Good athletes become great athletes by going beyond their daily WOD and pushing themselves to learn more. Your goal as an Affiliate or Coach should be to present your athletes with ample opportunities for growth. One way to offer this is by hosting workshops or seminars at your Box.
A workshop provides a way to create an intensive educational experience in a short amount of time on a particular subject. Whether it be weightlifting, nutrition, endurance or another hot topic, people seem to be always hungry for more than you can give them in a daily class.
Carol Beliveau and Jesse Hilmandolar, the co-owners of Trebel Wellness in Blacksburg, Virginia, aim to host a three-hour seminar every six to eight weeks at their facility. The topics will vary, as they try to keep them pertinent to their client base. Trebel Wellness is composed of a large middle-aged client demographic – not athletes looking to compete – so the owners try to choose topics based on that client avatar.
“Whatever it may be, we couple up from the beginning with what our clients need and what they think they need; whatever overlap there is we will put that on,” said Hilmandolar. “The biggest ones are the lifestyle, nutrition-based seminars. Stress management and lifestyle management are also big hits.”
Kurt Glore, the owner of Elemental CrossFit in Farmington, Missouri, said they decide what workshops to host based on needs observed by the Coaches during classes, but they also take the wants of their athletes into consideration since they are the ones who will be attending.
“Sometimes we poll our members,” said Glore. “Knowing what they have an appetite for will go a long way in helping you decide if you want to dedicate the time to set one up for that subject.”
Glore explained it’s important to know if your members want certain subject matter because it takes a lot of work to hold a workshop. However, athletes also need dedication to attend, which is why Trebel Wellness hosts workshops at an uncommon hour: 5 a.m.
“We put it that early in the morning because it’s a ‘No excuses’ kind of thing,” said Beliveau. “If you need help with your nutrition and you’re not showing up because you can’t get out of bed, that’s an issue. If you’re out of town that’s one thing, but we plan them that way because it’s like, ‘Well, you told me you needed help. Here’s your opportunity.’”
When it comes to setting a price for your seminars, there are different paths you could take. Many Boxes offer workshops in-house for free to their members and charge for outside participants. Glore said it depends on a few factors if Elemental CrossFit charges attendees.
“We do nutrition workshops about every other month and don’t charge our members because this is something that we host,” said Glore. “We also do in-house Oly workshops in which we also don’t charge our members. If we bring someone in from the outside, then we will charge an amount that will completely cover or come close to covering the cost of the instructor. If we allow non-members for either, then we charge them regardless.”
Hilmandolar said they take the same approach to pricing as Glore. They normally only charge if they bring in an outside Coach. At Trebel Wellness, they follow a “Coach for life” model. Each client at their gym has an assigned “Coach for life” who they meet with for check-ins and assessments. Because of this approach with their athletes, they see workshops as an added benefit to that relationship between Coach and athlete.
“For me, it’s not about a transaction for time,” said Hilmandolar. “It is an investment in the long-term relationship of our client base. Especially if I want to keep my folks happy, me having a three-hour seminar is the right thing to do. Our relationships with our clients are very similar to doctors and patients. If we tell them we suggest something, they will probably do it. It’s a test to see if they really want it by having them wake up at 5 a.m. to come in for it, but it proves they aren’t just talk.”
That long-term relationship is key to retaining members. Finding their weaknesses or something they have expressed struggling with, then offering a seminar on that exact topic, can show you care about each and every individual at your gym.
“Pick something that you’ve observed and recognize as a need for a majority of your members — maybe it’s a pull-up workshop,” said Glore. “Something that is easy to set up and easy to run will get your feet wet with something safe and then you can move up from there.”