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You Are CrossFit by Greg Glassman - CrossFit Journal

You Are CrossFit

By Greg Glassman

In Affiliation, CrossFit, Videos

January 22, 2010

Video Article

As founder of an open-source fitness program, Greg Glassman views himself as sitting in the caboose, not the locomotive.

Speaking at a CrossFit 101 seminar held at CrossFit Long Island City on Oct. 9, 2009, Coach explained that the people driving CrossFit are the athletes and trainers in boxes and garages from Helsinki to Sydney to Santa Cruz. Communities are developing within each box, and the global CrossFit community is a truly special thing to behold. Coach Glassman has visited a host of boxes as part of his 101 speaking tour, and he’s clear about just why he travels to gyms all over the world:

“That became my purpose and that’s why I’m on the road: to let the affiliates know that we care deeply about your business.”

As the community grows, it becomes more and more obvious that CrossFit goes beyond muscle-ups, thrusters and pull-ups, and perhaps that’s another reason why it succeeds where the standard Globo Gym routine fails.

“There’s a lot more to what we’re all doing and all about than just fitness,” Coach says. “This isn’t just another fitness program.”

Video by CrossFit Films by Jordan Gravatt.

5min 20sec

Additional reading: Understanding CrossFit by Greg Glassman, published Apr. 1, 2007.

Free Download


40 Comments on “You Are CrossFit”


wrote …

We are changing the world. There's nowhere else that I'd rather be.


wrote …

way to go coach!


wrote …

Does anybody know if they are going to be doing more of these and if there was a cost to attend and if there was how much it cost?


wrote …

Coaches comments are soo true. I've been traveling for work for the past 3 months. In that time I've been to 7 different gyms. All of them fostered the same community. It was great going to new places where I know I'd meet like minded people. You work hard + they work hard = instant friends.


wrote …

How come Coach doesn't do the WOD at these events?
Is there a reason for that? Are there any videos on this site of Coach doing a WOD, it would be cool to see the founder of CrossFit doing a workout. I've searched and haven't found any.
Will Coach be doing the Wod at the CrossFit Affiliate gathering?


replied to comment from Veejay Leswal

Hahah Veejay! Careful...


wrote …

I will be doing CrossFit for the rest of my life 100% sure no doubt at all.



wrote …

Veejay, no, presumably because he does not want to. If he wanted to, he would. You could figure this one out on your own. You could also go to a 101 and ask him yourself.

For me, it's not about what Coach can do, it's about we can all do based on what we all learned from Coach and the organization he's fostered. What Coach does choose to do in front of all of us is impressive enough.

Coaches and teachers and leaders are judged by their athletes'/students'/organizations' performance not by their own performance. The desired outcome of leadership is someone else's excellence. In some leadership roles, setting the example means doing what other team members do, and doing it well. In an executive role, the point of leadership is to do things no one else in the organization or relationship can in order that the rest of the team's efforts are unimpeded, organized and focused on the right targets. I presume you know all of this already based on your prior posts.

That said, why would it matter to you? Do you think there's some benefit that would be gained from watching Coach do CrossFIt? How would it advance his stated mission of supporting the affiliates and their communities? IF Coach spent 5 hours a week pounding through WODs in order to perform at an elite level so he could show off for folks like you, would you judge that time well spent or time wasted? I don't by any means speak for Coach, but from a leadership perspective, I would suppose that would be time wasted. I'm supposing he would have better things to do. Annie, Greg, Nicole, Brendan, Eva, Mary and the others proved everything that need be proved about his method being the means to athletic performance. That's all settled.

Do you have some insight to offer, rather than an open ended question which seems intended to feather ruffle? If I mis-interpret your intentions or am too sensitive to your style, standing by for clarification. Paul


replied to comment from Paul Eich

I think his comment may have been sarcastic and even if it wasnt is Coach above criticism or scrutiny? If it was a feather ruffle comment who cares, as much as I believe in Coach, and still believe to this day that the mainsite WODs are probably the best programming your going to find, I still think it would be cool to see Coach struggle through a WOD. Will that ever happen probably not and thats cool but you cant tell me that CrossFit which according to him is us wouldnt love to see that, even if he didnt do well the community would all be behind him and love to see something like that.


wrote …

I think part of the issue here is universality- if fitness is something vitally important, and Crossfit started with a belief in fitness, then you would assume the one who started it, who had that belief, would himself practice it. If the coach at your local affiliate did not practice Crossfit himself (at least most of the time- I understand people pursuing other fitness goals while teaching Crossfit), would you be a little wary?

