Affiliates have evolved.
The affiliate model sets owners up with so much freedom and the ability to make their box their own. That being said, the days of only offering only CrossFit classes to your members are all but gone. Between more knowledgeable athletes and the rapid growth of CrossFit, many gyms are succeeding by offering specialty classes in addition to their standard CrossFit classes.
That’s right, people get burnt out on just CrossFit folks.
You’ve seen these people in your gym. They find some random weightlifting, bodybuilding, or squat program online and ask you about training during open gym. Rather than taking offense to this, learn from it. Evaluate your offerings on the schedule and make sure that you’ve killed off the curse of the “one-trick pony” that is exclusively CrossFit classes. If CrossFit is an all inclusive, all encompassing, and meant for everyone, why shouldn’t you set your box up to facilitate that? Your athletes will go through seasons of their training life, and if your box doesn’t offer what fits that season, they will find it elsewhere. Let’s unpack some options for classes you can add to the schedule to add value for these people, and ultimately increase the size of your target demographic.
There are people who just don’t like to breath hard. These folks may have or may not have tried your CF classes, or maybe they went through your onboarding class and (as they should) fell in love with all that is the beautiful community you’ve built and shown them. The worst thing you can do is try to force them into the training style YOU love. Rather, give them options under your roof. Setting up a dedicated barbell class dedicated to powerlifting or weightlifting can really do these people justice, and even better, keep them in house. Feed the meat wagon, gang.
Much like barbell class, this genre of fitness has some pretty dedicated followers, and is wildly attractive to new people because of the very easily seen progression. Gymnastics class can be a great tool to get people over the hump in your GPP classes who maybe need the extra time to focus on this work, but the hour alloted in regular class just isn’t enough. This can be an amazing resource for you as a coach, and the progression of the community as a whole due to the transfer of skills to everything else they’ll encounter in GPP classes.
There’s a reason people enjoy things like Orange Theory Workouts or Cycle run: its long, its sweaty, its non-threatening to housemoms, and the barrier for entry is low. Maybe you have a large population that loves to hit the local 5k every weekend, or even marathoners who use your facility to cross train for their favorite sport. Imagine if you could house everything they needed for any facet of their training. They do GPP class for cross training, and they also hit your CF endurance class three days a week to get their miles in. Great.
Another option is a“cardio” class, also known as the “I don’t want to get bulky from CrossFit” class. We’ve all fought that battle. Breathe and let it go. Having a class with empty or no barbells at all will open the floodgates to people who stay home but are interested in being a part of something bigger with your community, and again, keep them IN HOUSE. In my experience, these are the real word of mouth fanatics on both ends of the spectrum – love or hate.
Yogies will find a studio and pay, so why can’t that be in your facility? Some pretty amazing opportunities will come out of this community if you allow them into your circle. If this looks like hiring a licensed yoga instructor to lead a class on schedule 3-4 days a week, great. But something like ROMWOD is an easy way to facilitate and encourage people to fill in the holes they’ve dug with training. The cost is low, and the benefit is high for this addition. Think about “Dan” who has been a constant in your 6am class. He comes religiously, hits the WOD hard, and then heads to the office for the day, but still can’t manage to get his arms safely over had, or keep his knees from touching in his air squat. See how this can help you and him get to where you want to go?
Yes, I’m aware this isn’t class. BUT, in terms of adding value you need to have this thought out and on the calendar. CrossFit provides some low hanging fruit here to plug and play on your schedule monthly or quarterly. A healthy community driven gym should have at least one community event a month. It can literally be anything: barbells and burger grill out, club night, Mom’s night out, etc.. The possibilities are endless. Get these off the whiteboard and into action. Your membership will thank you and feel so good about what they’re a part of in your gym.
The days of being able to only offer the bare minimum are over. Now you’ve got the idea and you might ask, “who’s going to coach these classes?” Well, you are, or you find the fanatic on that topic in your gym that you deem trustworthy and approach them about interning with you. As both a business and a coach, you need to evolve with your athletes as their fitness journey evolves, even if their journey is different that yours.
Your members are walking out their own path, be a positive part of that journey in any way you can. Virtuosity is not limited to movement.
Written by Dex Hopkins