Greg Glassman at the 2010 CrossFit Games

2011 CrossFit Games

Finding the Fittest

CrossFit Co-Founder Greg Glassman Challenges P90x

It has become common for the media to group together P90x and CrossFit as "extreme" fitness regimens. There is one crucial distinction, however, between CrossFit and the rest of the fitness industry. CrossFit defines and measures fitness in physical terms.

The CrossFit Games provide an opportunity for anyone in the world to demonstrate their fitness. Some have predicted that the total $1 million prize purse will cause athletes from other sports to enter the Games and dominate. CrossFit Founder and CEO, Greg Glassman, though, doubts that the top performers will come from outside the community. He says, "We're testing for fitness in the extreme, and it's long been my contention that you affiliates are developing it on a qualitative and quantitative level that is unlike anything else being done anywhere."

As always, anyone who disagrees will have the opportunity to represent their training program in competition, including P90x.

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33 comments on this entry

1. Ryan wrote...

did he say someone did a 1:47 fran?

2. Dave wrote...

Comes across as incredibly

3. Fritz wrote...

@ Dave, Not arrogance. Its more telling you how it is. If you really think a Home Bound P90X individual can compete with the high intenisty of a Crossfit Athlete then you are wrong. Constant Variance (Crossfit) always beats Constant Routine (P90X)

4. Kris S wrote...

Ain't nothin' to a boss. The CF games are the proving grounds for elite fitness, anyone claiming a superior system can compete and test that claim. 250k if you're right, I love it, I love it, I love it.

5. Merle wrote...

Glassman is far from arrogant. He is quite possibly one of the most humble men I have ever met. He is also equally just as nice a guy. The kind of guy you would invite to a cookout at your house.
At my affiliate we see the p90x people a lot and they always get crushed. it's not to say p90x is a bad program. A lot of what they do is pretty good stuff. But to think that anyone from p90x could come in and throwdown a great snatch or clean and not to mention anything else CrossFitters do is just silly.

6. Alvin wrote...

Speaking on people who train with p90x... I have a friend that has been working that program for several months. Recently I converted him to the "Cult", and after just the 1st workout, he was like "What the hell just happened to me?" lol. needs less to say he is 2 weeks in and drinking the Kool - aid. I think it is oustanding that any and all have an opportunity to test themselves in the area to be crowned "Fittest on Earth." Ultimatley anyone serious about thinking of just getting on the podium will have to get into a box somewhere!

7. Kris Alvin wrote...

Why do not more CrossFitter's compete in the decathlon? It is pretty varied, and also the winner is recognized internationally as the World's Greatest Athlete. Give it a try!

8. Dave wrote...

and @Kris...CrossFitters don't compete in the Decathlon, because CrossFitters aren't elite enough at the things Decathletes are elite at to compete with them. Same reason they don't play professional Football, Basketball , Baseball etc....

Also, CrossFit isn't making the claim that the guy who wins the Games is the "best" athlete, only the "fittest". Very different. I think we accept that any Olympic caliber Decathlete is a better athlete, but not as fit as a elite CrossFit athlete according to CrossFit's standards for judging fitness.

9. Warren Bloom wrote...

My question or concern as a life long athlete is while forging elite fitness are you being safe and are you doing this properly. What are we competing? I am going to participate, but my concern is that how I was trained to put form and safety first will that compromise my time?

10. John wrote...

I'm not sure that all of you Kool-Aid drinkers are capable of independent thought. Its amazing to me, someone who crossfits regularly and loves the program, that people love to believe whatever comes out of someone else's mouth. Glassman is a great public speaker, but do not let that deter you from FACTS or thinking for yourselves. Crossfit athletes are only fittest given the mediocre standards of HQ. The highest clean and jerk among crossfitters listed on the games site is 325 far off the highest clean and jerk in the world of 579 pounds. On the flip side of the specialization spectrum, the faster 5k time listed on the games site is 17:39 also very far off of the world record 12:37. Now im not saying that the well rounded-ness of crossfitters isn't impressive, i'm simply saying our talent pool is diluted. Glassman makes the claim that good athletes who don't want to train for a 250k prize are just talking? That is nonsense. Why would a professional football player who's making millions of dollars a year doing something fun on national television do something so painful for a weeks worth of pay? he wouldnt. So why don't you guys open your eyes and realize that you(we) are NOT elite. We are just people working out at a little bit of a higher intensity than average people. The winner of the games should get a title "the fittest slightly above average athlete in the world." I think that all of you were raised in a generation where everyone got trophies and it has overinflated your egos. Step back and look in the mirror.... it may help you enjoy all of this competition a little more.

