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Crossfit Vancouver School of Fitness

Picture this in your mind’s eye: Me and you decide we are going to open up a McDonalds, in a third world country where no one has even seen a burger or indulged in some tasty fries. All we have to do is attend a 2 day certification (with 50 other hopefuls) for $1,000, to lean about burgers, fries, cokes, sunday’s etc. Then we pay McDonalds HQ $3,000 a year for the right to use the name and bam we are in business. We find a suitable space, buy all the equipment we need, put up the sign over the door and voila the money rolls in. Except…… we have no idea how to run the business, there are no franchise “how to sheets”, we have to figure it all out from the ground up, and there are essentially no rules or quality control on how we bring these quarter pounders to market…… There a lot of ways to go about this. ☺ This is essentially what happens to every Crossfit opened around the world. This is not a criticism of Crossfit HQ and how they run their organization, this is just simply how the system works. It has always operated as a free market animal following the theory that the more baby sea turtles hatched, the more will make it to sea, the more will grow up strong and self sufficient. The Catch: there is bound to be mucho carnage along the way. Crossfit HQ has been brilliant in spreading the name and bringing awareness to “Crossfit”. We see them as a great marketing arm for our business. Where else can I pay $500 a year (we are grand fathered in at the original rate, which is a classy move) and get the same amount of market penetration? Besides, we would never have been successful in the first place with out Greg Glassman producing the early works “What is fitness” and “Crossfit Foundations” and bringing us the “code for fitness”. If we had of opened ‘The Bear and Pig Fitness Emporium’, I can’t really see it having a good end. Personally I will always be in Greg’s debt as he took me under his wing in the early days, taught me how the business works and was a fantastic mentor. We talked on the phone every week and saw each other 3-4 times per year. I read a dozen or so brain fucking books I never would have found otherwise. I had almost unlimited access to his intellect and boundless passion for fitness. I leaned more about how to think in those 2 years than I did getting my Engineering Degree and he was instrumental in shaping how our school works today. As far as I can tell no one else is running their business the way we do. Thank you Coach! As far as most affiliates around the world operate, they are each very individual snowflakes. There are some big healthy sea turtles swimming around (Crossfit Vancouver is one of those), some scrappy little guys finding their niche, many who have died outright and many others “fail to thrive”. We are all looked at from the outside as the same, we have the same name……..we are all Crossfit. This is where things get complicated. Luckily for us here in the lower mainland nearly all of the local affiliates run a pretty good show, most have studied or trained with us and we seem to have a common respect. It is very different in many of the US markets, especially in California and the Eastern seaboard. When I talk to my old friends (we are the 5th affiliate in the world, there are now over 3,000) in Boston, Portland or San Jose I am left slack jawed and amazed. Crossfit gyms are opening on top of each other, guys are stealing clients, coaches are going from gym to gym, people are defecting all over the place, owners low ball monthly rates, lowering the barrier to entry, give away free “onramp” classes, removing all personal training or fundamentals, thus putting people right into classes. This has lead to a degradation in the service and quality of the product. A dumbing down of the fitness industry is happening all over again……inside Crossfit gyms all over the world. People are chasing money (maybe for survival) and not striving for excellence. Now Reebok has entered the fray. Next time you are out of town, stop in to the local Crossfit and let us know what you experience. There are many good ones. Still, the owners of Crossfit affiliates are leaders in the industry and we each have a choice to make as to what legacy we are going to leave for the fitness industry. Crossfit HQ can give us suggestions, but they do not run affiliate gyms and I suspect avoid doing so as to not be exposed to class action law suits associated with franchise laws in the US. I am not a big supporter of government regulation, setting up limits, rules and standards anyway. They could all be wrong and send us down a dark path or at the very least stifle imagination and prohibit creative new solutions. It should be a choice as there are many ways to be excellent. To be honest I really dug the early CF days. It was truly the wild wild west. :) So what do we do now, where do we all go from here? Well we have decided to stay the course we were on a long time ago, as we see an ever present need to do so. The only issue now is that we need to differentiate ourselves, and our way of delivering Crossfit to the world. Hopefully we will be a resource and a good role model for current and future Crossfit owners who share the same values. Crossfit HQ appears to be most interested in the Crossfit Games, promoting Crossfit as a sport, sponsorship agreements and the whole elite aspect of it. Reebok wants to bring it to the masses to sell their clothing. We want to make ordinary peoples lives better and professionalize the fitness industry. Hopefully we can all work together. Some people think the end is near. I don't share that opinion, but it will depend upon what Reebok does with this opportunity???? No matter how buggered the whole situation gets, we will continue to do what we do and continue to establish our brand and what we stand for. Our system, one that the PCTIA (Provincial governing body for schools) helped us to create, is all about professional development of our coaches and apprentices. This system essentially assures that you our students/clients get the best in the fitness industry, but more than that it is a system that promotes continuity and should leave a lasting legacy toward professionalizing the fitness industry. We still have a long ways to go, but we are on the right path. If you hadn’t noticed, the fitness industry has some pretty big problems. It is extremely difficult for someone who doesn't own a company, isn't hawking a pill or potion to be able to buy a house and raise a family. There are some very smart, committed people in this industry, but it has a long way to go before it presents opportunities that law, finance,medicine and engineering do now. Traditional globo gyms have a few sharks who lock their unsuspecting prey into long term contracts for $25 a month, that they don’t use after Jan 27th and pay kids $12 an hour to wipe down the machines and treat people aloofly so as they don’t come back, because if they all did the place would be more backed up than the Port Man on a Friday evening. Crossfit can't go down this same path and survive. Our coaches make up to 60% of total revenue, which is better than the NHL, NFL and NBA. When accountants and bankers look at my financials they freak out and want to cut my labor costs. This would be a mistake. (Maybe we could take a couple of more percentage points away…..what do ya say Sack?) This system promotes continuity and mentorship and develops long term solutions to keep our clients in the gym and motivated to get fit. We are stronger as a team and a community then we would ever be alone. I could go on forever about how we are different and describe how we run our school, but for brevity I will discuss one more concept. The Groupon and its imitators cut out of the same cloth. Its existence in the Crossfit community sums up everything that can go wrong with this industry and works 180 degrees against everything that we hold dear in trying to improve our business and the communities we serve. Everything in nature is a flow of energy; give energy and energy flows back, all is in balance. When you give energy and nothings comes back, something is bound to flow in another direction. Think about this: If you were to pay me $1,000 an hour for me to train you, I would be working like a mother fucker to make sure you were taken care of. I would have your children seen to, meals cooked, hockey tickets, reso’s at the best restaurants, 3 minute Fran, 8% body fat, hand jobs, you name it, I will make sure I earn my g-boy an hour. I will become excellent and develop systems, people and strategies around getting you fit, keeping your business and you happy with my service and me. I would be awfully goddamn resourceful to see the energy of $1,000 flow back. Now take a Groupon ad for $29.99 for 8 session of an intro to Crossfit. First you have to find space to book with 100 other cheap fucks like you, then when you see me I owe you precisely $3.75 worth of energy for your hour. The first go around I might give it the old college try, the next go around…….. Well, for $3.75 I’d throw a kettlebell in a field and tell you to have at it. Other bone head business killing moves include: 1st month free, free “onramp” sessions if you sign up for a year, immediate entry into classes and so on. These will all make a coach give a lowered level of training, resulting in a worse service, which hurts referrals, word of mouth decreases and the business flounders. How will Reebok choose to go to market? We hope they will work with us. We want it to go the other way. We want to continue getting better, charge a fair price for our service (our PT rates are competitive with everyone in town and our Monthly Unlimited is slightly more expensive than yoga….as it should be). We will continue to have our new students complete 15 personal training sessions with a coach and an apprentice because we know they will get fitter, last longer, refer more people and generally be a happier, fitter member of our Crossfit community. Our Coaches and apprentices will remain with you for as long as you are there and get paid for you to get fit and stick around. This will translate into making you a stronger member of society that will contribute more and use less (heath care, welfare etc) and you will most likely pass that on to your children and make the world a better place. Our apprentices will become coaches and business owners, and pass their knowledge along to the energetic youngsters coming up underneath them. The groups we consult to will do the same and finally our industry may have a chance to become as well respected and integral to society as accounting, engineering, law and other professional organizations who care for the communities they are a part of. This our vision, we are MadLab / Crossfit Vancouver School of Fitness. Post to comments which new logo you prefer! Wednesday's lesson Plan: Warm Up: Wheel Barrow Races (teams of 3 , each person completes 2 laps, odd man out holds a squat) Tech: Shoulder Mobility and shoulder stretches with band, dumbell and on floor exercises WOD: Pass or fail Tabata Hand Stand (gotta be up on time...no lazy ups...coaches be strict) Tabata "chin over bar hold" (same thing no lazy ups...crisp) Tabata L-sits (ditto) 1 min rest between each 100% for all 3 and your score is 3 get 1 and 2 done but fail on l-sits.....count total rounds then time ie fail on last set with 1 second remaining = 2.719 Have FUN!! Pink PIG :)