necessity of training with periodization for some athletes, and certainly see the value to programs like CFE and CFF. Before the editing process had to cut down the length of this article ( it was way too long ), I had written that I also didn't want anyone to think I was looking down on Affiliates who do their own programming. My criticisms of Twight's seminar are many, but his willingness to experiment and look for new and different ways isn't one of them.


wrote …

I found this article very timely. I have been a loyal CrossFitter for 18 plus months and have recently (within the past two weeks) played with Gym Jones workouts. The concerns and points identified by Mr. Berger are spot on with those I have identified. If indeed GPP is the intent of your fitness program, I believe CrossFit is the way to go. If your fitness goals are more specific, I do believe structuring your program is important. Much benefit can be derived from compound functional movement performed at high intensity even if the your intent is more specific. I do not believe GJ is as solid a program as CF, overall. It is always interesting to evaluate other programing methods for strengths and weaknesses. This should be done regularly, even with CF. To paraphrase Pat Sherwood - you find a better way of doing this, show me. Thank you for the article and your opinion Russell.


Tobias Neal wrote …

Russell, a gentleman on the main page said he attended with you and his words were rather pointed yet their was no rebuttal from you. What does he mean the rest of the story?


replied to comment from Tobias Neal

you don't have to have been there to see this is a hatchet job mate.but i agree let's have the rest of the story.
if this is what you guys are going to do and are searching for programs that are better than crossfit why not send people to facilities that are producing elite competitive athletes.i for one am intruiged truly by what the marv marinovich's of this world are doing and what we can learn from them.


wrote …

I'm not sure exactly what the issue was with form on the box jumps, but just fulfilling the same range of motion requirements does not indicate an equivalent workout. Given a workout involving pullups, someone who does deadhangs has a much harder workout than someone who kips.

On another note, I think Twight's emphasis on the mental aspects of fitness has a lot to do with his background as a climber and the fact that he trains many of his athletes for very long endurance events. If you're attempting an ultra-marathon, your work capacity is of course important, but pain tolerance and willpower are often the deciding factors.


Jeff Barnett wrote …

Bias? I don't know if I consider it bias to objectively evaluate the facts and then report conclusions.

Good article, Russell.


wrote …

Im new. I've never been to GJ site. Why would you work so hard on developing a program, business, and an image then give it such a twisted name? Is it cool to make a work play on some sick murderer's name? When I hear the phrase "Gym Jones" my mind pulls up the pictures of the carnage associated. Its like coming up with a new product and naming it "Holocaust" or somthing of that nature...


replied to comment from Tobias Neal

I think your question is directed to the wrong person. He had pointed but empty words. He offered no facts, no data, no evidence. Only the claim that it was incomplete and dishonest. Russell has made an open and thorough argument with evidence-based conclusions. This is a forum for intelligent debate. Evidence-free accusations are not intelligent. John's post (copied below) is like accusing someone of being a witch. John calls on Russell to give more facts, but what is wrong with his keyboard? I suspect that if John really had something to say, he would have said it himself.

John's post...
Russell Burger: as someone who was at that same exact seminar all I can say is shame on you. I would expect someone aspiring to get back into the Rangers would have a higher degree of integrity and sense of respect and honor.

Your article is dishonest and you know it. You owe the Gym Jones organization an apology and the rest of the XFit community the full story.

John Frieh
Portland, OR
Comment #224 - Posted by: John Frieh at August 9, 2009 4:26 PM


wrote …

I always get a laugh when I see yet another one of these internet manhood wagging contests.

I especially got a laugh when the author tried to read Twight's mind about why he didn't like things like The Zone Diet. Sorry to break it to you, but Twight isn't the first person to say that The Zone Diet takes so much work that a lot of people won't stick with it long term. And I doubt everyone who says that hates The Zone Diet because the CF community has adopted it.

I also tend to agree with Twight on the premise that "gaming a workout" to improve stopwatch time doesn't mean that someone has improved their fitness. Debating that take seems to me to be hating what Twight says merely because he's saying it.

I agree with a lot of the takes in the article, like the one about getting nitpicked after tearing up a Gym Jones Workout.

But overall, I felt the author was too biased and was completely unwilling to even consider that CrossFit may have a weakness.

Personally, I think that the lack of periodization for CF are a weakness if someone was to follow the mainsite WODs. As an example, CrossFit Football has started posting Off Season & In Season workouts as they have figured out that you need to periodize the workouts depending on where you are in the calendar.

For CFF, I think the next step could be setting things up In Season based on when your gameday is (Friday, Saturday, or Sunday) and how many snaps you get (a two way HS starter that plays a ton of snaps needs a lot less work than a benchwarmer or STs only guy).

CF talks about constantly being a work in progress and willing to listen to new people (like say Dave Tate). That's why I would have liked this article to have taken the "Open to something new" tact and looked for the one or two things that Gym Jones might have to offer as opposed to the "Gym Jones sucks" tact that it did.


wrote …



wrote …

What it all comes down to is "show me". If a program had the ability to produce fitter athletes CrossFit would be all over it. If a higher degree of periodization and specializing made an athlete better at performing across all physical domains, we would be doing it. But they don't. What CrossFit offers is the ability to improve on everything at not sacrifice strength for speed or power for endurance. We believe the CrossFit program is the best at eliciting a more complete athlete, and personally I see no problem with challenging anybody who claims they can do a better job at it. I hold Power=Intensity=Results as true...this is CrossFit! Any challenge to what I and other CrossFitters hold dear will always be followed by "show me". I want evidence! If you can't give me an athlete who performs better with less intense training than don't tell me you can. I know these comments were not directly from Mark Twight. Russell Burger's word is good enough for me.



wrote …

You know, I'd almost agree with the feeling a lot of people are getting about not liking to spy on these guys and what not, like it's some kind of debunking effort, BUT, let's face it, and the author covered it: Gym Jones does a good job, purposely, of keeping themselves secret. I would think it was just as much that taunting secretiveness that inspired this whole thing as any falling out Twight had and so on.

