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

Nicholas Beal