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CrossFit Journal: A Retrospective by Tony Budding - CrossFit Journal

In CFJ and Monthly Collections

September 01, 2008

PDF Article

The CrossFit Journal started with a yellow writing pad and a Pentel .5mm mechanical pencil. A meticulous outline, calculated drafts and extensive rewriting preceded the easy flowing genius of the first 25 CrossFit Journals. This is CrossFit Journal 1.0: Greg Glassman articulating the various aspects of his vision for a new era of functional fitness. An era in which empirical, measurable results trump theoretical posturing, in which game, mission, and life prevail over anything that may happen in a mirrored gym.

CrossFit Journal 2.0 ushered in outside contributors, editorial support and a dedicated designer. From October 2004 until February 2006, an increasing number of specialists and other writers joined Greg in exploring topics significant to the CrossFit community. During this same period, Carrie Klumpar's role became increasingly significant. We could say that CrossFit Journal 2.5 launched in May 2006. Otto Lejeune took over the layout from Lauren, and Carrie took responsibility for the general workflow. Carrie took the Journal from averaging 3-5 articles/issue to the current 10-15 articles/issue. It was a monumental achievement, which culminated last month with our final monthly issue.

Way back in 2002-2003, the concept of an emailed "e-zine" was revolutionary and brilliant. Distribution costs were virtually nil, so subscriber growth was identical to profit growth. Broadband was in its infancy, and only a small percentage of the population was willing to spend a significant amount of time online. The PDF format lived up to its name (portable document format), and once downloaded folks could read the Journal on their computer or print it as they wanted.

As the Journal grew, particularly in this 2.5 phase, the "e-zine" medium seemed less than ideal. Broadband matured, video as an internet medium grew, and the wealth of information on the net changed the way people want to get information. The Journal was too long to read in one sitting on the screen, but printing it left you hanging with the multimedia links. The content was still fantastic, but the delivery hadn't evolved with the times.

To make a very long story short, Ryan Lucas, along with Ron Wilhelm, our very own Lynne Pitts, Brian Mulvaney and Bill McGair, have worked tirelessly behind the scenes for nearly a year to bring you the new CrossFit Journal 3.0.

Free Download


63 Comments on “CrossFit Journal: A Retrospective”


wrote …

Love the new setup.


wrote …

Looks good. Appears to be more communicative. Thoughtful progress!


wrote …

Nice. Looks like you can bridge the different months for the different types of articles with ease. Improvement!


wrote …

Very cool organization of related articles. This is a huge improvement!


wrote …

Congratulations to the entire CrossFit team. All I can say is WOW.



wrote …

Great work! This new user-friendly design is awesome. The best keeps on getting better....


wrote …

Congratulations to the Crossfit team. Your efforts to continuously innovate has lead to a great user experience. Other companies could learn from your example. Thanks.

William B


Grace Patenaude wrote …

We are so proud to be part of this community and to be affiliated with the Glassman's and crew. continues to set the bar high on all spectrums.


William Adams wrote …

Grace, comment 8,

Lysa, Michelle, Nick and I couldn't agree more. This is the fitness community that we have always dreamed of and we are extremely enthusiastic about being a part of CrossFit and watching it grow and prosper. Kudos to all that made Crossfit Journal 3.0, its awesome, thanks for your hard work!

Have Fun, Train hard,



wrote …

I love this new format. I can now access the entire journal from anywhere in the world via my laptop (as an active duty military person I get to travel alot--whether I want to or not!). This beats downloading the archived articles on a memory stick. Congratulations on a great innovation.


wrote …

New format looks great, especially the feature enabling a full search of archived issues.

However, I have to say I just LOVED getting a new issue every month.

I spend most of my work days in front of a computer, so I enjoyed the freedom of printing off the journal and reading it during some down time without having a computer screen in my face.

From what I see, say if I log in once a month, I'd have to individually save each article from that month to a pdf...

Any chance of getting all the published articles within a month packaged together in one downloadable pdf file?



wrote …

Good work, all.


wrote …

This is definitely an improvement!