I remember years ago I came across Gym Jones, tried like hell to figure out what it was all about, and had not a clue. I finally gave up. It wasn't for a few more years that I even heard of CrossFit. Just think- if Gym Jones (you have to wonder if he didn't make it a homophone of Jim Jones on purpose) had been as open as CrossFit, I'd be WAY fitter than I am now. But I never learned the secret handshake.

I guess what I'm saying is that I hope this doesn't lead to a big flame war between factions and all that, but Gym Jones kind of brought this sort of scrutiny on themselves by acting like they were Stone Masons or something.

And, bias or not, and of course there is some, from his account, it did seem that the people were contradictory. You have to report something like that when you find it. And, hey, any way to do box jumps faster is better if you ask me, I'd only tolerate stepping down if you needed to go at that pace rather than a higher one.

With that said, hey, I personally DID take one thing away from the article in a positive light- that "mental" training he was talking about. I would like to expand upon it. This is by no means a new regular way I'd want to do workouts, but hey, why not every month or two have a workout that requires you to just hold something when you're exhausted? It's not like we don't train mental toughness just with the WOD, or mountain biking or a lot of other things, but it's a different way to train it. An example comes to mind inspired by people holding kettlebells to their chest: how about 21-15-9 reps of 225# deadlifts with 30 second L hangs in between? The gymnastic holds mixed with anything else possibilities are endless here. It's not exactly a power output workout, but hey, it'll mess with your brain, and there is still a lot of power output, all of which could be beneficial in the long run.

In conclusion, I'll repeat myself: let's make sure this doesn't become some kind of feud, but let's be honest both with our dislikes of what Gym Jones does, as well as what we might or might not take away from it.


wrote …

Due to the history that Greg and Mark Twight have, this article would never have been published in the CFJ if Russell Berger had attended the seminar and reported that Gym Jones is doing fantastic things. It's inherently biased to send a CrossFit affiliate to a Gym Jones seminar with the intention of writing an article for the CFJ!! Not only is it in bad taste but it's also promoting the rehashing of this intellectual property/personal feud that seemed to be buried in the recent past. Why stir this shit up now?

I'm disappointed to see this article in the journal and I'm saddened to see some of the comments suggesting that Berger's experience has somehow confirmed what CF'ers suspected about Twight's gym - come on people, think for yourselves. Think outside the box!

I say let Mark Twight get on with his scene without rehashing this bad blood. Clearly the methods he's using are resulting in performance gains in his clients or he wouldn't have high caliber athletes returning to train with him.


replied to comment from Steve Gillanders

Sometimes you have had your name and product dragged through the mud and kick around enough (not to mention your product stolen and sold for profit) and you defend yourself a little. I 'm not going to hold that against anyone.


replied to comment from Jason McCain

Jason McCain!!


wrote …

Regarding jumping down re stepping down for box jumps and doing something quicker means you are fitter. Stepping down requires eccentric muscle contraction through the full step down motion. This requires energy. Whilst jumping down the work is being performed by gravity. It will be quicker but does not mean that more work has been done. Likewise dropping the barbell when performing a deadlift for time. The eccentric component is totally missed. Is this good or bad. When I pick up a heavy box at work I have to place it down, therefor I would need to train the eccentric component of the move as well as the concentric. If I am trying to develop explosive ability in my legs or landing from a jump then jumping down seems the way forward. It would seem to me that mixing things up makes sense if we are preparing ourselves for the real world. If it's for a time on a board - do it whichever way is quickest.


wrote …

I have two issues with this article:

#1 It is incredibly easy to be critical of ANY program if the intent is to pick it apart. I could write an equally critical account of the CF Level 1 Cert I attended if my purpose for being there was to break it down. And yes, inconsistencies and pseudoscience exist in CF too! No system is perfect and the more one looks for holes, the more they often appear.

#2 If this was simply a fact-finding mission for CF, why publish it in the Journal? Have russell give his accounts to Greg G. and the top trainers and leave it at that. This just looks bad on CF as it appears to the outside observer that we're saying "we're better than you and this is why" without real chance for rebuttal by Twight.

Cam Birtwell


wrote …

Coach referred to someone who 'instigated it' and 'bragged about it' referring to preventing LtCol Dan Wilson, U.S.M.C. from picking up a shipment of Op Phoenix gear in this vid. (

I recall another video or sound bite where Coach made inference that those responsible for standing in the way of Op Phoenix had a financial reason to do so, and that they would be exposed. (Please forgive the paraphrasing. I tried to find it, but gave up after an hour. Help?)

Is Gym Jones that organization?


wrote …

Why was this article written?


wrote …

Why was this article written?


wrote …

I think this article was written to provoke the very discussion taking place. In the previous 80 entries, I have read great arguments for both Twight's method and Crossfit's. The threads on the rest days do not shy away from partisan political issues and are there only for the purpose of stimulating meaningful discussion. The rules of the blog are that you keep your entries respectful. The fact that Crossfit seems to have an adversarial relationship with Gym Jones clouds the fact that these controversial subjects are not new (at least on the main site).


wrote …

This is simple. Glassman versus Twight at next years Crossfit Games. Both about the same age, put your fitness programs to the test!


