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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 11-02-2009, 12:31 AM   #271
Joe Cavazos
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Re: Huge Decline in Quality

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Originally Posted by Katherine Derbyshire View Post
If open gym times were an effective way to pull significant numbers of people out of globos, more affiliates would already have them.

Requiring them would impose a cost burden that would effectively put smaller affiliates out of business.
This is why I suggested reducing the affiliation fee. Open gym hours are less profitable for many affiliates than group classes. That's why few affiliates have them. But my hope was that reducing the affiliation fee would offset this cost to the affiliate. This would in turn lead to less money for CFHQ, but in return for better quality control of "CrossFit" by offering at least some semblance of coaching/oversight at an affordable price. Even if it's not dedicated one-on-one training, it's still better than nothing.

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Since teaching becomes more difficult as group size increases, the impact on quality might be exactly the opposite of your intent.
Limited training/supervision at an open CF gym is worse than no training/supervision at Gold's? With more clients, you get more money and thus get to hire more trainers. That's how it currently works, and having open gyms wouldn't change that.

I think another angle in favor of open gyms might appeal to some people. The argument for the current certification/affiliate structure and lack of oversight on the part of HQ is often one about freedom of enterprise -- let everyone do what they want, the bad will fail, the good will succeed, etc. You want to give everyone a chance. I think a robust open gym model shares these values, but from a personal rather than business perspective. With open CF gyms, trainees get to do what they want. They have the resources to do CrossFit (as opposed to somewhere like Gold's), but are no longer under the absolute command of the trainer. People who workout intelligently will succeed, people who don't will fail, and everyone who goes to the gym will learn from this first-hand. The gyms would become marketplaces of ideas (for those who care about such things, anyway -- a lot of people don't care about this stuff like we do and would likely just stick with the group classes). I think that's a noble ideal.
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Last edited by Joe Cavazos; 11-02-2009 at 12:38 AM..
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Old 11-02-2009, 01:25 AM   #272
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Huge Decline in Quality

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Originally Posted by Joe Cavazos View Post
This is why I suggested reducing the affiliation fee. Open gym hours are less profitable for many affiliates than group classes. That's why few affiliates have them. But my hope was that reducing the affiliation fee would offset this cost to the affiliate.
Not really. Affiliation is only $2000 annually. Assuming trainers are paid $50 per hour, even making affiliation free only covers a week of open gym time. And by making Level 2 certs mandatory, any reduction in affiliate fees is more than wiped out by additional certification costs.

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Limited training/supervision at an open CF gym is worse than no training/supervision at Gold's? With more clients, you get more money and thus get to hire more trainers. That's how it currently works, and having open gyms wouldn't change that.
Again, if open CF gyms were appealing enough to pull clients out of globos, more affiliates would have them. I really don't think this mystical revenue stream is going to materialize, and I really don't think your proposal will make a dent in the population of globo-based Crossfitters. If your proposal puts substantial numbers of affiliates out of business -- as I believe it would -- then you'll actually increase the globo population.

Moreover, your proposal increases certification costs and increases overhead costs, thereby increasing the amount of revenue an affiliate has to bring in before it makes a profit. More overhead = more revenue/larger class size before expense of an additional trainer is justified = lower quality instruction at the affiliate.

Quote:
I think another angle in favor of open gyms might appeal to some people. The argument for the current certification/affiliate structure and lack of oversight on the part of HQ is often one about freedom of enterprise -- let everyone do what they want, the bad will fail, the good will succeed, etc. You want to give everyone a chance. I think a robust open gym model shares these values, but from a personal rather than business perspective. With open CF gyms, trainees get to do what they want. They have the resources to do CrossFit (as opposed to somewhere like Gold's), but are no longer under the absolute command of the trainer. People who workout intelligently will succeed, people who don't will fail, and everyone who goes to the gym will learn from this first-hand. The gyms would become marketplaces of ideas (for those who care about such things, anyway -- a lot of people don't care about this stuff like we do and would likely just stick with the group classes). I think that's a noble ideal.
That's precisely why I like the open gym idea as a customer. But that doesn't mean they should be mandatory.

Katherine
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Old 11-02-2009, 01:51 AM   #273
Mauricio Leal
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Re: Huge Decline in Quality

Open gym CF already exists: it's called having a few friends over your house to workout in the garage/yard. I really wonder whether it would be financially sound to add it to an already packed schedule and space. And because open gym would be so much cheaper than classes, the exceptionally frugal among us would be driven to dangerously accelerate their progressions in order to meet whatever criteria prohibit the unskilled from participating in the format (yikes if there aren't any). With enough resources I suppose it can be done. What with the increasing growth, I'm pretty sure the market of clients who are already interested in some form of coaching (but haven't discovered CF) has not yet been exhausted, so the appeal to regular cheap-only gym goers has yet to be an economic necessity for affiliates. At any rate, as trainers I strongly believe one of our long term goals should be teaching clients independence, and if we're developing skilled athletes to such an extent that they need minimal guidance, really the rest can be learned on their own in the GG or similar environment with occasional coaching spot checks (ideally). Corollary: not everyone needs personal training.
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Old 11-02-2009, 02:05 AM   #274
Joe Cavazos
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Re: Huge Decline in Quality

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Originally Posted by Katherine Derbyshire View Post
And by making Level 2 certs mandatory, any reduction in affiliate fees is more than wiped out by additional certification costs.
Additional certification costs? The only mandatory certification would be the equivalent of a Level 2... same situation we have now with the Level 1. It's not like I'm suggesting people pay $1000 to get their Level 1 cert which now has no meaning because Level 2 is the minimum.

