I founded Catalyst in 2005. In 2007, I found CrossFit.
I didn’t immediately fall in love with CrossFit. In fact, I set out to prove that it wouldn’t work.
But CrossFit proved me wrong: it’s fun, it’s different every day, and it’s made me dozens of friends.
Now, CrossFit in 2007 wasn’t quite the same CrossFit you see on ESPN in 2018. Back then, CrossFit had a homegrown, DIY feel. I remember doing box jumps on my porch and pull-ups on my kids’ swing set. I had already been a fitness coach for over a decade, and I was pretty sick of the super smoothies and spray tans and balance balls. The whole CrossFit movement felt counterculture and pure: we did ONLY the stuff that worked, and we made it feel like a new game every day. That’s still the CrossFit we practice at Catalyst: we take what works and discard the rest.
Of course, I couldn’t keep it a secret. Catalyst was around the 1000th CrossFit gym in the world, and there have been tens of thousands more since. Because CrossFit works better than any other fitness program on the planet.
With that growth has come a lot of diversity. The CrossFit Games put CrossFit in a new light–and not always a positive one. I go to the Games every year to meet with friends, but don’t really watch the events. I’m not there for the thruster races; I’m there to meet other people who love to exercise.
Every year at Catalyst, we do the Intramural Open. Worldwide, the CrossFit Open is the first stage to qualifying for the CrossFit Games. But we made it fun, and literally thousands of other gyms worldwide have copied our Intramural Open model that we created at Catalyst.
Sometimes, members of the Catalyst family like to do CrossFit competitions. That’s cool. I did a few too. But they’re not really my passion anymore. I just like working out with my friends in CrossFit groups.
Another area of diversity in the CrossFit community is workout design. Before CrossFit, no one used the term “programming” to describe the creation of workouts, because workouts were boring. Some CrossFit coaches would prefer to go back to boring sets and reps–mostly younger coaches who didn’t live through the old “3-4 sets of 8-12 reps” days from the 1970s through the 1990s. We’re not like that: I want you to be excited to see today’s workout, and then excited to try it. Our workouts are designed for novelty, not randomness, but we’ve struck a great balance between intensity and “hard for the sake of hard”.
Finally, an emerging trend in CrossFit is the myth of “perfect movement”. Some coaches would prefer you to think that you need to be functionally perfect to exercise. But really, there’s no such thing; it’s just an excuse to sell “corrective exercise” by people who aren’t qualified therapists. I think it’s more important that you show up every day, and let the coaches keep you safe and sound while you work to become a better human.
I love being a CrossFit gym. We’re now in our 11th year as a CrossFit affiliate. I get to travel around, talking about Catalyst and how WE do CrossFit. But that doesn’t mean we’re the same as every CrossFit gym. CrossFit’s not a franchise; we can do whatever we want. We have more in common with the DIY attitude of 2007 than the CrossFit Games athletes of 2018. And I love being “the happy gym”–so that’s what we’ll be.
Some people at Catalyst do CrossFit in groups. Some do it 1:1 with their coach. We just want you to change your life. Start with a free, no-sales-pressure visit by booking here.
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