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Fitness Brand Crossfit Taps its Tight-Knit Community for Fast Growth

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Speak to anyone who's done CrossFit and they'll rave about the tight-knit community, the dedication of the trainers and the brutal but effective workouts. The strength and conditioning program combines weightlifting and gymnastics, sprints and rowing, kettlebells and jump ropes.

What appeals to many is the camaraderie and the inclusiveness, said Jimi Letchford, chief marketing officer. Gyms post a "workout of the day," which is completed by everyone exercising that day.

"The way we look at fitness is what I need, you need, the Marine needs, his grandmother needs, a guy with one leg needs and a kid needs is all the same. It just varies in degree," said Mr. Letchford, a former U.S. Marine infantry officer.

Today there are 3,500 affiliates in 61 countries, with about 50 added each week. Mr. Letchford expects 30,000 affiliates in five years.

Last year, Reebok inked a 10-year deal to be the title sponsor of the CrossFit Games, which ESPN has agreed to air for the next two years. Reebok is also producing CrossFit footwear and apparel, as well as operating its own gym.

Still, the brand is shying away from traditional marketing and agency relationships, instead focusing on "just making good relationships," Mr. Letchford said.

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