Understand CrossFitters and How to Keep Them


It’s pretty common to hear Box owners asking the same questions: How do you increase business, retain your members and get more people to join? Of course, there are a lot of answers but there is one very simple solution: Keep your CrossFitters from getting injured.

Injured CrossFitters don’t come into the Box the next day. Injured athletes may not want to do the workouts or the movements. Even worse, injured members might decide that CrossFit or your Box just isn’t for them.

Educate Your Members

It really comes down to education. Box owners and Coaches need to teach members about more than the movements and what Metcon and AMRAP means. It is about the long term, which includes nutrition, rest days and yes, how to go hard without going too hard. If you are teaching someone to do a pull-up, a deadlift or rope climb then you need to also teach them about hand protection and weight belts and shin guards. Gear isn’t just about the coolest shirt or the fanciest headband. If they have never lifted weight, why would they understand the pros and cons of a belt? If they are doing more pull-ups than they have ever done, how would they know how to keep their hands from ripping? Injuries are part of any sport, but if you can prevent them and you don’t, then you risk the trust of the people you train.

Ripped Hands are No Longer a Badge of Honor

When CrossFit first hit the scene the words, “Go hard and go heavy” were tossed around a lot. It was a badge of honor to have scraped-up legs from deadlifts, disgustingly infected shins from rope climbs, and oh yes, those memorable Facebook posts of those ripped hands from all those pull-ups. Times have changed and so have your members. It is good business to understand how much it has changed.

There are of course amazing athletes that dream of the CrossFit Games and those who are drawn to competitions and people who live in the gym. There are also the other 99 percent who have another day job. There are firefighters who don’t work on muscle-ups because a hurt shoulder could actually be a liability. There are nurses who won’t do pull-ups because they can’t actually do their jobs if they rip. There are people who just don’t want to scream in pain in the shower or shave off calluses or explain to other moms at pickup why their hands are ripped open. That doesn’t mean CrossFit isn’t for them. If injuries convince them CrossFit may not fit their lives, then that is bad for business.

Owners and Coaches can Change the Culture

Your members listen to you. Coaches and owners need to lead the way in changing the culture that says injury prevention or comfort is selling out. Coaches should know how to help the many different members, and that means getting educated on options. Again, it’s not about a cool shirt or being a commercial for some other small business. A lot of gear out there is made for CrossFitters by CrossFitters. Getting these products in the hands of members is best done through Box leaders. Tell them the pros and cons and give them options.

Let’s be honest. Look on any blog and you can see the backlash. Sometimes it can be from people in the community who imply any equipment designed to help athletes is somehow cheating. CrossFit is hard. It’s great. But you can train hard and smart.

A pull-up still builds muscle and fitness if your skin stays intact. Find a way to help clients keep their hands healthy when they are on the bar, and their legs from bleeding when they are on the rope and they’ll be back on that bar and rope and in your Box the next day.   Look for wholesale opportunities, talk to these companies. It’s one more way to increase revenue for your business while helping members understand they can stay fit and injury free.

When your members are happy and free of injury, your chances of keeping them coming back to the great community you built gets better too. When that happens, everyone wins.


By Claudine Penney, the owner of Honey Badger Grips. For more information, email claudine@honeybadgergrips.com or call 415.846.4964.