I consider CrossFit to be a part of a larger “Movement Revolution”. CrossFit uses the slogans and catch phrases that actually apply to several other physical activities and interests that resemble it in theme, at least in terms of “functional fitness and compound movements” vs. “isolation movements”. The Mixed Martial Arts revolution developed in full force in the 90’s and MMA has often been referred to as the fastest growing sport in the world, at least until recently. Now parkour and freerunning are claiming their own explosive niche in the functional movement revolution, but more on those two in a subsequent blog posts. CrossFit is the most accessible of these activities, presenting itself as a protocol for elite fitness, yet a viable gateway to entry-level training through the scalability of the movements and exercises involved and as such, has the broadest potential market.
Let’s take a look at the explosive growth of the CrossFit community by the numbers:
Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia:
History and contributors
Greg Glassman founded CrossFit, Inc. in 2000. … Coaches associated with CrossFit include Louie Simmons, Bob Harper and Mike Burgener. Another CrossFit subject matter expert is Dr. Nicholas Romanov, inventor of the Pose method of running.
[I'd also like to add that The Cave's co-founder, Roger Harrell, was also considered an early contributor to the CrossFit community in the gymnastics arena, as was Jeff Martone in kettle bell training, Mike Rutherford in dumb bell training, Rob Wolfe in nutrition, John Hackleman in combatives, Jesse Woody in Parkour, and Mark Rippetoe in power lifting among others, even though they aren't mentioned on the wikipedia article.]
Also from wikipedia:
“The first affiliated gym was CrossFit North in Seattle, Washington; there were 13 by 2005 and more than 4,300 today.“
A more recent count of CF affiliates (Nov. 11th, 2012) according the the affiliate finder map shows the following breakdown of affiliates by region:
Australia, New Zealand & Pacific: 327
Africa / Middle East: 62
South America: 60
Western United States: 1599 (very rough East / West breakdown)
Eastern Unites States: 2213 (very rough East / West breakdown)
This month (Nov. 2012) there were 22 new affiliates. I have a vague recollection of someone asking Greg Glassman at the 2010 Filfest (affiliate owner gathering) where he saw the growth of world wide CrossFit affiliates peaking out at. Glassman’s response was something like: ”I don’t know… 10 thousand?? 15 thousand?? I honestly don’t see a reason why 30 or 40 thousand affiliates world wide would not be sustainable.”
It is notable that CrossFit Marin (Now The Cave) was roughly the 127th affiliate (according to my vague recollection, we may have been the 105th??) We are currently listed as 103rd in the CrossFit main page, registering our affiliate in the fall of 2005. At it’s inception CrossFit Marin had two trainers, myself and Roger Harrell working part time. Today The Cave employs about five full time and six part time staff members and has hundreds of clients including the gymnastics, parkour and judo programs. In July 2007 I dragged Russell Bruel down to Aromas, Ca with me to compete in the first CrossFit Games. We were the only two athletes from CrossFit Marin. I came in roughly 20th out of a field of 40. This year we had dozens of athletes who competed in the CrossFit Games Open with a couple of our girls going to regionals and one athlete going to the CrossFit Games Finals in the master’s division.
Here are some videos relating to the growth of the CrossFit community. There are six in all, so maybe just pick a few to watch so you don’t get bored. It will be interesting to see for how long CrossFit can sustain its current growth and to see how it will compare to the other disciplines that are rapidly gaining popularity and exposure.