CrossFit Research and Development

A discussion about how the amazing culture of Crossfit, embodied through a hands off research and development affiliate model, is being threatened by outside forces.

In my opinion, CrossFit Affiliates encompass the culture of CrossFit and are redefining the term “Health Care”, a term which in the past has had more to do with your political ideology than actually caring about your health. The recent events concerning the future of affiliates has got me thinking more about this very culture.

The current affiliate model has been the catalyst to the CrossFit phenomenon by being the research and development behind every CrossFit breakthrough. The hands off approach gives every affiliate a chance to experiment and share (via the journal or their own blog) their findings. Different approaches to programming, nutrition, supplements etc are fostered by this ideal. In many ways, CrossFit affiliates are the distributed fitness version of the famous Xerox PARC. The facility was made over 3000 miles away from the main Xerox headquarters and the scientists involved were given freedom to experiment with different works. The facility has been responsible for such well known and important developments as laser printing, Ethernet and the modern personal computer.

This is exactly what CrossFit Affiliates do. They give movement experts like Kelly Starett and Brian Mackenzie a place to observe and learn, gymnasts like Carl Paoli a chance to give their take on how to create a stronger gymnastics foundation, athletes like Chris Spealler and Matt Chan a place to show that size doesn’t limit strength or speed, equipment providers like Rogue Fitness and Again Faster a platform to build industry changing gear and a group of friends a place to change the way people organize their CrossFit workout histories.

How Do We Keep Growing?

By staying humble and keeping the course, which I feel Greg Glassman and the core CrossFit HQ team wants to do. Coach Glassman has described CrossFit as a tree with each branch being a different affiliate. He said he could not and would not take credit for every branch because it belonged to the community, and his job was to ensure that tree would continue growing as it has been. I thought of Coach’s thoughts while  watching a presentation by Malcom Gladwell about how we need more leaders who remain humble despite their success. One part in particular stood out.

“I want someone who understands that they are one piece of a very large complicated picture and they need to keep their perspective. And they need to understand the importance of humility. They need to rely on a team of like-minded and properly motivated people in order to get us through difficult times. And if they don’t have that attitude, I don’t have any interest in them.” – Malcom Gladwell

We are fortunate to have leadership that employs a hands off, research and development approach towards CrossFit Affiliates. Without it, CrossFit wouldn’t be what it is today, and, if it changes, won’t be what it has become tomorrow. An approach that both encourages and rewards innovation in Fitness and Health: The Culture Of CrossFit.

Get involved and keep up:  Stop Anthos from Taking over CrossFit

Feel free to hit me up via email( or on twitter @moe_naqvi



  1. August 2, 2012 / 8:08 pm

    Insightful essay. It elicits in my mind an analogy between CrossFit and Wikipedia. Both endeavors were initially ignited by a few individuals, but have organically taken on a life of their own through the participation of thousands of hard-working people.

  2. August 2, 2012 / 8:53 pm

    Very well said Brian.

  3. December 6, 2012 / 11:56 pm

    I really like this article. By the way the new website lay out is OUTSTANDING! Great work.

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