Black Box Summit Part 2

Here is a response from Greg Everett about the BBS.

So, in the spirit of free speech and assuming people are smart enough to  discern the facts on their own, here is Russell Berger’s account of the Black Box Summit. Read mine, Read Greg’s, read the comments of ALL the attendees…perhaps someday we will see the entire videos…and of course, read Russell’s account. Then you make your own decision. I was asked to remove the link that was here before, so here is the original content:

The Black Box summit was a three day seminar hosted by CrossFit Central, a successful affiliate run by Jeremy Thiel, and his sister Carey Kepler. The event was marketed as being “For Affiliates by Affiliates”, and cost of admission was a thousand dollars. The seminar included a panel of speakers, including Robb Wolf, Nicki Voletti, Dutch Lowy, James Fitzgerald (OPT), Mike Rutherford, Amie Anaya, and Greg Everrett.

I attended as a guest of Tony Budding and Dave Castro, and intended to review the seminar and possibly write an article for the journal on my experience. The following is a brief summary of the events that took place.

Jeremy Thiel opened the event with a dynamic and exciting presentation of the charter for the Black Box Summit—Building a stronger CrossFit community through sharing experiences and knowledge related to running a CrossFit Affiliate.

From there Thiel discussed the brand of CrossFit, and the dynamic relationship that exists between affiliate owners and CrossFit Headquarters. Thiel congratulated HQ for having no desire to regulate affiliates, and leaving it up to the community to shape their own destiny. He gave us a positive message about the need for communication and discussion, rather than the tearing-down of CrossFit he had seen in events like the Greyskull article.
He followed with a fantastic explanation of what it takes to be an affiliate. He drew a triangle on the board. At the bottom was service and humility, something he had seen demonstrated directly by Greg and Lauren Glassman. On top of that rested the twin angles of the CrossFit Affiliate- raw, killer intensity and professionalism in training. The pinnacle of the triangle is excellence. Jeremy explained that Affiliates that embodied this triangle wiould succeed on every front.

Nicki spoke next, and gave a different opinion. She encouraged Affiliates to “Fly two Flags”, or give your business one name that included the word CrossFit, and another that did not. She explained that this would act as a form of “damage control”, and give you the ability to market to clients who had had “bad experiences” at other affiliates.

I asked Nicki if she had experience with any other method for dealing with weaker affiliates in her area. Nicki explained that this hadn’t happened to them, but their concern came from CrossFit impersonators using names like “X-Fit”.

OPT approached me later, “The answer to your question”, he said “ is to take some responsibility and reach out to that weaker affiliate.” OPT explained that like any business, it is your job to make sure your brand is well-represented, and if it is not, you need to take on a leadership role, forge a good relationship with that weak affiliate, and help them improve their product.

Next, Dutch and Robb discussed the pitfalls and failures that could easily arise from not being a “Quality” Affiliate, and Robb criticized CrossFit certifications for not requiring the same knowledge of anatomy and physiology as other certifications found in the fitness industry.

At the end of day one, the CrossFit Central staff put us through a fun, short workout. Thiel and Kepler moved through their staff, motivating and coaching CrossFitters. The rest of the Summit staff retreated to their own separate strength workout, ironically right after the emphasis on quality training.

On Saturday, Robb’s nutrition lecture covered the basics of indoctrinating new clients into the Paleo diet, and mentioned a number of helpful tools like Affiliate challenges, before and after pictures, and monthly nutrition classes to use for motivating clients. He also gave a number of examples of elite athletes who performed on an “Unweighed and unmeasured Paleo diet”.

After lunch on the second day, Greg Everrett took the floor and presented a power-point presentation on teaching Olympic lifts to CrossFitters. Dutch Lowy introduced Greg as a former CrossFitter, to which Greg replied “We all make mistakes.”

His lecture opened with his thoughts on the Snatch event in the CrossFit games, which centered on the poor technique displayed in a number of the lifts. This went on for some time, until Greg made his first assertion, that the winner of the Women’s snatch event, Tamara Holmes, needed more Olympic lifting training. He showed us video of her winning lift, a 145 pound power-snatch and shared his disgust at the appearance of the lift. He then showed video of Tamara easily power-snatching 165 at a lifting meet a few weeks later. Greg didn’t mention the context of it being Event 6 of the Games, but held that all CrossFitters needed more Oly-lift training based on this example.

Next, Greg showed us a still image of Annie Sakamoto doing a barbell clean superimposed next to what looked like a competitive Olympic lifter cleaning upwards of 200 kilos. Greg used this comparison to pick apart the form Annie was displaying, and the techniques CrossFit uses to teach the lifts. He claimed, while looking at a still image, that Annie had shrugged the bar up instead of generating the force with her hips, and said that this was incorrect, pointing out the low shoulders of the competitive lifter. He then showed us how the shoulders should float up naturally as an after-effect of the violent hip-extension in the clean, finishing his point with “I guess I go back and forth on this one”

Greg then moved to the next image, Nicole Carroll cleaning a Dynamax medicine ball superimposed next to another competitive lifter mid-clean. Greg laughed mockingly and said “I’m not even going to get into that”.

From the audience, Dave Castro spoke up, telling Greg to “Get into it”.

Greg looked at Dave and said, “Maybe later sweetheart.”

To which Dave asked, “Did you just call me sweetheart you fat fuck?”

After a moment of silent tension, Greg continued his lecture and Dave remained silent and seated until he was finished. Greg again mocked the photo of Nicole, and demonstrates the ineffectiveness of having ones feet “leave the ground that far” during a medicine-ball clean. The rest of Greg’s lecture consisted of weightlifting nuances, mostly targeted towards explaining how the methods both Rippetoe and CrossFit teach were incorrect.

At the end of the presentation, Dave approached Greg, and asked him to step outside where they could discuss what had just happened. I learned from Dave a short while later that Dutch Lowy had asked him to leave. As Dave was leaving, however, Thiel asked him to stay.

At the end of our second day, we all did a team workout consisting of pull-ups, deadlifts, wall-ball shots, and 800m sprints. While The CrossFit Central Staff worked to make the event happen, and Thiel supervised, the rest of the Seminar staff again retreated to a corner of the gym where they did their own strength workout. They didn’t coach or interact with any of us.

On Sunday, after a number of interesting and even moving lectures from OPT and Carey Kepler, we began a discussion on programming. All of the speakers present, with the exception of Thiel and Kepler, had expressed the necessity of using additional strength-building and maximal effort workouts when programming.

The weekend was wrapped up with Thiel’s optimistic vision of a stronger CrossFit community, and his thanks to the many participants who had traveled to his affiliate for the weekend.

Categories: Events


Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation

Have you heard about the Paleo diet and were curious about how to get started? Or maybe you’ve been trying Paleo for a while but have questions or aren’t sure what the right exercise program is for you? Or maybe you just want a 30-day meal plan and shopping list to make things easier? Then Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation is for you.


  1. says

    I am going to revoke my payment to Crossfit for this class. It is obvious from reading your blog that you should be the Lecturer. Its about the information, not the piece of paper we take away from it. Will you still hold a Nutrition Lecture at NorCal Jan 31st for those that want to hear what YOU have to say?

  2. Billyboy says

    if somebody gets a copy of the Berger’s account of what happened that would be great. I can’t seem to access it from facebook.

  3. Lisbeth says

    Robb — please take my name off your blog. it is not fair to bring my personal page into your dispute. I will not be accepting any friend requests on Facebook. Feel free to copy and paste Russell’s account whereever you wish.

  4. Noah says

    I’ll say it again.

    People aren’t necessarily going to a CF Nutrition seminar to hear about the zone & CF. We can all pick up Sears Zone book at a used book store for $5 bucks. People go to the CF Nutrition Cert to hear Robb and his knowledge and expertise.

    The fact that they don’t see that is mind boggling and I hope they will offer a refund to all those who have paid and registered in this case.

    That being said, I TRULY believe you should continue doing Nutrition Certs on your own. You have enough cred and community here to do so.

    I enjoyed Greg’s post as well.

  5. says

    Robb – If we accept in fact that you’re a liar especially lying flat out to Steve Liberati who’s trying to support a great & noble course – than all this argument you’re trying to put up shines in an entirely different light.

    You will probably not post this comments, same way you’ve been avoiding this question, but I have to say “Bravo” for quite a media stunt you indeed pulled. How long till the new & improved spin-off CrossFit is going to come out? Couple of weeks? Because they were dishonest to you or because you planned it all along?

    Too bad some things get in the way. Like lack of integrity. And you didn’t think people would notice?

    • says

      I just responded to you on FB. Sorry I was not HOPP-toing it fast enough for you.
      Here is all that so I can save you the trouble of looking there:

      I contacted Steve when Paleo Brands first come online and I told him we would support him. We would donate to his 5013c. Now Leo, we need to actually make some money with Paleo Brands to be able to do that.

