3 Reasons to Go All In on the CrossFit Open


The Open is nearly here. What are you doing to use it at your gym? Chris Marhefka shares three reasons why you need to go all in on the Open this year:


The CrossFit Open is a great reason to rally your entire gym community together. How often does the 5 A.M. crew throw down with the 6 P.M. crew? Probably not often. Use this opportunity to bring your whole gym together for five weeks of friendly competition and camaraderie by hosting an in-house Open event, like an Intramural Open. Split up into teams, elect captains, dress up in uniforms or themed costumes, and have a great time.

In most CrossFit gyms, 99 percent of your members aren’t thinking about competitive fitness as a career or the Open as their proving grounds. Have some fun and make the Open approachable for the rest of us who aren’t counting on qualifying for the Games. 

Growth for Your Athletes

Do you remember toeing the starting line of your first race or bracing for “3-2-1-Go!” at your first competition? It is one of the most uncomfortable yet exhilarating moments as an athlete. An opportunity to perform in front of friends, family and swole-mates, showing why you trained so hard these past few months or years. 

Expressing your fitness in the arena and coming out on the other side is one of the most emotionally rewarding events. For the majority of your members, this would be the first time – or maybe a long time since high school athletics – they will get to experience it. What better way to introduce them to a CrossFit Competition than under the lights of their home gym, getting cheered on louder than ever before, and then celebrating the completion of 19.1 with sweaty high fives from their fit fam.


A well-run event or competition takes time and energy, lots of it. The Open is no exception, and in fact running five weeks of events can be more laborious than a one day event. You should be paying yourself and your staff for the work that goes into creating an unforgettable experience for your members. Think outside the Box because additional revenue can come from many places:

  • Event Registrations: Free events are taken much less seriously and lack the resources to offer added perks like prizes, decorations, trophies, a live DJ, a post-Open party or anything your members would love. If you are opposed to making money from a community event, consider charging a nominal fee of $5-10 per week to simply cover costs. If I am paying extra for guac at Chipotle, I expect to pay extra for an awesome competition experience and your members will, too. 
  • Drop-ins from other Boxes: Throw the best event in town and athletes from your area will wonder why their gym is not hosting such a cool event. They may just get a glimpse of your culture and want to stay.
  • Sponsorships: Big national brands are getting hit up all the time for free giveaways, so focus your efforts on small businesses right in your local community. Does the vice president of a credit union or the owner of a used car dealership work out at your gym? Create a win-win scenario where they get amazing exposure and are happy to sponsor your events in the future.
  • Equipment and retail sales: This includes Open shirts, jump ropes, wrist wraps, knee sleeves, hand grips or any other gear your members will be using in the Open. Contact your favorite company to wholesale these things in your retail shop. Warning: This isn’t time to start slinging shake-weights and gimmicks just to earn a buck; only promote things you and your Coaches use yourself and recommend.

There are plenty of great guides on how to run a successful Intramural Open. Make this your own and have fun creating an amazing experience for your members. For ideas and inspiration, follow along with my gym’s Intramural Open journey on Instagram @b3gym.

Chris Marhefka is the founder of B3 Gym and co-founder of Eat the 80, a healthy meal delivery service. He is a business coach with 321Go Project, Authentic Leadership Speaker, co-host of the Attain Anything podcast, and a co-host of the award-winning, national cable TV show “Altar’d.' Connect with him at chris@b3gym.com.