Building Community

 

The time is soon coming as teams and individuals will gather for the CrossFit Games in Carson, CA. Is your box in the area? Are you sending a group of individuals who are going to watch together and enjoy time together?

If you haven’t thought about that, it’s time to. The Games are a great community building event that can truly transform your box’s identity and help to forge a spirit of camaraderie. How do you do that?

Well, for starters, if you are sending a group of people to the Games, why not make t-shirts for everyone that will easily help identify each one to the other and give to the people at large a visible reminder that your box is indeed there?

You can go with a nice bright color that is attractive to the eye, and that’s more than just white. T-shirts is a great way for people to notice each other and meet new friends at the Games as well.

If you have clients who come regularly to the morning classes of your box, as well as other clients who come regularly to the evening classes, chances are they do not know each other very well.

Now that you have them wearing the same t-shirt they have an excuse to talk to each other, get to know each other better, and spend time with one another.

Another great aspect of the team building that goes on at the Games is found in the vendor village. The vendor village is a mecca of CrossFit wares. You’ll find everything and anything in this great venue. From food to clothing to the latest gear in CrossFit.

In addition to all of this, you’ll also find food from trucks and other venues. So there is definitely something for everybody here.

But one of the best things in the vendor village are all of the challenges and games you’ll find going on. There will be double under challenges, lifting challenges, metcon challenges. So how is this good for the community of your Box?

Well, if you get your members to visit the challenges together, they will be able to spur one another on…even if they don’t know each other very well. And if they don’t know each other well, this will help them to hurry up and get to know those names as they cheer your box on over and against the other people who are gathering together for the same challenges.

So you see, the Games really are a great way to bring your people together. As they go to the arenas to watch the events, some will inevitably stay behind…let them. They can save seats for everyone else. And when the others gather? Who cares if they know each other or not, because it becomes a great time to indeed, get to know each other.

So let the Games be a great time of bringing your people together. Even if you aren’t going, you can always stream the events at your Box on the screens and invite everyone out to enjoy. Plan a few games in between events, and there you go…community being forged.

Let the Games bring your people together in new and fun ways.

Drive Your Clients

 

What drives your clients? What is it that makes them come in to the gym, day in and day out to work with you?

Everybody has something that drives them. These clients are not simply coming to your gym because they have nothing else to do. You see them there, lying in a heap of sweat at the end of your workouts, exhausted and unable to breathe. It’s one of the most uncomfortable positions anyone can be in. And yet, what happens the very next day? They are back at it all over again.

This pursuit, or drive that your clients have is something that you need to tap into as their coach and trainer. If you don’t get into their mindsets and their hearts, you will not be able to fully comprehend what is going on in their lives that keeps them coming back again and again for more.

You see, it’s this drive that you need to work with. You need to pull this out when your clients are ready to give up. You need to hold it before their eyes and remind them that this is what brings them in and keeps them going.

That’s a lot of what your job is as their trainer. You are their cheerleader, their motivator, their inspiration. And there is nothing wrong with this. The sooner you embrace these notions in your and their lives is the moment you get down to some real training with them.

So as a trainer, you need not only listen to what drives them, but you also have to be aware of what is driving you.

So how about it? Why did you go into all of this in the first place? Was it to make your own hours or to be your own boss? That’s great, but it can get tiring after a while. Was it to help people? Well, now maybe we are on to something.

If it is this latter, that you are in it to help people, then you need to tap into that desire to help before each and every single class. They are coming to you for help, for you to listen, for you to be a sympathetic ear. It’s not the other way around.

So tap into their motivations, and at the same time remember your own motivations to help. Put aside your own issues and problems for a bit, and really focus on that which is outside of yourself. What does this translate to? Focus on them. Be with them. Be there for them.

This is the life of a personal trainer. Remember, you are preparing them for life. So yes, though you may use anecdotes from your own life from time to time to help them out; ultimately speaking, your time of training with them is not your time, but rather their time.

So drive your clients so that they may grow and reach out and deep within themselves…this way they will keep coming and growing and striving.

