When the UK’s Royal Docks CrossFit disaffiliated in the wake of Greg Glassman’s comments, the one thing owner David Marshall feared most was losing the global network and community created through CrossFit.
- “Instead of waiting to see what or who would come about as an alternative, I set out to do it myself. Since then the level of support I have received has been really humbling,” he said.
And so he created the Functional Fitness Union (FFU) and in less than a week, it’s already signed on 40 gyms globally. The list includes gyms as far-reaching as Barbados (Level Up) , Australia (1010 Athletics) and the USA (Frequency Fitness), even the House of Athletes gym in Nigeria.
- In the founder’s own words: “We are a collective of like-minded gyms and brands who are built around our love of functional fitness and the betterment of our communities inside and outside the gym,” David Marshall said.
In essence, the FFU hopes to pick up where CrossFit left off offering an alternative to the 1400 gyms (and counting) that have denounced the brand name, including David’s own gym in London — which has hosted the likes of Fittest on Earth Tia-Clair Toomey and Rich Froning’s Team Mayhem Freedom. The former Royal Docks CrossFit is now called Royal Docks Fitness.
The FFU also joins the likes of Jason Khalipa’s NCFIT offering a partner program as a potential option moving forward for gym owners wanting to distance themselves from CrossFit.
- “We are also working closely with the team at the PFCA (Professional Fitness Coaches Association) in developing our coaching certifications,” David Marshall said.
- “We are aware that there will be many coaches out there who currently hold CrossFit certifications but will feel uncertain as to what that means for them now working for a de-affiliated gym. We want to give them new options moving forward.”
- Online competitions — much like the Open — could also be on the cards.
Rebuilding the reputation: In the wake of the CrossFit leadership debacle, what’s become paramount is the power of social media.
- “We recognize the huge importance [that] quality media content currently plays in any business,” David said.
That’s why one of the first port of calls was to create the FFU media team: “Something CrossFit used to do incredibly well before dismantling their own media department,” David added.
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Will Hurst owns Big Little Gyms, a consulting and coaching support provider for gym owners, and spends his days…