Edward Stedman wrote …

Without a doubt this is a controversial article...who cares. For those who think this is a one sided attack on CrossFit's or Coach's part against Gym Jones you need to sit back, take a deep breath, and think about all the negative things people at Gym Jones have said about CF over the years. If anyone from Gym Jone's desires to take on a CF vs. GJ debate I'm sure Coach or other reputable CF representative will be more than willing to have a civilized and educated debate.

Russell, thanks for writing the article. I appreciate it.


wrote …

The definition of CrossFit (a core strength and conditioning program utilizing randomized functional exercises excuted at a high intensity across broad times and modal domains) is so broad and encompassing that I can put just about anything into my exercise programming, try to do it faster or with more weight and then it's CrossFit. Except periodization, deliberate planning, specialization and the like. Unless it's CrossFit football or endurance and then were ok.

CrossFit states it has universal scalability......ok, who doesn't? Can I not scale any weight program, running program or any other program?

Have triathletes (who Glassman has villinized as being so unfit due to their lack of strength) not known for years that lifting weights helps keep them injury resistant? Of course they have. Did they know that olympic lifting is even better than isolated lifting? No they did not. We can thank Glassman for doing that.

The biggest contributions I see to training at large by CrossFit is the concept of working across diverse (Crossfit would say broad), volume and load (CrossFit would say time) and exercise selection (modal domains) for ALL discplines. Endurance athletes have known for decades that sprinting, middle distance and long distance is required for good performances, but to do the same with Olympic lifting was very foriegn when Glassman began expousing it. However, I can see how this could have easily been borrowed from Girevoy Sport. But who really cares.

I went to my level 1 cert November 2008. I wanted to know the inside scoop on CrossFit as I had been following the mainsite since 2005, doing alot of the posted WOD's and making up alot of my own (I have extensive background in exercise programming and competitive recreational athletics as well as biomechanics). All I heard all weekend was "only do the, nothing more" repeated about 1000 times from any of the Cert trainers that I spoke too. I asked about the lack of longer runs, WOD's and all the trainers said "go short faster and you can go long slower". This seemed contrary to broad times concept, but I had never actually followed just the mainsite before, but after the cert I dedicated 2 months to doing nothing but the mainsite WOD's. I made good improvement in most workouts, except my 3 mile run which suffered terribly. Near the end of the 2 months I went skiing with a good friend of mine who I used to backcountry ski and mountain bike with all the time. As we were driving up to the mountain I was telling him how awesome CF was, etc. We get to the Mt. and buy lift tickets (no hiking) and after the 2nd run I was gassed. I was able to make it for a total of 6 runs (with lots of rest) until I absolutely had to call it or I was going end up really hurting myself because I was so tired. We used ski all day trying to get as many runs in as possible. How embrassing and demoralizing. Needless to say I stopped using the mainsite and began creating customized workouts based on broad time and moadal domains, including very short intense and longer efforts without biasing towards one or the other. My overall fitness and my benchmarks have improved.

Is CrossFit good? Absolutely. Does it have weakness? Absolutely. Will it improve and not call anything that is just good training CrossFit? Depends on the integrity and greediness of CFHQ.


wrote …

I am really disappointed. I really find it sad that I actually pay money for a publication that is willing to pay someone to write an article like this. If this was actually an article that compared the methodologies I would have been thrilled since I have trained at both gym jones and crossfit (3 separate affiliates) but instead I am subjected to this b.s. ad piece. I spent 9 months training at Gym Jones in Salt Lake city and never once heard them bad mouth crossfit. When I moved and went to a crossfit affiliate I found the affiliate interested in the comparison and open to a discussion on the different training styles. I have been doing crossfit for over a year now and have made great progress.
If you have the best stuff you don't have to pay someone to write a slander piece against your competitor. Sad Crossfit, very sad.


Curtis, this was not a slander piece, but the experience of one person. Your experience was different, and I am sure everyone is glad you never experienced any CF slandering while you trained at Gym Jones.


replied to comment from Edward Stedman

By suggesting that this article is simply the experience of one person you're implying that it's been written from an independent, unbiased point of view without an axe to grind.


wrote …

I am grateful to GymJones and Mark Twight as they led me to Crossfit . Having seen the movie "300" I soon came across the gym that physically trained the actors . I watched a few of the videos at and remember thinking , "how hard could box jumps be", having never seen this type of training before . Needless to say , I found out .
But Gymjones was a dead end as there was no opening for an outsider such as myself.I wanted to ask questions etc. but there really was no way to , at the time. The more I searched , this " Crossfit " thing kept popping up and that's where I've been the past 2 1/2 years .
Thank you CrossFit but also thank you Gymjones and Mark Twight


Steve, Russell may be biased in that he is a long time CrossFitter and affiliate owner. However, I do not for one second believe that any at CrossFit HQ told Russell to write a negative review of Gym Jones, and that is not how I read his review. I think his review was fair, from his experiences and knowledge. Russell was quick to point out the many strengths of Gym Jones, just as he was to point out its weaknesses.

Also, tell me what unbiased means. No one can be truly unbiased about a topic unless they have absolutely no exposure to the category. A bodybuilder could attend a Gym Jones seminar, have never heard if CrossFit, and might still write a review of Gym Jones that has some negative opinions.

So yes, I am saying that Russell wrote this article "from an independent, unbiased point of view without an axe to grind."


wrote …

The main problem I have with this article is that the differences between Crossfit and Gym Jones are empirical questions. Frankly, I am somewhat disappointed by the tone and tenor of this article. Crossfit is held up as a quantifiable methodology for fitness, but this very article, and the circumstances that led to this article, show a class flaw to internal validity known as experimenter outcome bias.

Did we really expect a loyal Crossfit affiliate owner PAID by the journal and obviously no stranger to the animosity between Coach Glassman and Mark Twight to find anything other than criticism? As an avid supporter of Crossfit, this disappoints me greatly.

Also, given the sheer volume of Crossfitters all over the globe, why are our "leaders" so obsessed with a gym that has less than 30 members?

Though this is far from scientific, two jujitsu guys in our gym started following the jits training from Gym Jones about 6 months ago. Right before they started, our group did the Filthy 50 for a WOD. Myself and one of our trainers have continued doing traditional Crossfit training over this period. Our diets are all pretty Zone strict. Before the two started GJ training, we were all within 30 seconds of one another on the 50. Last Monday, we did the 50 again, and these two guys completed it with us.

All four of us improved, but these two guys royally kicked our butts. During the first half (which is more of a sprint), the trainer and I pulled far ahead, but the biggest difference came with the grind at the end...wall balls, burpees, and double unders. They pulled far ahead and both finished well over two minutes faster than the trainer and I. Again, not scientific, and there are TONS of confounding variables, but it demonstrates the need for empirical studies to determine the true differences instead of the continued vitriol we keep seeing from both sides.

In the end, I am very disappointed that the CFJ saw a need to do such a story. Crossfit changed my life and made me a better person. Let’s focus on the positives and just move on from the bitterness.


replied to comment from Edward Stedman


Experimentation would offer the unbiased approach needed to answer this question. A simple Crossfit group, GJ group, and control group, matched for charaacteristics such as baseline strength, speed, endurance, diet, etc. with adequate experimental control would give you an unbiased view of each methodology.

And as for your unbiased question, how would rate an article written by Rob MacDonald after attending a Crossfit Cert that was less than favorable? Would you rate his opinion as coming "from an independent, unbiased point of view without an axe to grind"?


Tobias Neal wrote …

Taken from the main page Tony B, the gentleman that made his accusations providing his viewpoint as you asked...


Where to start?

- My biggest “WTF?” is why were you dishonest with everyone else at the seminar… especially the Gym Jones staff? Why not clearly call out that you were an affiliate owner/crossfit trainer? You had the opportunity to state your intentions/who was funding your attendance a number of times but you choose to say it was you paying for it and you were there in hopes of getting ready for getting back into the Rangers… not writing a Journal article. Why the dishonestly at the seminar? And why didn’t you state that you lied to everyone during introductions? When I did my introduction I stated very clearly that I was an L1 trainer at an affiliate in Portland, OR and had done seminars at some other “competitors” including Mountain Athlete in Jackson, Wyoming… in lieu of my affiliations with CrossFit and Mountain Athlete Mark and the staff didn’t ask me to leave or make fun of those seminars… he was welcoming from the start.

- On page 2 you talk about your clients getting overuse injuries from following Gym Jones programming. Why not point out the fact that (all caps because even though this has been stated over and over including on the Gym Jones site people seem to miss the point):


Mark explained very clearly how their website works (like I stated above)… why not say “Oh… this is why trying to follow their daily posted workouts like I did with my clients is dumb and dangerous”…?

- Josh is a road bike racer not mountain bike racer. Since his short time at Gym Jones he has steadily jumped categories; he attributes his success to the programming/methodology at Gym Jones. Related to that saying that no one at Gym Jones has had success is stupid… Mark talked about a famous baseball player working with them (I know you can remember that). Need more athletes? Gym Jones has had some of the best in the world… they just choose to respect the individuals privacy and not flaunt it.

- If you feel the zone diet is the best diet I think that is great… diet is a challenge for us all. With that said if you like the zone so much why did you hang around after the seminar was over and have an in depth discussion with some of the other Rangers and Mark regarding how to eat in the field when all you have is MREs? Mark stayed to after 9 pm (the seminar ended at 5 pm!) so he could ensure every and all your questions for your upcoming “big hike” were answered.

- Related to diet: Mark gave you solid data from his vast experience with Special Forces groups to date and was able to provide you specifics on what % BF was most likely to pass selection (he encouraged you to put on some fat… remember?), what types of protein are better than others for use during the big hike, when you should consume certain items in your MREs, methods of recovery during the big hike, and on and on. Why not mention any of that in the article? Mark stayed hours after the seminar was done to help you prep for your goals and now you are pulling the rug out from underneath him. WTF?

- You and I both know based on all those plaques on the wall that Mark’s data is not small and insufficient. There is a reason Mark knew what was painted on the wall at Fort Benning: “Get Big and Be Somebody!”

- Your “Jonescrawl” time is not the fastest time at Gym Jones ever… you and I specifically discussed your time and the fact that you missed the record by a few seconds and you complained that you wished you had known that as you thought you could have gone a little faster. That said it was great to cheer you on to a fast time! I was the one timing you/counting your reps… remember? Why did you state in your article that you were the fastest time when we specifically discussed that you almost had the fastest time? Was it an attempt to validate your style of box jumps?

