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Roundtable in Tahoe: Multiple Competition Season by Various - CrossFit Journal

In Athletes, Videos

November 02, 2010

Video Article

With some of CrossFit’s top athletes in Lake Tahoe, Calif., for the Rogue Vs. Again Faster Throwdown, it was a great opportunity to put the athletes into a room and get them talking with the cameras rolling.

In our second installment, the athletes discuss the evolution of CrossFit into a professional sport. Austin Malleolo brings up the possibility of a CrossFit Games circuit of multiple competitions throughout the year, and the competitors discuss the likelihood of professional CrossFit athletes being created—and if they even want that.

To some, the training aspect of a year-long competition season seems daunting.

“I don’t know that I could do the Games training all the time ... . That would eat me up,” says Heather Bergeron.

Pat Barber emphasizes that the road to become a professional athlete won’t be easy.

“There’s a very big difference between CrossFit the sport and,” he says.

“The reality is we’re all specialists at CrossFit,” Chris Spealler says to the room full of Games competitors.

So where will specializing in CrossFit take them?

9min 48sec

Additional reading: The Story Behind the Rogue vs. Again Faster Throwdown.

Free Download


60 Comments on “Roundtable in Tahoe: Multiple Competition Season”


wrote …

I don't think that there should be multiple crossfit games (or similar event) in one year, I think people need that full year to prepare for it, but it would definitely be nice to have more smaller team or individual events like this


wrote …

Nice Talk at Tahoe,

My 2 Cents; I think the Beauty of the games is that it only comes once a year although doing like Nascar when it comes to Crossfit is taking Crossfit to a whole new level, I can see the Winner of the games in the Future getting a Fat 250,000 Dollar check from Addidas, Reebok, ESPN or some big company, I can also see in the Future a Crossfit GAMES for X-BOX or PS3. :)



wrote …

I would not like to see Nascar like sponsorship and money effecting Crossfit. At a different roundtable (elite athletes or firebreathers?) Tanya commented on how awesome the atmosphere is amongst all the elite competitors on down. I believe this isn't a mistake but the result of how fitness and competition is approached in this community.


wrote …

Sounds like the biggest issue here might be that Crossfit is now too predictable. Everyone at the highest level needs to be prepared to perform with a set of skills from Gymnastics, Running, Rowing, Weightlifting, and Calisthenics. This is the sport of Crossfit. It's my humble opinion that a better test of the "fittest person on the earth" is the Ninja Warrior obstacle course. Much of the course is so insane that it can't be replicated in your backyard or gym. Your only hope to finishing all three stages is just to be a beast in nasty shape. Some people might argue that the sport of strongman was more honest back in the days of Bill Kaz because no one had trained specifically for the events: everyone just showed up strong as hell and the strongest man came out on top - not the man who had diligently practiced his log press technique the most.
I think the only way the sport of Crossfit can be accessible is if it tries to be a measure of overall fitness instead of a sport aimed at a specific set of narrow skills. Or maybe I'm just bitter because I squat 385X10, Row a 1:24 500, but can't figure out double-unders and think they're useless.


wrote …

As cool as that sounds SANTI I'm not so sure that's around the corner. When you're in the community like we are it's easy to see how big it's gotten. But how big is it really? I doubt any of these sponsored athletes are making a 'living' being sponsored. They may get free gear or some coin here and there but it's still a long ways before CF gets accepted. Even look at the whole debacle in the military on mainsite over the last few weeks. People still aren't seeing it.
I'm currently Oly lifting in the evenings on a team at school and I'm in and out of lots of athletic areas in my school. I've only met one other athlete at the entire school who does CF. We chat when we can and the basic drift is that people just don't see the benefits to CF. He can't convince any of his football buddies to quit with the bench and strength stuff and try some CFFB, and even with Oly lifting I get heads shaking all the time. And that reflects the sports community at large I think. There are too many deeply ingrained obstacles in the way still.
And Camille is right, I'm also a university student and I train really hard usually hitting 8 full workouts a week. Sure I'd love to go to the games if I got the chance, but if it changes too fast I couldn't go.
And as far as money affecting crossfit I'm not too worried. Really... it's gonna happen no matter what people say. The test will be in whether the people who continue to do CF change their mindset. I like the atmosphere as well, it's the main reason I do this stuff. The fact that I can dl the videos and not expect to see an episode of Gilmore girls or the ultimate fighter where it's all just an act, some dude is crying, some other dude punched a hole in the door cause he's roid raging, and everyones just an overgrown five year old is what keeps me coming back. The athletes are real people and that's a huge deal. We see enough shit on television (if you watch that trash). This thing is built on the backs of the community and when it does grow, and it will, the people at the top are going to have to make sure they don't make stupid decisions and say yes to every fat cheque because if the community gets destroyed the athletes leave, and then the hardcore main site CFers leave. Lets just hope it doesn't go the way of facebook, lets hope they stick to their values, not put any banner ads up on the site, an for goodness sakes keep it cool.


wrote …

I think Camille hit the nail on the head, as far as Crossfit in general is concerned for probably 90% of us. It costs people alot to train to "elite" athlete levels, and not just in monetary terms. And Heather's comment of not being able to maintain that level of training seems to go to heart of the idea of the largest work capacity over a broad time domain - How long can anyone like the people in that room maintain not only a insane training level, but consistently high performance levels?

Isn't the idea of Crossfit about the broadest range of general preparedness? The thing that I enjoy about the Games and the sectionals, regionals, and just the general atmosphere at my local affiliate happens to be that the people involved aren't sponsored athletes - they are people who lead lives outside of the gym and the "sport," and have relatively complete lives. I know that a great many people who end up being pro athletes spiral into completely dysfunctional personal lives as well as wrecking their bodies in the long run. I find that Crossfit is much more approachable because I know what those competitors are feeling, and because I know that they encounter the same things that I do on a day to day basis.

