CrossFit | Death and Diabetes in the City of Angels

Death and Diabetes in the City of Angels

ByCrossFit June 22, 2020

The soda industry has made billions while spreading Type 2 diabetes in low-income communities and communities of color.

In East L.A., healthy food options are hard to come by, but sugary beverages are cheap and easy to find.

Sergio Martinez lives in East L.A. and has witnessed how diets high in sugar lead to chronic diseases that ravage families. His grandmother died of Type 2 diabetes, and his mother and father are fighting the disease. Most of his many relatives have diabetes. He’s trying to break the pattern in his family while making a healthy lifestyle accessible to his entire community.

Martinez started doing CrossFit workouts with friends in his garage, but as more and more people came to train, the group needed a dedicated space. Now he’s the owner of Backyard CrossFit, and he’s helping pull people out of the endless cycle of sugar-fueled disease—one athlete at a time.

“We have designed our communities for disease. … It’s time to turn all that around and design our communities for health,” says Harold Goldstein, executive director of Public Health Advocates.

CrossFit affiliates are in unique possession of a simple solution to the chronic-disease epidemic: off the carbs, off the couch. At more than 14,500 gyms around the world, trainers are curing disease by helping clients become active and eat better.

In East L.A.—a “junk-food swamp,” Goldstein says—Martinez and his fellow Backyard CrossFit coaches are at the forefront of a health revolution.

Comments on Death and Diabetes in the City of Angels


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Tyler Hass
June 24th, 2020 at 6:10 am
Commented on: Death and Diabetes in the City of Angels

“We have designed our communities for disease.” What a powerful statement to open this incredible piece. Redesigning communities for the health of its people is a real challenge. Going for a walk or a bike ride is something most of us take for granted, but in a lot of places it's not something that can be done safely. On top of "movement deserts", you have "food deserts" where there are very few healthy options.

I know of a few attempts that have been made to improve access to vegetables and fruit in underserved areas. In NY, they had mobile produce carts and farmer's markets. According to one researcher, this program increased produce consumption more in a given community than opening a new grocery store.

Having a place like Backyard CrossFit, where you can join a community dedicated to your health and well-being is a huge step in the right direction. I really like how they started small in their garage and just kept doing the right thing for all the right reasons. I wish Saul, Jose, and their team continued success in changing people's lives.

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Austin Begiebing
June 24th, 2020 at 4:59 am
Commented on: Death and Diabetes in the City of Angels

Keep doing the good work Backyard CrossFit. Positive change in your community 1 person at a time. I love the story of how your gym came to be.

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Ryan Martin
June 23rd, 2020 at 2:59 pm
Commented on: Death and Diabetes in the City of Angels

This is a great presentation and certainly showcases the CF intervention in neglected areas of our country. However, this video is an old one and since the posting of this report CF has reported on only a few examples of how CF is working in marginalized communities. In light of CF shameful recent events, to rebuild trust, CF needs to continue to report on how the method and brand is being used to heal our neglected communities. Work and invest to improve our social determinates of health.

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Grant Shymske
June 23rd, 2020 at 2:12 pm
Commented on: Death and Diabetes in the City of Angels

This is easily one of the best videos CrossFit has put out there. Extremely we done and delivered.

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Quentin Pakiry
June 23rd, 2020 at 1:35 pm
Commented on: Death and Diabetes in the City of Angels

Yes, the diet can have a terrible impact on health.

That's why with proper training we also talk about proper healthy nutrition.

In Europe and especially in France, nutrition is very very important:

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Emily Kaplan
June 23rd, 2020 at 2:38 am
Commented on: Death and Diabetes in the City of Angels

Jay is a genius. This is such a powerful display of the manipulative undercurrent at work In the health space. This impactful film and CrossFit’s solution to this epidemic give hope that we can change.

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Neil Goodman
June 23rd, 2020 at 1:19 am
Commented on: Death and Diabetes in the City of Angels

Hi Crossfit team,

Outstanding insight into diabetes and the impact that it has with the lower economic community. There are so many amazing benefits that CF could afford this population. I would enjoy chatting with you to develop a CF methodology focused on


I've T1D for 45 years. My goal is to be in your next masters CFG. I am a certified snowboard instructor and an indoor rock climber.

This would be an amazing initiative .....


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