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Running a CrossFit Facility Tips and guidance on how to open and operate a CrossFit gym.

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Old 02-18-2014, 08:59 PM   #1
Margaret Rogosienski
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Managing different levels of athletes: open gym or class only?

We are a new affiliate (4 months) and have seen a tremendous turnout of new athletes, most satisfied with the structure of the classes. However, recently we have added some advanced-level athletes who came from another affiliate that apparently allowed "working on whatever they liked" for the skill/strength portion and WODs. I've discussed with these two members that setting their own schedule is fine as they are preparing for the Open and transferred with their previous schedule, however, I'm having a couple of my members start resisting normal class structure so that they can hang out with the cool kids. It's usual met with pouting faces as the four have become a clique.

Just to survey other affiliate owners (as I have never been to a box that offered open gym style), do you offer open gym while other classes are running? How would you handle the two athletes that are trying to move too quick through CrossFit tiers? Do you have checklists that place your athletes in different levels so to act like a reality check for them?

And when the two advanced athletes are finished competing, how would you approach setting them back into class style training?

I should mention that that we are going to add Oly WODs and competition WODs in the very near future (USA W cert this weekend) to accommodate a growing interest in advanced skills.

Thanks for the input.
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:12 AM   #2
Jason A Smith
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Re: Managing different levels of athletes: open gym or class only?

I am not an affiliate owner but have been in this position numerous times. Before when I was more of a travelling Crossfitter without an affiliate home I would just drop in very periodically. Depending on what was going on you could either

A. Talk to the coach on duty and see if they would let you do your own thing (I usually emailed ahead of time)
B. Follow along with the class.

I did go to an affiliate last year for about 6 months. I did classes exclusively. It did not take long to realize that while the classes are fun and good, I was actually pretty much past basic classes. No big deal, I went home and started back in my garage and started working with a good coach remotely.

Now that we are getting closer to the Open and doing some gross sessions I wanted some of the energy that goes with being in a gym so I politely asked the gym owner if I could come in and train (all paid of course). I know how to stay out of the way and require no assistance from any staff. I am polite, cheer on the other members and put all my stuff away. I also do not show up for packed classes at peak times. Myself and a couple of the other coaches at the gym fall into this category and it is fairly easily explained. The 3 of us have been doing this for at least 4 years and are making a serious run at regionals. If those same people want o invest the time and energy and can prove to you that they are capable of running their own show and you are ok with it then that is up to them.

It is still your gym, but remember that these people are paying customers. It seems like a fine line to walk on if you ask me.

To me this is one of the toughest aspects of being a gym owner. Once folks get to certain spot in their training what do you do with them and the newest people simultaneously. generally speaking most of the people I know at affiliates that realy want to compete are either coaches at the gym or doing their own thing off in the corner.
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Old 02-19-2014, 01:44 PM   #3
Mike Doehla
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Re: Managing different levels of athletes: open gym or class only?

are there small changes you can make to improve them specifically. Instead of one movement give them another or change the reps?
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Old 02-19-2014, 03:26 PM   #4
Tommy Alfinito
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Re: Managing different levels of athletes: open gym or class only?

In the beginning I said no to letting people workout outside of the class for this reason exactly. Over time, we have been able to develop classes that challenge beginners and advanced. The programming is for someone that wants to compete and then we scale for everyone else. (The people with a serious shot at regionals even do our classes, but they have specialized programming before and after our classes). I think the class atmosphere and working out as a group has strong benefits, so even my best athletes will always be a part of that.

Now that we are pretty established, I have 3 people that pay (regular monthly rate) to use the gym on the side. Everyone else in the gym thinks they are crazy because they all told me that the coaching is where all the value is. I tend to agree because I think they could be making better gains with someone fixing their mechanics day in and day out. (We also have a guy that follows a strict barbell program and no-one seems to mind that.)

