Parting ways with CrossFit

On February 16th, we received word from CrossFit Headquarters that our affiliation (as CrossFit Whole9) will not be eligible for renewal in 2010.  CrossFit wrote:

“I am writing to thank you for your year of affiliation with CrossFit and to inform you that we will not be renewing your affiliation when it expires on 3/17/2010. ..  Since you are moving in a different direction, we cannot continue to carry you as an affiliate and we feel that our continued association is no longer mutually beneficial. We wish you the best of luck in your new endeavors.”

Allow us a few words before the wild ruckus begins.

  • Please respect our request to keep all commentary related to our de-affiliation respectful and courteous. I know it’s the internet and we’re all grown-ups, but our Moms read this stuff.
  • Please don’t assume there are any dirty backstage details to be had.
  • Even if there was any behind the scenes controversy, we certainly would not publicize it here. The kind of negative discourse that this situation has produced in the past is both unhealthy and unproductive for the community, and we’re too classy for it anyway.
  • Understand that as far as we’re concerned, you do not need to publicly trash CrossFit in order to demonstrate your support for us.  (Just like you don’t need to boycott Whole9 if you’re a fan of CrossFit.)  It may be fashionable to hate on The Elite, but we will not tolerate that here.
  • On that note, there are a lot of good people doing really smart stuff who also happen to own, coach and train with CrossFit. As we like good people doing smart stuff, we will continue working for, supporting and promoting those CrossFit affiliates we do business with.
  • Know that our de-affiliation changes nothing with respect to the Whole9.  We’re always going to be into picking up heavy stuff, eating good food and managing your health and fitness from a big-picture, integrated perspective. Plus, this entity is completely separate and distinct from our former CrossFit business, so the goods and services we offer here have zip, zero, zilch to do with our affiliation status.  (Smart of us, huh?)

We will respond in one brief, simple statement to HQ’s assertion that CrossFit and Whole9 are moving in different directions.  They’re right.  We are.  Dallas and I  have no quarrel with the CrossFit methodology.  We are, however, troubled by CrossFit’s (the company) methods of execution, and have voiced some of these concerns both in public and during private conversations.  As such, we accept HQ’s decision, and will not pursue reinstatement.

What does this mean for the Whole9?  Really, nothing.  We’ll keep giving you (our readers) lots of good, free stuff via this site.  And now that our attention isn’t split between entities, we’ll be able to provide a broader range of personal consulting services, virtual seminars and on-site workshops to our clients. So it’s business as usual around here (although we’ve got an awful lot of t-shirts to modify).

We have always been proud to be part of a health and fitness community that includes members from within and outside of CrossFit. And we don’t have to be an affiliate to remain a prominent, contributing member of that community. So on behalf of both Dallas and myself, thank you to all of our readers, clients, workshop attendees and fellow health and fitness professionals for your continued support.

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  1. Steve says

    Not surprised.

    I do not have the skill to say more and honor your request for being respectful and courteous on your de-affiliation. So I am done on this subject.

  2. Drew says

    You guys are being incredibly respectful about all this, much more so than I myself would be able to be were I in your shoes. I thought that HQ was done loosing its great assets, but apparently not. I just hope that this stops soon.

  3. Joe says

    That sucks. Not surprised, but still. I’m increasingly disillusioned with HQ. Stay classy guys.

  4. says

    Melissa and Dallas,

    I would say that this is great. I’ve been a long time Byers/Urban/Whole9 reader but never commented. I love the direction you’ve taken the company in and the programming you guys were putting out; I wish Mrs. Urban would talk more about her training though. That was some of the most insightful and funny writing in regards to Crossfit (or any workout) I’v ever seen. I believe K-star said it best when he said “read and process everything you can get your hands on”. When he mentioned the likes of Tmuscle some jaws dropped in the seminar. I should think that this change won’t effect your readership too much.

    So basically you do everything the same, aren’t limited by your affiliation with said company (if you were limited in the first place), and save $1000 a year? What’s not to like?


