Is crossfit a cult?
Cult or not, I have to acknowledge Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai for their amazing work in building this trademark. Somehow they managed to build a strong community that believe in what they are doing and how it is THE BEST of all. This point allowed them to build a strong business trademark that grew and is still growing bigger each year.
To start, let me say that I am a crossfit lover. I love crossfit and through this sport, I find myself start falling in love with weightlifting (and lifting in general), eating better food, and train better. Thus, I’m not here to stand against nor stand for crossfit. I believe what I am doing here is justification on why I love it and try not to blindly be fanatic on it.
Cult is defined by a system of religious veneration and devotion directed towards a particular figure or object. To a point, crossfit has all of it. It has rituals and particular object to follow (called WOD), it has particular figure (the crossfitters), and similar with religion, it has community of people who love and believe the same thing. So, yes, by definition crossfit is a cult – but if this is how we define cult, isn’t powerlifting, bodybuilder, or runners is also a cult?
If you observe what we do on crossfit, the movement it self is basically the combination of weightlifting, gymnastic, and conditional fitness. It’s also well known that all the crossfit athletes train all of these aspect individually then combine it for the workout of the day. There’s nothing extremely special about it, except it sometimes has name (e.g. 5 Pull-ups 10 Push-ups 15 Squats = Cindy, 30x Clean&Jerk = Grace, etc)! We (or in this case, they) named it to make it easy to remember, to make it looks exclusive, just exactly how Adidas put their logo on their shoes: brand acknowledgement. So, is crossfit really a cult or is it brand fanaticism?
Cult or business strategy, it doesn’t matter. To me, crossfit shows that the chance of success in building a brand is higher when you manage to build a strong community that consume the brand itself.