Personal Training

Your Affiliate Guide to CrossFit’s Self-Reflection Exercises and What They Do for You

CrossFit affiliates have a specific obligation to self-reflect, but what does it mean, and what does it do you for and your business? We expand on it and explain.

Sam Karoll
July 24, 2022
Your Affiliate Guide to CrossFit’s Self-Reflection Exercises and What They Do for You
CrossFit affiliates have a specific obligation to self-reflect, but what does it mean, and what does it do you for and your business? We expand on it and explain.

CrossFit’s self-reflection exercises are designed to help you look inward at what you want from your business, how you want your business to appear on a grand stage, and where your goals are, both for your business and your personal life.

This is the process known as self-reflection: taking a moment to be introspective and align your goals with your actions so you’re actively working towards them, not against them.

They only have so much room to exemplify this point in the CrossFit Affiliate Handbook, so we’re going to cover it in-depth and explain everything to you.

What Are Self-Reflection Exercises?

Self-reflection exercises are designed to help you understand the client’s journey.

In marketing and business, if you don’t know your audience, you’ll never be able to serve them properly. That means you aren’t going to succeed unless you know why they’re coming and why they’re here.

When you look at the self-reflection exercises in your CrossFit Affiliate Handbook, you’ll notice that they all follow a similar theme. They’re trying to get you to understand even more about why you became a gym owner to begin with, and to help you assess what you need to do to become a better leader.

We are all works in progress, and this handbook lets you breathe a little and use these exercises to turn you into a great CrossFit gym owner.

Why Are They Important?

Self-reflection exercises help you understand your clients by understanding why and where you started with your own personal fitness journey.

As the title suggests, you’re reflecting on and reviewing your own path to the point that you are at now: the reason you’re a gym owner, and why you love fitness so much.

These are the three main reasons that self-reflection exercises are important to running a CrossFit affiliate gym.

  • Know the Journey: Clients have a very specific journey. From the minute they begin searching for their next gym until the minute they find yours, that’s their journey. How is it going to end up with a subscription to your gym instead of someone else;s? That’s the problem that you need to figure out, and it can be done with these self-reflection exercises.
  • Market for Success: Without knowing how to market your business, you’re lost. Yes, you’re a CrossFit gym, but you’re more than that. CrossFit wants you to have your own unique brand and presence while also carrying their name, because those small interconnected communities from local gyms are what build long-lasting relationships. They’re what make this business what it is. Once you ask yourself about the fundamentals of your gym through these self-reflection questions and exercises, you get a better grasp of how you can identify and market your values.
  • Provide Benefits They Love: At the end of the day, your gym doesn’t mean anything if it can’t provide benefits to those who pay to be there. If you can’t understand where they came from—the beginning of the journey—you won’t know how to provide benefits that they actually care about. What keeps them coming to your gym instead of going down the block? You need to ask yourself that, and make sure you’re providing that value on a constant basis. These questions help you assess if you’re doing that, and if not, how you can improve.

List of Self-Reflection Questions

These are the questions from within the CrossFit Affiliate Playbook, plus our own personal spin on how you can identify with them and use them to truly self-reflect on your business.

The goal is to aid and build, so let’s find out how to do that.


Why do I want to start an affiliate? What are the three primary factors influencing this decision?

Will the CrossFit name help your brand a ton? Or will you be able to make new financial goals for yourself, or add on to an existing business?

Find your goals and why you feel compelled or influenced to make an affiliate gym in the first place. This is how you’ll run your entire gym.

What kind of affiliate do I want to start? General memberships, private instruction, competitive? Not for profit? Youth/Community center? There could be more than one answer.

Most gyms have varying fitness products (memberships are a product, private trainers, etc.), but none of them can do it all. You’re going to have an audience that prefers one product to another.

What are you really good at that you can inject into your business model to make sure you’re earning as much as possible?

What is my experience or area of expertise in CrossFit, fitness, or the fitness industry?

Is CrossFit a new journey to you?

If you have experience in other areas of fitness, that’s great, but it may be a bit daunting to start a CrossFit affiliate gym. Be sure that you have relevant knowledge, experience, and your head is in the right place if you’re trying this as a new endeavor.

What are my key personal strengths and competitive advantages? What am I better at than anyone else?

The gym down the block isn’t catering to their guests properly. Can you? What can you do that’s better than what they can do?

Assess your competition, find a need that’s not being met in the community you want to put your gym in, and the rest is history.

What can I see myself actually doing every day, and can I form a business around it?

The day-in and day-out procedures of running a business can be taxing. Are you up for the challenge?

Are you ready for what it’s going to take? Forming a business is difficult even with affiliation with a brand like CrossFit.

Am I ready to devote the necessary time, resources, and capital to be successful in this business?

Time is the biggest sink in this case. Starting up a business is hard, so do you have the time, or is this more of a pipe dream for you?

It’s important to know this before you get started. You have to apply for affiliation and go through the motions, and then actually open your doors.

Am I in a good place physically, mentally, and emotionally to dedicate the time and energy needed to start a new business?

Fit, mentally well, and emotionally stable are all important aspects of running a gym.

You’re going to be met with challenges on a day-to-day basis, and if you can’t rise to the occasion, your gym isn’t going to survive. Understand what’s required of you, and then take a deep breath and get started.