A couple of things ...

1) it should be made more clear that the entire articles are only available by clicking on the "download pdf" ... I spent the first 15 minutes browsing around wondering why the articles were so short. I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer - but still.

2) it would be nice to have a way to download the entire month as a pdf like the old style journals. I do most of my reading offline.

Overall this kicks ass though - makes it a lot easier to find particular topics!


wrote …

All I can say is we have the best fitness community in the world!


wrote …

Nice looking website. Maybe I'm old and grumpy, but I'd have preferred more content.


Adam Kayce wrote …

This is a fantastic achievement, team... from design to implementation, this looks amazing. I'm beside myself about having the archives available — of course, I'm not going to get much work done for a few days... ;-)

Hats off to you all for all the amazing work you do.


wrote …

This new setup is looking real good... I think it is definitely a good step for taking the CrossFit Journals to the next level... knowledge is power and if you are truly into CrossFit I don't see how you can go on without reading these...


Frank DiMeo wrote …

I've got 3 ring binders full of CF Journals back to 2004, and still will keep them as excellent resources.
As always, virtuosity, is what I've come to expect from from Coach & the CF Team!


wrote …

I just LOVED getting a new issue every month.

Any chance of getting all the published articles within a month packaged together in one downloadable pdf file?


Robert Dewees wrote …

O.K. you guys just ruined my Labor Day Monday! - I have to spend the next 72 hours reviewing all those past CF Journal Articles I never around to. I'm just 8 hours into my day and the puddle of drewl outlines my keyboard and mouspad.

Your video's are Awesome! Love the learning!

2012 Crossfit games Contender! Here comes the hurricane!

Robert DeWees, Jacksonville, FL


Elliot Fuller wrote …

The new setup is great, and I know it will get a TON of mileage. However, I also enjoyed getting the entire Journal each month as a package, as opposed to having to log in and check for new articles I may have missed. I guess you can always just view the articles chronologically, but I will miss the "convenience" of just having the entire package for the month e-mailed to me.

It seems with the new Journal, I'll have to more routinely log in and check for updates. Maybe there's a way for the system to e-mail us when a new article is posted? Or maybe a "Download this month's Journal" link, or something to that effect.

Either way, big change always takes some getting used to. Looks great; thanks for all the hard work.


wrote …

I do like the new search functions.

Good Job.


wrote …

Some of us are connected intermittently--- was kinda nice to download once and have reading material for the plane. I will try the feed to my gmail, Hopefully that will include a link to each new article, but will have to download more often. Not sure this will work as well for some of your military folks that aren't sitting in front of computer.

I kinda liked the once per month download, but will give it a try.


wrote …

This format of a collaborative online fitness resource is a breakthrough to say the least. Is there anything out there that can even compare to this? The opportunity to read and discuss fitness articles with people around the world will be invaluable to the community.


wrote …

I'm new.... I'm hooked.
Nice work....


wrote …

My thoughts:

1) Making the CFJ Archives available to all subscribers is incredible! If I hadn't just received them as a part of my pre-cert study material, I would be jumping for joy right now.

2) Having the option of either receiving or downloading the entire month would be wonderful. With limited internet time and/or access, having to check the website every day or even every two to three days is less than ideal. Like Anthony, and I'm sure many others, I do the majority of my reading away from my computer, so being able to print off all of the articles at once was of tremendous benefit.


wrote …

I'm impressed with the new journal website and it definitely makes searching through the archives of articles easier. I'm a fan of constructive criticism, but it seems that no matter how easy and convenient you make things, there's always going to be people who want it done differently... I like it, I just wish I hadn't paid money for the back issues now!


wrote …

I'm impressed with the new journal website and it definitely makes searching through the archives of articles easier. I'm a fan of constructive criticism, but it seems that no matter how easy and convenient you make things, there's always going to be people who want it done differently... I like it, I just wish I hadn't paid money for the back issues now!


wrote …

Congrats guys. Very impressive. In CF terms, "you outgrew your box and had to move to bigger space."


