Greg Glassman CrossFit Quotes Page Updated 6/28/2014

Greg Glassman CrossFit Quotes by Maximus Lewin. I started this page in September of 2007 based on notes I took at my L1 and L2 Certs which were taught by Greg Glassman, Founder, Sole Owner and CEO of CrossFit Inc, and the very first CrossFitter. Many of these quotes have gone viral and are now well-known, with the page having been cut and pasted many times. This is the original source page for many of Greg’s well know quotes. Of course he repeated these same concepts hundreds, or thousands, of times so they have propagated from many directions.

A little while into my first Certification, I realized Greg’s quotes were genius and started furiously trying to capture every quote I could. Among the Certification Staff in attendance were: Greg Glassman and Lauren Glassman (Jenai), Dave Castro, now Director of The CrossFit Games, Nicole Carroll, now Director Of Training for HQ,  Annie Sakamoto, 2-time CrossFit Games athlete, and Co-Owner of CrossFit Santa Cruz Central the gym that replaced the original HQ, Rob Miller, Tony Budding, former Media Director for CrossFit HQ and founder of the NPGL, Eva Twardokens, 2-time Olympian and Mike Minium, Owner of CrossFit Oakland and the man who brought heavy weights to the CrossFit Games.
Many of the quotes are from the following two certification sessions at the Original CrossFit HQ on 2851 Research Park Drive in Santa Cruz, CA:

Lewin CrossFit L1 Certification: September 9-10, 2006
Lewin CrossFit L2 Certification:  July 7-8, 2007

All Greg Glassman CrossFit quotes from session one are marked 09-06
All Greg Glassman CrossFit quotes from session two are marked 07-07
All other Greg Glassman CrossFit quotes are attributed or linked where possible


Greg Glassman CrossFit quotes
CrossFit L1 Cert Notes 2006

Greg Glassman’s Seminal Note on The Originality of CrossFit from 2008

The line of reasoning that “the elements of CrossFit were well known and that therefore the program is not original” is factually and logically untenable. Beethoven invented nothing – the notes were each known to all. Shakespeare did nothing original in Hamlet – the words were common place*. Andrew Wyeth bought his tempera from readily available sources – colors we’ve all seen before, so no original works there. Wofgang Puck is no chef – he’s using ingredients I can find in my local grocery store. Absurd utterances each, stupid to repeat, and dangerous if believed.

CrossFit is as original as any novel, poem, musical score, recipe OR software (always ones and zeros, therefor never original). The argument you describe is, Sir, stupid, indefensible, and shocking. I don’t fault you for it, however. You didn’t think it through.

This argument/observation, used sadly by [some douche] last week, is so weak that when it was offered by one of the Queen’s JAG’s in Canada during meetings to formally decide whether Canadian Forces needed to attribute/compensate CrossFit for their use of our program, immediately on hearing this week line of argument, the majority quickly decided that this, CrossFit, was IP and that attribution, compensation, and licensing was morally, ethically, and legally required. Good, good, people Canadians. Neither stupid nor dishonest. Great combination of attributes.

And, as for [comments] about this, CrossFit, being “extant knowledge”… this point [is] 100% wrong.

We’ve weathered attacks against every single facet of this concept from academia, commercial fitness, athletic training, and Internet turds with no athletic training or experience beyond Internet posting (DD, IronGarm, T-Nation). Truth is CrossFit is “Bizarro World” different from what is going on at every university sports program (except the ones we’ve infected), commercial gyms (except for the ones we’ve infected), and among exercise physiologists (except for the ones we’ve infected).

Our problem, your problem, James, is that you came in during the third stage of Arthur Schopenhauer’s dictum that “every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first it is ridiculed; in the second it is opposed; in the third it is regarded as self-evident.” I actually enjoyed the first and second phases best!

…Let me be clear. Anyone that does for plumbing, architecture, or lawyering what we’ve done for fitness – create something uniquely effective, and then couple that with our open source, community developing, methods-results-criticisms held to light methodology, will find themselves significantly more successful than businesses as usual.