- For all the things Mark did for you… your luggage was lost on your flight out so Mark did his best to make sure you had everything you needed to be able to still participate, he asked you if you wanted to put your iPod on for the final workout (which you did), he stayed way late on Sunday to ensure you and the other aspiring Rangers had all your questions answers and not once did you mention you were going to write this article. WTF?

- You kept making the point over and over in your article: “deviation from CrossFit” or “opposite of CrossFit” etc etc. I guess my points would be:

Is Gym Jones ripping off CrossFit? If they are then why are they so different from CrossFit as you kept pointing out over and over? Or if they really are different (and wrong) then who cares? Which one is it?

I find it genuinely disappointing that the CrossFit community is so polarized around “them vs. us”… Mark Twight and the Gym Jones staff is just one of many many excellent programs out there (Mountain Athlete, Dan John, Steve Maxwell, Javorek, the Ice Chamber, Monkey Bar Gym, etc etc) that would only enrich CrossFit… yet it seems to me that the majority of CrossFitters out there will only embrace that what has be “Ordained by St. Glassman”...

You all are seriously missing out on some valuable programming insight that would seriously enrich your training goals. The seminar was of such high quality and value to me (it really is worth 1800 and unlike some other people I actually paid for mine out of pocket) I have since returned to Gym Jones for more private training and discussion around programming. Doing so has also yielded great returns in my sports.

John Frieh
Portland, OR


wrote …

Thanks for a further look into Gym Jones.


wrote …

I have never participated in a Gym Jones event or followed that site's programming extensively so I can't speak to its effectiveness. Nor do I think one weekend-long certification is sufficient to judge the merits of a conditioning program. Finally, I definitely can't speak to any of the IP disputes so I'll follow Mark Twain's advice and keep my mouth shut on that subject.

All that said, Mark Twight's criticism of the consistent emphasis of circuit training at the highest intensity that is a core aspect of XFit rang true to me. I know my 3+ years of experience with XFit has shown that alternation between short blocks of mainsite WODs (2-3 weeks at most), followed by more traditional strength training methodology (6-8 week periodized upper/lower splits 2x2/wk) and the occasional Catalyst Athletics style circuit and/ or conditioning run works best. While there is nothing like HQ programming for metabolic conditioning or developing mental toughness, I know my performance starts to lag when I do too many chippers. My best benchmark times have resulted from increases in strength rather than increases in GPP. This is just my personal experience, and it is not meant as a criticism of HQ programming. I just feel that increases in strength is the variable most closely associated with my own improved work capacity across broad time and modal domains.

I do have one question for the community about the backgrounds of most elite XFitters. It seems to me that the majority of competitors at the XFit games have significant strength/ athletics training backgrounds prior to their involvement in XFit. This "lateral movement" into XFit methodology of the elite performers leads me to believe that the increased emphasis by a lot of affiliates lately on dedicated strength training will produce better athletes. I would appreciate any affiliate owners/ trainers thoughts in this area.


wrote …

This was a bad idea from the word go. It makes CF look nervous, the CFJ look trashy, and Gym Jones look like the victim of espionage.

I don't fault Mr. Berger at all here. He obliged a request and followed through.

CFJ: Keep pumping out all the quality articles to which we have become accustomed. Please let the focus be the delivery of information to better our athletes, trainers and community. This article facilitates none of these. In fact, it detracts from the quality of the adjacent articles (as evidenced by the attention this article is getting instead of it being directed toward the most recent brilliant installment from Mr. Starrett)

The next time CF has $1800 to blow, how about a few lucky trainers get to improve their practice (and thus our community) by being given free registration to the specialty cert of their choice?



replied to comment from Andrew Hammack

Great commentary Andrew - I completely agree with your entire post. I would encourage any aspiring "firebreather" to follow your training theory if they are of average strength. Those who have already developed a high level of strength would likely benefit from gains in the metabolic conditioning side of things with the occasional strength work thrown in (i.e. what usually comes up on ".com")... that is if they can tolerate the constant high intensity of work.

Cam Birtwell
CrossFit Zone
Victoria BC


replied to comment from Sky Sanborn



Patrick Flannelly wrote …

Debates were created so that everyone involved would come to a higher level of understanding, regardless of their opening position. To that point, the article was succussful.

Not only did I enjoy reading the article and all of the posts, now I have cut into my "effective rest period" because I could not stop reading them.....

I wonder if this "addictive" behavior is bad for me? I certainly know that some of you knuckle draggers are pretty damn intelligent!


wrote …

This article is BS! Just plain stupid.


replied to comment from Andrew Hammack

Andrew Hammack, we discussed this very controversial question here:

I am of the opinion that straight Crossfit, as demonstrated by the mainpage workouts and other sources of programming, is effective at producing impressive strength and power gains in most (perhaps not all) athletes, assuming proper technical instruction and effective nutrition. I have seen little evidence that a strength background or strength specialization is necessary for success at Crossfit. Many of the top Crossfitters come from non-strength-specialized athletic backgrounds (James Fitzgerald and Chris Spealler, for example, both of whom finished higher than Josh Everett, the best olympic weightlifter at the games.)

A lot of the Crossfitters who I have seen fail to make sufficient progress in the barbell lifts are lacking that technical skill, good nutrition, or both. Focusing on the lifts gives them the opportunity to learn the movements and to focus on consuming sufficient quantities of protein for the first time.


wrote …

To me, Crossfit already provides the kinds of programming flexibility many of these posts refers to. I think "infinitely scalable" would be the most appropriate concept here. From what I can see, Crossfit Endurance isn't a replacement for Crossfit as someone alluded to - it is an augmentation for sport specific improvements. The same would be said for Crossfit Football - Crossfit concepts with emphasis on strength improvement through oly and strength lifts, due to the levels of strength/power required for football. I've seen a lot (espeically on CFE) about "military programming" - again, a scaling or programming adjustment to account for a specific use or requirement.