Keep it simple. Keep it fun.


Carey Wheeler wrote …

Well said Jordan! Some awesome points there.

I'm wondering if it would be a better system for the games to be held every 2nd year or something like that. Then there can be a longer build up and more hype but also the opportunity for lots of competition in between. In the 2 years between games, or the year following the games, states and countries can have their own comps. I live in Australia and it would be cool to have a comp to show Australia's fittest man/woman that doesn't have the pressures of games qualifying (international travel etc), where it's not just another hurdle to get to the games.

If people are taking a Spealler approach to their games prep then they may not want to participate in local comps cos it might not work in with their programming because one year is a pretty short amount of time to get significant change. I think that if you have a year off in between major events then you'll have more opportunity to have big local competitions as well as do the USAW, strongman, Rogue/AF comps etc without biting into GPP prep too much...

Awesome discussion point at the round table though!

Thanks CFJournal, Rogue and AF!


wrote …

I agree that the crossfit games should remain a once per year thing. Every year at the games there ends up being some new athlete who wasn't known the previous year or didn't qualify or didn't even try who comes in and shows they can hang with the top tier athletes. Changing the games so that an athlete needs to be sponsored to get a chance to compete removes some of the magic for me as a spectator and crossfit games fan. I love seeing the guy or girl with an 8-5 job come in there and throw down!


Rob Barrese wrote …

I have to agree with Madoc and the majority of the folks who've commented so far. Heather and Camille's points were completely lost by Dave and Pat... Perhaps I'm in left field? As a new affiliate owner I enjoy the fact that my people believe in what we do and that it is very much for them as it is for everyone. The minute we start demonstrating it is a specialty we lose our credibility.

I believe in the innate, basic, root concepts of Crossfit to my very core. The minute that this becomes a seasonal, specialty event we will lose out. When people see the best of the best compete, they believe it is the fruits of their labor combined with potential, opportunity and success. If we have "professional" corssfitters, then the general population will believe they are simply following a specialty program created for the genetically gifted. It is already imposing enough for the general population (who've never seen crossfit) to visit dot com and see video's of the top crossfit performers.

A friend of mine who started crossfitting in Philadelphia made a comment to me to the effect... she enjoyed the video's on CF but she would much rather see "average" people in the video's. Newbie's, who comprise the bulk of our population, cannot relate to the elite Crossfitter. There is Lauren's Story from CF Alexandria, VA and a few others but we don't always demonstrate the success of the average person... now we are contemplating creating seasons and professionals?

... I did not get into this because I believed it was sanctioning off the most elite. I got into Crossfit because I believed in every single video Coach Glassman has ever produced to date. I believed this was fitness that lends itself general useful to everything and anything. The games are great, they allow the best to shine... but when they are over, we all go back to a normal life. That is 362 days of regular classes, with the general population... who comprise more than 90% of our membership (numbers may not be accurate but I feel safe with this guess).

If this becomes Nascar my affiliate status will expire, I'll retain core crossfit concepts, never mention the name Crossfit again and continue to train my "non-professional" clients who comprise the backbone of my life. I always tell my people and it is true: I've had more inspiration watching a newbie push through new levels of discomfort than I ever had watching any elite performer.

I am not opposed to the events such as the USAW or Rogue vs Again Faster... the type of professional competition described here would ruin our brand. Ben mentioned some difficulties, Heather spoke of the stress and Camille summed it up best. It would no longer be that fun thing we do once a year...

The magic would be lost. keep it fun, keep it constantly varied... life like sport punishes the specialist and rewards the generalist.


wrote …

I'm in the mindset that with multiple competitions, you lose the unknowable. Already, we're starting to see these crossfit specialists that, not to be degrading but, may or may not be up to the task of performing the unknowable. I agree that the games might should have more of a "raw" element to them. The purpose of crossfit is to be able to do whatever whenever, it's not to be able to do specific movements found in a gym setting. I'd like to see more of the function being tested as it harps functional fitness.


Justin Emmons wrote …

The beauty of the CrossFit Games is that anyone can show up and win. If you look at last year going into sectionals who knew who the hell Rich Fronning was? How about a couple of years ago, where did that guy Jason Khalipa come from? It's nice that they are on top now and sponsored and such, and that the games are growing, but what makes this thing awesome is that a nobody can come in and win the whole thing. Someone that trains in their garage with a rower, pull up bar, a kettlebell, barbell and some weights can come from their garage to "Fittest Person on Earth." If you make a professional circuit, how can you have the title, "Fittest Person on Earth?" In actuality it would be closed to most people and the title would be, "Fittest Professional CrossFitter on Earth."


wrote …

Some good points made in the video. I think what Pat Barbers saying will happen ineveitably for good or ill.

I always wondered if the CF games would go to a bi-annual or every 3 year format to prevent competitor burnout....

Theres a reason why the Olympics arent on every year....

Having said that its a awesome spectacule, raises awareness and at the end of the day the athletes can make there own choices whether there going to compete at the top end each and every year...

Tony Black (not graeme brown).


wrote …

Well said Justin. You really hit the points of what bothered me the most about that video. I am a relatively new CrossFitter, but I am very competitive and come home from my workout which I have done in a small Box in WV to watch these videos for inspiration on how to become a better CrossFitter. It seems as though these guys really want to draw that line between "The Elitist" and "The Client". I thought one of the many concepts of CrossFit was push yourself to your limits and see what you can do, and to make fitness accessible to the Average Joe. Anyone can show up and win. I wonder if all the attention of CF has begun to taint the sport. You post videos on how to work on skills and become better, then you subtly say there is a line between clients and those who are competing at the games that they don't seem to want crossed. As a client, where do I go with that? I will inspire you by showing you how to do all these skills and really knock the hell out of a WOD, but I kinda don't want you at my level?


Bryce Greenstein wrote …

I'm positive this is why HQ released this video, to seek feedback from the community.