Coach can do what he wants. Individual affiliates will take the base idea and blend them with their own distinct fitness history to make their breed of Crossfit something recognizable but distinct and unique. I see this when I listen to OPT talk about programming, for instance. This will happen regardless of Coach's personal practice.

Still, if it matters to someone that Coach practices Crossfit, they will continue to ask the question, and with so many articles and video lectures about how to work around injuries, repair injuries, fit Crossfit into nanoseconds of time, and practice it in the most austere locations, no answer is going to satisfy them.

As for the video, true enough. It'll be up to the affiliates to provide quality- it's always been that way.


replied to comment from Veejay Leswal

I've heard this story told slightly differently, but here goes:

Bertrand Russell, while he was a Professor of Ethics at Harvard, was carrying on an adulterous affair. Since it was decades before the sexual revolution, Harvard’s Board of Governors called Russell in and censured him. Russell maintained that his private affairs had nothing to do with the performance of his professional duties.

“But you are a Professor of Ethics!” one of the Board members remonstrated.

“I was a Professor of Geometry at Cambridge,” Russell rejoined, “but the Board of Governors never asked me why I was not a triangle.”


wrote …

Paul wrote:

"IF Coach spent 5 hours a week pounding through WODs in order to perform at an elite level so he could show off for folks like you, ..."

How about for just 10 minutes for consistently at an average level?

Don't freak out Paul. It is just a workout. Plus, isn't it infinitely scalable so anyone can do it, regardless of time, shape, age, equipment, etc?



wrote …

Regarding Coach doing WOD or not....publicly or not...when is the last time you saw a major NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB or any college level coach worth their salt suit up and sweat it out with the boys (or girls)? It don't happen. Get over it. My college cross counrty/distance track coach @ University of Wisconsin used to smoke a cigar as we ran interval 12 x 440's times and shout out the splits and blow smoke in our face if we were too slow. He would go out and get blasted the night before the meet/race on road trips after we had lights out. Our teams always had people qualify for the National meet. Because we "did as he said, not as he was doing". The NBA and NHL have had a handful of player/coaches. They were usually players who had surpassed their zenith and just didn't know when to quit and the front office wouldn't cut them loose because they were good PR to fill the stadium seats. They were not necessarily great coaches as was Lombardi, Bear Bryant or Paterno. My Sensei doesn't spar with lower ranks belts either. He has done it all and has nothing to prove.


replied to comment from Justin Smith

Justin, awesome story.

Freak out? I don't know about that. There are some questions and statements that - in my humble as ever opinion - are stupid. Perhaps innocently stupid, perhaps intentionally so. You never know until the person speaks to their intentions or thoughts behind the question. I think less desirable questions/statements should be tested, they should have a cost. Especially mine, which you did.


wrote …

Not that I've been around as long as some of you but...what's with the constant atagonistic comments being made toward HQ? Now you guys are making what could be construed as a direct attack on Coach because he doesn't do WODs? If you haven't noticed Coach walks with a limp which puts physical limitations on his mobility. Coach has actually referred to it as a disability, see 1/5/2006 Comment #120. Think about all that Coach has given this community and stop knocking the guy for not doing WODs. I believe Coach said in the video that CrossFit is about so much more than fitness right? Do you really think the constant bickering is part of the 'You Are CrossFit' message? Maybe everyone should take a step back for a minute, remove the emotions and get back to the positve COMMUNITY this is supposed to be right?


wrote …

Ive read everyone's comments and i appreciate what Coach has created as much as any other crossfitter. And the last thing i want to do is take Veejay's side on anything but he makes a good point. I'm a firefighter and i push crossfit to my coworkers on a daily basis, by talking to them and showing them videos every shift. When i show them diet videos with Coach in them, even with his unbelievable speaking abilities, the first question out of their mouths is: why should i listen to this obviously out of shape guy. And yes Ian i agree with you and your theory on coaches but all people don't see it that way, and are not that knowledgeable about sports and coaching. There are a lot of people out there just trying to get fit that dont have a sports background to understand that some of the best coaches don't look like coaches at all. I guess what im saying is, it seems our society wants our coaches and leaders to look the part and it wouldn't hurt us if ours did.