      The only “Paleo Brands Vs Paleo Kits” rivalry that exists is in the spin doctors heads. Did you notice this is a whole food company? Frozen fish, grass fed meat? Yet again, entrepreneurism and an attempt to improve the community are met with bile on the part of HQ.

      When we first started Paleo Brands Glassman was all over me about starting a food company. His main concern? that it might be successful. At the summit Dave said HQ had concerns about a SME having affiliation with a food company. Apparently this concern does not extend to Barry Sears!

      So Leo, I don’t know if this response satisfies all your concerns. it’s the best I have right now. I’d ask you and other people to judge my previous actions and work in the community and give me an opportunity to further serve. Judge me critically, hold me to the standards of what I have said. No spin, no hyperbole. Accountability.

      Leo, I’ve generally liked you but you are commentating on something you have no idea what is going on. HQ has set Steve’s Club up as a means of discrediting me in all this. Fine. Again, the central theme of why Dave is not being censured in all this is remarkable. And yes leo, I will have a seminar at some point. The irony here is If I get out and do ANYTHING then I profiteered on the community (in HQ’s eyes). Very convenient. The glassman spin that I have machinated all this is just like when he told everyone I left CF to join Mark Twight. Glassman is a liar, people in the community will testify to that fact. This is the same tired story played out again, that I’m orchestrating this for effect. Believe what you want Leo.

  6. Ben Chapman says

    I think if I ever have my own gym, I will make shirts with the caption on the back “maybe later sweetheart”

  7. mikes says

    It seems people have nothing but respect for you and what you do. If crossfit is truly an open-source fitness framework, then the community will decide who succeeds and who does not.

  8. cameron says

    The most telling thing about Russell’s account is what he doesn’t say. Other than characterizing the tone of a few presentations as critical of CrossFit, his account is basically the same on all the big picture stuff. A few attempts at humor appear to be taken out of context, and he suggests that there is some elitism among a few presenters, but suggests nothing awful, even it it were all true.

    However, at no point does he counter or refute the detailed account of Dave Castro’s tirade. Nor does he offer testimony that anyone else was similarly inappropriate. It strikes me that if he disagreed with Robb’s description, he’d have at least said “Dave didn’t do the things Robb says he did.”

  9. says

    Man, I hate all this kind of stuff. Leaves me feeling icky – and I don’t like feeling icky.

    I remember reading Greg’s PM article on professionalism in the fitness industry. Everyone should read that – he speaks the truth.

    Being a UK affiliate, I’m geographically distant from all the internal politics of CrossFit – which can be a blessing at times.

    I’m gonna give a list of things which have stood out for me in all this:
    1. Egos are ruining the image and “feel” of CrossFit.
    2. “CrossFit” the philosophy and “CrossFit Inc” are NOT the same thing.
    3. CrossFit as a philosophy is inspiring and has made 1000’s of people’s lives better.
    4. People should stop trying to control the philosophy of CrossFit and trying to make it into a system which is set in stone and can’t evolve. This is the danger when an idea turns into an organisation.
    5. If someone disagrees with something you are doing – IT DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A PERSONAL ATTACK. What you are doing and who you are, are two completely different things. If someone says your lifting technique sucks, it is not the same thing as them calling you a dick!… People really need to chill out when discussing training ideas and start being objective.

    I’d have loved to be at the Black Box Summit as the information sounds amazing and ALL of the speakers are people who I respect and whose work I read on a daily basis.

    Robb Wolf will always be my “Main Nutrition Homeboy” wherever he is and whoever he works with/for. Greg Everett is the MAN when it comes to Oly. I’m sorry they’ve both been caught up in this kind of wrangling.

    I’ve not had any personal dealings with the HQ staff mentioned and I wasn’t at the Summit so I have no business commenting further beyond what I’ve written.

    Hope this all works out OK for the community as a whole in the end.

    Robb, please keep me posted on any UK certs you’re trying to organise – I’d like to help however I can :-)

  10. says

    Robb – as I have responded again and I’ll post it here:

    Robb – no. You’re still avoiding the original question. What you said was indeed:
    “this is a whole food company? Frozen fish, grass fed meat?” You specifically told Steve that you wouldn’t compete with Paleo Kits. You lied.
    Talk about this. Say “No, I’ve never said anything like that” or say “Yes. I am indeed a liar trying to cover shit up”.

    Don’t hold me as stupid here. Don’t try to side track me.
    Don’t go in politics, the HQ, the hyperboles & spin doctors.
    I asked you a straight up question. Answer it.

    And it’s not by CFHQ. Merely I happened to see the dialogue between you and Steve as public comments on your website. And now I’m using it to question your integrity, while you’re trying to throw me off by waddling around.

    A simple “Yes” or “No” would suffice yet I haven’t heard either that yet.

    • says

      When I told that to Steve it was my understanding that this was to be a frozen food company. The addition of the snacks came after this and I told steve we would donate a % of profits from that. We need to actually make some profits to do that. If this makes me a liar, then guilty as charged.

  11. chris says

    Hey Coach Wolf!
    Something I am confused about and asked Everett about is: the whole situation seemed to be between him and castro and at some point during the “disagreement” you jumped in and commented on HQ being unable to take criticism – then some exchange of words – then you saying they can take your job and shove it – Im failing to see how the issue has now jumped into your lap, and what seems like ONLY your lap. It seems the problem/disagreement/issue/attack was at Everett (saying youre the leach-you should de-affiliate-you hate crossfit) to now you-Robb- are being the only one fired and pushed out. To me it doesnt make sense. It seems like maybe there has been a problem some people have had with you and decided this is the best time to take you out. It seems more or less personal against you.
    As I told Everett, this really has nothing to do with anyone except the people involved BUT I will flat ass out say with honesty I would not be the trainer/athlete I am if it wasnt for you, so some how I kind of feel involved. I guess in some aspect this is a situation like “My names paul and thats between y’all” but I feel like this is some how going to affect me and actually I hope it does (I havent sent my email to you yet.)
    It seems like Castro assessed the situation in his head and looked at Greg, who is larger, fitter, lifts more, has a chin shaped from stone, beady eyes and a push jerk that would crush your face and then looked at you…..who used to wear glasses…… and decided to direct this towards you. Its kind of how when I get in a fight and if the other person is larger, I punch his girlfriend in the face first.
    Anyways, it seems personal against you. And that upsets me. Because I have spent time with you, learned from you, pestered you with questions and have never heard a negative thing from you about CF or its staff. Ive personally seen you defend Glassman; even when I attacked him. You do have this other “information” on the hard drive and are dangerous for it, which spilling it may not be necessary, but it seems personal between y’all.
    And as far as commenting to the conspiracy theorists out there, ill say the same thing I told Everett……You BOTH are fracking liars…! Ive personally seen the blueprints/diagrams/emails/telegraphs/coded ciphers and maps of your long time planned destruction of CF. Your motto “Death to the Empire” I can remember being yelled at the end of your seminars in which the second day involved giving us LSD and telling us to switch sides. I also have information/video on how you and Everett have been involved in 9/11 – WWII – the killing of Jesus – Princess Diana and the destruction of dinosaurs. Everett means “devil” in eskimo so it all makes sense now……. 😉

  12. Michael says

    I was at the BBS and completely support Robb and Greg in this dispute. Robb is teaching his knowledge of nutrition that is way beyond anyone in the CrossFit Community. He’s been studying AND working with people on nutrition for years which nobody else besides James Fitzgerald that I know of has done that. Greg handled the attack of Dave very well in staying calm while Dave stormed up to the front of the room (while all attendees were still sitting there) and chewed Greg out, this is when Dutch and Greg asked them to step out side where I could see Dave continue to do most of the talking while Greg stayed fairly calm.
    If you say all of the instructors began their own “strength bias” workout while the attendees did the normal CF wod you were seeing something different. Yes, Greg, Amy, and Dutch did their oly lifting which is what they are specializing in. Greg and Amy are oly lifters that teach CF too. Dutch admitted to focusing on oly lifting right now b/c it’s fun for him but he eventually said he will come back to “CF Wods”. All the other instructors did the Central wod (including Rut man)
    The BBS was the best thing I’ve ever been a part of in the CF community and hope they continue.
    Robb I hope you continue to do seminars and I would love to host one of your first ones down here in MS as I’d already started trying to get you for 2010 anyway.

  13. says

    Calling out Robb for lack of integrity or somehow attempting to characterize something that’s been happening to good people involved with CF for many many years as a media stunt is just about the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. I have seen Robb basically bend over backwards to avoid conflict, silently ignoring the masquerade to avoid drawing attention to it in order to be in a position to really help people which he has undoubtedly done. If anyone was planning an elaborate media stunt it would’ve been done a long time ago.