Even though the we now have these sponsored athletes on teams with specialized coaches for endurance, olympic lifting, mental training (i.e. Sealfit Cert), etc, I still contend that the title of the 'World's Fittest' is totally up for grabs every year so long as the programming is constantly varied.

CrossFit movements are always evolving (muscle up HSPU), and the competitions have wide latitude to conduct nontraditional tests of fitness (stake driving and sandbag hauls). Competitions should not be limited to the nine fundamental movements and they won't be so long as we don't get lazy and remember that the "art is in the programming".


wrote …

I have a feeling that if Crossfit reaches a point where there are 'traveling' competitions, over time it may lose people. I trained as a bodybuilder for the better part of 20-25 years and competed for a few years. I realized I did not have the genetics to go past the amateur level. But during all that time I came to understand that those who do make it to the professional level are very few and of the paid sports out there, bodybuilding is probably the poorest. The top 5 might make a decent living at it but it's not solely on prize money. Money also comes from personal appearances, a few endorsements, supposed controversial services and for some dealing. They're not exactly rolling in money either. It's still very much a subculture. And while I've been out of the sport for over ten years, I suspect it is nowhere near as popular as it once was. Professionals pretty much train for one show; the Olympia. Some train for other shows along the way but they are not the top money makers and the tab is pretty high what all the food, supplements and pharmaceuticals. Eventually they burn out because it's very tough to maintain the training.

Now map that over to Crossfit. An activity even fewer people have heard of because Crossfit has yet to produce its 'Arnold' or 'Lou Ferrigno'. The majority of the fitness community doesn't get it or even want to. They kind of see that it's interval training but they aren't interested. They're stuck in the old paradigm of sets and reps to build muscle groups so it just looks good. Hell I didn't get it when I first checked out the main site a couple years ago. But after revisiting it and doing it for roughly the past 5 months, it gives me a workout that bodybuilding never came close to doing. That said, I have a hard time seeing corporations like Nike, Converse, Addidas or some other huge sports empire backing a Crossfit event unless they know with absolute certainty there's and upside for them. The AVP recently cancelled its 2010 tour in the U.S. citing money losses. They were loosing corporate sponsors. 'Cult' sized followers do not produce significant gate receipts at large venues and unless that happens, big corporate sponsors won't be interested. So while Crossfit may achieve a level where there is a circuit with a point system needed in order to maintain a standing, I think it would become so physically demanding that today's elite athletes would lose the passion for it. As a result, they would revert back to doing it for the fun instead of trying to maintain their position.

Right now, with sectionals and regionals as qualifiers, Crossfit is potentially attainable to an exceptional athlete who is willing to put in the effort. I'm not so sure that same person would have the same opportunities if the format changed to a circuit style. Getting sponsorship would be pretty difficult unless more teams were created. Which brings me to a question, are Again Faster and Rogue actual teams or did they just pick their participants like we used to do it out on the playground? Are these teams actually sponsored? Are their expenses covered? And how did they get to be on these teams? Would it be enough for someone who won a regional to be picked up by a team or would one of its current members have to get bumped for not producing enough wins?

I think is should be left alone. I get evolution. But it may evolve itself into extinction. Right now anyone could possibly get to the top. Give someone a sponsor and they have an advantage another would not have. Not a very level playing field.


wrote …

Every grass roots company, corporation, or business all the way down to what we determine is a successful and fun loving family has gained their success by remaining close to their fundemental core beliefs and ideological roots. Crossfit is a prime example of such a grass roots business. Where ever Crossfit goes, I personaly encourage those decision makers in Crossfit to remain rooted in the intentions that Crossfit was designed for. Mr Glassman, you have changed a paradigm in what was fitness and made it accessible to the rich, the poor, the disadvantaged, the athelete, the non-athelete, and all walks of like all over the world. You've changed lives. Stay with those intentions and you can't go wrong.


wrote …

Their businesses and star-value are growing and this talk is at least partially a product of some strain in the effort to maximize opportunities between HQ and athletes. The athletes are all looking for a way to make a living doing what they love (i.e. - being CrossFit athletes) and CrossFit benefits by helping them with that opportunity and then exploiting (I say that respectfully) the results. CrossFit has done a masterful job thus far, and I trust a thoughtful decision will be made.

I've trained with two athletes for the past two years who have gone to the games. After the Winter holidays, their Spring is dedicated towards getting ready/through Sectionals/Regionals and then very, very intense preparation for the Games in the Summer. The balance of the Summer and Fall are spent identifying and starting to work weaknesses (and new challenges) for the next year and having some fun doing local challenges.

I think the athletes have a pretty nicely defined "season" and training cycle -- and I worry that trying to maintain a "Games level" preparedness while travelling on a circuit probably wouldn't be reasonably possible and would likely dilute the quality of the product over time.

I am partial to the current set-up, but I'm also a little spoiled with the quality of coaches and people I am lucky enough to get to train with.


wrote …

Being able to go on to main site and see these guys and girls do the WOD's really inspires me.
I live in Europe with no box nearby. Last week I went to one for the first time ever, and loved it! But when i do the WOD i do it alone or with my wife.
No other Crossfitters to share training experiences with or to get feedback from.
I get that from the "tier one" faces of Crossfit and the message board(s).
By watching their technique and tips I learn about Crossfit.
The games are a real treat each year and i love watching them.

I also understand that money makes the world go round. Including Crossfit.
Sometimes in reading comments i think people forget that.
If it means sponsoring, pro athletes etc to be able to keep growing and spreading Crossfit, well go for it. I have enough faith in the people behind Crossfit that they will do their utmost best to keep it as "true" as possible.
Thus far all the stuff they have shown us has rocked!

Have a good WOD everyone


wrote …

The reality is that there already is a gap between the people in that room and the average crossfitter. That is why they are in the room. The community will only benefit from people being paid to crossfit. Look how much of their lives they devote to it already, and look how much it inspires us.

