CrossFit’s brand manager admitted he had gone on the “offensive” to push back against the extreme workout regimen’s growing negative reputation.
The company made more than $100 million last year, but the popular workout program has been blamed for injuries – and participants are mocked on social media for constantly talking about their fitness routine.
Jim Letchford, CrossFit’s chief marketing officer, told Digiday that the company had recently participated in an event at Harvard, where other corporate leaders studied their business model.
“But then the Harvard Divinity School was there, and they were really fascinated by us and our community,” Letchford said. “The product that comes out of CrossFit is that you can be the most self-centered or egotistical prick – and once you work out, you’re a lot more selfless. CrossFit is tighter than a religion.”
Letchford said the company had filed a lawsuit over a study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research that examined the effectiveness of the workout regimen.
But the study’s authors also reported that 16 percent of participants had dropped out from “overuse or injury” – a figure strongly disputed by CrossFit and its fans.
“We have competitors ginning up things,” Letchford said. “It’s stuff that looks like studies. It’s peer-reviewed journals, not even real journals, saying CrossFit is dangerous. It’s ridiculous.”
He said the company had previously been standoffish toward public relations and media, but the negative reports had forced him to take action.
“We’re in the middle of a lawsuit,” Letchford said. “Nobody is going to talk shit on our affiliates and us not stand up for it. Our brand is our licensees and our instructors.”
Watch Letchford discuss Crossfit in this video posted online by Wake up Warrior TV: