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117. Brian Stites | Should he be de-affiliated?

117. Brian Stites | Should he be de-affiliated?

Today Listeners, Jason Ackerman is sitting down with Brian Stites. Don’t recognise the name? You might have heard the story about him, as we’ve defiantly talked about him a few episodes ago. Brian is the person who wrote in the private ‘Affiliate Owners” Facebook group exampled how he was frustrated by the change that has taken place in the last season, the like of communication from HQ and what it really meant for his box. Unfortunately like everything on the internet, it seems like everything got a bit modelled and Brian is able to example it all too us.

Time Stamps:

(1:49) The back story
(16:50) Ackerman’s questions
(22:16) The license agreement 
(27:16) How Brian Found crossfit
(34:30) Can you still be competitive Crossfit box now?

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@crossfitontrack
@teamcfot

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Brian Stites .mp4 transcript powered by Sonix—the best audio to text transcription service

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Jason Ackerman:
All right. Welcome back to this hour of their day. We have a special guest. His name is Brian Stites. Brian, welcome.

Brian Stites:
Well, thank you. Hi.

Jason Ackerman:
So Brian is the current owner of the affiliate Crossfit, On Track and you're based out of Kansas City, correct?

Brian Stites:
The south part of Kansas City, Olathe.

Jason Ackerman:
What was the name of that town?

Brian Stites:
A little suburb, Olathe.

Jason Ackerman:
Olathe in Kansas, actually. Is it Missouri? Right.

Brian Stites:
It's Kansas. Kansas,.

Jason Ackerman:
Because Kansas City lives on that line where it's like Missouri, but it's Kansas. And we actually just drove through it on the move from Florida to Colorado. We couldn't figure out where we were.

Brian Stites:
Yeah. No. Kansas City has a as a Kansas side and Missouri side. We are firmly entrenched on the Kansas Kansas side.

Jason Ackerman:
All right. Really cool. So. Hey, if you listen to this show and you follow kind of the Crossfit, news, you might have heard of, Brian, you've become kind of famous or infamous. I'm not exactly sure. So so let let's talk about it. Let's try to place it in chronological order, because I think there's a lot of uncertainty of what happened. Let's let's look this episode kind of clear the rumors, clear the innuendos and let Brian tell his story and let's have an open dialogue about it. Brian and I spoke briefly before we hit record and said, hey, we might disagree on some things, but that's cool. We're open minded people. We can discuss it. So. So, Brian, at this point, everybody, maybe not everyone, but if they're unknown, you basically posted something on Facebook. You hear back from Coach Glassman a couple of weeks later that he's taking away your affiliate. But I think a lot happened prior to that. But people are unsure and uneducated about so if you don't mind kind of lay out what happened.

Brian Stites:
Sure. So the the message in question on Facebook was in a closed affiliate owner group. It was called the affiliate owners group. But there are other people in there who are not just affiliate owners. And so one night I was kind of thinking about direction that Crossfitters going with their health and wellness initiative and sort of the things that had gotten.

Brian Stites:
Me excited initially about Crossfit, in particular. You know, I came in right at 2012, which is kind of when the build around the games was starting to be a lot bigger. And then the push was more towards the it being a competitive sport. And so that's kind of what really got me excited about it. We were heavily invested in that for years and years and years. And then there was kind of this change back in Crossfit, or let's just say change away from it being this competitive sport to it being more of the health and wellness sessions, sort of a renaissance back to that idea. And and so. Was one night in particular. I'm posting my feelings about that change that I kinda feel lost. I don't know what I'm doing. You know, I spent six, seven years doing one thing. And then I feel like Crossfit, for. For me, I felt like Crossfit, was changing its direction. People, hence. Since then, explain the No Crossfit, was always a health and wellness initiative. And I get that and I and I respect that man. I Crossfit, should be that that's that's that's awesome. But it's not what I. It's not what I initially came in for. I got excited about the sport of fitness. And and now, you know, I'm looking back and I'm having this sort of existential crisis. I Armmer Hammer said that and I thought it was. Kind of the perfect way to describe it, sort of an existential moment. You know, what am I doing with like with my folks in my gym and is it the right thing for my folks in the gym that we had been doing things that way and had been so successful competitively for the area that we're in For sure? And now that we're, you know, on the on the health and wellness side and I am I still doing the right things or am I still stuck mentality of being a, you know, compete first sort of guy, reconcile all of those things in my [gym}.

Brian Stites:
Get that message off saying, you know, I'm disillusioned with the whole thing because I don't feel like the communication was very good to the affiliate owners. I don't I don't feel I feel like a lot of times. Crossfit, HQ makes edicts and that end That's the end of the communication when I have question, comments, concerns and none of them ever got addressed. But. But. But at the very beginning, the email, I say, you know, I'm pro Health and wellness. I think, you know, maybe it's a change for the better. I have no issue with that. I just I I feel like I'm just lost and confused about what's going on. And I get to the end of the message, I say, so I need help. You know that. Am I still attached to Crossfit,? Am I still like, am I still doing Crossfit,? Like, what's my identity in Crossfit,? And I asked the other affiliate owners who I thought that's what this group was populated by. Asked other affiliate donors for help. For clarification, just kind of understanding, kind of understand where I was at. I hadn't had that communication with a lot of other people in an open forum like that. So that was the initial e-mail. And, you know, across the course of the message itself, you know. Some sort of rambling and ranting like, you know, I'm pissed that I was doing this and that they say now it's not important and I'm kind of pissed about the open like it comes up every year and they say this is what fitness is. And here's your test for fitness. That's like this is not what wellness is for my people. This is what this is what the sport of fitness was doing. And then when you take 2019, the workout that was thrusters and pull ups at the end of the year. Right, with Chest to bar were and it was the first time I'd ever not programmed a workout, an open workout for my gym because it was such a bad idea.