  14. Tom says

    Interesting turn of events. I find it unfortunate and in poor business practice for an organization that has reached an extraordinarily high-volume customer-base to be sacrificing some of it’s more valued assets in what seems to be an act of extended ego. Perhaps the true loss will be CF’s in this case, as someone like myself, who regularly follows your, Rut’s and Everett’s blog while rarely looking at the HQ’s site, will be lost in the fray. For one who is not connected to any of this, it will certainly pan out to be an interesting experiment in business management, if nothing else.

    As always, many thanks to you for providing such an informative blog. I’m sure this will continue to be a place I turn people to for quality nutritional information.

  15. says

    Robb- Thanks for doing what you do. I’ve learned a ton from your site. Can’t wait for your book!

    Ben Chapman- Thanks man, your comment was the first time I’ve laughed in regards to this whole episode.

  16. Steven says

    Robb, sorry to hear about all of the recent nonsense. I’ve been training through crossfit for the past year, and following your blog for about six months. I’m also studying for my NSCA-cpt, and finishing my kinesiology degree. I just wanted to say that I appreciate the effort you’ve put into your blog and teaching to the best of your ability. Your blog has become a starting point for some my own research into human nutrition. Just wanted to say thanks and to wish you luck on the new direction your career will take from this point.

    God Bless


  17. says

    your quite the HQ advocate, and are also quite the asshole.
    You are in a battlefield alone dude. Keep swinging off Daves nuts and kissing ass and maybe that’s how you can get a job with HQ! Automatic expert! To assume this all was a publicity stunt is so lame, and such a cop-out. In fact, if I understand it correctly, none of the presenters wanted Dave there because they knew it would bring drama. When you put your head up, maybe you will see that just maybe Dave created the whole scene as means to discredit the group?
    Maybe you will believe him:

  18. Mark says

    Hey Robb,
    I know you’ve had an onslaught of comments and e-mails I’m sure but I just wanted to make sure that my e-mail to you got through. I sent it yesterday through your ‘Contact Me’ link. Let me know if you don’t see it and I’ll send it again. It might be old news to you but I thought an e-mail would be more appropriate than a comment. Thanks Robb

  19. Mark Smith says

    This drama confuses me. Grown men behaving like adolescents, and their egos and pride riding on every sentence.
    Critisicm is a part of making one better. Taking it personal is immature and childish.
    If all involved want CrossFit to be the best, and most well rounded system, then tinkering, tearing things apart and trying to rebuild them, is part of the process.
    Abandoning it, because we have a disagreement is not part of building a team, organization, or a movement.
    Professionalism comes when we identify weaknesses and find the appropriate time and tactful way to devise a plan to improve.
    I agree with the critiscm on the professionalism. Having been a medical professional for 15 years, I was suprised about the lack of foundational information needed to be a Level one Certified Trainer. Simple knowledge of what exact muscles are moving and their normal range of motions, and that movement along may not fix pathology. Things that will be important down the road, when training individuals.
    Yet, I would encourage and seek to provide the knowledge to those involved to make it better.
    This drama, and personal antagonism saddens me. From the approaching peak of a higher way, to the trough of society and our lower forms.

  20. says

    Thanks Michael!
    I just wanted to clear something up in burgers fantastic recount of the events. Had he asked us we would have told him. But he chose to make assumptions instead.
    Dutch and I went in the corner and did our o’lifting workout because we have a competition in less than 4 weeks. Greg is currently being coached by James, so he and James trained accordingly, and robb did some squats. Coach Rut did the workout with the group.
    It should be noted that Jeremy told us that the crossfit wods would be contolled and coached by crossfit central staff, which is exactly why none of us stepped in to assist. Also when we weren’t training, we retreated to the corner as to not be hit by flying barbells as a group of 40+ were doing a metcon.

  21. ED T says

    Robb, I know very little of this incident so I will not comment on it. I will say that you and your wife are some of the coolest people I have met. I attended Greg’s lift clinic at your shop last year and found all of you to be friendly and professional. I saw you again at a CF Cert in SD last year. Again you were approachable and took time to talk with strangers. Castro on the other hand couldnt waste a second to do this. He struck me as extremely cocky.

    Robb, keep doing your thing! We are here to support you and Greg.

  22. Kyle says

    Leo S? Is this the same Leo S. that qualified for the 2009 CrossFit Games in the Dirty South, then didn’t show up after they announced the mandatory steroid test for all athletes?

    • says

      Indeed it is. The same Leo who has chronicled significant weight ups and downs over the past year.

      See how it works Leo? The strawman thing is juicy but ultimately not very satisfying.

  23. says

    While I wasn’t planning to attend your CF Nutritional Certs, I will most definitely attend your Cert once the dust settles and you have a scheduled posted. Will also be purchasing your book.
    Thanks Robb

    Jay C
    Western PA.

  24. Alex says

    I’m sad to see CF HQ dropping their greatest assets, their qulaity coaches due to in security. I didn’t witness the events so I can’t really account for what happened, but the head trainer at my affilaite received a very unprofessional email reply from Castro when all she wanted was some explanation regarding the outcome of a lvl. 2 cert. It seems with you leaving CF as well as Coach Rippetoe, CF Grey Skull, it is no longer coinicdence, there are obviously problems with the culture at CF HQ and the direction CF as whole is heading. When did politics have anything to do with fitness and health?

  25. Jerry Jackson says

    Russell’s article is a nice piece of comedy. He starts by telling us he was Castro’s guest. Unfortunately for Russell, unlike the Gym Jones event, we have lots of unbiased observers at the Black Box Summit. There is also video that may show up one day. We don’t need his side of the story to know what happened. All he did in that Black Box article was discredit the article he wrote about Gym Jones (and provide a few laughs).

    I’m also amused by the criticism from Leo S and other HQ lackeys that Wolf is a self-centered capitalist. Their criticism is essentially that Everett and Wolf are greedy and trying to hurt Crossfit for personal gain. Apparently affiliates are supposed to be collectivists. Russel’s article talks about the responsibility of an affiliate to help a competitor become more competitive. If the brand does well in their town, then they’ll do well (if they’re still in business).

  26. pops says

    My CrossFit Nutrition Certification just arrived in the mail. I am not sure what I am “Certified” to do now, except to tell folks that I had been to one of the most enlightening experiences of recent years. But it did bring to mind two exceptional people that I hope will remain friends for years to come. It seems that a lot folks are mourning the loss of Robb and Nicki to the community. It also seems to me that WE are the community and no one can take them away from us. (Unless, of course, they choose to leave.)
    From what I read on the NORCAL Blog, Nicki loves her profession, her athletes, and her community (us), enough to recommit herself to do whatever it takes to help us move forward.
    Robb, embroiled in a bitter and often personal controversy, has remained remarkably objective and hopefully will get his book done. Please hurry!!!!
    I am sure that he will lecture again because he too loves his profession, his athletes and his community enough to recommit himself to helping us get better, stronger and healthier. His words of truth are no less powerful by his disassociation with CrossFit HQ.

    Robb and Nicki, keep up the good work and thank you for having the courage to fight the good fight!

  27. says


    I met you briefly the last time you were in Sunnyvale. Just thought I’d offer you my sentiments. You seem like a class act guy, both on and off the internet, and your website provides information that is absolutely priceless. I’m sure you’ll be extremely successful no matter what you do.

    This whole Dave Castro thing has been a long time coming. The guy was a huge prick when I did my L1 cert (which I regret doing) and had practically nothing positive to say about any training modalities other than those supported by CrossFit. He also offered some smug ass comments when people asked questions about overtraining, the point of the sumo-deadlift high pull, etc., rather than gratifying them with a decent answer. Plus he sat in the back and smacked gum most of the day like a giant tool. The fact that Tony made an attempt to butt in, having not even been there for the later part of the seminar goes to show you that those guys are scrambling to cover this up. Glad to see that people are finally getting to see the truth behind how things work at Crossfit HQ. Definitely not a company I would want to be involved with.

  28. says

    I didn’t know I’m on the juice. I thought it was Haagen Dasz all along.

    I’ll go pump up my 199 lbs body @ 6’3″ to be more jacked & tan then I have ever been.

    It’s actually very satisfying, Robb and incredibly entertaining!

  29. Craig says

    Leo S- You talk about integrity which is funny since you have none! I know for a fact that after you attended Matt Hunt’s 5 day affiliate seminar you demanded your money back which you received in full not the $4000 you claim you only got. Then you bashed Matt anywhere and everywhere you could about the seminar being a rip off. Here’s the funny part. You then return to your box and implement some of what you said you got ripped off on. Your wife even goes onto the CF blog and boasts that after using Matt’s information your box saw an increase in sales! Dude take another shot, rub some more cream on your forearms and for once SHUT UP!

  30. Ryan says


    Someone posted a similar idea earlier, but I want to also say that the fact that the certifications were Crossfit based kept me from attending them. I have been a fan of Crossfit for about 5 years now (I have grown away from it the last 2 years–a fact I can’t quite explain, but may be getting a clearer picture now), but the mix of CF and nutrition has put me off it. I did not want to get the content bled together. I say this just for the point of letting you know there is definitely an audience out there for what you do on your own.

