The Six Innovations of CrossFit

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ou know you are on to something when people simultaneously hate and adore what you are doing. A prominent Boston Globe columnist once wrote about a band, “[They] are not merely awful; I would consider it sacrilegious to say anything less than that they are god awful.”1

A year later the Beatles sold out Shae Stadium.

Apple has legions of fanboys, but plenty of people believe their computers are nothing but overpriced and stylized pieces of plastic. People get tattoos of their favorite football teams on their arm, but more and more refuse to allow their children to play. CrossFit fits this description. For those that don’t know, CrossFit is a new group fitness regime. Fast Company explained:

The heart of CrossFit is the Workout of the Day (WOD), a common workout begun at hourly intervals throughout the day by cohorts of gym members. All exercises are functional in nature, cherry picking movements from gymnastics, Olympic lifting, army obstacle courses, triathlon training, and calisthenics, designed to prepare athletes for whatever real-world obstacles they may encounter, from police pursuits to lifting newborn twins.

People who love CrossFit really can’t stop talking about the benefits, while the critics can’t stop talking about the risks. I’m guilty of the first. I’ve been doing CrossFit for about 16-months and I often find myself annoying friends with stories about my workouts. In that way, CrossFit is like fantasy football: No one wants to hear about it unless they are involved. But yet, there is an entire online industry both deriding and proselytizing the fitness regime. People go ‘undercover’ to investigate the phenomenon, while others enroll their kids in classes. It has been called dangerous. It has been called a cult. But I think that most apt description is innovative.

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