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CROSSFIT


With this focus on safety in mind,


clubs must consider how to properly introduce members to the concept. Experienced, knowledgeable, ideally PT- trained Level 3 staff are vital, ensuring members are correctly instructed in safe technique – otherwise there’s real potential for injury. Fitness First Middle East, which has introduced its own Xfit offering (see below), provides a ‘fundamentals’ class so members can learn the basics before progressing first to the ‘essential’ class and then the ‘daily extreme’ programme. “There should be a great focus on


the correct lifting techniques and a lot of training before novices are allowed to lift heavier weights,” says Antti Kohvakka, sales director at York Fitness. “Clubs should develop tutorial programmes to provide this service and get members lifting correctly and safely.”


Fitness First Middle East created a results-driven offer called Xfit


“WE RECOGNISED THAT MUCH OF WHAT SCARES PEOPLE ABOUT CROSSFIT IS THE INDUSTRIAL ENVIRONMENT”


Create your brand Although going the route of getting your club licensed by CrossFit, and your trainers affiliated, allows you to benefit from the public awareness of the CrossFit brand – “the marketing has, to a degree, already been done for clubs,” says Matthew Januszek of Escape Fitness – nevertheless the hardcore brand can be off-putting for many. Creating your own, more accessible brand is a way of giving this type of training a more universal appeal. And indeed health club chains have no choice in the matter, as CrossFit won’t license chains. Scandinavian chain SATS, which


operates 110 clubs, has therefore created Prformance. Currently offered


in 10 of its sites, it’s in the process of being rolled out as it’s proved successful in boosting visits, sales, retention and PT revenues, as well as attracting an even mix of males and females. “The CrossFit brand and product is


more extreme than mass market, but its principles of back to basics, functional fitness can be applied in a health club,” says Daniel Almgren, SATS Nordic product manager. “It’s straightforward to make the training techniques available and appealing to a broad market.” The Prformance offering is delivered


within a 200–300sq m arena with padded flooring and rigs, where high intensity, strength and Olympic lifting classes are offered. SATS selects its best personal trainers to run the sessions. “We recognised that much of what


scares people about CrossFit is the industrial environment, so we’ve set about making ours more appealing – for example, using more inviting lighting,” says Almgren. “However, we’ve kept some of the rawness with a prison yard- style, see-through fence.” Fitness First Middle East has also


The Xfit boxes have no mirrors or TV screens to distract people from training


created its own brand, Xfit – a mix of functional training, gymnastics, body movement and Olympic lifting. The Xfit boxes – which have no mirrors or TV screens – are kitted out with tyres, a functional training rig, medicine balls, Olympic bars and weights, plus boxes to jump over. MYZONE has been introduced to measure workout intensity and boost motivation.


42 Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital “We’re seeing phenomenal results,


with people changing their body shape and with significant increases in fitness levels and strength. Some members have even taken part in the CrossFit Open Regionals,” says Mark Botha, group operations and marketing director of Fitness First Middle East. “Xfit is popular because it’s results-driven, fun, instructor-led, and offers the benefits of PT but with a group exercise dynamic.” Meanwhile Young has taken a two-


pronged approach at mi-gym, using the CrossFit brand to attract those to whom it appeals and dropping it for those who would find it off-putting.


“The name can be intimidating, so I call my evening classes CrossFit, but daytime sessions are Results classes,” she says. “It’s the same training, but 80 per cent of the membership wouldn’t have come if it had been called CrossFit. To get going, I aimed my marketing at women – I knew the men, and those into CrossFit, would come anyway.”


Sense of community Undoubtedly one of the secrets to CrossFit’s success is the way it has built up a community, both online and within clubs. It’s this small, personal feel that leads some to doubt whether the concept can be taken mass market. However, although difficult in a large club, it’s by no means impossible – it just requires energy and effort on the part of staff, with lots of personal contact both in and out of the club, follow-ups if


May 2014 © Cybertrek 2014


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