CrossFit Founder: 'I Like Watching the Bodies'

Greg Glassman deflects criticism about injuries, rails against 'a--holes' in soda industry
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2016 9:32 AM CDT
CrossFit Founder: 'I Make These Monsters'
In this Feb. 4, 2016, photo, Holly Arrow, 60, a University of Oregon psychology professor and a champion weightlifter, works out at Eugene CrossFit in Eugene, Ore.   (Andy Nelson/The Register-Guard via AP)

Despite allegations of injuries caused by questionable techniques, the fitness phenomenon known as CrossFit is said to boast an estimated 4 million members around the globe with a program that Newsweek says "has come to dominate the athletic world." And it has no bigger fan than its founder, Greg Glassman, described by the magazine as a "middle-aged dude with a beer gut." "I really like watching the bodies. Especially the women," Glassman says. "You couldn't see a 'Lara Croft' or 'La Femme Nikita' without being aroused by that fascinating interplay of female beauty and soul-crushing capacity. … I walk these halls, and I know I make these monsters. And it makes me proud." And he says he knows who's behind the attacks on his program, among others: "Big Soda," an industry he claims is irked at him for waging war on sugary drinks.

Glassman tells the magazine that due to his public lambasting of soda companies—including CrossFit's Crush Big Soda website, which lobbies for warning levels on sugary beverages in California—there's a conspiracy of sorts between what he calls soda "shills" and lawmakers to halt the licensing of CrossFit trainers in eight states. "While I'm opening gyms all over the country, these a--holes are in the houses and senates trying to ramrod legislation," he says. "The soda companies have invested significantly in keeping us unaware of what the problems are." He also doubles down on his defense of CrossFit against injury claims ("nobody is getting hurt"), and he told CNBC earlier this month that his program is appropriate even for grandmas. "Our understanding is that the needs of Olympic athletes and our grandparents differ by degree, not kind," he said. "One needs functional competence to stay out of the nursing home. The other one wants functional dominance to win medals." (A transgender woman sued CrossFit for not letting her compete as a female.)

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