Autoethnography, or when your hobby is your work

You might know that I enjoy sports and in particular Crossfit; I wrote about it in a post in 2014 where I explained what it was I why I liked it. This was during my PhD and I was up to my eyeballs with my research. At the time Crossfit was really just for fun.

Recently, I put on my marketing goggles and started thinking about Crossfit as a consumer. I also thought about the brand and what it represents – trying to debunk the massive craze around it, which has now also spread to France, thank you very much.

So here I am now, annoying every body at my Crossfit gym (which by the way is amazing, check it out if you live in or visit Bordeaux). I’m interviewing the owners, coaches and members, taking pictures and hanging around with my computer, taking notes…basically pretending to work out between two interviews (or maybe the other way around).

Another great aspect of mixing work with fun is to be able to use yourself as a case for investigation. Indeed, I am discovering how to do an auto-ethnography (analysing my own practice as a Crossfit consumer) and it is really fun…and confusing! I guess as an every-day life consumer and researcher I kind of always analyse my own consumption patterns, but doing it consciously and with a purpose is different.

I do not have yet firm results to present but I will share them here when I do. In the meantime, I’m already thanking all my masochistic participants and great colleagues who are with me on this journey. I welcome all feedback and questions on the topic, especially if you know about extreme sports or auto-ethnographies 😉

And to finish off, a true statement by my favourite vilain #thejokerisalwayright




I do not particularly like it when people advocate that one sport is the best and only way to exercise. There is now a big craze around CrossFit, which I do not really identify with, but as one of the sports that I like, I wanted to tell you a bit about it. (And as some people thought I was about to commit suicide after my last post on data analysis, I though something a bit more fun would be a nice follow-up)!

First, and because everyone loves a good definition, let’s start by clarifying what CrossFit is:

CrossFit is that which optimises fitness through constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity.

Ok, that sounds a bit brutal, right? Well yes, a bit, but really fun and safe when done well.

If you are a big fan of low impact, low intensity workouts (or no workout at all), if you are just happy with your fitness level, or otherwise severely injured…, it’s probably best to take it easy indeed.

In any other case, even if, like me, you are far from being an athlete but want a good challenge, just give it a go. If you are willing to sweat your eyeballs out after just 5 minutes of exercise, go for it. If you don’t mind forgetting what your name is after an amazing Workout Of the Day (WOD in CrossFit jargon), come along. Like any sport, it requires persistence to get results, and efforts along the way. No pain, no #gainz, like they say.

And then you might get hooked and start wearing official CrossFit Reebok or Rogue gear, eat your Optimum Nutrition proteins and PurePharma supplements, but that’s not needed: it’s just the branding maniac in me saluting the really cool business concept.

And you, how do you enjoy exercising?

IMG_6392For more info about CrossFit in Belgium:

For CrossFitters in Glasgow:

  • Train with me at CrossFit Glasgow. Everyone at CrossFit makes a point to know other members by their name. I keep telling them to call me Lau, but they enjoy mispronouncing Laurence too much 🙂 Seriously, it’s an amazing place to exercise (Instagram @crossfitglasgow)

To find an affiliate CrossFit gym anywhere in the world: