Does your Doctor even (out)WOD?
Conventional medicine is failing us. Obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are on the
rise and healthcare is getting more expensive. CrossFit is hoping to change all of that.
A little more than a one year ago, I participated in the first ever CrossFit MD Level 1
course at the legendary CrossFit Ranch in Las Aromas, California, site of the first
CrossFit Games. That weekend, a group of approximately 50 doctors from a variety of
specialties (including fellow CFCB member Jillian Gregory) gathered to obtain our
CrossFit Level 1 Coaching certificate, as well as to network with other likeminded
physicians and discuss how to integrate CrossFit into our medical practices. We hung
out with Dave Castro, we ate dinner at Greg Glassman’s house, we became Doctor-
Coaches. It was the beginning of the CrossFit Health movement.
There has been much discussion as to Glassman’s refocusing CrossFit’s time, energy,
and money from the Games and into the CrossFit Health. Additionally, there has been
much unrest about the reorganization of this year’s open, regionals, Games etc.
Although it may appear as a monumental shift, CrossFit has really been about health all
along. The Games, at first a sideshow, became what the general public perceived
CrossFit to be, chiseled bodies performing unbelievable athletic feats. Glassman has
stated that CF boxes more often help a member lose 50 pounds than send a member to
the Games. For those of you who follow the mainsite, you will now notice an increase in
obese, elderly, and otherwise non-elite -looking athletes featured. This change has
been an intentional shift to emphasize that CrossFit’s universal scalability and
programming is appropriate for all people, not just the Rich Fronings of the world.
Yeah the Games are fun, but the true goal of CrossFit will, and always will be, the
prevention of chronic disease and debility.
CrossFit Health now regularly schedules MD L1 courses, and for those of us alumni,
there is a coinciding mini-conference, or DDC (Derelict Doctor’s Club, as Greg has
nicknamed it). During these meeting, leading researchers in nutrition and exercise
science, along with elite CrossFit coaches, lead discussion and tutorials. We talk about
the corruption that exists within medical research and publishing, innovative ways using
CrossFit box as a proxy or adjunct to a doctor’s office. Our efforts are particularly
focused on dismantling Coca Cola and the sugar industry’s influence in medicine. Did
you know that many large physician and exercise science organizations are funded by
Coca Cola (cleverly renamed the “Gatorade Sports Science Institute”)? Coca-Cola, in
their efforts to distract consumers from the adverse health problems caused by their
products, has invested in funding medical research that targets lack of exercise, not
sugar or cola, as the primary cause for obesity and disease. Additionally, Coca- Cola
funds organizations that make exercise guidelines that doctors to disseminate. What’s
worse, most doctors don’t know that. I was featured on CrossFit HQ’s podcast last
year, to hear/see me talk about this topic, along with many, many other things (including
my medical specialty Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation) click here:
CrossFit has provided me a way to connect with people doing important work all over
the world. In addition to being a member of CF Health, I serve as an ambassador for
OutWOD, which is the OUT Foundation’s initiative which promotes inclusive fitness
environments and provides scholarships for LGBTQ+ athletes. OutWOD hosts fitness
events nationwide to help raise awareness and money for these scholarships and local
LGBTQ+ charities. As an ambassador, I help spread the organization’s message
through social media, patient advocacy, as well as helping to coordinate events. When I
proposed the idea of bringing the event to Portland, Nick and the coaching staff were
extremely supportive from Day One. On June 8th, CrossFit Casco Bay will host Maine’s
1st ever OutWOD event, which will kick off Portland Pride Week. I hope to see you all
there! Follow me on instagram and twitter @amywestmd to find out more.
- Amy West MD, EdM, CF-L1