The difference between crossfit and other sports is that we can all go throw down on the same workouts they do and understand how ridiculous they are. You can't go play a pro football game or drive a car 200MPH.


wrote …

I'll try to be brief:
- If CrossFit prepares you for the unknown and unknowable, why are there always crossfit type workouts at the Games? The sandbag move was great, that was really unknowable. You shouldn't compete in the workouts you train with.
- I like the idea of a series of competitions. If you are fit, you should be fit anytime, anyplace
- CrossFit has to grow. If it is really that good (and I believe it is) it has to be a part of everyones life on the planet. It is the responsibility of HQ to make sure it doesn't get diluted.


wrote …

Spot on Camille. People in countries other than the US just wont have the sponsorship to able to compete in such a competition.


wrote …

I believe that this is eventually going to evolve into a multiple competition circuit eventually. I think a lot of people are looking at it like it's a nascar season where each week you are getting points towards a championship and a better way to maybe look at it would be like the old PGA. You can have different events each weekend and different athletes can choose to go to the events if they like or not, but the points would only count towards that event and not towards an overall champion for the season. Also, just like in the PGA you could still have the crossfit games where you let "amateur" athletes try and play there way into the competition just like the US Open through sectionals and regionals.


wrote …

Speal's comments (about specializing to not specialize, accordint to each athlete's individual weaknesses) and Barber's comments (about the differences between Crossfit the sport and are spot on by the way!!!!! Happy to see this broached!!!!!


Well said Justin. If you look at Every Second Counts Coach Glassman and Linda state, following Jason's win, that "you can get really good in your garage." "It doesn't get any more egalitarian than that."

Also well said Jessica. Resounds my point that this takes away from the simplicity of Cossfit's original development.

I suppose with growth everyone is corrupted with the idea of tainting their business.. You'd have never really thought Crossfit would sell out though.

Beautifully put Rolando!


Well put Trevor. I don't think anyone is asking they prohibit more competitions and we know the athletes want to make a better living doing what they do. I think Ben started to touch on it, if it becomes professional it will become inaccessible. And we do not see Crossfit as inaccessible... and our clients see the attainable and think "I can one day."

I truly hope they continue with the varying competitions but I do not want to see it become Nascar.


wrote …

Something we have talked about in my box is that one competition (i.e. The CrossFit Games) can not possibly give us the "fittest" athlete in events that are as multivaried as CrossFit is. You'd need several competitions to get a better sense of that. In a previous video, Tom Hackenbruck touched on consistency across events/competitions as a better judge of who is the fittest. To Austin Malleolo's point, a tournament system (whether is over 6 months, 9 months or a year) in which points are awarded, would address this. The sponsorship issue is separate.

As we have talked about at our box, I think a tournament system is absolutely the way CrossFit the sport needs to go! Just the way the PGA, NASCAR, or the ATP does it. Each of those sports has an off season but also have at least 4 big tourneys with several smaller ones that garner a different amount of points. I'd be just as proud to win the French open as I would Wimbeldon.

CrossFit can have the same type of tourney system: The Games, The Beast of The East, The CrossFit/USAW Games, etc.


wrote …

Money will/has changed CrossFit...nothing wrong with that...its evolution through free-enterprise...its REALLY fun to watch the best of the best duke it out.

That's not to say I don't miss the old days. I used to watch the mainpage videos and think to myself "I can do that with some trianing", because the videos were of regular people that ate right and worked out hard...while mainitaining a regular life as a soldier, a fireman, or as a pottery teacher.

Now the performances are unattainable, for me at least...I have fewer realistic role models.


wrote …

Thanks for posting a video on the future of the Sport of CrossFit!

I believe the future should include HQ sanctioned seasonal leagues all over the country broken down into beginner, intermediate, and advanced categories, and culminating with top athletes competing in sectionals and regionals.

The Atlanta area already has competitions every month with huge turnouts. The demand for more competitions is there, we just need more structure and organization!


wrote …

I don't think that having a group of professional Crossfitters would necessarily be a Bad Thing. Look at the professional golf and tennis tours. The players on these tours have the genetics and work ethics that make them the best in the world. But that doesn't discourage millions of amateurs from playing each week. I might never break 70 or have a sub 3 minute Fran but that doesn't mean I'm going to stop trying.


wrote …

The CrossFit Games crown the fittest man and woman on the planet. Or does it crown the best crossfitters on the planet? No doubt that to win the crossfit games one has to be good at crossfit and have practiced movements expected out of its programming, right? Or can someone show up at sectionals who has devised his/her own training program potentially be the fittest and go on to win the games? Are the crossfit games a test of programming and training style as it has been said? Can someone who trains at some garage doing things that no one else does or has thought of show up and win and contribute to the common fitness knowledge?

I think it will have to be decided what the games are meant to be in order to decide on this issue. Personally, I think that a "season" or "circuit" would change the nature of the games in a negative way. I think the claim that the games crown the fittest on earth would no longer be valid. They could only claim to crown the best crossfitter out of those "on the circuit". Perhaps there could be a circuit for "professional crossfitters" (if it comes to that) leading to the games that is still structured the same way with anyone having a shot through qualifiers. Just thoughts....


wrote …

I agree whole-heartedly with Rob Baresse, as well as with Camille (who, by the way, seemed on the verge of tears as she lamented where she saw the discussion going). Just because some people are lucky enough to get in on the ground floor and make a living through or again faster or any other company should not give them any advantage over the guy in the garage gym or anyone else.
People love crossfit because it comes closer than almost anything else to being "fair." This isn't to say that some people aren't naturally more inclined toward success in it, but, in general, what you put in determines what you get out. If the system by which we compete is changed so that the average person isn't given a chance to compete, then this fairness is eliminated.
I personally hope that some "no-name" comes out this weekend at the Beast of the East and beats up on the notables as a reminder to HQ why crossfit is getting big: anyone can be a part of it.