11. Dave wrote...

@ Fritz...Nobody with any sense would doubt that a person doing p90x can compete with a competant CrossFitter doing CrossFit stuff. "Telling like it is" and being "arrogant" are not mutually exclusive. Hardly the point. GG calling the "P90x a...holes" is unnecessary. I know plenty of people who do P90x, and they all seem quite fit, and happy with their routine...and none of them are "a54h*les". Why knock them? CrossFit isn't for everybody. Also, who is to say what is the best program for health and longevity? Here's an intersting post from Marks Daily Apple which seems to make sense.

12. Jason CF KoP wrote...

@ John:

I think it all comes down to how you define fitness. We generally aceppt the increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains. I sum this up as living life easier. Would I be thrilled if I could clean nearly 600 pounds, sure...but is my mile time going to suffer. Forget all of lifes modern conveniences and think about a time long ago. The strongest guy was probably feared but there may come a time when his strength did him no good, for instance out-running a lion. The fastest person could flee any danger but what happens if he was cornered by a few people that really wanted his moccasins? I feel that we are trying to observe the most rounded fittest person. Decathletes are fantastic but they are training for 10 very specific things. If CrossFit was all about double unders, OHS, Deadlifts, Sit-ups, etc, I would be very happy...unfortunately, there are other things that creep up and kill me. If you add random events to the decatalon, you would see very different results.

I would argue that a professional football player would not be as good as you think at CF. They are trained for explosiveness, so their cleans and what not may be great but ask them to do it for 5 minutes and I think you would be surprised. I saw a former NFL player compete in Sectionals last year and they did not make it to Regionals and the top 20 were taken. I was shocked to tell you the truth but data is data.

To think the person that wins the games is just above average is laughable. I truly believe that they are doing things that no other athlete can perform. They are more equipped to handle what life throws at them then any other athlete in my humble opinion. I do CF not to set more PR's but to live life easier. I think the elite in this community excel at that.

13. Jason KoP wrote...

I think when long term data is published, many will be surprised. It has been show that coming from a professional sport to CF makes you pretty good but not necessarily Games good. The opposite has not been proven untrue. Jeff and Micky are doing some amazing things with kids and their sons are beasts. I think if they wanted and trained for it, they may excel in a sport of their choice. CF will not make you hit a curvevall, only practice will but it can help with 90% plus of everything else you need.

14. jake wrote...

Nobody is going to come straight from another sport and dominate at the games because there is too much skill involved. An athlete outside of CF will not have practiced things such as double unders, squat snatch, rope climbs, muscle ups, ring HSPU, etc. that all have a considerable learning curve. They may be strong and fast, but there is much more to winning the games than that. I think to compete at the games level you have to train in the sport of crossfit, and I think that even for those freakish athletes it will take them a year or more to develop the skill it takes to win the games. I may be proven wrong, but that is just what I suspect.

15. CraigH wrote...

@John: you make a valid point. However, remember where this whole "Fittest Athlete" came from: it was in response to an Outside Mag claim that a triathlete was the fittest man in the world. Outside chose a specialist and CF disputed the claim based upon a different and more comprehensive version of fitness. Assuming fitness is more comprehensive than Outside's narrow definition, I think its a fair assumption to say that the top CF athletes are more "fit" than Outside's fittest athlete in the world. In order to draw attention to this definition distinction, CF has promoted the Games as a venue for athletes to compete for the title. Are the fittest in the world here? Nah, not yet - and they may never come, because the best are likely playing professional or Olympic sports as you indicated. But, the pool of competent athletes seems to be getting larger every year as CF's promotion and sponsorship dollars grow. I certainly think the gap between the conceivably fittest athlete in the world and the one that wins the Games is shrinking.

