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CrossFit CEO Don Faul Focuses On Helping Affiliates Become More Profitable

Morning Chalk Up

August 14   |   POWERED BY


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • Part one of our exclusive interview with CrossFit CEO Don Faul, reflecting on his first year in the role
  • 2023 Games athlete comparison: Jeffrey Adler and Patrick Vellner
  • A look back at what we learned from the 2023 Teen Division
  • And, Reebok and Rich Froning released their fifth collab shoe, the Nano X3 Froning
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“It's a long weekend and you can climb back out of a hole, and I've unfortunately made a bit of a habit of takes me a few days to get rolling now that I'm getting a bit older.” - Patrick Vellner, 2023 Second Fittest Man on Earth, after winning Test 8: Intervals

  One Year In: CrossFit CEO Don Faul Says Helping Affiliates a Priority; Many “Underprice” and “Could be Doing a Lot Better Financially”  

One Year In: CrossFit CEO Don Faul Says Helping Affiliates a Priority; Many “Underprice” and “Could be Doing a Lot Better Financially”

One year into his reign as the CEO of CrossFit LLC, Don Faul said one of his top priorities in the upcoming months is to help affiliates run more successful small businesses.

In an exclusive interview with the Morning Chalk Up in late-July, Faul explained the company’s ultimate goal is “to reach and impact more people,” and he believes more financially successful affiliates are one of the major keys to reaching the next “10, 20, 30 million people.” And right now, there are just too many gyms “not doing well enough,” he said.

  • “There are a lot of gyms out there who are doing exceptionally well,” Faul said. But “when we zoom out and look at the overall state of our community,” he explained, “there are too many gyms who…could be doing a lot better financially.”

The number one reason he identified for this is that gyms aren’t charging enough for their services.

  • “The number one thing is pricing…Most of our gyms underprice,” he said.

All of this has led Faul and his team to build tools and resources for gym owners, which will be rolled out in the upcoming weeks, to support gym owners and “empower them to make better (business) decisions” so they can “run world class affiliates,” Faul said.

One big thing: CrossFit’s willingness to offer business education is a huge shift from CrossFit founder Greg Glassman’s hands-off approach, an approach that largely led the company for the first 19 years of its existence.

  • “Ten years ago, there weren’t a whole lot of people at HQ that would answer your email or reach out to you if you were an affiliate owner,” Faul said. “It was, ‘Hey, you get the brand, and good luck.’”

But this is no longer the case in 2023.

  • “We’re in the next chapter now,” Faul said.

And the next chapter means supporting gym owners on the business side of things.

  • “Our owners largely get into (gym ownership) because they’re passionate about coaching. A lot of our owners don’t come in with a lot of experience and knowledge on the business side, and historically that meant that a lot of owners made the same mistakes on their own and then worked to recover from that,” Faul said, adding that fixing this is CrossFit’s “responsibility.”
  • “This is a shift…And we believe it’s an important shift,” he added.

The details: CrossFit has already launched a Starter Kit for new gym owners, which Faul said should help provide new business owners a really strong business foundation to get their gym up-and-running. It also provides new affiliate owners the opportunity to work with a mentor—a seasoned gym owner—to help them along the way.

Further, in the upcoming weeks CrossFit will be rolling out more tools and resources to help more established gym owners. Some of the topics Faul said the resources will cover include:

  • finding the optimal size facility for your gym,
  • navigating the ins and outs of signing a lease,
  • determining the best pricing structure,
  • raising rates,
  • and exploring various revenue streams

The big picture: As much as offering business advice is a shift for CrossFit, Faul is adamant that affiliates will still have the freedom to “leverage their creativity” and “adapt to their local community” to build a unique business that works for them. This freedom is what has made CrossFit so successful from the start, Faul explained, and must be “preserved.”

  • There’s no singular formula that works perfectly in every community,” Faul said.

That being said, within that original business model there’s still room for business advice, resources and mentorship, so gym owners can be more financially profitable and make a “bigger impact” on the community.

“If we’re going to reach more people, our affiliates are the place in which our brand promise is realized. That’s where things happen. So how do we help them be successful? We are investing more,” he said.

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Roll the Footage!: With a remarkably quick turnaround time, the Buttery Bros team–Heber Cannon, Marston Sawyers and Julian Marquez–have released a full-length (nearly two-hours) behind-the-scenes documentary about the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games. Hi Honeyyyyyy.