  5. Rachel says

    Melissa and Dallas:

    You are absolutely right, you do not have to be an affiliate to be a prominent contributing member to the community. You are incredibly talented individuals and whether or not you are an actual CrossFit Affiliate or not, it will not dictate your success. You have and will continue to be successful just by being the great (and classy) people you are and the way you are reacting to this situation says a lot of things about your character. Keep doing what you are doing; you provide a tremendous amount of value to any community you choose to be a part of – regardless of your official affiliation.

  6. Laurie says

    Melissa & Dallas,

    Like Paul, I’ve been a follower of Byers/Urban/Whole9 for some time. I don’t think any of us who have been following the blog are surprised. I find the information you provide invaluable. Please continue to keep up the information flow and good work you do.

  7. says

    CrossFit is a great community but you don’t need it in order to be successful in the fitness/nutrition industry. business is obviously thriving. Congrats on all of your upcoming workshops, clearly the word is getting around. Oh and I love fudge babies, they go great with a glass of red wine (sorry Dallas!)

  8. Thor says

    Ha ha well sounds good to me… Many of us who have been around CF for a long time are going the same route. Anyways, the NYC connection and Zombiefit still has love for y’all

  9. says

    Good information is good information, it’s what it does for you that is important.

    I really enjoyed the seminar this past Sunday, and look forward to even more great things from you two. Keep up the good work!

  10. Jimi says

    Not really surprised either as is seems hq has found a system that works for them and is becoming less flexible or open to new ideas as time has gone on. The early open source nature and dialog was one of the first things that really drew me to crossfit. Similar to Jeet Kun Do of using only that which works, and taking it from any place you can find it. But I’m becoming more and more disinterested, both locally and globally. I still like the training methodology but if I had a garage or could find a place with the equipment I need, I’d drop my affiliate in a heartbeat.

  11. Shawn says

    Dallas & Melissa,
    We still have our doors wide open for you. Thanks for all the work you do, and for the great seminar Sunday!

    Love from Oregon!

  12. Ben says

    Bummer. I’m sure it’s for the best! I still completely support Whole9 and value you as a resource. And, honestly, I have used Whole9 as a nutritional resource more than anything else. Your articles are logical and concise. Bravo! I have high hopes for your future, and will continue to support you!

  13. Renee says

    I feared this was coming, but hoped that your and Dallas’ continued class would’ve saved you from the firing squad. You guys are a fantastic nutritional resource and I will continue to point people to your site.

    I can’t believe they actually said the relationship was “no longer mutually beneficial.” *headdesk*

    Keep up the good work!

  14. Veronica says

    “On that note, there are a lot of good people doing really smart stuff who also happen to own, coach and train with CrossFit. As we like good people doing smart stuff, we will continue working for, supporting and promoting those CrossFit affiliates we do business with.”

    I’m gonna guess that “these” affiliates will soon not be affiliates either. Good for you and Whole9. You don’t really need that affiliation either. Wishing you and Dallas all the best!

  15. Sean says

    I’ve read your blog for a while now and I don’t think you really even need to be an affiliate at this point. I like the positive way you have handled the situation.I will point out that many successful businesses have been incubated within a larger organization and are then spun off to bigger and better things, free to chart their own path. That’s all that’s happened for you guys. Congratulations on your freedom and keep up the great work.

  16. Kate says

    Kudos to how you guys handled this in such a mature manner. I definitely still will be watching Whole9 for all of the great things to come!

  17. Melissa says

    Melissa and Dallas,

    Figured this was coming and knew when it did you guys would keep it classy.

    Between Urban Gets Diesel, CrossFit 603 and Whole9 you have helped countless people change their lives for the better. Keep up the great work and overall awesomeness.

