Over the past decade plus, CrossFit as a training methodology has proliferated around the world, and the types of people who open a CrossFit box has become increasingly varied. In honor of the 10,000th CrossFit box becoming affiliated, I thought it would be fun to look at the different types of affiliates out there, so you can see which one you are, and (more fun) which ones are your neighbors!
The Originalist: Stick to early CF principles to the exclusion of all us. .com programming. All those other boxes that don’t do couplets, triplets, or chippers aren’t doing CrossFit! You do named workouts for the majority of your wods, because CrossFit!
The Idealist: Dedicated to providing cutting edge training methodologies to your athletes. You chase continuing education WAY outside the CrossFit universe and are continually testing, tweaking, and refining your programming and exercise selection. You try to cram private training techniques into a large group training context. Most of your money comes from private training and program design. You have submitted multiple articles to t-nation.
The Hobbyist: You have a full time job that pays the bills. You run your affiliate part time and at low rates, because, hey, we are just having fun! Beer is in your gym fridge.
The Garage Gym: Your affiliate operates on your personal property. Either your garage shared with friends, or a separate building you put up for your gym. You consider yourself lucky to have people paying to build your ultimate home gym.
The Capitalist: You give the people what they want! You’ve run Zumba, barre method, Pilates, Yoga. CrossFit is the latest trend you’ve jumped on and keep your people interested. You love long sexy metcons that leave your athletes tweeting about the ‘hardest workout ever’!
The Amateur: This is your first business and first exposure to the commercial fitness industry. As long as you are running the show, things are fun and things get done. You consider vacation to be everyday between 10am and 4pm.
The Professional: Systems! You have a procedure for everything that happens in your gym. From how to answer the phone, to how to coach the snatch, you’ve captured it, recorded it, and are able to hold your staff to your standards. You dabble in business consulting to amateurs. Ben Bergeron is your hero.
The Frat president: This is the most fun you’ve ever had! The results you seek are the greatest social club for people who’ve had the unfortunate experience of graduating from school. Relational drama runs rampant through your affiliate, but it’s all good, because you’ve got your bros and…ladies who will ride or die for you.
The Frontiersman: You were the first affiliate in your neck of the woods. You spent years laying the groundwork by spreading the gospel of CrossFit, only to have new affiliates pop up all around you once you achieved break even. It’s difficult for you to give credit to HQ for the work they’ve done branding the Games and getting so much PR as a prime factor in your success and the reason you have so much local CrossFit box competition.
The Competition Junkie: What CrossFit added to the fitness mix was one word: Scoreboard! And you make sure everybody knows where they stand. Your affiliate is a hologram of Darwinian evolution, weeding out the weak for those able to hold up under the onslaught of your ever longer, heavier, harder workouts. You program your workouts for Rich Froning, but he’s never heard of you.
The (not so) Silent Partner: You are the money behind the gym. You don’t coach, but you partnered with the operating manager so they could open up their gym and live their dream. When things are going good, it’s a lot of fun to be a part of a great community as a founding member. Without you it never could have happened. When things aren’t going so good, you like to have meetings with your operating partner; you’ve got lots of ideas!
The Perpetual Fetus: You are going to open your affiliate soon. You just need to get a few more certifications and some more experience before you can start changing people’s lives under your own banner. The owner of the box you train/coach/live at is a dumbass. If only they would listen to you! Of course, you would never share your plans with the other athletes at the box who tell you about all the things that are wrong with their home affiliate! You are the only reason anyone goes to that box (you tell yourself).
The Outcast: You ran afoul of HQ and were de-affiliated. You went through the 7 stages of grief, but are able to continue to make your living by crafting your own tribe.
The Purist: You gave up your affiliation because all the new CrossFit gyms in your city were ‘giving CrossFit a bad name’ and undercutting your price without offering the same levels of coaching, in your eyes. Better to go independent and establish your value without having people compare you to a bunch of noobs who roll out the barbells and say ‘3,2,1,go!’ You have engaged in multiple discussions, emails, and Facebook arguments about raising the requirements to become an affiliate. You worked in corporate training prior to affiliating in 2006.
The Empire Builder: You have a plan for a dozen CrossFit boxes in your city and around the world. You’ve worked out how to get around pesky affiliation rules and you are branding your own gym experience so you are safe no matter what happens to CrossFit. Other affiliates fear you opening in their neighborhoods. Fortunately for them, you charge a premium for your unique flavor of Kool-Aid.
There you have it. The definitive list of the different types of affiliates! No doubt this list will change over time as we continue to see the maturation of the CrossFit market. Now go out and dominate!
Kevin Cherrick is a family man, entrepreneur, and owner of Cactus CrossFit in Scottsdale, Arizona, a proud CrossFit affiliate since 2008. He is still trying to figure out what type of Affiliate Owner he is. He can be reached at www.cactuscrossfit.com, through their email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at (480) 463-4172.