wrote …

I have to agree with everyone above. I'm relatively new to CrossFit, and the thought of one day thinking I could be sponsored by a big name corporation doing something I love sounds pretty cool. BUT, It's pretty clear that changing CrossFit Games to a large sponsored event or seasonal league before it has built a solid foundation in society is not a good idea. I like CrossFit for what it was and what it is now.
I understand that the "firebreathers" are in a different position and might want to take it to the next level. But, as stated before, crossfit is still relatively new or a subculture in a lot of areas. If CrossFit were to grow to that size, it would take time and it would need to follow 3 simple steps:
Mechanics, Consistency, then Intensity. CrossFit needs to grow and be acknowledge more in the local communities first. The best way to get that kind of exposure is through the local affiliates.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!


wrote …

I love seeing these kinds of events and seeing these people compete at the elite level. I think sponsorship is a great way to grow the sport and allow people to devote more time to training. On a related note: I was disappointed to not see an award for highest finisher from the military/LEO community like in the 2009 Games. If I am not mistaken there were no military or LEO competitors in the individual competition. I think it would be great to see a Crossfit sanctioned event exclusively for military/ LEO athletes. This would do great things to grow the awareness in our community and would go back to the origin of Crossfit. Crossfit has always had a very charitable and honorable relationship with the military and this would help preach the message to the masses.

Also it would be awesome to get some of these Crossfit firebreathers out with the military and see them crush some of our events: obstacle course, endurance course, CFT, etc. If NFL, NBA, and MLB teams can come visit us, why cant Team Rogue or Team Again Faster.


wrote …

really interresting video

in my opinion the hype to the games is amazing, it would be completly ruined if it was to happen like NASCAR, like an overplayed song on the radio.

also the beauty of crossfit is that these amzing athletes are just normal people (okay they machines) but there not celebrities or professional people. i'm friends with Khailpa, Camille, Speal... etc on facebook and it's nice to know that if i really had a question i can ask these people who i idolise directly. not by leaving a comment on there fan page or emailing there secertary.

finally i get slightly annoyed when i see workouts with exercises like virtual shoveling, carrying canoe's, wheel barrowing sand bags and other weird excersises. i completly appreciate the fact that crossfit is meant to tackle every aspect of training but i just feel these movements make it almost corny and silly. maybe i'm just a fan of a traditional squat clean and muscle ups. i'm just worried that crossfit will always try to do more and forget it's roots. i hope not


wrote …

I think the system works pretty well as it now stands. Local boxes have their 'throwdowns' so ordinary mortals may compete. It is possible for somebody to emerge from their garage and become a Games hero. The elites gathered in Tahoe are the same folks teaching at the certifications, so it would seem that HQ is doing a pretty good job at sharing the findings of the 'research and development' arm, if you will.

I've hit a upon a distinction between ordinary CrossFitters and the elites, or folks striving to be elite, which crosses my mind every time I see a video posted of a firebreather blasting through that day's Main Site WOD. Often comments will critique the depth of their squats, the use of power instead of squat snatches, or swinging into the muscle ups, and so on. I would see these immensely powerful people and conclude that the WOD is only a minor component in a larger workout scheme.

For some of us, the WOD is the workout scheme. I, for one, will gladly accept the slower times on Grace or Isabel because they're my opportunities to drill full squats in the lifts. I absolutely will not swing a muscle up because they only come up every so often, and I simply want to improve my ability to perform what has been labeled 'the ultimate upper body exercise.'

I met some of the folks in the Tahoe video at a certification. They were unfailingly nice and approachable, and I could tell they'd been coached to repeat every question for the benefit of the crowd and accentuate the positive, and so on. To me, the real heroes remain the folks in charge, who have created a culture that accommodates everyone from envelope-pushing elites to old cranks like me.


wrote …

Crossfit will evolve as a sport, and sports go where the money is. Ten years from now I believe it will be a completely different story as the next genereation takes over as well. These kids who have grown up in the Crossfit culture will blow away any and all records; and our beliefs on the limits of human performance will be much different. The sport of Crossfit, much like any sport, is an expression of human potential. Not everyone is going to reach their maximum potential, nor will everyone want to.


replied to comment from Tim Heffington

Tim -- I'm not sure off the top of my head if there were others, but Deric Maruquin (finished 26th) is active duty, and one of the people I've been lucky enough to train with over the past couple of years.


robert day wrote …

really interesting video and i feel kind of like the same way as when i heard the games were being held at the home depot this year. i always loved the fact that we crossfitters were doing something different, something that had normal people shaking their heads and asking why?

then i thought if i have got fitter and healthier through crossfit why should not it get bigger and change the health of the nation, which is really suffering.

its the same with crossfit elite altheles going pro and competiting full time. yes it will change crossfit from what we know, does that have to be bad thing though? all sports change and i trust greg glassman not to sell out. having elite full time pro crossfitters will carry on insipring me just like watching them now does.

hopefully kids and more adults will see these televised live events and want to start crossfit and so will have a knock on effect for the health of others.


Darren Coughlan wrote …

Interesting comments, and everyone has goods points.
What must be remembered is that to be an elite CrossFitter takes time, time equals money, therefore the next step is professionalism.

As Chad said earlier, there is already a divide. And some of us have said for a while that there's a difference between CrossFit the training method and CrossFit the sport. It will only make the CrossFit community stronger.

All pro sports have grown from amateur ranks, as has military special forces/swat/First responders grown from infantry and general duties.

Its a natural progression, let CrossFit the Sport go Pro and watch the benefits happen.

People should review Greg Glassmans lecture [cant remember exactly] on satisfying the elite [with programming] and the filter effect satisfies everyone.


wrote …

The divide...