Brian Stites:
It was one of those things like I was like, you're going to get hurt doing this. I've had athletes try. I desperately to do X number. Of chest more pull ups and downs. Not rapido, but something akin to that. The next day and I thought this isn't is actually isn't healthy. They're saying that that that this is a health and wellness initiative, but this is not this. I wouldn't be preparing somebody for that type of test, a test of fitness. If I was concerned mostly about their health and wellness and I had these athletes who would know their arms off to try to successfully accomplish that test. And I said, that's not a good idea. It was one of those times where I felt like what they're telling us fitness is and what they're saying that Crossfit, is about the health of almost all these things or don't feel compatible. They don't feel that. And so anyway, long story short, and that's why it makes sense. Crossfit, in that regard, I say, you know, there are other methods out there. Should I've been exploring those things. You know, if my members goals are just to get strong, then this is you know, there's there's backstory behind this. You know, when I took my L-1 certification originally approach to teaching, it was very, very dogmatic. I remember sitting in this class.

Brian Stites:
I had my doubts. I asked what about what about traditional strength programs like the 1 5, 3, 1 or a 5 by 5 or something like that that are really well established. And the guy was up in the front. And I love him to death. His name's Russell. Said, no, there is no place for that. You only need to do Crossfit, the way we are telling you to do it right now, that that will satisfy all of your strength concerns. Period was a very dogmatic approach. I asked about programming strategies and he said, no, it is singlet couplet triplet rest day. That is all you need. That is sufficient, period. And so literally I came out of that meeting be like there is on way Crossfit,. And I didn't I didn't really agree with that night. In subsequent conversations. I've been talking to other people about how they program their how they program their boxes and strength biases and cardio biases and all kinds of different programs that they run in parallel to the other Crossfit, stuff. And I think we all kind of agree that Crossfit, is just making sure you're hitting all the possible domains of fitness kind of at the same time. But again, at the time, by the time I did my own certification, it was this very dogmatic. Here is exactly what it is. Don't move anything else. That is the end of the discussion.

Jason Ackerman:
So. So, Brian, let me stop you for a second. Let's talk about a couple of things that Grady gave BackStory. So for one, I couldn't have this podcast without correcting on the fact that it's not actually a Level 1 certification certificate course. So just for the record, just for the record, if anyone's listening, your level 1 is not a certification. You're level 3. So. OK. Neither here nor there. Just give me that. I want to talk about two things. I want to tell people that are listening. A, if you're unsure of what Brian's talking about, just Google his name. I'm sure it'll come up there. But basically, it was a long post. I'm sure there are some screenshots of it. Just so the listeners have some reference, and I will say, in fairness to you, I read through it a couple of times. I can I can see why people think it's bashing Crossfit,, but you were kind of posing a question for the record. You weren't being just a complete disrespectful asshole about it. You're an affiliate owner and you're putting it out there, the other affiliate owners and coaches in that group. And it just kind of trying to start a conversation when it kind of spiraled out of control. But my first question to you is. Was there an email prior to that that also went to college Coach Glassman? Because I think you kept saying email versus Facebook. So just for the chronological order of it, what happened first?

Brian Stites:
Ok. So I love this part because I don't think it got covered very well in Ahmed Hammer's discussion. So 14 months ago, 14 months ago, I had emailed Affiliate support. This was. Right as they were announcing the end of regionals, they had not yet created a decent plan for how many people were qualifying for the games going forward with competitive future of Crossfit, was. It was just this we're done with regionals. We're, you know, we're terminating all of our all of our. So, you know, now at that point, I don't know that they are turning or social media staff. They were done with their media staff at that point. And so there was this huge change that it happened and there was like no warning about it. Right. It just it was just dropped in our laps all of a sudden. And I was not happy about that, because a big part of what I enjoyed doing and what we've worked towards and our gym a lot of times was trying to create teams, teams in particular, not just individuals. I think there's a big difference between what goes on when you're training for four big events as a team versus individual. They're two very different things. And we thought it was kind of enjoyed process that is a big part of what we did.

Brian Stites:
Part of our our business model. In fact, we like other gyms, kind of take care of more of the health and wellness stuff and do whatever they want to do. But we kind of like doing was picking up the athletes that wanted to learn more of the competitive sport. And so then you'd have then we had this huge environment forum. So now that's gone, right? And there's no warning, no advance any. This is 14 months ago before they had talked about sanctions and the response. And know and no questions were really being answered about how we came to that conclusion. How like what the process was going to look like going forward. It was all very, very nebulous. And so they saying this e-mail is, if I had known that was the case, I might not have renewed my failure because. Being a Crossfit, affiliate is. Like, it's so time, especially for me, so connected to the competitive sport of Crossfit, and the regional stuff and all that. I don't know that I would have necessarily read affiliated at that point. I might have just done what a lot of people were doing at that point, which was re-branding to reach out to a larger audience, because at that point Crossfit, was still in it and in a lot of ways still is its own pariah.

