Is There a Box Bubble?


Let’s be honest: There are two reasons you’re working in this industry.

The first is you love fitness. It’s one of your passions. And that is awesome.

The second is you want to make money by following your passion. You can tell me you don’t, but if you really believe that, well… it’s OK. Money is a good thing. It keeps the lights on and grass-fed butter in the fridge.

This industry is growing faster than most would have guessed. That said, things are going to change and you’re going to need to prepare for that if you want to survive.

Right now there are more than 10,000 CrossFit Boxes around the world. There are three in my little beach suburb, which is less than five square miles and has fewer than 50,000 people. That doesn’t include the HIIT classes at the mega-gyms or independent gyms focusing on kettlebells, Oly movements, sculpt yoga classes, etc., that outsiders would consider CrossFit-ish.

So I ask you, why should I work out at your gym?

Things are Cyclical

It’s happened in the tech world, in the snowboard industry and it will happen in craft beer soon enough. Eventually it’ll happen in CrossFit, too.

The explosive growth will stop and in some markets, there’ll be a backslide.

People only have so much money, fads arise – Jazzercise anyone? – tastes change and so do people’s lifestyles. That 20-something that came to your Box six days a week may have a harder time doing so in two years when they’ve had kids and bills start adding up.

It comes down to preparation for both today, tomorrow and the year after tomorrow.

Look at your personal fitness life. You prepare for today and next week, right? Do you tie your shoes before the WOD or do you wait until a few steps into your warm-up, then tie them? You stretch after a workout, so you can be your best tomorrow. You eat right, at the right times. You don’t wait for your shoes to wear out before buying new ones.

Are you prepared for the next cycle when the bubble bursts?

Are You Telling Me to F*ck Off Right Now?!

Nope, I’m asking you to look at your Box and your program holistically. The bubble won’t burst today or tomorrow, but when it gets close, what’s going to make members choose and stay with your facility verses another Box or fitness program?

In addition to your marketing, it comes down to your branding, marketing – PR, advertising, social media, T-shirts, events – your image outside the Box, your Box’s place in the community and so much more.

So no, I’m not telling you to f*ck off. Rather, I’m asking you when the bubble bursts, why should I work out at your gym?

Bill Byrne is a director at San Diego’s Remedy Communications, a PR and social media firm with clients ranging from action sports brands to leaders in finance, technology and business-to-business solutions. His short-term goals for the last year included getting a new headshot for work and increasing his max pull-ups to 21. He’s failed at both, but is happy to note he is making progress in the pull-up department. More info on Bill and Remedy Communications can be found online at