We think this is a good thing.
Consider Greyskull's websites programming, which much more closely mirrors a powerlifting schedule than a CrossFit program. A gym which does not train with CrossFit's objectives or methodology should not call itself a CrossFit gym. You shouldn't go to a spinning class and end up playing basketball. It makes no more sense to show up at a "CrossFit" gym and get put on a powerlifting-focused program devoid of serious bodyweight training or middle distance running.
John Sheaffer's post explaining his decision, however, caused quite a stir in the CrossFit Community. It seems that many other affiliates agree with Sheaffer's complaints. We disagree with these complaints at their core, and have chosen to stick with the CrossFit organization. Nevertheless, we agree that affiliates who sympathize with Greyskull's views should follow that gym's path and de-affiliate. CrossFit HQ should not cater to the needs of affiliates who follow neither its objectives nor methodology.
Sheaffer apparently longs for the earlier days when CrossFit was underground. At Evolve Your Fitness we do not miss the days when functional movements at high intensity were less common. In fact, we don't think that Crossfit's current level of expansion is nearly sufficient. We only wish that squats, ring dips, and 400m sprints were mainstream. CrossFit, in our minds, cannot grow fast enough.
Granted, we agree with Sheaffer that many CrossFit affiliates could stand to improve their training and programming. However, CrossFit is an open source, decentralized organization, and HQ (rightly, we believe) does not consider it to be their duty to ensure that every single affiliate and trainer makes proper use of the resources available to them. The information necessary to improve one's knowledge of proper CrossFit programming and training is all available either for free on CrossFit.com or for twenty five bucks a year in the CrossFit Journal. Beyond that, we have found that competent Crossfit trainers are nearly universally willing to help out any trainers or athletes who seek their help.
Is the right thing to do turn our backs and claim to be too good to be associated with those gyms?
Sheaffer also claims that there are "many, many strong, capable athletes training in chain, commercial gyms." We can't say when the last time John Sheaffer stepped into one of those gyms, but for us, those globo gym days are still a recent memory, and Sheaffer is dead wrong. We have certainly seen the occasional strong, capable athlete who is stuck in a globo gym...but it's not common. Not in the least. Most of the people we see in those gyms would do a whole lot better with even the most poorly-executed CrossFit programming.
CrossFit's expansion has brought with it a dramatic and unprecedented increase in interest in previously marginalized disciplines such as olympic weightlifting and gymnastics. Mike Burgener has frequently credited CrossFit for a surge in interest in olympic weightlifting. We find it funny how many olympic lifting and slow lift specialists only discovered those disciplines through CrossFit, yet they still criticize CrossFit to no end.
We also disagree with Greyskull's attitude towards CrossFitters in general. Apparently, in Greyskull-land, if you weigh 160 and aren't 5'2, then "you suck." Charlie Dunifer weighs 165 pounds. He also deadlifts 455 pounds and has done 36 rounds of Cindy. Does he suck too? I'd be curious as to how many athletes training at Greyskull can perform an Iron Cross. Perhaps that's simply not an adequate display of strength by their standards.
Should all males aspire to weigh a certain amount in order to attain a "man's physique?" What exactly is a "man's physique" anyway? Do you have to weigh 225 pounds to be a man in Greyskull-land? Count the vast majority of our friends in special operations units out then. I bet those operators will be devastated to know that they don't yet meet Greyskull's aesthetic standards of manliness. We don't believe that one's worth as a person, male or female, is defined by their bodyweight or their max deadlift. To insinuate that it is is a highly offensive contention to a lot of great men and women.
We don't think John Sheaffer gets it. Yes, there are CrossFit trainers and affiliates who aren't programming or coaching as well as they could be. Yes, there are gyms who ignore heavy lifting, and there are also gyms who ignore 5k runs. There are lone CrossFitters in globo gyms doing nothing but burpees and dumbbell swings. And you know what? They're still getting fitter. They're not doing bicep curls in the squat rack and half range-of-motion bench press. And we say that's better. A LOT better.
So go ahead, Mr.Sheaffer. Disassociate yourself. Keep all the 200+ pound males who don't give a damn about their 5k time. Refuse to train people who don't necessarily want to be powerlifter strong, or for whom training is not priority number one. As for us? Give us your soccer moms and your businessmen and your "emaciated, pussified, faux hawked nerds" who "can't press 105lb for a set of five."
We'll do our damnedest to make every one of them fitter, stronger, healthier, and happier.
Without elitism. Without discrimination.
With a genuine desire to bring fitness to everyone.