16. RayG wrote...

First, money changes everything, perception, motivation, observation and condition. Second, more scrutiny will change everything too. Standards will be tighter, more technical demands will be made and I am sure that some events will be programed that have high entertainment value....not just because of the athletic movements either. Think, expoilt the images of the guys and gals that work out. It will be interesting if some personalities emerge that caputer attention as well. Think Arnold "Castro" Kalipha or "Matina" Clever PLumey -- some composite of an athlete that will be used as the definional image of CrossFit. And, it will happen by accident, because of someone in the right place at the right time...or an equipment malfucntion.

Its going to be fun to watch it all change - like when golf developed on TV. Who will be the personality that carries the sport and how will that person define us, and define where we go. And, we will care?

17. Speal wrote...


Efficiency decreases your times and comes from technique.

Technique is what keeps you safe.

They go hand in hand, the more efficient you are, the faster you are, and the safer you are. If your form goes, so does the efficiency, no way around it.

Have fun in the comp and good luck!

18. Steve wrote...

I find it so amusing that truly elite athletes, in any sport, do not go around bragging about "how elite they are".....for the most part. Unfortunately, most of the community has a case of little dick syndrome and/or as pointed out above, I think that all of you were raised in a generation where everyone got trophies and it has overinflated your egos" that they have to announce to the world how tough they are by wearing shirts with ridiculous sayings.

Speal is a fantastic example of a great athlete and person. Modest and is quietly dangerous. Most in the community should really sit back and watch how he conducts himself in and out of a competition.

19. BH wrote...

I can not stand negative people and those who have to try and knock down anything that threatens them.These athletes you think could crush the games most likely will walk away from there sport and get fat and lazy.Having the guts to workout at such a high level for no other reason than becoming fitter is unknown to them.I have only worked with D1 athletes but most of them need to be forced into the gym.They rely on there man made abilities till that goes away in there 30s than they get fat and lazy.

20. Dave wrote...

@BH--You're not paying attention. "These athletes" you're talking about wouldn't win the Games. We agree on that. The reason they aren't training in the CrossFit methodology is because they are truly ELITE at something. They don't care about their fitness across "broad time and modal domains" because they get to play football, baseball, or be an OLYMPIAN in their respective sports...and get paid a lot of money to do so. . Why should Albert Pujois, Aaron Rogers, Sidney Crosby, Brian Clay give a crap about this stuff? You wouldn't either if you were truly elite at something. You can't stand negative people? Well I can't stand delusional people. It's funny stuff though....

21. Steve wrote...

Why is it that some feel the need to knock down those that are willing to commit so much to becoming the best at something? I guess the true "ELITE" have the mental fortitude that most of us would never understand. I wonder how many times Nadia Com?neci (for those old enough to remember her) practiced her events? Clowns is an understatement. It is difficult to even have a rational discussion. A good friend recommended the book, Predictably Irrational....Think some more people need to read it.

22. Russ wrote...

Steve et al.,

No one is denigrating the athletic accomplishments of Brian Clay or any other world class athlete.

CrossFit did not make the claim that its athletes were elite at decathlons, gymnastics, or football. The goal is "forging elite fitness".

Top Games competitors are elite at fitness in the way that CrossFit defines fitness. If you disagree with that definition of fitness (just as you are free to disagree with the NFL's interpretation of football), then of course you will disagree with CrossFit's method of testing it, and our crowning of the winners of the Games as the fittest on earth.

As the Games expand, the attention and compensation that the winners receive will rival that in many other sports, first smaller sports such as the decathlon, and then larger ones such as MLB and NHL. Already, in their fifth year of competition (2011), the male and female individual winners will receive 250k each.

If you want to talk about impressive numbers, let's talk about Ben Smith. He took 8th last year. Recently he's overhead squatted double bodyweight (360 lbs.), cleaned 330 lbs., performed 20 consecutive ring muscle-ups and 76 consecutive kipping pull-ups, and run 800m in 2:16. I guess you don't consider the combination of those statistics in one person to be elite?

23. stew smith wrote...

P90x is at best a foundation building program for harder fitness programs like CrossFit, SEAL Fit. Many people ask me if P90x will prepare them for SEAL training. I say it will build a foundation of fitness, but you have to build on top of that in order to be prepared for Spec Ops style training - usually by adding running, rucking, swimming skills.

