CrossFit Originals: Greg Glassman

Whether you're observing your first few months as part of the Karma CrossFit local community, or coming up on your six-year anniversary (February 10th, 2010 I first walked through the door to meet with Will), it is valuable to recognize the personalities of the global CrossFit community.  Just as the Coach Bios on, ratings on Facebook, and reviews on Yelp give a quick summary of the members of our tribe, this blog series is meant to introduce Karma CrossFit members to the interesting and influential figures in CrossFit's development.

Greg Glassman

 Greg Glassman from CBS News "King of CrossFit" interview

Greg Glassman from CBS News "King of CrossFit" interview

Referred to as “Coach Glassman”, “The WODfather”, and “King of CrossFit”, Greg Glassman is the founder of CrossFit, Inc. and the architect of the CrossFit strength and conditioning methodology.

In his athletic youth, Glassman found that supplementing his gymnastics training with general strength and conditioning would not only give him an advantage over his peers, but also allow him to best others in his recreational cycling events.  These experiences developed his interest in analyzing to what cost athletic specialists suffered in their overall performance by having such a narrow training specificity.

Building on that analysis and gained experience, Glassman trained private clients for general preparedness and found that it improved their performance in specialty areas as well.  As his personal training schedule filled up, he combined clients into small group classes and tapped into a competitive intensity and accountability without detriment to coaching quality.  This became the seed of the CrossFit programming and structure.

CrossFit was formally established in 2000, in Santa Cruz, CA.  Leveraging the savvy use of affiliate licensing, and a simple online presence, Glassman led CrossFit, Inc. to the extraordinary growth seen over the last ten years.  The unique approach of defining fitness, while quantifying results, separated Glassman from the rest of the fitness industry and changed the culture around the world.

Glassman’s personality adds to the perception of CrossFit, Inc.  He is candid, vocal, and unabashedly combative with every challenger to CrossFit standards and beliefs.  Along with CrossFit’s stable of retained lawyers, Glassman is not shy to target damaging contrarians and legally hold them accountable for their actions.  He speaks very well, and can be seen all over the internet teaching and informing beside a dry erase whiteboard.

Greg Glassman’s current social crusade is against “Big Soda”.  Pushing legislation to have warning labels, akin to those on tobacco and alcohol, on high sugar soda products.  Controversy connected to this seemingly righteous campaign notes that Coke and Pepsi are major contributors to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), which is trying to hamper CrossFit, Inc by sponsoring it’s own legislation to require ACSM certification for all trainers (ultimately discrediting CrossFit’s trainer certification process).

In a movement as expansive and passionate as CrossFit, it would be a shame to have an invisible or incompetent leader.  Greg Glassman could not feasibly be labeled as either.

  1. Breaking Down the CrossFit, #SugarKills, and Coke Debate, Patrick McCarty,
  2. Origins of CrossFit,, October 9th, 2009
  4. Greg Glassman Biography,
  5. Image used from, King of Crossfit