His attacks on soda also play into his belief that between diet and exercise, CrossFit can be a solution to chronic disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes chronic diseases and conditions that can lead to death as among the most common and preventable group of health issues. The CDC has identified lack of exercise, poor nutrition, tobacco use and high alcohol intake as health-risk behaviors that "cause much of the illness, suffering, and early death related to chronic diseases."
CrossFit targets two of the four health-risk behaviors. Prescribing drugs for conditions like high blood pressure or steroids for low muscle mass doesn't make sense to Glassman. "The problem is being inactive and poor nutrition. It's a lifestyle issue. The solution isn't going to come from medicine. It's gotta come from elsewhere," the CrossFit founder said.
While many scientific studies demonstrate the importance of diet and exercise to health, to date there are no scientific studies that have evaluated CrossFit, specifically, as a "non-medical health care company" that can prevent chronic disease, which is how Glassman describes it.
"Business is art and science of providing uniquely attractive opportunities for other people," he said. "You can't name a chain that does more for its constituent membership and takes less."
Glassman is not shy about ranking CrossFit against rivals, either, saying it has "broken the back of the fitness industry."
And he repeated a conclusion he made during a lecture at Harvard Business School last week: "I don't know how the [expletive] you compete against me."
Glassman, Kevin O'Leary of "Shark Tank" and Robin Chase, co-founder of ZipCar, are among the business leaders appearing in person at iCONIC in Seattle on April 5, 2016. Join more of America's most influential entrepreneurs at the next iCONIC stop, in Denver, on June 15.