Is CrossFit interest declining?

I wrote an post a few weeks (months?) ago that it looked like the CrossFit “fad” might be slowing down. My main reasoning was that some of the Level 1 certification classes were not selling out. When I got my L1 you had to watch for when new classes were released for the Denver area because they sold out so fast. Looking at right now there are five of the six courses for this week with availability. It’s a tough weekend with it being Thanksgiving weekend, but even next weekend two of the six have availability.

I think this is why they created the new L2 and L3 certifications – to drive more business/interest.

Anyway, that’s not what drives this post.

Everything peaks. Some peaks last longer than others, but everything peaks. Someone finds something that the market loves and a bunch of people copy it and eventually the market supply outpaces the market demand. Whether that product is a full size van (how popular were those in the late 80’s early 90’s), Jazzercise, P90x or Coca Cola (first time in years that public consumption has decreased) sooner or later the public moves on.

I think the trend of both CrossFit and craft breweries is sort of the same. Both got really popular at about the same time and, at least here in Denver, there is a CrossFit box or a brewery about every 5-10 miles (more CrossFit than breweries…but breweries are popping up everywhere). Sooner or later the market will be over-saturated for both. Sooner or later there will be more breweries than beer drinkers and sooner or later there will be more CrossFit boxes than those interested in CrossFit.

Well I think the CrossFit market might finally be full. I know CrossFit announced they had 10,000 affiliates this year, but I wonder what the count is now? Locally we have had three boxes close their doors this year – and those are only those that I am aware of. CrossFit Saddle Rock, CrossFit Unbroken and CrossFit Parker have all closed this year (and really all within about 6 months). In only one of those cases, that I know of, did a coach from one of those gyms open their own, new CrossFit box – Kevin Ogar opened his own box when Unbroken closed its doors.

Unbroken and Parker were both very long standing gyms in the community. Parker was the only box in Parker when I first started looking into CrossFit five years ago (now there are four, I believe, if I include Parker still). And at that time Parker was already well established. Unbroken was owned by Matt Hathcock (former games competitor and star of one of my favorite Games events of all time) and had been open for several years, too. When I was just visiting Glenwood Springs this past weekend I was going to go to CrossFit Generate (I think was the name), but found out it recently closed its doors.

Unbroken I heard closed mostly because Matt lost interest in CrossFit and I think once the owner loses interest the gym will struggle. If the owners can’t put in full effort its client base will see the quality drop and it makes it hard to sustain. I suspect the same thing happened at CrossFit Parker.

I travel to Phoenix every spring for golf and baseball and while I am there I visit Firebird CrossFit and I just saw that their owners just sold the box to another couple who have been members of Firebird for a few years. It will be interesting to see how that gym continues to grow – or fail – with new owners.

The point being that the interest in CrossFit is at least plateauing, if not declining. Those who have been in it for years are moving on. Gyms that have been open for years are closing their doors or selling to new owners. Some of the best of the best (Hathcock) have lost interest. The CrossFit Open isn’t growing exponentially any longer (I have seen claims of 270,000 participants in 2015, but when you scroll through the leader board there are a LOT of people who didn’t complete any workout).

Who knows, maybe this is just my small world of CrossFit. Maybe this isn’t indicative of CrossFit’s interest world wide. It is only a matter of time before it peaks and goes down. I don’t think it will ever wane entirely – there will always be people like me who will participate in CrossFit for the foreseeable future. There will always be people like me who love it, love the competition, love the work to improve myself, my lifts and my times. But there are many, many more who are in it just so their beer gut doesn’t get TOO big – they are OK with a beer gut, but they just want to feel like when they drink 5 beers a night that they work off a little of it at the gym three or four times a week. Those very casual CrossFitters far outnumber those who live and breathe it. Those casual CrossFitters will find the next Bikram Yoga, P90x or Jazzercise to sweat a little bit.

Does anyone have any similar stories or experiences of boxes closing locally? My curiosity would love to hear about them.