Gym Community

 

Do you find the community at your gym to be somewhat lacking? This can be a common problem anywhere you go. It doesn’t matter if it’s the gym, the workplace, or school itself. A lack of community is certainly a common problem that we see in society as a whole.

The only problem is that the functional fitness community is built off of this very presence, community. So when the slogans “Community Forged” are being emblazoned on shirts and competitions are bringing out that idea at every turn, it ought to be something we think about in our own boxes, as well.

So, how can you build community and develop a program where new, on-boarded members can fit better into that community? Well, let me give you one idea…

Do you remember the buddy system in kindergarten? You would go on a field trip, and one thing that would immediately happen is that your teacher would pair you off with another classmate. This was your buddy for the day. Typically, you would hope and wish that you were paired with a friend or the girl you had a crush on…and that would make for an enjoyable day.

What if you were to do the same thing with your box? What do I mean?

Once you have new clients on boarded and ready to join the normal classes, the first thing you will want to do is pair them up with a regular client that has been at your box or facility for a while. Now, this pairing is not indefinite nor is it difficult.

At the beginning of the class, simply eye ball who is there and locate your newbies. Pair that newbie with a long time client. Preferably, you will be able to do this with a client who is gregarious and well-informed when it comes to lifting.

Why is this important? Well, of course you want this new client to learn about lifting from this regular member; but you also want them to have a good time, to talk and to enjoy themselves.

You can go a step further and have the new client and the regular member work together during the metcon. Have the regular member continually support them and encourage them throughout the workout. This builds relationship and camaraderie.

You may want to talk to your regular members and explain to them what you are doing beforehand. You can choose a few regulars that are easy going and helpful, pull them aside and explain to them the process of getting paired with these new clients and what purpose it will serve.

One thing you will see come out of this is the fact that new clients will build a relationship with some of your regulars. Such a relationship is important because it because an anchor, or a root by which they further solidify their connection to your gym. With such anchors and roots embedded in the ground, they are less likely to up and leave the moment that things get tough.

So, build community by actually building community.

Offering Unique Services For Clients

 

One way to gather more clientele these days is by offering more and more unique services to them that they can’t readily find in other places.

It used to be that the towel service offered at globo-gyms was the big draw to people. It was a nice perk that couldn’t be found at other locations, and thus people would flock to this.

In addition, gyms that had saunas, jacuzzis, and swimming pools were also able to offer up special services that people liked. So again, people would see something that they could get there at that gym that they couldn’t get at another gym.

Now, it really didn’t matter if they used such services, the mere fact that the service in question was not offered up at other locations was the draw. It was the idea that as long as they had it available, they would go.

This translates in many ways to you and your own gym facility. What are you offering up that other gyms and training facilities do not?

Well, that certainly becomes an interesting question in this world of functional fitness that we find ourselves in, these days.

What do we mean? Well, functional fitness is, for lack of a better term, “bare bones.” There is a reason that CrossFit gyms are known as boxes. They are empty, devoid of the bells and whistles that the globo-gym has to offer people.

So with such a bare bones approach that is similar to every other box out there, how can you offer up something that is different than the rest?

You can look to the lifting and strength programs that you offer, and not readily that everyone else offers them as well. Other boxes have Olympic lifting classes and power lifting classes.

What about yoga? Well, most boxes now have at least one mobility class during the weekly schedule which members can attend. So this is nothing new nor different.

So what, then, can we offer up to clients that is different than other gyms? How about video services. What does this mean?

More and more I see people carrying around their go pro cameras and filming themselves as they lift. They then go back over that film and watch their form, looking for ways to correct themselves and to move better through the Olympic lifts.

In addition to this, many coaches are now utilizing their own smart phone cameras to video their clients as well. It sort of gives a visual, in the moment correction to the client that they can see. A lot of times it’s one thing to hear the correction, it’s an entirely other thing to see that correction.

So what if the unique offering you had at your gym was the ability to have clients video themselves if they want, for instant playback and thus instant feedback on their lifts?

Such an offering would certainly be unique, and it would also be something that those in functional fitness would certainly gravitate towards.