    Thanks for your efforts,

  31. Jerry Jackson says

    Leo complained about HQ and a Level II cert in 2007 on the PM forum:

    “I expected much better quality of instruction (to say that the excercise hands on section and knowledge of LII trainers was sad is a compliment)”

    “I was very unhappy with the hypocrisy.”

    “something is wrong with management”

    Black Box Summit was trying to address some of these problems he observed and complained about.

  32. says

    Craig – I didn’t know you check my bank account. Your facts are indeed a lie, but this is not a place to prove for it’s the Internet. More so – I don’t know who you are, where you’re from & what kind of a Troll you are.

    Robb – it’s interesting that you say that you use 200 comments from people you know have no clue as a fact to prove your righteousness.

  33. Alan Bressler says

    Robb, Thanks for sharing. Who knew? But then I am always amazed that behavior such as you described is the aberration and not the norm. I am amazed by the fact that we all get along as well as we do. As Castro demonstrated, it could always be worse. I thought his quote in Dr. Nicholas Romanov’s Pose CFJ “I didn’t want to get beat by chicks, not on camera.” said volumes about him.

    I attended your nutrition seminar in Bozeman last month. A large part of my attending was to meet and assess the character and nature of the man of who’s writing I had been reading. How does one judge, assess, believe someone, especially not being an expert in nutrition, biology, physiology? Well , read, learn, study, expand your knowledge on as many levels as possible for a life time. But there is nothing like meeting someone in person, spending a few hours with him, and yes meet his wife too. Very telling in deed.

    All I have is thanks and praise for you and your work. Your impact and gift to the Crossfit community is profound. Because of you, my wife and I have seen immediate effects in our own lives as well as others in our gym.

    Keep doing what you do. Keep being you. You and your wife rock this world.

    the old, grey haired, fat fuck in the audience in Bozeman, AB

  34. Ron says

    I was once told in my Level 1 cert that CFHQ was only intersted in knowing what makes people the most fit. “If someone proves rollerblading and yoga makes people the fittest, thats what we will do”. I always liked that quote. So if Rob says paleo works just as well as zoning, or whatever he said, I thought would have been endorsed by CFHQ. Who else at HQ knows more on the subject anyway? From what it sounds like from everything I have read (I wasn’t there), Castro comes off as a very insecure, and immature man. What other organization in the world would put up with behaviour like that? Maybe he put his own head on the chopping block?

    Personally, I think its time for me to seek out a change from How many f***ing times do I have to do Cindy anyway????

  35. says

    It’s absolutely amazing that Castro publicly apologized, or at least privately apologized to everyone who attended the summit for his actions. There is absolutely NO way to justify interupting a presentation as a guest and then trying to start a fight. It’s mind boggling that rather than man up and apologize, him and the rest of HQ is trying to just ignore the problem and censor any discussion on the mainsite comments/forums.

    Also, Berger’s account of the events is absolutely hilarious, as is Lisbeth Darsh’s begging to have her name removed as it is somehow not fair (while at the same time she is censoring comments on affiliate blog, oh the irony).

    • says

      Ironic indeed. Classic sign of the despotic regime losing power. Sack the rabble rousers, suppress he media and deny any culpability. One of the big problems HQ has is that they have visited SO much power on Castro. The games are at HIS ranch. What is HQ going to do to censure him? Nothing. And this lack of action is as telling as anything else.

  36. Roelant says

    Well Shit, Robb,

    Get yer book done! And while you’re at it, maybe you can convince Mathieu Lalonde to do a Seminar for us Canucks that can’t make it to Chico :-)

  37. says

    Page down to January 27, 2004

    The good old days! The simple fact is that Robb was one of the first EXPERTS to throw in with the CrossFit folks when there was only one or two affiliates anywhere. I know, I was there. His contributions go back to the beginning. Show me ONE other person other than Greg Glassman that has contributed as much. Show the man some respect!

    There’s a long history of negative attacks to anyone who criticizes CrossFit. It’s unfortunate because much of the criticism comes from individuals who love and are genuinely sold on the concepts and simply want it to be better.

    Dave wasn’t there in the beginning and I can’t comment on his character because I’ve never met him. Tony Budding has always been a class act in my book.

    Robb, you’re one of 4-5 people in the community who’s advice I would take without question. Greg Everett is another one of those people. It’s upsetting to hear the comments made regarding the summit and I can safely say, even without being there, that the community should be treated better.

  38. says

    posted by Leonid on the PM forum.
    “I expected much better quality of instruction (to say that the excercise hands on section and knowledge of LII trainers was sad is a compliment) due to cert’s price and fact that CF is not recognized by any insurance company meaning that to run a facility you’d need to spend more cash on other cert. Crazy…CF is great. Great system, great results, lots of pain and fun. But something is wrong with management…There’s was much more but I don’t want to go there in details.
    It’s a better idea to me to get excercise knowledge as a trainer outside of CF when real coaches will help you with the technique and combine the knowledge to teach CF to clients.”

    Funny, isn’t that exactly what we try to do?

  39. JP says

    Robb, just a year long lurker here but I first caught wind of the craptacular sendoff you received from a FB friend involved with an affiliate in Connecticut (yes that one). Bits and pieces really but I finally made it back over here today after hearing about it in detail from another friend. All I can say is, WTF? I have been leery about joining an affiliate for precisely the reason some have mentioned here; a lot of these folks have very little knowledge outside a level 1 cert and why would I pay upwards of $150 per month for someone to coach me who knows less than I do (BS Exercise Science). Anyway the point of posting my life’s story and curriculum vitae is that it is now assured that Crossfit Inc will never get ANY of my money for anything. Nor will it get any more recommendations from me to the 10 athletes now turned on to Crossfit because of my efforts. What I WILL do is point them to you, and your product of nutritional knowledge because like it or not from HQs perspective, its what people need first, in my view. I will also not hesitate one second to buy your book or attend your seminars, whenever they become available. These knuckleheads just stepped on their collective d*cks and I believe they will pay for it dearly. Anyway, thanks Robb. I hope people like you continue to save the lives of the Fat Fuck Brigade of which I am a proud member (no matter how fit I get). Jason

  40. Rick says


    Thanks for keeping this alive. It’s really entertaining. I mean it. Really entertaining. Do you plan on de-affiliating? That would be the ultimate proof of your commitment–by de-affiliating, you are making a statement, rather than whining about the powers that be. Same goes for Greg at Catalyst Athletics.

    Here’s a bet: I bet you a thousand dollars right now, payable to your favorite charity, that neither of you de-affiliate of your own volition.

    At least Johnny Pain had the balls to back up his whining with action.

    I will send you my contact info and a check to be held in escrow to a person that you hold to be in esteem.

    My check is good. I have 250 CrossFitters in my box, and guess what? I don’t have a anatomy/physiology background, and have leaned on CrossFit HQ for everything. Really look at the CrossFit Journal–what a resource. The Trainers are top-notch, and I’ve met Dave Castro–he was our lead at a Level 1 in 2007–he helped me get my first muscle up–patient, and kind.



    • says

      Oh No Rick!! Not this time around. When I left before I kept my mouth shut and Glassman told everyone I left to join Mark Twight. He is/will disparage me this time (like when people are calling to get their money back from the nutrition certs…apparently he is giving people an ear-full instead of just giving them their money) but he will be running down one of his flagship affiliates.

      No, you and the rest of HQ would LOVE for us to de-affiliate because then we can be explained away. What you guys have right now is some of your best, most respected affiliates saying things are in dire need of change. Now I have no doubt we will be kicked out and it will be the same thing, just happening on a larger level: Those who speak out are hammered down, bullied and threatened.

      congrats on your successful gym and your nearly Hallmark moment of Dave Castro’s infinite kindness. I guess the other several hundred people who think he is a petty dictator are wrong. But wait…this is the whole theme…fewer and fewer affiliates agree with HQ, do nto do things like HQ…and are apparently WRONG for doing so.

      thanks Rick, I’ll give you the $1,000 for helping me make my point more clearly than I could have possibly dreamt. Which ubber busy affiliate should I send that check to?

  41. says

    January 27, 2004
    Tuesday 040127

    Rest Day


    Enlarge image

    Robb Wolf was presented with CrossFit’s highest honors last weekend, our Coach’s Certificate, which is awarded to individuals whose efforts have significantly expanded the CrossFit community, advanced the CrossFit methodology, and developed standout athletes.

    Congratulations to Coach Robb Wolf!

  42. JJ says

    Long time lurker and admirer, finally have had enough of this to throw my two cents in.

    Rick, you are a tool. Step back and look at the big picture and what you are saying. What does it say about an organization that cannot handle any criticism, complaints or, god forbid, dissent? HQ’s fear of anyone stepping out of line feels very North Korean to me. Pay homage to the Dear Leader, or out you go.

