CrossFit: The Biggest Loser or the Biggest Winner in 2012

CrossFit, Health — By on January 2, 2012 9:29 am

 

CrossFit and The Biggest Loser

Without a doubt, CrossFit has been on a tear.  In less than a decade, over 2500 gyms have been certified and affiliated with CrossFit, and the number of people who participate in CrossFit workouts is on the order of 500,000.

The prize money for the first CF Games in 2007 was $500 compared to the staggering $250,000 for the top male and female finishers at the 2011 Games – Thank you Reebok (source – Social WOD)

But what will the future bring?  Can CrossFit continue to attract new gyms and will those gyms be able to grow as profitable businesses?

One interesting twist will be to see what the combination of CrossFit and The Biggest Loser provides.

What am I talking about?  Check out this series of tweets about CrossFit and The Biggest Loser from trainer Bob Harper:

CrossFit and The Biggest Loser

Luckily, the season premiere of CrossFit and The Biggest Loser is Tuesday, January 3rd.  Will this be a positive or a negative for CrossFit and their affiliates?

Any predictions?

 

Related Posts:

Christmas Abbott – Finding Her Purpose with CrossFit

CrossFit Training – Getting Fit for Life

Quotes by Steve Prefontaine

 

Photo credit:  Wikipedia

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Tim Huntley , the former CEO of Ganymede Software, spends his time advising high tech start-ups, serving on the board for the Track and Field Athletes Association, and writing on his blog, An Entrepreneurial Life. Circle me on Google+.

Latest posts by Tim Huntley (see all)

  • Laura

    Cannot wait to see the results! And can’t wait to see if he converts to Paleo as well!

    • http://myathleticlife.com Tim Huntley

      Hey Laura,

      I think the results will be solid, and it will motivate a lot of folks to check out CrossFit. However not so sure that vegan Bob will be on board with Paleo :)

      • becs

        He’s no longer vegan thanks to CF (per posts from brick cf fb).

        • http://myathleticlife.com Tim Huntley

          Thanks! One step at a time :)

    • Laura

      considering the companies that put tons and tons of money into product placements in the show (subway, extra gum, jennie-o turkey etc.), i think its HIGHLY unlikely that the paleo diet would even be brought up on the show. its unfortunate, because i think it would be interesting to see the contestants become paleo, but its not gonna happen.

  • http://SeeYourToes.com/ Dean Ouellette

    now this is going to be interesting. I love watching biggest loser, it is the only thing we really watch together as a family and now I am even more interested.

    • http://myathleticlife.com Tim Huntley

      I have watched it a few times – the transformations are pretty amazing. I especially enjoyed watching former Olympic Gold Medalist Rulon Garnder.

      • Robomini

        Of course, Rulon walked off the show and didn’t come back for the final show. Shame…..he just gave up! Didn’t shine the best light on athletes!

  • Eric Tonn

    I for one think converting Bob and broadcasting CF on Biggest Loser is a massive win for CF. The one complaint/reservation I hear about CF from friends & family alike is that it’s only for already fit athletes & you can’t expect a “normal” person to be able to do it. But if the BL contestants can do it, then everyone else can too. Hoping people tune in!

    • http://myathleticlife.com Tim Huntley

      The Biggest Loser is an absolute force so they will tune in. And your point is well taken about the perception of CF being just for “already fit athletes.” – this could certainly help.

    • Inafitness4life

      Like i said before you dont have to be fit already to do crossfit most clients who start crossfit are unconditional average people. The reason why its so popular is because it works in a short amount of time, with this being said, just because Bob just became a coach dosent mean he knows how to teach all the movements or knows how to structure a program. However we will see right?

  • http://www.jwhit.com/ Jason

    This is really neat. I’m certainly going to be checking out TBL this season. http://www.jwhit.com

  • Jen at luck and funny

    I hope the CF community is ready to welcome legions of new and new-to-exercise folks … Biggest Loser is a massive advertising force. I think CF is about to go mainstream, like it or not.

    • http://myathleticlife.com Tim Huntley

      Jen, I think you are right. And it would be interesting to see some aggregated stats from the affiliates over the next few months (total number of new CF members who heard about CF from TBL).

    • http://twitter.com/Joe_T Joe _T

      CF went mainstream when they signed with Reebok. So saying they are “about to go mainstream” is a miscalculation.

