We get asked a lot, ‘how do you do what you do’?! How do you compete with the Big Boys?!
For small, independently owned, local businesses, there’s always one or more large competitor. You know the scenario, for every great little coffee shop, there’s Starbucks, just as for every special, family-owned restaurant, there’s McDonald’s.
It’s exactly the same in the fitness industry. For every CrossFit Hutt Valley, there’s the big chain gym with enormous budgets and huge membership bases, but with a business model designed to disadvantage the majority of members.
So, how do we compete?
Much like your favourite local cafe or restaurant, we focus on what we’re good at.
Expertise + Experience = Coaching
We don’t blind you with long term contracts, cheap deals or a lack of accessible equipment.
We don’t sell open gym, access without guidance or allow external programming.
We could, hypothetically, sell 30 open gym memberships at $100 a month and make an extra $3000 a month for doing nothing but providing open gym access. Conventional fitness industry thinking would say this is a win.
Our belief system says otherwise.
We Don’t Sell Access
We provide coaching and our Infinite Game belief system towards fitness and nutrition. We provide a complete experience.
We see it all too often, a new member starts getting a little better at CrossFit. 1-2 years in, they start hitting their straps and thinking turns to, what’s Rich/Ben or Matt doing?.
They see online programs like comp training and assume that if they train like the Games athletes, they will become better. This approach may work for 1% of athletes but….
You can see where this is heading!
If you can’t move well, if you don’t have a base of strength, stability, flexibility and mobility, no program can save you.
We focus on the basics until it makes sense to add volume. We see far too many athletes and Coaches believing in high volume training as the Holy Grail, when for the vast majority, a structured, well planned, long term focus is what’s required.
The saying goes “More is not better, better is better!”
It Kills Culture From Within
The underlying effect of open access/no guidance gym and letting athletes do whatever they want is a killer of culture.
It creates entitlement, cliques, and has members within silos thinking they need the special sauce.
We don’t make concessions for the 1%. We focus on the overall wellbeing and needs of the 99%.
We don’t allow others to do their own programming. We take pride in being experts and we provide such expertise through our programming, coaching, community and culture all in one package that our members love.
We treat our culture with respect and protect it accordingly.
As one of our personal training clients, Rose, so accurately put it, “I’m here for the care and the coaching”!
Coach Paul, Owner and Head Coach @ The Friendly Gym – CrossFit Hutt Valley.
Last night I attended my first football match at WestPac stadium. I’ve been to many around the world, but never here. It was a great evening, topped off in the dying seconds by the Phoenix snatching victory from the jaws of a draw. A great result!
What made it a really great evening out was the company I was with. A fellow gym owner invited me out for the game, and it was his company that really made the evening buzz. We had some laughs, a few whinges (we are both poms!) and plenty of stuff in between. We shared memories unrelated to our friendship because they deepen our relationship. Trusting another with your cherished memories is a great way to cement a friendship.
You see, as organisms relationships are what we thrive on. We form them regularly, and with almost any kind of entity.
Be it interpersonal, like a friend, partner or spouse, or even a pet.
Be it inanimate, like your phone, car or barbell.
We can even form relationships with characters in a book, tv show or film.
Whilst many of you reading this, like myself, will be more than comfortable spending time alone, we almost always thrive when we’re in the company of those nearest and dearest.
Many of those reading this who are existing clients, will have heard the phrase “intimate, not transactional” in your conversations with us as a business. You can get a transitional relationship almost anywhere. At the dairy, the service station, or at the gym, where the guy behind the counter, busy cruising the gram, grunts as you swipe your card in, and replicates this as you leave.
This is all well and good, but those relationships very rarely last, and your loyalty to that business changes as quickly as the price of their bread or petrol does.
Then there are the intimate relationships we form. With our spouse, family and close friends, maybe our Doctor or other trusted professional relationships.
This is where we thrive.
We don’t have a sea of people following a choreographed routine as our mainstay product, so we don’t apply this to the relationships we build. We work, firstly, on a one to one basis. We sit potential new clients down for a chat, about You, Your goals and fears, Your hopes and wants. We prescribe a structured approach, starting with Your most important needs. This might be Nutrition, Mobility or Confidence based.