    I HOPE that your students come to you concerned about this. I HOPE that they say “wait a minute, is the Zone really the right thing for me?”. I hope that maybe they say “hmmm…the main site programming isn’t doing it for me-could we look at crafting a unique BB program for me?” That’s called being inquisitive, Rick. It’s not being a f-ing sheep waiting to be spoon fed whatever comes out of HQ.

    I am a long time CrossFitter. I have proselytized the merits of this program til I’m blue in the face. I worked at the games. (I worked my ass off, by the way, and outside of the very gracious Jeff Tucker I got no thanks from Castro, Budding or any of the other brown shirts running around there.) I have a Level 1. In retrospect, what is that worth? Zero. It was essentially indoctrination in to the cult. I didn’t get decent at the movements until I got myself some quality personal instruction.

    I quit my affiliate. The coaching was dangerous, and absolute crap. Oh-and this affiliate has a famous name and is making money hand over fist.

    This is about so much more that the incident over the weekend. It is about people that thought this program and programming meant something, but now find themselves saying “wait-it’s not just me that thinks that $48 tshirts, crap programming and absent quality control are unacceptable.”

    CrossFit has well f-d themselves with this and a million other similar stories, Rick.

    Don’t be a sheep.

  43. says

    After following the link, and then posting it’s contents above, I spent the next 10 minutes just perusing over all the old WODS from 2004… and the links and other content associated with the Workout of the Day.

    Memory Lane… I have nostalgia for an episodic memory I was never a part of. Weird. I think it’s serendipitous to see those singlets, couplets and triplets as an aside to this drama. Namely the preponderance of COUPLETS and the simplicity of the movement or brevity of their range (read basics… no virtual shoveling) And then compare them to both the WODs posted this month on and to the many WODs posted everywhere this month at the 400 affiliates that have opened in the last year.

    Will my comments be misunderstood?

    • says

      Not by me. I get it. this is what I and other people have fought for. it’s obvious what works though, not matter how much spin is on things. Great post.

  44. wake up people says


    I can’t tell you how bad I feel for the CrossFit community that you will be leaving. Selfishly, I wish that it were possible that you could stay, the information you have provided over the years has been literally life changing for myself, and my peers. I have to admit though, I think you are moving on to greener pastures. I consider it impossible for you to continue to grow working alongside the likes of Dave Castro. Everyone has been beating around the bush, and no one has come straight out and said it, and it surprises me. Dave Castro is a piece of shit, plain and simple. He is literally a shit stain on the underwear of society.

    Navy SEAL, Director of Training, who gives a shit. Job titles mean nothing, the actions of a man will always speak louder than his words, and his actions are screaming that he is a power hungry, egotistical, paranoid, asshole. Someone mentioned in yesterdays posts that Dave is a “warrior” who is walking straight off the “killing fields”. Yeah right. Navy SEAL will sure look good on his resume though. I would love for someone to produce his background in training anyone. I would love to see the names of some athletes he has worked with, some populations other than that of the military.

    At this point I am sure one of the faithful will chime in, someone along the lines of a John Brown or the like. Please feel free, but for once, only for a moment John, take Dave’s cock out of your mouth. Have an original thought and don’t be a Crossfit parrot. No matter how long you hold tight to his balls, you are still going to be an epic douche.

  45. Geoff Aucoin says

    Leo S, know when to give it up, man. The stuff you are saying is nuts.

    Robb, thank you for all you’ve given to the community; keep doing what you’re doing.

  46. marcus Allen says

    Robb- Just another voice of support. I blindly followed CFMP, then OPT changed how I work out via his blog. You changed how I ate(most of the time) through yours.

    Top 4 threads in Pukie’s Bucket? All about you.

    Top threads on CF’s nutrition board? All about Paleo. Go figure.

  47. says

    Kudos to you Robb for your honesty and integrity.

    From what I can tell, you do the right thing – you keep an open mind but you also take a stand and are opinionated. (Some would call this impossible – they don’t get it) Yeah, doing the right thing always ends up hurting like hell, but you’re a better person for it and we can trust you because of it.

    My one original contribution to this is to say that recently I was weirded out by the Zone Diet website and the videos of Dr. Sears pushing his baked products like miracle food. It undermined any trust that I had that his motivation is to help people. I just got the feeling that he’s about developing products and making money.

    I have no problem with people making money doing what they are doing. Everyone deserves fair compensation for good work. There is a point where it stops being about doing good work and becomes about making tons of money though. That’s what concerns me. The Zone seems to have moved away from getting the good stuff from mother nature and towards buying all of your food and supplements through them.

    Not long after being weirded out by the Zone, here I see something of battle lines being drawn and you taking a stand and paying for it.

    I don’t know you Robb, but all the evidence is enough to make me willing to take a stand myself and say that I trust you. Keep up the good work, you deserve fair compensation and respect and it’s a shame you haven’t received it.

  48. Ryan says


    Thanks for everything you have done. Your information on nutrition is invaluable. As a medical provider for a large area and an avid follower of the theories of Crossfit, I feel very strongly that the whole community has suffered a loss from your removal. However, the recent information from the BBS has me concerned about the future of Crossfit. I am not worried about the training fundamentals which will with stand the test of time. I am worried about the credibility of an organization that on the first page of their nutrition information states the basics of Paleo but then pushes one of several thousand diets that basically do the same thing–limit portions. Dr. Sears is a very smart and well educated man that has a lot to benefit the world of nutrition but I believe is getting caught up in profit. Like others here have said there is nothing wrong with making a living but when your diet is turning into nothing more than a way to sell bars, shakes, and suppliments while telling people that they can become great athletes I have to draw the line. I subscribe to the theories that include “no sugar.” (Which supposedly Crossfit does too.) But look at the ingredients of the Zone bar… How about little starch…want a bagel. I believe that Crossfit is starting to endorse a company that is starting to look a lot like the food from jenny craig and weight watchers. But remember it is blocks not points…(You would have to have studied different diet theories to get that one.) I believe that Greg and Dave need to revisit their ideologies of nutrition especially that of the Zone. My guess is that the athletes that subscribed to the Zone and found athletic improvement from it really never knew how to properly eat and benefited from the educational aspects of portion control and food regulation. They probably did drop times and increase ability. My research and work with patients has demonstrated that that will occur whenever someone utilizes proper nutrition. I do believe that people will see more of a benefit utilizing the aspects of Paleo far more than that of the Zone, but only time will prove my hypothesis.
    Lastly, the detrimental effects of gluten alone should have excluded the Zone from a community trying to traverse the curve of sickness to fitness. Robb, write the book. I am looking forward to it. It looks like you are joining the new underground revolution of those of us that follow Glassman’s original ideologies and are rejecting those that apparently from the posts, Dave Castro holds so dear.

  49. JFlorian says

    I guess you are one of the lambs being led to the slaughter. Don’t make a sound and you may be the last one killed but the end result is still the same. What saddens me is that there are actually affiliate owners out there who are not upset with the treatment that Robb and Greg have received from Castro. Sorry Dave, you and I know some of the same people through our line of work, and obviously even your SEAL brethren aren’t very impressed with you. Hopefully you weren’t one of the SEALS sent to Ranger school or Q-School while I was there who got sent home for poor performance and/or poor leadership.

  50. pmt says

    One of the most important things I’ve learned from Crossfit is how important it is to be an independent thinker.

    I’ve been yelled at hard enough to keep working and have gotten badly injured twice. I’ve done reps of things I thought I needed to improve and incurred more injury. My coach stood by and didn’t say, “Hey, experience shows that if you do too many of those, you’ll get this injury.” Only AFTER I got hurt, did I got that speech.

    NEVERMIND…I didn’t squawk but owned my injuries and realized that I needed to coach myself better.

    After processing the disappointment in my coach, I realized that the upside is that I had an opportunity to take responsibility for my own training. I have learned a TON and realize what a universe remains to be learned. I don’t ignore my coach now but I don’t expect top notch instruction… In fact, I don’t expect anything. I just work out and assume I’ll get steered in the right direction if I’m about to kill myself.

    I’ve seen people ask questions at my gym only to be almost-ridiculed or told in a condescending way that they need to attend more classes. I felt sorry for the student and emailed the answer off-line. I’ve since refrained from asking questions. I’ve heard comments from other students saying they’re afraid to ask questions and that the gym’s top performers are cliquish and unapproachable.

    If this is an affiliate, I can only imagine what HQ’s culture is like.

  51. Steve says


    I believe Melissa Urban is a Student of yours and she is the one who taught me the benefits of the Paleo Diet. The following is what I wrote at her place.

    ” Steve said…
    I am away from home and will not return until my 30 Day Challenge is over on this Tuesday. But it is no longer a challenge rather it is a way of life for me now. So my first chance for a legal cheat is this Tuesday and I am not really looking forward to cheating this Tuesday. Nothing is special about Tuesday just another day in my life. In fact the first day I see a reason to cheat is not until the following Saturday when I go to a social event. My cheat will be some wine. I mean some really good wine. I meant to say some great wine.

