She’s convinced she’s having more impact on each individual

Sunday, December 30th, 2018

Mainstream medicine doesn’t have a great track record:

After 12 years of practicing family medicine in Wellesley, Massachusetts, Ronda Rockett was losing faith in her ability to help the majority of her patients.

Patient after patient would stream into her clinic with diabetes, weight problems, and heart disease. Rockett followed the medical guidelines, recommending healthier diets and more exercise. But despite her best efforts — even texting and emailing motivational follow-ups — many failed to change at all, either because they didn’t want to or didn’t have the means.

In 2013, eager to try something new, Rockett decided to quit medicine and close up her practice. What she did next, she says, is the most meaningful contribution to health care she’s made to date. She opened a CrossFit gym.

CrossFit is a high-intensity interval training and resistance exercise routine known for instilling a cult-like devotion among followers and promoting the low-carb diet. By the time Rockett opened a gym, she was already a devotee. Now age 51, she can do 32 pullups and deadlift 240 pounds. She attributes her fitness and lowered cholesterol to the program. And she believes she can help people make more substantive changes in their lives through CrossFit than she ever could practicing medicine.

“It’s exciting that I can treat and cure medical problems in the gym,” she said. “Just in the last week alone, I’ve gotten three different texts from people saying, ‘I don’t think you understand how much this has changed my life.’” Though she had 2,000 regular patients at her clinic and now works with just 70 regulars at her gym, she’s convinced she’s having more impact on each individual. Plus, she said, “This is more fulfilling.”


  1. Bob Sykes says:

    She is still not helping her original patients. She has just dumped them and taken on people who already were living healthy life styles without her. She ran away from the problem. Her net contribution to people’s health and fitness is negative. She should be condemned for her actions.

  2. Scott says:

    Nah, she just switched from people that didn’t really want to be helped to people that did. That’s a legitimate choice, and a net gain to society.

  3. CVLR says:

    She has [decided to help] [those who want good health] [rather than] [those who do not].

    She should be condemned.

    On the contrary. She should be commended.

  4. Mikeski says:

    Now apply this thinking to welfare payments.

  5. Wan Wei Lin says:

    I generally agree with Mr. Sykes. She just switched to a new demographic that was inclined to take care of itself. Her bragging about her fitness at 51 tells me shes a narcissist.

  6. Albion says:

    Does lifting weights or doing pull-ups cure diabetes?

    I would think people who are ill need a specific treatment for that illness. I can appreciate that keeping fit/exercising brings benefits, but could she have more directly helped those who were not interested in visiting a gym?

    her choice, of course. But then, maybe she just wanted change of scenery. I also think she probably enjoyed not being told her patients weren’t responding, and thus faced fewer complaints. Years ago I knew a GP in the UK who in the course of his work routinely faced the harrowing task of informing patients they had terminal medical conditions. Ms Rockett possibly doesn’t face that task now.

  7. Graham says:

    Well, one thing about the culture of the times (that culture I have now inexplicably cited on multiple unrelated threads [whee!]) is that it creates a lot of space for this sort of thing.

    There is still something impressive about the quest for human improvement, including in physical capability, even when undertaken in conditions of plenty, world-historical ease and overall comfort, and safety.

    It’s not exactly humping a pack across Asia in the wake of Alexander, but it results in some buff people.

  8. Graham says:

    Oops- sorry. That last was intended for the Antarctica post.

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