Athlete manager and Icelandic giant, Snorri Baron Jonsson is getting on the Games recap train. Check out his BTS perspective, working with some of the star athletes in CrossFit like Gabriel MigalaBjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson, teen Lucy McGonigle, and many more.

Maui Strong Fund: LIFEAID is donating $5 from each case of FITAID Hawaiian Nectar to the Maui Strong Fund, a foundation dedicated to supporting communities affected by the wildfires in Maui. They are also throwing in free shipping on every order with FITAID Hawaiian Nectar as a thank you.

Team Champ Goes Indy: Jorge Fernandez, one member of the Affiliate Cup winning team, CrossFit Invictus, will make the switch to the Individual Division next season.

  • “After a lot of thought, I have decided I want to chase the individual dream. I want to continue to put in the work and stand on that podium, this time on the individual side.”
  • “The journey will be different, but I’m ready for it.”

ICYMI: Canadian athletes posted their strongest ever showing as a group at the 2023 Games.

  Jeffrey Adler and Patrick Vellner: 2023 CrossFit Games Athlete Studies  


Jeffrey Adler and Patrick Vellner: 2023 CrossFit Games Athlete Studies

For this first part in our series of athlete studies from the 2023 CrossFit Games we will be reviewing the performances of the 2 Canadian men on this year’s podium.

We will be comparing them against each other as well as comparing their finishes this year against their finishes last year in order to see where they rose or fell against the rest of the field.

Let’s begin with 2022 Adler vs 2023 Adler:

Continue Reading...
  A Look Back: What Did We Learn from the 2023 CrossFit Games Teen Division?  

A Look Back: What Did We Learn from the 2023 CrossFit Games Teen Division?

The ninth year of the Teen Division at the CrossFit Games season is behind us and it’s become clear that the division is making an impact on the sport. The past (almost) decade has showcased hundreds of the fittest teens on Earth, and the competition gets more and more stacked each year.

Here are a few takeaways from the stellar teenage competition from the 2023 CrossFit Games.

Stacking Up

With two events–the Cross-Country 5K run and Olympic Total–programmed as exact replicas of those completed by the Individual divisions and every other age group, we’re able to see some consistencies and standouts from the teens.

  • 16-17 age group athlete, Hailey Rolfe, recorded the highest Olympic Total out of any female age group athlete at 430 pounds. She would have placed eighth in the Women’s division competition, coming between former competitors and teenage champions Emma Lawson and Emma Cary.
  • 17-year-old Kaiden Hogan logged a 17:46 5K time, tracking exactly with his win in the 2021 run event (both of which he ended with a cartwheel over the finish line). This would have secured him a 14th place finish in the Individual Men’s competition, and was the second fastest time out of all non-elite divisions.

Next in Line

Emma Lawson. Alexis Raptis. Dallin Pepper. Emma Cary. James Sprague.

These are just a few of the 2023 Individual Games athletes that came from the Teenage Division. They’ve all risen to become sensations from their somewhat humble beginnings in the old Age Group Pavilion in the Alliant Energy Center, and a new wave of teens is set to follow them in the coming years. Here are a few names to watch out for in 2024 and beyond:

Continue Reading...
  Reebok and Rich Froning Announce the Nano X3 Froning, A Shoe Built for Training and Lifestyle  

Reebok and Rich Froning Announce the Nano X3 Froning, A Shoe Built for Training and Lifestyle

Reebok and longtime partner and CrossFit legend Rich Froning have announced their latest footwear collaboration, the Nano X3 Froning, a shoe built for both training and lifestyle.

The details: The shoe, a version of the brand’s award-winning Nano X3, will be available at Reebok and select retailers in unisex sizes on August 18 for $150 USD.

Taking inspiration from past Nano Froning iterations, the Nano X3 Froning re-introduces a bootie, slip-on-style upper construction, a feature loved by Froning and Nano Froning fans alike:

  • “The design process of each new Nano Froning iteration is a true partnership with Rich. The bootie-style construction has always been a favorite feature for Rich and the training community. We heard their feedback and knew we had to bring it back!” said Reebok shoe designer Tal Short.
  • According to Froning, the bootie construction “allows for a premium fit in the box and the ultimate style and comfort for all-day wear.”

And comfort is key for the Nano X3 Froning, designed to support athletes in and out of the gym.

