Josh S. and Karl C. sending out good vibes while running on Degraw St.
News and Notes
- There’s a new post over on Inside the Affiliate about coaching during group classes. Check it out if you’re curious re: the “job description” for all our wonderful coaches!
- Beginning of the work week got your muscles all scrunched up again? Come loosen and love on your soft tissue at Active Recovery with Coach Fox tonight at 6:30pm.
- Pilates with KH is back on at 7:30pm tonight. Come get mad abs and check out KH’s mad Costa Rican tan, yo!
The Organic Affiliate Growth Model
The original version of this article appeared on Coach David’s blog, Inside the Affiliate
I don’t really consider myself a “business person” despite the fact that I’ve owned and operated a relatively successful small business for almost seven years. As with so many others, I got into this profession because I love coaching movement and facilitating the positive impacts it has on peoples’ lives. I knew from very early on as a coach that I wanted to have my own gym, that I wanted it to be something special, and that having fun would be more important than making money. That being said, I didn’t really have the money to start a “proper” business from Day One so I had to do it the old-fashioned way and grow it organically. Below are the two concepts that have essentially encompassed CFSBK’s entire business plan from the early days in the park up through today.
Plant a Seed and Let it Grow Organically
Back in 2007, when I wanted to start CFSBK, it didn’t seem like the smartest approach to find partners, take out a huge loan, and rent some ludicrously overpriced real estate in Brooklyn in order to start a gym based around a niche training concept that no one had heard of. My entire “financial plan” was to simply work to my best abilities within the resources I had and to never spend a single dollar I didn’t already have available. My rule was that if I didn’t have the funds to obtain something I needed, I would have to work harder with what I did have until I was able to afford it. So in late 2007 I found a playground near my apartment that had some pull-up bars. I purchased a set of gymnastics rings, one kettlebell, a few cheap jump ropes, and made some sand bags out of truck tire tubes and hose clamps (which we still have and use). My entire initial business investment was somewhere around $150 worth of equipment plus the then $500 CrossFit affiliation fee.
While all this was happening, I continued to work six days a week at a commercial gym in Manhattan to support myself and saved every dollar I made from CrossFit so that I could plug it back into the business. Over time I had enough of a following that I could afford rented space a few times a week and offer a whopping three classes per week. I slowly grew the gym and transitioned myself away from coaching at the commercial facility until my business could sustain first myself, then a gradually growing number of employees. I’ve maintained that same exact business model and strategy up through today where we have over 600 members and about 20 employees. I take great pride in the fact that my staff and I have “earned” every single component related to our business, which makes every new piece of equipment or aspect of expansion that much more special, not just for me, but for everyone who’s been around long enough to see our growth.
Of course, there are countless alternative approaches to starting an affiliate that could easily bear as much fruit. My point is that many of the financial obstacles which scare off potential gym owners can be completely circumvented as long as you understand the financial rules you’re willing to play by, are prepared to take the long road of trading instant gratification for earned experience, and always focus growth on elevating your member experience, not your bottom line.
Leverage your Coaching and Atmosphere
There was recently a thread on the CrossFit message board that posed the question of whether it’s possible for an affiliate to start in a park or garage and remain competitive enough to stay afloat, given the ever-growing number of affiliates opening their doors with massive spaces fully equipped to run huge classes and offer a variety of specialized programs. Suddenly the vision of your members throwing sand-filled basketballs at trees for wall balls seems less romantic and more deflating. I was very fortunate to have heard of CrossFit early on and been the only affiliate in Brooklyn for the first year or so I was around. But while the game has changed a bit, nothing will ever trump quality coaching and a commitment to our members. While a fleet of rowing machines, daycare options, and an expansive class schedule certainly are desirable and can be things we should aspire toward, we believe that what really stays with people are the interactions they have with the coaches and people around them.
We’ve talked a lot on ITA about the importance of building community at affiliates and how to create a safe, positive training culture. Part of CFSBK’s business philosophy acknowledges that there is a psycho-social element of fitness, and doing CrossFit isn’t always just about getting fit, but about meeting people and doing things that make you the best version of yourself on all levels. These things are important for a tribe to build community and togetherness. Having an environment that encourages this creates a deeper connection to the program and a deeper relationship to one’s training. This kind of community engagement in turn encourages retention—the more people you know, the more people who will notice you’re not in class. Especially in New York, it’s easy to be alone in a crowd and though we have eight million-plus people, it’s often hard to meet each another. So if our members are clearly having fun and getting better, we’re doing our job and should stay the course. There isn’t a pro shop in the world that trumps the feeling of someone at CFSBK being accepted for who they are, and being challenged to get better.