It sounds like you are making this jump too early. They probably see these 4 athletes on the side doing muscle-ups, handstand walks, and other "fun" movements while they are in your class trying to learn how to squat properly. They also see their results and wonder if they would be better suited to do what those 4 are doing. It may not be popular, but I think you need to put them in your class or have them move on. You never showed them the value in your classes, so now it is getting hard for your everyday athletes to see it.
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Old 02-19-2014, 03:32 PM   #5
Saul Garcia
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Re: Managing different levels of athletes: open gym or class only?

This was one of my concerns.

Even with a big facility, there is always interest from beginners when advanced people are doing "bigger/better" things.

It's an experiment we are looking forward to doing, but we'll probably schedule an hour, late in the evening, where it's advanced and olympic lifting only.
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Old 02-25-2014, 11:23 AM   #6
David Osorio
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Re: Managing different levels of athletes: open gym or class only?

Margaret,

I think allowing people to freelance their own programming around your group classes is a slippery slope. Not only will you have other people who see the precedent you've set with them and want to do their own thing, but also because you can't effectively coach or manage their training when you have people DIYing their training while you manage your group classes. Especially if these people don't have already exceptional technique and are intelligent programmers. Not that I know these people, but there are a lot of folks who think more is better and that beating themselves into a pulp correlates to effective programming. My suggestion? Put the kibash on this ASAP, ultimately it is unfair to your other members and makes your job harder.

That being said- as you gym grows I think it becomes important to allow some training independence to your members. We offer Open Gym on Friday and Sunday nights which allows people who want to do some independent programming to get it in during a time when other classes are not running and a coach is there to oversee what people are doing, provide feedback and manage the space.
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Old 02-25-2014, 12:15 PM   #7
Greg Warren
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Re: Managing different levels of athletes: open gym or class only?

At my box there is extra competition-prep programming offered for an extra monthly fee. People who pay for that are able to come in and do the extra work as their time allows, but it's been made known to everyone there that they have already done the regular workout, and are doing extra work. So far I haven't seen any issues with them crowding an already large class, as they tend to choose times either earlier or later in the day when the classes are small.
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Old 02-25-2014, 02:13 PM   #8
Rob Bousquet
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Re: Managing different levels of athletes: open gym or class only?

I feel the programming should be testing the fittest athlete you have then scale it to anyone else. If that is done then nobody should be "above" your classes. Now if they want to do extra work that could be done before and after class off to the side with not very much equipment. With that said I want to start an open gym time where people can come in and work on different things they want to work on. We have a goal board and right now people are not working extra to meet their goals outside of class so I want to provide them the ability to do that.

I have also thought about testing them with something like CrossFit Seattle's level chart. You could run those people in your class through it and if they are a lower level then they have no business doing the CrossFit sexy stuff! At least you would have objective findings to show them why and maybe something for them to work towards.

my $.02
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Old 02-25-2014, 02:36 PM   #9
Mike Doehla
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Re: Managing different levels of athletes: open gym or class only?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Bousquet View Post
I feel the programming should be testing the fittest athlete you have then scale it to anyone else. If that is done then nobody should be "above" your classes. Now if they want to do extra work that could be done before and after class off to the side with not very much equipment. With that said I want to start an open gym time where people can come in and work on different things they want to work on. We have a goal board and right now people are not working extra to meet their goals outside of class so I want to provide them the ability to do that.

I have also thought about testing them with something like CrossFit Seattle's level chart. You could run those people in your class through it and if they are a lower level then they have no business doing the CrossFit sexy stuff! At least you would have objective findings to show them why and maybe something for them to work towards.

my $.02
Do have a link to that chart?
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Old 02-25-2014, 03:58 PM   #10
Rob Bousquet
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Re: Managing different levels of athletes: open gym or class only?

http://crossfitseattle.com/wp-conten...preadsheet.pdf (WFS)

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Originally Posted by Mike Doehla View Post
Do have a link to that chart?
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