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93: Greg Glassman — CrossFit and the Battle with Big Soda

By April 28, 2017Podcasts
Reading Time: 5 minutes
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Greg Glassman, the founder of the global fitness company and community movement, CrossFit, Inc., is a true visionary. Not afraid to speak his mind or upset people if that’s what it takes to deliver his message, Glassman is on a quest to end the involvement of “Big Soda” in the health sciences.

CrossFitWait, back up. Did you even know that PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, Inc. were involved in the world of health sciences?

Oh yes — they are.

Pepsi and Coke both provide money to run health programs, initiatives and studies. And because of that, they get to assert their power, creating their own health science target agenda based on corporate fiscal goals, initiatives that get created, what gets studied, who gets hired to conduct studies, which of the studies continue to get funding, and perhaps even which study results get shared and which don’t.

When the world is suffering from an obesity crisis caused, in large part, by sugar consumption, doesn’t that seem a bit strange? That companies who have built their empires on the liquid delivery of sugar are part of the conversation about health?

To me, it’s like putting the fox in charge of the hen house — similar to allowing an oil company to influence environmental policy.

Greg Glassman and Andy PetranekAs it turns out, their ability to continue to effectively sell soda (or other forms of sugar or sweetener-infused drinks) in the face of our ever-worsening chronic disease epidemic has a lot to do with the conversation and policies set forth in Washington, D.C. How does a company whose primary product thrives on the addictive qualities of sugar legitimize being included in the conversation about health?

Simple — change the conversation from one about diet and nutrition to one solely about exercise.

That’s what Coca-Cola did. They created a program called Exercise Is Medicine. The program’s focus is 100% on exercise, zero on diet. But the reality is, if you’re eating (or drinking) the wrong things, all the exercise in the world isn’t going to help, so leaving nutrition out of the conversation about chronic disease and diabetes is laughable.

This is the corporate meddling that Coach Glassman is fighting so hard to eliminate. Join me in this insightful conversation. Here are the highlights:

  • CrossFit’s unique and simple definition of world class fitness in 100 words.
  • How Glassman got pulled into his fight with Big Soda.
  • How pre-hydration and drinking beyond your thirst are not effective hydration strategies.
  • The current major players in the world of chronic disease
  • If you had to choose one, eating right or exercising, which should it be?
  • What is Glassman’s end game? What is the result he’s looking for?
  • What is the chronic disease that is the linchpin in reversing current trends.
  • The metrics you should use for determining your body’s health and well being.
  • How to outlaw a methodology.
  • Glassman’s new job and mission at CrossFit, Inc. (no longer  CEO)
  • How if you really want to make a difference, sometimes you have to ruffle some feathers.
  • Is it possible that cancer is, in fact, a metabolic disease?


Andy Petranek Whole Life Challenge

P.S. If you only have five minutes, listen at  26:30 where I ask Coach Glassman if an exercise program is even worth doing if you don’t have a nutrition plan lined up.

THANKS, Greg Glassman! If you enjoyed this podcast, click here to thank Greg on Twitter.

Episode Resources:
LA Times — An article on Coach Glassman’s fight against soda and sugar.
Hyponatremia — Wiki article about low sodium levels in the blood.
Hyper-Hydration — Article that references the British Medical Journal’s work on drinking too much water.
What Is Fitness? — Coach Glassman’s famous article.
Cancer as a Metabolic Disease by Thomas Seyfried.
Tripping Over the Truth by Travis Christofferson.
Wired to Eat — by Robb Wolf.
Whoop — Activity tracker app Andy has been using.

Connect with Greg:
CrossFit’s website
CrossFit’s Facebook page
Greg on Twitter

If you enjoyed this podcast, here are some others to check out:
Ryan Hurst — How to Exercise with Purpose and Playfulness
Brian Mackenzie — Breathing Your Way to Peak Performance and Super-Immunity

Connect with Andy to offer feedback or ask a question:

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Andy Petranek on FacebookAndy Petranek on InstagramAndy Petranek on Twitter
Andy Petranek
Andy is what you’d call a modern day Renaissance Man: a former professional trumpeter who attended the Eastman School of Music; a snowboarder, mountain biker, surfer, kayaker, outrigger paddler, mountaineer, and former Marine (Gulf War veteran); a professionally sponsored adventure racer; and the oldest participant to qualify for and participate in the CrossFit Games at the age of 43.

Andy is a certified CHEK Practitioner and holistic lifestyle coach. He holds a spectrum of certifications from CrossFit and is also a Vivobarefoot certified running coach. He has trained as a Zen buddhist and graduated with a Master’s degree in spiritual psychology from the University of Santa Monica.

Andy founded CrossFit LA one of the first and most successful CrossFit training centers in the world and the first to be featured in national media. He is the co-founder of the Whole Life Challenge, Inc, currently its president, and is also a consultant and life/business coach. Andy lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Julia, and son, Dashel.