Sometimes people ask us why we chose the name Grassroots CrossFit. I thought I’d take the time to explain what the name means to us, and why we feel it represents both CrossFit and the city of Berkeley.

One of the meanings of “grassroots,” is “basic; fundamental,” and this is what CrossFit movements are all about–functional movements that get back to the basics. We find the most efficient way to move, to lift, to climb, to jump, to throw. As some popular CrossFit t-shirts say, “We don’t use machines. We are machines!” Learning to use our bodies to perform work quickly across broad time and modal domains (read: working for short or long time periods while doing a variety of activities), helps to make our everyday tasks easier.

“Grassroots” also refers to “the common or ordinary people,” and while CrossFit is about “Forging Elite Fitness,” we believe that CrossFit is for everyone. I’ve seen children, teenagers, and grandparents all benefit from CrossFit. How many of you have tried to convince your friends to come join you at CrossFit, only to hear a response like “I will go once I get in better shape”? About six months ago, we got a call from a guy hesitant about joining because he was afraid of looking like a fool–we convinced him to give it a try anyway, and 100 pounds later (you can all guess who this is!), he’s cranking out muscle ups and one-legged squats with the best of them. Elite fitness, yes. For everyone, yes. See, people hear the CrossFit slogan and think, “Oh, this is only for elite athletes.” CrossFit is about “forging” elite fitness, which is something all of us can work towards. The methods of training that work for the best athletes should be the same methods used for anyone trying to improve their fitness level. The weights and movements may be scaled, but everyone is working hard to become stronger, faster, and healthier. The ordinary person can achieve elite fitness with the right training and dedication.

Grassroots movements are also a big part of the political culture in Berkeley, and the CrossFit affiliate system is a “from the ground up” organization. Check out this excerpt from the CrossFit community page regarding affiliation:

“From the beginning, the CrossFit movement has provided an alternative to the prevailing commercial gym establishment and its signature ‘big-box,’ machine-based, bodybuilding approach to fitness. We promoted the ethic and aesthetic of the garage gym in large part to provide a home and refuge for our more athletic programming, which couldn’t find quarter in the commercial gyms…CrossFit is not a franchise and never will be. Our affiliates constitute a confederation of legitimate fitness practitioners united around constantly varied, intense, functional exercise and pooling reliable resources under the CrossFit name…CrossFit affiliation is an Internet-based grassroots movement started by CrossFitters who wanted their own local CrossFit-equipped gyms, trainers, and communities. It has become a call to all who really care about fitness to get the car out of the garage, pick up some dumbbells, a barbell, a few plates, a pull-up bar, and some rings, and try the Workout of the Day.” (

We couldn’t feel happier or luckier to be part of such an awesome, supportive, and inspiring community of affiliates and to have such a wonderfully dedicated, hard-working, positive community of athletes walk through our doors every day.

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