In Affiliation, CrossFit, HD Videos

July 31, 2012

Video Article

In this special interview filmed July 5, CrossFit founder and CEO Greg Glassman talks about the temptation for affiliates to get into retailing. Selling something other than training services can add increase revenue, but Coach Glassman believes real harm comes from the distraction. The best trainers focus on training, not selling.

What it comes down to is the professionalization of the trainer:

“I don’t want my physician, my accountant, my attorney, my minister, my psychiatrist or my trainer to have a pro shop,” Coach Glassman says.

There is also pressure from outside investors to use the affiliates to sell more. In fact, CrossFit is frequently accused of “leaving so much money on the table.”

Instead, retailers who have great things for the affiliate community are more than welcome to offer their products and services directly. Coach Glassman, though, isn’t going to use his position to impose anything on the over 4,000 CrossFit affiliates.

“If you have something to offer the affiliates, give it to them. Deliver it. Don’t get me to force them to buy it,” he explains.

CrossFit continues to be fully committed to the professionalization of the trainer, and to giving CrossFit affiliates and trainers maximum freedom to enjoy the fruits of their success. This means inserting as little as possible into their business, charging the minimum annual fees, constantly improving the seminars, and vigorously defending the CrossFit name, brand and community.

Glassman continues: “I promised them, from the first affiliate to the last, that we’re only here to help, not to profit off you. We’re only going to avail ourselves of opportunities that further their cause and business only, and that doesn’t look like putting shit on the shelves to sell.”

6min 22sec

HD file size: 135 MB
SD wmv file size: 76 MB
SD mov file size: 36 MB

Please note: These files are larger than normal Journal videos. For smoother viewing, please download the entire file to your hard drive before watching it (right-click and choose Save Link As...).

Additional reading: Professional Training by Greg Glassman, published Jan. 1, 2006.

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30 Comments on “The Founder’s Views Part 2: Helping Affiliates”


wrote …

Good solid oldschool CrossFit. Good words. My respect to you Greg Glassman.


wrote …

I like this, selling protein shakes and other nonsense isn't the role of a competent trainer.


Chris Sinagoga wrote …

Great timing on this video guys!
Coach, you continue to be an inspiration. Thank you for all you have put into this program.


wrote …

I am not easily moved emotionally. I can tell you this. After reading coaches comment on the message board last night and watching this video. I would and will go to hell and back for him and to maintain the gift of Crossfit affiliation as it was designed. My deepet thank you Coach from a brand new affiliate OWNER.


wrote …

Smart guy. I'm glad he is blowing the whistle. Hopefully it works.


replied to comment from tom richardell

Why isn't it a part of that role? From what I've seen most Crossfit trainers advocate some sort of nutritional idea/plan/theory, so directing a client towards high quality, safe supplementation (be it protein or otherwise) seems perfectly in the realm of his/her role.

If you're concerned about your "physician, accountant, attorney, minister, psychiatrist or trainer" selling things in his/her "pro shop" that aren't of the highest quality or the best for their clients...

...maybe you shouldn't employ their services.

If you, as a trainer, don't feel 100% confident in a product or service...don't sell it. But to say that no one should sell something they know works is ridiculous.


replied to comment from Jesse James

He isn't saying not to sell anything. Plenty of affiliates sell Progenex, reebok, rogue, or in-house manufactured goods. Coach is saying that it is way out of line for HIM to mandate that the affiliate owners buy that Progenex or Rogue equipment from them and then sell it at your box. Owners are free to sell shoes or equipment if they want, although he doesn't recommend that because it seems unprofessional to him and his original business model ideas. He says, though, that its YOUR choice and if it works for you, then fine. Again, he is just stating that he does not want to meddle in our business as owners/trainers and make us follow his demands. I rarely agree with Greg on things, but you can't argue to with a boss who decides not to boss you around. Absolutely zero micromanagement


wrote …

Good stuff.

As a physician, that one statement caught my eye. For better or worse, the rich ones often sell stuff.

(Or maybe the inverse is more fitting, the ones selling something are often rich?)


wrote …

That's why he's so well respected .no bs just the facts


wrote …

Yeah, I think supplements are certainly within the realm of something a trainer would get asked about and may choose to recommend or offer...

I like what Mr. Glassman said. I own AtLarge Nutrition. I feel like I have a good product to offer the affiliates and I have done so in the exact manner he mentioned, lol. We have called or emailed them (still are) one by one :).

Beyond my interests, I like the model he has created. I agree with it. I want it to remain the same and he and his crew to remain the decision makers at the top, not some private equity firm. They have helped a lot of people make a living doing something they love and I think that is VERY cool.

I am 100% behind Mr. Glassman and his crew.