We “get” blogging, open-source, the Internet, and the new “peer review”, like few people anywhere in business. The blogging community doesn’t even recognize us as a blog – we’re an experiential blog not a self-indulgent teenager’s diary so they don’t see us. True for folks at MoveableType, amazingly! 6-22-08 on

*Not Quite Accurate, Shakespeare actually invented 1700 common English words.

Greg Glassman CrossFit Quotes From L1 & L2 Certs

  • “insist foundational pieces are rock-solid” 09-06
  • “There is a ten-year window of improvement in CrossFit regardless of age” 09-06
  • “Squats collapse from the head down” 09-06
  • “Ahead of efficacy is safety” 09-06
  • “Response to stimulus is systemic rather than mechanical” 09-06
  • “Alter your hormonal milieu” 09-06
  • “Exercise physiology is a nascent science” 09-06
  • “No brain, no pain” 09-06
  • “Be stupid for me” 09-06
  • “CrossFit is experiential” 09-06
  • “Functional strength is the successful application of force along productive lines.” 09-06
  • “Calm those worthless tremors.” (speaking about motor adaptation in frictionless situations, i.e., rings) 09-06
  • “I’m a fitness whore, I don’t care how you feel, only about performance” 09-06
  • “FrankenFitters” (on the top CrossFitters, such as Annie Sakamoto, Greg Admunson., Eva Twardokens, Nicole Carroll., Josh Everett., etc.) 09-06
  • “I don’t want to grade my own papers” (on letting others validate the efficacy of CrossFit protocols) 09-06
  • “We exist on the margins of decrepitude” 09-06
  • “Metabolically inert material can be carved off and replaced [with muscle] with no net displacement” 09-06
  • “Don’t paint a dirty car” (on hiding poor form with more weight and/or speed) 09-06
  • “Dead cat, angry beaver, sleepy bug” (“rehab” exercises) 09-06
  • “If you cannot deadlift you are injured but asymptomatic.” 09-06
  • “Like towing a car with a bungee cord” (bent arms in oly lifts) 09-06
  • “All the charm of a house of cards in the wind” (on poor form) 09-06
  • “Unsound mechanics at submaximal loads = injuries” 09-06
  • “Performance is directly correlated with intensity. Intensity is directly correlated with discomfort” 09-06
  • “We fail at the margins of our experience” 09-06
  • “Push-up, sit-up, jumping jack, lather, rinse, repeat” (weakness of most standard PT)” 09-06
  • Burn on the pyre of ego” (on the perils of failing to regulate intensity) 09-06
  • “CrossFit is open-source fitness technology” 09-06
  • “If you don’t get the ABCs we don’t jump into English Lit” 09-06
  • “Don’t hammer a wine glass” 09-06
  • “Just keep track of retrograde performance, how you feel is irrelevant” (on over-training) 09-06
  • “Modulate effort to sustain intensity” 09-06
  • “Men will die for points” 09-06
  • “First, second, third, dead fuckin’ last” (on the motivating properties of keeping score) 09-06
  • “It is very motivating to get your sac publicly smoked by a five-foot female hippie pottery teacher from the local high school.” (Special Forces reaction to CrossFit seminar) 09-06
  • “Cut your time in half on a WOD you have doubled your power output, no ifs ands or buts” 09-06
  • “CrossFit is a compelling model. Who would suggest low-intensity, non-functional, single joint exercises?” 09-06
  • “Vertical force translates well into rotational force” 09-06
  • “I have great cardio-respiratory endurance, it is just that the track is too long” (on complaints about heavy weights in workouts) 09-06
  • “Endurance is not a quality independent of the modality” 09-06
  • “By removing speed, power, accuracy, agility and balance [the fitness industry] has greatly amplified male dominance” 09-06
  • “Hiding from your weaknesses is a recipe for incapacity and error.” 09-06
  • “Why don’t you try some Judaism tonight?” (on people’s fanatic attachment to their diet) 09-06
  • “We should call them Bagelarians” (on vegetarians) 09-06
  • “Triathletes are sorely lacking in strength, speed, power, flexibility, accuracy, agility, and coordination, but they’ve sure got a lock on malnutrition” 09-06
  • “Fitness is a hedge against sickness” 09-06
  • “Talk about fuel vs. food to take out emotional content” 09-06
  • “Don’t eat anything with a label on it” 09-06
  • “We have had super-secret mega-ninjas from every community tap out [in WODs]” 07-07
  • “Tell me about a 900 pound squat and I’ll be suspicious of your fitness” 07-07
  • “Let’s get a tennis racquet with a cable on it, I hope it’s tennis” (on cable training) 07-07
  • “It’s amazing how many things you can’t do that you find no need for” 07-07
  • “Training for a fight by running twenty minutes every day makes perfect sense if you plan on running away from your opponent and know you will be getting a ten minute head-start” 07-07
  • “If you are a cop on a bike and you are chasing a guy 15 miles something is wrong” 07-07
  • “If you don’t plan your breaks, nature will plan them for you” 07-07
  • “I just ran a thee-minute mile but it was only half a mile” (on poor range of motion) 07-07
  • “We have a profound distrust, dislike and lack of need for things about which we know nothing” 07-07
  • “This is sport, not vanity” 07-07
  • “We have whiteboards instead of mirrors for looking at your sorry ass” 07-07
  • “Powerful hip extension is necessary and damn near sufficient to claim elite athletic capacity” 07-07
  • “Industry, ardor, courage and suffering are qualities that are needed to get through a CrossFit workout” 07-07