  • “Like the evolution of the sport, and Rich’s impact within it, the Nano Froning has evolved with it. Each season we work to create a Froning model that provides premium performance support for CrossFit’s biggest legend,” Short said.
  • “And at the same time, Rich and his fellow athletes are now using their Nanos on more occasions inside and outside of the gym, so, we’ve worked to put an emphasis on comfort and style as well.”

Other features of the shoe include a speed lacing system with a toggle lock designed to provide a custom fit, Lift and Run midsole technology that allows for stability when lifting and cushioning when running and jumping, and a nod to Froning’s three pillars of life, Faith, Family, and Fitness, in the heel foam pockets and sock liner.

Recognizing Froning’s Legacy: The Nano X3 Froning marks the fifth shoe Froning and Reebok have collaborated on (the last a race car-inspired Nano X2). Froning has represented Reebok for years, becoming one of their most successful athletes. This long-lasting partnership–along with Froning’s legacy in CrossFit–was not lost on Short and is given subtle nods through design.

  • The shoe brings in design features from vintage Reebok styles, sporting a retro aesthetic that Short says is a shout-out to the OGs and a nod to Froning’s legacy.
  • Short adds: it’s “a nod to where we’ve been as we continue to go forward.”


Three Exercises To Remove Restrictions on Early Postpartum

Moms cannot wait to get back to working out post partum… only to hear that they have to modify and take it very slow. Of course, you need to be careful but if you want the green light for a few movements, read this post!




Jeff Adler's and Roman Khrennikov's Secret: the Picsil Accesories

At the Crossfit Games we were able to discover the secret weapon of the two real winners of this edition, Jeff Adler and Roman Khrennikov: Picsil's grips and accessories. Which grips are their favorite ones? Falcon grips and Condor Grips, respectively. Use code "MCU" for 30% off your purchase!



Barbell Cycling Strategies

Do you have a strategy when it comes to cycling hang power cleans? If the answer is no, then you do now!



The NOBULL Rec Trainer

Your versatile footwear for any level of recreation. Engineered to train in with flexible comfort and a look that blends into the rest of your day.




After the Games, it’s no secret we all went to the gym to see if we could do pull-overs like the athletes did. The answer was most likely: no. Use these tips to progress to doing pull-overs like Danielle Brandon.


Celebrating a PR, hosting a fundraiser, this, that, or otherwise. Send us a tip.

  • 🍼 Congratulations to affiliate owner Basile Beaty and partner Cassie Smith of Verdant CrossFit in Boise, ID on the birth of their son, Rodion.
  • Congratulations to the girls from the Summer Barbell Club at Crusher CrossFit in Waconia, MN on adding an average of 32 pounds/14.5kg to their squats and deadlifts.
  • Congratulations to Hannah Whitfield from CrossFit Stacked in Hickory, NC on getting her first bar muscle-up.
  • Congratulations Ben S. from Babylon CrossFit in Long Island, NY on the 265 pound/120.2kg clean and jerk PR.
  • 🥇 Congratulations to Sarah Harrisson and Caleb Gressett from CrossFit Westchase in Largo, FL on taking first place in the Rx division of the Burg CrossFit Hybrid Games last month.
10/6 - 10/8: Marbella Championship (Marbella, Spain)
10/7: Battle of Branded One at Redstone CrossFit (Littleton, CO)
10/13 - 10/15: Midwest Championship (Rochester, MN)
10/13 - 10/15: Midwest Championship (Rochester, MN)
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10/14 - 10/15: The Vanguard (Lakeland, FL)
10/20 - 10/21: AAYMCA CrossFit Throwdown (Anderson, SC)
10/20 - 10/21: AAYMCA CrossFit Throwdown (Anderson, SC)
10/21: Festivus Games – Pairs (Savannah, GA)
10/27 - 10/29: Oslo Throwdown (Oslo, Norway)
10/29 - 11/19: CHLKDUP BOX LEAGUE – NASH (Nashville, TN)
10/29 - 11/19: CHLKDUP BOX LEAGUE – BHAM (Birmingham, AL)
11/4 - 11/5: Costa Barcelona Fitness Challenge (Vilanova i la Geltrú, Barcelona, Spain)
11/4 - 11/5: Hold Fast Competition Individual (Gerenzano, Italy)
11/11: War of the Masters (Elkton, MD)

See all upcoming events

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