The Derelict Doctors Club at CrossFit, Inc.

CrossFit Doctors

Once you gain your MDL1, you just might find yourself in the Derelict Doctors Club (DDC).

In March 2019, CrossFit, Inc. hosted yet another weekend for the medical doctors of the CrossFit community. Brian Mulvaney, the chief advisor of CrossFit, Inc., said there are an estimated 20,000 physicians in Boxes across the U.S. In fact, he estimates there are 40,000 physicians in Affiliates around the world. 

While it might seem like CrossFit’s focus on doctors has been sudden and abrupt to the outsider, Mulvaney said it’s in alignment with the agenda CrossFit has had since Day One. In fact, CrossFit Health launched in January 2018, but Mulvaney said it’s never not been there.

However, what is new is the explicit engagement with doctors. It started with the idea of Greg Glassman and his mom falling under illness. If she had a heart attack, who would he want to treat her? The answer brought clarity and direction. “You want a doctor who gets it. The fast track to get it is CrossFit,” said Mulvaney.

So, the first MDL1 launched in February 2018. “We’re putting some of them through the L1 and it’s not to make doctors trainers, but it’s to make them more appreciative of the training art and the premise of lifestyle in that half of the health equation … but also for them to get to know each other,” he said.

In fact, 41 medical doctors had such a good time during their first MDL1 and found it so impactful that a large chunk of them came back 60 days later for the next one, just to hang out.

Mulvaney recalled it was at the Ranch in Aromas, California. “A bunch of us were at the back of the room and it was Greg holding court with 15 plus doctors, and I forget – it might have been Adrian Bozman who was the flow master, who said, ‘You guys are going to have to take it outside because you’re being disruptive,’” he said.

With a bunch of doctors chatting behind the barn, they looked a lot like kids in high school hanging out back smoking cigarettes. Thus, they were dubbed the derelict doctors club. The name stuck.

During an MDL1 weekend, you’ll find 40 participants in one room, gaining their L1. In another, you’ll find medical doctors who have gone through the L1, lawyers, CrossFit staff, prestigious speakers, etc. attending lectures and networking events as part of the DDC. Mulvaney said the doctors kept coming back, so they wanted to take the opportunity to turn the DDC into a reflection of the large-scale health conference at the 2018 Reebok CrossFit Games. “What’s happening is the community is forming within community, and these doctors are getting to know each other very well and interesting things are starting to happen,” he said.

He explained these doctors are different; they recognize medicine today is addressing symptoms of chronic disease but not providing a cure. And building that community among them is vital.

“In conversation with doctors, the things that came back were pretty universal, which is they often felt at odds with their colleagues professionally,” said Mulvaney. ‘They felt they knew things or experienced things or saw things differently than their colleagues. They felt the tension or distance between their direct observations personally and clinically and some of the doctrine or even dogma that came out of their medical education and training. And there was distance there. We’re not trying to fix that, but we’re trying to create some community among people within the CrossFit community that were at odds with the rest of the profession.”

As CrossFit, Inc. blazes its way into the future, the MDL1 and DDC will continue to grow and thrive. And it’s because just as CrossFit exploded due to community, so will the medical doctors within the industry. “We’re doing community because community is always worth fostering, and we’re doing the education because we’re in the business of telling the truth,” said Mulvaney.

For more information on attending the CrossFit MDL1 and DDC, email community@crossfithealth.com.

Heather Hartmann
Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at heather@peakemedia.com.