Pat Barber 15 seconds to climb rope 3x's= Professional CrossFitter
Me 5 minutes to climb rope 3x's= CrossFitting the best I can right now

If you are at the elites level then why not have Pro's.
The Joe's can still work their way up and maybe break into the ranks
when their skills let them.

Let the top level ppl get paid and love their sport just like
other pro sports... except CorssFitters do it best :)


wrote …

also, i do not believe that the "divide" will ever become an insurmountable chasm.

There is only so much you can train and recover in a finite amount of time. The athletes in this video OR in their garage that have a legit chance at making it to the games are already putting in that amount of time.

The introduction of more money or sponsorship can not change this. A league might be inaccesible to amateurs, but as long as the crossfit games remain in an "open" format the community will still have its voice.


wrote …

Going Pro would be the worst thing possible for Crossfit. The intense interest in Crossfit that is growing nationwide is, in large part, due to the fact that anyone can train hard and potentially make it to the Crossfit games. As soon as Crossfit goes Pro it will destroy the program by dissolving the excitement and "magic" of Crossfit.


replied to comment from Rob Barrese

I agree with Rob in comment #9. Crossfit is a great thing where it is at currently. Its still a bit of an underground community but if it changes in ways that Pat Barber described I think a lot of the credibility will be lost. It will become to commercialized and sponsors will jump on board quickly. Rogue, Again Faster, and Progenex are all very visible on all videos posted currently but if these events are held more often you can bet that Nike, Adidas, and a host of others will want a slice of the pie. And furthermore if athletes hope to become a "professional crossfiter" they will have to accept these huge corporations to support the monetary demands.


wrote …

Interesting discussion ...
I don't know if CrossFit can sustain having their "elite" compete in CrossFit the sport season like league sports. For one, CrossFit is more geared towards individual competition - CrossFit is grueling. Team sports are grueling ... the i difference is the team part. The only sport that comes close is track and field and that requires huge corporate and national sponsorships for individual athletes to be able to make a living and most have 9-to-5 jobs outside of the season. Even then, the pinnacle of track in field is held every 4 years at the Olympics with world championships in 2 of the 3 off years. (Hint hint: Castro stop being super greedy). I agree with Camille - you're going to lose a lot of your top athletes because they won't be able [monetarily] to compete in the "league." I agree with Heather and Speal - the sport aspect is too grueling. Remember Sisu, Mikko stopped playing professional soccer in Finland to be a firefighter; why? we don't know but I can think of some reasons - as we witness in CrossFit, I'm sure he was better than good. If they want to get payed for CrossFit, start a box (which many of them have). But let us common folks compete, too. That's the beauty of CrossFit.


wrote …

IMO, what alot of people enjoy seeing in this community is that anyone with the drive can make it to the games, succeed there and be a part of this community. Athletes in the NFL or NBA are so far out of touch with the Fans and lead lives worlds apart from those of their Fans. In crossfit, the top athletes are for the most part, normal people like the rest of us. Although they perform at an insane level and are extremely dedicated to the sport, at the end of the day, they go back and lead a normal life similar to most all of us who love crossfit. The fact that every year there is a high chance of an unknown name crushing events at the games keeps everyone on their toes and inspires the entire community.

Big sponsorships and AM v.s. PRO status, etc...would put road blocks and prevent alot of people who would otherwise excel and contribute to this community.

Personally i just think Crossfit would loose much more than it would gain. Maybe the cash flow would increase, but the intangible aspects of this would be lost. Crossfit is often referred to as a "community" and i think if Crossfit heads in this direction, then it would most certainly loose all sense of a community.

p.s. Sorry for the grammar and spelling. Just a simple Marine who loves crossfit.


wrote …

I have noticed a huge emphasis on competition in the journal. We are looking at a mass marketing machine. "To good to be true" and "the beginning of the end " come to mind. Good luck with the professional crossfitter concept. If your into crossfit for the right reasons the games don't mean a thing. I would love for crossfit to stick to the fundamentals but I'm pretty sure thats not gonna happen. Disappointed yet not surprised. Won't be subscribing again. I can do lsd work one day, lift heavy another, and do circuit training a third day without a coach.


wrote …

I agree with many above that Crossfit needs to hold on to its community identity, fitness ideals and "garage gym" mentality and I think corporate whoring is the last thing it needs. Keep it simple and keep it fun is what someone up above put and I absolutely agree. The games are a good thing, I admire the hell out of those athletes who compete, but as soon as the general emphasis shifts and that rift opens up between those who do it to get better at the unknown and the unknowable to people who get paid to specialize in "crossfit" (which I thought was originally suppose to be a contradiction in terms) you know the death of those original ideals has begun. Hold on to those circumstances that enable a nobody to win, thats what makes crossfit great!

And the "Fittest man/woman on earth" title should go to they that truely master the unknown. I don't want to risk trivializing the champions' accomplishments but I find the WODs in competitions like the games and the Rogue vs AF throwdown to be too much of the familiar. I thought crossfit was designed to generally increase those 10 characteristics of fitness, not just specifically snatches, DUs, running, etc. It's not that those things aren't great exercises, but isn't the point to use them to get better at the broadest range of movements possible? Shouldn't the games test balance, flexibility, speed, power, strength, ect. by unknown means that the athletes have never (directly) trained for?

Wasn't that the point?


wrote …

I would like to echo a few points:

First - "I was disappointed to not see an award for highest finisher from the military/LEO community like in the 2009 Games. If I am not mistaken there were no military or LEO competitors in the individual competition. What does that say? I think it would be great to see a Crossfit sanctioned event exclusively for military/ LEO athletes. This would do great things to grow the awareness in our community and would go back to the origin of Crossfit. Crossfit has always had a very charitable and honorable relationship with the military and law enforcement communities, and this would help preach the message to the masses."

