We are Renew Fitness: a response to our worlds becoming undone
Since we opened our doors in 2012, we’ve promised to be a gym “for anyone, and everyone.” It was our tagline then, it’s a core value of ours now, and it’s arguably our most important value. Because sickness doesn’t discriminate; it isn’t choosy. Sickness doesn’t care what color your skin is, who you love, how you identify, or whether you’re a dog or a cat person. And it’s our jobs as fitness professionals to protect people — all people — from sickness with fitness. And we will always be a gym accepting of all people.
But another important value of ours is to “be better every day.” And this value calls specifically upon the importance of continuing education, personal and professional development, collaboration, and accountability.
Just as athletes need their coaches to hold them accountable, we, as a business, need to be held accountable, too. So in our efforts to fully uphold our core values, we’re taking responsibility for our implicity. Assumed support and inadvertent social silence cannot be all we’ve got to give — it’s not enough. It never was, and it never will be.
We know the community has been watching as our big world — and our little CrossFit world — has become undone, and we thank you for your questions and patience as we spent the last week absorbing, reading, praying, and discussing how we can best serve our Renew community, and the Black community as a whole. Because the last thing we want to do is provide a measly lip service; to respond for the sake of virtue signaling and miss the mark on turning our words into impactful actions.
So with that in mind, some things are going to change around here:
- We love the CrossFit community. We love what CrossFit has done for us. We love how it has positively impacted the lives of so many — and without their revolutionizing our approach fitness and wellness we wouldn’t be where we are today. But we absolutely cannot condone what Greg Glassman said. It’s not appropriate, it’s not indicative of the type of leadership with which we want to associate our brand, and it goes firmly against our core values. While we’re grieving over the potential loss of this global mission and community, we feel distancing ourselves is the right next step. This decision hasn’t come lightly or in haste, but we plan to forgo renewing our affiliation with CrossFit unless radical positive change comes out of HQ. And we truly hope it does. And so, moving forward (slowly, but surely), we are Renew Fitness.
- We’re committed to being better, more compassionate coaches to our marginalized communities. As a first step, we’ve signed up to take Chrissy King’s online workshop: Anti-Racism for Wellness Professionals: How to Show Up Better, with the goal to be more informed as to how we can be more productive anti-racists within the fitness industry.
- As we work toward becoming more productive advocates, we will prioritize amplifying and uplifting the Black voices within the fitness and wellness community through our various channels. Tagging, following, liking, sharing, featuring — helping to represent the wonderful, knowledgeable professionals that contribute deeply to our industry.
- Nonprofit work is in the fabric of Renew (we started as a 501c3 outreach program for underserved communities), and in the past, we’ve partnered to some degree with nonprofits focusing on health and wellness. But in an effort to continue fighting sickness with fitness, we’ve started conversations with the wonderful folks at Stronger Austin about potentially becoming a Champion Partner and having Stronger Austin become an ongoing beneficiary partner at our community and in-house events. Stronger Austin provides free exercise classes, after school programs, and nutrition education right in the middle of Austin’s neighborhoods. By bringing a wide range of free services available through community organizations, city programs and nonprofits directly into Austin’s most underserved neighborhoods, Stronger Austin removes barriers to participation such as inability to pay, lack of transportation, or lack of knowledge of existing services.
To wrap, let us be perfectly clear: at Renew, we stand in solidarity with our Black members, friends, family, and community at-large. We are firmly opposed to covert and overt racism, and we are committed to being a brand that is resolutely anti-racist. To our BIPOC communities: we see you, we hear you, and we love you.
Justin, Becky, Sadie, McKenzie, Brett, Kelly, and Russ