Our short two day stop in Vancouver ended as we headed to the US boarder. We made our way down through the top of Idaho for a night of camping. Then went down to the breathtaking views and wild animals of Yellow Stone National Park. My plan was to hit a few more gyms on our venture east, but driving 10 hours a day through Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota proved to wear on us. Home was insight and the thought of being settled, doing laundry, and getting out of the fast food haven that plagues middle America sounded very appealing. I managed to hit workouts at our campsites and in hotel gyms to finish the trip. In total we took 16 days and traveled 5,200 miles. We hit over ten boxes and managed to learn more then I ever expected.
1) FIRST IMPRESSIONS. The first and most profound thing I took away from this trip was how impressionable I was each and every time I walked into a gym. From how I was greeted to how neat the weights were stacked. I wrote an article, Are You Judging My Gym about this exact point. As an owner you need to remember how important first impressions are. Owners and trainers are in the gym seven days a week and greet hundreds of people a month. Do not become complacent. Keep your facility cleaner then yesterday and greet every new member like they are your first.
2) CREATING COMMUNITY. The community that is developed in each gym takes on the persona of the owners and trainers. Everyone in CrossFit talks about community. Every who writes about CrossFit talks about how important it is. Well how do you develop a perfect one? Develop systems that will layout exactly how to keep your community strong. How to greet new members, what to say when they ask “What is CrossFit?”, and how to run a class are a few quick examples. Sending an extra email, saying happy birthday, and spending extra time on nutrition are all great, but it does no good if it can not be reproduced. The longevity of your business depends on your ability to convey exactly how you created, developed and molded your community.
3) HOW TO RUN A CROSSFIT CLASS. Speaking of running a class there are three basic parts. Warm-up, workout, cool down. The warm up should include a general and specific portion. Technical information and movements standards should always be addressed. Enthusiasm and discussion in the beginning of the class should be a priority. The warm up sets up the entire workout. In the boxes where the coach presents themselves as the knowledgeable leader their presence creates great movement. It is like your 7th grade teacher peering over your shoulder while you take your test. Nothing needs to be said, you just want to do better when they are watching. The middle of the WOD should be a mix of instruction, correction and encouragement. The cool down was pretty much non existent at each and every box I visited. CrossFit causes souls to crumble, muscles to tighten up like resistance bands on pull up bar, and legs to feel like rusted steel rods. Stretch as a group, it takes 2 minuets to touch your toes and do the pigeon pose.
4) VALUE. Speaking of the class lets talk about the middle. The workout, the beef, that is what everyone is really paying for right? Setting the class up is important, but encouraging and coaching during the workout is the next step. We took one class that took an average of 30 min to finish the WOD and we heard to coach say “good job guys” twice. It would be laughable if it was not so depressing. Owners might have long days and trainers might get complacent from time to time, but that is no excuse. Each class should be coached like it is the last CrossFit class the coach will ever physically be able to coach. Bring the enthusiasm, the noise, the encouragement and sound technical advice in a well packaged bundle. Silence is forbidden, texting is never allowed and Facebook is for promoting not checking out your friends paleo dessert. Check out How to be the Best CrossFit Coach and Part 2. I address this issue head on. Now for the next class you teach and every other one from here on out, set the tone with your energy and push people so they need CrossFit like they need water.
Do you bring the noise? What is your style? Let me know in the comments below.