Brian Stites:
You have folks who understand the health and wellness side of it. You have a lot of folks who see it as the dangerous sport of Crossfit,. Right. So sometimes it helps and sometimes it doesn't help when the message is kind of mixed like that out in the public. And I don't know, that's been well addressed anyway. I don't know that I necessarily would have. What I and what I said after that in that email is I don't like that there's so little communication about this. It's really frustrating that this would come down. You're not really asking. US for like you're not asking us for opinions, like our opinions matter when we're voicing our opinions, it doesn't seem like they matter because we're not getting responses. And that gives me some frustration about like what's happening on a managerial level like that. That's frustrating. I feel like the only way to voice my opinion, you know, as with most consumers, when nobody listens to the comment cards, what they listen to is up. Uptrends and down trends in sales. I feel like the only way as a consumer of this brand, which is kind of I feel as an affiliate under the law, is to like I'm buying the affiliate. Right.

Brian Stites:
And then kind of. So I feel like a customer of Crossfit, and a lot of ways, but not across a customer. Crossfit, also, there's the ambassador of Crossfit, and then there's the argument. I am not really a franchise affiliate. It's a weird it's a weird interaction. I would say. But anyway, I don't feel particularly heard or respected as somebody who is trying to consume the Crossfit, brand. If I was a customer, if I was a member of a gym, I would be like, what? I don't have confidence in the other direction. So I said what I asked for specifically 14 months ago, 14 months ago, it was actually longer than that. But what are my options for if I were to cancel my affiliate getting a refund on the time remaining on it? Because I feel like this is a bait and switch. I like you kind of pulled the rug out from underneath me. So like do I get what I get refunded that money? Is that not what happens? Do I just wait the affiliate out or quit? What's that process like? I asked that question. That was my question. And it wasn't. I want you to pull my affiliate right now. I said I probably never have re-upped it, but I've left my options moving forward for, you know, if I were to cancel them, would I get a refund if I did 14 months ago, didn't get a response for over a year, which is which adds fuel to the to the pain of feeling not.

Brian Stites:
Heard as an affiliate owner here, has things expressly to support. What are my options? I am frustrated about this and no one responds. For over a year until I'm finally mad about something, right. And then I oh, now, now will respond to this email in this super cheeky way. Like like it was somehow a continuation of the conversation that never actually happened. Right. Like here, we're going to ignore you for a year and a half until used until you annoy us. Now we're going to respond to you. And I hate that. I absolutely hated that. That was kind of the chain of emails and that was not represented. Sounds like I had asked my affiliate. Like a week ago. That's not true. I actually paid my affiliate dues for another year after that because I support Crossfit, so much. I was not happy and not thrilled about the change. But then as sanctions came around, I was like, OK, I'm going to adjust to this. I'm going to focus on the health and wellness stuff. I'm going to see where it goes. But I support Crossfit,.

Brian Stites:
As entity I support. Crossfit, for what they're trying to accomplish and I paid my affiliate dues again. Not I mean, I didn't I didn't personally kiss what I had. I always have the option to cancel. I chose not to do that. And I think that gets overlooked in the conversation. Like I stuck with you.

Jason Ackerman:
I agree with that. I can agree with what you're saying there. But let me let me ask you a couple of questions about all of this, because I like the fact that you're having your opportunity to voice your side of the story and feel oftentimes you're not getting that. We're just people in general don't have that opportunity. So everybody listening. I think you're entitled to that. So you are currently still an affiliate coach Glassman, essentially at email. Despite that email, would you prefer to stay affiliate?

Brian Stites:
The short answer to that is, yes, I would prefer to stay an affiliate again. And then maybe you're asking for wrong answers on this one.

Jason Ackerman:
Well, give me the short. I mean, because a lot of what I'm hearing and you're not unique in this. You know, people were certainly upset when they made the change. And I think it's been addressed already that, hey, Crossfit, has always been about health, about helping people. And Coach Glassman is probably the first to admit I've heard him say it. And I believe this speech is going to be out from the Affiliate gathering, that the game is kind of a. Spiraled out of control. And he's just reeling it back in. And there are people like you that dug it and really were into it. And, you know, I was a box owner of three affiliates around the time we're talking about. And yeah, all my members were really pushing, you know, to do more and more volume. I want to make regionals, etc.. However, it wasn't ever my business model. You know, I think so. A few questions I have is, you know, how many members do you have? First of all, about.

Brian Stites:
One. [cut out]

Jason Ackerman:
Hundred and fifty? So, I mean, if you have one hundred and fifty members, realistically, if you had to think about it, how many of them? Either truly care about competition or should you care about competition is I think there's a difference there.

