One Way to Keep Members Engaged


Finding ways to keep your members engaged is a challenge for any gym. Finding ways to stay innovative in your approach can be just as, or even more, difficult. Master Coach Julie Johnston utilizes innovative approaches to keep her clients engaged at her facility, Camp Rhino, by offering unique challenges. Julie recognizes growing industry trends and creates unique ways to implement them into her facility. Check out what she does to bring the CrossFit Open to Camp Rhino:

Last year Camp Rhino had 60 members sign up for the Open. This year we had 155. We owe the increased participation to this really cool concept created by Chris Cooper of Two Brain Business called the Intramural Open.

We chose four team captains — they couldn’t be a Coach or the owner; it had to be members — and had them ‘draft’ all of the Coaches and members who were already signed up for the Open one week after registration opened. Our team names were Wildly Mediocre, Painkillers, Gym Class Heroes and Eye of the Rhino. Then, the members of each team would draft as many members as they could to be on their team for the Open. Once they committed to a team they had to 1) be signed up for the Open and 2) take a photo of themselves with a sign of the team name and post on social media with #Rhino2018Open #Committed. Every teammate who posted a score during the CrossFit Open gets a point for their team, and at the weekly “Friday Night Lights” there would be a showdown where team spirit was awarded.

The hilarity and engagement that ensued was amazing. Everyone felt special because everyone was asked to be on a team multiple times. Teams were ‘fighting’ over members to try to get them on their team, which made members feel special. The photos were all over social media of members committing to teams. We even have a weekly live interview with one of the team captains to discuss the week’s activities.

The most important thing about the Open is it has the power to bring a community together toward a common challenge. Everyone was nervous before 18.1 together, whether they were brand new and heavily scaled or the top athlete in the gym. Everyone bonded over retesting and getting a better score on Monday than they got on Friday.

When CrossFitters start to really get into the sport, they realize every year they get to compete in the same Open competition as some of their CrossFit idols. The Open is the first online, worldwide qualifier for Regionals, which is the qualifier for the CrossFit Games. It is an experience no other sport offers. As a gym, we travel to watch the Regional competitors and this year we will even be traveling to watch the Games. We wear our matching shirts and cheer on our team and favorite competitors.

Some of us know what it is like to be part of a team, and we miss it. Some of us have never been on a team. CrossFit allows us to compete on a team no matter what skill level we are, and the age groups for competition go all the way up to 60-plus. I told someone recently “CrossFit has the power to make people happy,” and the CrossFit Open is a big part of that.


By Julie Johnston. Power Systems Master Coach Julie Johnston is the founder and owner of Camp Rhino and Rhino CrossFit in Las Vegas, Nevada. Over the past 14 years, Johnston and her team have grown Camp Rhino into a one-of-a-kind fitness experience with two — soon to be three — locations. With 14 years of experience as a physical fitness trainer and 17 years of experience as an entrepreneur, Johnston stays ahead of the curve with never-before-seen fitness programs and business ideas. For more information, visit or email