replied to comment from William O'Brien

Um have you not seen the video of the guy with virtually no arms and legs doing burpees and MU's. I am all for coach preaching fitness and not looking the part, because in my eyes he has proved himself. However I will not let anyone, including him, use his disability as an reason as to why he doesnt do the WODs anymore, I say anymore because Fran was invented through his own lets try this and see what happens. Especially when he himself says he has seen and trained people with disabilities.


wrote …

This is a quote from Coach:

"I was the original CrossFitter and I can, at 49, still outperform more CrossFitters than not." that was 3 years ago.

So apparently according to Greg Glassman he does the WODs. Or at least does some version of them.

The reason I ask the question is that Coach has stated that he does the WODs, so I'm wondering where we can see him do WODs, not mainsite just any WOD. This site is full of video of photo evidence of almost everyone in contact with HQ doing a WOD or demonstrating correct technique to do a WOD, why is there no evidence of Mr. Glassman showing us how to do a WOD.

The CrossFit Affiliate gathering has a WOD scheduled, will Coach be doing it? If not is it because he doesn't want to? Is it because he has an old injury?

If so why have Kyle Maynard - who is absolutely inspirational - speaking at the event on the topic of "You Have NO Excuse"

CrossFit is awesome, the beauty of it is in the movements and those movements are infinitely scalable so why is Mr. Glassman not doing the WODs that he advocates?

If you think I'm ruffling feathers than you need to ask yourself why the Emperor has no clothes.


wrote …

Veejay, I suggest asking this very question by posting it is a new thread on the discussion board or on the mainsite WOD comments page.


Zach Even - Esh wrote …

Coach, very cool!

I am psyched to see you at FilFest, always a very interesting angle you bring to how CF is run and the future of CF.

Who else is going to FilFest?

Drop a Yes / No below..... bette be a ton of YES!!



wrote …


Maybe, just should spend a little more time doing the WODs yourself and less time worrying about what Coach (or anyone else) does or doesn't do.

How's your Fran time by the way?


replied to comment from Jeremy Reed

Just the other day, the mainpage featured a video clip of Tanya Wagner saying that being a better athlete makes you a better trainer, that when people see you "doing it" they are inspired to follow your lead.

In that spirit, it would be very inspiring to see a video of Coach Glassman doing a WOD.

It would not validate CrossFit any more than seeing anyone else doing a WOD, just as *not* seeing Coach doing a WOD doesn't invalidate the program. But it would surely be great to see him fighting through a grueling workout just like we've seen Greg, Nicole, Adrian, Pat Barber, Pat Sherwood, Eva, and lots of other fantastic athletes fight through grueling workouts, and just as we've seen older, injured folks and Kyle Maynard and even newbies do the same.

I don't know how Coach would respond to such a request... but I'm pretty sure that calling him out as Veejay did was not the way to go.

(By the way: Veejay's Fran time is irrelevant. If it were super fast, would that make it okay for him to declare, "The emperor has no clothes"?)


replied to comment from Sam Ser


For the record, I am neither defending Coach (he doesn't need my help), nor attacking Veejay (plenty of others have beaten me to that).

Yeah, I guess it would be cool to see Coach doing a WOD, I'm not arguing that. But I'm much more interested and respectful of the fact that Coach CREATED Crossfit in the first place and how I can best utilize it to improve my own life and the lives of those whom I train.

And yes, if Veejay had a "super fast Fran time" (or any Fran time) it would validate his challenge a bit in my eyes. I don't know if that's right or wrong, I'm just being honest.

Whether his comments are "okay" or not isn't for me to decide.


replied to comment from Veejay Leswal

I have two main problems with Veejay's comments about Coach. The first is that it's irrelevant whether or not Greg Glassman works out publicly or not. In fact, I find it quite refreshing that the site is just about CrossFit the program and not at all about Greg Glassman (it was one of the first things that first drew me to the program). Contrast that to most fitness-related sites that have lots of pictures of the founder and his or her accomplishments.

The CrossFit site is instead all about how to get better, better at training yourself and others, better at the business of being a trainer, and maybe even better at life. Coach doing the workouts or not is completely irrelevant to the impact these movements and workouts have on you and your clients.