Kettlebell Swings: Overhead or Traditional Catalyst Athletics
America Is Running Out of Water VICE
The Universe with Tim and Eric
Clean and Jerk
Fitness: Halting Clean Deadlift + Clean + Jerk
Focus on having your weight over your mid foot at the mid hang position. If you have a hard time organizing the pull off the floor, perform the clean from the mid hang, after the clean halting deadlift.
Performance: Hang (knee) Clean and Jerk (1+1) 1-1-1 then 80%x1x3
Work up to a heavy single on today's complex of a clean from the hang plus a jerk. Then back off to 80% for 3 singles.
Fitness: 3 x 5 Linear Progression
Add 5-10 pounds to last week's weight.
Performance: 75% x 6 x 5
Rest less than two minutes between sets.
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Optional Cashout: Fartlek Mile
6am with Jess and McDowell. I did Monday's press work – 3×5 @ 100 lbs. These felt heavy, but doable, which seems right. Then I did the wod in 12:39 with a 20kg kettle bell. I didn't expect the goblet lunges to be the thing that sucked the most, but they were. A timely infusion of Minor Threat in the stereo helped me keep things moving, though.
ariel c says
DO the link to your new blog post isn't working.
Back Squat: 95 x 5 x 3
Press: 47.5 x 5 x 3
Yesterday 7pm SC
Have been looking forward to break 300 for fives. Still moving pretty fast. Needed to fight a bit to get the last reps on the press. Its starting to get heavy. Lacking energy on the deadlift but got my five reps.
Hello friends! We are taking a family vacation next week and are looking for some help with our meat CSA pickup on the 2nd. If anyone is willing to pick up our meat share and store it until we return on the 6th, you would have our eternal gratitude, our veggie share for the week, plus whatever you'd like from the meat share (worlds best bacon?!). Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you could pick it up, we'll owe you one!
6am with Jess and McD.
C&J felt pretty good today @ 165. Needed to keep my elbows up a bit more before the jerk. I think it's a lack of confidence there that keeps me relying more on my arms, but after Jess pointed it out, I managed the jerk just fine with the bar starting on my shoulders.
FSQ 185x5x3 – Getting heavy but think I can go up 10# next week. Finished at 190 last cycle so it would be great to pass that weight next week.
AM Olympic class
6/24/14 cfsbk oly snatch
40×3 50×2 60×2 70×1 75×1 80×1 85xM,M,M,1 (PR)
FINALLY stood this up. Lots of work smoothing out the second pull. Feels slower but much more powerful now. Can't wait to see where this takes me.
Clean and 3 jerk
40 50 60 70 80
Clean and jerk
Still working on stopping arm bend on the cleans and cleaning up footwork on the jerk. Definitely some progress on both.
Whit H says
Oly Class today:
Snatch: warm-up, positions, drills @ 33#
53, 63, 73, 83, 93F, 93, 98, 98F
-need to continue to smooth the transition from first to second pull. hips through as shoulders come back. WHEEL. then explode.
-knees were staying out of the way thru the hang position today and the first rep at 98 actually felt very smooth and def got to my hips
83, 93, 103, 123, 133, 143F, 143F, 143C (failed jerk).
-no shoulder/elbow pain during this today! though I do have a bit of leftover soreness now in my left bicep. hmm.
-143 clean is matching my PR from maybe a month ago. was closer on the jerk this time, but I keep splitting SHORT so I can't get down. it ended out in front and not fully locked out.
-drill 5 sets of 10 footwork before next class + videotape to see if front foot or back foot needs help.
mobility post-class: orb in lat, posterior shoulder, tricep, pec. lax ball bicep.
Strength Cycle Last night
BSQ: 45, 65, 85, 100x5x3 woohoo milestone
Press: 33, 38, 45 x5x3
Deadlift: 75, 95, 115, 140×5- first time doing switch grip- no like…
For the "shit jeremy says file:"
me: this squat weight feels scary
him: Don't worry, if it's too heavy, i'll swoop in and snatch it off your back like a mighty eagle.
he then proceeded to talk to himself whether it was actually more like a hawk or an eagle as I tried to recompose myself for set 2.
**2 misses on the 3rd and 4th sets. Spent ALL day standing yesterday and the legs felt dead…, thats my excuse.
Clean+Clean from Knee+Clean from mid thigh+Jerk
**This was HELL on the thumbs. I actually did the last 2 sets with straps…which is normally a big no no. as long as you know you can get you elbows up and around fast enough, you can minimize the risk of breaking your wrists…
220×8, 244×6, 264×5, 288×3, 264×5
GHD w/5kg plate behind the head
Much needed rest day tomorrow.
Little rest day work tonight
5/3/1 Bench (5 week)