Second - "Shouldn't the games test balance, flexibility, speed, power, strength, ect. by unknown means that the athletes have never (directly) trained for?" How about an old fashion mid-west wood cutting contest. 20 piles of wood - each with 40 (approximately the same size) logs that need to be split (into 4 pieces each). Everyone gets a pile, an axe, maul, and two splitting wedges --- time the event and go. Some people use a sledge for hitting an old tire... use an axe to do some work. Now that would be a fun new event. I don't suppose I can get you sunshine boys and girls to come to Wisconsin in January and practice the above event on the farm; outside on a nice brisk afternoon.

Finally - the unknown and the unknowable. At the games - really? Here's the date (so get ready), and if you watch the past four years of games you have a real good idea of what you'll see at this next one (perhaps not the order, but you'll have an idea). I'd love to see a totally off the wall games - obstacle courses, mud runs, etc... I'm not sure how you work that all in, but it would be fun to watch. Personally I find the games are fun to watch now, but make them truly the unknowable.


wrote …

Wished I could have crashed that party! I love Tahoe and love watching all those guys compete. I like the discussion on this, whatever your view is, it shows you really care about the Crossfit community.
My two cents:
The "divide" and sponsorthip: Sponsorship will always change a sport to a certain degree (good or bad), but so far I dont see it as the biggest factor in the Sport Crossfit vs GPP Crossfit. The biggest differences are your sport background, age you started Crossfit, your overall drive, etc. I see a lot of badasses at our gym that only go 3-4 times a week. They are the coolest people, can kick some serious ass, but wont go to the games because Crossfit isn't their life, its a part of it, they use it as a tool to enrich their lives. Those that compete are either the biggest phenoms in the world, or they spend a LOT of time on this stuff...or both.

Games vs Multiple Games
I would be happy with either format. I just want to compete at a Regionals. If I was ever able to compete at the Games you should probably just shoot me, b/c my life would be complete. Overall, I would love to see one Crossfit Games but have incentives to do all these "extra" games. Have HQ sanctioned competitions: For example the oly lifting competition, a Tough Mudder type wod, powerlifting meet, sprint triathlon esque event, etc. they could focus on a couple of those 10 fitness levels or all of them but if you win then you get an immediate acceptance to a Regionals, or to the games - if you won enough of them or accumulated enough points (whatever they want). Utimately the Games is where you compete, but all these other competitions can get you there (just another screening process). I will say that every "specialized" event would have a Crossfit component wod to it (like the Usa/W oly event).

Let me know what you think on that. Obviously, plenty of holes but I would like to get feed back on that type of Games format.



wrote …

Personally I think allowing sponsership into Crossfit would ruin the sport. Echoing several other people, the beauty of this sport is that anyone can train for it and compete. Bringing sponsership into the picture would take that away. I am also from Canada and completely agree with Camille's thoughts and concerns. I love watching the different competitions that have been put on but would prefer the Games format not be changed. Let's give everyone a chance to prove what beasts they can be.


wrote …

"the beauty of this sport is that anyone can train for it and compete"...

How does that change if some people are getting paid to do it? Crossfit turned fitness on its head, it's cheap to build a garage gym and you can get the programming for free everyday.

I do agree a nascar style season would exclude the majority of participants, but I dont think anyone is talking about getting rid of the games.


wrote …

A few thoughts about common thoughts in the posts:

To become a professional athlete(NBA, NFL, etc) you have to possess some sort of unique super-natural quality or special decoder ring that gives you the keys to the kingdom, and a lack of this perceived barrier somehow sets CrossFit apart. those sports are no more/less accessable than being an Elite CrossFitter. No one is stopping you from shooting 1,000 jumps shots a day in the park, or going to the driving range and hitting 500 balls, that is the secret decoder ring that gets you the pros. I know most everyone dreamed of being a professional athlete at some point, but because life is not fair we didn't/couldn't get it done. that doesn't mean it wasn't possible.

The only difference between those sports and CrossFit (the sport) is CrossFit is still so young that "new" people can still catch up. Other professional sports are so mature that it doesn't matter how many jump shots you shoot, if you start when you are 20, you probably can't get good enough to play in the NBA before you are too old. CrossFit is headed the same direction. In 10 years, a 2 year CrossFitter is going to find it nearly impossible to catch up to the Martins, Maya B, Sage B. etc who have been doing it for 10, 15, or 20 years. That is where your inaccesability comes from. Not from the fact that it is a
professional sport.

There is also a perception that being a professional athlete makes you a dousche, and therefore professional CrossFitters = CrossFit Dousche bags. I have been around a few professional athletes in casual environments and that is completely ridiculous. Professional athletes that are assholes, were assholes before they were professional athletes. Once they turn pro, they become assholes with lots of money talking on Sportscenter. Yes the money may attract more attention, and therefore some dregs, but then the community should police itself. I think it is wrong to prohibit our best athletes from making a living doing what they love because we are scared to keep the wolves out of the community.

The last part of my rant is about the the games not being functional and becoming predictable. I agree with that to some degree, but think too much emphasis has been placed on it. The human body is limited to the physical things it can do: run, jump, push, pull, squat, stand, throw, lay down, and get up. There is some predictability just based on that. There are only so many ways you can stress those movements across different time domains. The movements and modalities that are common to CrossFit are the best methods we have to effectively train and measure the ability to perform those basic functions (Core CrossFit Idea). Disagree? List some better ones.

There is also a degree of predicitabilty based on scheduling a large event. I don't think i have to spend much time describing the difficulty of having Dave Castro rappell out of the deep-dark night and throw a WoD on someone. You want a large spectator sport, you have to plan it far in advance.

Now about functionality: Is chopping wood really a better measure of fitness than the movements CrossFit already uses? The movements CrossFit uses were picked because of their unique ability to train and measure your ability to run, jump, push, pull, squat, stand, throw, lay down, and get up. This has been demonstrated across many years and hundreds of thousands of athletes. CrossFit has and continues to compile into one place the best training methods known to humans to develop the previouly mentioned functions. Training those movements = better woodcutting. That's why they are tested at the games. Disagree? List a better way.

