Skeptics Say Crossfit ‘Breeds Assholes’…And They Have A Good Point
To some, Crossfit is the best fitness program since gluten-free sliced bread. To others, it's a crazy cult or a potential haven for injury. And now, some are even calling Crossfit a place that “breeds assholes.”
The controversy has been reignited after a slew of disturbing images were posted by one Crossfit affiliate in Los Angeles, according to a piece in LA Weekly.
CrossFit Mean Streets describes themselves as “the premier strength and conditioning facility in downtown Los Angeles” on its website, however the owner, Ronnie Teasdale, and some of its clientele have posed for photos that show “a pattern of using the homeless and substance abusers as a source of amusement”:
In one photo published on his website and Facebook, Teasdale grins and poses with Wayne Willette, owner of CrossFit CrownTown in Corona, and several other CrossFitters as they happily pose over an unconscious man slumped in front of Teasdale's truck. Aris Gregorian, a coach at CrossFit Crown City in Pasadena, holds a CrossFit shirt above the downed man.
One shot from Teasdale's Facebook page implies that the highly fit bunch had brief contact with, but did not help, the unconscious person: Somebody has laid a CrossFit shirt across his back.
Another shows a different unconscious man sprawled on a sidewalk with a CrossFit shirt draped over his body. The photo caption mocks “free gift.”
Obviously, this is disturbing, rude, classless, insensitive and irresponsible behavior. Teasdale has since apologized to LAWeekly:
I would like to be the first to say that those posts were inappropriate and did not highlight the best aspects of our gym or the CrossFit community. I am removing all of the questionable content from Facebook and my website.
But that's a little too late as far as some Crossfit opponents are concerned.
Former Philadelphia Crossit affiliate owner, John Sheaffer, says there is a lack of quality control at the more than 4,000 affiliates now, leaving many of the gyms “subpar”, adding “One in 10 was something I wasn't embarrassed to be associated with.”
Robb Wolf, author of the New York Times best-seller The Paleo Diet Solution and also a former Crossfit affiliate owner agrees that there is a lack of quality control—thus leading to problematic behavior as seen by the L.A. Mean Streets studio:
I think a lot of the problem is the culture itself. That really is the problem, and it's a top-down sort of arrogance that creates bad behavior. There's never a structure where decency and morality are part of the ethos.
Sheaffer added something many people are probably thinking right now:
It does not surprise me in the least. … Some of the CrossFit T-shirts I would see were just appalling. … It's not, you know, you have a few bad eggs. … I really do feel like it's an organizational-culture thing with CrossFit that breeds that type of asshole.
Sure, certain fitness groups can create a clique-like atmosphere–that's what can push members to push themselves harder. But it certainly doesn't mean that clients of Crossfit, or any other workout program, should get to the point where arrogance takes over. Especially when it comes to humiliating the homeless or any other disadvantaged group of citizens.
Not to generalize that all Crossfit gyms are like this, because they're not. But according to this article, there are a disturbing number of ones that lack quality and ethics, while breeding assholes.
Tell us what you think. Have you experienced any type of arrogance from your local Crossfit gym or other fitness program?