CraigH - Diablo CrossFit


wrote …

All I can say is Wow! I've been wishing for free access to a lot the articles in back issues for a while, and now I have it. Even though Crossfit has blown up, the whole team seems to have a feel for how to grow and evolve without sacrificing the community feel. Thanks to everyone.

Only complaint: how are my going to get anything done at work with all this info easily accessible online???


wrote …

The new setup is sweet, its entirely different than the once a month PDF journals but i think it is a good thing. The information is alot more accessible and easier to read, oh and i love the category section.


wrote …

Conorb #15,

I may be older and even grumpier; I don't know, but I think I'm likely a better reader.

Here's what you've missed.

1. We've just dumped one of the largest libraries of effective and practical fitness information on this very site. Never before has so much fitness content been delivered at once, ANYWHERE. I think you confused the announcement for the content. Dig deeper, Sir.

2. By months end more material will have been added to this site than has ever appeared in any single issue of the CrossFit Journal.

3. By years end we will be posting articles - text, video, audio, stills, and animation on a daily basis.

4. We are sitting on hundreds of hours of seminar lecture and instruction that will be delivered via this very vehicle. We are sitting on hundreds of thousands of high res digital photos that we'll also deliver via this very vehicle.

5. We are launching CrossFit Radio and that will be a regular content addition to this format.


Austin @Unlimited wrote …

This has got to be one the world's best fitness resources available. All for $25 a year. Truly top notch stuff. Coach, Lynne, Ryan, Ron, Brian, Bill and anyone else involved with the project...Thank you.


wrote …

Love the new setup, wish it was faster on my "old" iPhone.

For those folks thinking they will have to login and look for new content everyday, just scroll down to the bottom and sign up for the RSS feed. That will give you an easily viewable website that you should save to your favorites that will easily show you all the latest additions to the new journal and will allow you to click into a specific article if you find something you just have to read right now.

Not sure if that's news to anyone but I just found it for my favorite blogs not too long ago. Much easier than surfing through each individual site one by one.

Thanks again Coach...


wrote …

This site is amazing! To all who have contributed, you've outdone yourselves... again. Thanks for all the amazing articles and video clips. I learn something everyday and now I will probably learn two.


Jason Boag wrote …

I can't believe this. I couldn't believe the content that was being given away the first time I looked on, this is a whole new level. Greg, you're generosity is still unsurpassed, brother, thank you!


Zach Even - Esh wrote …

Coach - that 11 minute video rocked the mother f**in' house!



wrote …

Greg #32

"but I think I'm likely a better reader." If you're above average the odds are on your side there I suppose. I'm not sure that's the best posture to take for a dialogue, but it's certainly your right to do so. I'll take my feedback to the private email rather than airing it in public.


wrote …

Love the new format!


wrote …

Kudos. This is a wonderful new design.

From the comments that have been posted, I suspect there are many subscribers that aren’t fully aware yet of the mountain of information and the powerful new tools for mining it and the ease of access to it that have just been made available to them.

Some specific comments on the previous posts:

1. For those who wish to continue to download one month’s worth of new Journal articles at a time, I’d like to point out that you can still do so. Just wait until the end of the current month, (for example, September 2008), click on “Chronology”, select the current month, (in this case, September 2008), and abstracts of all the Journal articles published in September 2008 will be displayed. You can then download all the September 2008 articles, but you must do so one article at a time.—A key feature of the new design is that new articles, as well as ALL previously published Journal articles, are available on an individual basis. This, together with the new Chronology and Category functions, make it quick and easy to locate an article by either date of publication or subject matter. This is a tremendous research aid.—While you can still download new articles at one month intervals, you can now choose whatever download interval you wish, for example, one week, two weeks, six weeks, or two months.
2. There is no need to constantly check for new articles. And, there is no urgency in downloading articles to your hard drive. So long as your subscription is current, ALL Journal articles will be available to you. You no longer need to worry about expiring email links.
3. The full text of the new articles is ever bit as full and detailed as the text of the old articles. The only way to get the full text of any article is to download the PDF article. What otherwise appears when an article is called up is just an abstract of the article.