      • Anthony L.

        Joe, I think Reebok got them off the shelf. But national network publicity, I would say is Mainstream…………and some

        • http://twitter.com/Joe_T Joe _T

          I’m not saying this isn’t bigger exposure, but if you look at the transformation from 2007 to the end of 2011 you will see that Reebok was the catalyst for what is going to happen with CrossFit in 2011.

          • Cliff Faucheux

            I would have to agree that Reebok put Crossfit out there for a much larger audience, but what the Biggest Loser could potentially do would dwarf Reebok. Get ready for some very busy boxes.

  • Cd52559

    Just a comment to the post from Eric. I’m a 52 year old grandma. I’ve done CrossFit for almost 3 years, my son is also a trainer and some of my grandkids do it. The key is to find a box that really works with each person to scale the WOD to their abilities. I am not what you’d consider super fit at all. (Wish I was.) I’ve been heavy most of my life and still am, but I know I am in better shape than most women my age. The more who hear about CrossFit the better!

    • G8rDave

      Cd, I’m 52 also, as is my wife. I’m 18 months in, she is about 4 months. Much respect for you…mobility is a bitch to try to recover after 50!

  • Kevin

    Is Bob Harper certified as a CrossFit trainer (level 1 or 2)? If not, he technically can’t teach “CrossFit” to the contestants. If he isn’t certified how will CrossFit HQ handle this. It would make it unfair to all those who have gone through the CrossFit cert.

    • Brandy

      Kevin, I wondered that too – and still dont know if he is certified but I know that during all of their training sessions they do have multiple certified trainers behind the scenes that they just cut out of the actual show, that work with the contestants. From what I understand, the people who helped him learn crossfit are who is helping the show.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Will-Johnson/1353080792 Will Johnson

      Kevin Bob is not opening a box so he does not need to be “certified”. It is much like all of the bootcamps that use a crossfit style workout. Also lets remember, Crossfit did not invent any of (or at least not many) of the exercises we do so there is nothing unique in WHAT we do, but what is unique is in HOW we do it and in how we blend the various exercises into our WOD.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Will-Johnson/1353080792 Will Johnson

      Kevin Bob is not opening a box so he does not need to be “certified”. It is much like all of the bootcamps that use a crossfit style workout. Also lets remember, Crossfit did not invent any of (or at least not many) of the exercises we do so there is nothing unique in WHAT we do, but what is unique is in HOW we do it and in how we blend the various exercises into our WOD.

    • Jchoggan

      He’s probably not certified right now, but so long as he is instructing it well (which you can’t always say for even certified instructors), I doubt the CF community or HQ will take much issue with it. He’s a smart trainer, so I think he’ll do alright. I think CF HQ should contact him and offer a free certification course, perhaps combined with a big media blitz.

    • Inafitness4life

      he isent a level two trainer for sure, they have that certification frozen they are Reconstruction the program. Im a level one coach.

    • Kevin

      I was just under the assumption that you can’t say you teach CrossFit unless you have your cert. I have mine and I also have an affiliate. At my cert they just seemed to preach not calling it CrossFit unless certified because it is a trademarked name. If he has the guys from Brick Fitness (The gym Bob does CF at) then he should be fine, I assume.

  • Barryc

    Problem is their new sponsor planet fitness. That place is the anti-crossfit.

  • Barryc

    Problem is their new sponsor planet fitness. That place is the anti-crossfit.

    • Tamara

      WOW!!!! Planet Fitness!! WOW!!! One of my goals in life is to go to a Planet Fitness and get kicked the hell out by doing something crazy like a heavy deadlift or back squat. Crazy I know who would ever back squat or deadlift in a gym.

  • Bill Jones

    Slaptearfit is here to stay

  • Anne (Annie) Berryhill

    Well as Crossfit people, we should be glad that more people will be getting fit with Crossfit. If someone only saw the Games on ESPN, that would definitely deter a large group of people from wanting to try. IF, Bob is able to use a Crossfit based program to get the heavy contestants transformed, then it is like another layer of credibility for CF.
    We already know what it can do for just about anyone, now its just the opportunity for the rest of the world to get it like we get it!
    I loved the video where the 2 min WOD kicked Jillian’s butt…that made me so happy!