    I have no desire to eat beard, rice, potatoes, candy or any other junk food. This lifestyle is allowing me to lose inches off my waist without going hungry. This lifestyle is saving my life. For about 25 years I have been getting fatter and fatter. I joined weight watchers and I was able to starve myself down 40 pounds, but the weight slowly came back. Before I found the 30 day challenge my weight peaked to 305.

    I stood looking at the scale in disbelief. How I did I allow myself to reach 305? I tried eating less but I didn’t lose a pound until I got a really bad stomach virus that didn’t allow me to eat for three weeks and my weight during this illness dropped to 285. I thought to myself this is the jump start I needed to get my weight under control, but three weeks later in spite of starving myself I was back up to 292 and rising. So I brought a subscription to the CF Journal and started to read the nutrition articles. One of the articles I read was Melissa Byers article “Zone Gone Bad”. I thought to myself here is interesting person.

    Then I searched the CF boards and I found out Melissa had her own blog and I decided to check out her blog. At the top of her blog as everyone reading this knows is a linked called “Change your life in 30 Days.” I knew I needed to change my life in order to save my life. With the direction of my weight I had serious doubts that would live another ten years. I am only 50 and I doubted I would make to sixty or live long enough to see my Grandchildren or see my son get married. So I took the challenge and it saved my life. At my last weighing I was down to 279. To many that may sound awful to weight 279, but I haven’t been that light for over five years. I am down to 279 without being hungry. Each day I feel better, have more energy and become leaner. Why would I want to trade that for potatoes, corn, pasta or any the other junk I used to believe was healthy food?

    Melissa Byers and her “30 Day Challenge” not only changed my life, it saved my life. I was on a path to an early death and now I am going live long enough to see my son get married and to see my Grandchildren. I can’t thank Melissa enough for saving my life.

    So I will end this long post by just saying Thank You Melissa for saving my life and I really do mean it when I say “Saving.”

    September 12, 2009 4:45 PM ”

    Without you Robb there would not have been a Melissa to save me and I am now down 46 pounds and counting. I was dying until I was saved by Paleo. So guess who side I am on; “the max profit side or the side which gives out life saving information for free?”

    • says

      that’s amazing. Melissa does some gooood stuff. I appreciate the props…this information is out there, I just happen to spew it out sufficiently that folks give it a shot! Keep me posted.

  52. AW says

    Hey “wake up people”:

    But realisticly and objectively, did you expect a Frogman not come after you after continually poking holes in the boat they run, come up with smart ass tones in lectures, and build a seminar and underminds the entire company? Off course they’re going to come after you. Calling a Navy SEAL, someone who hunts down and surgically kills international mass murderers for a living, “sweetie” even though it is a knee jerk reaction, and think somehow he isn’t going in your face… The bottom line is that if the intentions were to truely improve affliate performance, a more positive approach under the roof of CrossFit should have been made and accepting it’s approaches. Otherwise going against it’s current is a threat, and it’s obvious that sicfit did come off as a threat to CrossFit.

  53. Dave Wells says

    I signed up for your nutrition cert on January 30th and of course it has been canceled. I was looking forward to hearing you lecture on Saturday and K-Star the next. If you are still planning to have a Saturday Seminar I would love to go, as I am still planning on attending Kelly’s seminar the following day. As for attending a nutrition cert put on by HQ, I think I know enough about the Zone. You offer something different that I have seen results from and want to learn more about. As for this Squable with HQ, I don’t know any of the people personally but have been following your blog, Greg Everit’s. Coach Rut’s, and OPT’s. HQ got me into training, but experimenting with what I’ve read on 4 different blog’s have helped enrich my training. I will continue to be an affiliate, but will give my educational money wherever I see I will learn the most. I fear HQ is missing out on much. Keep up the great work and thank you for the podcasts.

    • says

      I will have information on a seminar for the folks affected by all this stuff up today or tomorrow. thanks for the support and look forward to seeing you in chico.

  54. Joe says

    Dave Castro = Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Look up the criteria and tell me he doesn’t fit the DSM-IV TR criteria. Before someone jumps in and just says he’s Type-A, Look that up and see if it fits better. CFHQs issue is that unless they get rid of him, he will continue to poison CrossFit. He does not have the ability not to screw up a community like CrossFit. It’s who he is, no changing that.

  55. Vanessa says

    Keep up the good work, Robb. Thanks for your encouragement to eat real, minimally processed food. Too bad the Crossfit family is having a Thanksgiving blow-out, hope you all can be adults and work it out. At least our own family didn’t have a big shouting-match melt-down this year!

  56. says

    “But realisticly and objectively, did you expect a Frogman not come after you after continually poking holes in the boat they run, come up with smart ass tones in lectures, and build a seminar and underminds the entire company? Off course they’re going to come after you. Calling a Navy SEAL, someone who hunts down and surgically kills international mass murderers for a living, “sweetie” even though it is a knee jerk reaction, and think somehow he isn’t going in your face…”

    I would expect a ranking member of CFHQ to act like a professional and willing to engage in debate in how the company can best serve the community.

    Until I see the videos from the event, if they are made available, I have a hard time understanding how they are undermining CF. These are people that run successful affiliates sharing their knowledge, perhaps they should get the unsuccesful ones to share their knowledge instead?

  57. says

    Not sure if this is the right venue for this posting or not but here it goes…..

    For me, the thing that has struck me the most about this black box summit, is the amount of money it cost to attend. There seems to be an unfortunate trend occurring that affiliates or people tied to Crossfit feel that the price for a weekend seminar should be the same as the price CrossFit HQ charges for their Level 1 Certs. As somebody who attended his level 1 about a year before I opened up my box, I simply factored in that $1000 as a cost of doing business. Did I get my $1000 worth at the Cert? Offcourse not and I think that subject has been discussed many times in this forum and others (though it should be noted that by far the best thing about my cert was Robb Wolf and the weekend was worth it just for his Q&A period). Was I pissed off at the cost of the Cert? Kind of but then a fellow gym owner made a great point, HQ charges so little for your affiliate fee annually, that an overcharge for their certs is just part of doing business. Its not great reasoning but it was good enough for me and I still stick by that. However for the organizers of the Black Box Summit to also charge a $1000 per person to attend seems ludicrous to me. Now I want to note something hear. I love the people who were speaking and I’m sure the content would have been extremely rewarding to me as a affiliate owner.
    If we look at the numbers, CrossFit Cenral brought in 7 speakers and I’m sure they had to fly them in and put them up for the weekend, as well compensate them for their time. I’m assuming that would have been around $1000 a piece compensation and perhaps another $1000 in expenses. 50 people at 1k per person is your gross. You do the math and it seems to me that the organizers are at worst walking with a $25,000 profit for hosting a weekend seminar. Now I’m all for making money, don’t get me wrong but was a $1000 price tag really necessary for an event like this? And a better question to ask is, if HQ hadn’t started this trend of $1000 weekend certs, would you charged that kinda of money for people to attend. As many are discussing here and I completely agree, just because CrossFit HQ does it, does not make it right.
    I just hope that this Black Box Summit price point doesn’t set the bar for what similar events or seminar like this are going to cost. $300-$500 per person seems much more reasonable and I’m confident whoever is putting on the event would still take home a pretty penny.

    Robb you are great guy that has helped out so many and I can’t believe HQ isn’t trying to right this ship. I am also a big fan of Greg’s. I look at both you as the cream of the crop and I’m sure the type of trainer I would one day like to become.

    The Pie
    CrossFit Lions

    • says

      Hey Pie!!
      I’e been kicking this around a good bit and i do no think $1,000 is too much to pay for certs and seminars. Nicki and I paid a similar amount for the Mind Body University 3 days seminar and it was worth every penny. What we learned there dramatically improved our gym and us as business owners.

      thinking about it…I remember paying $400-500/weekend in the early 90’s for a thai boxing or BJJ seminar. Pricey but I learned a ton in a very short time.

      I think the black box summit had similar potential to improves folks businesses and training practices. Keep in mind, the attendees were affiliate owners. Nicki has done private consulting with folks and helped them to radically improve their gyms in 6 months. We just figured this stuff out on our own and it involved a lot of failed ideas.

      The CF level 1’s were pretty revolutionary for their time, but the lack of evolution, the lack of educational standards (some kind of science module) has seriously impacted the relative value.

  58. Matt says


    I wanted to chime in as I was a paying attendee at the Black Box Summit. SicFit/Black Box in my opinion supported every aspect of CrossFit and CrossFit HQ but also added value and in my mind was the truest sense of CrossFit by incorporating methods and ideas that have been proven to deliver better results.