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Again, if open CF gyms were appealing enough to pull clients out of globos, more affiliates would have them.
No. The way things are currently set up, it's more profitable to run group classes. I'm suggesting a change in the way things are set up.

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I really don't think this mystical revenue stream is going to materialize, and I really don't think your proposal will make a dent in the population of globo-based Crossfitters.
First, throwing words around like "mystical" and "red herring" (implying I'm intentionally misdirecting anyone) truthfully does nothing for your argument and I'm wondering why you include them.

Second, there are a lot of people in big box gyms doing CrossFit that would jump at the chance to pay a comparable rate to work out in an open CrossFit gym. On top of that, there are probably MORE people who don't do CrossFit but use the same equipment we use (barbells, pull-up bars, bumper plates, kettlebells, etc.) that have the same idea. These are people who are currently not giving any money to the affiliate that could be doing so.

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If your proposal puts substantial numbers of affiliates out of business -- as I believe it would -- then you'll actually increase the globo population.
I think you're being dramatic. I'm not suggesting affiliates drop group classes and personal training and switch to purely open gym from 5AM to 11PM six days a week. I believe that the great majority of affiliates can handle a few hours of open gym time. Hell, make them during group class time if you have enough equipment.

This admittedly wouldn't work for very small affiliates such as those in parks or in the owner's garage. But this is an obstacle (one of many I'm sure) to overcome. Maybe mandate open gym hours after an affiliate has X number of clients. I don't know.

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Moreover, your proposal increases certification costs and increases overhead costs, thereby increasing the amount of revenue an affiliate has to bring in before it makes a profit. More overhead = more revenue/larger class size before expense of an additional trainer is justified = lower quality instruction at the affiliate.
Who said certification costs would increase? Maybe that would end up being the case, but I don't think it's been determined. Remember I'm operating under the assumption that CFHQ would bring in less money than it currently is.

Serious question: does someone know of an affiliate that tried open gym hours and could not sustain it?
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Old 11-02-2009, 02:18 AM   #275
Joe Cavazos
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Re: Huge Decline in Quality

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Originally Posted by Mauricio Leal View Post
Open gym CF already exists: it's called having a few friends over your house to workout in the garage/yard.
Not everyone has access to the resources of an affiliate in their backyard.

Quote:
I really wonder whether it would be financially sound to add it to an already packed schedule and space. And because open gym would be so much cheaper than classes, the exceptionally frugal among us would be driven to dangerously accelerate their progressions in order to meet whatever criteria prohibit the unskilled from participating in the format (yikes if there aren't any).
Having criteria in place to keep people from utilizing the open gym would really defeat the purpose. It'd be like a money-filter, just keeping revenue out. Whatever trainer is on duty should correct dangerous activities or dangerous errors in form, maybe recommend they sign up for group classes / personal training if they just can't get the form right, but their professional investment in the open-gym-goer should end there. That's what makes it open-gym and not personal training.

EDIT: You know what, given my schedule for tomorrow this thread will be a real hassle to deal with. I'm definitely expecting some heated responses. I'll just go ahead and bail now.

I take back everything I said in this thread about open gyms. I do not think affiliates should have mandatory open gym hours. I was wrong about everything.
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Last edited by Joe Cavazos; 11-02-2009 at 02:26 AM..
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Old 11-02-2009, 07:15 AM   #276
John Devine
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Re: Huge Decline in Quality

Joe and Oliver,

With all due respect, I think you're completely redefining what 'affiliate' means. It gives the person the right to use the CF name...period. As an analogy, let's say I opened a quick oil change shop and entered in an affiliation agreement with Penzoil to supply my oil. They give me a big sign and I co-brand my shop with the Penzoil label. Would they be held responsible if my mechanic was incompetent? Of course not, yet that seems to be the standard to which you want to hold CFHQ.

The only practical way HQ has to 'raise the bar' for affiliation is to raise the fee which they have done. (I think each of the past 2 years.) If they change the rules by increasing the certs required, new affiliates would be further disadvantaged and it would decrease competition by putting up additional barriers to opening a box. That's not in the best interests of trainees, would-be affiliates, or CFHQ.

I think the thread Steven linked where the guy got rhabdo after doing a WOD with 300 GHD sit-ups is a perfect example of why the system works. If I lived anywhere near Lock Haven, PA, I would be rushing to get an affiliate open. Obviously there's a need for a good CF gym in the area. And if I trained at that gym, I would never go back.

