December 16, 2008
Russell Berger is an affiliate owner (CrossFit Huntsville) in Alabama. He has some strong ideas about the perception that increased numbers of CrossFit affiliates are dangerous to the long-term health of CrossFit:
CrossFit is thriving. Ask an owner from one of nearly a thousand CrossFit affiliates worldwide what they thought they would be doing for a living five years ago, and running a CrossFit gym probably didn’t make their short-lists. Some affiliate owners, myself included, hadn’t even heard of CrossFit five years ago. What started as a grass-roots fitness movement has quickly developed into an international wild-fire.
Unfortunately, not everyone sees this as a good thing. As trainers, we owe our livelihood to the efficacy of CrossFit. Functional training is no longer reserved for our military warriors and law enforcement officers —John Q. Public is clamoring for the practical, effective fitness of CrossFit. On the other hand, higher demand means greater competition—even among ourselves. Some affiliate owners are waking up to find new CrossFit boxes setting up shop right across the street, theoretically stealing current and future clients. Sometimes, that new box is being opened by someone that affiliate trained, which leads to a host of other complaints.
Whether you feel that competition is good or bad is really not important. Until something changes, it simply is. If you embrace it, it will fuel your business. In most circumstances it improves revenue and client bases for every party involved by providing greater choice to clients and increasing awareness and demand. Even if you are competing with unaffiliated imposters, your goal is product superiority. Clients can and will see the subtle differences between good and bad training, and will always go to the gym that serves their desires best. If you feel CrossFit HQ should protect you from legitimate competition, there is a good chance you’re not doing your job. As I said before, “Quit feeling sorry for yourself and keep working.”