We all know how the story goes: Give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. Teach a man how to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.
A similar mentality, substituting in the idea of fitness for the fish of course, seems to permeate the CrossFit community: educating your members can do more than just running them through a WOD.
That is where seminars come in. Your gym can utilize seminars within the walls of your Box, benefiting not just your business, but most importantly your members. “What it does for our personal clients is that it gives them an opportunity to really dive in and learn some skills and techniques that they wouldn’t get as detailed in during class,” explained Justin Adams, a Coach at Woodward CrossFit in Austin, Texas. “Obviously, it’s stuff you cover briefly in class but it’s tough to get [more] in that hour. So the seminars are dedicated, longer time slots where we teach those specific movements where they can ask questions and really dial in. We’ve seen a lot of results from it.”
Adams is also the founder of RXGymnastics seminars and has been putting on the educational classes at Woodward CrossFit and various Boxes for two years. He offers three different seminars with focuses that narrow in on muscle-ups, pull-ups and handstands, and other movements like rope climbing. “Members really like it,” said Adams. “We always have full capacity. There’s also people outside of our gym that come that want to learn these things.”
Across the country in Louisville, Kentucky, CrossFit Scullhouse looks to educate its members on using their body correctly through its Body Awareness and Core Activation seminar. “Our seminar tries to teach people how to be aware of your body — body awareness — and how to use your core,” said Jake Kilbride, the owner of the Box. “Our core is underused — a lot of people don’t even know how to use it. So, that’s our main focus, and we go back to basics.”
The Body Awareness and Core Activation seminar is held every couple of months in hopes of keeping the community connected and learning. Plus, Kilbride will also bring in outside experts to educate his members in areas such as nutrition. “If you bring somebody else in, you always can learn,” he said. “If you stop learning and you think you know everything, you can’t succeed as a gym, as a business and as a trainer. [You’ve] always got to be up on what’s new and keep it flowing.”
And that is what it all comes down to: educating the member. For Adams, it’s considered icing on the cake if a member achieves the movement a seminar is focused on. Instead, he looks more to teach the progression of how a member can achieve a handstand push up or muscle-up so that they have the knowledge on how to continue to improve. “If somebody walks away knowing the progression, and then in a month, or two months, or three months, by going through [the progression] can get it, I would deem that seminar successful because they would have learned and taken away something from it,” said Adams. “I want people to come away with knowledge [on] how to do this and learn this on their own.”
Kilbride echoed similar sentiments. “How do I know if a seminar is successful? It’s not about how many people come to the seminar, it’s about if they go away with some new knowledge,” he said. “They walk away learning something new and they can use that in their workouts, to again, be a little bit more confident, doing stuff correctly, safely, and if it sparks something in them, maybe change their diet, get them a little excited. If they’re leaving with no kind of new goals or anything like that, then it wasn’t successful. They got to walk out that door feeling pretty confident and pretty excited about what they learned.”
Organization, self-education and passion are three key ingredients in making a seminar successful, said Adams. By using an outline to plan out the program, it helps everything run smoothly. By knowing about and having passion for gymnastics, which he has been involved in since he was 3 years old, Adams said it has enabled him to dive deep and truly educate those who attend. “Because I have a background in gymnastics and have a lot of knowledge in that area, that allows me to do seminars on that, but if people are wanting to start seminars, it can be anything that you’re passionate about,” he said.
Seminars can benefit your Box and members. They can teach your members how to “fish,” enabling them to be successful in fitness during the years to come. “I think seminars can be a very successful thing,” said Adams. “I think for your client base they are good to do, so [they] don’t miss out by just doing things in class. They don’t have to be this long, drawn-out seminars. You can have an hour where you bring clients in and teach them specific movements after learning and educating yourself, and I think clients get a lot from it. Anytime you’re spending an extended amount of time on one thing, just dialing it in, not necessarily doing a workout, but teaching technique, people get a lot from that.”