Yeah. Oh, yeah, yeah. Yeah. So at the height of when we were focusing on competitive athletes out of one hundred and fifty, we probably had seventy five or so that had any business thinking about thinking about regionals. From a enjoying the training perspective, having a chance to make it or contribute to a team, whatever that might be. Seventy five, I would say, probably had any business thinking about regionals.

Jason Ackerman:
That sounds very, sounds, very high.

Brian Stites:
Oh, yeah, yeah. Again, what we were doing at the time was, I mean, largely, collecting all the athletes. In the area, in the Kent City area that felt like they wanted that next level of training when we were doing was we were giving them an environment to do that, where we were allowing them to do a lot more with with their time with time spent in the gym. So you're right. I think in a lot of ways that makes us a bit unusual. As far as people who have any business competing.

Jason Ackerman:
And you understand what I say, there's a difference being. You know, when I had my boxes, probably 20 people, maybe even more. You would do whatever the latest craze was, comp train or misfits or whatever, but in reality, three of them should have been right. So so when you say seventy five immediately, I'm like, all right. Ten of them should have been. There's a difference between I I enjoy training. Hard to I'm not I know though. Deep down, I'm not making it to the next level.

Brian Stites:
Yeah, so we had in twenty twenty, sixteen to twenty, fifteen, twenty, sixteen. I want to say in excess of 30 athletes who finished in the top, definitely the top 200 regionally. Including that including our masters athletes, we had 10 athletes who finished in the top 200 worldwide and masters athletes. I mean, so very a very competitive population and a lot of people who, you know, had had the potential like to to push those people and, you know, you know, whatever workout it might be is sort of a Scottie Gillespie sort of story where it's like maybe they don't have the weights with cardio is there. And so they're there in the environment to push on the cardio stuff and things like that. So that's that's kind of where we were in 2015. We had the third highest scoring team in the world. 2016. If it wasn't for one phenomenal error, we'd qualified two teams for regionals and then had athletes who had the right to make it indvual as well.

Jason Ackerman:
Ok, so you're improving of a very competitive box. So let me let let's let's dive a little deeper. So Vernon, I recently did an episode and we entitled it Crossfit, Doesn't Know You Shit. Right. And point being and this is kind of where the conversation happens. You know, you're you affiliated in 2012, you said. So I assume your affiliate fee is three thousand dollars.

Brian Stites:
Correct.

Jason Ackerman:
So I guess the question becomes, what does Crossfit, owe you as a licensee? Basically, like you said, we're not franchises. I don't think there's anything wrong with asking the questions you asked. You know, you you're entitled to that. But at the same time, what does HQ actually owe an affiliate? As far as how abeat e they need to keep you on their current situation, on changes, on all of those things, what's what's your opinion on that?

Brian Stites:
That's tough. I think there's. There's there's two different stances I need to take on that question. First is the obvious answer, which is they don't know shit. Right. It's like there is no part of our license agreement that says Crossfit, will update you on on what things are happening.

Brian Stites:
There is nothing like that. They could come out tomorrow and say we lied about the whole sugar thing and that they have every right to do that. Sugar is good for you. Sugar is good for you. If you're not if you're not eating a bag of Skittles after your workout, you're an idiot. You know what? OK. Then they really don't. And they didn't go as regionals. That wasn't something they owed us in the slightest, nor did they owe us. Advertising. They didn't owe us No hits on a map, which is, I think, what a lot of people really appreciate. Crossfit, has the ability to be found with an identity. They don't owe us maintaining that identity. Honestly, if they came out tomorrow and said, hey, it's all about bodybuilding, they would have the right to do that as well. They don't know us. So that so that's one that is one perspective. Contractually, ousland, on the other hand, I think there is sort of a there is an ethic too to Crossfit,. There is a there is a belief system of faith, faith and science based belief system to do it, that that makes what Crossfit, is largely and this is tough largely about leadership and identity. And if they came out tomorrow and said we lied about sugar. I. I wouldn't want be a part of Crossfit,. Do you know what i mean? If they get out tomorrow and said you need to be beating yourself to shit every single day. I wouldn't want to do Crossfit, if they came out tomorrow and they. And Greg Glassman. If Greg Latham showed up on TV tomorrow and that I hate gay people and I hate I hate Latinos. And I'm excited about, you know, California falling off into the ocean. I'd be like, I can't do Crossfit,. This is the guy that I'm supposed to be following and listening to. And he has these beliefs that I can't get behind. Like I'm out. I'm sorry.

Jason Ackerman:
You know, you're not equating getting rid of regionals with hate, you know, hating certain ethnicity.

Brian Stites:
I'm not. What I'm saying is. I feel like there is there is there there's an ethos behind behind Crossfit,, and I think there's a there's a match to it. And it's the message that we want to believe. And I think that Crossfit, the only thing if there was anything that Crossfit, owes us, it is to give us the message. Right. Like, don't tell us what to think because we're all fine doing that. But like, tell us, like, if you're out there being the leader and the example of what what is what it means to be fit, how we are best to be getting fit, give us direction. We must if you're gonna if you're going to claim to be a leader, these lead that say are good.

Jason Ackerman:
Well, I guess really what I'm hearing is it comes down to two really important questions to ask you and ask yourself as an affiliate owner is one. Did the message truly change? Right. And that's a deep discussion. You know, you came on in 2012, my first affiliate open in 2007, when, you know, I tried to tell this story a lot. You know, when I would watch the games, it wasn't watching the games. I was clicking refresh to hit to see who on an Excel spreadsheet ranks where, you know. So, you know, did did the model really change or did the games just kind of take priority for a small time? Because, you know, I don't think it was ever about only the the elite. It was about the people that want to lose 100 pounds and change their lives. And then my second, you know, an additional that would be why can't Crossfit, on track still be a competitive box, even if Crossfit, is pushing more towards that health?

Brian Stites:
Those are wonderful questions. So when we opened up, we did. So the NFL was working out of a global gym. Right. I was a personal trainer there. They gave me a. It was a group fitness class. This tiny little room, no pull up bars. You know, we had the grand slam balls, no med balls. And there was one inch barbells, Aquarius and. This I this thing online called Crossfit, and it looks bad ass. I did a couple of times I want to go get my level 1 certification and I want to go.

Jason Ackerman:
Certificate course.

Brian Stites:
Sorry. Sorry. Yeah. You have to forgive me for all kinds of. You know,.

Jason Ackerman:
You probably got that. Yeah. Go ahead.

Brian Stites:
As long as you keep buzzing the all. Remember the. So so I I took the course, I taught it in this gym and it wasn't for elite athletes. I made it. I mean, there was a class for everybody. And we just tried the weirdest stuff. I mean, I remember pushing a car around a neighborhood with hills, I mean, chasing it downhill and like nearly getting crushed by it, going uphill. And then we just have a blast and. And then the gym owner said, we need to charge more for this and we need to make it more and more and more selective, more and more for just the people who can afford it. That A. And. And I was like in that moment I realized I want to be able to reach more people and help more people than the gym was gonna allow me to do it cost 20 bucks a month to train with me. Really, that I it made it made for a really small population of really wealthy folks. But there was more people that I wanted to help. I had this guy, Kevin Sage, who weighed 600 pounds when I started him and did to this day he weighs two hundred and twenty five pounds. You know.

Jason Ackerman:
Awesome. Nice job.

Jason Ackerman:
And we did that not by being a competitive gym, but by being a community that really cares about fitness. And it wants to see the best for their people. That's how we I mean, that's that's how we started and that's how we. I mean, honestly, that's how we continue today. Crossfit,. No, I mean, it was really easy to get pulled in the direction of the competitive ethics. It's fun. It's exciting, you know. And we did that and I think and Crossfit, did it, too. I mean, Crossfit, was pulled in that direction. A lot of media. A lot of marketing, a lot of all that kind of. I think that it was, you know, all that was all that kind of stuff. I would not say so to answer your first question. I don't know, the Crossfit, ever, ever really changed its focus and that you're right when you say it got drawn into that competitive market or you that pretty hard, right? Doesn't mean the Crossfit, ever changed, but kind of where all the attention was going. May not have been in the spot that everybody that we wanted it to go, right? I mean that. Especially and I hear this. I hear this a lot from the folks who came around in 2007. The Crossfit, hasn't changed anything. You know, a lot of. And that's what a lot of the affiliate owners say. Some respectfully, some less respectfully. Crossfit, never changed.

Brian Stites:
It's the people like myself who got their priorities all backward or focused on something else. I don't want. Like the idea that was backwards because I feel like there was kind of a push for competitive, you know, the sport of Crossfit,, and then that's part of like that's part of what really frustrates me when folks respond to that. They're like, well, you know, you screwed up the entire time. And I'm like, you know, there was a pukey the clown. There was a there was a quote Crossfit,.

Jason Ackerman:
Yeah. I mean, look at that hat and he wore it says mess you up.

Brian Stites:
Mess you up. That's right. That's right.

Jason Ackerman:
Yeah. I mean, I don't think you and I don't think you screwed it up. I think, you know, that's the beauty of Crossfit, is you have an affiliate, you can be a box and hey, you can only join here if you have a 500 pound deadlift in a two minute friend. It's not you know there's another box for down the road. So I don't think it's a matter of screwing it up. It's a matter of saying, you know. Is this the only way? And just because Crossfit, has changed, does that mean I don't want to be a part of this anymore? You could still have a group of people. There's there's more opportunity than ever to compete right now. I agree. You know, anyone, whether it's you want to go to Abu Dhabi for sanctions, I'm sure in Kansas City, there's a competition every weekend within three hours of you.

Brian Stites:
And that that was part of what was a little bit frustrating in the Kansas City area. There were like a lot of not well run competitions and so you'd go and it'd be like terrible judging and silly events and super watered down experiences, you'd have an R X division of like three people. And that was that's what made regionals so much more worthwhile. Was it was a really well-run competition. I mean, that's the problem with the problem with regional cities. Damn good. And now a lot of the sanctions are really, really good. Like we did granat games. I think really? Why palooza? Well, the ones that I think in the in the States for sure. I don't love traveling very much, but I'll travel for something. That's great. Yeah. So what was happening A local scene was not grare. The Kasa City a bunch of folks doubled down on improving the quality of their local competitions, and it's made for, I think, a much more fulfilling competitive experience in recent history. We want to Crossfit, 8 1 6 and Sara Neal run it and they run one of the best know four-person competitions I've been to in a long, long time. Great, great programming, excellent judging. Crossfit, fig-. They perform at the local scene in has gotten better, significantly better. But right around 2018 it's kind of like there's no reason to us to go to these competitions.

