As background information, it goes without saying that the last fifteen plus years has been a trying experience for myself as I have seen my work, once ridiculed at endless length, be twisted and manipulated with the fitness, health and sport conditioning community as it suddenly becomes ‘fashionable’ and all without my name attached as the originator of said approach. I only note this as I feel it provides me a unique vantage point to a very confusing industry that clearly left port without a rudder. Furthermore, ‘trying’ is a pleasant term that shields the fact the aforementioned period has ripped my stomach to shreds and forced me to consider how to release a much broader body of work. Ultimately you come to the realisation that your prime goal of bettering society will take years, and most likely management beyond your lifetime.
It has been many years since I spoke with Greg Glassman and though I wish my efforts were met with similar enthusiasm by the marketplace, I am very pleased to see he his successful. Whilst I have misgivings of the planning, approach and targets of the Crossfit sector, the intention is basically good natured. CrossFit’s members create a warm and friendly community. I wish I experienced the same support. I am very glad that at least one sector is supportive, and wish Greg and his group continued success.
I want to stop briefly and emphasise, ‘warm and friendly’ because for all the Ivory Tower brilliance of the exercise industry in my lifetime the industry routinely fails with fellowship and community. In-fact I will tell you that that exercise and sport conditioning community fails dreadfully with that key element. I question why more do not realise the simple fact this sector is rotting from the inside out. I recall my first trips to the gymnasium with my father, the great friendships and the knowledge provided. This era is not the smallest fraction in comparison and an embarrassment to its lineage. Besides that, this industry requires respectful leader’s that recognise order, structure and discipline. It is need of community.
Crossfit has community! Even if you think the workouts are pithy nonsense, their kinship screams loud, proud, and does a better job than any to get their clients into the gym with enthusiasm. That may not make up for planning and implementation, but if passion is your starting ground then proper leadership knows the route to a better future.
Given that some members of the exercise community, perched from the Ivory Tower, like to emphasise technical expertise and compliance, I wish to stress my remarkable disappointment at their work when handling theories and movements I DEVELOPED. Besides the fact that they fail to possess the common decency to acknowledge who DEVELOPED the approaches that much of their career and income is based upon, their own ability to teach and perform properly is pathetic. In-fact, a little known fact is that many of the high ranking coaches are so poorly conditioned they cannot perform a truly athletic movement. Hence, their programs are designed for very average ability. Yes, it is the case of ‘the average’ leading ‘the promising’ with a plan that is simply, ‘average’.
From my own experience the great problem of the exercise industry, and pardon my grammatical faux pas, is that is ‘does nothing’. I have urged members to join me in sporting adventures and I have learnt over ten years that few play sports. Whether cycling, playing golf, skating, snowboarding, surfing, tennis or any number of activities, they do VERY LITTLE. They simply go to the gym to workout and far from living ‘healthy lives’. I have long since realised such and in the last six years rarely mention my sporting activities online to the exercise community as they have little experience, not be interested in travelling, meeting for a round of Golf, paddling out amongst pristine waters, climbing a mountain and simply fixated on life on the gymnasium floor. Why the public pays to drive to the gym to walk on a treadmill defies logic. Furthermore, when did a trainer who embraces obsessive behaviour become a purveyor of health and fitness? That is the real problem of the exercise industry and until it is resolved true health and fitness is not in the horizon for the public.
Hence before complaining about everything that is wrong, consider how you can improve yourself and also recognise how to assist others. Exercise was once a place to better society and not merely a hollow business to pitch services of the under-qualified.
Crossfit is no evil villain. It seems to have a wonderful group of people who welcome all as part of friendly community. The ‘high and mighty’, who I should remind or otherwise sedentary outside of the gymnasium, need to step down from their soapbox, and stop trying to build their own product line by insinuating the absolute worst.
Certainly there are areas of programming and compliance that can be revised with Crossfit, but that is the case with the ENTIRE exercise industry that to this day would be largely redundant if the public simply exercised at home, ate nutritious food from local sources, supplemented accordingly, and enjoyed a healthy pastime of bicycling in their community. To put it simply, why is anyone complaining about a pleasant group of people enjoying a pastime and making friends?
I wish I was so fortunate to see such warm smiling faces in my day but instead I deal with many in an industry lost in petty bickering, more concerned with selling nonsense, rarely acknowledging the origin of theories, comfortable at stealing the work of others and claiming it as their own and even more rare, answering the true needs of the public.
Exercise need not be complicated. Amongst all the in-fighting, the real truth is the public needs solutions for sustainable healthy living, and not more ‘rationale’ of why they need to pay cumbersome rates to poor quality trainers or gymnasiums. That might be the ‘funny part’ of this entire situation because this industry is in need of professionals. As I said in 2008, within fifteen years many of those entering the business as a second income or hobby will be gone. Those who do not embrace a truly healthy living practice that steps well beyond the gymnasium walls will be financially ruined. In their place, professionals will lead communities.
Those professionals will come in many forms, from communities across the world whether from Team Renegade, DMC™, CrossFit or many others groups but if the exercise sector is going to defeat the obesity epidemic, as well as manage strains related to a highly troubling food supply line, it needs true leaders and not petty bickering.
We can be a better people.
John K. Davies
Founder DMC™ and Renegade Training™