The Sport of Fitness and CrossFit: Two Roads Diverged

The title of this article means nothing if what I call CrossFit is more than just constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity.

The title of this article means nothing if what I call CrossFit is more than just constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity. I realize that it is the definition of CrossFit, but as someone who’s been in this for some time now, I think one would agree that CrossFit is as much about community, the workout of the day, lifestyle and scaling as it is about anything else.


It’s from this perspective that I believe that CrossFit, the everyday-GGP-lifestyle-at-the-box-with-a-newfound-family version of CrossFit, will travel down a road that looks less and less like “The Sport of Fitness” we see on TV. And, before you draft your hatemail to me, I’d like to explain that not only do I think the separation between the CrossFit competitor and CrossFit practitioner will grow wider, but that I hope it does, because it’s better for CrossFit.

Is CrossFit displayed as “The Sport of Fittest” on ESPN and its tangential exploding growth good for CrossFit? Without a doubt. Should CrossFit competitors continue to push the boundaries of human performance across broad time and modal domains? You betcha. The distinction, however, must remain that 95 percent of folks that walk into affiliates’ doors are signing up for the everyday-GGP-lifestyle-at-the-box-with-newfound-family version of CrossFit, and not necessarily the ESPN version of CrossFit. For the non-competitor, CrossFit ought to be inclusive and sustainable. With that, CrossFit’s growth is infinite.

Though this is just my opinion, I’d argue that the beauty of CrossFit is in large part the definable measurable fitness it yields and is displayed on ESPN. But, other crucial, beautiful pieces are its thorough ideology, infinite scalability and sustainability, right? Well, the best way, in my opinion, to grow this beautiful beast is to grow a beast with two heads: the community and the sport.

What, then, does the future of CrossFit look like? In my opinion, we’ll see more gyms like Justin Flynn’s second gym set to open next month in Orange County, devoted to the competitive athlete. Competitors will have to differentiate themselves from students like my mom, who trains in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle at CrossFit Trifecta. Competitors of the sport will need their time outside of “class” for countless skillwork sessions, strength components and, of course, traditional CrossFit metcons. Distinguishing CrossFit: The Sport from CrossFit: The GPP Training Program makes both segments better.

Believe me, though the title of this article has a negative connotation, I think this solution is positive in its utmost. Without an ability to manage both the growth of CrossFit for millions of folks around the world and to manage the growth of the CrossFit Games, versatility is key. Unwillingness to let go of the purist “workout-of-the-day-only” mentality only impedes the progress of the Fittest on Earth, while a community of trainers who are grooming students only for the almighty score on the whiteboard excludes millions from potentially enjoying the gift of CrossFit that my mother, for example, enjoys.