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Many Gym Owners Prepared to Give CrossFit a Second Chance

Jun 12, 2020 by

On Wednesday evening, CrossFit’s new CEO Dave Castro took to Twitter:

  • “Thanks to all those showing support to CF in these tough times and having the belief in us to earn your trust back,” Castro tweeted.

Most of the hype in recent days has been about athletes and gym owners breaking ties with the CrossFit brand, and about the hundreds of affiliates who have chosen to disaffiliate. However, there are plenty who are prepared to stick with CrossFit. (Editor’s note: Our current estimate is that approximately 13,500 gyms remain affiliated, down from 15,500 at the high watermark in 2018.)

The overarching reason: CrossFit is worth fighting for.

  • “The CrossFit methodology saved my life. When I found it, I was in a deep dark post-traumatic booze-fuelled hole from serving in Afghanistan. I have Glassman to thank for that. I don’t agree with his words or approach (in recent days), but I won’t turn my back on CrossFit, the methodology, and the thousands of people who have worked their asses off to get it to where it is. I renewed my affiliation today and I look forward to seeing Dave Castro rise to the role of CEO, and will continue to endeavor to help others achieve their health and fitness goals,” said Mitchel Claypool of Anchored Athletics in Duncan, British Columbia.
  • “CrossFit changed my life to the point where I wanted to help others change their lives…I’m not a reactive person, I’m a proactive person. I don’t jump just because others are jumping. CrossFit 1927 is steadfast in our commitment in helping people and striving for excellence in everything we do,” Andy Weddle, the owner of CrossFit 1927 in Bloomington, IN told Morning Chalk Up.
  • “Let’s work all together and make CrossFit great again. We’ll get through this,” wrote David Rochon on the CrossFit Affiliate Owners Only forum on Facebook.

Community Suicide: A handful of other affiliate owners, who did not want to go on the record, said they think disaffiliating is only going to do more damage to the community than good. Some even compared the mass exodus to the community unnecessarily committing collective suicide.

African American support of the CrossFit brand: Syn Martinez, the former owner of CrossFit Harlem in NY and founder of the well-known brand AfroBrutality, said he doesn’t think owners have disaffiliated for the right reasons.

  • “Some are disaffiliating to prove a point. Some are doing it because Rich (Froning) or (Jason) Khalipa did. Or they’re thinking, ‘If I [don’t] disaffiliate, I’m going to be considered a racist…’ People are running from that connotation because it’s the worst thing in the world to be called right now,” Martinez said.
  • “People have been calling CrossFit a cult forever, and we just proved in one day that we’re a cult because we’re all leaving because our leader said some dumb shit. I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to throw stones at a guy who gave me an opportunity and start shitting on him…He has been saying dumb shit forever…but he also pulled us all out of the Globo gyms…and I wouldn’t be in this community if it wasn’t the best community in fitness in the world. I’m in this for life. I’m not going to let one tweet burn this shit down,” he added.

The squeaky wheel is misrepresentative, suggested Angi Bowman Halvorson, the owner of Carlisle CrossFit in PA, to Morning Chalk up.  

  • “It seems, at least on social media, that everyone is leaving because I think those are the people who are most vocal. But I have talked with other affiliate owners who aren’t leaving, who are taking a wait and see approach and who aren’t jumping on this bandwagon,” she said.
  • “I know I feel some sense of relief when I do see a post or talk to another owner who is staying. We are going to stay because right now, I can’t make a snap decision based on emotion,” she added.

Even when it comes to the public perception of CrossFit, the brand might have hope.

David Jalbert, the owner of CrossFit Insanity in Irvine, CA, reported he has received four inquiries from people in the last two days asking about signing up for CrossFit.

Meanwhile, another gym owner said that she received two phone calls from athletes yesterday who used to belong to a box within a mile of hers, gyms who recently disaffiliated.

  • “They would like to sign up with us because we are still a CrossFit [affiliate] and they are leaving (their old) box due to (disaffiliation),” she said.


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