Why We Are Leaving CrossFit

Last week we posted our vehement disagreement with Glassman’s words. Saturday morning, we sent the following email to our members about our very deliberate decision to separate ourselves from CrossFit. This is not a knee-jerk reaction that we took lightly, but a necessary step in order to protect our commUNITY.

Just a week ago, news about CrossFit’s founder and CEO, Greg Glassman, came out regarding three separate incidents: a tweet he sent out; an email to a CF affiliate owner; and a Zoom call with other affiliate owners. In all three cases, his behavior was completely uncalled for and made us pause to reconsider our affiliation with CrossFit.

Yesterday, a podcast run by a former CF employee and Glassman’s pilot detailed more inappropriate and toxic behavior from Glassman over the years, mostly towards the women who worked for and around him.Enough is enough. We refuse to associate ourselves with a person whose values and character are so clearly against what we stand for. And while yes, our amazing members (you!) know that one man cannot directly affect what happens at Kanna day to day, I would hate for you to need to defend CrossFit to friends, family, or even to strangers who hear you go to a CrossFit gym. Let’s face it, even though we run Kanna independently, most people don’t know this and think we’re a franchise. We are not like the CrossFit gym down the road and certainly not like the man who founded CF.

Let’s be clear – the methodology of constantly varied, functional movement done at relatively high intensity is THE key to getting fit and we will still be doing that. We will still be doing WODs, AMRAPs, Fran, Murph, lift heavy, etc. To probably your chagrin, we will still be doing thrusters, pull-ups, and getting on that airbike aka Devil’s tricycle. But for the time being, we will not be associating ourselves with CrossFit in any official capacity.

What does that mean?

In short, our affiliate license allows us to use the word “CrossFit” but does not have anything to do with our day-to-day operations, what kind of workouts we do, or what kinds of classes we offer.Our staff has met more than several times about these current events and have laid out the following plan of action:

First, we are taking “CrossFit” out of our front-facing name. Most of you identify with “Kanna” anyway and we want to emphasize that. Whether we add “Fitness” or something similar to that is undecided.

Second, we will be removing “CrossFit” from other outward facing assets such as our website, social media pages, and apparel. This will take time, so bear with us.

Third, we are disaffiliating for an indefinite amount of time. As I said above, we believe in the methodology and the ethos, but we cannot put out fires that we didn’t start. Unfortunately the public views us (Kanna) as being the same as CrossFit (HQ). When we started Kanna in 2017, that was an asset. Now it’s a liability and it’s clear our values do not line up with theirs. So we will be monitoring what HQ does and what kind of role Glassman plays in CrossFit’s future (hopefully none). We acknowledge that without Glassman none of us would have CrossFit, but an intelligent person can recognize that people can have both good and bad traits. Right now, being a CrossFit affiliate is not the right thing for us.

Fourth, we are putting our money where our mouth is. It’s not enough to just distance ourselves from this dumpster fire, we must also take ACTION. It’s not enough to just say “we’re not racist!” or “we’re not misogynists!” We must use our privilege to help others. What does that mean? Instead of paying our normal $3,000 fee to HQ, we are going to split it and donate to three local non-profits that have personal connections to Kanna members:

  • Fostering Forever Memories (Ambler, founded by Melissa Brizzell) – they provide positive experiences for kids in foster care
  • Wissahickon Valley Boys and Girls Club (Ambler, directed by Kelly Curtis) – they serve local underserved children in after-school and summer programs
  • Manna on Main Street (Lansdale, Mike Lyon is on the board of directors) – their mission is to end hunger in the North Penn region through giving food, community outreach, and education

Fifth, it’s not enough to just donate money. Our staff will be coming up with other initiatives and partnerships in the local community over the coming months and years. We intend to be a beacon of positivity, inclusivity, and commUNITY in the Ambler area and beyond.

I first learned about CrossFit in ‘07 and started it in ‘08. I did it at the school gym and followed “.com” programming. It got me in the best shape of my life and provided a career pivot to do what I love for a living. To that end, I owe a lot to CrossFit. However, relationships can and will evolve and while I will most likely always believe in the methodology, I cannot stand by and speak for a man who abuses his power to such a toxic degree.

For you, the Kanna member, we intend to provide the same things you know and love about working out and the Kanna community. We’re here for you and know there may be questions about all of this, so we’re going to host a Town Hall Zoom call to answer any questions you may have.

Coach Chris and Kanna Staff

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