We are reader-supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.ย Learn more.

Dive into CrossFit history, discovering the origins, growth, and impact of this popular fitness movement that has transformed lives worldwide.

Let’s jump in!

CrossFit History Summary

  • โณ Origins and Evolution: CrossFit was founded by Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai in 2000, blending elements of gymnastics, weightlifting, and high-intensity interval training. This unique fitness program gradually gained traction within the fitness community, transforming how people approach health and training.
  • ๐Ÿš€ Rise to Prominence: As CrossFit’s popularity grew, the CrossFit Games were introduced in 2007 to showcase the world’s fittest athletes. Affiliated gyms and online communities blossomed, making CrossFit a global phenomenon and forging a tight-knit, supportive community.
  • ๐Ÿฅ‡ Noteworthy Growth and Adaptation: CrossFit has continuously evolved, welcoming adaptive athletes and embracing diversity. An emphasis on functional fitness has made it accessible to people of all ages and abilities, contributing to its lasting influence and appeal in the fitness world.

CrossFit History Timeline


Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai co-founded CrossFit in Santa Cruz, California, in 2000. Its initial concept derived from Glassman’s years of experience as a gymnastics coach and trainer. By combining elements of gymnastics, weightlifting, and high-intensity interval training, Glassman aimed to create a comprehensive fitness program to optimize physical performance.

The first CrossFit gym, or “box,” opened in a small warehouse, attracting a diverse group of early adopters, including law enforcement officers, firefighters, and military personnel. CrossFit.com, its official website, was launched the same year, providing daily workouts and fostering a virtual community for enthusiasts worldwide.


In 2005, the first CrossFit-affiliated gym outside California opened in Seattle, Washington. This marked the beginning of CrossFit’s expansion beyond its birthplace. The affiliation model allowed gym owners to operate independently while benefiting from the CrossFit brand and methodology. As the movement gained momentum, affiliate numbers skyrocketed.

This year also saw a shift in CrossFitโ€™s online presence. The website began publishing educational articles, reaching a broader audience, and expanding its virtual community. Glassman emphasized the importance of sharing ideas and best practices for the benefit of all CrossFit practitioners.


In 2007, the inaugural CrossFit Games were held in Aromas, California, which began as a grassroots competition with only 70 athletes. This event aimed to find the “Fittest on Earth” and established a new form of competitive fitness. The CrossFit Games quickly gained popularity and evolved into a multi-stage annual event, drawing participants and spectators from around the world.

That same year, CrossFit Kids was introduced as a specialized program designed to promote physical fitness, health, and athleticism among children and teenagers. This initiative marked the brandโ€™s expansion to include younger generations and encouraged lifelong involvement in physical activity.


By 2010, CrossFit had over 1,500 affiliate gyms worldwide. This rapid growth reflected the global interest in the innovative fitness regime. CrossFitโ€™s affiliate model allowed local gym owners to adapt the program to their communities’ unique needs, facilitating its rapid expansion across diverse cultures and geographies.

The 2010 CrossFit Games were first broadcast on ESPN, reaching millions of viewers and propelling CrossFit into mainstream sports culture. The event’s professionalization attracted major sponsorship deals and marked a turning point for the sportโ€™s exposure on a broader scale.

2012 – 2013

In 2012, Reebok became the official title sponsor of the CrossFit Games, introducing exclusive athletic apparel and footwear for CrossFit participants. This partnership elevated the sportโ€™s image and brought widespread recognition to both brands.

2013 witnessed the launch of the CrossFit Level 1 Certificate Course, which standardized coaching qualifications and helped maintain the quality of training within the growing network of affiliates. Meanwhile, the number of affiliates reached over 7,000, cementing CrossFit’s status as a global fitness phenomenon.


The 10-year anniversary of the CrossFit Games in 2016 demonstrated the event’s evolution and rapid growth. The prize pool reached $2.2 million, reflecting the significant interest and investment in the competitive sport. With over 324,000 athletes from around the world participating in the qualifying events, the 2016 CrossFit Games showcased the sport’s global reach and impact.

During this period, CrossFit Health was introduced, focusing on reversing chronic disease trends and promoting preventative healthcare through fitness and nutrition. CrossFit Health highlighted the brand’s commitment to overall well-being and its broader applications beyond just the realm of elite fitness.

2019 – 2021

2019 saw changes in the CrossFit Games format, incorporating a more global approach to qualifications through sanctioned events. The new system aimed to increase international representation and inclusivity in the sport.

In June 2020, Eric Roza, a tech entrepreneur and CrossFit affiliate owner, acquired the company amid a leadership controversy. Roza pledged commitment to diversity, inclusion, and fighting racial injustice, ushering in a new era for CrossFit.

In July 2021, the CrossFit Games returned to in-person competition with rigorous health and safety protocols after the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Who invented CrossFit?

Greg Glassman invented CrossFit. He is widely acknowledged as the pioneer of this fitness discipline in the early 2000s.

How did CrossFit become so popular?

CrossFit’s popularity soared due to its community-focused gyms, the annual CrossFit Games, and its effectiveness in promoting general physical preparedness.

Where did CrossFit originate?

CrossFit originated in Santa Cruz, California, where Greg Glassman opened the first CrossFit gym in 2000.

Caroline founded and runs Veggiewayfarer.com (#1 Sustainable Travel Blog in Belgium). Her travels have led her to hike across the globe, exploring the very best nature has to offer. When she is home in rainy Belgium she keeps in shape by practicing Crossfit and a handful of different sports, both indoor and outdoor.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments