In 2008, Greg Glassman was still writing the workouts on CrossFit.com every day. It would still be a couple of years before he handed “programming” responsibility over to Tony Budding.
The CrossFit Games had been run only once. There were fewer than 500 CrossFit Affiliates worldwide. And at Catalyst, we’d been trying CrossFit and blogging about it (you can read the blog here – scroll down a few entries and you’ll see the workouts we were doing. I haven’t touched this site for a decade, so you probably want to avoid the links posted by others.)
What made the CrossFit “mainsite” great in 2008?
1 – Breadth – the “constantly varied” piece of the CrossFit mantra was more varied. Tire flips, sledgehammering, sled pushes and even parkour were part of the programming. Today, you would also most never find an exercise that wasn’t part of a Games event.
2 – Repetition – Named workouts (like “Michael”) provided benchmarks to measure progress. You could count on a benchmark workout at least once per week or so. It was easy to build hype among clients, and adherence spiked on benchmark days.
3 – Adoption – Like many others, we thought CrossFit WAS the mainsite. That meant nearly everyone did mainsite workouts. Of course, pragmatic affiliates soon realized that they couldn’t close their doors every fourth day, and began to tailor the programming themselves. Now even HQ provides different streams of programming.
4 – Education – I liked the linked articles, even if they had nothing to do with fitness. The links were good “intelligence signalling”–you knew that the people writing the workouts were high-level thinkers even if you didn’t agree with every message.
I have warm memories about CrossFit in 2008: doing jumping pullups on my kids’ swing set, driving across town to borrow 2.5lb plates from a buddy; building my own plyo boxes. But my preference for 2008 is more than nostalgia: every coach can benefit from the balance of novelty and repetition, excitement and fear.
You can see every workout from CrossFit.com in 2008 here: https://www.crossfit.com/workout/2008