THE CROSSFIT DECADE
I have a feeling most of us in the CrossFit world will look back on the 2010s as a special decade. After all, that’s when the whole industry really kicked off. So many box owners we know started their businesses in the years between 2010–2015, and many athletes got their start around that same time. I’m not sure if we saw any formal scholarship explaining the explosion of boutique fitness in the last 10 years, but I have my own theories about how it came about. If you went back in time 15 years and tried to charge people the average cost of a gym membership today, you’d be openly mocked. The industry was utterly different in the 00s, dominated by low-cost fitness clubs that existed just to give people access to some weights and a treadmill. Yes, early adopters to CrossFit, Gym Jones, and others started cropping up at this time,
My thought is the economy may have played a role. I know, it’s a bold claim, and one I’m making on anecdotal evidence. But I don’t think anyone doubts the recession cast a very long shadow on the last decade — one that made young people reevaluate their time and priorities. As a young working professional during this period, fresh out of college and keenly aware of the value of a dollar, I can say my mind was constantly looking to do more in less time. My friends and I were all feeling this “time scarcity,” living in a world where work followed you home on your smartphone and online distractions abounded. As I’ve talked about in the past, my 20s were practically fueled by energy drinks just so I could hold down a decent job, stay in shape, and still have a social life. Discovering a high- intensity workout — one that got me better results in less time than a regular set at the gym — felt like a godsend. I wouldn’t be surprised if many felt the same way when they discovered CrossFit. Thinking back on it, I’m just disappointed I didn’t join the CrossFit movement sooner. In 2011, I was still teaching Krav Maga at a local gym in the time slot just before the “crazy” CrossFit folks came in and took over. They offered to let me join in all the time, but I always laughed them off with a “hell no!” Live and learn. Long story short, I tried Fran a year later, and even though it kicked my ass harder than any workout I’d done before, I came out thinking, “I NEED TO DO THAT AGAIN.” By 2013 I was a regular CrossFit coach, and by 2014, O2 was becoming a reality. In many ways, I had the opportunity to grow alongside the industry in the last decade, something I’ll always look back on fondly. I have no idea what the 2020s will bring, but I’m sure as hell excited to find out. If CrossFit continues to learn from and respond to the needs of people wanting to live fitter, healthier lives, I’d say it’s looking pretty bright.
but it was mostly service members, first responders, and “fitness nuts” scaring other Gold’s Gym members. But in the early 2010s, CrossFit came out of the garage and the boot camp and moved to real brick and mortar boxes. What changed?
CrossFit itself probably deserves most of the credit. After all, CrossFit people have proven to masters of branding and viral marketing from the outset. I can’t tell you how many affiliates and athletes we’ve talked to got their start from seeing videos
like “Nasty Girls” shared on YouTube. But the fact that so
many elite, high-intensity brands took off during this period tells me that Glassman and his company wasn’t the only element at play here.
–Dave Colina Founder, O2
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