October 19, 2009
CrossFit Inc. defies categorization according to traditional business models. Perhaps that’s why the company is exploding during the worst economic climate since the Great Depression. Business journalist Marty Cej took a closer look at CrossFit the corporation and presents his independent research here as written. CrossFit Inc. has not verified Cej’s calculations and projections.
CrossFit Inc. is variously portrayed as a fitness company, a grassroots health movement, a nascent sport, a fad, a publishing business and sometimes, disparagingly, a cult. Whatever the description, a few things are certain: CrossFit is hugely profitable, and its growth has only accelerated during the worst economic downturn since the 1930s. That’s something very few companies—fitness or otherwise—can claim.
With CrossFit, Greg and Lauren Glassman have sparked a fitness movement that has attracted and inspired hundreds of thousands of people around the world. CrossFit’s founders must now contend with the challenges of managing one of the fastest-growing fitness companies on the planet.
Greg Glassman calls the company’s evolution “organic,” a term that has become a buzzword for any sort of growth that doesn’t result from an acquisition or merger. In CrossFit’s case, the word is both accurate and specific. Glassman has taken his lead from clients and trainers, cherry-picking what works and dismissing what doesn’t. He likens his role to that of an orchard keeper rather than manager.
“When you map out the revenue streams—the affiliates, media and the seminars—the way they support each other is too beautiful to have been planned,” Glassman admits. “The Journal validates our approach, the seminars authenticate it by providing a real human experience, and the affiliates replicate the process. It’s the virulent nature of CrossFit.”