The logical concept behind CF, as I understand, is GPP to prepare for the unknowing and unknowable. If your requirements are more known (i.e, the gridiron or a competitive triathlete) then it makes sense to dial in specific training requirements, just as different atheletes adjust their zoneing for their specific requirments and needs. I don't think that makes CF "bad" - clearly, the empirical data is irrefutable that CF concepts properly applied yields superior results. Just as it doesn't make CFE or CFF "bad" because they aren't only doing the .com WODs. And it doesn't make anyone else's programming bad either - maybe not as effective, but certainly not bad.

The biggest argument that could be made is if GJ or anyone else is profiting off of Coach's ideas. But this is not much different than Coach or CF profiting off of the research done by Dr Kaplan or Barry Sears - free information distributed freely makes it free game for anyone else to use. While it's unethical as hell, especially if they don't have the common effin' decency to give Coach and the Crossfit founders their due respect for packaging their ideas in this most effective and revolutionary way, it's not "illegal."


In Response to John's comments:

1. I didn't lie to anyone John. I went to the Gym Jones Seminar because I wanted to know what Twight was doing, find out what I could learn from him, and personally evaluate his teachings. This is hopefully true of everyone who was in our group. The only difference was that I wrote an article about my experience. I told Twight I did CrossFit, that I had been to a cert, and was the only one of our group to say openly that CrossFit works for me. I did not attempt to represent myself as something I was not. I am ex-military, and do still consider re-enlisting and attending certain selections, so the information I gleaned from Twight on endurance-fueling and preparation for long-distance foot movements was helpful. I even mentioned this as one of his strengths in the article, if you read it.

2. I understand that having my clients follow "my version" of Gym Jones, was woefully inadequate and could not represent his teachings. This was one of my main points in the article, if you read it.

3. Apologies to Josh for confusing him for a mountain bike racer. He was also very friendly and helpful.

4. My Jonescrawl time was recorded by Mark Twight and written on the board as 1:38. This was exactly one second slower than the fastest time recorded. I did not feel it was worth mentioning this in the article, because I really don't care, but after a brief private discussion between Twight and Rob at the whiteboard, my time of 1:37 was re-written as 1:38. I managed to catch this out of the corner of my eye, and the photo evidence is present in the side-bar of my article, if you read it. So no, I guess I didn't "match" the fastest time.

5. My article is not a personal attack against Twight. It is a review of his methods based on my experience and my goals - GPP. I made sure to point out Twight's helpfulness, his strengths, and his patriotism, but my criticisms are nothing more than honesty.


Russell Berger


Russell Berger wrote …

sorry... those times should be 3:38, 3:37


wrote …

Interesting article.

There looks to be many paths to the water. One can achieve fabulous fitness following lots of programming. I have, however, come to really appreciate Crossfit for its broad applicability, scalability, non elite attitude and safety. While my goal at this point in my life is GPP, Crossfit is so hard that I would have a hard time adding on work for a specific goal on top of the WODs.

I am also just a little amused about the intensity of the arguments about this program vs. that program vs. the specifics of one diet vs. another version... From where I sit as a physician caring for people with cancer and viewing the state of fitness across America (a third of the Southeast and Midwest is clinically obese, Colorado is the only state in the nation with an obesity rate less than 20%...) I wish that Americans would push themselves away from their TV trays and just do some kind of exercise! It seems that what we're talking about here is how to sort out the top 99.99th percentile


replied to comment from Tobias Neal


replied to comment from Tobias Neal

Tobias wrote"

"Also, when I talked to his wife they said they were never an affiliate, this can be proven pretty easily I think but it was surprising that she told me that. In light of everything I heard and that could also be on both Coaches and Marks description of what affiliated meant at such an early stage."

Bullcr@p. Via the Wayback Machine (internet archive) you can CLEARLY see Gym Jones was one of the first affiliates.

They are liars, plain and simple.


replied to comment from Sky Sanborn

I agree with everything Sky has said. I love the CFJ, but after reading this article, no matter how true it is, and how much more superior crossfit is than the gym jones mantra, it still leaves a nasty taste in my mouth.

I've always been curious of Gym Jones, so this was enlightening, but waaay too biased in my opinion. All the comparisons and he said she said type of stuff just doesn't sit well.


wrote …

I think if it weren't for 300, this wouldn't even be an issue. Believe it or not, Gym Jones is better known in the general public (ie, non-CrossFitters), than CrossFit is, and you know this rubs HQ the wrong way, with all the history between the two. I was just reading a magazine article the other day about high intensity functional fitness, and Gym Jones and 300 were mentioned several paragraphs before CrossFit. I'm not saying this was Russell's intent in writing the article, but without 300, I think Gym Jones eventually fades away as far as CrossFit is concerned.


Tobias Neal wrote …

Maximus I got your email and unfortunately I do not know how on here to respond to just you. I would appreciate anyone that can pass it out.

I did look at the link that you provided, AND I looked at Gym Jones' website training schedule during the next several months in 2004 on their website cached. In fact I looked at the following year following Sept 2004 on Gym Jones, and the workouts that he was listing don't follow like CrossFit. I own an affiliate and study the programming religiously lol, and the workouts are not the same. They may have the same "look" but if you do them as I have the response is different...I am not stating better or worse as their are smarter people on here that can argue that point, just different.

