Keeping it Fresh at Your Gym


What kind of car do you drive?

If you’re like most people when you think of your answer, it will include both the make of the car and the model year (eg: “a 2016 Chevrolet Traverse”). That’s because anyone who knows anything about cars knows the model year is critical to appreciating the value and appeal of a particular vehicle. It’s simply human nature to desire newer things more.

We see the same thing in our business. According to Club Solutions Magazine, today’s 20-somethings want to get their fitness from a new generation of group workout “experiences,” high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and single-modality boutiques. So while CrossFit was once the hot, new thing, and the intrinsic value of the CrossFit platform has not changed, customer tastes and expectations can and do.

I’d like to suggest three steps to help you stay ahead of the curve by keeping your Box strong and competitive against whatever new flavor-of-the-month comes your way.

1. Keep it Fresh

Start at the street and follow the path a member or prospect would take entering your Box. I’ll bet you find a half-dozen little things you can do, from your signage to the color of the door. Move the front counter. Maybe it’s time to rearrange your floor plan. Change the paint scheme. Get new shirts for your team. Rearrange the lighting.  Definitely update the music play list.

Change is a sign of life. It keeps things fresh for your current members, and projects vitality and energy that makes you attractive to prospects.

2. Make Me Notice

Put your Box in the news and on peoples’ minds with new activities and events that make me say, “I didn’t know they did that!”

Dedicate the first Tuesday of each month to breaking a different record at your Box, and make a big deal about it in local press and social media. Invite special motivators or Coaches in for events. Link up with a local restaurant for a nutrition challenge, your local firehouse to promote first-responder fit, or the local hospital on a health and wellness promotion. Bring new people into your orbit, and get people thinking about your Box in new ways.

3. Recommit to Current Members.

With all of the change going on, it’s especially important to make sure your existing members never question your love. Counterintuitively, the best way to do this is to keep them involved in the change process. Have a dedicated day for people to help move equipment or paint. Ask for help planning and supporting new activities.

Beyond that, come up with reasons to take their pictures and list their names on the wall, drinking bottles, awards or other places. Give them T-shirts to commemorate being part of your Box now – “To Hell and Back 2018” – and support the feeling you’re all part of the same team. Belonging is a very powerful thing.

Yes, this is Cross Fit, and we call them “Boxes” for a reason. You don’t want to lose the raw, hard-core vibe and extreme physicality of the Cross Fit experience. At the same time, that experience has to evolve so it always feels as fresh and different as the first time someone walked into your Box.

Just like a car, last year’s model just doesn’t have the same appeal as the shiny new thing. Follow these three tips and keep your Box experience “showroom new” for all of your members and prospects. Your staff will notice the difference, too.

Michael McLinden earns his road rash as a serial entrepreneur, and consultant to health, wellness and fitness related companies in the U.S. and Europe with a focus on market analysis, branding and value creation. He has held executive management and strategic planning responsibilities in a number of regional and global advertising and marketing firms, including Mc|K Healthcare, which he co-founded and ran until 2014. He holds an MS from Purdue University and an MBA from TIAS Nimbas business school in the Netherlands. Email him at