 

Building An Online Platform for Training

 

If there is one thing that has had an impact on personal training and fitness more than anything else in the past 10 years, it is that of online personal training. These days, internet connections have become so cheap that everyone has them, and smart phone are in everyone’s hands.

With a connection everywhere a person goes, the online market has become ripe for the pickings. And we see this all the time with the many online classes that are offered again and again…not only by famous personal trainers, but through subscription systems as well.

It used to be that you had to have a lot of money, a fancy gym, and a lot of video and lighting equipment to produce a professional video. The cameras alone would cost thousands of dollars.

Now, though, all you need is a gopro and an iphone or equivalent, and you are on your way. The quality of these handheld devices is incredible, and you really can’t beat them for the price.

So, then, what are you waiting for? If you want to build your brand as a personal trainer even better and deeper, begin to think of other avenues that you can use to build your audience and clientele. The internet is where it’s at.

If you begin to offer supplemental training to your clients and build an online portal through your website by which they can access it (and make sure that it’s responsive and mobile ready), then you will begin to build your brand.

Make sure your videos are short. They do not have to be more than 15 minutes long. Make sure they are clear and to the point. Show the movements properly, explain what you are doing along the way, and then do the workout.

If you concentrate on HIIT style workouts, you will probably have the most response from people. These days, HIIT seems to be the one type of workout that everyone is looking for and clamoring for. So if you put this in your descriptions, tags, and titles of each workout, you will have them more often than not come up in people’s searches when they are looking online.

Now, you may be thinking right now that it sounds too good to be true. And then you realize, well it is, because you don’t have a professional editor looking over the material. These days, you don’t need a professional editor. There are plenty of free, online editing programs that you can use, not to mention something like imovie from Apple.

This editing software is simple and can be looked up on youtube. If you are willing to put the time in by watching some tutorial videos, you won’t have any problems at all getting your material out there and published on the web. It really does not take long at all. In fact, after a few tries, then you will look like the pros themselves and will even be considered a pro.

So take some time to think about building that brand, yourself, by building outward on the net.

Unlocking the Potential: On Ramping New Clients via Glassman’s Interview

 

With the recent airing of Greg Glassman’s interview on 60 Minutes about the rise and future of CrossFit, many more people have become interested in functional fitness, boot camps, and getting back in shape.

With that interview alone, people who thought they would never step foot in a gym have in fact begun walking into training facilities in droves. This makes for a lot of people who have not been a part of the culture now coming in and participating.

As an owner and head coach, what can you do about this?

Well, for starters of course you want to have your on ramp program started and going. Rather than have them wait a month or two for the next session, try to capitalize on the benefits of their desire to get in shape, and encourage them to take it by the reins.

If you put off these people until the next class begins, you will have a hard time keeping their interest as they will simply find another box that is ready and willing to take them.

But you say that you’re in the middle of your on ramp program, and how do you expect to fit them in? Simple, stagger the program. Get them in with the current class, help them learn those movements and correct them along the way. When that current class ends, keep them to make up for the weeks lost when they first came in. You can go back over movements they may need to sharpen up and you can get to know them a little bit better.

The trade off for doing your on ramp in this fashion is that you are able to capitalize on the momentum given by the interview for people willing to try CrossFit for the first time. In addition, you have a better chance of locking them in to your box if you get them started right away, rather than turning them aside and making them wait a month.

The great thing about the interview was how Glassman emphasized that anyone can do CrossFit. It doesn’t matter how fit or unfit a person is, this is about unlocking potential inside of everyone. So emphasize this not only to those stepping through the door for the first time, but also to your regular members.

These people coming through the door are going to be intimidated, to say the least. So keep encouraging them along the way and remind them it’s about their potential.

The initial thing they will want to do is give up. The day after that first workout will be alright, but two days later and they will be sore like they have never been sore before. You need to keep the motivation going and the energy high. So speak to them about potential. Get them to take their eyes off of that initial soreness and get them to really concentrate on what they are becoming.

As they exercise in the gym, point out individuals who have come a long way in the training and who are definitely reaching out and grasping that potential. These new clients will be encouraged and try all the more.

