I see CrossFit in the online education communities

I see CrossFit in the online education communities

January 18, 2021

So that’s really how you do it?


Yep. I know I can walk into any one of them and find friends. I’m one of them. I speak their language and understand the world.


I just walk into a CrossFit gym and I’m home. 


And now there’s a new community rising that shares so many similarities to CrossFit. It’s why I’ve been thinking about the online education communities and CrossFit.


You see that conversation occurred the other day when I was explaining how I travel solo across the world. The question that always comes up is the same. “How do you make friends?” 


I take a pair of Nike Metcons, a roll of athletic tape, and look up Crossfit gyms when I travel. I’ve made lifelong friends after a few days across the world. There’s something special about speaking a completely different language and sharing a common sense of suffering in the pursuit of personal growth that comes with completing Fran, Murph, or The Open.

Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash


And the thing is that any CrossFit person who reads this will know exactly what those terms mean. It’s been an incredible community to me since I first entered into it back in 2011. I talk to some of my CrossFit friends across the world on a weekly basis. 


This brings me back to the online education space but more specifically the power of community. When I talk about terms like Transformational Online Course (TOCs), cohort, or list some of the big names like Forte Labs, AltMBA, Lambda School, or On Deck most of my friends and family have no idea what I’m talking about.


They don’t speak the language.


That’s why this moment for the online education community is so amazing. We as creators, leaders, and participants have the ability to shape its future into something that resembles my experience with CrossFit.


Imagine traveling the world and putting out a call inside one of your communities and saying “hey, I’m in Budapest or Rio this week, anyone around to grab dinner and chat about ideas?”. Because that’s where things are going.


A truly global network of ambitious, driven, and community-oriented people. The ramifications are awe-inspiring. A trip to find yourself could lead to you finding your co-founder or an investor. All because you are a part of the same community.


We haven’t seen this power unleashed yet because of Covid. But it’s coming.


A wave of human to human interaction around the world. Synergies taking people to new heights.


All riding a shared language and understanding. 

Nazare, Portugal


I like to think of it like this. 2020 helped pull the rubber band back. And now it’s ready for its release. The maximum tension has been captured.


As of right now On Deck has over 2000 alumni. Write of Passage has over 600. Forte Labs has over 1000. And honestly, these numbers are all wildly conservative. The growth rate for these entities is exponential. 


Compounding is here in the online education space. Right now it feels raw, novel, and cutting edge but that won’t last long.


Just like when I first started CrossFit in a small garage with graffiti on the walls and PVC pipe for the pullup bars. 


No air conditioning. 


No heat. 


In the summer in Dallas, the gym was over 110 degrees. In the winter in Dallas, the gym was below freezing. 


Barbells had rust. Metal plates clanged around the gym. The music was loud. Vulgar. Beautiful.


That gym moved after 5 years into a large space with proper pull up rigs, more suitable music for the masses, and a mainstream gym feel.


Because that’s how growth goes. But some of us still speak the original language. The ones who remember Rich Froning as the GOAT and the reign of Iceland Annie. We remember Hack’s Pack and the training of Bobby Maximus. 

Rich Froning at CrossFit Games


But we also know the growth and mainstream nature benefited us all. I can travel anywhere in the world and find people who accept and embrace me.


I know the same is coming for the online education communities.


In fact, I already have trips planned to see many of my friends and co-workers I’ve met this past year.


I’m not alone.


The wave is coming. Enjoy the ride.


Reach out to me: Robbie@beondeck.com

I'm the Founder of Performative Speaking. In December, On Deck acquired my startup and I now serve as the Program Director for On Deck Performative Speaking. In my program I run sessions that I call CrossFit for Speaking.

Follow me on Twitter @robbiecrab

Cover Photo by Laib Khaled on Unsplash

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