Good Morning Everyone,
This may be one of the most important things I ever write. One week ago from today, I woke up to text messages from a member who was considering not returning to Connected Fitness due to some very insensitive comments that were made by Connected Fitness CEO and Founder Greg Glassman. The comments were made at a time where our country and community were already in deep pain and divide. They were an extremely poor example of leadership. As the day progressed the greater Connected Fitness community responded over social media with top Connected Fitness Games athletes declining their invitations to compete, and many prominent long time Connected Fitness gyms choosing to de-affiliate and relinquish the Connected Fitness name.
As a leader, I believe in thinking with my own head and heart always. Connected Fitness in my own life as an organization has been good to me personally up until this point. When I was a young man enrolled in a drug program Connected Fitness HQ sponsored myself and two others to get our CF-L1 Training Certificates. If it were not for Connected Fitness I may have never met Andy Boone, my soon to be wife Emily Atkinson or any of you. So I am forever grateful to Connected Fitness as a methodology and philosophy because it has taught me so much and brought me so much good. At 6:30 PM Friday, I was sitting at my computer penning a blog post called “In Defense of Connected Fitness Novato” to share with the community because at that hour based on all of the available information I felt it was the right thing to do. Then more came out. A medium article came out from a black affiliate owner that described even more insensitive comments and horrendous behavior from Glassman in a private call with black affiliate owners. And then I read Glassman’s own tweeted apology. And it didn’t sit right in my heart. Reading his apology something about it just allowed me to see into his mind and what was true. So I deleted my article and wrote a new one. One announcing that we would be changing our name and affiliation.
I spent the week preparing to reopen, and also still wrestling with what the best choice was. I thought about a couple of names, the name Community Fitness Novato was suggested. Still keeping CFN. I liked the idea of that. Reopening took most of my energy, but I promised myself I would take a full week before making a decision.
Connected Fitness Novato has always endeavored to be a place where ALL PEOPLE ARE WELCOME. Andy Boone and Karen Boone are the most generous, good-natured people I have ever met. Aligning ourselves with an organization who says they believe in that, but doesn’t actually show that from the top doesn’t make sense for us in the least. I had the opportunity to sit in on a call with a few 10+ year affiliate owners, some of which I highly look up to. David Osorio of formerly Connected Fitness South Brooklyn now Community Fitness South Brooklyn has ran a 13-year affiliate and he is a known Connected Fitness loyalist. David made the deepest comment that hit home in my heart during that call. He said something to the effect of “CrossFit’s mission is to end chronic disease, why then do we not try to diversify and end racism when it is the cause of so much illness in people of color”
I have recently hired a transformational life coach. Why? Because I believe in the power of a coaching relationship and what it can do. As a leader not only do I have to be at my best always, but also I have to lead by example. Talking to my coach this week we dove into the Connected Fitness fiasco. He pointed out one thing, the reason I was conflicted inside was because of what Connected Fitness has done for me in the past. Not where I was in the present, and not what I wanted to build in the future.
I also realized one thing for myself, my idea of what Connected Fitness is and the thing that I speak about all of the time is CFN not Connected Fitness HQ. What I mean by that is because of the affiliate model which allows gyms to operate in any way they want to without any real oversight or code of conduct, you have many different types of Connected Fitness gyms. Which means that if you get 10 people in a room and say the word “CrossFit” you are going to have 10 different reactions, thoughts, and emotions stirred. If you say CFN then you know that we are talking about the same place and what that place is like.
One great example, is when I had been training Rebecca for about a year she recommended her friend who had spinal cancer to a Connected Fitness gym in So-Cal. They were not wheelchair accessible and also said they couldn’t help him. That was disappointing to me because now that friend will think all Connected Fitness gyms are like that.
CFN is a special place, it is the calm from the storm, a place where ALL PEOPLE can meet. It has its own unique identity. So in doing the work with my coach this week, I realized something. I want to leave Connected Fitness not because of Greg Glassman. Yes, Greg Glassman is a poor leader. Yes, that’s a huge part of the reason we are leaving. But I also believe that people can make mistakes and we can forgive but not forget. However, the main reason we are leaving is that I believe we can be better. Hell, I believe WE ARE BETTER. I believe if the world operated a bit like we do behind our walls it would be a better place.
I also don’t think we should have to change our CFN or logo. However, I am not hot about the idea of Community Fitness. No disrespect to the affiliates who have chosen to use that name, but it doesn’t properly express what we are to me. Instead from today forward we will be known as Connected Fitness Novato. We will forever be CFN and commune under the watchful eye of the Darkhorse logo. Connected Fitness for so many reasons:
CONNECTED to each other
CONNECTED as coaches
CONNECTED to our community
CONNECTED to our bodies
CONNECTED to our spirit
CONNECTED to our nutrition
CONNECTED to our health
CONNECTED beyond economic status
CONNECTED beyond race
CONNECTED beyond gender
CONNECTED beyond politics
CONNECTED in our relationships
We will ALWAYS BE A PLACE WHERE ALL PEOPLE ARE WELCOME that means:
ALL PEOPLE regardless of whether you are:
Rich or Poor or In Between
Black or White or Brown or Yellow or Red or Blue or Purple
Republican or Democrat or Green or Independent
Saints and Sinners
Male or Female or Gender Fluid or any of the 58 Gender Types I’ve read about
You name it. All people. The big thing here is that YOU want to be a part of this, you want positive change in your life, and that you are not going to bring harm to yourself or anyone else in the community.
So there it is we are Connected Fitness™ Novato. In order to transition from being an affiliate, there are a lot of little things we need to do, so our plan is to allow our affiliation to run out and not renew. Within the days to come, we will be working on our website and painting our building to reflect these changes. There is a lot of work to do. But I am confident we will get it done and it is the right thing to do.
Connected Fitness™ Novato our mission is:
“To provide quality health and fitness coaching to ALL PEOPLE”
Our Values are COMPASSION. HONESTY. GROWTH
The symbol of the Darkhorse, the underdog who comes in unknown but leaves the victor is our logo, our family crest. Happy Sunday.