I wonder since CrossFit at that time only had 5-6 affiliates, and Coach and him seemed to be friends at the time, that it wasn't just added in friendship. This can change the definition of "being" an affilate. Totally a guess and I acknowledge it as so.

I asked him what the beef between him and Coach was many, many, years ago, and he said that they had a differing opinion, they moved on but like a bad marriage it keeps coming back up. That was all, no gossip, no stories, it seems it could be that coach is either still mad or hurt by it. After all we are all still human. Totally in my opinion...

If folks were to look at the book that he puts out in the seminar, he says that he learned many great things from people and one of those people listed is Greg Glassman, so this seems so one-sided. He gives credit...

Mountain Athlete, etc, do workouts and give credit in the same way, seems professional enough...I am sure that Mark has made mistakes, as has Coach, and the rest of us...

And as far as CrossFit beating Gym Jones, and Gym Jones fading away. If you actually talked to the man, he has no intent or care to be like CrossFit or as big as CrossFit, etc. He trains around people that he likes to be around, however that may come, but the intent from him is that it is not a business nor is trying to grow it as such. My observation...he is a published author, has climbed things that people won't repeat, etc, seems like he doesn't need CrossFit for notoriety or profit...

It's funny, I have heard Mark "Twit", he is an A**hole, he is this, a liar, etc, even in the emails I am getting, and yet when I search the message boards, the web, google, articles, I never see Mark "Twit" ever being so disrespectful publicly to Coach...ever...

My purpose is not to change opinions about Mark, personally I like the man, and I think his views on life, training, etc, are interesting. I had to see past the faults and see the man, same with Coach, he is faulted, very much so, as am I, but I am not parading that fact. This is about attacks, that well are dumb...this article was in poor taste...period. I have access to his training, I have talked to him and his wife, I have a trainer that went there and talked about how long Mark sat around several hours after the cert and HELPED people, how pleasant he was. He is an author, a climber, a professional, this article is not about his methods, his mindset, it is a two day hack job. No offense Russel :)

If a person has done the above things and not just parroted what they have heard and have a different opinion, that is fine, thank God that we can differ in our views, however, if they have not done any research, checked a direct source, followed any leads, etc, and are parroting, then they are just a talking head, and this is the only thing that really bothers me.

I find ,as my wife is telling me, getting addicted to this topic, so this is my last post.

I have never met Russel, I know nothing about him, I don't personally hang out with him, but lets say I had two days to try to figure him out, not him personally; just my observation as limited as it may be for two days, but before I meet him, many people have told me that he is this or that, that coming from a culture that is very different from him, that he is doing something questionable,his personality seems wild or different, and so in the end, I come back write an "article" on Russel, does this seem balanced?

And Russel I am not attacking you personally, truly, it is the information, and the way in which it was acquired, based off of my limited knowledge of you I cannot make any

Oh! My lord that was a long am done...night everyone


replied to comment from Joe Mercurio

As Vice-chair of the second largest Independent Review Board in the country I would foot the review bill to see some hard data supporting us.

That said I have to say that the GJ bashing is way out of CF character and it looks obvious based on the comments, who is new to CF and who has been around awhile. The new folks are amped and CF is golden; those of us who have been around long enough to have tendinosis and have worked around injuries see the value in pacing now and then and not running a clock all the time.

As for the suggestion that GJ is some how more elite than CF, well I think it's just a different flavor because where GJ folks want to be perfect at SOMETHING, CF'rs want to be pretty damn near perfect at EVERYTHING. You tell me which requires a bigger ego.

I'm cool with being a generalist because that's what life is about. I'm also cool with letting everybody else do their own thing with out running them into the ground because they see it different.

As for the Coach vs Mark thing, that's them and it seems like they both left it alone long ago; lets follow that example too.

So when can I see that research protocol~!?


Rob Barrese wrote …

Russell this was an exceptionally well written article and it addressed many of the things most of us would ask. You pulled no punches and you addressed positive and negatives as you saw them. Good Job and thank you!


Rob Barrese wrote …

One question. Open to anyone.
We do recognize the body makes adaptations in a 4-6 week period (I find 6 weeks works best). This is largely the reason why most all fitness programming and schemes fail to produce longterm results.

My Question:
Do we not see a general trend in CrossFit? Maybe I'm looking for something (and seeing it) where it doesn't exist? I would love to know what Coach thinks of this.
If you look at the mainpage over a LONG period of time (1 year). I believe you see a wide range of movements, infrequent exposure, metcon, strength, aerobic, ect. But there is a trend to the overall scheme of things. This trend lends itself useful to activity that is "sending consistent messages" to the body for adaptation.

I'm really open to thoughts from ANYONE as that is my opinion and I would LOVE if Coach shared what he thought.

Thanks all.



This is a different UFC fighter than Jason "the athlete" MacDonald. Rob MacDonald is another fighter that once did have a fight in the UFC and was on the ultimate fighter t.v. show many years ago. I'm thinking like 4 years ago.

I think it's important to make the differentiation.



James Beaumont wrote …

I think many of you are mistaking this article for a piece of OBJECTIVE journalism.

It is not objective in the slightest.

It is an opinion piece and should be read with that in mind.

