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Nicholas Scarabosio 09-06-2011 08:10 PM

On Ramp/Fundamentals Class?
Another questions I have been pondering tonight? As a new box about to open, I see the fundamentals class as a possible deterrent of new members.

I do not want to offer a fundamentals, but not have it mandatory, unless coming from another box or some other very legitimate reason. Coming from a Globo does not count :D

However, I feel as if when we first open we will be doing extreme amounts of teaching and a fundamental class may be overkill? We are in a huge market, but are we killing ourselves by doing one or the other?

Brian Strump 09-07-2011 04:55 AM

Re: On Ramp/Fundamentals Class?
We did not start with any "On Ramp" for the reasons you mentions(already be doing alot of teaching, and it's another barrier to people joining.) It worked well for us, after our first years, roughly 95 members we started a 4 day "On Ramp". Looking back, I would have started it sooner, however if doing it again, I still do not think we'd start from day 1 with the On Ramp. We did always have a free Fundamentals class on Saturdays.

Brad Gerbrandt 09-07-2011 06:35 AM

Re: On Ramp/Fundamentals Class?
We started a 4 week, 8 session on ramp at about month 3 and it has been working well. We do, however, still have many people that sort of fall through the cracks. We give them a free workout and if they move ok (often better than many people coming out of on ramp) we simply let them join with the condition that they have to attend at least 1 O lifting class with in the first week or 2 (we have 2/wk). It seems to work wel for us.

Brendan McNamar 09-07-2011 09:19 AM

Re: On Ramp/Fundamentals Class?
Nicki Violetti (Robb Wolf's wife) wrote a couple of good articles about NorCal S&C's On-Ramp they are on the Catalyst Athletics website in the article section.

She talks about dedicated points of entry to your gym, its community and ultimately growth, retention and referral rates. I think this idea of points of entry is a good way to approach the issue. You may want to use two or three different points of entry depending on the members experience coming in the door. I think what is important is that you have a predetermined system for handling this.

Brand new never CrossFitted before must attend On-Ramp/Foundations Class.

Experienced CrossFitters must demonstrate skills. Pick 6 or so movements to judge if they know what they are doing. Wall balls, over head squats, kettle bell swings, thruster, power clean and so on will quickly separate those that truly know what they are doing from those that don't. You don't have to use heavy weights to test people either to minimize injury risk.

If they know what they are doing then let them into the regular class. If it quickly become apparent they "over estimated their CrossFit knowledge and skills" suggest in a firm friendly manner a brush up in the On-Ramp/Foundation class is what they should do.

You have to adjust the approach to fit with your local market but hopefully this gives you a frame work to think about it.

Tyler Sullivan 09-07-2011 09:29 AM

Re: On Ramp/Fundamentals Class?
I run a 4 class Elements Course for anyone that is new to CrossFit. If they have experience, ie, from another CF gym, athletic background, etc., they have to go through a movement screen. My movement screen consists of all the squats, deadlifts, press type lifts, and oly lifting. They have to pass my screen without instruction or assistance from me the trainer. It's a free screen that takes 5 minutes. Typically people ask me if they can meet 15 min before class and I screen them then. If you are experienced and been around CF, you WILL KNOW whether this person passes typical movement patterns. Load, intensity, etc. are all things you have to learn about people anyway, so that is not of concern.

John D. Burch 09-09-2011 01:48 PM

Re: On Ramp/Fundamentals Class?
The most successful CF boxes (that's CFLA and about 200 others we have worked with) do NOT have an "on ramp"... plenty of reason for this... here are a couple.

- People want CF not remedial skill work
- Splitting your student body into "levels" will allow for proper warm-up, skill work and WOD scaling
- Proper coaching training and programming will support your levels
- It's a fallacy to think that 4 - 12 remedial classes really "prepares" anyone for Crossfit.
- The triangle of learning is inverted with "on ramp" programs which doesn't support the need for natural progression or learning over time... basically if all your "learning" is at the early stages you actually inhibit virtuosity down the road.
- 2 separate buying decisions allows for 2 chances to drop % of enrollment.

I'm sure this flies in the face of conventional wisdom and will rub some people the wrong way.

Theo Tsekouras 09-09-2011 08:48 PM

Re: On Ramp/Fundamentals Class?
Not to exacerbate the effort, but you are wrong. Central, New England, Hyperfit, Norcal, Invictus,Valley, and others have the on ramp. Successful. Profitable. Notoriable.

John D. Burch 09-10-2011 02:14 PM

Re: On Ramp/Fundamentals Class?

Originally Posted by Theo Tsekouras (Post 983960)
Not to exacerbate the effort, but you are wrong. Central, New England, Hyperfit, Norcal, Invictus,Valley, and others have the on ramp. Successful. Profitable. Notoriable.

Theo - the numbers (this is first hand gross knowledge for them - not pulling this info out of the air) do not support your claim... when you boil it down to ACV (average client value) and total staff...

Example... if you business did $80K a month but you had 500 clients is a HORRIBLE business model especially if it took you 15 - 20 coaches to support that.

The ACV would be $160 for that gym... how much do you think ( of the $80K) is left over (profit) if you have 15 coaches? How much time is spent "managing" that team? how much space? How many people per class? How much equipment is needed?

Businesses who DO NOT use on ramps have a HIGHER ACV (upwards of $220 - $300 per client) with a staff of 5... and are grossing the SAME or more with fewer clients.

Fewer clients -- same gross -- better profit.

Rich Case 09-10-2011 04:09 PM

Re: On Ramp/Fundamentals Class?
I workout with what I feel is a great L1 trainer at a non-crossfit gym. I have been contemplating though trying an actual CF box to see what, if anything is different in the workouts. The box I want to try mandates "all Four Foundation Classes are REQUIRED for those who plan continue to train with us" at a cost of $200 and times only 6am or 6pm, neither which I can easily attend. This has deterred me so far to trying that particular box. If you're going to consider this you should at least offer an option to pass a test like some others do versus making it mandatory.

Brian Strump 09-10-2011 05:56 PM

Re: On Ramp/Fundamentals Class?
1. We have an On Ramp classes, 4 -1hr classes. Our On Ramp is $125, and also includes the first 2 weeks of regularly scheduled classes. We "require" it however if you have done CrossFit one your own, or another affiliate, we'll tell you to perform a few movements and if you know what we're talking about, and can do them fairly well, you do not have to take the courses. Ditto for any other potential member that may have an extensive exercise history, and experience with a KB and barbell.

I agree there are pros and cons to any On Ramp. After our first year, we've decided that the pros outweighed the cons.

2. I think CFLA offers some great info, some of it even for free! However, to suggest, as in other posts that your way is the only way to run a successful affiliate is untrue. Personally, I don't care how much gross vs. net profit, and what all the numbers say. If I need to spend every waking minute at my affiliate, or worried if my staff is doing everything correctly.....I am not running a successful affiliate. If I'm not enjoying my time at my affiliate, I'm not running a successful business.

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