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Craig "PATTY" Patterson


After leaving engineering and the corporate life to become a fitness trainer in 2004, Patty’s life has been transformed by the community he serves today.

And since 2004, his MadLab community has grown from being a one-man operation into a federally-recognized and provincially accredited vocational school. MadLab School of Fitness – the first of its kind.

Everyone who works at MadLab School of Fitness is like family to Patty – one he even grew up with in Gaspe, Quebec, while he worked with another as an engineer 15 years ago. “They are a very special group and I am honoured to be their leader,” Patty said.

The ultimate goal for Patty and his family is to professionalize the fitness industry. “Our business model is designed to give opportunity to those who are bright and passionate about helping others and making a difference in the community, but above all it elevates those who display courage and character in the face of the realities of the free market,” he said.

He added: “Every one of our coaches has been put through the ringer, forced to prove themselves, and all have become independent contractors who own their own business, and their character has been shaped by the free market. Our coaches are not paid a salary or an hourly wage; they are paid based on their performance.”

Today, Patty’s coaches are living the vision that Patty laid out for them when he opened CrossFit Vancouver in 2004. “Our business is a fusion of a co-op and a law firm. Our top coaches earn six figure salaries, competitive with professional salaries; they work less than 35 hours per week and have at least 4 weeks of vacation per year,” he said.

This system is different than what is traditionally found in the fitness industry, where an average employee works as a personal trainer for 3 to 5 years, then quits and has to find a “real” career because he either doesn’t make enough money to ever afford a home and raise a family, or he is burnt out from his demanding schedule.

“We have been working to change that. Our school’s system is set up to train and mentor apprentices, so the knowledge they gain is passed to the next generation of coaches. We are also working with other affiliates from around the world, building a system and figuring out larger patterns across the industry in order to keep people motivated and keep them fit for their entire life. This continuity is the key to building excellence across the industry,” Patty said.

He added: “I am very proud of what we have accomplished so far, and it is just the beginning. My role is to constantly find ways to improve our product and provide opportunity for others in the fitness industry so we can transform the communities we serve into fit, healthy, and happy places to live.”