When Liz Montano started Depot CrossFit, open gym wasn’t really sought after by members.
Years and four locations later, however, it’s something her members ask to have at the gyms. “Now everybody wants to work on things outside of class. Class is never enough for them,” said Montano, the owner of the Box located in California. “Or, it’s also good for people that have schedules where they can’t attend a class so they can come in and work on it, do the WOD themselves.”
In order to go to open gym at one of Depot CrossFit’s locations, you simply need an unlimited membership. Times vary from each Box — some offer open gym in the evenings and some in the mornings — but Montano said the overall most popular time is on Saturday and Sunday. “Open gym during the week isn’t as popular, but on the weekend it has been really popular, and in fact, [it’s] been great for the community because it allows people to be a little bit more social. People can talk more as opposed to in class when you’re listening to the Coach. They can communicate more and everybody can just be chatty,” said Montano.
The demographic and audience of each Box is what determines when Montano offers open gym at a location. For example, Depot West LA caters to a lot of students due to its proximity to the University of California Los Angeles. Open gym at this Box is offered from 2 to 4 p.m. three days a week. Over at the location in Hollywood, open gym is held in the morning.
But no matter what time of the day or whether it’s on the weekends or during the week, Montano said open gym time will always have a Coach there to monitor what is going on at the Box. Although it costs her money to pay that staff member, safety is her biggest motivator.
“We do have particular things we look for with Coaches watching open gym, but it’s mainly related to safety, somebody’s doing something maybe outside of their ability as well, or doing something we’ve never seen before,” said Montano.
In terms of whether or not other Affiliates should consider offering open gym, Montano said to take a look at your business model and find out when people would want it. “I think it’s an excellent option for members, just to provide members another option to learn and work on things. But, [offering open gym] has to fit within their business model and they have to find the appropriate time and amount,” she said. “I think it’s just a great benefit and it’s another nice membership option to show people coming in the doors that they have that.”