Chris Mason


replied to comment from Brendan Thebeau


I wasn't referring to what Coach Glassman was saying, but to what Tom Richardell posted.


replied to comment from Brendan Thebeau

Bravo sir well spoken!


wrote …

I love that Coach sticks to his roots and I truly believe he will fight this in order to preserve our free source methodology. We advocate constantly varied functional movement performed at high intensity and we as coaches and box owners sell and charge for it. The presentation/instruction of an exercise, a concept or nutritional lifestyle IS what we charge for. . Sometimes it takes some persuasion to get an athlete to see their true ability. We all sell, and therefore should, as professionals, get paid for it. The CrossFit Box should be a resource to athletes at every level. If this includes a store within the box? Then so be it.


wrote …

Thank you coach. You continue to inspire me.


wrote …

Selling product because you want to is one thing, and we believe a good seller uses the product he promotes. Selling product or svcs or using specific brands and svcs because you have to is an entirely differrent matter. The latter will not be dictated to PETN1.66 Crossfit.

At PETN1.66 CF we sell nothing and never will. Not even the products we use! Why? Because we don't have the freakin time for anything but training. However, we do refer people to products, brands, and svcs we've tested, proven and use.

Goldman Sachs>Anthos, same same, right? Affiliates, if you want to know who is getting ready to piss on our hydrant, take a look at the bios for the Managing Partners and Partners for Anthos ( Careful Anthos, this hydrant will kick you in the balls if you lift that leg.

It seems to us that neither Greg and team, and the affiliates have any problems with realizing our vision. If we want help, we'll ask. Until then stay out of our tent.

At PETN1.66 we live together, we die together and this includes Crossfit Main and all respectable affiliates. We will do anything to RPG your efforts!


Jon Oh wrote …

This contradicts what I have been receiving from HQ. The article mentions "vigorously defending the Crossfit name, brand and community" but from the response that I have gotten from HQ about the situation in the link below is far from satisfactory. I don't think us as Crossfitters want to be associated with this affiliate in LA and their actions.


Dale Saran wrote …

Jon - let me address you first. I was the guy who was (mis)quoted in that piece (in my opinion). No one ever said we wouldn't do anything or that affiliates aren't accountable, but that we won't do it by hue and cry. We had an obligation to ascertain the facts, not run off as part of a lynch mob. Mr. Maseng had a deadline for publication; I had a higher concern about wantonly yanking affiliations without doing our own due diligence. i.e. At the time, we hadn't had a chance to verify the photos, contact the Aff owner and others, etc. FWIW, I felt so strongly that I managed to get in touch with Jonathan Maseng after publication and drove up to LA from San Diego and had dinner with him. We cleared the air. He's not a bad guy and I think we understand one another now. I think he might even tell you that now he understands our position a little better and had he understood what I was trying to say in our email correspondence, he would have framed it differently.

Chris, et al. On the supplement/gear/shoes, etc issue, Coach's view is that competent trainer will have an opinion on those things and may very well have recommendations. But a professional trainer won't wed themselves to a particular one because it undermines the value of their professional opinions and services. Look, if you are talking with a trainer who reps Eleiko bars, even if they are the best bars, you always have to wonder if he's saying that (and has them in the gym) because they ARE the best, or because he gets paid to sell them and claim they are the best. Protein powders are in a far less clear light than Eleiko bars. Ditto shoes. Have an informed opinion, but the minute you wed yourself to one brand - and are beholden to it for income - your professional opinion is now compromised. Doctors who push a particular drug company's product are starting to fall into this, too. The lawyer who has some real estate product you just "HAVE to HAVE!" is going to make you wonder whether he's giving you straight scoop or trying to sell you product.

Now, that's not to say you can't sell it - Coach may not like it or agree, but he's still willing to allow the Affils to pull that off. (He both talks and walks his libertarian ideology). As someone noted above, CF's not going to force it down anyone's throats through the license agreement or otherwise. That's been the model since before I was an affiliate (2008) and since I came to help out Coach and Lauren on the legal side several years ago. That was part of the charter.


wrote …

Ok... so Affiliates are not supposed to "wed" themselves to one brand, but to have an opinion that they can pass on to their membership. What of "Reebok CrossFit" affiliates then? Are they not wedded to one brand?

There is one in Canada that is now selling Nano 2.0s and Oly Lifters (Reebok CrossFit Fire Power in Milton, ON). How can branding affiliates with Reebok only lead to this type of arrangement, where they are selling Reebok stuff straight from the Box? Is this not exactly what Coach is talking about? I'm pretty sure you can't go in there and buy Inov8s.

I just find it comes across as a bit hypocritical to say - don't sell stuff, even if it is awesome (as he points to a pair of Reebok shoes he is wearing) but then to have the flagship affiliates who are tied to Reebok do just that (even if they aren't forced to do it...)

