Business of Fitness — CrossFit HQ Releases First Official Affiliate Playbook

Affiliates can receive operational advice via this new "how-to" guide.

On Sept. 7, 2021, CrossFit HQ released the first edition of the Affiliate Playbook as a benefit for affiliates in good standing. The Playbook is a 159-page-long “how-to” guide developed by leading affiliates as means to “share best practices, tips, worksheets, operational advice, videos,” and more with other affiliate owners.

The Playbook covers mission and culture to business practices, such as marketing and branding, to coaching and member retention. It can serve as a go-to guide for new affiliates looking to establish themselves or established affiliates looking to refine areas of weakness in their boxes.

The Playbook is another way CrossFit CEO Eric Roza is attempting to bolster the value of the annual fees CrossFit affiliates pay, much like the CrossFit Affiliate Program (CAP) started in July 2021. It is a different direction from CrossFit Founder, former owner, and CEO Greg Glassman, who often emphasized his desire for affiliates to operate independently to make their own business decisions.

It’s worth emphasizing none of the new Playbook is mandatory for affiliates. According to Roza, affiliates are free to cherry-pick those pieces…that add the most value…and disregard those that don’t.”

CrossFit Affiliate Playbook

Here is a quick rundown of the major categories covered in the Affiliate Playbook:

  • Self Reflection
  • Core Values
  • Culture, Community, and Member Experience
  • Building Your Business
  • Opening Roadmap
  • Facility Building
  • Partnerships
  • Financial Planning
  • General Operations
  • Staffing
  • Branding, Marketing, and Sales
  • Member Retention
  • Coaching
  • Support From CrossFit Home Office

Impact of the Affiliate Playbook

The Playbook has sections for notes and answers to questions regarding the overarching vision of a CrossFit box. It breaks down and defines the ways to build a culture so that business decisions can be made easier through the lens of the affiliate’s mission statement, with the goal of saving time and stress. Per Roza, “these best practices are not hypothetical. They have been battle-tested…from a combined 100-plus years of successful affiliate ownership.”


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 The Affiliate Playbook provides a crash course into business fundamentals and risk assessment. It explains the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis and legal entities as defined by the Small Business Administration — including what the liability of each is. The financial planning section includes an expenses sheet with known expenses, such as payroll, physical space, marketing, and contractor work listed for itemized tracking.

The Playbook also details best practices for managing a CrossFit box, such as weighing the pros and cons of hiring employees or contractors for specific roles and what the responsibilities of those roles should include. It guides prospective affiliate owners who may have never been an employer before through the entire interview process, from what questions to ask potential employees and coaches to how to follow up and inform those candidates of hiring decisions. It even explains how and when to take disciplinary action and properly terminate an employee should that situation arise.

CrossFit Affiliate Owners in the Playbook

The videos provided in the Affiliate Playbook include tips from the following CrossFit affiliate owners and CrossFit HQ staff:

  • Alan Shaw — Rhapsody CrossFit | Charleston, SC
  • Larry Thomas — CrossFit Accolade | Arlington, MA
  • Jordan Holland — Riot Athletics CrossFit | Seattle, WA
  • Dale King — PSKC CrossFit | Portsmouth, OH
  • Mike Marrone — CrossFit Morning Dew | Washington, DC
  • Paul Tremblay — CrossFit NCR | Ottawa, ON
  • Amy Hollingsworth — Kitsap CrossFit | Poulsbo, WA
  • Danielle Hale — Community Manager of CrossFit
  • Steve Haydock — Flowmaster, CrossFit Level Four | Owner Kokoro Training Academy

The Affiliate Playbook is available to CrossFit affiliates in good standing through the affiliate portal on It is a living document and will evolve over time as more affiliates share their experiences and best practices.

Featured image: @crossfit on Instagram