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The Original CrossFit Box: Then and Now

Happy Wednesday! As a part of our weekly deep dive, we’re spending the day looking way back to the first CrossFit box opened by Greg Glassman himself in Santa Cruz, California. 

It’s also World Burpee Day, so go out and show Royal H. Burpee what you’re made of.



“Hiding from your weaknesses is a recipe for incapacity and error.” – Coach Greg Glassman




It was December of 2001. Greg Amundson pulled up to a 12-foot-tall garage door with small glass windows and thought, something must not be right. It was 5:45 AM, still dark outside and the pounding of weights vibrated across the pavement. A man named Greg Glassman introduced himself. “Glad you made it! You can call me Coach,” Amundson remembers.

When Coach Glassman registered the trademark of CrossFit, Inc. in 2000 and started this small gym called CrossFit, located in Santa Cruz, he believed CrossFit was about more than just a workout. Though physical training was a key element of the gym, Amundson shares that Coach Glassman often included short lectures “to depict and explain concepts such as power, fitness and work capacity.”

Interestingly, when the first box opened in 2000, it was just called “CrossFit” not CrossFit Santa Cruz because there weren’t any other boxes to distinguish from one another.


Unlike today, there was no set WOD for the day; 9AM was different than 10AM and so on. Glassman coached the early morning workouts. Each class also had their own culture, community and name — for example, the 6:00 PM class was referred to as “Team 6”.

Though lifting was definitely a part of the early days of CrossFit, the focus was primarily on developing metabolic conditioning and gymnastics ability first. A handful of women could complete strict ring muscle-ups for reps and had sub-3 Fran times. Two standards for members were to be able to complete 20 squats in your worst tabata round and a max set of 20 pull-ups. This is a challenge for many even today.

Members also valued the beauty of consistency and growth amidst community. This is where the tradition of documenting top benchmark performances and improvements started. And beyond the whiteboard, it was about relationships. It wasn’t uncommon to see Coach Glassman discussing a topic of Philosophy or science with an athlete after class.


In 2008 the ownership transitioned to sisters Hollis Molloy and Danielle Edmundson, both members of the original gym.

Starting at 1,200 Sq. Ft., CrossFit Santa Cruz moved to accommodate growth and noise restrictions. “The current gym is one big, open space (3500 Sq. Ft.) with a 16 ft. ceiling and three roll up doors to give it an open air feel,” shares Hollis. One of Hollis’ favorite things about the gym? Two of their gym members that have been with CrossFit Santa Cruz prior to 2001.

It’s clear that the DNA of CrossFit Santa Cruz has remained over the years. “The ‘culture’ is the same. People are excited to engage in exercise—they understand it takes hard work and intentionality…I believe you learn a lot about a person when they are under the pressure of intensity and these workouts expose us all in one way or another. It’s the understanding of a shared humility and struggle where we make friends and community,” says Holli.

Early on, Coach Glassman set the tone for CrossFit – “Coach believed that the moment you learned something, you had the responsibility to teach it to others,” said Greg Amundson. We must be willing to teach and stay hungry to learn. Are you carrying that on?



CHALK UP CALENDAR (see full calendar)

TODAY: World Burpee Day
October 15: The Crush Games (Miami, FL)
October 15: The MIA Weightlifting Classic (Miami, FL)
October 22: The Zombie Games (San Diego, CA)
October 24: Wodapalooza Online Qualifier for teams starts
October 30: Battle of the Beasts (Colchester, UK)
November 3: CrossFit Liftoff
November 4: ICON Athlete Camp (Park City, UT)
November 20: CrossFit Invitational (Toronto, Canada)

ATHLETE ROUNDUP — This is what Brent Fikowski is currently listening toon Spotify. Jackie Perez has been out in Baghdad training with the troopsKristi Eramo hits a three position clean at 200 pounds. This is Mattie Rogers when her coach yells for one more set after your legs are done. Kelsey Kiel and the Parallax Games team are signing up for Wodapalooza. At a body weight of 115 pounds, Alyssa Ritchey back squats more than double at 255 pounds 5 times. Brent Fikowski strict presses 198 pounds.

Wodapalooza Wraps Up — The final qualifier workouts have been submitted and looks like the leaderboard has settled. The top 20 male/female Rx athletes will receive invitations to the Elite division and the next 40 will go Rx. Notables in the top 20: Conor Nugent, Ricky Garard, Tim Paulson, Chase Smith, Joe Rogan, Chandler Smith…Alana Fisk, Megin Oczkowski, Brooke Haas, Sarabeth Phillips, Alison Scudds. Other (Games) athletes have received separate invitations to the Elite division.



IN 2 MINUTES — When Jacqueline Elbaz laced up to train for her first marathon, she assumed amping up her running routine would help her shed pounds, but when she crossed the finish line she was 15 pounds heavier than when she started training. Why is CrossFit successful? According to Greg Glassman, because “We didn’t f–k it up,” that is to say “didn’t get in the way.”President Obama signed legislation into last week, exempting Olympic athletes from paying a “victory tax” for taking home Gold, Silver or Bronze at the Olympics. The tax will still apply to high profile athletes like Michael Phelps who net more than $1 million a year.

Every Hero WOD in a Year Meet Maggie Snyder, an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps who completed every Hero WOD in one year on the anniversary of the Hero’s death. At most she did four hero WODs in a single day and during one stretch in August, she completed nine WODs in three days. What started a spur of the moment challenge, turned into a $10,000 + fundraiser for wounded warriors. Spehar was the hardest workout she said.

FloElite just got a little more elite, and so did your competition viewing experience. FloElite’s live streams of off-season competitions like the Granite Games, Crush Games and Wodapalooza are now available on Roku and Apple TV.

Stories We Love, and Never Get Tired of SharingCarlos Hernandez has been running “Pulling for Our Little Heroes” for four years. He started the weightlifting and unofficial competition after a close friend lost her life to raise money for the Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation. In the four years that Hernandez has been hosting this event, the total raised to fight childhood cancer is almost $84,000. And fundraising for the 2017 event has already started.



The CrossFit Store has tanks and tees 2 for $25, no code necessary. Just in time for Fall, AboutTime has Pumpkin Spice Latte flavored protein back in stock AND 20% off with code “NATURAL.” Beyond the Whiteboard’s very popular “ABCs of Fitness” t-shirt and racerback are now back in stock.

Tip of the Day — From ICON Athlete…fixing your overhead press position without extending or arching your back. This is going to help you out a lot in push press, hand stand push-ups and even thrusters.

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