Thursday, May 3, 2012

Harper: "Thank God for Greg Glassman"

The link that follows is a video of a CF Journal interview with Bob Harper, of Biggest Loser fame. I've been enjoying this show for a couple of seasons, and for the same reason that I enjoy coaching people in nutrition and fitness - you can see them transform the defining reality of their lives. They are re-born, almost literally. The compelling element of the Biggest Loser is to see and experience what it's like to have life from death. This interview with Bob Harper is only 10 minutes but it's a remarkable manifestation of Greg Glassman's vision of elite fitness, and even of having CrossFit be the means to transform the state of what is called the "fitness industry" in our country. Here's the full CFJ link:

Here's a shorter, free version:

If you can put a person that is 200 pounds overweight on a prescription of CrossFit and do better than other traditional training options for the obese - what other endorsement could CrossFit get? CrossFit for seasoned citizens? Yes, it's being done. CrossFit for Wounded Warriors? Absolutely. CrossFit for type 1 diabetics? Yes! CrossFit for kids? Uh huh!!

Why? Why do all these disparate populations train and love the same prescription (constantly varied functional movements at high intensity)? IT WORKS. IT'S THE RESULTS PEOPLE. What has been called fitness training for years is certainly better than nothing, but it pales in comparison to what happens to people who CrossFit. CrossFit makes them look better, sure, but more importantly it gives a practice field for participants to test limits, exceed perceived inability, and maybe more significant – CrossFit workouts seem to a trigger a hormonal cascade that makes us humans feel good. Were we born needing to feel the hormones we generate doing intense exercise? I think it’s at least possible. Jogging gives some of those hormones, as does any activity, but once you’ve tried a few CF workouts – it’s different.

I think Greg Glassman's vision of transforming the fitness industry is well on its way. Next up: the health care industry. Ambitious? Insanely ambitious. How could it be done? First, our health care system does a remarkable job of keeping sick people alive. But it is wretched at keeping people healthy, and at making sick people well. CrossFit can change that. The model of using drugs to treat symptoms of poor health - high blood pressure, dislipidemia, gout, pain/inflammation, blood sugar disregulation (IOW, metabolic derangement) - is a model that assumes the genome was build to fail. It's a model that makes sense if you think this much sickness is "normal." It would be easy to believe that if you were a physician applying the low fat, low salt, fad diet of the last 30 years, and noticing that your patients were not getting better as a result. From that experience, you could think "We have to use drugs, no one will do what it takes to take care of their health." Everyday, CrossFitters buck that set of obstacles and restore health, instead of treating the symptoms of their disease. Our health care system is collapsing under the weight of excessive government intervention, which has led to the low fat fad diet and worse - to the defacto subsidization of a food industry that is making us sick and at the same time the subsidization of the drug industry which helps us to survive (but hardly to thrive) our illness. If you think it's insane and absurd to suggest that CrossFit could save the nation's health care system and our national budget at the same time - well, I do too, but I'm not betting against it either. And I WILL do the microscopic amount that I can to support the potential for change.

I've been thinking "thank god for Greg Glassman" for years. Bob Harper, thank you, godspeed on your mission.


  1. As an obese woman who started CrossFit 8 months ago, I also say...Thank God for Greg Glassman. I am down 35 actual pounds, but 4 pant and shirt sizes!!