• Rob Olson

A Conversation with The Big Man - Greg Glassman

I was recently invited to be on a Zoom call with Greg Glassman, founder and CEO of CrossFit, along with about 10 other affiliates. Here's the scoop.

First, we went around introducing ourselves, we talked about what was going on with us, and how COVID was impacting our business. The box before me talked about several things, but in an act of fate, they talked about their Parkinson's workout program. For those that do not know, my father was recently diagnosed. So I got their information, and fingers crossed, they can help my dad. It's so cool to see other boxes offering unique programs like this, and the common thread between us is that we all want to help people get better through CrossFit methodologies. Kudos to them for the creative program!

Moving on, each box owner has had a slightly different experience with COVID. Some have lost very few members, some have lost a significant amount and are facing closure. Some lent equipment out, some did not. This is the unique nature of CrossFit, in that we get no official guidance from Headquarters (HQ). There are pros and cons to that of course, but in this case, its a good thing, as we (CFS) pivoted quickly to an online model which has helped maintain a lot of our membership base. Big gyms such as Golds and 24Hr Fitness are closing locations and looking at bankruptcy filings because they could not maintain a membership base during the shutdown. Sometimes it pays to be small and nimble.

Some of the key takeaways from Glassman

  • In the greatest scheme of life and the sea of chronic disease that plagues this country (and parts of the world), CrossFit Affiliates are Swim Instructors and Doctors are Lifeguards. Think about it - you get sick, you go to the doctor, you get medicine. Most go to the doctors for a routine checkup once a year, and if you pass, you go on your way. If things aren't looking good, you typically get pills. Rarely does it go to more than that. Some of the very best physicians may have in-depth conversations, but is there any followup or accountability? What society really needs more of are lifestyle coaches, how to eat healthy and how to stay active. If I'm staring out at an ocean, I want to learn how to swim. My safety is my priority. I don't want to venture out without knowing how to swim to then only maybe be saved by the lifeguard. Plus, if you know how to swim, so much more of the world is open to you. Medicine is absolutely necessary for acute emergencies, no doubt about it, it saves lives. But so many more lives can be saved with education and accountability, specific to nutrition and fitness. Heart failure, type 2 diabetes, obesity .. these things are 80% of the BILLIONS of dollars spent in our country on health care problems. All of them are preventable.

  • The death rate for COVID is so bad in the US because we have so many sick people. And not sick in the traditional sense, but people with obesity (40% of Americans), high blood pressure, etc. These "co-morbidities" are what make COVID deadly. Watch this video

  • He is a big proponent of personal responsibility. Part of what he mentions earlier is about being proactive in your heath, instead of reactive. If you watch what you eat, and stay active, chances are much lower of getting an illness. But if you wait until you are already sick, then its going to take a lot more work and money to fix it. COVID is the perfect example.

  • He is sure we'll see something like COVID again.

  • He recommends everyone have a home gym with: pullup bar, rings, abmat, one or two sets of DBs, box, and med ball. If the government can control whether or not the gym is open, everyone should have a backup plan.

  • He was very thankful for us, the affiliates, and really just wanted to say that, and to get a pulse on how we were faring with the mandatory closures.

Overall it was really cool to chat with him and to hear how other affiliates are fairing right now. I'm proud to be a CrossFit Affiliate owner and take great pride in our mission to help people live healthier and happier lives. This closure is but a blip on our radar, and we will open up more dedicated and passionate than ever.

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