Brian Stites:
They're so bad. So they've.

Jason Ackerman:
Got a bit saturated, right?

Brian Stites:
Oh yeah. And so I actually I love distinction. And you're right. The opportunity to compete, I mean, at the pro the our X, whatever the step is down from our X, you know, divisions, you can get so much more of your gym involved in those sanctions. I think it it's wonderful. I think it's it's a. I feel like it could usher in an entire new era of competitive Crossfit,. You know, maybe you're not worried about the pro stuff. But, you know, for those seventy five athletes that I had, some who could have qualified regionals, some who are pushing towards it, etc. now I have a place where every one of them can fit in. And I mean granat games. We did it just recently. Damn near as an entire gym. We went up there either to compete or to observe. And that was a blast. So so that the long term vision for the sanctions I think is great ingenius and getting better, which is really cool. That didn't change how I felt about it. In 2018 when we first found out like a rug pulled. Here you go. But but but now that we're quite a bit further along in that process as evolved. I'm stoked. And I think that you're right. So the second part, your question was, do you think you could still be a boxer and still be Crossfit, and still be competitive? The answer is yes.

Brian Stites:
I think you absolutely can do those things. The absence of regionals was a bummer for sure. I mean, I look at the look at the leaderboard and, you know, I miss I miss the regional filter. You know, I'm not going to lie like that's still that's still sad for me. You know, I find myself in like 400's place worldwide. And I still don't know what that number means, but.

Jason Ackerman:
It means is a pretty major of a pretty fit individual.

Brian Stites:
Thank you. I appreciate that, but but I miss, you know, the group of guys that I ran in that I would compete against on the leader board and would run into you once a year at regionals. I mean, that was really that that was fun for me. And I'll miss that forever until something else comes along that that replaces that. So. But I do believe you can be a Crossfit, Joe that has that competitive side. I think for our gy, , the direction that we're going with that is. And I spent since I put that e-mail out. I kind of spent a lot of time just thinking about it. What's the identity? What is it we want to do moving forward? We're changing our model for programming ups that we have a greater emphasis on GPP, which I think is which is good.

Brian Stites:
It's gonna take a little bit of adjusting. I got to get people to kind of buy into it now from, you know, we're going to turn all of you guys into, you know, competitors, too. We have so be athletes, but we're not going to worry about your muscle up quite as much. We're going to worry about more about your health and your wellness. We make more time for stretching and stuff like that. Someone with just more of the gym to do that and then have kind of add ons built into that that allow you to explore more of your individualized goals. And in those things, I'll probably use, you know, old school nontraditional methodologies. You know, Sony wants to put on the size of their chatter probably. But I on a bench press or if they want to do competitive Crossfit, ing, I may have some different Wods to do on certain days and say, well, we're going to handstand walk up to that and some of the pre-workout kind of stuff. So I think there's there's a way to adjust into that. We're working on that. It's not. And we have certain days, I think, to where there's an extra training session for the people who will be competitive athletes to just come in and do just competition style Crossfit,, you know. It's system. It's an adjustment.

Jason Ackerman:
Here's here's the reality. You know, for those listening, it sounds to me like you're making the push towards Crossfit, health. Just like Crossfit, is just taking you kind of that moment. And again, to reiterate, I don't think there's anything wrong with what you did. You kind of question what was going on, you know, in retrospect, or you might read through that e-mail and say, hey, some of this came out as a little bit accusatory or rude. It is what it is. You know, it's always hard to interpret texts and emails. It's my fight with my wife when I text. Right. And I say, let's talk in person. So I think there's always that aspect to it. So, you know, I'm glad to hear that you're doing this. And I truly hope at the end of the day, you know, I don't think Coach Class is going to be listening to this episode. But I think if he did, he would say, OK, this is just a loyal affiliate that wanted a little more kind of direction for us. And I think he could appreciate that and say, hey, he he is learning. He's making the changes. And I have the ability to be more impactful on my community in Kansas City. So I'm glad to hear that. You know, a question that I have for you that I think a lot of us Filipinos need to to consider is basically everything you're talking about is the beauty of an affiliate. You know, I'm looking at your gym right now and you got a big ass fan. You got, you know, caution tape for your wall ball targets. You got a pegboard and all this cool stuff going on. If we were a franchise, it would be like, hey, you have to open at this time. Your colors need to be this. Here's your uniform, by the way. This is the programming. So we want kind of the best of both worlds. So, you know, with everything you're saying, it's like you love the fact that we're an affiliate, but you want the direction of our franchise. So where is it? Where does that lie for you?

