According to John Robb, the best way to defeat an open-source insurgency is to divide it.
Could any point be more relevant to the CrossFit open-source fitness insurgency?
I am not in a position to judge the personal aspects of the dispute first portrayed on RobbWolf.com. I do not have enough background information to analyze these actions, nor, most likely, do you.
On the other hand, I am very aware of the immediate negative impact that this event has had on the CrossFit community.
Robb Wolf came into this conflict with an impressive grass roots following. He has helped thousands of people, in person and online, many of them for free. Even a brief glance at the comments section of his blog reveals fan after fan thanking him for an email he sent or a seminar he gave. Robb’s online community centers around the Performance Menu journal and website and the aforementioned blog Robbwolf.com. Robb also runs a successful affiliate, CrossFit Norcal, and until this week he ran the CrossFit Nutrition Certs as well.
CrossFit HQ has similarly served the CrossFit community since its inception. It leads a loosely-controlled though heavily-intertwined network of affiliates, trainers, and athletes. HQ is responsible for the certification seminars, CrossFit.com, the CrossFit Journal, the CrossFit Games, the affiliate network, the legal defense of CrossFit and more. This community would not exist without CrossFit HQ.
What we have is two social networks that at once overlap and compete for support. Though many CrossFitters use both sources of information, most that I know have a preference.
This dispute, therefore, is much larger than the several men involved. Robb Wolf and the Performance Menu have represented a significant subset of the CrossFit community for several years. They have argued for prioritizing strength development, detailed study and practice of the Olympic lifts, generally lower carbohydrate intake than the Zone recommends, and prioritizing Paleo food quality over the Zone diet’s emphasis on quantity. These disagreements over methodology are evident in every depiction of the events of the Black Box Summit that I have seen so far, from Russell Berger’s to Greg Everett’s.
The CrossFit community is the strongest and fastest-growing social network in the fitness industry. It represents a much-needed opportunity to spread effective training and nutrition to the masses. This is the big picture.
As CrossFitters we all have are changing lives, communities, and countries, yet people are getting angry about Paleo vs. Zone when MOST OF US DRAW HEAVILY FROM BOTH SOURCES OF INFORMATION.
Our next article is going to feature Jerry Summers, a man who showed up at CrossFit Ranch this summer weighing 370 lbs. and unable to run more than 25 yards or do a full squat. Jerry has since lost 75 lbs. and can now run half a mile at a time and deadlift 360. This is a bigger story than any verbal dispute.
CrossFit will do for millions what it has done for Jerry if it remains a strong and diverse social network.
Evolve Your Fitness will continue to pursue CrossFit’s definition of fitness: work capacity across broad time and modal domains. We will use whatever methods that the available data suggests to be effective. Loyalty to any particular methodology, source of information, or personality is a recipe for mediocrity. We’re too passionate about fitness to follow anything other than performance data. We hope that the rest of the CrossFit community remains focused on performance as well.
The pursuit of fitness brings us together. Let’s not allow personal disputes to tear us apart.