Greg Glassman CrossFit Quotes From CrossFit Message Board

  • “The cost of regular extended aerobic training is decreased speed, power, and strength”
  • “An athlete diminished by excessive aerobic training is slow and weak. At CrossFit we call that state, ‘spun-down'”
  • “Stick to the basics and when you feel you’ve mastered them it’s time to start all over again, begin anew – again with the basics – this time paying closer attention”
  • “Other than steroid use I cannot think of a single contribution to athletic performance coming from the sport science community”
  • “There is no single sport or activity that trains for perfect fitness. True fitness requires a compromise in adaptation broader than the demands of most every sport”
  • “Cardiorespiratory endurance, stamina, strength, power, speed, flexibility, agility, accuracy, balance, and coordination: you’re as good as your weakest link”
  • “Squat, jump, climb, throw, lift”
  • “Generating and sustaining significant work output from the upper body is a critical domain generally, and sadly, reserved for rowers, combatants, and cross country skiers”
  • “No, it doesn’t ever get any easier. You wouldn’t want it to either”
  • “The most important criterion for exercise selection is neuroendocrine effect. Regardless of your sport or your fitness goals these moves are the shortest path to success.”
  • “Endurance, stamina, strength, and flexibility are developed through training, and these adaptations manifest as measurable changes in the body. Coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy are developed through practice and these adaptations come about through changes in the nervous system. Power and speed have equal requirements for training and practice”
  • “Blur the distinction between strength training and metabolic conditioning for the simple reason that nature’s challenges are typically blind to the distinction”
  • “A strength and conditioning regimen devoid of gymnastics practice and skills is deficient”
  • “Traditionally, callisthenic movements are high rep movements, but there are numerous bodyweight exercises that only rarely can be performed for more than a rep or two. Find them. Explore them!”
  • “Reserve the long slow distance work for recreational breaks from your regular training regimen”
  • “Farther, longer is not fitter, is not healthier”
  • “Your gym isn’t complete without parallettes; not even close”
  • “Go home – Get 25-30 dips – then come back in here and you will have about 3 dips on my rings”
  • “Why is it that a guy with a 95 pound deadlift and 6 pull-ups is the first to worry about developing his grip?”
  • “Basketball, Volleyball, Wrestling, Boxing, and Football are each by large preponderance anaerobic not aerobic sports. Knowing and understanding this distinction is the first step to responsible, effective coaching”
  • “The nonviolent approach does not immediately change the heart of the oppressor. It first does something to the hearts and souls of those committed to it. It gives them new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage that they did not know they had. Finally it reaches the opponent and so stirs his conscience that reconciliation becomes a reality.” Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968, American Black Leader, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, 1964)  – “When dealing with similarly enlightened souls it does do exactly that. When confronting the rest of the world this very same strategy turns you into Scooby Snacks.”
  • “Mel Siff thought that everything he saw was bullshit; well since 99% of everything is bull-shit he was right 99% of the time–an amazing track record. This is the nature of the skeptic, a nature I shared with Dr. Siff”
  • “For many of our people fitness training has become their sport–a sport where the aims are simply to become as fit as possible”
  • “Few understand the overwhelming importance of anaerobic exercise to general fitness”
  • “The cost of regular extended aerobic training is decreased speed, power, and strength”
  • “The ultimate strength and conditioning facility is your own garage-gym”
