10 Year Affiliate Gathering

CrossFit 10yr+ Affiliate Gathering, Sep 20-22, 2019

10 Year Affiliate Reunion – My wife,  Yvonne, and two of our Diablo Coaches (Jamie Lee and Andrew) were able to attend the CrossFit 10 Year Affiliate Owner Re-union in Whistler, BC last week. The venue was amazing – the wildlife and scenery make it a must-visit destination for everyone.

The event was even more special. We spent most of our time sharing stories and experiences with other 10-year affiliate owners from around the globe. All of us have survived and thrived and have lots of incredible stories to tell.

But, the main event of the weekend was the presentation by Coach Greg Glassman, Founder & CEO, which was followed by 2 hours of questions and answers. Below are most of the discussion points and a few of the best questions.

  • Greg began by announcing that there would be no major announcements. In later questions, he indicated that he is in charge has no plans to retire or resign. He also stated that he does not have a succession plan. He added that his plan is: “don’t fucking die.”
  • He told the story about CrossFit’s successful legal battle against the NSCA (& ACSM) who fabricated content in a research study that led to the popular and false propaganda that “CrossFit is dangerous”.
  • He will continue to fight to uncover and eliminate food & beverage company influence in nutrition and fitness research science.
  • The CrossFit website (and daily email) was redesigned on 1.1.19 with a return to traditional CF workout programming and a focus on health, nutrition and underserved populations (seniors & deconditioned). He wants CrossFit.com to be recognized as a smart resource for elevating science in nutrition and fitness while providing a cure for chronic disease.
  • CrossFit is committed to fighting State & Federal legislative efforts to regulate fitness & nutrition coaching with significant legal and financial lobbying efforts (the list of filings on our behalf is damn long). 
  • Related to programming, Coach spoke about the importance of including more gymnastic exercises into daily workout programming, specifically, scales, L-sits, inversions, planks, and stretching (SLIPS). “If you improve your L-sits, everything else will get better.” 
  • Regarding the CrossFit Games, Greg said that the costs were a majority of the total budget spend AND they were occupying 60% of the company’s attention. “The Games are a sideshow” not our primary focus. He loves what is happening with the International Champions and hinted that they’d have more than 1 workout in 2020. CF will continue to support the CF Games but they will “not put our name on a shoe – we’re getting out of that business.”  Side note: Tia Toomey, Dave Castro and Justin Bergh were all in the audience.
  • CrossFit is trying to bridge the life-cycle gap between “early adopters” and the “early majority” consumers who expect products/services to be proven prior to acceptance. The shift in branding is intentional.
  • Greg Glassman is positioning CrossFit as a “cure” for chronic disease. He talked about the 5 buckets: chronic disease, microbes, genetic disorders, kinetic incidents (i.e., car accidents) and toxins. Chronic disease, the 1st bucket (diabetes, heart disease, many cancers, etc), kills 86% of Americans every year, vs.14% combined deaths from the other 4 buckets.
  • Cool data: a very large insurance company compared claims from CrossFitters (red line) vs. non-CrossFitters (blue line). They found that CrossFitters ha 21% lower claims per life per month and 24% lower in-hospital events after 3 years than non-CrossFitters!

Good questions:

Overall there was a lot of agreement and support for the recent changes at CF. And there was a ton of gratitude for hosting the event. Here are some of the questions that I remember.

Q: Will you do this (10 yr. affiliate gathering) every year?
A: The numbers (# of 10y affiliates) quickly become unwieldy. I think we should try to figure out a way do this Regionally.

Q: Eugene CF spoke up in favor of the shift in branding and referenced his website which targets the average American and promotes CrossFit as a way to get better at anything in life. It’s pretty damn cool.

Q: Why do people leave CrossFit after only a year or two?
A: Russell Greene answered this. In his experience while traveling to many CF’s around the country, he’s witnessed too many athletes trying to move up the fitness pyramid before they are ready – thus becoming frustrated or disappointed. Longer term athletes have a more solid foundation in nutrition and cardio/endurance prior to focusing on “strength, gymnastics or sport”. 

Q: Is the CrossFit brand safe from becoming a generic term and not protectable from trademark infringement? (i.e., Pliates)
A. Russ Greene also answered: we have a lot of attorneys who diligently pursue infringement matters in the US and abroad. It is very important to demonstrate that we defend our brand in order to maintain our trademark privileges. 

Q: Can we get coverage of the Masters at the CFG? It seems like a good idea given CF’s new media focus.
A: “We hear you.”

Final Comments:

The hospitality and schwag was incredible. Affiliate owners felt valued. And while Greg’s presentation was very interesting and motivating for the future, the casual conversations with fellow affiliate owners proved equally beneficial. We are not alone in our challenges and our successes. There are better ways to do many things – and there have been many mistakes to learn from. 10 Year Affiliate owners are stubborn, tenacious people. So, my key take-away from this event is to make sure that I spend time with other affiliate owners in my area – at least a few times a year.  

Craig Howard 

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