  18. Kevin says

    I can’t really add anything that hasn’t already been said. I started reading Urban/Byers gets Diesel and CrossFit 603 because I was a NH boy far from home and wanted to stay in touch with my home state. I got hooked on the info and became a regular consumer. You guys really helped me to fully go Paleo and I am a better man for it. I love the info you share and the way you share it. I am addicted now so CrossFit or not I will be a loyal follower.


    P.S. On a side note, are you unloading any CF 603 or CF 9 t-shirts for cheap? I promise to cross off the CF part and proudly represent the whole 9.

  19. Bryan L says

    I suppose I don’t have anything to add that hasn’t been said already, but I did want to add my name to the chorus of well-wishers. I’ve determinded that it’s all my fault. Apparently, I’m an albatross. It’s the only way to explain all this. From my anonymous garage at the edge of DFW, I seem to have become a harbinger of affiliation doom to every CF-related business or SME whose site I visit, and whose thoughts and opinions I respect and like the most.

    Sorry ’bout that. Can I still visit your site, and maybe join the ice cream cult like Beachdog suggested?

  20. says

    Melissa & Dallas,

    Go forth and conquer. Thank you for your tireless commitment to the community. Keep moving in the right direction. Really excited to see what the future holds for you guys.

  21. says

    @ALL: Thank you so much, from both of us, for the support and well wishes. And, sincerely, thanks for helping us “keep it classy”. You know, I have never once had to remove or edit a comment posted on ANY of our web sites, going as far back as Byers Gets Diesel. How amazing is that? It says something about the kind of community we’ve built here, with your help.

    We’re accepting applications for our Coconutty Cult now. Note, tribal tattoos and/or tramp stamp are NOT a requirement for admission.

    We only sold CF603 shirts on Spreadshirt, so we have none to unload, unfortunately. Feel free to Protect the Brand on your existing 603 tee and send us the photo, however.

    @BryanL: We don’t blame you, although CrossFit One World respectfully requests you stop reading their stuff, just in case. (Just kidding, Freddy.)

    @Gant: Do we both have to be drunk? And can it be a whiteboard? Either way, you’ve got a deal. Bring your friends.

  22. Thor says

    Oh well I’m down for some drunken scribbling as well… If that’s what is going down at virtuosity in April, consider my fat ass there!! (was going to go anyways but still)

  23. Julie says

    “It’s not what we eat but what we digest that makes us strong; not what we gain but what we save that makes us rich; not what we read but what we remember that makes us learned; and not what we profess but what we practice that gives us integrity.”

    Kudos to you for maintaining such integrity. Keep doing good work, and changing people’s lives. This will offer you all the greatest rewards of all.

  24. John W. says

    Have to join the chorus of “No surprise”. Wishing you all the best and hope our paths cross again in the future.

  25. Jon says

    You guys at Whole9 were too smart for CrossFit Inc anyway. You’ve built up a solid reputation for being good trainers and it is their loss, not yours. The best of luck to you guys!

  26. says

    I’m sorry to hear that it had to go down like that but echo everyone else in applauding the classiness I have come to expect from your camp. I’m calmly and politely expressing my disappointment at HQ for a questionable decision! You guys have changed my life and I absolutely support you in everything you do. Was a pleasure meeting you at Crossfit KOP.

  27. says

    You guys just keep rockin’ with your bad selves. You know what’s up and a title doesn’t define that for you. Why? Because you understand through trial and error what works and that it’s just what you do. Keep spreading good around – you’re like Whole9 Super heroes! =) All the best for the future of Whole9, can’t wait to see you both again! :)


  28. says

    Best of luck to you ladies. I began charting my own course earlier this year as well and couldn’t be happier about it. I can say the same for my clients. You’ve built a strong base of support and are sure to have a lot of success.

  29. says


    F _ _ K those douchebags. You are so past that b/s, good luck, maybe we’ll bump into you this summer at MeatFest 2010. Date/Location TBD

  30. says


    You’re the one who inspired me to develop the FRAT Paleo Challenge last summer. It continues to this day at Delta 5 Fitness. You and Dallas have my and Patty’s full support. You’re one of the great ones. Thanks for all that you do.


