The Ripple Effect

By Chris Cooper

In CrossFit, Rest Day/Theory

September 18, 2013

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CrossFit Inc. has revolutionized the business of fitness, and now hosts of others are riding the wave. Chris Cooper reports.

Greg Glassman introduced a new way to measure fitness objectively. When your Fran time drops or your front squat goes up, you’re getting fitter.

Harder to measure is the effect that Glassman’s ideas have had on the broader fitness community since he launched in 2001. CrossFit has changed the landscape: powerlifters who have never heard of Murph can buy better barbells cheaper than they could have 10 years ago, USA Weightlifting’s membership has tripled, and grandma has learned to deadlift. Hundreds of thousands have been introduced to kettlebells, snatches and Tabata intervals thanks to programming.

CrossFit’s open-source business model has produced success in a manner similar to its workouts. Even as the global economy continues to struggle in the aftermath of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the number of CrossFit gyms has swelled, growing to more than 7,000 from 1,500 just three years ago. But the ripple effect—the jobs, innovation, technology, small businesses and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue not generated directly by CrossFit Inc.—is much tougher to tally than reps.

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7 Comments on “The Ripple Effect”


Chris Sinagoga wrote …

Good shit Chris! Being in this community since late 2005, it is real cool to hear reflective stories like this. I remember when Brian (the coach I used to work out with) bought our first Dynamax Ball and set of red-strapped rings and it was literally the coolest thing in the world! They were kind of hard to find at the time. Now they are all over the place.

Great stuff!


wrote …

I have nothing but the utmost respect for what Greg Glassman has done in the fitness world.


wrote …

This article makes me wonder what the CrossFit ripple effect has been in philanthropy: How big is the CrossFit philanthropic ecosystem? This would include, of course, all of the fundraising that CrossFit HQ sponsors through its three initiatives, but it would also include the thousands of local fundraising events conducted by affiliates across the country and internationally. How many people have become more charitable because of their involvement with CrossFit? How many lives have been improved because of CrossFit's philanthropic ripple effect?


wrote …

Amazing to read how one person has a dream, pursuits it and all of a sudden you have a business like Rogue Fitness.


Chris Cavallerano wrote …

Great article Chris... both in form, style and content. Your contributions/insights provide a wonderful window into Coach Glassman's entrepreneurial spirit and stories of leaders within the CrossFit community willing to light and carry their own torch of excellence. We are all better because of it. Shine on, shine bright.


Really good point Jeff. I like to think of this as the "Trinity of Fitness"... mind, body, and spirit. Here's a great example of that... "Give of your heart and soul to others... you become a better person." -Greg Glassman

The CrossFit Kids Foundation and their initiatives are a testament to that ethos in action-


wrote …

Great article Chris!

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