It will always start with one on one coaching, either via a personal CrossFit class or with an individually designed personal training session. This is how we build your trust in us. We don’t sell you on cheap memberships and long term contracts, we coach you with expertise and care, often we’re rebuilding your faith in the fitness industry.
Trust is a crucial part of this equation.
Those of you who’ve been within 20kms of the gym, will know I have a German Shepherd, named Zeus, and he has the habit of being a little exuberant at times. There’s a reason for this. Zeus is a rehome, and has some anxiety issues that we work on together.
When I got Zeus, it was easy for me to accept him, as I wanted to help him relax, and develop into a confident dog. For Zeus, it was much more difficult. He had to learn to trust me, to realise consistency and patience were going to be his, as well as my, most effective tools in his development.
I’ve had Zeus for nearly three years now, and it’s still a work in progress. We’ve made huge leaps in his development, but there is always more to be done.
You, as an existing client, or you as a potential new client, are no different.
We accept you immediately, as we’re focused on the Help First model, but for you, it’s harder.
You may have been burned by false promises and had unrealistic expectations hoisted on your by well-meaning, but inexperienced fitness instructors. You may have been sold the dream by a nutrition program, promising lifelong weight loss, as long as you’re starving yourself or buying their meal replacement products.
These experiences take time to recover from, and intimate relationships are the most effective way to do so.
Believe me, I know. Next time you’re in Alicetown, stop by and ask Zeus!
It’s 5:30 am on Friday morning and I’m doing what any other normal human does at this hour…I’m writing an article about overhead walking lunges (Spoiler: it’s about much more than that.)!
A ton of people hit their first version of this movement during the CFHV Open. In fact, in the 6 weeks that the CFHV Open hour covered, I experienced more high points in that short time than in any other similar period in my 43 years of life. That’s a weird stat I suppose, but it certainly left a lasting impression.
One powerful enough to have me up writing, in the wee hours of the morning!
No, the impression left has nothing to do with me being awake in cold sweats at the very thought! Rather, I was moved by the realization of the metaphorical (and sometimes literal) importance the achievement of firsts has for all of us in our pursuit of health and fitness.
While we all started and continue to do CrossFit for different specific reasons, all those reasons combine toward the same general purpose – to live a healthier life. On a superficial level, achieving an overhead walking lunge has absolutely nothing to do with that. In fact, many more people will live an incredibly healthy life without successfully completing such a movement, than those that do complete one. Certainly, there is a positive correlation between degree of fitness and ability to do one, but by no means is one required to be fit.
So, why does it matter? Why is knocking off a movement like this as important to the 25-year-old young gun as it is to the 69-year-old grandfather?
Simple – it’s the motivation of the pursuit and satisfaction of the achievement.
For most, I’m not talking about any one particular movement, but instead, I am referring to what it represents – a meaningful, tangible, physical goal. For the 69-year-old grandfather, that might be walking up 3 stairs without assistance. For others, it may be a 200kg back squat. And for some, it’s moving without pain.
We all need that meaningful something to keep us coming back, day in and day out. As with the pursuit of any goal, it is a journey filled with ups and downs. It is a journey that requires commitment, and it is a journey that will see you experience some form of failure. BUT, it is in that pursuit and even in that failure that we progress, grow, and succeed in some way.
For 99% of us, we’ve stayed committed to CrossFit longer than any other fitness routine in our lives. For many of us, we are fitter now than we were 1, 5, 10, and even 20 years ago. For most of us, going to the gym has become something we want to do instead of something we have to do.
All that is awesome, but we must acknowledge the facts.
Fact 1 – As humans, we naturally seek newness and growth. The first year or two of CrossFit is intoxicating. You’ve never done half the movements and while scary, it’s also exhilarating. You never knew how awful 5 minutes of working out could feel, but somehow it’s awesome. You were never a group class person but all of a sudden you couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Inevitably, all of that becomes the new normal. It’s no longer new, it’s your routine. It’s still better than any other routine, but like anything else in life we do for years, it becomes routine indeed.
