“Our leadership is pretty avowedly libertarian,” said Greene, a libertarian himself. To him, this is just common sense. “We’ve got over 7,000 affiliated gyms. … Don’t you think it would be unnatural if these small businesses were lukewarm about free enterprise?”
The effect of free-market ideology extends even further beyond the personal preferences of the organization’s leadership to the company’s structure and attitude.
CrossFit runs a web of thousands of loosely controlled affiliate gyms that are independently owned and operated. Affiliates are charged an annual fee, as opposed to a paying a cut of their profits as traditional franchises do, but they also control how their operations run, like their hours and prices. Further, the organization’s staff is scattered across the country, with offices in San Diego; Santa Cruz, Calif.; Arizona and Washington, D.C.
“It’s the libertarian idea of free markets,” Greene argues. “You don’t need centralized control.”
Glassman opened the first CrossFit gym (or "box" in CrossFit lingo) in the mid-1990s in Santa Cruz, California. Today, there are more than 7,000 CrossFit affiliates around the world. These affiliates are not franchises, they're independently operated boxes owned by entrepreneurs who pay $1,000 to get certified as a CrossFit trainer and then pay $500-$3000 annually for the right to use the CrossFit brand. Each affiliate is free to innovate, which makes CrossFit a kind of open-source fitness community. Despite - or because of - its unconventional approach, CrossFit is projected to generate $100 million in revenue this year.