The Changing Face of Gyms

 

What is the gym of the future? Have you thought much about that? Maybe you haven’t because you’re currently tied up in your own process. I mean, things have been going well and the functional fitness and boot camp industry have really taken off.

Do you remember what was before that whole craze? For many it would be the P90x and Insanity home workout movement. And for others it would be the globo-gym experience and bodybuilding. Whatever it may be, the point is the same: there was always something before.

So what happens to you when the functional fitness and boot camp industry becomes the “before”? What is coming next and will you be a part of it?

Well, you may not want to think about what’s coming next or believe that functional fitness and boot camps are going to become passé. However, they will some day, and today we have some suggestions as to what will come and how it will be done. Perhaps this will help prepare you for that future.

One thing we are seeing in the functional fitness movement is more and more people getting their certifications. The interesting thing about all of this is that they are not getting it to coach or to open their own boxes. They are simply getting it for themselves.

What does this mean? Well, for starters it means that you have a lot of people out there who already know the fundamentals of the movements as well as the basics of programming. This doesn’t mean that they don’t need you. However, it does mean that they need you less.

So what we are seeing crop up in our own boxes these days is people programming for themselves and doing their own auxiliary work on the side. Less coaching from you and simply more time from them on the side using your equipment.

See where we are going here?

More and more we will see this. People are going to come in, get their workout in by themselves, and then leave to work. Their schedule does not necessarily fit the day to day schedule of the gym, so they workout on their own time.

What this means for boxes is going to a structure of open gym time. And as there will always be people who need the structured class, you can tailor your memberships to both sides. Perhaps going with a format of just open gym access only during open gym hours could be one sort of leveled membership, and then a structured class membership of 3 times per week could be the next level, and then a regular, unlimited membership that takes advantage of both open gym hours as well as class hours could be another level.

Now, is this the future of gyms? Well, it’s going that direction. But the real future is getting rid of the programming altogether and having a 24 hour access gym for people who work all hours of the day. Yup…that’s where it’s going. But we’ll take small baby steps there, in the meanwhile.

The Psychology of Good

 

Coaching style is absolutely key to the success of your fitness endeavor. If you have opened up your gym, and you find yourself in the place of hiring individual coaches to help alleviate the burden of burgeoning classes, this is a good thing. However, what you need to do is ensure that the person you are hiring is in fact a good coach.

What do we mean by a good coach? Well, let’s assume for one moment that the reason you are hiring this person is that they have already proven themselves to be capable when it comes to technique and knowledge.

Now, don’t get us wrong. Such things are key and crucial to the very notion of coaching. You have to find people who know what they are doing instead of copying the latest video from youtube. So make sure they have their education and that background knowledge.

But is that all that’s needed. No way. What is of true importance here in all of this is personality. Now, I don’t simply mean a congenial and friendly personality. That helps. It certainly is a great thing if they are personable and know how to get along with people.

No, rather what I am talking about is their helpfulness and encouragement of individuals in your classes. You know better than anyone else that you design programs that are meant to be grueling, mentally challenging and all around tough. To get through such workouts, your clients really need to set their noses to that grind stone and chip away.

In all of that chipping, especially during the long wods, you know what will invariably happen…clients will begin to lose that edge. They will begin to slow because, understandably so, they are tired. It’s at this moment that a simple phrase can turn everything around and get them back on track.

“Good job.”

Two simple words, yet when spoken to a struggling client can get them over that edge and back on track. When the wheels are about to fall off of that crazy train, those two words can effectively rein everything in.

Do your coaches know how to say these words? Do they know how to utter them to your clients and encourage them along the way of the workout? It may sound too simple, but you know it’s true…words like this from a coach or from you can be so impactful.

Yet, there have been plenty of coaches who, for whatever reason, seem incapable of ever uttering these words. This is not the type of coach you want around your athletes. Have a person who is able to inspire and kindle a fire under your clients as they workout.

When you have coaches like this, you’ll see what will happen. People will be appreciative and they will strive even harder to make the gains. So don’t look for the negativity, but rather strive in the positivity.

If you keep your eyes open, you’ll find coaches like this. When you do, your entire box or gym will thank you.

