Marc and Linda Cox opened CrossFit Belmont in 2013. Located in Belmont, North Carolina, the gym boasts the below numbers:
Marc Cox dives deeper into the business below:
MC: We are a family-oriented Box, with a very tight-knit and supportive community. I spent 25 years in the fire service, and worked very hard on developing “the brotherhood” within my peer group.
So when we opened CrossFit Belmont, I ran it like a firehouse. There is a timeline our Coaches have, and everything is communicated with our athletes, so they know where to be and when to be there. As regimented as that seems, this allows our Coaches to build fun into every class. All of our Coaches are teachers, both as a profession and by nature, so we spend the time to actually teach our athletes.
Also, like a fire engine, we take great pride in keeping our Box clean. We’ve all been to Boxes where you have to think long and hard about doing a burpee, because the floor is so dirty. I’d be very disappointed if one of our athletes, or a drop in, felt that way about our Box. When it’s all said and done, the community that has developed within our Box, isn’t buying membership: they are buying ownership. And pride of ownership is a great way to maintain commitment.
MC: I was introduced to CrossFit in 2007 by one of my fellow firefighters. I started following main site WODs at the YMCA on my off days, and at the firehouse when I was on-shift. In 2009 I took the CrossFit Level 1 course. Shortly after that I bought some gear and started a garage gym. This rather quickly led to training a few athletes, and the real adventure started.
On the front end, our biggest challenge was getting the space re-zoned. Following that initial hurdle, the most stressful challenge was staffing when I was on shift. I had developed a great relationship with a few Coaches, and they were willing to cover classes when I was working. After opening, several of our athletes took the Level 1 course and started coaching as well. I take great pride in being able to say all of our Coaches began as a CrossFit Belmont athlete.
MC: We are not the super competitive Box. We have one of those a few miles from us, and we routinely refer folks over there. We have a great relationship with the other local Boxes, and that makes referrals much easier. As an Affiliate, we are a solid CrossFit Box, nothing less, nothing more. I believe in the methodology and try very hard to impart that on our athletes.
Technique (move well), intensity (move well quickly), and load (move heavy loads, long distances quickly) are the mainstays of our programming and coaching. We do a great job scaling to an individual’s ability level. We have athletes at all levels of fitness, and we make it a point to make everyone feel included. My “fire breathers” are important to us and we love coaching them.
But the person who is super nervous about starting CrossFit, the person who doesn’t have the strength to do an air squat, that person is just as important to us as the “fire breathers.” The joy I feel when I see someone squatting who couldn’t squat before, or when someone gets his/her first box jump, or first whatever, can’t be described with words.
Personally, I would describe myself as a movement nerd. I spent the bulk of my career in the fire service teaching firefighter survival. This required me to figure out what and where firefighters were getting injured, or worse, and teach them how to correct these issues.
After breaking down the situations, it becomes pretty obvious the best way to fix most issues is by going back to the basics. You typically can’t perform some “high speed, low drag” maneuver when you’re trapped in a fire. But the basics of removing your air pack, clearing an entanglement and putting the air pack back on usually works.
That’s a lot of typing to say, that is how I teach the deadlift, shoulder press, etc. All of my athletes have heard me yelling “LIFT WELL!” I spend the time with our athletes to explain not only how to do the movements, but why we do the movement a certain way. It would be much easier to just coach the “how.” It takes work to teach the “why.”
But if you invest that time, and your athletes pay attention, it is very rewarding to hear a senior athlete cueing a new athlete, because he/she truly understands the “why.” It’s also very important to me to be honest with my athletes. They may not appreciate it sometimes, but if they are missing range of motion, it’s better to let them know in class than to let them go to a competition and get a ton of no reps.
First, I have to thank God. I have been blessed with this opportunity to help people live a healthier life, so now I need to capitalize on that blessing.
Second would be the support of my family. There is no way CrossFit Belmont would have got past the dream phase without Linda, my wife and co-owner, and Lauren, our daughter. There is a lot of sacrifice that goes into opening any business, especially a CrossFit Box, and a supportive family is crucial.
Third would be our Coaches. We have a fantastic group, and without them, I would have failed, no question. Since they all began as our athletes, they know our people and our program, and coach accordingly. All of our Coaches truly care about our athletes and our community, and take great pride in coaching them.
Develop your Coaches. I can’t imagine doing this by myself, so my Coaches are the key to success and longevity. Coach Glassman has spoken of the Starbucks model in the past. Put a Box on every corner, and the athletes will find the best Coaches and go there. That mindset has worked well for us since we opened, and I don’t plan on changing.
We do CrossFit, period. And I think we do it well. When I began my CrossFit journey, the catch phrase “Forging Elite Fitness” was very popular. We have taken that phrase and adjusted the context. If an individual couldn’t squat, but now they can, that’s elite. The same can be said for pull-ups, running a mile or whatever else you can’t do today. We want to help you achieve your personal “elite” goal. We understand the progressions, and the time required to reach goals, so that is where we focus our effort and energy. That is my interpretation of CrossFit.
Realistically, I will never coach a Games athlete, and that’s fine with me. Because since 2013, we’ve had the privilege of coaching real people. I have the utmost respect for the fringe athletes, but they are a very small percentage of the population, and that’s why our focus is CrossFit for everyone.