Greg Glassman: American business executive (1956-) | Biography
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Greg Glassman
American business executive

Greg Glassman

Greg Glassman
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American business executive
Known for Founder of CrossFit
Is Business executive Fitness coach
From United States of America
Field Business Sports
Birth 22 July 1956
Age 67 years
Star sign Cancer
Father: Jeffrey Glassman
Spouse: Maggie Robinson
The details


Greg Glassman (born July 22, 1956) is an American business executive and the CEO of CrossFit.

Early life

Glassman was born on July 22, 1956 and grew up in Woodland Hills, a suburb of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley.

His father is a rocket scientist for Hughes Aircraft. Growing up, Glassman was a keen gymnast and fitness enthusiast. He lifted weights regularly at the gym and bicycled with a group of friends. He worked out of his parents' garage in San Fernando Valley; he had a Sears weight set and a doorframe pullup bar. In a later interview, he said: "I did 21 front squats to overhead presses followed by 21 pullups. Then I immediately did 15, then 9... In just three minutes, I had that nasty, vomitus feeling you have after a competitive gymnastics routine. I couldn't get that from bodybuilding. I'll never forget that lesson." His realization was that doing basic human movements at a high intensity will get one really fit and the descending-rep scheme ensured that one could maintain intensity throughout. He applied this learning and philosophy to CrossFit, which he founded in the late 1990s.


Glassman dropped out of college to pursue a career in fitness. In 1995, he established a gym in Santa Cruz, California, and that same year, he was hired to train the Santa Cruz Police Department. Initially, he trained civilians in a private one-on-one fashion. But as he began to get overbooked, he realized he could build a group training facility to train more clients, while offering enough individual attention to each client to ensure safe and effective training.

Thus, he conceived Cross-Fit (later renamed to CrossFit) with his now ex-wife Lauren Jenai in 1996. From its early days, the company sought to create workouts that simulated the feelings athletes and fighters felt during real competition. This was achieved through CrossFit's high-intensity, short-interval workouts. Glassman would regularly post his workouts of the day (WODs) on CrossFit.com. He was then approached by a few people from Seattle who followed his WOD videos and wanted to open a CrossFit affiliate facility in Seattle. Glassman agreed, and the first affiliated gym, CrossFit North in Seattle, Washington, was formed.

By 2005, there were over 15 affiliates. The method proved especially popular among police, firefighters, soldiers, MMA fighters, professional athletes, and serious fitness enthusiasts. As of 2019, there are over 15,000 CrossFit affiliates in over 150 countries. (https://map.crossfit.com/)

Coaches associated with CrossFit include Louie Simmons, John Welbourn, and Bob Harper.

After a divorce with Jenai, Glassman obtained complete control over the company. His wife tried to sell her share in the company to an outside party after the divorce settlement, but Glassman bought it with a $16 million loan from Summit Partners.


The growing popularity made CrossFit vulnerable to criticism from fitness industry experts. Critics have accused CrossFit of using dangerous movements and inappropriate levels of intensity, and of allowing under-qualified individuals to become CrossFit Trainers.

In 2013, Ohio State University researchers released a highly publicized study in the scientific publication of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) that "call(ed) into question the risk-benefit ratio" of CrossFit, which the authors labeled "extreme." In response, in 2014, CrossFit filed a lawsuit against the NSCA for publishing this study, alleging the data was false and "intended to scare participants away from CrossFit." 

CrossFit won the suit, the study was retracted.

Personal life

Glassman's first marriage was with Lauren Jenai, with whom he co-founded CrossFit. Jenai, a hairdresser, was one of the Glassman's clients; the two fell in love and married. The marriage went sour and ended in a divorce, which was a long, messy process that stretched from 2009 to 2013.

The couple had four children together, two boys and two girls, before the divorce. According to Town & Country, Jenai received an estimated $20 million during the divorce settlement for her role in creating the CrossFit franchise.

In the media

In 2009, Glassman served as one of the executive producers for the documentary Every Second Counts: The Story of the 2008 CrossFit Games. In May 2015, he was featured in CBS's 60 Minutes (hosted by Scott Pelley). In the segment titled The King of CrossFit, journalist Sharyn Alfonsi follows the history of CrossFit and Glassman's entrepreneurial journey.

tweet Controversy

On 6 June 2020, Glassman sparked outrage when he posted a tweet mocking the murder of George Floyd and the current coronavirus pandemic. In response to a tweet from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which called racism a public health issue, Glassman replied, "It’s FLOYD-19."

Icelandic CrossFit champion Katrin Davidsdottir was one of the first major athletes to condemn the remark. "I am truly ashamed, disappointed and angry by what has been going on for these past days with an organization I dedicate myself to, work hard for and so proudly represent. These next two images, if you swipe right, are something that is SO wrong. This is something I DO NOT STAND FOR. This is not leadership. This is not good human nature." –– she said in an Intagram post.

CorssFit's business partner Reebok announced that they will end its partnership with CrossFit in 2020 once their contract expires. Reebok said via Business Insider: "Recently, we have been in discussions regarding a new agreement, however, in light of recent events, we have made the decision to end our partnership with CrossFit HQ. We will fulfill our remaining contractual obligations in 2020. We owe this to the CrossFit Games competitors, fans and the community."

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