Sunday, March 21, 2010


I was recently alerted to an unfortunate slogan used by members of a gym in Hollywood: "Fitarded." They print it on t-shirts and wear them proudly at competitions. Here's how they define the word on their web site:

1. So extremely fit that even trying to comprehend some of the feats of athleticism will make you feel retarded.
2. So athletically fit that other athletes look slow and/or challenged in comparison.
1.Fortunate for nobody ninjas are so fitarded that even gymnasts can’t even flip out as hard as them.
2. That guy is really fitarded. He can pretty much do anything.

So eloquently stated.

I received this alert from a person who was competing at an event with people who were wearing this shirt. His email to me was so well written, I'm going to reprint part of it here so you can see exactly how it made him feel. I can't say it any better myself:

My wife was very upset when she saw the group of people wearing the shirts that said "fitarded." I tried to explain to her that they probably did not mean any harm, nor were they intending to belittle individuals with disabilities. As the day went by, I could not help but glance over to this group of people and see if this "title" that they labeled themselves with had any meaning to them. Sure enough I witnessed a young man acting as if he had a disability and stating that he was "fitarded."

I am sure the young man did not even realize that only two tents down from his was a young little girl with down syndrome that happens to be my daughter. Myself along with the other members of my CrossFit gym have embraced my daughter as family and were saddened by this display of immaturity and lack of respect for people with down syndrome and special needs.

The young man, along with CrossFit Hollywood, have made a complete mockery of people with special needs and have disgraced the CrossFit community by their lack of judgment. Until now, I felt as if the CrossFit community was a group of people that held themselves to higher standards always striving to be the best, while looking out for the best interests of every individual, regardless of race, creed, fitness level, disabilities, inabilities, etc. I never thought that something of this nature would come out of, what I believe, is an elite group of people.

I know that there are people with down syndrome and other special needs that use CrossFit as their day excercise regiment, and I do not want CrossFit's reputation of excellence in fitness and athletics to be destroyed because of one gym's ignorance.

I hope that the Oz Squad will handle this accordingly.

I think Oz Squad can tackle this one by leaving some comments. Click here to visit the gym's blog and see their definition of "fitarded." Notice the "comments" section waiting at the bottom with open arms.

Crossfit Hollywood is a franchise of CrossFit Inc. They are based in Washington, D.C., and may have no idea what this particular affiliate is doing. So we can alert the parent company as well. Here's their contact information:

CrossFit Inc
1250 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Suite 200
Washington, DC 20036



  1. Dan - I posted a comment over at CrossFit Hollywood. Their FB pages doesn't appear to actually say anything about their Fitarded campaign but many of the photos show their members wearing the shirts. Should we report the page to FB? Or, write to the page adminstrators or post to the wall requesting they remove the pics? How would you like us to handle?

    I'm going over to CrossFit Inc to let them know what's going on now too. BTW - the Fitarded campaign page has comment moderation which probably means our comments will not be posted.

    And, thanks again, Alpha... for taking this on!

  2. I commented, what J.A. in my opinion. I really can't believe people sometimes.

  3. I am calling them and commenting. They have a contact number and cell phone on the site for the owner....

  4. I put in this comment.

    "Can't you come up with something that doesn't demean the thousands of disabled people whose strength of character would wipe out any 'strength' you claim to build? A show of strength at the expense of others is not any kind of strength you should want to be promoting. Have you seen the paralympic games? Any of those competitors have more real strength in their little fingers than anyone who would wear one of those pathetic shirts."

    I'm putting it here for the record because I'll probably misplace it otherwise.

  5. Thanks for the heads-up. Here's my response!

    "What an insensitive and derogatory phrase on your t-shirts! Is there a chance that you have someone with an intellectual or physical disability in your club that might see that and be hurt or offended? Probably. I would challenge your "athletes" to compete against other athletes with intellectual and physical disabilities who are in the Special Olympics and see how "fit" your people are! Your "cleverness" in making up a new word only shows your ignorance of how words have the power to put down a group of people who will be hurt, but won't fight back. That makes you a bully. I respectfully request that you find another clever word for your athletic club. I can only imagine seeing your "athletes" mimicking someone they think is "retarded" and seriously offending a parent, a sibling, or worse yet, a person with an intellectual or physical disability. Let's be respectful of all people."

  6. Left my comment as well, although I agree, with the comment moderation I am sure no one will read it other than the moderator!

  7. I have received an email from a lawyer at CrossFit's headquarters. He says that they do not run franchises, they are an affiliate model. This apparently leaves their affiliates a lot of room to promote and advertise as they please. However, he is going to contact the Hollywood affiliate and let them know that they should consider discontinuing the shirts.

  8. Looks like they took the "fitarded" page down! :)

  9. They must of taken it down while I was writing my comment because by them time I hit the submit button, the page had been taken down and my comment disappeared. :) Hope this means the end of "fitarded" :)

  10. I got the following email just now after emailing the contact person at that branch.
    "Thank you for your feedback. We have already taken steps to disassociate ourselves with this term. When the term was created it was more of a term to praise somebody rather than create a mockery of him. I actually have a little brother with downs-syndrome who is an amazing person and athlete. By no means would I ever make fun of him or think of him as "challenged" or "disabled". He's the strongest, coolest, happiest person on this planet, why would I poke fun of that? If anything, I envy how carefree he is. This term was not created to belittle or poke fun of anyone with disabilities. I apologies for offending you and have removed all pictures and copy of any sort from our blog and website. I promise this will be the last time you hear about this."

    Andy Thompson

  11. That's awesome! I just can't believe that he actually had a little brother with DS and thought it was ok to use the word "fitarded"!

  12. Wow! Somebody actually did the right thing. I had just composed a posting in notepad and headed to their web site. I found the posting was down and there was an apology on the home page. Mission accomplished!! It still bothers me that they came up with the term and went so far as had t-shirts made but at the end of the day they took the post down and that's a good thing.

  13. the link is down & there's an apology. Fantastic!!

  14. I was going to leave a comment, but it said the page wasn't found. I'm glad they took it down because that isn't something that should be joked about. Period.

    I have CP, so I'm used to people making derogatory comments, but that doesn't make it right.