Virtuosity Goes Viral

CFJ

Hollis Molloy of CrossFit Santa Cruz remembers the good old CrossFit days, the days when CrossFit Founder and CEO Greg Glassman hosted every single Level 1 Seminar, when the entire group—including Glassman—went for pizza and beer after the course.

Molloy, who started CrossFit at Glassman’s original CrossFit gym, was around in the days when the CrossFit Games were just a gathering of friends who liked working out and hanging out together in Dave Castro’s parents’ backyard. He was around when nobody had heard of CrossFit, when there were only a handful of CrossFit affiliates in the world, each of them eager to spread Glassman’s definition of fitness.

Glassman’s original gym, opened in 2001 at 2851 Research Park Drive in Santa Cruz, California, grew into 10,000 affiliates around the world, and part of the reason is that the message from the good old days is somehow—miraculously—still intact today.

This fact, at least partially, has to do with the affiliates themselves.

One of the rare beauties of being in a CrossFit gym is it doesn’t usually feel as if a business is operating around you. Instead, you can feel the pervasive community, the family that lives inside each box.

“The CrossFit program—the thrust that Coach put on it—is still there,” Molloy said. “He used to say, ‘People will quit a workout program, but they won’t quit a relationship.’”

He added: “Coming in and teaching a pull-up is different than coming in and being a part of something.”

That’s as true with 10,000 affiliates as it was when there were two.

Exponential Growth

Jeff Martin is a CrossFit pioneer. He’s also the co-founder, with wife Mikki Lee Martin, of CrossFit Kids. The 54-year-old, who runs CrossFit Brand X in Ramona, California, discovered CrossFit 11 years ago. When he affiliated in summer of 2004, he proudly became one of the first five CrossFit gyms in the world.

CrossFit Kids came about somewhat accidentally. At the time, Martin was coaching martial arts, and when he tried to bring CrossFit to his martial arts gym, the teenage kids took to the idea quicker than the adults.

“So that’s really how CrossFit Kids started, and we kind of talked to Greg (Glassman) a bit about what we were doing, and in November 2004, Greg said, ‘I’d like you to run CrossFit Kids,’” Martin explained.

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