Deciding to Re-Affiliate with CrossFit

February 8, 2021

CrossFit has a new mission: to be the world’s leading platform for health, happiness, and performance. It has a new owner, Eric Roza—and we’ve been listening carefully to what he has to say. Firstly, we like that Roza defines health as “being ‘pain free’ and living a long life” and performance as “being able to do the things you want to do and get better at them,” and happiness—“it’s gotta feel good.”

Something about that resonates with us as a gym. It’s what we stand for. Moving better, feeling good, being pain free—that is what Fearless is about. There’s a commitment to Affiliates First and a needed change happening at CrossFit HQ centered on the community.

CrossFit’s previous owner did not share our values, actions, and decisions at the Affiliate level. Along with close to 2,000 other CrossFit affiliates, we decided to de-affiliate in April. Roza’s compelling vision for CrossFit’s future focuses on Affiliates, facilitated pandemic relief, diversity and inclusion, helping coaches make a living wage, and expanding how CrossFit defines an athlete.

Roza is leading with a new board and a newly appointed leader for inclusion, Trish Gerlitz. The CrossFit Foundation is dedicated to investing in scholarship programs and funding, specifically for underserved communities. As a part of this initiative, the foundation will help fund boxes operating within those communities, such as Fearless’ relationship with Steve’s Club and hosting L1 certifications that we have in the pipeline.

Roza and CrossFit HQ have made their intentions very clear, and we have seen action. For these reasons, as well as the promise of a better path forward, Fearless Athletics has decided to renew our affiliation.

The decision to renew affiliation was not made unilaterally or in a vacuum. While other gyms quickly jumped to re-affiliate, we want members to know we did our due diligence before taking any action. First, Wil and many of our coaches attended Town Halls with Roza to hear plans and ask questions. We reached out to our Member Advisory Board for feedback; we asked all the coaches for input. The overwhelming consensus was to re-affiliate. We also looked at national data that was independently gathered about Roza’s promises and CrossFit’s current impact. Was Roza’s new vision meeting expectations? Largely it was.

Some things that really stood out to us:

  1. Town Halls! Roza is available and accessible via live Town Halls. If you want to know what is up, it’s an open-door policy.
  2. Affiliates First: CrossFit HQ is investing money and time to help Affiliates build better programs and coaching staff.
  3. COVID Rx: A fund to help Affiliates that have struggled during the pandemic. The new CrossFit HQ focuses on partnering with Affiliates to employ strategies for success and has worked to lobby Congress for small business economic relief money. In truth, sometimes the global brand can say far more than just one small cohort.
  4. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Roza and HQ have been very transparent about the previous leadership’s real and perceived grievances and hired Trish Gerlitz as head of culture and inclusion. CrossFit Foundation has a focused plan with actionable steps and accountability.
  5. CrossFit Games: The message has changed. The focus is on every athlete—not just those competing on the Games floor. There is a new Adaptive Athlete Division. This statement at a national level affirms a focus on representation that extends brand wide, including the Affiliate level.

We are proud to be part of a community that held CrossFit accountable, and we feel CrossFit today is making the inroads needed to warrant a second chance. Roza has taken CrossFit through a rehaul, and so far, we like what we see. It is mission driven, values aligned, and focused on the small businesses that truly make CrossFit what it is: the Affiliates.

We know there may be questions. Please feel free to reach out to Wil directly with any questions, and we invite you to watch the Town Hall with Eric Roza. With the changes already made and many others in progress, we are both optimistic and excited about what the future holds for the sport of CrossFit, and Fearless Athletics’ place in it.

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