I’m pretty sure that after a little getting-used-to-it time, everyone is going to love the new arrangement. Thanks for all the effort that has gone into this.


wrote …

Conorb, #38,

I owe you an apology. I'm too often more like Bobby Knight than John Wooden. I am, like this site, a work in progress. Your humility and gentle disposition are disarming and wholly admirable.

We learned a lot today. Much of what you've asked for is needed. Our development team is meeting in Scottsdale next week to hammer out some 3.X.Y details.

Packaging for print is coming. The print-then-read community is very, very, dear to our hearts. (Our designer, Ryan Lucas, and I are both print junkies and have long term dreams and plans for a glossy, oversized, coffee-table book quality print issue run to break even.) Reminders and feeds of various types are being discussed. RSS feeds need to be explained, and Brian and crew are planning articles explaining feeds. Before dawn this morning we saw the need for a link to the full article PDF just below the abstracts in addition to the one in the sidebar. If your first thought was "Why is the article so short?", the fault is ours.

To Ryan Lucas - CF Design, Ron Wilhelm - CF Coder, Bill McGair - CF Content Delivery, Brian Mulvaney - CF Project Support, Lynne Pitts - CF Operations, Tony Budding - CFJ/CF Media Manager, and all of you - Heart of CrossFit a big fat thanks!


wrote …

Good job guys. It's taking me a bit to get used to but that'll pass! Like Anthony, I'm not the sharpest, nor most computer literate, but we'll get there.

Pretty awesome really for $25/year!


wrote …

The generosity just never ends with you Coach, and Lauren. I'm reminded every day. Thank you.


Ryan Atkins wrote …

Awesome job!!!

Long ago I started hacking apart the back issues of the CrossFit Journals, putting all of Rip's articles into a single pdf, doing the same with the articles on O-lifting. I started to do the same with rings, Parkour, etc. but never finished the project. Thanks for taking a task off of my ever growing to-do list!!


wrote …

This is amazing!!!!!

I'm not gonna get shit done at work today, with all these old articles to look at!


wrote …

Continually I'm taken back and simultaneously enthused at all the crossfit community gives compared to the minuscule amounts it asks for in return.

The Glassmans aren't just forging elite fitness, they're forging informed fitness. I don't know if that's been said before, but even if it has it deserves repeating.

You're changing the world, without a doubt for the better.

Keep it coming.


wrote …

Following up on Greg Glassman's comment, just a nerdy note to the development team re: rolling out tweaks.

For any site, the best way to communicate upgrade info is counter-intuitive. It is NOT articles on the site itself. Many people just get overwhelmed by the new format and never read the articles. I'm guessing some of that happened yesterday.

And, remember, just getting people to the site is the first place is a challenge. Hence the importance of feeds, links, and promotional blurbs.

Here are some suggestions on how to roll out version 3.x.y:
* email to all subscribers with embedded links highligting new features...and even some old ones.
* article on the homepage of
* user guide article on the CJ site itself

Convey the same info in three different ways in three different places, varying the text. You can't be too obvious about this stuff.

Finally, I suggest you check out Sign up for their weekly newsletter. The station does a great job of packaging and promoting their content in many different ways.

My mega/meta advice would be to put greater emphasis on "selling" what you already have than on adding new functionality.

Finally, congratulations on outstanding work on a ground-breaking project. This really is next generation stuff.


wrote …

Prefer the magazine/e-zine style. Hope there is 30+ pages of material plus new video every month. Going to miss the old. It was kind of nice to print off the journal monthly and read it "old school" without a computer in hand.


