About five years ago, Karina Delgadillo told her father she no longer wanted to play soccer.
But, it was then they came across CrossFit. Since Tim Davis, Delgadillo’s father, would have to sit and wait for her while she did class, he decided to join instead. “I hadn’t done anything in a long time,” said Davis.
Delgadillo grew in confidence and strength from the training. It wasn’t long before she had an idea. “She came to me one day and said, ‘Hey, I want to start a gym for kids,’” recalled Davis.
Sitting down, they talked about the sacrifices that would have to be made as Delgadillo was a senior in high school at the time. Davis explained to her the time it would take and the challenges they would face. Fast-forward five years later and they are now co-owners of CrossFit Rugrats, a kids-only gym in Owensboro, Kentucky.
With 8,000-square-feet, Delgadillo and Davis have been in their current space for 2.5 years. Delgadillo said training the kids and teaching them CrossFit has been what she expected. What’s hard is the ‘behind-the-scenes’ work. “Having to actually learn business stuff was hard,” she shared.
CrossFit Rugrats is kids-only for a couple reasons: First, there was already a CrossFit gym in Owensboro. But there wasn’t anything for the kids in terms of the fitness regimen. Second, Delgadillo had a passion for training youth, having down plenty of experience coaching kids in soccer. And, starting with just kids meant CrossFit Rugrats would grow slowly. “Karina is excellent with kids,” said Davis. “We wanted something for kids because there wasn’t anything.”
However, it’s been a challenge to get the kids consistent. Whether it’s due to outside sports or needing parental approval, the numbers fluctuate. “It’s a commitment,” said Davis. “[The parents] have to get [the kids] there and they have to sit around and wait for them.”
But, they have found great success in training youth competitively. Davis shared they’ve had over 100 podium finishes at CrossFit competitions and have set 16 state records in weightlifting. Plus, they have thoughts on expanding classes and are testing out the idea of a family class right now.
Delgadillo said the biggest thing she has learned in coaching kids has been how they each need to be taught individually. “Especially when it comes to kids, they’re all different. Some of them learn better this way. Some of them learn better that way,” she said. “So trying to individualize teaching them complex barbell movements, like a Snatch, it’s a lot different from one kid to the other. Figuring out how to encourage certain kids versus others; they’re very different. But I also enjoy getting to know them, to where I know what’s best to motivate them. It’s fun for me.”
And like nearly every Affiliate out there, it all comes down to passion. “There’s going to be stress with everything, but if you’re doing what you love, if you’re changing lives, building community for the kids, and are a place where everyone can be themselves and have fun, not worry about anything else, there’s not judgement, nobody is making fun of you because you’re overweight or different or anything like that, you can’t complain,” said Davis
ACTION: Assess whether or not a kids class is something your gym could be offering. If you have the market for it, ask yourself who could champion that class. Then go and talk to them to find out if they would be interested.