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Invincible Ignorance by Greg Glassman - CrossFit Journal

Invincible Ignorance

By Greg Glassman

In CrossFit, Videos

July 01, 2010

Video Article

“That’s dangerous.”

How many times do you hear that when explaining your most recent workout to a friend or colleague?

Making the case for CrossFit’s safety can be difficult and sometimes impossible if you’re dealing with those who are simply unwilling to listen. Many physicians and experts around the world cling to their body of knowledge and will not look past its bounds, while hosts of amateur fitness geeks only believe what they read in shiny print stock. And of course your mother is always right.

In steps Greg Glassman with a theory on “invincible ignorance”: some simply cannot be swayed toward your way of thinking, so don’ try. If someone can’t tell you what he or she needs to hear in order to be convinced of an alternative viewpoint, you’re probably best to walk away from a pointless debate.

7min 20sec

Additional video: Evidence-Based Fitness by Greg Glassman, published Dec. 1, 2007.

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25 Comments on “Invincible Ignorance”


wrote …

just watched it twice, and I gonna be chuckling to myself all day thinking about the great one liners. "Here is the thing about invincible ignorance, its fucking invincible, leave it alone" and "Now there is a good meal, yeah okay...ignorant bitch!"


wrote …

Just what I needed


wrote …

This all goes right back to what is learned and what is applicable (Kreb's Cycle). A great number of family practice MD's and nurses are saying, "if it hurts, don't do it"... or even, "when you pick something up, bend at the knees". That's really good advice if you want to shave off quality years and live on a bed pan, or if you want to have knee replacements by 50. And you can't really blame the MD's and nurses because they were never exposed within the curriculum. "Accepted" doesn't mean "correct" and coach does a great job of teaching people how to expose and/or sift through crap.


Gerard Mcauliffe wrote …

very entertaining and very true!


wrote …

funny how all the great meals are paleo.

What would the same person say about a big mac and just a few fries, as was suggested by Dr. Sears?


wrote …

"Ignorant Bitch" Next T-shirt tag line for my box.


wrote …

"gonna make sure you didn't glue somethin' on a goat."

Love it.


wrote …

Thanks for that Coach!


replied to comment from Michael Maruffi

Give up, this argument was boring the last time it happened.


wrote …

So... what's the equivalent of sit-to-stands for going overhead?


Putting up a picture on the wall and taking it down maybe?...Getting that hard to reach item high up in the pantry?


wrote …

This resonates with what I've dealt with in my Nutrition classes at college. A lot of Zone/Paleo bashing, even though they are way off on what they think the Zone/Paleo diets are. I was told many times that these diet recommendations were dangerous and never work, but I always received an 'A' when writing up meal plans following Zone parameters and using Paleo foods. It became quite obvious they'd only read the cover of the book, and failed to read its content.


wrote …

I'm not sure that name calling ("ignorant bitch") will convince anyone outside of the CF community of the the validity of the CF methodology and nutrition protocol. Maybe Greg doesn't care about that anymore, but it makes it harder on all of us when we try to talk to our doctors/family/friends about what and why we live the way we do. That's the kind of sound bite that can haunt CF for years.


Joseph Doughty, DC wrote …

5 ways to influence a Doctor:

1. Don't go head to head with a doctor on stuff they think they know and try to convince them with your own knowledge. ie. Quote research studies on nutrition and this or that book on fitness. Or worse yet, tell them to check out the website. Coach's work around is brilliant. Play up their knowledge and wisdom and play down your own.

2. Don't fret if you do not get the cooperation you desired. Even if it means loosing a client. There are far too many battles to win them all. Your efforts should be focused on the client. Use reason with the client and explain your work a around for their training.

3. Do talk in simple terms. Avoid speaking of origin and insertion of muscle groups and name dropping "Kreb's cycle". Relate what you want to do with everyday, functional activities. You will gain more influence and rapport.

4. Do bite your tongue if you are tempted to correct the doc. This just puts them on the defensive and shuts them down to any further influence.

5. Do find something you can agree upon and focus on that, if the topic at hand is too far to agree upon. Emphasize the idea you are both working for the benefit of the client/patient. Ask the doctor exactly what he thinks the clients recovery should look like. Heck, take the doctor out for a lunch networking meeting. Plenty of docs would be open to a mutually beneficial referring relationship.

Keep in mind that many doctors disagree about what research means. Reference Good "Calories Bad Calories" for the studies that led to all fat being considered evil.

