This I love. A year ago I walked out of a gym that did not want my business because the owner didn’t like my attitude, and walked through the doors of a CrossFit gym. To be clear, I was not looking for a CrossFit gym, I was looking for a gym close to where I worked, with a convenient schedule, semi -private training, knowledgeable, skilled coaches, at a price range within my budget.
My goals were simple, but my expectations are high. After 6 years of working with personal trainers to improve my strength and conditioning, I learned to become a runner, I learned to power lift and I had begun to work on some Olympic lifts. I had become a half marathon runner, a trail runner, and set up a basement gym complete with squat rack, barbells weights, and a treadmill. I was hoping to find a gym and a coach who would look out for me while I continued to work on my stuff so that I would not get hurt. I was pretty up front about my lack of interest in anything CrossFit.
So I joined Great Bay CrossFit and started semi -private personal training sessions which went pretty much like I envisioned: small group training sessions, with customized templates designed to help me achieve my goals. A short time after joining the gym I was let go from my job so the gym was no longer just a 5 minute drive and the semi private sessions were outside my budget, yet, I found a way to stay. And after getting a new job this summer, my schedule no longer allowed me to attend semi private sessions at all; my only option-if I wanted to stay at the gym- was to try cross fit classes. Now twice a week I set my alarm and head to the gym for a 6:15am class. After 5 months I am still there.
I follow many strength and conditioning experts on social media, including those who are trying to build a business, and what I have discovered is that many gym owners spend more time trying to build their business and their brand than they do on building their culture. As a classroom teacher and lifelong educator, there are similarities between the two.
If you are doing things right, your people will promote you by sharing their experiences.
This is why I have stayed at Great Bay CrossFit:
- EVERY PERSON MATTERS: GBCF owner, Eric Morris, did something no other coach, personal trainer, gym owner has ever done before- he introduced me to people at the gym my first day there. It was a very small gesture that made a lasting impression; greeting people when they walk in the door by name, and making introductions, as well as making sure everyone understands what is happening and are good to go are routine at GBCF because it is part of their culture. I know if I walk in late (and I am not a chatty, outgoing person by nature) I can always count on Eric quietly welcoming me at some point before the workout begins. If I sneak out the door without saying goodbye it is not held against me. Even though every day is a new opportunity, a fresh start, the consistency of knowing what to expect from the coaches is reassuring and gives me confidence to try new things
- HUMILITY: The gym models humility. This is also huge. Every level is honored. If you are there you are valued and expected to do what you can. No one is there to pass judgement or make you feel like you should be doing more. The coaches are encouraging but in the end you are your own boss. There is no time for selfies and videos and promotion. The owner of the gym encourages community by modeling that behavior. He focuses less on himself and more on his members. If you want to take a workout seriously and be competitive-go for it! If you are just trying to keep moving, that is okay too. This gym is not his gym-it is our gym.
- CONSISTENCY: After a year there is a new website, and there have been some contests, promotions and fun events, but the overall tenure and culture has remained the same. The schedule, routines and expectations are consistent. It has been easy to adjust because of the lack of surprises. Any event, promotion, contest is announced well in advance in a variety of ways and all are made to feel welcome. Join if you want, don’t join if you don’t want. If you are a non joiner it is abundantly clear you are still a valued member of the GBCF community.
- COMMUNITY: Community workouts, special events, fundraisers, parties, you name it, the GBCF community includes everyone-families, friends, children and others! In this age of private clubs, exclusive memberships, and leveled everything, it is refreshing to know everyone is truly valued and is equally welcomed. Enough said.
So there you have it. For the first time in many years my year at the gym has been drama free. Maybe this is what Cross Fit is all about, I really haven’t given it much thought because as I have said before, I am not really into CrossFit. It is okay though, because at Great Bay CrossFit it is about the people, not the program.