As CrossFit becomes more well-known and athletes become more knowledgeable, questions about open gym times might start to become more prevalent. Structuring these specific times and figuring out how to staff them can be a lot of trial and error.
Luciano Sperduto, a co-owner of CrossFit Orlando in Orlando, Florida, said they recently added more times for their open gym sessions. They offer open gym on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and then again every weeknight at 7 p.m. while another class is running. Since the majority of their evening classes are full, they thought this was a prime time to add an open gym slot to the schedule.
“We had an increased amount of requests from people wanting to come in and work on something specific or make up a workout,” said Sperduto. “Because of those requests we knew we needed to give them the opportunities to do that.”
Deciding how to staff open gym times is also something to consider before adding it to your schedule. If open gym is during class times, you don’t want your Coach’s attention being drawn away from the people who are there for that reason, but you also don’t want your open gym participants left unsupervised. Because CrossFit Orlando has a class in the evenings at the same time as open gym, they always make sure there are two Coaches available.
“We always have two Coaches at that time because one, class takes precedence,” said Sperduto. “If you are there for CrossFit class, I want to make sure you are getting the full attention that is deserved and required. We also have another Coach that if they are needed in the class they can help, or they can work with some people during open gym as well.”
While the concept of open gym is to give members a little more freedom and the opportunity to work on something in a less-structured environment, there should never be a member doing something a Coach doesn’t know about. Even with another class going on, Sperduto makes sure all his Coaches know what each member is doing during an open gym session.
“They shouldn’t be walking in and starting their own thing with you leaving them alone,” said Sperduto. “You need to go up to them and ask them what they are there for, if they are making up a workout and how involved you need to be with them. You should always know what is going on.”
CrossFit Orlando would have never known they needed to add more open gym times to their schedule if it weren’t for communication between the owners and members. Sperduto said they make sure to consistently check in with members and getting feedback on what they like and dislike about different aspects at the Box.
“I think one of the best thing that myself and my co-owner do is we communicate with the members as much as possible,” said Sperduto. “We talk to them on the forums we have; Facebook, email and the beginning of classes where we talk about what is new. We sometimes get feedback we weren’t expecting, and the amount of positive feedback about open gym was just amazing.”