  • “Prescribing thirty minute bouts of monostructural cardio (bike, run, swim, row, elliptical walker, etc.) in the hopes of maximizing fitness for a fight of five rounds of five minutes each is the epitome of incompetence”
  • “The notion that holding a heart rate of 180 bpm for twenty minutes on a bike is good cardio whereas holding 180 bpm for twenty minutes in a circuit of weightlifting is of lesser cardiovascular value is widespread yet ludicrous”
  • “I wish I knew how you could overstate the value of the deadlift”
  • “Develop the capacity of a novice 800 meter track athlete, gymnast, and weightlifter and you’ll be fitter than any world class runner, gymnast, or weightlifter.”
  • “The distinction we make between resistance training and metabolic training (“cardio”) may seem clear to us, but nature honors no such distinction”
  • “Optimal physical competency is a compromise, a balancing act; a compromise between not only conflicting but perfectly antagonistic skills. The manner in which you resolve this conflict defines the quality of your fitness and is the art of exercise prescription”
  • “Pick up any book on nutrition, flip to the index, and look up insulin and hyperinsulinism. If there is nothing there the book is pure bullshit, put it down”
  • “Just because you’re 250 pounds doesn’t excuse or exempt you from needing 25 pull-ups”
  • “Clear out your garage and turn it into a gym. There’s no home improvement you can make that’ll benefit you more”
  • “Be impressed by intensity, not volume”
  • “Why is it that strength training is commonly recognized as a discipline across several training modalities yet there is no equivalent metabolic conditioning recognized across multiple training modalities?”
  • “If you can brag about either a low 4’s mile or a high 4’s bench press you could also be a lot fitter (No one has both)”
  • “Have fun screwing up…it means you are removing your ego from the problem”
  • “We are practicing not weightlifting but commitment. Commitment spawns success. Only by redoubling our efforts do we best succeed. Expecting success to motivate our efforts is the loser’s gambit”
  • “The magic is in the movement, the art is in the programming, the science is in the explanation, and the fun is in the community”
  • “Work capacity is to fitness what location is to real estate”
  • “CrossFit is in large part derived from several simple observations garnered through hanging out with athletes for thirty years and willingness, if not eagerness, to experiment coupled with a total disregard for conventional wisdom. Let me share some of the more formative of these observations:
  • Gymnasts learn new sports faster than other athletes
  • Olympic lifters can apply more useful power to more activities than other athletes
  • Powerlifters are stronger than other athletes
  • Sprinters can match the cardiovascular performance of endurance athlete even at extended efforts
  • Endurance athletes are woefully lacking in total physical capacity
  • With high carb diets you either get fat or weak
  • Bodybuilders can’t punch, jump, run, or throw like athletes can
  • Segmenting training efforts delivers a segmented capacity
  • Optimizing physical capacity requires training at unsustainable intensities
  • The world’s most successful athletes and coaches rely on exercise science the way deer hunters rely on the accordion”
  • The kip is a transference of movement first generated in the horizontal plane, where it comes cheap and easy, to the vertical plane, where momentum and a perfectly timed pull from the back launch the athlete forcefully upward.This “cheat” derives from a powerful and athletic reversal of hip direction like that of the clean and the snatch and expands the primary movers from just the back and arms down through the torso and hip to include the power zone. Far from being a cheat, kipping is a gateway skill with functional utility on the rings, parallel bars, high bar, and floor (the quickest way to get to your feet). Where most athletic communities avoid the kip, CF goes to great lengths to teach and learn it”