The second problem is that I suspect Veejay is a decent guy in real life. I sincerely doubt that if he ran into Greg Glassman in person, the primary thing he'd want to talk to him about would be why he never puts videos of himself up on the CrossFit site. Somehow, behind the distance of his keyboard, he decides that his primary contribution to the CrossFit site is to request over and over that Coach video his workouts and put them up (this is the third thread in a month that he's done so).

Veejay wrote this about himself and his gal on his website (
"A couple of transplanted Canadians making our way in the Bay Area. Michelle and I moved here in 2005 to have a little adventure. Leaving our comfortable life in Toronto behind to see what life away in a new country would be like. So far its been a lot of fun and very sunny. I'm currently working as a Network Engineer at with one of my best friends Raf."

Sounds like a pretty good guy. I sent him an email and asked him to give me a call. Why? Because I'm curious if these comments and interactions in the Journal are really how he is in person. He hasn't called me, and I doubt he will. But if he does, I suspect I'll meet a more reasonable man. Why then, are his comments so one-sided?


wrote …

I agree with Tony regarding my first impression and how refreshing it was to see a guy immensely proud of his top performers and their accomplishments and giving them the stage rather than forcing himself onto it. I don't feel the need to watch him workout.

CF is his and Lauren's thing and if I had had the knowledge, intelligence, courage, and commitment to have created it first, I picture myself sitting back with my arms folded and with a huge smile on my face letting the product of that knowledge, intelligence, courage, and commitment shine on its own. A proud father watching his kid grow. This is the sense I get watching Greg Glassman.

The Glassman's roles are what they choose them to be. What a great place to be in in life and business! They have decided that his role is NOT to be the model of virtuosity and intensity because they have found others that are better suited. Neither is his role to be the inspiration for the disabled or aged CFer. Again, my guess is they've found those that THEY find inspirational and would rather highlight them than draw attention to themselves.

What his role IS, from the outside looking in, is to man the rudder, speak, teach, and grow CF through the site, affiliates, and the certs.

There are many awesome examples of inspiration, virtuosity and/or intensity, but who can communicate what CF is, why it works, and how to implement it better than the person who developed it?

Anyhow, Thank You, Greg and Lauren. I hope to get the chance to meet you someday. Keep up the good work doing what you do best and providing the stage for people to shine at what they do best.


wrote …

There are very few people that I regard as highly as Greg Glassman. I consider him to be a great American, the archetype of a hard working, self-reliant, ruggedly individualistic patriot.


wrote …

Judas Kevin that was well said. I also agree with Tony, I have the sense that VJ isn't a 'expletive deleted (ED)' but somehow, when faced w a million choices in how to interact with all that CF is chooses ask annoying irrelevant questions that amount to nothing.

Could really care less about VJ, the funny thing is how stupid I feel taking the bait and reacting to the next "ED" that tries to take a cheap shot at Coach and/or CF. I can see now why Coach stopped responding to them - no matter how many get crushed, they just make more. I come here hoping learn, not to plumb the mines of supercilious nit picking.

Look at CF, the fitness given freely, the many testimonials of bodies rebuilt, functionality regained, the Games as a way to put the money where the mouth is, the logical rigor now dominating a marketplace driven for a generation by steroids and meaningless definitions of fitness doing more harm than good. Look at the genius and generosity of making so much money for one's family with a business which is characterized by the massive amount of freely given info and resources, the empowerment of 100s of people now feeding their families by making a space for folks to reclaim their health and fitness, the overtures to our proud military folk and the boost to their fighting capacity.

I don't get how a person could look at all that, and making any issue of the man and his choices. I also think I'm the world's biggest moron for feeling defensive of Coach, who needs my help not at all.

There's an old story about the failing health of a respected elder in the family who's always wanted to see the ocean so his family gets him there. It's a beautiful sunrise at the beach, they look at him expectantly as he gazes at the deep blue, and he says "I was thinking it would have been a lot bigger than this."

Taken charitably, this is how I see the idiots who bellyache about how CFers don't do Oly lifts perfectly, or they don't do this or that at the certs, or Coach should or shouldn't do this or that. Not that genuine criticism isn't important and even invaluable. But this nitpicking "ED" by folks who seem unable due to temperament, genetics or physical or chemical brain injury to take in the immensity of what they are viewing - these folks a trial worthy of a Job.

