“A CrossFit physician is a special physician, that’s not an ordinary doctor. A CrossFit doc, she knows something that is not a consensus view, and at the same time it’s essential. And I mean essential like in the sense of like an essential fatty acid or an essential amino acid… this is something that makes a huge difference in maybe whether maybe you’re alive or not and certainly the quality of your life. And, it’s not trivial. And so how many docs are there, that have this knowledge? And over about a year and a half, I was asking every affiliate that would talk to me, ‘How many docs in the box?’” – Coach Greg Glassman
Coach Greg Glassman, known to many as simply “Coach” grew up in southern California as a gymnast and he supplemented his training with modalities including weightlifting and cycling. When he began his career as a trainer in 1974, he brought innovation to the industry ultimately redefining fitness with CrossFit, otherwise known as constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement. He was kicked out of several globo gyms before finally opening the first CrossFit gym in Santa Cruz, CA in 1995. Shortly after, CrossFit.com was created where he posted Workouts of the Day, or “WODs.” Athletes from all over the world would complete these workouts and post their scores online. Beginning in 2003, CrossFit affiliate gyms began to open and CrossFit experienced exponential growth over the following decade such that there are currently more than 13,000 affiliates worldwide. During this period, we’ve also witnessed the growth of the CrossFit Games, the ultimate proving grounds for fitness which identifies the Fittest Man and Woman on Earth each year from a pool of hundreds of thousands of athletes across the globe. We’ve also witnessed incredible stories of transformation in the affiliates, with participants losing weight, gaining confidence, and ridding themselves of chronic disease. Coach is currently working to shift the public’s perception of CrossFit from a fitness company to a health company with an elegant solution to the world’s most vexing problem – chronic disease.
For his second visit to the podcast, Greg and I sat down after the first Level 1 seminar held exclusively for CrossFit Physicians at the CrossFit Ranch in Aromas. We discussed the importance of networking CrossFit doctors, why CrossFit is about so much more than the Games, how he’s using the business of CrossFit to fund public health activism, and his vision for the future of CrossFit.
In this episode we discuss:
- The impetus for the first Physician Level 1 held at the Ranch in February 2018
- His plan to build a community around CrossFit Physicians
- The importance of recognizing that fitness is just the “tip of the iceberg” with regard to health
- What Coach hopes doctors will take away from their Level 1 weekend
- Why he is driven to network these doctors
- How a CrossFit Physician can attend a Level 1 exclusively for physicians
- Using the CrossFit business to fund activism
- How doctors can communicate the message of using CrossFit for health to patients who might be intimidated
- The struggle of conveying that the Games are the least important part of CrossFit, and that individual health stories are where the real magic lies
- Using media ad space to showcase the everyday people that do CrossFit
- Coach’s goal of making the Games into the “South by Southwest of Fitness” so that the community gathering and learning takes the forefront
- His excitement for the speaker line-up for the 2018 CrossFit Games
- The need for CrossFit physicians to distinguish between their book knowledge and the observations of health improvements they witness in the gym
- The National Strength & Conditioning Association false statements controversy and ensuing legal battle
- Coach’s fight to remove Big Soda from the health space and how listeners can support this effort
- How the cause and solution to chronic disease are exceedingly simple
- Coach’s mission to shift the public perception of CrossFit from that of a fitness company to a health company
- What inspires Coach the most
- Where he sees CrossFit in 5 years
To learn more about the CrossFit Health movement, follow @crossfit and @crossfithealth. If you are a CrossFit Physician (MD or DO), email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about future CrossFit Physician seminars and other events.
- Karen Thompson
- Tait Fletcher
- 99 Year Old Doing CrossFit
- Ben Goldacre, Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients
- Ronda Rockett
- Gary Taubes
- CrossFit Health
- The Russells
- Podesta Group
- 5 Buckets of Death
- CrossFit Medicus One
- Virta Health
- An Elegant Solution to Chronic Disease
Ep 07 – Dr. Mark Hyman on Functional Medicine, the future, and community
Ep 26 – James Maskell on Functional and Integrative Medicine and the Impact of Community on Health
Ep 35 – Coach Greg Glassman on CrossFit, Chronic Disease, and the “5 Buckets of Death”
Ep 78 – Lifestyle and Brain Health with Dr. David Perlmutter
Ep 71 – The Sugar Free Revolution with Karen Thomson
Ep 66 – Cleveland Clinic CEO Dr. Toby Cosgrove on Lifestyle, Healthcare, and Persistence
If you like this episode, please subscribe to Pursuing Health on iTunes and give it a rating. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below and on social media using the hashtag #PursuingHealth. I look forward to bringing you future episodes with inspiring individuals and ideas about health every other Tuesday.
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Disclaimer: This podcast is meant to share the experiences of various individuals. It does not provide medical advice, and it is not a substitute for advice from your physician or health care professional.