Behind The Scenes

Bringing CrossFit to ESPN

From Feb. 2009, DeAngelo (center) offers his expertise as ESPN Radio's Ryen Russillo observes Colin Cowherd.

CrossFit has arrived at ESPN.

The CrossFit movement, which first gained popularity as a workout regimen for military serving overseas, quickly has grown to become one of the most popular fitness methods – and philosophies – for health-conscious people across the globe.

The high-intensity workouts include constant movement — real life movement — beyond your typical dumbbell curls. A CrossFit workout might include sprints, swimming, gymnastics, powerlifting and other endurance exercises all rolled in one.

As the demand for CrossFit grows, ESPN is embracing the phenomenon.

The CrossFit movement at ESPN is being led by Michael DeAngelo, the manager of the Employee Wellness & Services Center on campus, and his staff of avid CrossFitters.

Front Row had the opportunity to speak with DeAngelo about his efforts to bring CrossFit to eager ESPN employees.

FR: What is happening right now to bring CrossFit to ESPN?
CrossFit is pretty big right now, and it’s definitely something we’d like to offer to our employees as another service on campus. To start that effort, we’ve had five personal trainers on our staff complete the CrossFit Level 1 certificate course.

FR: Why is it important to offer CrossFit on campus?
Many of our employees do CrossFit and want to do CrossFit. Some do CrossFit workouts in our gym already. Employees these days have very little time to work out and CrossFit is a great workout for ESPN employees with hectic schedules.

FR: What are some of the next steps?
Our next effort is to promote CrossFit workouts to our employees by bringing “Workouts of the Week.” CrossFit has done a great job of doing this on their website — and we want to do the same in the corporate setting here at ESPN. We want to create a sense of community at ESPN among those who do CrossFit through friendly competitions and challenges. We currently offer bootcamp classes Monday and Friday from 12-1 p.m. which are instructed by one of our Level 1 CrossFit certified staff so there is usually some inspiration in that class.

Overtime, we will be expressing our workouts/programs here and more and more will become offered.

FR: ESPN2 has televised the Reebok CrossFit Games over the past several months. Do you think ESPN employees have what it takes to compete?
We will have several ESPN employees involved in the CrossFit Open, in late February or early March. It’s a six-week competition where employees will do a workout of the week and then post their time based on a video they submit. Based on that video, if they rank high they could be asked to go to regionals. We have a number of employees that we could help get where they want to go, whether that’s the CrossFit Games or the regionals.

ESPN2 will televise episodes of the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games on Sunday, Jan. 15, at 6 p.m. ET and Sunday, Jan. 22, at 8:30 p.m.

What is CrossFit?

The video below, available on the CrossFitHQ YouTube Channel, gives you a sense of what it’s all about.

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