The term ELITE is used too much. All depends on your definition. Sure a pro defensive back is elite at chasing down wide receivers / intercepting quarterback passes.
CF participants are incredible at performing CF workouts and well in Spec Ops world as well. Elite runners can run sub 5 min miles for a marathon. Regardless of your definition - to truly be well rounded you have to balance strength, power, speed, cardio vascular endurance, muscle stamina and flexibility. Too often one or more of these get neglected in order to chase "elite" status.

Stew Smith CSCS

24. Dave wrote...

@stew...We are in agreement about what p90x is, and what it isn't. I just don't think it's appropriate for GG to refer to them as "p90x a$$holes". I would guess he's smart enough to defend his position in a different manner. It's exactly that attitude which turns people off to an otherwise great community.

25. lb wrote...

This convo is more interesting and entertaining then the one's about the naked pics!!!! Just saying.........keep it coming!!!

For me being "elite" is having the confidence in yourself and abilities. The man and women that win the games not only have the external confidence, but internal confidence that they can accomplish the tasks that are put infront of them. Sure, a professional athlete or P90X participate may have the the external confidence that is needed to be successful. But I do not think they will have the internal confidence and regular/experienced Crossfitter has. Without this mental toughness and confidence some WODS are impossible. Just my opinion...but something to definitely think about!

Also, It is not just about how fast you can do a WOD, but how efficent you can accomplish the WOD as well. I know for a fact that someone who just walks off the street or a proffessional playing feild (etc.) will not be as efficient as crossfitters who have been doing crossfit skills for some time now. Another thought......

26. Jamie Skibicki wrote...

"Sure, a professional athlete or P90X participate may have the the external confidence that is needed to be successful. But I do not think they will have the internal confidence and regular/experienced Crossfitter has. Without this mental toughness and confidence some WODS are impossible. "

Are you seriosuly saying that professional or Olympic caliber athletes, people who have trained since very young and have beaten their competitiors for their spot, have less confidence and intestinal fortitude than Crossfitter?

27. L wrote...

Why are people even pitting p90x against the top crossfitters? that isnt a p90ers goal. They dont care about competition. Or perhaps they were hoping to gain a base level of fitness in order to do something more. THEY dont claim they are the fittest or the best, but someone did once and that's why everyone is throwing a temper tantrum?

Not everyone wants to do Crossfit, and you know what? Very very few people will reach a level where the word 'elite' is actually worthy. Just by doing crossfit gives you no right to regurgitate the trash talking of other sports or programs where people have mastered their chosen fields. Just by doing crossfit you are NOT elite to anyone else.

The more you yell, the less people are going to be willing to listen - the worse its going to be for the people who are trying to make a living out of all this.

28. Wayne wrote...

The truly elite aren't going to bother with the CF games. What do they have to prove or gain? Nada. And if they wanted no doubt that with a little training they would probably not only be competitive but probably crush everyone else. They just don't spend the time doing HSPU for time as they got bigger fish to fry.

29. John wrote...

Coach tells it like it is, that's for sure.

Does anyone know which NFL team hes talking about? It'd be interesting to see how their "Fran," "Diane," and "Jackie" times stack up to the likes of Speal, Graham, Mikko, etc.

30. G Michael wrote...

I'm pretty sure some of you are losing sight as to what we are looking to accomplish through CrossFit: to become as fit as humanly possible. Of course you won't be a decathlete or an elite SPECIALIST. This is the sport of FITNESS. Duuuuhhhhh.

31. G Michael wrote...

Everyone take a second and go back to the core of CrossFit. The initial roots. Go read "What is Fitness?". So many people are getting so caught up with BS because this sport is moving so fast.


32. Mentat wrote...

1) Did anyone who was complaining about Greg Glassman sounding "arrogant" happen to listen to what he was responding to? "Better than Crossfit". That was the advertisement. The folks at P90X talked trash first, and had no basis. He's calling them out.
2) He is not challenging a wide receiver to a race. To think that every challenge of one's fitness will be a race, just because that's what you've trained in is naive and ridiculous. He is challenging any human being who believes they are fit to be such when LIFE demands it; when reality demands it. That is what it means to be Elite or Fit as a human, instead of as a participant of some narrow activity.

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