Matthew Lucas wrote …

Awesome job guys! Thank you Coach, Lauren and the entire CrossFit team for all your hard work and dedication!


wrote …

This new format will make planning my training easier.I will be able to research more effectively and tie in my skill sets to the WOD.


wrote …

Apology accepted and appreciated Greg. I also owe an apology to you and the crew that worked on this unveiling. I forgot how much heart has to go into endeavors like this, and chose my words and my timing poorly. I'm looking forward to great things to come from this impressive vessel.


wrote …

Tony, Brian, Bill, Ryan and all of you that worked hard on this... Great job. I love the new layout and design! Thanks!


wrote …

Like the idea of the new journal and the site looks great, but I'm going to take a wait and see attitude. I have a feeling I'm going to miss being able to print the entire journal and throw it in my three ring binder, but I'm willing to give it a chance.

Keep the articles coming.


wrote …

The funny thing about Crossfit is that it just keeps strecthing me: in every aspect of my performance as a living organism!

I wish I hadn't paid for back issues in the past but that's small fry in contrast to having access to the entire library here and now. I wish I had not spent years wating my time in the gym and taking poor advice but without it I would not have had experience against which to contrast the results Crossfit offers.

I'm a paper junkie but the layout is clean and content available to search in different ways to suit different personal styles. I won't always have access to the web but when I do I can find the door has been opened to greater understanding and self-development for the PC down-time.

In short, as I get older I realise that, like my parents, change concerns me but every threat has with it opportunity.

To Coach and everybody else involved in Crossfit - developers, contributors, authors, trainers, followers, newbies and old-timers - thank you. I doubt I'll ever be called "elite" but I'm better than I was before your input and looks like you'll keep dragging me onwards and upwards! Thank you


wrote …

I'm going to be all counter-cultural and ask why I still have to download a stinking PDF just to read the articles. I abhor the added hassle of downloading and/or opening PDFs. I realize they give you more control over presentation, but please let us read the entire articles online too.

Other than that, this is a great idea, beautifully done, an awesome resource and I love it.


wrote …

There is more useful information to find in the Crossfit journal and on the homepage than anywhere else on the web.
The quality of the information that is practically given away by this community has proven itself to be more useful than everything I have learned from my "certifiers" and employers. It doesn't even come close.

Unlike most of the other bullshit you find on fitness sites around the web that you have to pay for, the Crossfit journal is worth the whole 25 dollars and more. Way more.
It's like setting a seed - you do so little and get so much back.

I don't think I will ever be able to give back anything as valuable as what I have been given. My way to continually repay the people who started Crossfit, and the ones who keep making it what it is and will be, is to constantly tell others of the benefits. The rest will take care of itself.

Thank you, all of you.


wrote …

Amazing stuff here. I've dug up several gymnastic articles to focus on over the next year.

The more I think about this change in format, the more I realize it's a huge step forward in each individual's personal training. Each of us can now sit down and take steps to overcome our on individual weaknesses.


replied to comment from Elliot Fuller

This way you can stay connected, remain inspired, like having dinner with the family every night!!


Evin Negron wrote …

Nice! I'm very impressed with the thoughtfulness and professional design of the site. It's a great resource that I plan on using a lot. Thanks!


wrote …


New site is great, and it's evident a lot of hard work and many hours were put in by several people. Getting access to all of the past Journals - it's like Christmas in September! THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.


wrote …

Looks like I picked the right time to sign up. Access to all the old archives was the selling point to me. $25 bucks for access to all of this seems like a steal.

I really liked the collected PDF for September. Will it be like this going forward only, or is there a chance you will be doing this for the past months?


wrote …

I know this is a bit after-the-fact, but can i just say that i think the site (particularly the Journal) is INCREDIBLE!

I'm still new but i'm most definitely hooked. Just subscribed last week, but i spent the previous month or so going through the whole chronology to see what articles i could read for free before i had the $$ to join! The quantity and quality of info is amazing, truly i don't think there is anything else like this out there - and for only $25 ($30 Australian :)), what a steal!

The journal design itself is excellent also, very well designed, attractive and easy to use.

Hats off to everyone involved, keep up the great work!


wrote …

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