Monday
Jun092014

CrossFit Group Class Coaching Expectations: Timeliness


A few years ago, I sat down and thought, “What are my expectations for my coaches when it comes to running group classes?” I wanted to list those expectations in concrete terms so I could communicate with my staff more clearly and get all of us on the same page. I believe there are underlying principles of coaching that are consistent regardless of coaching style, personality, or context. Out of that brainstorming session, I developed a basic document that covers the expectations I have for all of CFSBK’s coaches during group classes. This functions as a "job description," and also serves as a reference point I can revisit to provide feedback in a non-personal way. The document has proven extremely useful. 

CFSBK’s Coaching Expectations are broken up into six categories: 

  1. Timeliness
  2. Communication
  3. Coaching
  4. Presentation
  5. Tandem Coaching Guidelines
  6. Large Class Logistics 

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to deconstruct and dissect each of the categories I’ve listed as part of the job description. The goal of this series is for us to share our perspective on what’s been effective, and for you to either appropriate our ideas for your particular situation, or develop your own. Whether you’re an affiliate owner or coach that’s part of a team of other coaches, I promise that having consistent expectations for your team automatically ensures the quality of your coaching will be more professional and consistent. So, let’s start with Timeliness. 

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Monday
May262014

Don't Sell Out: Selling Supplements at CrossFit Affiliates


A handful of ITA readers requested that I write about the kinds of supplements and products we sell at CFSBK and why. The short answer is that beyond our training services, we don't sell much else. Like most affiliates, we sell shirts and some other seasonal apparel such as hoodies and sweatpants, which are both fun to design and help build community by allowing­­ members to rep their home gym. Beyond that, we carry lacrosse balls, Kelly Starrett’s book Becoming a Supple Leopard, and the following three supplements: fish oil, magnesium, and vitamin D. We are also a host site for a local Paleo prepared-meal service and three different CSAs. The food service pays us in food credits, and we don't make any money off the CSAs—we just think supporting local, sustainable agriculture is the right thing to do. 

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Monday
May192014

Bridging the Gap: Using Feedback Forms at CrossFit Affiliates


Seven-plus years in and I still see CFSBK as a continuous work-in-progress. Reflecting back on our earlier years, I wince a little at the way we could have been doing things better, given the 20/20 vision that comes with learning from experience. That's not to say we haven’t always attempted to deliver an excellent service, cared about our members, and poured passion and love into all our classes; but it does mean that we're constantly tweaking our program and experimenting with how we can evolve the gym. Starting a business from scratch involves a lot of learning by trial-and-error. In the broader world of fitness, it wasn’t so long ago that CrossFit was the new kid on the block, and we’ve all had to figure many things out as we’ve gone along. This process of learning and sharing is largely why I started ITA in the first place; if you can benefit from the solutions CFSBK has discovered, all the better.

But part of growing a successful business involves embracing the actual process of growth, and constantly learning to serve your community and population better than any one else can. One of the most effective ways we’ve learned to learn involves soliciting direct feedback from our members. We’ve done this in two main ways: first, by using various feedback forms, and second, by maintaining an open dialogue on our blog.

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Monday
May122014

The Organic Affiliate Growth Model


I don't really consider myself a "business person" despite the fact that I've owned and operated a relatively successful small business for almost seven years. As with so many others, I got into this profession because I love coaching movement and facilitating the positive impacts it has on peoples’ lives. I knew from very early on as a coach that I wanted to have my own gym, that I wanted it to be something special, and that having fun would be more important than making money. That being said, I didn't really have the money to start a "proper" business from Day One so I had to do it the old-fashioned way and grow it organically. Below are the two concepts that have essentially encompassed CFSBK’s entire business plan from the early days in the park up through today.

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Monday
May052014

How to Run Large Group Classes at CrossFit Affiliates Part 2


Last week, we discussed some practices and principles that help CFSBK run larger classes in the most effective, efficient, and professional manner possible. We discussed the importance of clarity and how to leverage your coaches in each class. Today, we’ll focus on how programming can create a better management situation in group classes, and share a few strategies about how to run certain workouts and maximize the utility of your space. We’ll also address the pros and cons of requiring preregistration. 

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Monday
Apr282014

How to Run Large Group Classes at CrossFit Affiliates Part 1


As CrossFit continues to grow in popularity, affiliate owners and coaches will naturally wind up with far more potential business. When I started my affiliate in 2007, the number of people contacting me about joining the gym every month could be managed on a few post-it notes. CFSBK now has a front desk staff and full-time administrator who manages our membership and deals with the high volume of training requests we get. CrossFit's popularity makes running a profitable affiliate more possible, and whether you're a new affiliate in a big city or an established gym located in the sticks, you're going to have to deal with managing larger group classes. Our next two articles will address just that.

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Monday
Apr212014

Thinking Inside the Box: Hosting Events at CrossFit Affiliates 


Before I knew about CrossFit, I used to conceptualize the gym I would own as being something unique, something that touched people's lives even beyond central role of improving health and fitness. Part of what fascinated me so much about being an affiliate owner in particular was how CrossFit gyms seemed to be cultural hubs for their communities. They were places where people had BBQs, held fundraisers, and hosted unique and interesting events for their members. Fast-forward to almost seven years into CFSBK’s affiliation and we can safely say that we've done our best to leverage our physical space in order to create some unique opportunities for building a community and contributing to the one around us. In today's article, I'll talk about some of the ways we've used our physical space to enhance our members’ experiences beyond our standard training services. 

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Monday
Apr142014

Don't Be a Cheerleader: 10 Pieces of Advice for CrossFit Coaches

By Katharine Reece

When Christian Fox joined Urban Total Fitness in the Bronx for $50 a year in 2002, he was 29 and it was his first time in a gym. He had never been an athlete and despite dabbling in yoga, he was pushing 200 pounds of not-healthy weight. He chain-smoked and would gorge on the farmer’s breakfast at a local diner after partying most weeknights—a typical lifestyle of those in the restaurant business. Now, in the presence of floor-to-ceiling mirrors and big, ripped dudes who were hoisting hundreds of pounds of weight off their chests, he wanted something else. He wanted to be strong. 95 pounds on a barbell seemed like all the weight in the world at that point, but his journey toward CrossFit had begun.   

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Monday
Apr072014

What's Your Favorite Taco: Questions of the Day for CrossFit Affiliates

As mentioned in one of our most popular articles “Starting Class with Introductions,” a longstanding tradition at CFSBK has been to start classes with introductions and a short Question of the Day (QOD) while we do our movement preparation. Many of you wrote to tell us you implemented the QOD and it quickly amped up the sense of community at your affiliate by setting an inclusive, fun tone for your group classes. We loved hearing that, and in the interest of keeping your game fresh, we’ve included a list of more potential QODs for you below. Let us know how it goes and post any other ideas to the Comments section.

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Monday
Mar312014

Six Types of Equipment CrossFit Affiliates Might Not Know They Need


There are certain pieces of equipment that are essential for every affiliate—barbells, bumper plates, pull-up bars, kettlebells, etcetera. But there are other pieces CFSBK has found extremely useful, though they weren’t as obvious and probably wouldn’t make the top of most affiliates’ shopping lists. Some are ancillary while others are basic, but even the basic pieces are absent from many gyms. Below, I’ll discuss the benefits of each and address why I think they serve significant value for us—and hopefully convince you to make the investments if you haven’t already.

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