Running a 24 Hour Crossfit Gym with Logan Barton of Main Gate Crossfit

Good morning Fringe fam, this is Peter Keller as always from Fringe Sport and today I'm talking with Logan Barton of Main Gate Crossfit, Logan, how're you doing today?

Logan Barton:  I'm good, what's up Peter, how ya doing bud?

I'm doing fantastic, so we're talking about in the precall there's a little bit of Cedar Fever going around in Austin, but so far I've managed to avoid that.

Logan Barton: Oh good, I basically, I did not avoid it down here in Corpus, everybody's been sick, but I feel great, I've been working out, I just can't get rid of the cough and hopefully get rid of it here soon.

Yeah man, awesome, well not awesome but lets roll into this. So there you go. Tell us a little bit about yourself, and in a professional and background way how you found sport training, crossfit, all that?

Logan Barton:  Yeah, so my background ... I've been in the Navy, United States Navy for about fourteen years and I found Crossfit ... I'm still active duty stationed here in Corpus, I found Crossfit when I went overseas to Iraq in 2009 and was watching Crossfit, people doing Crossfit with Nick in front of them and when the class was over I was peeking at the whiteboard and would do the workouts and would be like, "Oh my God, I'm not nearly where I think I am". And so just started in 2009, went to Spain, in 2010 and got a military affiliate started called Crossfit Roda.

A couple of guys started and I transitioned in as one of the coaches and just fell in love with Crossfit and basically from there I ended up starting a brand, a fitness brand called Madfitter, where I was making wrist wraps out of donated military uniforms and we were doing that so we could raise some money to send military guys to get their level one. Because the Navy was going to close our gym down because we didn't have enough level ones. And I was like, "Man, how can we raise some money", and I was like, "Dudes bring all your uniforms, I'm going to make wrist wraps out of them". So we do that with a little bio card of a service member and then I guess the rest is history. Moved to Guam, was involved in multiple Crossfit gyms there, we got there, there was not one Crossfit in Guam, and by the time we left three years later there were seven Crossfit gyms in Guam. And then moved to Texas. I guess that's kinda my Crossfit background.

Wow, so let's do the Navy a little bit, why Navy out of everything you could've done with your life? I'm just curious about that.

Logan Barton:  Oh shoot, so yeah, the Navy - I started a little bit late, so usually they get out of high school and they go in. I went to the plumber pipefitter union for two years and I was in Ohio. I don't know if you've every been to Ohio but it sucks. It's like I usually don't tell people I'm from Ohio, I wanted to get out of there man, so I joined the Navy because it was the fastest ticket out of Ohio and I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I just know I wanted to travel and traveling around in the Navy's a lot better than just traveling around anywhere else I guess. At least that's what the recruiter told me. And I was a diesel mechanic for a long time, and I switched my jobs probably about six, seven years ago and now I'm a police officer. I've been a police officer for about seven years.

So you're still tracking, you're in the Navy and you're a police officer in the Navy.

Logan Barton: That is correct, yes I'm a police officer in the Navy, fourteen years and I'm stationed down here in Corpus Christi, Texas, at the Navel Station that we have down here. People don't know that we have a navel station down here but this is ... strategically it's the place where all Navy and marine pilots get their training so it's the very first stop for the Top Gun guys, you know what I mean.

Totally here ya. And that's interesting because I didn't actually know that there was a Navy base down there and my wife's got some family down there so, learning something new every day.

Logan Barton:  Yeah, you should come down here because every year between Corpus Christi and Kingsville which is 40 minutes away, we have the air show and it's just like how you figure an air show should be. They have all the 1940's planes in here doing all the tricks, the Blue Angels come every year, it's a big spectacle, and usually get about 50,000 people that show up, just to checkout this air show every year.

Awesome, alright, I'll make it down there one year, at least I know where I'm gonna be training while I'm down there right.

Logan Barton: I'll shoot you an email next time we have it that way hopefully you can plan and bring your family down.

Awesome, thanks a lot. So, we've talked a little bit about your Crossfit background and you talked a little bit about Madfitter which sounds really cool, how did you evolve? So the main product that I'm aware of from Madfitter is the boombell, so how did you evolve from the wrist wraps, the hero wraps to kinda building out your product line and you know again, sort of like the question with the Navy, out of all the things you could do with your time, you know, why that?

Logan Barton: Yeah, so you know I think I'm a bit advocate in the Navy right now and truthfully it was Crossfit that did it when I was in Spain, the mind shift happened, "Well I can do anything". You know what I mean, I was doing ... a Sophie 50, and you get done with that and you go to work at the Navy and you're like, "I just did the Sophie!" You know what I mean, it was easy days. So I got the mind shift, like, "Now I can do so much more".

And when we did the wrist wrap, basically I paid for a bunch of designs and I was going to be a t-shirt company, and that failed miserably but what I did get out of that investment was my Madfitter logo, I told the designer, "Man, I want a kettlebell that looks like a grenade, that way they know that Madfitter is like active duty owned". And so when I saw the design come back, it was like a light shining down on it - "Man I have to make this thing, this thing is so cool". So I told my wife, I said, "We're gonna make kettlebells". And she was like, "You're crazy". And I was like, "And we're going to the crossfit games to sell these things this year". And she was like, "You're crazy".

That's exactly what we did, it took about nine months to get it done but we showed it to the 2014 Crossfit games as a vendor, and crushed it. I had a bunch of guys fly in, all active duty all fly in from all over the world to help me, and we  sold 500 pairs of wrist wraps, 150 kettlebells and then after the Crossfit games I flew back to Guam because that's where I was stationed at.

And you know the development of Madfitter was like, it just kinda grew into ... I wanted to be like the place where you can bring awareness to military athletes like the tactical athlete brand, the kettlebell has a really unique grenade look to it, every body can like it. Some of the kettlebells are zombie heads or you'll have the demon bells that were out at the time, not that they weren't cool but you know I think I had a big broad market for the kettlebells and everybody loved it. Everybody loved the fact that it was active duty owned, I always make my stuff look like the old military MASH look, so it's oaty green, and people just loved the story behind the wrist wraps and then the kettlebell looks really cool too.

And I've just been adding small products as I go, but this year we're kinda going back to the basics and we're just going to be doing wrist wraps, custom wrist wraps for gyms and then kettlebell stuff and we're gonna be rolling out a kettlebell course, a one-day kettlebell course where we come in, it's going to be called the Boombell Operator course, and we do a whole day of instruction for somebody that wants to learn more about kettlebells and then when they sign up for the course they actually leave with a kettlebell.

That's pretty awesome brother, I love hearing that. So, you're in Guam, you've got Madfitter, you're involved with a number of boxes that are opening up in Guam, I'm presuming then that you got stationed in Corpus Christi and then that's when you decided to open Maingate. Tell us a little bit about that full transition.

Logan Barton: So Maingate, I think everybody has, you fall in love with Crossfit, I'm sure it probably was the same story for you, I know I'm sure you loved Crossfit and then you wanted to make equipment, make good equipment, so that was your outlet to it. And that's kinda the same thing for me, 'cause I loved Crossfit so much and I've helped build since 2012, I've helped a bunch of people start military affiliates, that's kinda, not necessarily what I'm known for, but people would always reach out to me, "Man, you've started some military affiliates can you help me get through the red tape".

And Maingate Crossfit have been basically in the making for over two and a half years, maybe three years and I've always wanted to start a Crossfit gym where you could throw a rock from the base and hit the gym, that way the guys that live on base, the single guys or anybody that works on base can just very easily come off base and they have their own little box there. And so the goal behind Maingate was to be well one, close to the base and then build an atmosphere where it's not like you just come here for a class, Maingate is where you come, we're open 24 hours a day.

A lot of Crossfit gyms aren't open 24 hours a day but we are and the guys can come in here if they work night shift, they can work out, we have a bonfire pit they can start a bonfire pit, we have the hotspots and computers and laptops so they can get on there and do work that they need to so basically the atmosphere I wanted to create was like, this was your second home, you could hang out as long as you want to. And when somebody pays for unlimited I've always thought in my mind, "It should be unlimited, you shouldn't have to tell them to come to one class a day, like let these dudes hang out all day. That's kind of the whole purpose of Maingate, was just to create a good place, a good atmosphere and a good community around the base.

I love that, so talk to me about 24 hours a day, that's definitely something that I don't hear very often and I talk with a lot of gym owners, so how does that work. Surely doesn't mean you have like a 3am class, right?

Logan Barton: No, certainly. So, maybe one day, so me and Jarred, the partners that I have in here, we're all on the same goal of making sure we grow the Maingate itself, or the gym itself. If one day, we have a lot of people interested in a 3am class, then we would do a 3am class, but, 24 hours a day is very, very simple. To where I have access codes, thumbprint or pin code to where you can get into the gym, and so for arguments sake, insurance reasons and all of that stuff, Crossfit RRG.

If you wanna be open 24 hours, or have a 24 hour a day policy then you need to have the set of rules in there too. So everybody goes through an assessment, they have to have so many times with a coach, before they get their 24 hour access. And then we have it set up inside the gym where, in case of emergencies you have, your panel and stuff like that. Where they can contact emergency sources if they need it. So we do our four, five classes a day, and then the rest of the time is just open gym. And you can be an open gymer, whenever you want to basically. And so in your crossfit, when your not crossfitting and it's open gym it's basically the parent company of Takeover Athletics and that's actually the name of the company, is Takeover Athletics and that's the way you can differentiate, so that way you can separate Crossfit and open gym.

Got it. Take me through, how many of your members or percentage or something like that, and I'm just gonna come back to the 3am because 3am sounds to me a terrible time to be lifting weights in the gym. So how many of your members are coming to like a more standard 5am, 6am class or a noon class or an afternoon class, versus the dead of night?

Logan Barton: Okay so, I think the "24 hours a day" policy, really it just allows a member to know, "Oh, I can come whenever I want to". And it's really just ... I'm not saying it hooks a member in, but it's definitely an added value that we provide to our members. So we have a package that's just open gym, for instance, one of my goals is to get people that have never Crossfit, basically the globo gymer, but there's a gym at base. I'm not saying their all meat heads, but they go in there and they lift.

One of my goals is to get those guys into here and instead of them paying the $50 out in town in like Gold's Gym or something, that is less than a mile away. And so, then they can come in here, in open gym and see an ending of a class, and think to themselves, "Huh, oh I like that man, I like how they're all supportive of each other, they high five each other, I want to try that stuff". That's kind of the goal of the open gym, so we have an all open gym package, it's only like $50 a month, you can come in here and just have open gym.

We do have several of those members who just do open gym and then for our members I actually see it where it's mostly at night time 'til about 9pm, we have a couple people who come in at ten. But really it's off the base, so maybe 24 hours isn't for everybody. But on my base here the majority of the command all work a swing shift, so a lot of them get out at nine o'clock at night and so we have three people that come in at ten o'clock right, there's even a flux of people coming out at two o'clock in the morning. And so if you know, if we really marketed that two o'clock in the morning, like 2.30, I bet you we could get a couple of people to come in here. It's just kinda, where you're at, your location and if 24 hours would really work for you, you know what I mean.

Yeah, totally, that's really interesting, and interesting also for me to see as that evolves. I really think that that's an interesting option.

So that's pretty much all the time that we've got.

Logan Barton: Oh.

Yeah, I know, but you and I will chat again, you know don't worry about that. Right find you at and then also on Facebook at Main Gate Crossfit. What's the best place for people to find you if they're interested?

Logan Barton: So if they want to find me they can find me at Logan Barton on Facebook. I usually run just a social media site for Madfitter. So you can even just go to Madfitter, email me there is my email, and obviously you can drop in at the gym if you're here in Corpus at Maingate, we're down by the navy base. You know we usually have someone here from eight o'clock in the morning to 1500, so that's 3pm, 8 to 3pm. We have somebody standing by so if you wanna come in and hang out, high five and get a workout then that'd be awesome.

So don't come in for a drop in at 3am right, we wanna be clear about that.

Logan Barton:  You better email me first.

Sounds good, sounds great, Logan this has been a pleasure, have a wonderful morning, day, weekend, all that stuff.

Logan Barton: Yeah man, and I wanted to end by just saying that we're so happy that we chose Fringe Sport equipment. Basically our gym looks super, super bad ass, all the equipment just looks so good and all the guys love it, and the barbells are great. Bumper plates are the better bumper plates that I've had in the temp one. So definitely a good choice with Fringe Sport and thanks for having me again.

My pleasure.


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