How to Compete with Summer

No Shower Happy Hours at CrossFit Icehouse

Summers are notoriously low in attendance and sales, especially in the upper Midwest where we get a whole two months – sometimes three – of nice weather.

The entire town of Fargo seems to clear out to head to their lake cabins every weekend, which generally means lower overall attendance as routines get ditched for beers on the boat with family and friends. 

That being said, we try to find a balance of fun events for members to attend and the right cadence so they prioritize our events without missing all of the nice weekends at the lakes. We also try to keep costs down as summers are traditionally lower revenue for us, and all of these are either free or the cost of some paper or burgers for the grill. 

Here are a few of our favorites:

Summer Bingo

We make up Bingo Sheets with some prizes like swag and money off memberships, then fill in the squares with things that are both fun and keep folks coming to the gym and accountable. Some fun ones are: “Make a pyramid with at least three people, post to social media and tag CrossFit Icehouse.” It’s silly and gets engagement up on social media.  

Attendance booster squares may say: 

  • Attend class 15 times in June.
  • Attend an Icehouse event outside of class.
  • Bring a buddy to an Icehouse class!  

This year, we are even incorporating nutrition as we are making a big push to build that program, so “take a picture of the label of your favorite protein bar to share” or “Share your favorite meal prep recipe.” It gets them re-thinking some of what was thought to be healthy. 

Try anything that supports keeping people coming during your slow months, or stays true to your culture and goals. And who doesn’t love to play games for some swag!?

4th of July Presidential Fitness Assessment

Participants in CrossFit Icehouse’s “Presidential Fitness” assessment.

We keep our 4th of July workout as fun as possible. If you remember the Presidential Fitness assessment from your grade school days, we basically take that and make a field day out of the workout. We do furthest shot put throw using wall balls, the sit and reach test, max bar hang or pull ups, and the broad jump, to name a few.  

It mixes things up, is full of laughs and we even end it with printed out certificates of completion sign by Ronald Regan that we found on the internet. They love it and lots of folks post their completed workout photos with the certificates. This is followed by an optional mile or beer mile test, then of course a cookout and potluck.

Coaches Takeover Classes and No Shower Happy Hours

Once per month on a Friday, all of the Coaches jump into the last class of the day. It raises some friendly competition, spikes the energy in classes and boosts member engagement as we lift and workout together.  

We keep the workout as some sort of lift where we can partner up with members and help/chat with them, then a shorter workout where we can do two heats to cheer each other on. It’s a bit of a throwback to the old days of CrossFit, and it’s been very fun and popular with members. We do have to remove the class cap for those classes because they are so popular, so consider equipment limits when programming. 

Following the workout, we close up and head to a brewery – we are fortunate that we have one in our parking lot – for a beer or two and to catch up with everyone and enjoy the weather, when it allows.

Have Fun

It is easy to get stressed about all of the folks requesting holds or leaving for the summer, so bringing in some easy to implement and affordable options for your members add a ton of value, and help them remember why they love your gym, and that fitness is supposed to be fun.

Born and raised in York, Pennsylvania, Courtney Shoemaker then slowly migrated over the years to Fargo, North Dakota. She spent most of her adult life working in corporate America, and finally took the leap to leave for a new career in CrossFit. Outside of the gym she also spends time skydiving or doing yoga. CrossFit Icehouse was established in 2015 in Fargo, North Dakota, with the goal of “Building Everyday Athletes.” CrossFit Icehouse is a “You First” fitness environment. It builds relationships and create healthy habits through fitness to allow you to become the best version of yourself. Reach her at