    I was under the impression that CrossFit wanted to deliver the best results regardless of the methods used in getting there. The fact that Rob and Greg’s examples as well as the rest of the panels were prefaced and ended with “in my opinion” with reasoning and examples in between I didn’t and still don’t understand how this isn’t a prime example of CrossFit in the truest form.

    I also wanted to address the Dave Castro issue as I have never meet him before and I was disappointed in his behavior and overall character. Throughout the seminar there was Q&A giving him plenty of opportunity to voice his opinion, instead it was voiced through smart ass comments through other peoples lectures and to attendees during the breaks. Being in the front row I witnessed first hand his child like outburst and I also witnessed when he approached Greg after his lecture attacking him as if he were a child. Being interested as was everyone else in attendance the vast majority of the group saw this continue in the front of CrossFit Central as Dave continued to attack Greg as he stood there biting his tongue and drinking a bottle of water. Dutch asked Dave to leave after he wouldn’t let it go and even then told Dutch repeatedly (4-5 times) from across the room “Dutch… tell them you kicked me out” as Dutch ignored him. After he didn’t get a response from Dutch Jeremy walked by and Dave turned his attention to him telling him “I’m leaving, Dutch kicked me out.” Funny part was he didn’t gather his stuff or even walk towards his chair to get it, he just kept talking to gain attention as they trying to get the seminar going again.

    The one thing that is true and was a disappointment was the segregation during the workouts. I think a lot of is expected the panel to either join in or coach instead of doing their own thing. With that being said I personally think the Black Box Summit was absolutely awesome from the presenters to the information given and I am extremely grateful to Rob, Greg and everyone else that took the time to share their knowledge, experience and opinions.

    Thank you.

  59. Hypoxia CrossFit says

    Hey “Wake Up People.” Anonymous and classless. Way to go. Regardless of right or wrong, if you are going to call people out, stand up and do so. This situation is bad for our community and you’re dagger throwing makes matters worse for everyone. Figure it out.

  60. Scott says

    The shit will of course hit the fan once, as Robb said, he makes his first non-CrossFit affiliated dollar. He will be tarred and feathered and I can only imagine the propaganda that will filter down from HQ to their underling affiliates. Stick to your guns Robb, you have a tremendous support structure and to be honest many of us had misgivings about CrossFit long before this falling out you experienced.

    Leo S, I understand your willingness to defend HQ seeing how your affiliate is a growing business, but you come off as a total company man. What strikes me as odd is how you can go from having the utmost respect for Robb and his nutritional views/teachings to displaying such disdain and questioning his integrity. If none of the events transpired at the BB Summit, would you even drag Steve L. into the mix or is that your way to muddy the waters?

    What really sucks is that I was planning on working out at Evolution when I’m in Orlando, but I can’t in good conscious do that now that I see where your priorities rest.

  61. John says


    Just wanted to send some love your way, seems like you’re surrounded by shit drama.

    I attended your cert, I have talked to you through email, you have been there even with your busy schedule. I have taken your advice many times, I know people who believe in what you have to say and I have come to trust your knowledge and I can’t put a price on that.

    You bust ass and deserve more.

    Best wishes,

  62. Bulldog says

    I thought Castro was an X-SEAL
    If so, He brings shame to the Teams, CrossFit, Himself and His family
    Pros don’t pick on regular people
    How fare is that

  63. Rafael says

    Quick fire thoughts:

    1. Dave Castro needs to understand that CrossFit is not the military and that whatever CrossFit soldiers he might be seeing also happen to be stakeholders and paying clients … so no, DC McDouche, you can’t call someone a “fat fuck” during a presentation people paid to sit through, especially not as a company rep. Not even if you were a Navy SEAL once upon a time.

    2. More quality control is definitely needed, especially with trainers who only have a Level 1 cert and no prior experience in fitness or nutrition, so it is refreshing to hear that you and Greg were trying to exercise some “rookie” misconceptions and introduce “best practices.” One more point about this: cert one rookie trainers can look like real fools when they give a trained or experienced athlete bad advice … and even more foolish when all they know how to do is stick to what little they know as if it was fitness orthodoxy.

    3. Doesn’t Mr. Castro realize that the best asset the CrossFit philosophy has going for it is being open-source with a survival-of-the-fittest (techniques) approach.

    4. I hate the zone diet, mostly because it makes eating a tedious affair. Measure food = unit Nazi = fail.

    5. I don’t care how many people go to Rick’s box. He may or may not be a good trainer but he’s definitely a zealous idiot. The kind of brick wall you can’t convince with any kind of objectivity. A yes-man to the core that will be a corporate cheerleader no-matter-what. And that is something that you will have to contend with because there are many people like that (everywhere).

    6. I’m on your side, for whatever the support of a total CF stranger is worth. Nothing kills me more than “my way or the highway” within a system that prides itself on being open, adaptive and constantly evolving.

    7. You can’t “Forge Elite Fitness” without forging elite fitness practices.

    8. Which reminds me, when CF HQ gets their heads out of their asses, they really need to address their loosey goosey branding and affiliate branding, all of which can create one ghetto concoction that is really minimizing the company’s potential (millionaires stop feeling successful when they realize they could have been billionaires). That’s neither here nor there but now I’m angry … which makes me chatty (I cuss up a storm doing Fran).

    9. Best of luck.

  64. Changebehindthecouch says

    Barry –

    Despite what you may believe in your head, you are not a prolific, passionate writer. You are a blowhard. Please never use the computer again. And Spiderman 3 sucked.

    Crossfit Hypoxia –

    Wah! Our community is being further damaged by “dagger throwers!” Ok, then these people should take their grievances over to the CF forums or the mainpage comment section to be heard! Oh, wait. Nevermind.

    Robb is doing a great thing providing an outlet for everyone who has seen through the CF BS. Your “community” is damaging itself, and there is no amount of proselytization by Parker that Couch is Hitler that would even come close to eclipsing the damage that Glassman does to you or that you do to yourself by not using your God-given brain to think for yourself.

    I think it is you who is missing the point. In fact, just looking at your gym’s retarded “Hypoxia Crossfit” name is a clear enough indicator to me that I’m right. What is going to happen when you actually sack up and realize that all the crap Glassman has been feeding you is BS, and decide to venture out on your own? Will you just be “Hypoxia”??? WTF kind of name for a gym is that? I don’t even know what a hypoxia is, but I’d rather keep it confined to the privacy of my bedroom. I would take Nicki Violetti’s advice and seriously begin considering a rebrand.

    The larger point is that 98% of you CF affiliate owners have no business coaching another human being, animal or mineral. The BB Summit did you all a huge favor by attempting to clue you in on how to be more successful and not injure folks through advice given by people who SHOULD be coaching others. HQ took that as a slap in the face, and here we are. Hopefully your ineptitude at coaching will eventually catch up with you in the form of lawsuits and sky-high insurance premiums until you see the light of day that you aren’t qualified simply by taking a two day seminar with no testing and teaching standards ranging from subpar to non-existent. Either that, or you might do what some of the smarter ones have done like learn a few things from the dearth of useful information on coaching, programming, nutrition and movement come that from outside of crossfit, and thus begin your separation. One can only hope that not too many are injured in the process.

    In the meantime, I say let all the detractors speak and let all the dirty laundry be aired:

    Where is the RRG money? What are Glassman’s and other “higher-ups” credentials? Why does he not train? Why is he out of shape? Why do all the good coaches and smart people leave? Why is the cultishness encouraged? Doesn’t CF fit into the criteria for a cult? Where are all the “old school” CFers? Shouldn’t they be superhuman by now? Why don’t most successful CF Gamers not use the posted WOD to train? Where are the results for steroid testing at the Games? Why are ripped hands, vomiting, rhabdo, atrocious form, etc. glorified? Why is it that all of the legitimate, recognized authorities in weightlifting, powerlifting, endurance sports, etc. think that Crossfit and Crossfit’s attempted adaptation of their techniques are a total joke? Why is the injury forum overflowing with accounts of shoulder impingement, rhabdo, and other similar injuries, wasn’t this supposed to make me more healthy? Isn’t there something wrong with someone being able to open their own gym simply by completing a weekend seminar? Where is the accountability? Why isn’t theory behind mainpage programming revealed? What’s going on with Barry Sears, isn’t it obvious he just sees this as a huge profit making opportunity? Why won’t HQ adopt some standards for all affiliates? What’s all this business about franchising? Isn’t calling someone the “fittest athlete on the planet” and insult to those like Bryan Clay, Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods and other accomplished sports competitors? Where are the CF olympic athletes? Where is the 700 lb deadlift? Why do these questions get censored so quickly on the mainpage?

    This is America goddamnit.