Meal-Prepping It

 

The key to success for any gym is results. Do your clients see results from all the hard work they are putting in?

And how will they see such results? Well, for one thing it is through all the workouts you put them through. These grueling workouts will obviously have an effect on their bodies. They will see muscle mass grow, fat tissue cry, and lean gains made.

Or will they? What happens when clients put in all the work and yet don’t see the reward? Well, simply put, what happens is that they walk. Clients who experience this will be up and out and on to the next gym and no time flat. Why is that? Because gyms are at an all time high these days. They are everywhere, and indeed each of them has their own agenda, technique, and philosophy. So your clients will not be at a loss to up and leave and become the client of somebody else.

So, how then do we remedy this? Easy. We isolate what the problem is. Why are they not making the solid gains and losing the dreaded weight? Is it your programming? No. I can almost without a doubt tell it’s not the programming. In fact, I don’t even have to look at your programming to know this to be true. Why?

The reason I am so certain that it’s not your programming is because there is a twin side to this whole issue of fitness. It’s like the other side of a coin. What is that other side, or face of the coin? Nutrition.

If you are not giving nutrition counseling to your clients, then you are inevitably setting not only them up for failure, but yourself as well.

They will fail because they will come in for these grueling workouts and then see little to no results whatsoever. You will fail because when they see such a lack of results, they will up and leave. You will lose clients.

So, just as much as you put time into the programming of your WODs and fitness week, just as much as you look over their lifting technique to make sure they are safe, and just as much as you design workouts to focus on their goats…you also need to put equal amounts of time into their nutrition.

Take the time to put together basic diet formulas that will set the person down the right path. And then sit down with them and go over that diet line by line. Now, here’s one thing to remember in all of this:

As you give them this pre-planned diet, remember that no two people are alike, and thus one diet is not going to meet everyone’s needs. Diets need to be adjusted as you go and make progress or no progress at all.

You need to be able to discern what works for them and what does not. If they are going to walk away from your business, know they are doing it not because of your training, but because of their lack of heart.

So give them the tools that they need to succeed, and you will find success in your business.

The Over Training Client

 

We all have those clients. You know, the type that want to make those gains as quickly as possible or lose all that weight in the quickest manner possible.

Yes, wanting to achieve a goal is awesome, and we applaud the effort. However, trying to do so by training non-stop is not the way to do it.

What happens when a person over trains. Well, there are a lot of things that go on in the body. For one thing, over training can lead to the body’s metabolism effectively shutting down and the whole process of burning fat can come to a screeching halt. Why does this happen?

For one thing, when a person over trains they send their body into shock. Just like when you go into shock from hypothermia, the body closes in upon itself and tries to maintain on a base level. The same thing is happening with over training. The body will wrap in upon itself and shut down as an act of self-preservation. If fuel is needed and calories are necessary to be burned, it’s going to find them first in the muscle tissue, and not the fat tissue.

This is a very important truth that must be understood. The fat tissue will be preserved as much as possible when you are overtraining. Your body uses that tissue as a means of survival. In other words, it’s a last resort barrier or mechanism for self-preservation. So if over-training is occurring, that fat tissue will be the last thing to go. Instead, the precious muscle tissue will be sacrificed first.

What’s another problem with over training? Well, simply put, the body has no adequate time to rest and recover. One of the most important things about working out is that rest and recovery aspect. During the rest phase of the body, the healing and building process takes place. It’s this process that develops the muscle, strengthens it and repairs it from the trauma you have put it through via the workouts.

Sleep is important during this rest phase. Periods in between workouts are important so muscle groups can be adequately rested. In addition, one of the most important things is the rest of muscle groups. A lot of times individuals will not only neglect rest, but they will overtrain specific parts of the body and thus damage the muscle in general.

So what can you do? Well, for one, if you see your clients potentially over training in your gym, talk to them. Find out what’s going on. Find out if there are other issues behind the whole need to train so much. Now, if you determine that a person is simply in the gym too much, send them home. That’s right…who’s to say that the person has a right to be in your gym if you know they are going to end up injuring themselves.

So take the time to work with your clients, warn your clients, and even ban (for a brief time) your clients from the gym.