(This was originally a post I made on Facebook right after the Crossfit Games)
Last week I started to hear rumors, rumors that I predicted would be coming and will fundamentally change Crossfit as we know it. The crux of that series and an article I wrote after was that Crossfit had a problem, the problem was that Games athlete’s ate carbs and the emphasis of Crossfit Health was anti-carb. I started writing a series about the future of the Crossfit Games but ultimately stopped. It just didn’t seem appropriate at the time because at the time, for the first time in years, I didn’t go to the live event and I was enjoying the spectacle that unites us each year.
But that’s not going to be the emphasis of what I am going to talk about. What I am going to talk about is the new vision for Crossfit the correct business decision, the emphasis on Crossfit Health. In theory it sounds like a good idea and on the affiliate level it’s a real mixed bag on what the nutrition solution is for Crossfit boxes. To take a look at the direction Crossfit wants to go its important to understand an organization called NUSI, rather than bore you with the details the institute was designed to bring in opposing points of view but the people that started the organization had a very clear objective, they wanted to prove the insulin hypothesis correct (their stated goal was to solve obesity but with that condition). If you want to read more on that idea here you go but that isn’t the emphasis of this article and I couldn’t do a better job describing it anyway, so here you go:
The studies NUSI paid for to basically prove Gary Taubes’ “insulin hypothesis” actually proved the opposite and furthermore showed that calories in and calories out mattered quite a bit. If you are a Crossfitter you know the name Gary Taubes because he comes up a lot and in Crossfit the “insulin hypothesis” is continuously brought up with some amazing assertions (cure chronic disease and such, a path Taubes was going down until he got the science smack down).
Once again, not the point of this article but when Taubes was demonizing sugar and carbs in a blog it found a strong audience. When it came time for the rubber to meet the road science was not so kind and what you see now when Taubes writes is that his assertions aren’t so wild. It’s difficult to do that when the science of what you are talking about was proven wrong.
This hasn’t of course stopped a legion of people that saw Taubes’ rise and said “give me some of that”. With NUSI gone many of them have found a willing audience and venue in Crossfit Health. My article a few weeks ago was that if you have a conference and you don’t invite more point of views at it’s very core that’s not the heart of “open source” which is one of the cornerstone’s that has made Crossfit great.
And just to be clear Crossfit changed my life, before Crossfit I was pre-diabetic and while I have ignored the Taubes “quackery” (his word not mine) every single day I preach one gospel, food and moving matters. Crossfit might be the most glycolytic exercise protocol on the planet which basically means that if you give your body a ready supply of glucose you will be better at the sport. That was the emphasis of my article a few weeks ago and what I said then was proven with these changes.
What the Crossfit Games proved is that the fittest person on the planet is usually pretty smart about their energy requirements. Which is the ironic part, the real solution to the problem that they THINK they are solving with Crossfit Health is ACTUALLY being solved at the Crossfit Games. I might not need 1000g of carbs a day like Brent Fikowski but that doesn’t mean I have to have no carbs. Like Crossfit the exercise protocol you can modify for the athlete.
I said this the other day and I will repeat what I am saying now. The Crossfit games is being changed because the athletes didn’t eat in the way Greg Glassman wanted them too. You are going to hear about reasons like the money and their relationship with Reebok but those things aren’t the core of the problem.
The core of the problem is that Crossfit HQ wants low carb to be served up as the nutrition solution that it just isn’t. In the article below Glassman suggests that Crossfit has grown faster than Starbucks or Taco Bell. Could you imagine how many Taco Bell’s there would be if the cost of entry was $3,000 dollars to affiliate? There would be taco stands on every corner. Glassman is throwing a hail mary with Crossfit Health and betting that it’s the thing that will bring in 10 times the affiliates that they have now. I am a betting man, I will take the against for the same reason I started Crossfit.
I wanted to eat flexibly, enjoy my life and remain healthy. All of which I did. So as a formerly obese person Crossfit was like fitness college for me, since Crossfit I have gone on to get my masters in powerlifting, I have toiled with body building and I have run long distances.
The appeal to me was that I wasn’t broken and that I wasn’t a victim of food and with good effort I could take control of my life.
I did that but now it’s not enough to just exercise and seek the most optimal me through performance, now I have to do it eating the way Glassman thinks I should eat.
I’ll pass and my guess is so will most people. No one wants to exercise extremely under fed ignoring whole food groups that are deemed to be bad. That’s not empowering, that’s selling a narrative that we are a victim of food and a victim of things out of our control. What it’s basically saying is “you are broken” and here is the magic elixir that will fix you (that’s why the “cures chronic disease” narrative is very dangerous, it sells false hope).
Those were the messages I bought and paid for before I started Crossfit and frankly I don’t want to go back down that rabbit hole.
A lot of people reading this will say I am going too far, this is about the money and I couldn’t be more off base. I will happily concede that point if I am in the future but literally days ago I said this was coming and the fact that it did wasn’t a surprise. The Crossfit Games and Crossfit HQ were at odds and the Crossfit HQ won. I think that’s a mistake because the Crossfit Games is what made us different from Orange Theory and F45.
I hope I am wrong but it just feels like Castro built the games into something amazing and what was originally Glassman’s idea was forgotten. This feels a bit like Glassman flexing and saying “this is the way it’s going to be” and it wouldn’t surprise me if this has a domino effect where more large fitness competitions outside of the Crossfit infrastructure emerge.
Here is the article about the changes that are coming