It seems unlikely, from today's perspective, that a rudimentary site featuring a daily workout, a daily link to other fitness sites, and occasionally a photo of an athlete could generate a passionate viral following.But then you probably haven't tried a WOD. To a skeptical initiate, the commitment to the WOD seems odd: It might be just 10 minutes of alternating five reps of deadlifts with 100-yard sprints. Simple enough, you think, as you picture yourself running around like a beheaded, powerlifting chicken. (In conventional gyms, CrossFit workouts draw stares.) But when you actually do that workout, halfway through you hit the baptismal version of what early CrossFitters fondly called the mess-you-up moment--the recognition that there's devilish magic in this offbeat combination. In a few minutes, you're the sorest you've been in years. You're not sure you will survive. It's an adrenaline rush. For anyone bored with standard weights routines or the elliptical, it's addictive.
An Interview with Ward Nicholson now has three parts on the web. Good overview of man's diet over the past 65 million years. Long but highly recommended reading. First published in Chet Day's "Health & Beyond" newsletter. Now part of a very comprehensive Beyond Vegetarianism site. Every argument that your vegetarian friends use to avoid meat for health reasons is debunked here.
Glassman has always been a fighter, an us-versus-them kind of guy, and as his company has grown, so has his arsenal: CrossFit now has seven lawyers on staff and at any given time is engaging 12 to 20 outside legal firms to pursue trademark-infringement cases. CrossFit has a database of more than 5,000 possible infringements and is litigating a dozen lawsuits in the U.S. and several more internationally.
Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human by Richard Wrangham. This book argues that the ease of digestion and the added nutritional value available in cooked food was the key behind the explosion of human intelligence. (Cooking gelatinizes starch, denatures protein, and softens all foods, permitting more complete digestion and energy extraction. As a result, the food processing apparatus shrinks, freeing energy to support a larger brain.) He then suggests that cooking led to what eventually became marriage and the sexual division of labor. The two most helpful reviews at Amazon get into great detail. The reviews average to 4+ stars.
Some CrossFitters drink WAYYY too much “kool-aid.” You’ll run into CrossFit people who think CrossFit is the be-all, end-all training solution, and anybody that doesn’t do CrossFit is a wuss. If you can do 20 pull ups, they can do 22, and do them faster than you, after doing 25 handstand push ups and running 400 meters. I tend to dislike elitists no matter what they are elitist about, and CrossFit is no exception.
In making the case for meat, Cordain presents anecdotal evidence of Eskimos who lived their full life without a heart attack. The Eskimo diet consists of 97% meat, which he concedes causes all Eskimos to develop atherosclerosis—a common precursor to heart disease. But Cordain says Eskimos never die of heart disease. He discusses one Eskimo who lived 45 years and another who lived 53 years, both without heart disease! He then jumps to the conclusion that because these Eskimos didn’t get heart attacks, even with severe atherosclerosis, meat must have protected them from heart disease. So Cordain’s best case for lots of meat is that you can live to the ripe age of 45 or even 53 without a heart attack. But do people—even unhealthy smokers or the obese—generally get heart attacks before age 53?
Annie Thorisdottir will become only the third athlete in history to reach 10 individual CrossFit Games appearances, joining Ben Smith and Becca Voigt. The current streak is 10 consecutive individual appearances held by Ben Smith. He had surgery earlier this year and still has a chance to qualify through a Sanctional. Camille Leblanc-Bazinet holds the second longest streak at nine and has the opportunity to tie Smith if she wins a Sanctional.
But the truth is--and this is apparent to anyone watching Glassman wile away an afternoon at El Borracho--that CrossFit's success doesn't derive from any conventional business strategy. Glassman doesn't behave the way he's supposed to. Sometimes he rebels out of cunning, other times for the sheer petulant fun of it. Often, it's hard to tell which. As a result, CrossFit is a workout and a company no conventional trainer or M.B.A. would ever have built. Glassman is sitting atop a firecracker of a company. And the relevant question is, as always, What's he going to do now?
A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research entitled "Crossfit-based high intensity power training improves maximal aerobic fitness and body composition" followed 54 participants for 10 weeks of CrossFit training. The study said that "...a notable percentage of our subjects (16%) did not complete the training program and return for follow-up testing." The authors said "This may call into question the risk-benefit ratio for such extreme training programs..." In 2014, CrossFit, Inc. filed a lawsuit against the National Strength and Conditioning Association for publishing this study, alleging that the data were false and were "intended to scare participants away from CrossFit." The NSCA denies CrossFit, Inc.'s allegations but has issued an erratum acknowledging that the injury data were incorrect. In September 2016, the District Court ruled in favor of CrossFit Inc.'s claims that the injury data were found to be false, but not that the NSCA was commercially motivated or that the publishing of the study was defamatory as the NSCA no longer stood behind the study. In February 2017, CrossFit filed for sanctions against the NSCA after one of the NSCA's witnesses admitted to falsifying statements during deposition. In May 2017, the Court issued 17 issues sanctions against the NSCA, writing that the organization did have a commercial motive to falsify the data, had published the false data knowingly to disparage CrossFit, and had misled the public with their erratum. CrossFit was awarded $74,000 in legal fees and allowed to continue investigating the NSCA. If the neutral-party analysis of the NSCA servers turns up any further misconduct, CrossFit may file an amended complaint for further sanctioning and compensation for lost revenue.
In terms of food, I kicked up my creativity up a notch in the kitchen. I tried experimenting with recipes that were a little more complex than my usual, like making pesto out of cashews and avocados and serving it over a plate of zoodles. I made blueberry energy bites in my food processor to snack on during a movie marathon and grab for a quick breakfast. I also tried new snacks, like bottled tomatillo jalapeno soup from ZÜPA NOMA and chia pudding from Daily Harvest to mix things up.
Alcohol is a no-no if you are strict paleo. Beer is made from grains, and liquor also contains traces of gluten. But, good news for cider-lovers: most hard ciders are gluten-free, so they are allowed. Check the label to be sure. Red wine is more accepted in the paleo community because it contains the antioxidant resveratrol, but sorry chardonnay lovers, white wine is technically not allowed.
The Paleo Diet focuses on foods that are high in protein, low in carbs, and rich with fiber. There's a strong emphasis on meat, fruits, and vegetables — basically, anything our ancestors would have consumed more than 10,000 years ago during the Paleolithic era. (There's actually some truth to this: in July 2018, when researchers identified the stomach contents of the 5,300-year-old mummy Otzi, they found that his last meal was high-fat and contained "animal and plant remains," making it pretty Paleo-friendly.)
Diana Schwarzbein is another M.D. that has come to realize that low carb is what works. See reviews at The Schwarzbein Principle. The book is based on her work with insulin-resistant patients with Type II diabetes. She concludes that low-fat diets cause heart attacks, eating fat makes you lose body fat, and it's important to eat high-cholesterol foods every day.
CrossFit, Inc. licenses the CrossFit name to gyms for an annual fee and certifies trainers. Besides the standard two-day "Level 1 Trainer Course", specialty seminars include gymnastics, Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, strongman, running and endurance, rowing, kettlebells, mobility and recovery, CrossFit Kids, CrossFit Football, and self-defense and striking. Other specialized adaptations include programs for pregnant women, seniors, and military special operations candidates. Affiliates develop their own programming, pricing, and instructional methods. Many athletes and trainers see themselves as part of a contrarian, insurgent movement that questions conventional fitness wisdom. In addition to performing prescribed workouts, they follow CrossFit's nutrition recommendations, adopting a paleo and/or zone diet.