Fact 2 – Success breeds motivation, and it becomes a hell of a lot less frequent as the year’s pass. In the first 2 years of CrossFit, you look at a barbell and you PR. Not just PR but PR by HUGE jumps. 10kgs on a snatch in 1 month, 50kgs on your deadlift the next. Then the gains slow. Suddenly it’s 2.5kgs on your clean in 6 months, 10kgs on your squat in a year. Let’s be clear, improving at a decreasing rate happens to everyone in any fitness program especially as their fitness and age increases. BUT, it still sucks and can be demotivating!
Fact 3 – We can easily combat these issues by chasing the Infinite game, and not the finite one (more on this in another post).
Out of the athletes that got PR’s during the CFHV Open, I worked with 6 of them outside of class. I’m sure the tips we gave helped, but the main driver for their success was their commitment to the goal and journey. During that process what do you think their attendance looked like? Stellar. Why? They had a goal.
Now that they hit their goal, how do you think they feel? Amazing! Are they motivated to find another one and continue to improve their fitness? Hell yeah.
But guess what? I also worked with 3 other athletes who have yet to get one. Have they reached the goal yet? Nope. Has the pursuit of that goal fueled their commitment to their health? Hell yeah. Is that a success in itself? Absolutely!
In other words, my friends find a meaningful, physical goal and go get it. Maybe it’s a first pull-up or maybe it’s a 220kg deadlift. I don’t know what it is for you but all I know is you need one. It needs to matter. You need to chase it. You need to celebrate it when you reach it.
Always a contentious issue for parents everywhere. Should I let my kids get into fitness?
Doesn’t training mean lifting weights? Isn’t lifting weights bad for young bodies??
Thankfully, there is plenty of research to suggest otherwise. This study conducted in 2015 confirms what we’ve known for some time. That resistance training in teens is a good thing, rather than something to be feared.
Here are 6 top reasons why your teen should be in our programme:
Fitness At CFHV, we promote being in shape and being ready for the unknowable. HV Teens follows a very specific structure, using a qualified coach, to ensure that each member of our Teens family develops at their pace. Our workouts vary, from gymnastics to Olympic lifting and everything in between. We focus on what we know works and what keeps your entire body in shape.
Personal Development To develop friendships and relationships skills important to the future. When joining CFHV, you don’t think about this aspect, that the people here will become part of your life. Our people know and share in our vision that our community is as important as the workout we’ve all just completed. This helps to develop a more rounded individual.
Health Benefits For long term health benefits. Starting with CFHV as a teen, you are training your brain to enjoy fitness and the associated health benefits. These values will stay with you as you age. Our members understand the need for balanced nutritional intake and a healthy relationship with food. By learning the importance of this, you are also promoting good, long term health for yourself.
Competition It’s the sport for teens who don’t like sport. Not all kids find their calling playing rugby, netball or other traditional individual focused or team sports. There are competitions, in our gym, nationwide and even internationally, culminating in the CrossFit Games, where teens from around the world get to compete against each other for the title, Fittest Teen in the World!
Mental Toughness Developing a “can do” mindset. Life is full of “I can’t moments”. Being coached, surrounding yourself with people focused on the “I can” moments, means you start breaking down invisible barriers and overcoming obstacles. Even in your everyday life, you see yourself having more of an “I can” attitude.
Fun OUR PRIMARY AIM – IT’S FUN! We take great pride in providing a fun environment for our members to get their sweat on. We’ll test you, challenge you and encourage you to express yourself all the while making you laugh and enjoy the fact you’re working out. Our movements and workouts are constantly varied, something that you may not be able to experience at a regular gym.
Booking’s for our Term 2 programme is open now.
We only open up a few spots each term to new members, so make sure you get in quick.
A common question I hear is “Why is it so expensive?”
In my head, I want to say, “Expensive compared to the BMW you drove here in? Or the iPhone X you called on to ask me that question?”
But thankfully, the smarter me prevails, and thinks;
For some people, it’s truly a matter of finances. For most people, it’s a matter of priorities.
Why is it so expensive?
Many people that ask that question are also paying for a gym membership that costs $30-70/mon and haven’t been to in years. Or they go a few times a month so they don’t feel guilty about it. Some are stuck in a long-term contract and wasting money.
