New CrossFit boxes are popping up everywhere, and new Affiliates can face a myriad of challenges, from inception to finding a niche. The biggest challenge for many new boxes is battling the consumer’s misunderstanding of what CrossFit really is. Charlie Sims, the owner of CrossFit Regeneration in Louisville, Ky., knows all about these misconceptions.
Since the opening of Regeneration over two years ago, he has seen many people scared to even come in the doors. “They think you already have to be in shape and that it is rough and tough,” said Sims. “But that’s not true.” Sims’ Box focuses on a holistic approach, including sleep, diet and spiritual aspects.
While many CrossFitters do take it to the next level for competitive reasons, at Regeneration, they find a way to make it a great experience for all, no matter what your fitness level is. “The name is literal,” said Sims. “Regeneration is what we do. We recreate [members’] bodies and move past what they thought that they could do.”
CrossFit Regeneration focuses on basic functional training. “These are exercises that mimic real life to make what you do outside more fun,” explained Sims. With so many different walks of people coming in with different levels of fitness, it is important to Sims that each new person gets a fun and safe experience. “If people feel safe, physically and emotionally, while doing something fun with people they like, they’ll keep doing it.
This is why Sims created an encouraging environment with a community feel. “We pay attention to everyone that shows up, whether they are good at it or not,” said Sims. “Some places ignore people that don’t get it right off the bat.” But Sims thinks it’s important not to count anyone out too soon. By focusing on everyone individually, “You can break into untapped potential and find everyone’s strengths.”
Sims has found a struggle in switching from a personal training mindset of that one-on-one session where people want to overdo it. His biggest advice to new Boxes is to get a mentor. When he first opened CrossFit Regeneration, he tried for a long time to do things on his own. “Let’s get real,” he said. “We all think we know what we’re doing, and we don’t.”
He was fortunate to have people along the way who could guide him, and he benefitted from talking regularly to other Affiliates who had gone through the start-up process. Sims believes having that perspective makes a big difference, “Whether or not you take the advice,” Sims added.
CrossFit Regeneration now has its own sister club across town called CrossFit Regeneration SouthHurst. He is mentoring the owner, a former CrossFitter from the original Regeneration, as he gets his feet on the ground. As a former client, that owner already has the same holistic approach to build off of, and is learning from Sims and his CrossFit Regeneration experiences.
Sims hopes the sister club will boast similar values to CrossFit Regeneration, one of which includes not counting out members who may be struggling with the principles of CrossFit. Those members are what make CrossFit what it is for Sims — basic functional training to make real life more fun.
By Maggie Cunningham