But the joke's on me. Wrestle with a pig and you both get muddy - but the pig doesn't care. The budheads also seem to want attention and realize they can't get it from being special in the CF world, because in the CF world exceptional is average. So they will keep coming and going like they have in the brief time I've been spectating this phenomenon. I'll take a cue from Coach and let their posts speak for themselves.

I think the budheads who ask this question from time to time have not, as I have, met coach. I certainly see him differently having met him and benefitted from his gracious spirit and friendship. I think if they saw how hard he works to engage each and every community member who approaches him would find this issue as nonsensical as I do. At least, that's what I'd like to think about the budheads.


wrote …


Thank you for taking the time today to have a conversation on the phone about this topic. I enjoyed learning and understanding your viewpoint. You have definitely given me some things to think about it and consider. And a tremendous reading list to catch up on, I feel like I was given a homework assignment :)

Have a nice day and thanks again.


wrote …

Regardless of your thoughts on whether or not Coach should be publicly doing the WODs, I know I- along with many others on here- would be willing to drop a few dollars to a charity to see Coach and some other celebrities do a public WOD for the sake of a charitable cause.

I'm sure Crossfit has gotten to the point where there are some rather well-known people doing the workouts; Why not get Coach and some of them together for a celebrity event, competing in a WOD with all proceeds going to charity?


wrote …

Wow, it's astonishing how one comment can derail all the momentum about a truly inspirational video.

Thanks Coach for creating such a bad ass international community that I'm proud to be a part of.


Daniel Schmieding wrote …

The embarrassing thing for all of these haters on here is that, over the course of's existence, there have been multiple pictures of Coach performing gymnastics movements that most on here will never be able to perform.

Get over yourselves. Oh, and don't post unless you know what you're talking about.


Damon Stewart wrote …

The internet warriors are tiresome but ultimately not that relevant. Our Affiliate has added over 100 athletes in the last 7 months and not one of them has asked or cared about the sniping and trolling going on online. Other Affiliates in Northern Utah have experienced similar growth. Our athletes care about learning to move well, getting results, and rapidly gaining strength and work capacity. Thanks Coach G for what you've built and we're ready for a Crossfit101 in Utah whenever you are.


wrote …


Could you please post the links to the "multiple pictures of Coach performing gymnastics movements that most on here will never be able to perform" and prove all these haters wrong?




Daniel Schmieding wrote …


Veejay and others have emailed me with the same request. I'd be happy to oblige an email from you, as well.


wrote …


Just post links,



wrote …

Hi Daniel,

Do you have anything yet?

(This message emailed to Daniel,, as well)



wrote …

Hi Daniel,

It has been over a month now. Did you manage to find anything yet?



wrote …


Daniel finally replied. The pics were basically just the pics of Glassman doing levers on the rings. With due respect, while impressive, I believe that "most on here will never be able to perform" is not quite accurate.



wrote …

This thread is probably closed but my two cents in case anyone is still following:

God love Greg Glassman, I sure do, but I do find it embarrassing when I show his videos to my soldiers or Cadets and they say the same thing, "why should we listen to a fat out of shape guy about a lifetime a fitness and health and how to stay fit?". As a leader in the Army or in anything it is important to lead by personal example and I don't give a damn about fat coaches etc, the bottom line in my book is I would be even more inspired by the man and his teachings if he looked the part. This is not being a hater or being rude it is just a statement of fact. I challenge any of you to say that we couldn't win more people over to Xfit if GG looked just a little more fit. I'm not sure what the real truth of it is but I usually just sheepishly tell them that he is recovering from an injury. One of the things I love about Crossfit is that we are not known for being politically correct so why are we doing that here?
In case I get asked (as if a lower time makes your words more credible--as long as you are giving it your best it shouldn't really matter) I'm 41 and about 190 and my Fran time:
10 min in 2006 when I started. My best is 4:52 I think and my last one was 5:53.
Lieutenant Colonel Greg Jacobsen US Army


wrote …

These are a lot of good answers. I've never met Greg. I know he is a great guy that has done a lot for the crossfit community. However I also believe in practicing what you preach. If there is a medical reason why he has a belly then ok but if not I think he should make the effort to look more in shape. I also believe he should be doing videos of scaled WODS at least.
Having said that I believe Crossfit is a great sport and I have seen how it has helped me to get in good shape.

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