Lastly (I had lots of extra time today at work), for those who think a line exists between the "average" and "elite" CrossFitter and that "elite" athletes have a magical programming ring. The line exists, and it is insignificant. The same line exists between any two CrossFit athletes regardless of level. No-one in our box did the exact same workout yesterday, there was a line between each athlete and every other athlete in the gym. I have an athlete that has a sore hip flexor needing extra attention. Does her extra effort working on a sore hip make her any more special or privileged than anyone else in the gym? No.

Is that different than Chris Spealer working extra on his absolute strength? No. The point is that every CrossFit Athlete, independant of their goal is on a specialized program. CrossFit is about identifying athletic deficts and attacking them. Any specialized program an "elite" athlete is on maximally exploits their weaknesses, and with dedication and the help of a good coach they hopefully can become a top teir athlete. If you are "average" and aren't attacking your weaknesses, maybe you should re-evaluate your CrossFittedness (that just happened). Our needs differ in scale, not kind. Should sound familiar.


wrote …

It would be a sad day when a crossfit athlete becomes the same as a baseball player. The question is how far do you want to let crossfit slide? Do you really want it to deviate that much from the main reason it was created. The cool thing about the games too is that you could get an athlete that comes out of no place one year and just dominates. It would be a sad day when the games would no longer be accessible to the entire crossfit community who wants to compete. Besides the fact that crossfit can make you combat ready or help you be a healthier person depending on what you are looking for, it is also cool because of the accessibility. When that goes I feel a lot of peoples respect of the program will start to diminish.


wrote …

I agree with the majority of comments. It seems that some people who have reached that elite status yearn for a "professional" lifestyle, and I cannot and will not fault them for wanting that. However, like everyone else has already pointed out, Crossfit should be for the average joe. In order to make that happen, average joe needs to be able to see others like him or her achieve their personal goals through Crossfit. If all we see are the elites, then what else is there? Keeping the games at a yearly interval OR greater is vital to ensure the integrity of the local affiliates.


wrote …

I hope the next games start really delivering more of the unknown/unknowable. Give us a games with backwards double unders, single arm barbell lifts (balance, strength, speed, etc.), a speedclimbing wall, obstacle courses like ninja warrior (look for it on youtube), in short: stuff that is really unknown, requires adaptation and recombination of skills. Which is what crossfit essentially should prepare you for.


wrote …

People need to stop splitting~!

Crossfit as a professional sport would not destroy Crossfit as a casual, fun sport for the average joe. Consider basketball, hockey, soccer, golf, swimming, running, triathlons, or any other sport/hobby/activity that has a professional component.

I didn't quit playing basketball with my friends because I can't compete with Lebron and Kobe. 99% of athletes are not professionals and that won't change.

The idea that anyone can come "out of nowhere" and win the games is silly, and disrespectful. Statements like that make it seem like Khalipa and Mikko waltzed in off the couch. Simply because they weren't known to the CF mainpage, doesn't mean they weren't working hard.

Everyone that follows the countless Crossfit websites, obviously enjoys it. There is a large fan base (that is only getting bigger). Glassman and the rest of HQ earn money - while delivering a free daily program to the masses. If there is the possibility for the athletes to make money from TV deals or sponsors, then go for it.

People seem to be assuming that a pro tour would just be a continuation of the Tahoe crowd and make it an elite club. In the same way that OPT, Josh Everett and the other known firebreathers got taken out by a 'random' Khalipa, a pro-circuit would only serve to attract more and more athletes.

I'd love to see 45 rounds of Cindy, or a 2 minute chest-to-bar Fran, or a 106 pullups in one round (check!), or a 315 Grace. The possibilities are endless. I said, before this year's games that I wanted Mikko to lose. Not because I dislike him, but because it would take an epic performance to beat him. Just imagine Holmberg, Froning, Chan, Spealler, and Salo coming 11th, 13th, 15th, 7th and 18th??? How awesome would it be to watch?!?!

Crossfit Games 2011: No limits.


wrote …

I'd love to see more competitions such as the USAW/CF weightlifting open with other domains. Something like a CF track meet, or a CF Endurance race, CF Gymnastics competition, maybe CF obstacle course challenge that is similar to the ninja warrior one.


wrote …

I don't think that there should be multiple CrossFit Games events every year like was suggested.

I think that one of the most beautiful things about CrossFit is that there ISN'T a separation between amateurs and professionals, and this allows people to work hard and mix it up with the same people they see and admire on the CrossFit videos.

I think that creating a separation between "elite" and "amateurs" would completely undermine the community aspect of CrossFit by introducing classes. I competed last year in the Sectional and Regional competitions, and it was such an amazing time, getting to compete at that level, and meet so many great CrossFitters!

I just hope that the grass-roots feeling and community aspects of the competition don't disappear.


wrote …

More CrossFit style challenges/games are needed. It would be great to have sponsored athletes attending the contests like golfers attend certain PGA events. The games would equate to the Masters etc. Of course "amateurs" could use these events as qualifiers for more prestigious events. It's not rocket science, just a great way for people to compete


wrote …

Personally, I have almost totally quit watching any videos of WOD performances. I will read articles that enlighten me and watch videos that coach me but I find that the videos of performances no longer inspire me. I used to believe that the WOD videos were performed by people who lived a "normal" life and trained hard - what they were doing was attainable. Now I believe I'm watching someone who spends their entire life training, that they are elite, and that what they are doing is mostly unattainable for me. That's just how I feel.

I still love going to my local affiliate, competing with the other members, being a part of that intimate community, and training to be my best. The Games still hold my interest but if it grows more "professional" I'm sure it will lose my interest. It may not be a bad thing for CrossFit as a business to evolve in these ways but these are my personal feelings.

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