Back when CrossFit® was a still budding grassroots community — and when the CrossFit Games took place on a dusty country ranch — Pat Barber made a name for himself as one of its early stars. He taught courses, created some of CrossFit HQ’s earliest videos, and competed at the sport’s highest levels in a time well before giant endorsement deals. (And live streaming? Forget about it.) Originally from California, Pat was one of the first big name CrossFit personalities to go international, where he played a massive role in growing the methodology and sport in New Zealand and Australia.
These days, the 6-time CrossFit Games athlete and Level 4 CrossFit Trainer is still heavily active in the CrossFit community. (By his own estimate, Pat has put roughly 15,000 people through their CrossFit L1 certifications.) In addition to coaching seminars, Pat and his wife Taz run Warmup & Workout, a programming and coaching development platform for gyms around the globe.
Pat’s in a unique position to give thoughts on the past, present, and future of CrossFit both as a training methodology and sport. Though our conversation covered Pat’s optimism for fitness moving forward, we also touch upon some important snags CrossFit — and other fitness methodologies — will continue to face as communities become enmeshed with their online counterparts.
In this episode of The BarBend Podcast, guest Pat Barber and host David Thomas Tao discuss:
- The origins of Pat’s famous nickname, “The Manimal” (1:50)
- Pat’s introduction to CrossFit all the way back in 2004 (4:55)
- His involvement with New Zealand’s first CrossFit affiliate, and taking the methodology abroad (9:50)
- Pat breaks down the levels of CrossFit certification — and why Level 4 is so rare and difficult (13:30)
- The attributes Pat looks for most in great coaching, and why he doesn’t focus heavily on elite sport performance (18:50)
- The early days of CrossFit’s relationship with other strength sports like weightlifting and powerlifting (22:38)
- The “new age” of fitness and CrossFit haters (25:00)
- The importance of word-of-mouth marketing in the CrossFit community, even today and especially since CrossFit has taken down some of their social media accounts (27:30)
- Pat’s thoughts on the 2019 Reebok CrossFit Games: new format, new cuts, new presentation, and new streaming outlets (28:51)
- The reasons Pat thinks some people in the CrossFit community dislike the competition side of things (32:30)
- Why Pat and his wife Taz started Warmup & Workout (38:30)
Relevant links and further reading: