(Our Friends from Woodward CrossFit, Austin, TX)
When I started CrossFit I had just moved to a new city, didn’t have a job, had no contacts, and training wise had only the experience of a Garage Gym. My buddy who moved with me had brought a set of competition bumpers and two barbells from back home, and our idea was to bargain with an affiliate for an exchange of us borrowing our equipment in return for a free place to train. When we arrived we googled “cheap austin crossfit” and proceeded to check out the first gym that popped up.
Now I won’t bore you with all the details but the gist of what happened was we walked into a set up that had a decent amount of bumper plates (although a lot were on their last legs) some pretty terrible beater barbells, a lot of really enthusiastic but misdirected clients doing their best to power snatch and an old school CrossFit coach/owner who, although was fine as a person, was not at all versed in how to teach the oly lifts, or several other movements for that matter.
(Mock Regionals at Fortitude Fitness CrossFit 78702, Austin, TX)
After speaking with the owner, letting him know who we were, that we had been training in Olympic lifting the past 2 years, and offering him access to easily two grand of equipment, he told us he would give us half off the normal price and that we could either do classes or train during the smaller classes in the corner. At the time I was a little disappointed (75$ a month is a lot to a kid who is jobless and owes $500 a month in rent), but we figured we could agree and continue to look around if necessary, and so my CrossFit journey began.
100% Discount or No Discount
My buddy paid half for about two months, was frustrated about the situation and having to pay at all, and then left to train in the garage of a friend he had made. I loved CrossFit, continued training and eventually got my Level 1 and coached there for about 10 months. While I was there I probably saw 50 people join the gym, by the time I left the number of memberships was almost the exact same as it was from when I started. How? Community, or lack there of.
The owner of the gym turned my friend off because he was stubborn in his ways, terrible at lifting, and at the end of the day was only having my friend pay $75 a month so there was no real financial stress for him to commit to making the most out of his experience there, instead he just looked for a new place. The gym had discounts for military and service members (which is something I think is fine if it’s important to you), but then on top of that he had discounts for friends, members who joined but had said they could only afford “x” amount, and so on. To be honest it was hard to find two members in the same class that were paying the same rate, and although that may seem okay from the outside (assuming no one will get wise), eventually people talk and they start wondering why they are paying more than the new guy for the same service.
("Rise Against The Machines" Competition at BatCity CrossFit)
A community that stays together is one that invests in itself and in each other and if people's investments are uneven, and lets be honest unfair, you can bet that those who think they are getting a raw deal are going to move somewhere where they think they will get their moneys worth. Lastly, if you have someone walk in to your gym with the potential to help you learn as a coach, help your clients, and bring respect to your establishment, take the time to get to know them and then if you think it makes sense let them train for free and form a relationship that will be beneficial to both of you. My friend now has his own very successful weightlifting class at a different gym, works with top level athletes from across the country in their mobility programming, and is coached by Chad Vaughn.
-----Stay Tuned For Parts 2 and 3!-----