What is it worth?
Is there a price that you can put on enjoying more years to spend with your family and friends? The ability to play around with your kids/grandkids; to not be winded by walking up the stairs in your own home?
How about taking care of yourself so others don’t have to take care of you?
Is there a dollar amount you can put on not needing to spend hundreds of dollars on medications each month due to preventable diseases?
Is there a price tag you can put on your health? Your confidence when you walk into a room, or on the beach?
It’s a subjective question, really. I’ve met people that live in million dollar homes that choose not to pay for $65/hr personal training because “that’s too expensive”.
I’ve met others who choose to cut their coffee addiction in half each month in order to save enough money to take some of our group classes.
There’s no price we can put on what we offer.
In the end, we are both after the same thing; results
If you used to do CrossFit but stopped, I’d like to invite you to come back.
I know working out is challenging. It’s difficult to find time and motivation.
Life is busy, and it’s easier to crack a cold one on the couch than work out.
I do it sometimes, and I own a gym. I also know the workouts are hard, and if I’m being honest, I might as well tell you they never get easier.
But never mind that.
Sometimes medicine burns. CrossFit trainers in your town or city want another chance to work with you, and we’re certain we can make your life better. We won’t judge you for stopping. Not at all. We know it’s very tough to break old habits and create new ones. We just want another shot at helping you.
Do us a favour: Ask yourself why you stopped coming, then tell the owner of the gym you were at. If the gym fell short in some way, be specific. Good business owners want to know what they can do better. Your feedback is incredibly valuable to us, and we’ll act on it. If a certain gym just didn’t feel right, try another.
Each of our affiliates has its own approach, and I know you’ll find a gym that’s right for you. Visit a bunch. Trust me: You’ll know when you find the right one. If the issue was on your end, the owner will want to know what you need to find success this time around.
Don’t be shy.
Tell him or her. Be honest and direct. “I get scared when I see the workout on the website.” “I don’t know anyone.” “I’m too shy to ask questions.” “I can’t do any of the workouts as prescribed.” “I’m embarrassed because I feel like everyone is looking at me.”
Let it out and ask for help. You’ll get it.
As CrossFit trainers, we see unbelievable changes regularly. We’ve seen elderly people become fitter than they were at 40. We’ve seen huge amounts of fat vanish. We’ve seen dramatic, measurable improvements in strength and conditioning. We’ve seen reductions in disease symptoms.
We’ve seen improved self-confidence. We’ve seen lots and lots of smiles, too. We know without a doubt that the CrossFit program can help you. But we don’t know exactly how to help you get to the gym. If you don’t tell us, we’re going to guess.
Our gyms have all kinds of creative systems to prevent clients from quitting a life-changing program, and CrossFit trainers do their best to engage every client and supply extra motivation to those who need it. I’ve heard of coaches who show up at members’ houses, coaches who send letters online or by post, coaches who create programs that can be done anywhere, coaches who assign workout buddies, and so on. But we can do better. We can be more specific if you tell us exactly what you need.
Our trainers are ready to inspire you. Tell them what you need to thrive, and you’ll get it. (Jared Blais) So try this: Make an appointment to talk to a CrossFit coach. Not an appointment to work out. Tell the coach about your goals and why you have trouble getting to the gym.
Ask the coach how he or she can help you get past your challenges. Maybe you need personal training instead of group classes—or vice versa. Maybe you need nutrition counselling. Maybe you need to be introduced to five members who will text you to let you know they’re heading to the gym.
Maybe you need a program with a few workouts you can do at home after the kids are in bed. You get the idea. CrossFit trainers will help you solve your problems. You are most definitely not on your own—unless you choose to be on your own.
If you want to be healthier, click one of these links: It will probably take about 15 minutes to talk everything out with a trainer, and suddenly you’ll be on track again—with a long-term plan and backup. Do it today: Contact one of our CrossFit trainers today and tell him or her what you need. We want to help, and we’re waiting for your call.
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About the Author: Mike Warkentin is the managing editor of the CrossFit Journal and the founder of CrossFit 204.