Saturday, September 19, 2009

Underground



Today was a fun day. Even in spite of a lighter, slightly longer metcon, it was just my kind of day. Since our Friday cleaning person is out of town the box was a disaster- in a good way. It was remnant of all the people who have been through since yesterday. Little bits of foam littered the floor where our clients kids had been playing during their parents CrossFit WODs. The mats were covered with Mowgli hair, and Berkeley hair, and Chato hair, and Buddy hair. Gross, I know, but it was just so much fun seeing the dogs rough house with each other after they had sat, on leashes, patiently waiting for their owners to finish. Sometimes I look around and think about how I just love the non-flashiness of our box. It's not fancy. It's not full of expensive equipment. It's got a stuffed bear in the loft that was hunted by Cliff that freaks people out (a bear that I forbid him to bring so he waited until I went out of town and snuck it in). It's the kind of place that our members come just to hang out, even on their rest days, to bullshit about training and nutrition; who's who in the CrossFit world; the latest journal videos, the latest main site WOD. It's my favorite little dingy Underground box, a hidden gem, just the way I invision a fitness subculture should be.

The best part was that Greg Everett was in town and came by to train. He and his wife Aimee (owners of Catalyst Athletics) came by on Thursday as well and let me tell you, watching these two get their Olifting on is like watching biomechanical art in motion. It was quite awesome that Greg thought it was a good enough little, dingy CrossFit box for him to come back to train again. But my favorite part was remeniscing, much like our clients who come to hang out on their rest days, about CrossFit.

What most people don't know is that Greg was a CrossFit gym owner long before he opened Catalyst Athletics and is not just an Olympic lifting specialist, but is extremely educated and experienced in the world of CrossFit as well. It was lots of fun to kick around thoughts about programming and the path CrossFit has taken. Where it's come from and where it's going. It got me thinking about a post I wrote a while back about CrossFit being "Underground." An idea that has already, even in the 3 months since I wrote it, evolved dramatically. I decided I'd post it again here since it seems to be an ever relevant topic.

(see article below WOD)

As for today's training...

Strength

OH Squat
5,5,5,5,5
Me- 123, 128, 133, 133, 133

WOD:
4 Rounds
400m Run
10HPC (95)
7HSPU
12 Pull Ups

Me- 14:00

UNDERGROUND

Everyone knows that the fitness world is a multi billion dollar industry. You can’t flip through the TV channels without seeing an infomercial on the latest ab machine that promises to help you lose 10 inches in just days or your money back; or flip through a magazine without seeing before and after photos in little magic pill advertisements that lure you in by making you think it’s and in depth, 5 page article on some break through weight loss science. You pass by 24 Hour Fitness’s and Curves studios that push mechanical circuit training and expensive health bars on a daily basis and hear Jared’s voice on the radio talking about how all he did to lose weight was eat 2 six inch turkey subs everyday and voila! Plastic surgery like liposuction, and worse, gastro intestinal by-pass surgery are now main stream as people trade their doctor’s phone numbers like personal marketing assistants. The worst part is that just about all of them are completely unconditioned, overweight, and out of shape. Why? Because the shit doesn’t work. That fitness industry, man, it is a monster. The real motto: Get people to spend, spend, spend, but keep them fat so they have to keep coming back for more.
Why do you think no one really knows about CrossFit even though it’s been around for over a decade? I hear stories all the time about how Glassman got kicked out of so many different places, not just for dropping weights, but for spreading crazy ideas about how all you need to be fit is high intensity exercise at short durations, constantly varying what you do (sound familiar CF Westers?). No supplements (besides maybe a little fish oil), just real food and intense functional exercise for short periods of time. No nonsense. Not rocket science. But certainly not the biggest money making idea for the fitness industry either. It’s no wonder real fitness intellectuals talk about him like he’s a fitness God, a pioneer having the courage to speak the truth, get kicked out of Spa’s and Global Gyms all over the place, and forced to run out of garages and old warehouses (hence the birth of the CrossFit box. Isn’t it a fantastic fitness renaissance?).
But lately people are starting to hear about CrossFit. CrossFit boxes are starting to be abundant nationwide. Hell, worldwide even. The games have become such a big event in just a few short years that a regional qualifier has been implemented to narrow down the vast numbers to simply the best few athletes. There have even been rumors that the games might be shown on ESPN within the next two years. When I think of how much I truly believe in CrossFit and ponder the fact that it has bettered the lives of so many people it makes me pretty happy. But call it the punk rocker buried deep inside, there’s part of me that loves the fact that CrossFit has been underground; a counter fitness culture if you will. Part of me doesn’t really want it to be discovered by everyone, for fear that, once mainstream, it will change. Like when one of your favorite underground bands gets discovered and you start hearing their songs played on Top 40 a thousand times a day. I fear that once discovered, some fitness industry money making guru will implement a new machine or a magic pill, and the true nature of CrossFit will be lost.

That would be a damn capitalistic shame.

End note: I also heard a rumor that CrossFit has implemented a new rule that as of now any new CrossFit box owner can only own 1 box. This is because of an offer made by Bally Total Fitness to open 30 new affiliates which was turned down by the Glassman’s. Talk about a ray of hope for the future of CrossFit. What are your thought’s on the underground vs. mainstream status of CrossFit?

2 comments:

  1. We LOVE your gym! We LOVE training in little gyms like yours... it reminds me of the gym I trained in since the beginning of time. My coach's! Mike's gym! Hard core garage gyms with rusty collars, dogs running around, and people's ols smelly shoes are my FAV.
    We are so glad to have you as our new friend! Let the fun times begin...

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  2. Thanks Aimee! I absolutely love your guys' gym too. I'm glad you guys were able to come get your workouts in. You are totally welcome here anytime. I've already learned so much from you and Greg and am so thankfull and honored that I get to train with you guys. Here's to lifting heavy weights... and resting between reps:)

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