March 01, 2007
When structural steel was created, it ushered in an era of design innovation that transformed skylines around the world. Likewise, the raw material of CrossFit is not only revamping the way we build programs and train athletes, it is also changing the landscape of the fitness business.
Traditional marketing is heavily dependent on advertising and promotions. The glossy ads and catchy slogans promise much and deliver little. They’re all sizzle and no steak. They are effective at their intended aim: separating consumers from their money. The conventional commercial gym model is based on renting the same space to as many people as possible, based on the knowledge that many who rent won't actually ever come in and take up any space. The focus of the system is selling memberships, not delivering service—essentially, exploiting clients' weaknesses.
The big-box gym industry targets the 24- to 30-year-old crowd, positioning the gym as a place to meet people—a bar without alcohol, if you like. Big-box gyms make a good deal of money by being a great place to meet people, not necessarily a great place to train, and they tend to be designed and constructed accordingly, frustrating those who are serious about fitness and spurring them to join running clubs, recreation centers, pools and the like. Their hope is to get enough space and be left alone to work out.