  31. says

    Melissa, I love reading your published info. This will just allow you to grow faster and bigger than imaginable. When one window closes, make a hole in the wall!!

    See you soon in SD

  32. Jerry says

    It’s a thresh . . . it’s a threshold phenomena asmuchasicannahoho . . . overload concept forozo those old Weider d-d-days fans you know Muscle and Fitness . . .um I I’m a I’m taking a physiological parameter and I’m stressing it . . and uh its . . its . . control. And both neurologically and muscularly there’s an adaptation and response to that and its increased control at a at a at a reduced or same intensity. Its uh its uh at the heart too of every human endeavor where uh velocity is a critical complement, of course speed and movement is vital. Whether you are talking about thoracic surgery or typing or uh any any motor sport, you know, where going fast without crashing is inherently valuable. What you find is a tension between error and movement and the uh much uh prized uh velocity.

  33. Wayne says

    Let the cream rise to the top! Keep up the good work, love the stuff you are putting out there. Crossfit is just a name, substance is more important.

  34. says


    I was a 603 reader and an urban gets diesel, and was first introduced to PTP from the 603 PTP. Pavel got some business from me because of your posting.

    You were also my gateway drug to Paleo. Without your Paleo challenge (which I still need to do) I would not have learned (by experience) that I function as well as I do on a more natural diet. Still drinking regular beer though…

    Stay classy.


  35. G says

    Diesel (I’ve always called you that since our early message board days),

    Once again, I am sad! I’ll always be a fan!

    Wish you continued success!

  36. says


    Let me just say, you’ve been an inspiration since Urban Gets Diesel. As of today, I’m 25 days into my 30-day paleo challenge and come to your sites frequently for inspiration and information. I’m not a cross fitter and admittedly don’t have an appreciation for the full political dimensions of the CF world, but you and Dallas are awesome, and I don’t care if you are affiliates or not–you have the knowledge we need, and we come here to get it…full stop.

    Keep up the good work and the big lifts. And don’t be afraid of dropping the occasional (and well placed) F-bomb–we will love and accept you no matter what.



  37. Jonathan Slater says

    I’d been wondering when this would happen. You seemed a little too… shall we say forward-thinking? Open minded? Anyway. Good luck in the future.


  38. Adam says

    Hey guys,

    This really bums me out, as things must be going downhill at hq if a relationship with you is “no longer mutually beneficial”! I think most people would agree that you are definitely standouts in the community and for you to be ‘let go’ just doesn’t make sense to me!

    I have no doubt that this development will in no way slow you down and I think it’s a sad day for CF to lose you both. I thought the idea behind the whole open source plan was so the cream could rise to the top and the not-so-good would be cut away, thus driving the CF concept to greater things?

    Keep up the good work – Australia still loves you, affiliate or not!


  39. Craig B. says

    Sweet! I was once a part of an organization whose main claim to fame was that once they kicked you out, your life became ever-increasingly kick-ass. Y’all just won the prize!



  40. Joe says

    With the direction that HQ has been heading in and their recent treatment of what I consider to be some of the most valuable members of the community, I think that this is a good sign in relation to what you’re doing.

  41. says

    I know you look at this as opportunity, not punishment. Keep being respectful and inclusive of others and thier thoughts. Stay on the high ground, you’ll only get better.

  42. Carla says

    Is this because you don’t have a physical box? Is that a requirement of being an affiliate?

  43. says

    @Carla: That’s got nothing to do with it. Having a “physical location” IS a requirement of affiliation, as we quickly learned when we brought up the concept of a “virtual box” back in October. That didn’t go over well with HQ, prompting a flurry of phone conversations… which is why we dropped that idea in a hurry. However, we have always had a “physical location”, training our clients first out of our location in Tilton, then at a friend’s garage gym in Maine. We also made use of parks, tracks and other outdoor facilities, as many CF affiliates do.