Brian Stites:
Yeah, thats great I love that question. I love the freedom. 2. I love you. I love the freedom to do whatever it is that I want to do. It puts success or failure in my hands perpetually. The the difficulty, the struggle, I think, is with something like regionals. It was, you know, that was a decision that came down from on high and there was no like there was no input. There was no place to put input or et cetera. That communicate mission is hard to deal with, right? But again, as a licensee versus a franchise, there's no like it's it's the question you asked earlier. What is Crossfit,, actually? Oh, you. And it's they don't owe me an explanation. Right. But I think that's kind of like that. There's that middle ground where. You would like a better explanation, you know. Or at least at least some reconciliation. Yeah. You know what? We did that. You know, just as simple as not like not everybody. Needs the perfect answer to be told, yes, you're right. But it's something might be acknowledged. You know what I mean? Like. You know what? Yeah, we we did that. We got pulled in a direction that was. That was not health and wellness. It was sport. And now we're course correcting. You know, honestly, if somebody came along and said that. It'd be a lot easier to get on board on this.

Jason Ackerman:
And in fairness, I think that message is being put out there now. I know Coach Glassman speech at the Philly gathering, the 10 year Affiliate gathering in Whistler like a month ago is going to be put out at some point on Crossfit, dot com. And people will have that. And I got to see me speak again to the trainer summit. And it was reiterated, I think. I think that message is coming. I think sometimes people underestimate how hard it is to run a business. That's when people forget. I mean, it's 2019. It was only 14, 15 years ago when it was one of affiliate and a workout thrown on a sub-par Web site. And, you know, it's it's hard. Crossfit, is still in its infancy and it's changing the world. And, you know, I can I can empathize with an affiliate owner in your situation wanting more. But I can also kind of see behind the curtain and realize there's a lot going on. And I think that, you know, the more patients we have, it will come to fruition in the in the short time, within a short time. But again, I don't want to be on a dead horse. I think you're entitled to ask those questions. And again, I hope that things can be rectified for you. What what has been the outcome so far at the box level or from people reaching out? I mean, other than this podcast, you've been featured on a couple of podcasts, but what else has gone on it at the box? Have you seen any ramifications of it there?

Jason Ackerman:
So that we still don't have any clarity about, you know, we got the e-mail from Glassman that said we're gonna pull your affiliate. That's what it sounds like. But that was the last time that we've gotten any communication. So I'm. And I had e-mailed him back and said, you know. Let you know, please. I want more clarification and I'd like to be able to clarify for you what it is that we're doing in this box. And I suggest let's hold this decision in advance until we can actually comi it with each other. No offense, XSense, then. But so I don't know. I mean, about as far as that's concerned, if he's pulling my affiliate Have you got any paperwork on that? If he was mad is still mad at me. I don't know. The you know, like you're saying, it's hard to read emotion v a message. You know, you can read. That's the best. She said it in a totally, like, calm demeanor. Like, I hope you want to end your affiliate. Make sure you do. Right. You can read an angry tone like screw you in your face, you know. But so who knows? But we haven't got any official word. We have been taken off the Web site or anything like that. So maybe what's going on is they're letting us rent out our contract and revisit it then. Or maybe they. I have no idea. The short answer is I have no idea. As far as my gym is concerned. Some good changes have come about as a result. In general, we've done much in terms of creating sales, right? You've always sort of been word of mouth and that's been fun.

Brian Stites:
But as we started looking up, looking at what's gonna happen once people don't find you because you're a Crossfit, affiliate is raising questions about do you have a sales funnel? Right. That's very, very hip terminology right now. And we don't. So we're sort of revitalizing, revamping what we're doing from a business perspective to make sure that we consistently have business one way or the other. I think that will actually make us a better business in the long term. I always do this, but you are consistently pulsing our members, the surveys and interviews and things like that for. OK. What is it that you really want? What are your goals? So we're always trying to. And we're always trying to do that. Always trying to modify how we program and what we prioritize based on what the people are telling us they really want. Well, I want to lose weight. Here's what we're gonna have to do. You want to look good naked, okay? You're going to have to do. We try to match goals to needs, so we do it. And as you know, this is one more opportunity to do that and and make sure that we're on the right track for the people that are here. Like I said, I get talked about before the programming strategy is going to change up just a little bit. It actually I mean, I feel like it actually makes us more in line, like you were saying, with the health and wellness perspective or that approach.

Brian Stites:
But that's just because we have more people now who need that in particular. And so that's the direction that we're going. And this sort of profits and an idea for making our gym, taking some of the train that we offer, especially for the. For certain folks, even more individualized than we had made it before, so it's a better idea. It's another opportunity to make a better business than we had before and still cover all of our bases. Nobody in the gym is concerned and about whether or not we're it. Our members, our members, honestly, I don't know that necessarily care a whole lot if there's Crossfit, in front of a name or if it's fitness on track or if it's on track. Well, you know, they just care that we're here and we're taking care of them and they're serving their needs are they're going to need serve the competitors that obviously are probably the competitors, I would say, are the ones who are most concerned with us not being an affiliate because they are so emotionally attached themselves to Crossfit,, which is it's intuitive to the right. It's like but so, you know, psychology is what it's going to be. My direction for the gym if they let us keep the affiliate I'll keep paying for it. Again, it sounds it sounds to in light of all of the exciting drama that I support. Crossfit, completely normal. There are things that are frustrating about it. I mean, you love your mom, right? But there are gonna be things about your mom that frustrate you from time to time.