    • http://myathleticlife.com Tim Huntley

      Hey Anne, I liked the video as well, but was pretty shocked that she didn’t do any better – don’t disagree with your sentiment, just surprised.

  • Dodong

    So how will 16 contestants that each weigh at least 400-lbs be able to do kipping pullups? How do you expect these guys to do 50 box jumps after doing deadlifts? How do you expect them to do deadlifts if they can’t even see their feet cuz their bellies are so freakin huge? Let’s hope nobody dies of rhabdo or gets SLAP tear. This is idiotic. Both CF and the Biggest Losers are idiotic. Two wrongs don’t make a right, people!

    • http://www.facebook.com/jasonbrettcox Jason Cox

      Very intelligent, well-thought out criticism here.

    • Fericito

      I have been doing CrossFit since October and I started at 300 pounds. I’m also doing Paleo so I’ve lost 19 lbs but I have a very long way to go. I can’t yet do a pullup , especially kipping but I can jump and do the movement as close to possible and my box jump is on a 3 inch box only – but I’m doing something and I’m making changes and my lifiting has already improved considerably. I’m careful, my box scales accordingly and I haven’t yet had any injuries. I think it can be done, WILL be done, and will be a huge success. Don’t knock it.

    • Fericito

      I have been doing CrossFit since October and I started at 300 pounds. I’m also doing Paleo so I’ve lost 19 lbs but I have a very long way to go. I can’t yet do a pullup , especially kipping but I can jump and do the movement as close to possible and my box jump is on a 3 inch box only – but I’m doing something and I’m making changes and my lifiting has already improved considerably. I’m careful, my box scales accordingly and I haven’t yet had any injuries. I think it can be done, WILL be done, and will be a huge success. Don’t knock it.

      • Fericito

        Also wanted to add that I’m finally sometimes rx-ing as well – when the WOD is something like situps, runs, etc. And I even PR’d last week in squat cleans. Who says fat people can’t CrossFit?

        • Jaunie

          @Dodong. Hate to rub it in but your uninformed bias has just been exposed.

      • Erika

        Right on! More power to you!

        If coaches know what they’re doing, Crossfit is infinitely scalable and everyone can do it. If you have an injury, substitute another movement. If you can’t do something as rx’d, do something else! We all can benefit physically from HIIT scaled to our levels, and psychologically from pushing ourselves to attack challenges and meet new goals. That’s what Crossfit is all about. Crossfit at the elite level is more of a spectator sport for most of us– inspiring, fun, but if we all had to be able to do kipping pull ups when we walked in the gym, Crossfit wouldn’t be experiencing the dramatic and well-deserved growth that we’re currently seeing.

    • Smiddle

      Somehow I don’t think anyone expects these people to be doing ADVANCED movements right now. You forget is that Crossfit incorporates very basic movements to create intensity; anyone who has done “Cindy” (20 min AMRAP 5 pull-ups/10 push-ups/15 air squats) understands this. The movements the contestants will be expected to do are: push-ups, sit-ups, running, rowing, wall balls, air squats, step-ups, ball slams, plank holds, lunges, push press, isometric holds, interval training, pushing/pulling sleds and of course… burpees!!!!

      I for one have never watched the show but being that I have become such a fitness enthusiast over the past year and absolutely love Crossfit I’m interested to see how this goes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chuckgonzales Chuck Gonzales

    I believe Bob is a certified level one CF coach, but don’t quote me on that. I happen to be an owner of a CF box here in Hillsboro, OR (CrossFit Hillsboro) and I have mixed feelings about CF on BL. First, I think it’s really, REALLY great that CF is gaining huge attention in the world. Second, it’s definitely not a good or responsible idea to have people in that type of conditioning, or lack thereof, to go through the CF methodology. Yes, we do preach that everything can be “scaled,” but when it’s scaled to that degree for someone who’s 450#’s, it’s not even CF anymore. It turns into personal training, complete with screens, assessments, individualization, etc (which we also provide). This could either be really, REALLY good for CrossFit as a whole, or really, REALLY bad for the our reputation.

    Respectfully,
    Chuck Gonzales

    • Gary

      I don’t see how you can say you can’t scale to people in that kind of shape and not be CF anymore. I am fairly new to CrossFit and came into it with fairly good conditioning, but if had read your comment prior to joining I would have continued to think it was just another elite type workout for for a bunch of superjocks.