    Thanks, again, to all for the continued support. Every one of these comments is valued and appreciated.

  44. says

    I’ve always loved what you do. Anyway, all the cool kids are waiting for you guys in the back yard. Keep playing and keep it loud.

  45. Vanessa says

    A huge fan of Urban Gets Diesel, and then of Whole9. I’m in Germany, but can’t wait to catch one of your online seminars (what a great idea, by the way!)

    Keep doing what you’re doing — the results from Paleo and PTP don’t need a CrossFit logo attached to prove they work.

    And, as said by so many others, way to maintain the integrity and class.

  46. Matt says

    As with most of the people here, I can’t say I’m really surprised by HQs ruling. It does suck since you guys have represented, what is in my opinion, the essence of CrossFit. You’ve provided, and continue to provide, an invaluable asset to numerous people, myself included. I’m going to continue to look to you guys for ways to improve myself, both nutritionally, and through the 603 PTP (which I’m back at again after a two month period of school getting in the way).

    Again, I’m sorry to hear about HQs decision, but you have a great program, and you’ll always have my support.

  47. Carla says

    @Melissa – Gotcha! Thanks for the clarification. I haven’t been keeping up with all that has been going on so I was looking for a legitimate explanation.

    Keep up the great work you two! I’m looking forward to attending one of your seminars this coming year.

  48. Adrian C says

    I follow your blog and I am not supprised. I live in Virginia Beach, VA and got caught up in the ADS/Crossfit drama (as a member). While you are being classy, which is respectfull, Crossfit HQ will be slaming you. In our case the members lost out with no notice or a simple sorry from crossfit, or the trainers(just a empty gym). The guys they were slamming were the only ones that were there trying to help us out. I see more and more how the cream of the crop is leaving crossfit and the community (members)are asking why? When the crossfit affiliates start questioning crossfit they are getting excommunicated. Most of the affiliates don’t even realize that their money was being spent to “loan” a whole gym full of equipment to a “buddy”. Thats part of where your $2000 yearly fee went too. You guys will do better and I look forward to seeing the direction that you will take. Keep up the good work.

  49. says

    At the weight room that I am interning at they have taken to calling me ‘Philadelphia’ because I look like Tom Hanks on AIDS.

    On some powerlifting forum I was warned that the HQ spies would find and kick me for my forthrightness.

    With a nickname like ‘Philadelphia’ what do they think I have to lose?

    Where’s my call back (and ass-fit T-Shirt)?


  50. says

    What? How did I miss this? I guess this shows you how often I stop by your site lately (guilty)…. you’ve always been, and always will, be one of my earliest e-friends when I started this journey…. I applaud you for sticking to your principles, and wish you and Dallas nothing but continued success.

  51. says

    Thanks to ALL you guys who’ve posted kind, generous words of support and encouragement, and thanks for keeping it classy. We’re super-excited about all the good stuff going on at the Whole9, and we’ll keep you updated as new developments arise. Hopefully we’ll see some of you at one of our workshops, coming soon to a location near you!

  52. Lani says

    Hey its my first time really posting here. I have to say as a new Crossfitter I’m a little saddened by all the hooplah going on in the states. I hope that it takes a while to hit the Aussie shores as I really love the community and I pretty much left my last martial arts club (after 14 years mind you) because of all the politics.

    I love reading the things you guys post and I’m really glad that I came across this site when I did. You’ve helped me relearn how to eat after an eating disorder and the refeed program that I was on to ‘fatten’ me back up. Despite being recovered for a few years now, I still had no idea how to eat. Now I do and it is because of you guys and your commitment to helping people lead amazing fit and healthy lives. So thank you and I wish you guys all the best with continued success.


  53. some dude says

    Rational post, thanks for that.

    As for the responses…

    In order to support one party in a situation, you don’t need to bash the other. Follow the example and keep it classy yourselves. Getting involved only perpetuates the drama you claim to dislike.

    Shut up and train.