I recently spoke with the owner of my CrossFit who told me a story of a new member that just joined. This woman had been a regular member of a competing box but quit the day that one of the coaches yelled at her daughter. This woman often has her children with her during class. They sit quietly on the sidelines and do homework while mom does her WOD. She didn’t take kindly to the actions of the coach and sought out a new box that would be more accommodating.
That led me to think about culture. In my area there are 17 competing boxes. On the surface most of these boxes look and feel alike. There is little to distinguish one from another. Some have a reputation amongst those in “the know”, but to outsiders or prospective members, a box is a box is a box.
So in a competitive market, or even as a matter of marketing, expressing a unique facet of your gym’s culture is a way to hook the type of members that you want. While a box can’t be everything to everyone, the nature of CrossFit is one of friendly and social workouts amongst people of varied fitness levels and backgrounds.
As you analyze the culture of your CrossFit gym, consider the following:
1) Does your facility offer perks or benefits along with membership? Locker room, showers, pool? Local discounts, partnerships etc.?
2) Do members interact outside of class?
3) Do coaches take time to get to know members?
4) Are members encouraging others?
5) Do members bring friends to class?
6) How do you “sell” your CrossFit experience?
In the spirit of CrossFit, it is safe to assume that most boxes will follow the general principles of CrossFit. However, successful boxes will break out of the mold a bit and define their uniqueness.
Culture should be a genuine extension of the personality of the people who visit your box everyday. Culture and community go hand in hand. In most CrossFit gyms members find that they’re making new friends with whom they share a strong common bond. That said, if a coach finds that a member isn’t fitting into the culture, you’re better off engaging them in conversation versus shunning them. Instead of telling them how to fit in, show them. If they’re not highly engaged, go the extra mile and help them feel that they’re a part of your CrossFit community.