CrossFit HQ’s Affiliate Gathering

Affiliate Gathering
JoAnna Dettmann said Greg Glassman’s three-hour talk at the Gathering was inspiring. Photos courtesy of Dettmann.

Ten. That was the magic number of years of ownership to get invited to the Affiliate Gathering hosted by CrossFit HQ in September.

Around 250 Affiliates arrived at Whistler in British Columbia for a weekend spent networking with HQ and one another. But why 10-year-old gyms? Because, in Greg Glassman’s words, they get it.

“It was my perception of every one of my 10-year Affiliates knows exactly that: You can’t keep the lights on for 10 years waiting for fucking Games athletes to come through the door,” said Glassman, the founder of CrossFit. “I knew for every gym that sent someone to the Games, there were 30 of them that had taken 100 pounds off of someone.”

He explained the 10-year Affiliate has witnessed athletes gain greater capacity for life over and over again. He said they know it takes the simple work of the professional trainer, making people healthy and delivering what he infamously notes as the elegant solution to the world’s greatest problem that is chronic disease.

“What we do is so simple and so effective, it’s so powerful, it’s what these 10-year Affiliates do. It’s who they are,” he said. “They are having a more positive impact on their clients’ lives than any other profession could.”

The Affiliate Gathering was another step for Glassman to reconnect with that crowd. In fact, the event occurred in the same year transitioned over to be a resource for the 10-year Affiliate as well, and it’s simply an extension of the greater vision of CrossFit: to battle chronic disease through the lifeboats that are Affiliates.

During the weekend, JoAnna Dettmann of CrossFit St. Louis said they worked out, were treated well with swag, connected over dinner and axe throwing, and listened as Glassman spoke and took questions for three hours.

“Greg Glassman’s talk on Saturday gave me incredible hope to continue help changing lives,” shared Dettmann. “We are making a difference and he’s not going to stop helping to try to continue to lower chronic disease. His presentation on what he’s out there doing for all of us is beyond impressive. I’m proud to own a CrossFit Box and be associated within his company. We truly do have an elegant solution to the world’s greatest problem. Thank you Coach and HQ for having us in Whistler. I’m grateful for all the new relationships formed with like-minded people.”

Affiliate owners received some serious swag.

During his talk, Glassman addressed questions concerning CrossFit HQ’s direction, the legal battles they are involved in and why they are involved, as well as topics like professionalization. For example, he told the owners he wouldn’t sell anything in his own Box but T-shirts with the gym’s brand on it, and he would sell them without hopes of making a profit. “I would sell them as brand merchandise people use to convey their pride and belonging to my gym and me being their trainer,” he shared.

But in the end, what really mattered was he simply got to reconnect with his Affiliates. “It was important to me that they were there, it was important to me that they got to hear my view. We called it State of the Affiliation, like state of the union address,” he said. “I couldn’t be prouder of my 10-year Affiliates and the opportunity to lead them.”

From the weekend spent with just a handful of the 15,000 Affiliates in the world, Glassman said he simply wanted the owners to understand a couple of things: First, CrossFit HQ isn’t going to package the Affiliates and commoditize them. Second, HQ does all the things Affiliates can’t do, which is protecting and developing the training class.

A partner workout took owners on a 3.2 mile run around the lake, with six mini WODs along the way.

Ultimately, HQ is doing what it’s doing for the Affiliates around the world. Glassman said business is the art and science of providing uniquely attractive opportunities for other people. It’s not about making money. “To think that business was always or only about money would almost be like to think that the goal of an airline was to burn jet fuel,” he shared. “We want to take a shrinking section/percentage of a growing pie. We’ve been successful at that.”

And that’s what the Gathering was: To show the 10-year-old Affiliate, and really Affiliates everywhere, that HQ isn’t in the business of making money, but rather in the business of telling the truth. And the truth is, Affiliates are doing what HQ can’t; but Glassman and his team are going to do their part to support the global Box community. The Affiliate Gathering was just another step in accomplishing that goal.

“It was a good idea and my crew executed marvelously,” said Glassman. “And the people that came were just beautiful souls.”

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at