  • Lukia_79

    More power to him….

  • http://www.jwhit.com/ Jason

    I’ve watched some of the previous seasons of TBL and always wondered if the progress was sustainable. I’d really like to see a “Where are they now” episode after they’ve learned a solid foundation of CF. I think the benefits will keep them motivated and slim. But most important they’ll see strength success that will keep them in their local box learning and growing. It’s the CF community that will help them far more than they realize.

  • Chelbeerocks

    I have been watching The Biggest Loser for years and every now and then I’ll recognize an exercise that I first saw on show (i.e. Renegade Rows). I think it’s great because out of all the things I’ve tried Crossfit has motivated me in a way that goes beyond just trying to work out and lose weight.

  • Inafitness4life

    Im a Crossfit Trainer, I think having Crossfit on the biggest looser will Def help our community, not saying that we even need that. Its not a fad, its been around for 8 years now and is growing 300 % per year. Its getting so popular because it works, you get a huge hormone dump directly after your workout, so if you want to loose weight, you can loose weight if you want to get strong and build lean muscle you can do that. Crossfit is the best for of fitness its functional fitness.

    CrossFit: The Magic is in the Movements
    Unlike the pec deck, leg extensions, curls, and lateral raises which you never see in the real world, the athletic field, or combat, functional movements are not the exclusive property of the gym. If the only place you do a particular movement is at the gym, it probably doesn’t have particularly potent transfer to the challenges of sport and life outside the gym. Functional movements are universal motor patterns that you find your every day life. Putting the heavy dog food bag on the shelf over the washing machine is every bit the clean and jerk as doing the movement with a barbell. Proper muscle recruitment is like a symphony. Training in segmented fashion develops a segmented capacity. You must not try to develop your muscles separately but rather in the fashion in which they are designed to be used. Functional movements are common, universal motor recruitment patterns, the things you see and use all the time. Functional movements are efficient and effective. They are not single-joint movements but rather multi-joint movements. They are safe, develop very powerful and useful core strength, provide tremendous neuro-endocrine response, and are the best cardio and best rehab training you can do!

  • James

    With respect CrossFit is not what these people need (initially). What they need is to learn about proper food and portion control. To put people through WOD’s and tough workouts is simply not realistic or sustainable. Look at some of the people from previous seasons (Erik Chopin for example), he simply had no clue about proper nutrition or sensible exercise and as soon as they show finished he gained most of the weight he lost. It does need to be explained that it is an edited television show and will be edited for dramatic effect. Only in America.

    • http://myathleticlife.com Tim Huntley

      James,

      I agree with you point that the show should do a much better job of giving the contestants tools for nutrition and exercise that apply in the real world, not just while the tape is rolling. How disappointing for Erik and anyone else who works that hard only to have all the weight return.

      That said, I don’t think that it is unreasonable to put people into a tough exercise program. I don’t believe it has to be an either/or (diet or exercise).

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/YZAABD7FGP7WQGNAULPGUXJPEE ARM TV

      its tv. regardless of what they ‘really’ need. the exercise is going to bring the drama..so thats what is going to be pushed. nutrition isn’t going to draw viewers like them getting killed every ep. :/

  • Daisy

    On the episode this week, he had his entire team doing wall balls and practicing jump rope, without the rope. I wonder if we will see double unders by the end of the season?

  • Jennifer Moody

    I think it’s a good thing, but the one episode where it was truly featured was where the contestants did Fran and they made it appear as though Bob came up with and named the workout. There was no mention of Crossfit at all! Big FAIL NBC!

  • Cassie

    I think Bob Harper is wishy-washy. How can you be 100% dedicated to a cause one day and then eating steak a year later? Seems like he can be “sold” most anything. Now he’s on board with Crossfit and their meat eating diet and talking about that constantly. I think Crossfit is great but I lose respect for someone who goes from one extreme to the other. The guy hosted the walk for farm animals to educate people about the cruelty of factory farming!! Once you know about that – how do you go back? Lost respect for you Bob on this one. I can’t take any diet advice from this guy seriously.

  • lsb

    Cross fit has a lot to offer, but check out the newest craze in fitness. Kosama!! It’s a total body transformation and offers what cross fit does and more!!

  • Lmbtuck

    Bob…how is your team dealing with going straight into crossfit?