This week our regular blogger Charlie Sims, the owner of CrossFit Regeneration, touched on some aspects of New Year growth that you should consider as an owner. One of his main points is the focus on excellence and taking care of his already existing members.
I’ve been writing about fitness businesses for more than five years. One thing I believe good Affiliates will take away from his blog is the importance of taking care of your members. Many of your members have been in and out of gyms for many years. Some are new to fitness, but most have been around the block a few times. They know what they are looking for, why they like your Box and why you’ve maintained them for so long. It’s probably much like my own story.
Prior to CrossFit, I spent years at the same gym until it changed hands and I decided I needed something fresh. I went to a bootcamp for a few months, but the amount of cardio paired with weights, functional training and large groups just didn’t sit right. I felt like I spent more time injured and fatigued than I did getting stronger. Additionally, I felt like an outcast with most of the people. The community wasn’t tight and it was easy for me to say goodbye.
Following the bootcamp, I found myself sticking with the same high-intensity principles at my own home. However, the burpees, runs, air squats and small box jumps started to get old, fast. I wanted a gym atmosphere and found myself at another commercial gym. It was close to work, convenient and cheap. However, about three months into my membership they roped off the functional fitness area. I felt that was bogus: “You sold me a membership including the functional space, then told me I had to pay extra to use the space.” Not only that, but when I discussed it with management he basically said the money they made from the space could afford for me to leave.
So, I left.
You know that phrase, always listen to your mom? Well, my mom, who is big into fitness, had been telling me for years to get into CrossFit. This was long before we even had CrossFit gyms all over our town of Louisville, Kentucky. I simply was hard headed and doing my own thing. Well, had I listened I’d be a lot further along than I am now.
After my nightmare with the commercial gym, I finally found myself walking through the doors of a CrossFit. I’m a little quiet by nature when I’m in groups of people I don’t know. However, the CrossFit philosophy of developing community started pulling me in. I had people saying “hi,” introducing themselves, asking about my CrossFit background, my fitness background, providing tips, etc. Not only that, but the Affiliates and Coaches were extremely hands on in the beginning, they were highly motivating and seemed to truly care about my own success.
In years and years of being in fitness, from working out in high school, college and post college, it was the first time in my life that I felt I had a gym community. I know that’s the CrossFit culture, but that doesn’t come naturally. It has to begin at the top and work its way through your Coaches and on down into your newest member. The way Coaches encourage others will become the way that other members coach each other.
To Sims’ point, don’t lose sight of what you have right in front of you. Otherwise, you may find yourself heading to the hill that looked greener and then become unable to find your way back, losing everything you already had. Enjoy your CrossFit journey, enjoy your growth, but follow Sims’ advice and grow with structure and not just because you can.