– EDIT –

I just read that Ferza CrossFit (I think that is located in Cherry Creek) has also closed its doors. They say the owners lost interest and want to pursue something else. Well, either that or rent was way too high in Cherry Creek for a CrossFit gym. That brings the total to four closings in the Denver area in about six months.

Unbroken CrossFit
CrossFit Parker
CrossFit Saddle Rock
Ferza CrossFit

Why is it so hard to find results?

One thing I have yet to understand about CrossFit and Weightlifting competitions is why it is so hard to find results. To my point:

Rush Club is some sort of “Fight Club” esque CrossFit competition. I really have no interest in actually watching one of these, but I am curious enough to search to see who won the day after. I like EZ Muhammad and I like Becky Conzelman since she is from Denver and Annie Sakamoto because she is a CrossFit OG…they were part of the Rush Club event last night.

I have scoured the Rush Club website and cannot find “results” anywhere. Nothing even remote to results. For this weekend’s match or any past match. Why wouldn’t this be super easy to find?

There was a local competition a few weeks ago with a few big name CrossFitters competing – same thing, couldn’t find the results.

Why so secretive?

Now, how about a major competition involving athletes, male and female, from all over the world? Enter the IWF in Houston right now. The best of the best in Weightlifting (well, minus the best lifter in the world) are competing. There is a “fan guide” but results are not to be found.

Take a look and let me know if you find anything. I can’t. Here is what I see at 7:23pm on Sunday night:


Nothing jumps out to show me the results. How disappointing. I have seen a lot of lifts via Instagram, but no results.

Local smaller competitions, however, seem to nail it. This weekend MBS had their Turkey Challenge and there is a link titled “Scoreboard” right on the main page. Why can’t the big boys follow suit?

If they want to attract new fans, make it easy to find results. All the major sports don’t hide their results. UFC makes it easy. Hard to find a score on ESPN? Nope. Fix it, IWF. Fix it.

Nutrition change – again

In early August I visited the dunk tank and got my body fat tested. The first time I have had someone test my body fat since I was probably in middle school and they did the caliper test on my calf and my side – no idea what that said.

After trying to guess my body fat a few times with measurements, I decided to take the plunge, literally. I was definitely nervous, but really wanted to know my resting metabolic rate which is something this test provides. I wish I wasn’t such a cheap ass because I would have long ago paid for a dietitian to help me cross the proverbial finish line.

In August I was pleasantly surprised when the results showed that I was just over 13% body fat. In my age range that placed me just on the high edge of being “athletic” – better than “healthy”. Shocked to say the least. I was a bit skeptical simply because I had hiked Gray’s and Torrey’s peak that morning and when I do something long and aerobic like that I tend to weigh at least a few pounds less than normal. For this test I weighed 207.

I found out my resting metabolic rate was just barely over 2,300 calories. This means if I woke up and laid in bed all day I would still need 2,300 calories to maintain weight. Well, up until that point I had been eating close to 2,300 calories a day. On some day’s I was eating well under 2,300 calories a day.

I also saw an Instagram post from Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet that said she eats close to 200 grams of protein a day. I wasn’t getting close to that either (I wasn’t tracking macros as this point, but I went back and looked at a few days and realized I was getting closer to 100 grams per day). I decided for the next few months I would eat a lot more and make sure to get enough protein. I set My Fitness Pal to 35% protein, 35% fat and 30% carbs with a minimum of 2,300 calories a day. I would track all of my activity (guess my CrossFit…) with Map My Run and those added calories would add to my 2,300 calories and I would eat that, too. This resulted in most days around 3,000 calories, give or take a few hundred. Unfortunately this was all a guess, too, since I wasn’t tracking my heart rate, but it was better than before.

