2018 NASSS Annual Conference
Sport Soundtrack: Sport, Music, & Culture

Shaun Edmonds

Augustana College
Assistant Professor
Augustana College
CrossFit is an emergent branded fitness culture that has thrived on its self-made position as a rebellious underdog within the fitness industry. CrossFit’s unorthodox training style, irreverent anthropomorphization of injury in the form of Pukie the Clown and Uncle Rhabdo, and antagonistic leadership has made it a prime target for criticism and concern. In light of ongoing attempts to legislate and regulate the fitness field, CrossFit has garnered attention by professional and academic organizations who perceive CrossFit as a potential liability. However, as a hybrid of sport and exercise, CrossFit’s dual classification has confounded traditional sport and fitness organizations, particularly in the area of injury risk. While extant research has generally supported the idea that CrossFit is a low risk activity in comparison to other sports, there have been select pieces of research and public commentary that CrossFit has notoriously and publically attacked. This paper will look to the ways in which CrossFit has embraced discussions of harm as part of its unique branding strategy and conversely how it has aggressively pushed back against being labeled (by others) as harmful.