When I walked into CrossFit H-Town for the first time last week, one of the first things I noticed were the cubbies.
Bright, H-Town orange. Octagonal. Piled on top of each other in a sort of beehive.
They were quite original, which would soon develop into a theme as Theo Tsekouras took me on a tour of the H-Town Arts District location. The ceilings are painted black after he did some research and found it creates a cozy environment. A creative wall ball holder is mounted on the wall to conserve space in the gym. The gym’s two workout areas have distinct vibes — one is for the CrossFit classes while the other houses programs like endurance training.
For this reason, I love visiting other gyms. It’s incredible to see what people around the country have come up with to make their spaces original and efficient. I also love chatting with owners, picking their brains on what makes them unique and what problems they’ve had to solve over the years.
But I think this trip was even more special, what with the after effects of Hurricane Harvey still present in the city of Houston, Texas. Tsekouras and I talked for a while about the hurricane — neither of his locations were affected. However, Tsekouras shared how several other gyms had been flooded. One had been only open for two months. Many other stories like this were shared in the CrossFit Journal.
Something beautiful did come out of this horrible disaster though, and that’s community. It was incredible to hear how the Boxes had come together, how Tsekouras had opened up his gym to those owners and members whose gyms had been damaged. Clean-up parties were enacted. A WOD to raise money for those affected was done. People everywhere stepped up and Affiliates came together.
It’s stories like these that make our industry powerful. The change CrossFit brings, the positive impact it has — that is what makes the Boxes around the world something everlasting. It’s not burpees or thrusters; it’s the human, community element. And I love seeing that played out.
So, a tour that began with a focus on detail zoomed out to look at the industry with a wide lens. But, I think those come together quite nicely. You need to have those details, those small things, to draw in members and sell your product. We’re in a time of change where the industry is professionalizing and more is expected of a Box. However, if you invest in the details, it will allow you to draw in people and thus build a community that can weather even the harshest storm.