After spending a week fine-tuning my new eating plan, I decided to add workouts back into my routine. On a typical week, I'll go to a cardio or strength class (I like boxing) once or twice and do some yoga or stretching at home another night. I dove right in and hit up my favorite boxing studio, Rumble. But I was really nervous. What if I didn't have enough energy? What if I passed out during class? What if I got so hungry I caved and bought a slice of pizza on the walk home from class?
The night before, he had rolled up with his entourage about 20 minutes late to a packed lecture hall of 500 CrossFitters at the University of Washington campus. He had been invited to speak there by the Freedom Foundation, a local libertarian group. Libertarians love CrossFit. It's neither a wholly owned chain of gyms nor a franchise, but the nucleus of a sprawling worldwide network of entrepreneurs. A local CrossFit gym is referred to as a box, because it can be anywhere and any style, and the culture of any box may be nothing like that of Glassman's company, or of any other CrossFit box. Boxes may even have different business models. And yet, there in the audience was the order spawned from the chaos: rows and rows of passionate CrossFitters, united in their love of the WOD, their muscled physiques rippling beneath T-shirts and hoodies.
Make the Chicken: While the pears are baking, place the chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and use the flat side of a meat mallet to flat¬ten them to [1/4] -inch thickness. In a shallow dish, combine the coconut flour, almond flour, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, lemon peel, and salt. In another shallow dish, whisk together the egg and water. Dip the chicken into the egg mixture, then into the seasoned flour to coat both sides.
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.
Sweden's Staffan Lindeberg has a home page Paleolithic Diet in Medical Nutrition [archive.org]. A recent study of Staffan's has A Paleolithic diet improving glucose tolerance more than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischemic heart disease. Also see his first web page, an overview of his Kitava study: On the Benefits of Ancient Diets. Now he has a book Food and Western Disease: Health and nutrition from an evolutionary perspective. Here's a book review: Easy to Read, Informative, Packed with Footnotes on Studies.
But in the Times article--headlined "Getting Fit, Even If It Kills You"--Glassman used the kind of tough-guy talk he used to shout at CrossFitters during their WODs. "It can kill you...I've always been completely honest about that," he said. "If you find the notion of falling off the rings and breaking your neck so foreign to you, then we don't want you in our ranks." Punctuating his blunt attitude, he had led his October journal article with a cartoon of a new clown, Uncle Rhabdo, who stands exhausted before a dialysis machine, his kidneys splattered in a pool of blood. The Times mentioned that, too.
He also makes a concerted effort to avoid new streams of revenue. (See "CrossFit Doesn't Want Your Money.") CrossFit makes most of its money from training seminars: Every weekend, it certifies hundreds of people as trainers, at $1,000 a pop. It also collects registration fees for the CrossFit Games, royalties from Reebok for CrossFit apparel, and annual affiliate fees. The affiliate fees, which top out at $3,000 a year, are locked in at their original rates. Joshua Newman, who runs a big, successful box called CrossFit NYC, told me he pays just $500 a year.
Before I went on Whole30 I was sleeping 8 to 10 hours a night (yes, I love my sleep), yet come 2 p.m. I'd hit an energy slump. I'd feel high right after I ate (looking back on it, probably because I was eating so much added sugar) but my energy would significantly fluctuate through the day. During the beginning of Whole30 — specifically the first three days — I really struggled. Again, I was a sugar addict and I think detoxing from that really affected my energy levels. But after that slump, my energy was constant — I really had never felt better. Even when things didn't go the way I wanted, I felt energetic and up for any challenge.
This 2003 CrossFit Journal article captures an early conception of a universal, multi-event test of fitness that laid the foundation for CrossFit competition, including what would become the CrossFit Open and the CrossFit Games. The design requirements for such a test "included but were not limited to the following: quantifiable results; consistency with the CrossFit fitness concept; raising our commitment to improving absolute strength, relative strength, and gymnastic foundations; balancing intrinsic abilities of smaller and larger athletes; emphasizing exercises critical to and foundational to advanced training; mixing training demands within each test and, of course, over the total competition; a design that would identify an athlete’s weaknesses and possibly stand as a workout plan for improving overall fitness; and, finally, we wanted to design a competition that would be 'hard as hell.'"