JD
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Old 11-02-2009, 08:17 AM   #277
Skip Chase
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Re: Huge Decline in Quality

Define Open Gym.
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Old 11-02-2009, 08:20 AM   #278
Steve Rakow
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Re: Huge Decline in Quality

"Huge decline in quality." Well, first you have to define what the bar is for quality training. If quality means that you get favorable results for your clients regardless of the method used, then you get quality training. If your clients prefer a strength based program that involves heavy lifting and the yardstick for improved performance is ever increasing loads, then a quality program means improved lifting capacity. If quality in another gym is defined as running faster with each race or workout, then quality necessarily follows from improved running times. True CrossFitters get the fact that they want neither of these.

Quality CrossFit training means that the clients improve work capacity across broad time and modal domains. Period. If you sacrifice heavier loads for improved capacities in other areas, then so be it. If you sacrifice your running times for improved performance in lifting and bodyweight exercises, then fine. That's CrossFit. Striving for perfect form is important, but it is not the Holy Grail of fitness. So long as the movements are safe, effective, and efficient, one could argue that it's okay to get a little sloppy on form. That's going to happen with increased intensity anyway. If you don't accept degraded form with increased intensity, then you'll never come close to improving performance. Push the envelope of your training to get better overall.

CrossFit isn't sport specific. It was never meant to be. It does prepare you for general fitness that 95% of the people out there need. Unless you're truly an elite athlete (defined as Olympian, top professional athlete, etc.), your fitness will be improved through CrossFit over any other method - and that's regardless of the level of training of the CrossFit trainer running your workout. Some are better than others, but all in all, across the board, CrossFit trainers as a community are better, on average, than the best globo gym trainer. That's just my opinion based upon what I've observed having worked out in various gyms and environments for the past 25 years or so. The elite and best CrossFit trainers/coaches know who they are and continue to improve the community as a whole, while there are other trainers/coaches that feel like they're elite enough to disparage the CrossFit community and trash method they themselves know works.

I can tell you from personal experience and observation of the several hundred CrossFitters who have come through our doors, that everyone of them have improved their fitness. Stronger, leaner, faster in every aspect of their lives. We strive to be the best trainers/coaches we can be and we constantly educate ourselves via CrossFit and other sources so that we bring the best we can to our CrossFitters. That's an ongoing process and should be for every affiliate. We know that CrossFit works and we see it work for people from ages 6 to 72 in our gym. To me, that's not indicative of a "huge decline in quality." While we all run our affiliates differently, I'm not sure I've heard of one that has failed to help their CrossFitters improve both health and fitness. What is it, anyway, that makes one affiliate better than another? That isn't for one person to decide. As Coach has so often said, the market will determine who survives and who doesn't based upon the results the clients see.

For others out there that see a "huge decline in quality", either find a way to help improve the community or go someplace else. In the meantime, spend less time debating the issue and more time training. CFHQ isn't blind to quality control. That's why there was a transformation to the current L2 certification. Written tests? OK. They're in the works. Just because you can answer a question right on a test doesn't make you an expert. At least CrossFit has defined fitness, has a methodology to the training (read the CFJ article on programming and pay attention to the L1 lectures), and continues to grow by leaps and bounds due to the incredible success people see from the program.

If CrossFit's quality was as low as some here (and elsewhere) believe, then we'd see a huge decline in growth. That isn't happening. What I think is happening is that CrossFit just doesn't work for some people and they're envious of CrossFit's growth and appeal at their expense.
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Old 11-02-2009, 08:59 AM   #279
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Huge Decline in Quality

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Originally Posted by Joe Cavazos View Post
Second, there are a lot of people in big box gyms doing CrossFit that would jump at the chance to pay a comparable rate to work out in an open CrossFit gym. On top of that, there are probably MORE people who don't do CrossFit but use the same equipment we use (barbells, pull-up bars, bumper plates, kettlebells, etc.) that have the same idea. These are people who are currently not giving any money to the affiliate that could be doing so.
Again, I don't think these people exist. If they did, then affiliate owners being the smart business people that they are, would have open gym times to accommodate them.

There are at least a dozen globos within the distance that I drive to get to my affiliate. As long as that's true, a substantial portion of the potential Crossfit audience will find globos more convenient and will go there instead.

Katherine'
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Old 11-02-2009, 09:02 AM   #280
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Huge Decline in Quality

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Originally Posted by Joe Cavazos View Post
Additional certification costs? The only mandatory certification would be the equivalent of a Level 2... same situation we have now with the Level 1. It's not like I'm suggesting people pay $1000 to get their Level 1 cert which now has no meaning because Level 2 is the minimum.
Except the Level 2 is intentionally more difficult to get. An individual who wants one will need to put in more study time, possibly attend multiple certs, and will generally represent a bigger investment for either himself or his sponsoring affiliate. All of that's an inevitable consequence of raising the quality bar, but it all increases costs.

Katherine
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