It had been three months since my last check and I wanted to get checked again. I wanted to get checked before the holidays and possibly adjust my nutrition based on the results – and I plan on getting tested again just before my birthday at the end of January. I am definitely heavier, but how much fatter am I? I know I weigh closer to 213-215 now, but how much of that is muscle or fat? Has my new diet (more calories and a lot more protein) helped?

The results were positive! I did weigh more (215) and my body fat went up just over 1% to about 14.3% (if I recall correctly), but I did gain 4.5 pounds of lean mass. While I don’t want to get fat, I do want to deadlift 400 pounds, squat over 300 regularly (would LOVE to get 3 plates on the bar for a squat) and also snatch 200. I don’t think those will come without feeding myself.

So, here enters my nutrition change. I have started eating more carbs recently and less fat as I try to meet my 35/35/30 goals. I hadn’t realized how much fat I ate before – it was a lot. Think grass fed beef with guacamole added, for example. Or eggs with bacon and guacamole. I didn’t know that a meal like that is almost all fat, no carbs and some protein. Eating a lot of fat isn’t bad, I know the benefits of getting into Ketosis, but I have read a lot more recently that eating carbs benefits CrossFitters who need to be able to perform at high output levels.

Enter Instagram again. This time a post by Margaux Alvarez where she outlines how she tries to eat a lot more carbs than protein.

I had been suspicious that CrossFit athletes eat more carbs than protein based on a few other things I have read, but everyone wants to charge for any information like this. (Not saying that is bad, people have to make a living, but, like I said, I’m a cheap ass…). This was enough evidence that I need to eat more carbs.

Within the comments on Alvarez’s post was a link to a blog that would outline how and why she eats the way she does. Within this is the suggestion that you should eat 18-20 calories per pound you hope to weigh. The first sort of calculation I have ever read suggesting how much someone should eat. It also talks about eating the same amount of calories everyday, regardless of activity or lack thereof. For Alvarez she eats 20 calories per pound desired, but she is super active – much more so than I. I would like to weight 190 someday so 190 x 18 = 3,400 calories per day.

For the next three months I am going to attempt to eat 3,400 calories per day with 40% of the calories coming from carbs, and splitting the remaining 60% between fat and protein. This still gets me well over 200 grams of protein per day, but will definitely add more carbs to my diet – a lot more.

This will be difficult over the holidays, but I am going to give it a shot. After I am tested again at the end of January I will adjust, if needed. Maybe at the end of January I add another 4 pounds of lean mass and reduce my body fat by a percentage point or two?

I have been tracking my workout progress for a few years and that has helped me make improvements. Now it is time to do the same with nutrition. Test, change and retest and see how it effects my body and my performance in the gym.

A day in the life at 24 Hour Fitness

I have been going to 24 Hour Fitness again on Thursday nights as I have a few hours to spare. I use this time mostly as meat head time – I do “body building” exercises as opposed to “functional fitness”. You can find me doing curls, lat pull downs, leg curls and extensions and other exercises mainly utilized on focusing on one muscle group. Very few compound exercises.

Anyway, last Thursday I saw one lady doing shoulder work on a machine…while watching TV. Not sure she actually had any resistance on the machine, but her eyes were certainly getting a workout watching TV.

Then I also saw this:

Gotta love the people who are more worried about looking at Facebook or posting to Facebook than working out. She did move her legs, occasionally, but didn’t take her eyes off of her phone.

Say what you will about CrossFit, but you don’t see this during a CrossFit class.

Starbucks Doubleshot Protein drink

I just saw a commercial on TV for a can of Starbucks coffee and the commercial boasts that it has 20 grams of protein. My first thought? “I wonder how much crap and sugar are in that can?”

I tried searching the internet for the ingredients in a can of this stuff, but in my quick search I couldn’t find anything other than the basic nutritional information.

But my search did find this: NY Daily News article.

I couldn’t say it better than this article, so I’ll stop while I am ahead.

I do wonder what the author of this article thinks the average American needs in daily protein? I take in well over 200 grams a day. Closer to 250 a day. Then again, I lift my share of iron.