Creating Competitive Programming at OC3


It was never Colin Cartee’s intention to send athletes to the CrossFit Games.

But three years in the top 10 for teams, and podiuming in 2018, CrossFit OC3’s name in the competitive world has exceeded any of Cartee’s expectations. However, it was not his job to send those athletes to the Games. He said it’s just 15 to 30 of his 200 members that are all out competitive. Instead, it was his task to avoid division.

“It was my job to be able to get them into normal class, but still get them the upgraded programming they needed and wanted,” he explained. “That was the whole difficult part for me starting out. How am I not going to make them feel like they are better than the class or anything like that?”

The Program Creation

That’s where Cartee came up with OC3 Programming. Released in January 2019 to the public, it started in his gym in Davenport, Iowa, as a way to keep his culture thriving. First, he programs for his CrossFit classes two weeks out. From there, he programs OC3 Black, which is the highest level of programming at the gym. However, it’s programmed based on what the class is doing and the time domains already implemented. The programing has two separate workouts each day, one workout to be done on its own, but the other to be done in class. The second part is nonnegotiable. “Even if they’re not a Coach, they are expected to integrate themselves into our community,” said Cartee. “They’ve done a phenomenal job with that.”

This requirement stems from Cartee watching other gyms fall to division with separate competitor programming that allows athletes to work out on their own in the corner. “The competitive thing has honestly probably ruined more gyms than it has had people succeed in more gyms,” he said. “It just creates division, and as soon as that’s created, you’ve got a lot of problems.”

He explained anyone at OC3 can do the Black programming. However, they have to do that extra hour on their own and prove to Cartee and his Coaches they are able to keep up with it.

To Sell, or Not to Sell?

For a while, Cartee debated about selling the programming outside of the gym. What made his offering different than other programming out there? But, he realized he gives a unique perspective in two areas: he tests out all of his own programming, and it’s for those who want to be professional CrossFitters but have limited time – as in, it caters to the job-oriented schedule.

In total, there are four programs offered: OC3 Black, OC3 Red, Run OC3 and Team OC3. While OC3 Red can be for individuals, Cartee also noted it’s very close to his own gym’s class programming, and thus could be implemented as such at other Affiliates.

All in all, when creating a new revenue stream or running your business, Cartee said the biggest thing is to be willing to admit when you’re wrong. Whether it’s saying he missed the mark in his programming, or confronting athletes about what level of programming they should be doing, do so immediately. “Be willing to actually fix it,” said Cartee. “Deal with it right here, right now.” 

And as OC3 Programming launches, that’s what he plans to do moving forward.

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at