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?
As CrossFit gets bigger and bigger, Glassman is no longer the underdog. Well-known employees and boxes have been tossed out after clashing with Glassman or voicing disagreements with the CrossFit approach to fitness or nutrition--or, in particular, criticizing other CrossFitters close to Glassman. In 2009, Robb Wolf, one of the first affiliates, was exiled. "You have to kowtow and not let your star shine too brightly," Wolf says. "He's always had this tendency toward incredible kindness, but he also has this rattlesnake intensity and cruelty."
The diet ranked last among 38 popular diets evaluated by U.S. News & World Report in its 2016 Best Diets Rankings; one of the raters, dietitian Meridan Zerner said: "We want behavioral changes and dietary changes that are slow and progressive and meaningful." David L. Katz said of the diet: "The grouping [of banned foods] is both random, and rather bizarre from a nutrition perspective. If the idea is good nutrition, cutting out whole grains and legumes is at odds with a boatload of evidence." It was selected as one of the worst health trends for 2013 by Health Magazine.
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.
This traditional legal effort is paired with an aggressive social-media operation run by two men, Russ Greene and Russell Berger. At CrossFit headquarters in Santa Cruz, they are known as the Russes.The Russes assist the company's conventional corporate social-media efforts (running the Twitter handle, promoting company news on the CrossFit Facebook page) while also closely monitoring what they call "the wide world of Internet assholes": chronic complainers, trolls, Wikipedia page editors, cynical bloggers, even the American College of Sports Medicine, which the Russes and Glassman believe has it in for CrossFit. When the Russes feel any of these parties go over the line, their approach is simple: They obliterate them. (See "Social Media, CrossFit Style.")
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.'"