But, I will say that it sure was great to learn a little more about GJ, without spending $1800.


wrote …

Wow... I must say I'm kind of shocked that crossfit would even post such an article. It seems like Gym Jones is being "picked on"... and I can say from personal experience that it is nothing to pick on. Having had the opprotunity to train at Gym Jones AND training Crossfit, I feel as though I can honestly say, both are great for training purposes. I dont feel as though one weekend in the presence of Mark Twight and his staff warrants an opinion of what he does. Just like someone who knows little of Crossfit, attending a Level I Cert, shouldnt make such a harsh interpretation. Mark Twight is about the business of training people who NEED the training, i.e. MMA fighters, BJJ Champions, Mountain Climbers. There is a specific way in which to train such athletes for their situations.

Yet I'm still stunned that this article even exists. Crossfit and Gym Jones are two different worlds.... Not even comparable. I think maybe a person who has had a year or more training both ways may be able to an educated comment on this subject.


wrote …

I hope I'm not too late, but I wanted to think about this for a while before posting. I have a few questions. 1. I'm interested in Mr. Twight's comment that high intensity work is chemically addictive-where can I read more about that? 2. Mr. Berger's analysis of "Tailpipe,"-- which didn't exactly fit CrossFit's 'large loads over long distances quickly' principle." Holding a kettlebell instead of swinging it makes atheletes "suffer without accurately measurable, productive output." Holding kettlebells in a static position leaves one with a Work output (the gold standard of CF) of 0, as the distance is 0. I assume this is what Mr. Berger was refering to when he said the workout failed to produce a measurable, productive output. So following that logic, a workout with a static exercise fails to meet CF criteria of IWCABTAMD. To continue with that logic, a workout with an inefficient or partially static exercise, say, L-Pull-Ups, would fail to meet CF criteria as well, right? But if L-Pull-Ups increase work capacity in some form, though not during that specific WOD, then they make one more fit, right? That, however, is not what a portion of this article suggests, in my opinion. It seems to say that static, inefficient exercises are not functional, and supplementary or not, have no place in CF. Is that incorrect? Also, to anyone considering it, please don't bother "flaming," because I won't bother responding.


wrote …

Out of interest were Mark or GymJones made aware of the purpose of the visit? I know Russel has stated that he went to satisfy his own curiosity but the idea to write an article must have been their from the onset. Also does Mark know this article has been published? Just interested as I'm huge CF fan and I've not encountered an article like this before in the journal. Perhaps someone from GymJones could attend a CF Cert and write up their response.


Ryan Dowell wrote …

I thought the article was good. Personally I have tried every type of workout and I know what works for my body an what I need. Being an instructor for AF cops you have to find a way to get 100 students into some kind of shape CF is perfect for that. Now down the road where the PJ's and CCT guys train they are smaller in number and need to be more specific about what they do so they might need to tweak the CF programming. I think thats what I understand from Gym Jones and Sealfit an sites like those. These guys have to be able to hold their fitness levels for longer then 45min where as the average joe is satisfied with the 5rounds or 20 min of work. It all comes down to what you are training for.


wrote …

The feud that refuses to dissolve. Like many others I discovered Crossfit through Gym Jones association with the 300 movie not vice versa. I found the Gym Jones schedule too difficult to design a program, yet the Crossfit model was very user friendly. A Crossfitter I became.

I find it interesting that many CFers refer to Twight and Gym Jones as elitist. Crossfitters are some of the most stubborn, elitist people I have ever stumbled across. For me Crossfit is an outstanding, phenomenal model of fitness that has become an embarrassing circus created by its groupies. This has resulted from becoming too big.

It is little wonder that Gym Jones remains the outfit many cling to. Crossfit used to be the underground "fight club" but its success has become its failure.Gym Jones has remained small and underground in nature. Hence its attraction to many.

For all involved it is time to let go. Twight separated and divorced. There were no kids involved. There is no need to continue the saga.


wrote …

Great article. I too found out about Crossfit through Gym Jones. After seeing the movie 300 I was on a mission to find out what workouts the actors did. After learning of Gym Jones and the non-community members only status of it I found Crossfit and have been a avid Crossfitter since. Thank you to Coach for Crossfit. But I also have to thank Gym Jones and Mark Twight cause I would have never have found Crossfit without him.


wrote …

I was only able to read up to the 70th post before getting frustrated. I believe there is a misconception both by the article author and many of the readers and that is that Gym Jones is trying to produce GPP individuals. While GPP might be part of the training model, it is in no way the focus; as the article clearly states it is a major part of the base and then involved only fractionally in the other periods. The main goal of producing the best performing athlete in the required time line. For something like the crossfit games, this would mean lots of GPP work. For a rugby player, olympic sprinter, __________random sport here, it's not going to be just GPP work.

"If Twight’s system really does produce higher levels of general physical preparedness and more successful athletes, he only has one thing to do: show the world. So far, he hasn’t."
-Russel Berger

I find the suggestion that elite crossfitters can murder any other elite athlete at a crossfit WOD as fodder for crossfit being the best is BS. I agree this would happen but shows us nothing other than training for a specific event (I'd liken that to specialization no? In this case crossfit) means outperforming those who don't. While the opposite, comparing an elite crossfitter to an elite athlete in their chosen sport, seems an impossibly abstract concept for those individuals suggesting this comparison.

I'm of the opinion that if crossfit is your sport, then you have chosen a specialization, however broad a skill set it may be, it's a specialization. What is constantly being overlooked, is that Gym Jones looks at specializing for sports, not for GPP, but uses GPP as part of the preparation.


wrote …

And by the way .. Who the hell pays $ 500 for a membership to a website ..?

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