Brian Stites:
You like mom, stop like coddling or whatever might be, you know. But you still love your mom. You support your mom. I feel the same way about Crossfit,. I love Crossfit,. I really do. It's done. So it's done way more for me than I could have ever asked. You know, it's a lot of you know, much about me. A long time ago, I was a researcher in clinical psychology and we came up with a treatment strategy for depression. Depression is this huge epidemic. Right. And we looked at what's going to be the most effective way to intervene for people who are depressed. And we created this treatment strategy called therapeutic lifestyle change for depression. Steve, already look it up. It's amazing. And we implemented some. Behavior activation. Get outside. Change your diet. Start exercising, build a social community around you that is supportive and focuses on goal oriented activities and praising the accomplishments of your day. And what we found was we had a symptom reduction, pretty large study, pretty hard to pull off a symptom reduction, average symptom reduction of about 90 percent. So average symptom reduction for people who are taking medication is about thirty four to thirty eight percent. That means you're still mostly depressed. Right. We found a symptom reduction of 90 percent. And a response rate that was even higher and they maintained it for three years afterwards. This is before I had ever heard of Crossfit,. This was back in 2000, 2004, 2005. I'd never heard of Crossfit, before in my life. So as we started to build this gym, you know, coming from that that that perspective, I I.

Brian Stites:
Crossfit, is going to. Cure depression. That's what's going to happen. Like diabetes. Yes, a lot of the health crises. Absolutely. But the thing that matters probably most to me is I believe Crossfit,, the community we built here will cure depression. I myself have dealt with bipolar depression for most of my life. And it is the community, the exercise. Oh, and more very interestingly, the most important component I actually did my master's thesis on this most important component of that therapeutic lifestyle change was the exercise portion. Right. Fascinatingly, if you adhered to the exercise that predicted that you were going to get better, more consistently than anything else. Right. And that has been the thing that has kept me healthy for a long, long time. And I don't medicate at all. I'm one of those super lucky people who like the not quite full on mayday call hypomania, but lots of depressed. So it's. And it is thanks to the Crossfit, that I haven't had a single episode of that for ten years. It's insane. Those are better results than anybody has ever had. Taking medications. So. So I owe Crossfit, a lot. That's what I mean to say. Ivan Crossfit, a lot. I know a lot of people across the globe and I think there is an opportunity with Crossfit, to not just change the world in terms of our health workers, but in terms of our mental health markers. I think we're also we also have the capacity to change the world and I want to support that every single day. OK.

Jason Ackerman:
Well, I certainly I mean, that story is really, you know, amazing. And I hope that people are still listening to this episode and hear that, because it sounds to me like, first of all, congratulations on that for yourself and for all the people that you've had the privilege of influencing in there. That's a tremendous need on my master's in psychology as well. And I think that's really awesome stuff. And, you know, as you're saying that what it really sounds like is Crossfit, health. Right. So, you know, this whole story sounds to me a little bit, you know, and I hate to diminish it and downplay it and kind of ruin a good story. But it's like, hey, this is just a box owner that wanted a little more information, put it out there. And, you know, a lot of people, you know, came out here for the wrong reasons without knowing the truth behind it all.

Brian Stites:
So that works.

Jason Ackerman:
That is that is unfortunately in the world we live in. I'm really glad that I hopefully gave you a little bit of a platform that came on your own nest. Our other day is all about that. And we we really hope it did that for you.

Brian Stites:
Absolutely. Yeah, I really appreciate the time.

Jason Ackerman:
I don't think there's anything more to really add to that because I think that was a great way to kind of. Don't end this whole thing. You know, the the. I just hope that everyone listening. Heard that part of it and realizes, hey, Brian, is not this delusional, crazy person that just wants to beat people down with volume and is mad about regionals. But some of that actually, you know, still cares about believes in Crossfit, and just had a couple of questions. And I hope some of the higher ups at HQ and I'm sure, you know, people can pass this along to them, hear your story and realize this isn't a bad dude. This is just someone that's really I mean, trying to help other people and change their lives. Do anything else thatbI can add to that.

Brian Stites:
I don't know if you're not careful, I'll talk for another and a half, so.

Jason Ackerman:
Yeah, I'll let you talk a lot, but I think it was important for you to get your story out. Like I said, I listened to a couple other podcasts, was trying to keep up with everything, but I think at the end of the day, hey, you just need a platform to get it out there. That's what this podcast is all about. You know, like I've said, friend and I are super pro Crossfit,. We care about it. It's part of our lives. We work for the company. We travel every weekend preaching it. That'll never change, you know. And I think, you know, it's important for us to let other people kind of step up on their box pedestal, if you will, and talk about it.

Brian Stites:
So thanks, man. Yeah, I really appreciate it.

Jason Ackerman:
Well, I wish you nothing but the best and I hope that everything gets rectified. And of course, when it does, we'd love to have you back on and talk about it.

Brian Stites:
That's awesome. Yeah. You've got my we're friends on Facebook now, so you can look me up any old day

Jason Ackerman:
You got it, Brian. Well, I appreciate your time. And we look forward to hearing about you. And keep up the good work over at Crossfit, on track and keep changing lives. T

Brian Stites:
hanks, man. Will do.

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