Do I have personal and financial support from family and friends to accomplish my goals?

If you have a bad month and aren’t profitable, are you going to be okay? Will your family and friends emotionally support what you’re doing and understand why it’s taking up so much of your time?

Understand who will and who will not be there for you before you jump in with both feet.

How will I balance family and business?

This is tricky for any entrepreneur. You need a right-hand man or woman to help run the business, because past the startup time frame, your family is going to expect you to return to some normal status.

Even if they’re understanding of your time obligations during startup, everyone has a breaking point. Be sure you nurture both.

Do I possess the necessary skills and abilities to start and control the day-to-day operations of an affiliate?

Understanding how the gym works and how gym culture starts is one thing, but if you can’t apply it on a daily basis to your day-to-day operations, then you don’t really have a business.

In the beginning, it’s all on your shoulders. Ask yourself if you know how to do everything, or if you’re willing to learn in the early stages.

Have I coached a variety of people and class sizes so I can adequately be prepared for the core offering of this business?

Coaching people, whether it’s staff, front desk help, or clients, is all part of the process.

Can you lead? Can you effectively teach others and give them guidance? You have to even be able to train your coaches, which can seem daunting, but it has to be done.

What sacrifices and risks am I willing to take to be successful?

Business requires sacrifice. Even if you have the capital and that isn’t a concern, time will be. You can’t simply hire people to start your business for you (it’s a quick way to a failed business).

You have to set the precedent and teach others how to follow in those footsteps to make a successful business. If you had employees that could do it for you, they would just leave and start their own gyms.

What are my financial goals, both personally and for the business?

Is this about you making more money in the long run, or is there a personal journey that you want to go on?

Did CrossFit change your life, like it did for so many others, or is this just another business?

There’s no wrong answer here, by the way; it’s just important to get this sorted out early on so you know where you’re coming from.

Why do I believe I can be successful as an affiliate owner?

This is where you take down your experience, your effort, work ethic, marketing skills, and all of the above to see if you can be a successful affiliate owner.

Confirmation bias happens in our own minds, so try to use data as much as possible. Have you had failed businesses in the past? Do you regularly experience success?

Why do I believe this type of business is sustainable?

Have you worked with gyms in the past? Do you understand the profit margins of gyms or the fitness industry as a whole?

It’s a tight-knit community, but also a cutthroat business. Are you ready for it? You have to know now before you get in over your head.


What was your first CrossFit workout?

The first time you were introduced to CrossFit, what did it feel like?

Identify with your personal journey, that way you can bring that same journey to others as they cross your threshold and become part of your gym. It makes a world of difference.

What was your first win in CrossFit? (e.g., the first time you got double-unders or finally got that ring muscle-up)

Giving your athletes an experience that they’ll remember is a core aspect of your entire business as an affiliate.

It’s the human element and what compels people to try their hand at CrossFit in the first place. What was your starting point that made you realize you loved CrossFit?

Describe your first or favorite coach. What made them special?

This will teach you how to hire and train the coaches for your own affiliate gym. Otherwise, what experience do you have to run off of?

Remembering and idolizing your first coach in terms of how they taught, encouraged, and drove you further will help you create an effective CrossFit gym.

What are the most important things in your life? Who are the most important people in your life?

This question helps you put the most important things first, and really helps you boil down just why you’re doing this in the first place.

Find what’s important to you, and let it be a compass for how you carry out your business as an affiliate owner.

What drives you to get up in the morning?

Is it making a successful business, being a parent, or crushing your goals? We all have a reason to get up in the morning.

Find yours, write it down, and keep it as a constant goal or reminder to continually do your best. Personal self-reflection is nothing without finding this out about yourself.

What is your favorite part about coaching or CrossFit in general?

Coaching is an entirely different beast than just partaking in CrossFit.

Find out what you love about both of them, and why you’re personally committed to making a CrossFit gym as part of your formula to personal success.

What excites you about owning your affiliate? What scares you?

For many affiliate owners, the excitement is simply in owning a piece of CrossFit (so to speak) and being able to execute on the fitness strategy that makes people healthy, happy, and superiorly fit.

What’s exciting for you? It’s important to know what scares you, whether it’s failure or not living up to your own expectations. You need to manage your success and your fear at the same time.

What does success look like to you?

This one is important. If you aren’t successful, then what’s the point? Find out what success genuinely looks like to you.

If it means having time to focus on your health or be with your family, that’s okay; it doesn’t all have to be about running a business. If you don’t work towards your personal success, you’ll burn out and it will impact your gym.

Using Self-Reflection to Build a Better Gym

CrossFit’;s affiliate gym leader information is invaluable, and beyond their understanding of marketing and brand building, they give you the tools to be your own boss and lead with example. These self-reflection questions will help you and your business to improve over time.

Still exploring every point in CrossFit’s Affiliate Handbook?

Our guides expand upon every point in the handbook to help you grasp a better understanding of what CrossFit wants from their affiliates, all while helping you become the best gym owner you possibly can be.

Sam Karoll

Sam is our Community Manager for PushPress. He also owns and operates Xplore Nutrition, a personalized nutrition coaching service designed "for your lifestyle and goals by a Coach who's always available."

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