When someone steps into a CrossFit gym, they come for a workout, but most often they stay for the community. So why do some people leave? Joining a gym for the first time can be incredibly intimidating, but there are steps you can take to cultivate a marginally less intimidating at your gym.
A CrossFit box can be intimidating. Some people spend so much of their energy just working themselves up to just walk inside. It may have been a while since you joined, so try not to forget that feeling. Here's some things you can do to welcome new members and ensure they feel that community vibe straight away.
Give them a tour. Spend time showing them around the space. Where can they put their belongings? Where are they weights stored? What size barbells do you have and how do they know which one is which? Giving them a tour will help them immediately feel more comfortable, so when you ask everyone during a class to go get a kettlebell, they'll know where they are and won't feel anxious about knowing where the equipment is.
Introduce them to the class Make a point to introduce your new starter to each of your members, including their name and something about them on a personal level. This can help break the ice and start a quicker connection between people. Doing this will help them get in on the conversation during the class, and they won't feel isolated.
Introduce them to your community. When a new member starts, they may only meet a select few people who happen to be in the same class. CrossFitters stay for the community, so you've got to show them that they are a part of something bigger. Put a post up on your community's social media page, or if you use Horizon software, a welcome post will be autogenerated to the in app news feed when a member signs up, encouraging other members to welcome that person to the box.
Yep! it happens. Sometimes with staffing changes, management changes and ownership changes the thriving culture of a gym can slowly start to shift. This can be noticeable in things like:
• Coaches getting lazy - suddenly there is less coaching and more cheering, or your coach might be putting all their time and energy into a few people rather than spreading it evenly across the class.
• People not hanging around to chat after class or come to social events
• People not recommending your gym to a friend or family member
So what are some things you can do to make sure this your culture stays on track?
Set your standard with your coaches. It's important to set expectations with your coaching staff so they understand what kind of culture you're trying to cultivate. Before you chat to them, think about:
•What does it mean to be a coach at your gym?
•What kind of behaviours do you want your coaches to exhibit?
•What are you expectations when it comes to conducting a class? Warm ups, workout explanation, scaling options etc
•Outside the class, how do you want your coaches to be involved in the business/community?
Ask your members!
Find out what your members want from their experience at your gym, and figure out how to fill in the gaps. You should survey your members every 6 months to see how they rate their experience at your gym (Ask them about classes, community, coaching, facilities, services). BUT, remember, if you ask your members for their opinions and feedback you must take actions and ensure you communicate with them about the actions you've taken. Don't leave them in the dark.
Newbie gains are real! Sometimes, after the initial beginner gains wear off, they've got most of the movements down pat and they're coming to the gym regularly, it can be hard to see the progress.
CrossFit is about being constantly varied! Constantly varying your program will keep your members interested while also giving them the opportunity to continually challenge their bodies and minds. If programming isn't your strong suit, then maybe try one of the awesome businesses selling affiliate programming like PRVN or CrossFit Mayhem, even the newly introduced CrossFit Affiliate Programming (CAP) by CrossFit themselves. To run a great gym, you don't have to do it all! You just have to know how to bring all the great pieces together and nurture your unique community.