People have three primary motivational needs:
1. Need to Achieve
2. Need of Authority/Influence or Power
3. Need for Affiliation

Most doctors fall into 1 and 2

Check out my site to talk more along these lines:


wrote …

Great little video, got to hear my coach's name mentioned toward the end too (Jeremy)!


replied to comment from Troy Becker

I'm no expert but I'll take a stab and see if anyone comes up with something better. Put something on a high shelf, take something off a high shelf. Now, if you can think of a short form that action.


wrote …

"You cannot reason a person out of a position he did not reason himself into in the first place." - Jonathan Swift


wrote …


I am a 57 yo MD, who has been CFing for more than a year, and I love it. I agree with most of what I read in the "Journal". The course language is ineffective when trying to reach people outside of CF, they close their ears & discount you. The results that CFer's experience is the proof of it's high merit!



wrote …

spelling correction: "coarse language"


wrote …

I agree the repeated f-bomb dropping is a turn-off, and not just to those outside the crossfit community. It smacks of arrogance, not humility, and diminishes persuaviveness. It's a question of mutual respect. I would not post a video that will reach thousands of people, and lace it with foul language. There's an appropriate time and place for everything.


wrote …

You guys haven't been here very long have you...


Brian MacKenzie wrote …

It is the same people who find our vernacular coarse or foul that miss the entire point of anything. You exist within a community of people that believe things need to happen a certain way and if they don't happen or are not presented in this way, they are not considered of practical sound. This is the same community who's arrogance has us in the shit storm we are currently in with fitness, and nutrition. You may continue to harp on language and the way we do things, but you should be very aware that this minority that is producing science with foul language is taking over all that have ignored it. There is no defense against it... And we don't need to play your game in order to produce these facts. Do not confuse our foul language with arrogance, as you are still blind to what confidence in our results says.


wrote …

Brian, why are you so sensitive about defending the coarse language? It seems like you have a chip on your shoulder regarding " academia ", the people that disagree with you. This community that you feel you are up against will not be able to disregard your superior results. I have seen the results, I believe the results are real and significant. It is just my opinion that when you try to communicate with them, the coarse language is ineffective. I believe Crossfit is big, it can't be denied. The results will be more powerful than any spoken word. But the coarse language is a stumbling block for some.


Joseph Doughty, DC wrote …

To interject.
This was recorded at a closed Crossfit event, open to and directed at affiliate owners and the like. @ Tim Hamilton and @Wes Hubka you weren't at this event so in effect you are not the audience.

To chaste coach for the foul language in a private event like this isn't fair. I've been to plenty of events with academics and doctors. Behind closed doors or in hallway conversations these so called "academics" are just as foul mouthed as coach, if not more. It is irrelevant to the message and doesn't change anything.

It is us who did not attend this event who are privileged to eavesdrop, yourselves included. The language merely represents the passion coach has for this subject matter. You should be happy to listen in. CFHQ didn't have to put up this video.

I, for one, am glad they did. Would you be so offended if you were privileged to listen to a pre Super Bowl game coach's lecture full of offensive words, or would you just be happy to be there listening in?

In a more formal setting coach is not a foul mouthed individual. Take for instance his interview with Dr. Scott Connelly

Also take note of his addresses to ASEP:

In these and numerous other lectures Coach uses appropriate language for an appropriate audience. He isn't talking unicorns and dropping F-bombs, because that isn't the audience.

How many affiliate gyms have you set up? How many sleepless nights have you had because you were working so hard to get your business off the ground? These affiliate owners in this room are hard working and passionate about CF and their business. I know this, because I know some of them. Strong and passionate language is the norm at this type of event.

You weren't invited, but you do have the privledge of listening in. Complaining about the language is just plain silly.

In an open source forum such as Crossfit, you are bound to come across foul language, just like you would in life. Feigned pomposity at offensive language is disingenuous to your privilege of being here and makes you come across as an pseudo-elitist. It smacks of shallowness.

Now my question is why we have spent so much time on such an non issue topic as a couple of F-bombs to loose sight of the the message of the talk?

The message of the talk being doctors, academicians and intellectuals who find fault with Crossfit without addressing the science of proof supporting it. Instead ignoring the evidence or even averting the conversation to non-issues such as language.


replied to comment from adam klemm

I too have an "ignorant bitch" of a friend who is a nutritionist and constantly tells me that th paleo/zone diet is NOT good for you. then I gave her the "stats" and she had not a single word to say to me....why???? because she know's that I am right in what I am saying about eating paleo and the zone diet. I also told her plain and simple at the end of our conversation that she two is an ignorant bitch. =]

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