My two cents.


wrote …

The greatest value that Crossfit has as a brand is that it refuses to be mercenary . It is fine to make money and I would be happy to know that Glassman and crew did well . However to apply a B-School model to this is to misread the market by 180 degrees.
I have a business background no all the buzz words done the deal etc , listen dont kill the goose .
Glassman is an amazing role model as a person and as a business person.


wrote …

This is why I'm proud to be an affiliate owner.
Nolan Mooney
CrossFit FSF
Driebergen, Netherlands


Michael Arco wrote …

If Coach gets the opportunity to read these responses, I hope he knows that his stance on this subject has elicited the UTMOST respect and applause from all here at CF Life Store. I can't say I'm sure it was his original intention, but Glassman's position on the matter rebukes the industry giants trying to block out any competition from seeing success in the community by dropping their fat wallets to force exclusivity with affiliates. WAY TO GO COACH! It's not often you see a company resist the corrupt bribery of those seeking oligopoly and stand up for what has brought our beautiful country to greatness --a COMPETITIVE market.


replied to comment from Andrew Michener

I don't think you understand his stated position very clearly. He is saying HQ isn't going to force you to carry or align your box with anything. It is YOUR business to run in that respect. If you choose to affiliate yourself with something that is your choice. Make sense?


wrote …

I think what Greg Glassman is trying to say is, He don't want his affiliate's to turn into a retail store. Couple bad things could come from this I can imagine. Go to a Globo Gym that has retail shops or has racks of retail sports clothing and a Effing smoothie bar. And watch what you see. You will see people buying the newest nike & reebok garb. and sitting at the smoothie bar enjoying there choco-infused whey protein health nut drink and not working out.

I think Coach is right on here.

Don't read me wrong here either. This maybe where Coach and might also disagree some as well. Having a refrigerator or the sort in you box with a few waters, or a place to quick grab a recovery shake on your way out the door, is not bad IMO and is the box owners right to sell a shake if he/she bought it. its a place to put your $#!7 or get what you didn't bring. Just make sure yo have a beer or two sitting in there for good measure.

But quite possibly once you let major corporations in your door and see how profitable selling there crap so they (and the affiliate) can make a $$$Dollar(s)$$$ may be a serious (and very bad) turning point for crossfit. It could turn the attention away from training, and put some (or alot) of focus on the new reebok nano #011's with Rich Fronings effing signature...
Because everyone know if you wear these jordan's you can jump higher... and look cool. and before you know it. Everyone is wearing a black head bandanna and a sporting new pair of oakleys to work out in... (love rich but... common, if your working for corporate trying to sell crossfit garb. the first product I would send to the board room is a black sweat band to wear on your head sporting the number 011 or is it 012 now? IDK... fire me.)

Once big buisness comes in... It all comes down to the bottom line... Money not the athlete, or better yet... Person. Take a flight to wallstreet in NY the only thing investors care about is money.

Affiliate owners need to feed there family's too, and some I am sure wouldn't mind seeing that money come in sooner than later.


replied to comment from Nicholas Jackson

But again like Greg Glassman said very clear... Its your business and I am not going stop you.


wrote …

All this talk about professionalism... I guess I'm the only one distracted by the backwards ball cap.


wrote …

Thanks Coach, good timing
Big Mountain CrossFit, Whitefish Montana.


wrote …

Listening to coach makes me want to be a better person, coach, friend, and affiliate owner. I wholeheartedly believe coach got into this business, and continues to operate his business, for the purpose of changing lives and making the world a better place - one client at a time.

Thank you for everything you have done for so many Coach.


replied to comment from Jesse James

In my view, my role as a trainer is to train folks. Sure I make suggestions regarding food, get more sleep and go get some fish oil. Also in my view 99.9% of supplements are a joke. Progenex is whey protein with fancy marketing. If I was to take whey protein(and I wouldn't as I feel real foods are better) I would just go on and spend a lot less money. I suggest to my clients to eat good real foods, sleep 8-10 hours a night, take fish oil and vitamIn d. That is it. And I am not going to be the one that sells it to them, I feel from the clients perspective, it lessens my significance. I start looking like that kid selling protein shakes at golds gym. Of course, if you have a different take on this and it works for you, great, keep doing it.


replied to comment from Matt Solomon

I have encountered a lot of docs involved in mlm. It bothers me, most of their patients already view him or her as a trusted advisor/authority and can fall for the silly mlm pitch. Patient figures, "he is a doctor, must be smart, if he is telling me Amway will make me rich, I should listen and sign up!"


wrote …

After leaving 10 years on WallStreet to move to Colombia, S.A., I am currently in the process of opening my own box. The reasoning behind Coach's remarks are the same for which I left the world of greed and 0's. Thanks for changing our lives and the future lives of our clients. It is an amazing thing to see the world of Fitness change for the better, and for that matter the world as a whole.

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