  65. says

    Hey Robb,
    I agree completely that as a fellow affiliate owner I would have taken away a great deal from the weekend and it would have been worth the investment. My point was that with most weekend seminars or at least the ones that charge $1000 plus to attend, the overhead for space/supplies were likely much greater than what was needed for the Black Box Summit. It just seems to me that a lower rate for similar seminars in the future would still allow for a great deal of profit/compensation to the people putting it on and also give more people an opportunity to attend. If your profit margin is roughly 70% of the gross , which is likely in this case, than I would say you could probably afford to give the attendies a bit of price break. I guess the reality is if people are going to make soo much cash off of one weekend than there will be competitors and that competition will bring the prices back down to a reasonable level.
    I should also point out that I am one of those affiliate owners who only holds a level 1 cert. I am very grateful that HQ allows CrossFitters to open up gyms with “so little” required. This is a really difficult situation or argument for me because I do believe that there are many trainers/owners out there that don’t represent the brand and believe that the level 1 cert is all they need. For me the level 1 means nothing and I knew that the moment it had completed. I was certain that more would be needed to make sure I am giving my clients the best possible environment and coaching to succeed. However on the flip side of the coin, I have come across many a poor trainer who comes from exercise physiology background and have 10 plus years of experience and have absolutely no idea how to teach a air squat…..anyways I don’t have an plausible suggestion at what the best course is but I haven’t read anybody yet who has manned up and said that they are from the side of “the problem” in CrossFit, that so many owners are complaining about. Hopefully when I get ten years deep in this game and will no doubt be a better trainer than I am today, I can look back and remember how I got started.

    The Pie
    CrossFit Lions
    North Vancouver

    • says

      Gotcha. Yea, i agree. Something like that could be run for perhaps even half that price, allow in 75-100 peeps and you still have plenty to pay your speakers etc.

      The bummer about all this is that all 50 participants came away LOVING the material. They had a ton of things to do that would improve their business and training games the first day back in the gym. Theoretically CF has no comment on how to run an affiliate yet they felt compelled to send HQ emissaries who were willing to assault someone publicly because of the content of the seminar? Hmmm…not so hands off after all. What is there to fear from helping affiliates learn some best practices from folks who have been in the community for years?

      Let’s say for a minute that Greg Everett’s talk was a scathing diatribe against CF. It was NOT, but let’s just say it was. SO WHAT? Technically HQ can have no comment on this. instead, they were actively working against whatever the message was that Greg was sharing. The message for any future events: Get a non-controversial staff, toe the party line, or else. Any offerings like this in the future will be Company SpokesPeople which is fine I guess, I just hope it actually helps people.

  66. Joseph says

    I have been on the outside looking into CF for a while now. Being poor money-wise and rich in terms of information (with a research library around the corner), I have never made the leap into the program, though I occasionally have lifted exercises or workouts from the CF site. This fiasco pretty much seals the deal for me: I will never darken the doors of a CF affiliate unless I know and trust the people running it. The brand name “Crossfit” is an empty, unknown quantity for me.

  67. Lee says

    I’ve been doing CF for a year now, all in my garage, and seen lots of benefits. I’ve weighed and measured, done Paleo, read a lot, watched a lot of videos and its all worked pretty well for me (I’m always tinkering, but making gains and having fun).
    But what I want to say is that it was CLEAR to me long before reading about any of this BBS stuff that Dave Castro is an ass and the kind of person I would never want to know in real life and CFHQ will suffer as long as he has so much power. It just comes through in every video he’s in. Just as Robb’s good nature comes through in every piece of media I’ve seen with him. You can’t be exposed that much in all kinds of ways without your true nature coming through. Sure, Dave’s probably not that bad all the time, but we are largely defined by how we act in situations like the one described at BBS.
    I have never met any of these people and only know CF and it’s related ideas from afar on the web. That being said, Coach Glassman has always seemed great, Robb has seemed great, Tony Budding seems like a prick and Dave seems like a juvenile out-of-his-league idiot. I think Coach would be wise to reign in Tony and Dave. He seems like the kind of man that could admit a mistake and move on.
    You’re goodness shines through Robb. In the end you might all be wrong about what works best but at least you have character. It’s obvious who is in the wrong here, even from 2000 miles away.

  68. Justin says

    I saw that video. Looks like damage-control to me. Maybe they actually recognize how many people are left with a bad taste in their mouth over all of this and are trying to calm them down with a well-timed vid?

    • says

      Well…the new openness did not stop them from forbidding Kelly Starrett from doing his gig at our place AND they moved the Level 1 planned for OneWorld to CF north Santa Cruz. Openness my ass.

  69. Riley says

    I am a fan of Crossfit as a training program, namely Crossfit Football, and I have found myself healthier than ever thanks to it, but I, like many others, have a hard time endorsing their business model.
    I think it is very unwise of CFHQ to allow certification of anyone who pays the fee, and their lack of quality control with their affiliates only reflects badly on them in the end, via bad training, client injuries, etc.
    I also find that it seems that anyone who enters CF as a coach/nutritionist that has a background OUTSIDE of what is preached by CF, inevitably parts ways with CF, often becoming the target of a smear campaign by HQ to discredit these knowledgeable individuals.
    Take this article for example. It is the only source I have read, that plays out with Castro being morally in the right, and it is no surprise, as CFHQ seems committed to refusing that they can do anything wrong.
    As for Castro and Berger, what a pair of dicks, pardon the language.

  70. Phillip says

    As a cf’r who directly challenged Glassman, and brought up many of the same concerns (lack of a&P and biomechanics, and physiology training at certs) and lak of research or willingness to be open to research to advance CF, I was eventually banned from for arguing with Glassman. I was a big fan of the concept of CF, but as a sports scientist, I am always seeking to investigate and tweak my chosen program in the desire to elicit greater gains. It seems ironically that CF, which started as renegade to “conventional” fitness, has now become one of the dogmatic, anti questioning systems it strove to change.

    • says

      Mark Twight made this same observation 4 years ago. As an “open source” kernel CF was amazing. The dogmatic avoidance of input from the community has been a major stumbling block however. change may occur, Someone forwarded a piece on Westside Barbell for CF. It looks remarkably similar to the piece Michael Rutherford did over 5 years ago. Apparently HQ likes all the ideas to be “their own”.

  71. Phillip says


    I know exactly what you mean. Some of the points are brought up were eventually addressed but brought up as their own idea. The “drink the kool aid” mentality of many cf’rs is disturbing. I was directly challenged by Glassman once, who claimed my understanding of basic exercise physiology and biomechanics was disturbingly low, and that my logic was terribly flawed for suggesting among other things that CF require advanced training in A&P, Biomechanics, and Ex Phys to become a certified trainer, and that IF CF wants to claim it improves fitness along a broad spectrum of physical qualities, than a large battery of tests of CF’rs in things like Vertec, VO2 max, Wingate Test, Shuttle Time Test, and 5 RM bench and Squat, compared to other “athletes” would prove that. Glassmans response was the fact that experienced CF’rs do much better at WOD’s than non CF’rs is proof of their superior fitness. To which I countered that proves fitness about as well as making a CF’r do figure skating, and when they don’t do as well as trained skater, it proving the skater is more fit. For this I was shunned by CF, for critically examining a great fundamental program.
    CF is a great daily undulating GPP, which isn’t great for beginners, and insufficient for elite athletes, but will probably ( I say probably, becuase know definitive tests, like the aforementioned have ever been done) improve improve several aspects of fitness for 90% of the general population, and off season athletes. It is sad they have dug their heads in the sand and refuse to adapt. I’m sure if you look on CF you can still find some of my banned posts.

  72. D says


    I know I’m a little late in the game here, but I’m fairly new to CF. I knew about YOU and Paleo before I even knew what CF really was. In fact, I started Paleo BEFORE I started CF because of you. I had no idea once I started CF (Dec. ’10) that you were no longer working for them (I told you I’m a little behind).

    Basically I would just like to say that you are a genius, and it’s because of you I have the information to provide to family + friends when asked about Paleo and how Paleo works. I know the science behind it and the technical terms appropriate to answer them correctly. I once took an ethics class in college and my professor told me that if you believe in something you need to stand for it no matter what, and in order to do that you need to have undeniable facts that are solid to the core. Because of you I believe in Paleo and I have the undeniable facts to prove why I believe in it and why it works. It’s science!

    In addition, I also believe in you. I don’t know how many times I have told different people that we (Paleo’ers) are so lucky to have YOU behind us. You know what you are talking about and you have the credentials to back it up.

    It is a shame that CF missed out on such an amazing opportunity with you. Sure, they can find someone else, but I highly doubt they will find another genius like you. And apparently the search for a new nutrition cert coach hasn’t gone so well, seeing as it’s been almost 2 years now…

    Lastly, I believe you can help to revolutionize the way people view fitness and nutrition (you already have, really) on a global scale. Keep doing what you’re doing, Robb, and I look forward to many Robb Wolf inspired gyms throughout the country someday and accredited nutrition courses taught by you. (this is my hope anyway, haha)

    P.S. HUGE fan of the podcasts and I’m looking forward to helping to revolutionize the world of nutrition on my own someday. =]

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