Thursday, January 19, 2012

Forging Elite Profits

Forging Elite Profits
CrossFit as we know it has arrived! The controversy is plentiful and very compelling. The most interesting thing is that like it or not it is a reality of our society. To fully understand my point of view, we have to go back to when I was on my quest to open my box – Elm City CrossFit.
At Elm City CrossFit we are bonded by various motivating factors but the one that keeps individuals coming back for more is the community, commitment to success and a constant eye on the individual. This is a trend that I have witnessed more than two years in the making. I see people of various abilities, backgrounds, sexes, interests and of course opinions, come together every day to suffer together. And for those who suffer together bond together. It is sediment that is felt not only with the athletes performing the exercises, but also anyone who ever walks into our box. We are a band of brothers brought together for individual goals.

Each day at Elm City CrossFit, athletes are exposed to a workout which each individual will perform during the course of that particular day. There is a since of both competition and camaraderie when athletes set out on their journey to complete the day’s test. Our athletes are motivated and comforted by the simple fact that the team will be victorious, standing together against the day’s challenges. It is extremely important to create an environment where athlete’s questions can be answered, where their fears can be over-come and a safe and productive atmosphere is realized. Even though our results are individually based and our goals are very personal, the means and the medium are very much team driven. Our team is less concern with physical prowess or appearance; we are concern with how our team fares. Participation, pride, perseverance, passion, poise – this is our team – watch us win!
It was the summer of 2009 and I was hot off of returning from the CrossFit Games in Armos, California participating in the affiliate team competition and supporting two women from my gym. At the time I was going to CrossFit Milford and was in the middle of building Elm City CrossFit. I had the fortunate opportunity to sit into an open-floor talk given by Greg Glassman at a local box in Watertown, Connecticut. My first impression of him was what you would normally assume given his larger than life status as the founder of the program I now subscribe to. I found him extremely approachable and very easy to talk to. This was a breath of fresh air and made me very hopeful that my quest to open a gym an attainable reality.
So I sat and listened intently for over an hour about the history of CrossFit and the methodology behind the madness.  One of the biggest ideas and themes I got from this lecture was the openness of the community and the bare innocence of the program – Completely Organic. I was drawn to the notion that regardless of background, age, physical exposure or any other preexisting conditions; anyone can both participate and see success.
It was extremely interesting that I was so motivated and moved by this simple concept and then the topic of the CrossFit Games came up. Coach Glassman was very quick to point out that he is extremely proud of the event and looks forward to future Games as a way to further expose our building community and truly reveal the fittest on Earth. He went on to talk about the number of sports apparel, shoe, marketing, beverage and even market fund investors have approached him to buy the rights to both CrossFit and the CrossFit Games. He held firm in his belief that the true fitness experience should not be aligned with a marketing campaign and that it exists in all of us. He will not sell out to the highest bidder and forgo the work he has done building an open-sourced fitness movement.
Since that humid afternoon in central Connecticut, CrossFit has experienced an absolute explosion. The total number of CrossFit boxes in the state has nearly doubled and nearly tripled nationally and globally. We have witnessed huge amounts of changes in the programming, training methodology, Headquarters’ personnel, affiliation, marketing and most of all the CrossFit Games.  Coach Glassman and CrossFit have aligned themselves with Reebok and now look to push the sport of fitness into every house-hold in the world with a big fat Reebok sticker on the cover!
As I have written about previously, I am very upset at the fact that CrossFit boxes just keep popping up around existing boxes- on the same streets – in the same towns... We like to talk about community but it has become who has the biggest box, the most monetary support and a who’s who of games competitors and athletic sponsorships - How can we build a community when we are becoming exactly what we despise -The globo gym... CrossFit Headquarters kindly accepts our affiliate fees every year with absolutely no return like protection from other pseudo CrossFit globo boxes looking to clean up with less than ideal programming, over-crowded classes and with little regards to community, personal development and goal accomplishment... Congratulations CrossFit Headquarters... we have become over-crowded, non-coached, unsafe, nonfunctional movement CROSSFIT GLOBO!!! Coach Glassman should be proud of what his CrossFit model has become… An organic community of Mice and Men
The face of the training program, which I promote, adhere to and prescribe to my athletes have moved from Main Street to Wall Street. We don’t read about the mother of three kids getting a pull-up, learning how to squat clean, losing weight or becoming a healthy individual. We see professional athletes parade around in Reebok CrossFit gear doing 100 butterfly pull-ups and talking about what their expectations are for next years’ Games. Now let me be completely clear, I know some of the Games athletes personally. They are extremely humble people and phenomenal athletic specimens.  I don’t fault their positions, nor their individual drive to be the best. Hell, I wish I was as fit as them. But they are not the problem. CrossFit as a corporation is.
We are now faced with the painful yet inevitable reality that our sport has evolved and fallen victim to big business, big profit, cookie cutter, and the globo monster!  This is the same monster that we use to mock and talk about. The same monster which we vowed never to be like – we have now become. We have taken the standard CrossFit coined phrase, constantly varied, from a physical function perspective and brought it to hazardous coaching techniques, unsafe workout environments and a one-sized fit all regiment –do whatever you want and call it Innovative Bad-Ass CrossFit programming.
This new logo infested portrait of what fitness should look like is drastically different than the one that actually exists. The jaw-dropping six pack abs and perfect bodies are exactly what got us in this predicament in the first place. Intimidation factor, a positive and valuable weapon in war but is a huge deterrent in an attempt to involve average working people in fitness. Why would we make true fitness have a face of a professional athlete? We are the common people with a common goal – we want to be healthy, productive and adaptive human beings. We have preconceived fears, emotional image issues and self doubt. The last thing we need to see is beautiful people displaying what fitness and training looks like. It is a blow to our already fat bellies and a kick in our cellulite infested asses.
So the main question remains; does this shift into main stream affect Elm City CrossFit? Only time will tell. What I can share with you from an Average Joe’s perspective, CrossFit sold out to the highest bidder. What started out as a genuine attempt at making normal everyday people find fitness has turned into a cash cow. CrossFit is now a brand that will be watered down, spread thin over the masses and sold as apparel, shoes and the occasional seminar spouting its greatness. Can I completely answer why? Absolutely not. Will it change CrossFit? It already has.
Our commitment at Elm City CrossFit has remained unchanged since day one. We are committed to constant attention to the progress of our athletes and our community. We will keep our classes to a manageable number where every athelete gets the proper attention they deserve. We veiled never to coach to the masses. We promised to always know our athletes limitation and we will maintain our relationship with them. We will always be more impressed with the successful completion of your goals over cool apparel and six pack abs.
For me personally, it has become a theme or mantra to speak out for all those athletes out there who desire positive change and are looking for a jump start. I represent those athletes who are working professionals, mothers, fathers, daughters, brothers, wives, friends and fighters – not professional athletes. I pull for you guys who dedicate your valuable time. Your payout is seeing positive, healthy results. I am inspired by those decisions we make on a daily basis to be better people – to break the norm and to make a difference through positive nutritional and exercise habits. These are the personalities and individuals who serves a greater purpose, you are the ones who make up our Elm City Community. No matter what corporate changes may take place around us – you can rest assured that your home at Elm City CrossFit and the commitment you have made to us will be forever appreciated and unchanged. ~The Average Joe

Monday, January 16, 2012

Just Another Day!