Fact: CrossFit is a big thing in Australia. With hundreds of registered CrossFit affiliates across the country, it is indeed becoming a phenomenon. According to Tabata Times’ 2012 CrossFit Affiliate Global Distribution chart, USA has the highest number of CrossFit ‘box’ holding 72.2% while AUNZ comes in fourth with 6.9%. These numbers are over two years ago and 2015 shows strong signs that CrossFit is here to stay with the success of last year’s regional games.
We asked Top 50 Fittest Men in AUNZ, Alex Ranieri of CrossFit Wellbeing, this question: Is there really a market for CrossFit? He gave us an answer followed by a million dollar question.
To CrossFit or not to CrossFit? Now THAT is the question that’s entwined with our heading and often running through many individuals thoughts as they look to break out and find the ‘edge’ in the health and fitness game. Make no mistake when it comes to the prospect of starting your own CrossFit gym it certainly isn’t all cream and glory once the doors are open for business. Be prepared for a learning experience that, more often than not will see you rising at 5am and heading home at 8pm.This will include periods of classes (some of which no one turns up), PT’s –Only If you already have a client base, marketing whirlwinds and brainstorming as well as checking your bank account to see what is needed to break even, what is needed to survive. And this can be your first 3 years should you make it that far….
Now don’t get me wrong of course there is always opportunity with the right people in the right places. The hard part is CrossFit is well established now with plenty of gym’s around that have weathered the storm and are now dug in with a solid member base and community following. So the right place is getting tougher to find, and the right person? Well that depends on you now.
CrossFit is something that COULD (and I openly say SHOULD) be for everyone. But the reality is it isn’t. CrossFit is a fitness model that challenges you. It challenges you for change. To change who you currently are and, in the hands of a top Coach, into someone who now has a better quality of life both physically and mentally. Unfortunately, though ego takes many forms and there is no room for it in CrossFit. This isn’t necessarily your big buff gym junkie or loud mouth; it can be the quiet shy person who doesn’t want to push themselves. Maybe they like bad posture and going from young to old in only a couple of years. Comfort zones are comfortable right? CrossFit takes you out of that comfort zone and asks you to better yourself. It is humbling to all of us and you really need to take all of this in as a potential owner if you are considering opening one up.
Yes you need some business sense and some wit about you but that is the background noise. Your CrossFit gym is YOU! It’s your personality, your experiences, your triumphs, your falls, you are the beating heart of the gym in the early stages. Regardless of growth your involvement still holds an important role for its survival in the future. Passion is so important in this game. Not passion for training and being fit don’t be fooled, passion to help other people change their lives for the better, pushing their threshold in a safe and professional way. You need to wear many hats when running a CrossFit gym:
-A business one for the computer work, accounting and boring but necessary tasks
-A creative one for marketing, ideas, programming, events and the promotion of your gym
-A serious hat for when it’s time to train hard and motivate your members
-A hat for client types like teenagers, men’s group, mums class, even the oldies!
-A hat for plenty of laughs and light hearted moments
-A hat to handle sensitive issues and problems you may be able to help with
In my experience, I started with nothing and put everything I had into this opportunity. Failure was not an option. I have opened 2 CrossFit gyms now and found when opening my second one that the first one started to struggle. Losing members and losing touch with what the gym I created stands for and the vision I had for how a gym should be. I have since fixed this issue and balance has once again been restored. It is very difficult not to be a “slave” to your business when starting up given the time and nurturing needed but with the industry we are in I will always want to be around and spend time “in the business” as it makes me happy and I love helping people. I can step back when I need to now because I have a great team, great members and an awesome family atmosphere which is how a gym should be – a community of people working hard together to bring out the best in each other as individuals in their respective lives.
Yes there is a market for CrossFit but are YOU the right fit for what is needed to make it successful? Other areas of your life need to be on point to make it work. It’s a big decision and very different to what you are doing now. The training is real, the people are real and you are the life giver to something that could grow and be special if you are genuine and put your heart into it.
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