OUTSIDE THE BOX It’s no secret that CrossFit and the holidays don’t exactly go together like chocolate and peppermint. December is the slowest month for most gyms nationwide, and January isn’t much better. People get into the holiday mood; they want to see friends and family and ring in the joy of the new year. I’m guilty of letting my own fitness slip this time of year. The pull of the holidays is strong.
This was more than just throwing a big party. Not only was it well- attended, the event gave the gym owner a chance to make important announcements about the new year. He promoted his own programs, as well as their annual charity, to really drive home the communal mindset. Rather than trying to get people to drop the holiday mentality and come to CrossFit, he and his staff brought the holiday mentality to the box. Now, you don’t have to do something quite on this scale. But leaning into the sense of unity that both CrossFit and the holidays share can be a powerful gesture — one that gels with the seasonal state of mind. Some of the strongest bonds I’ve made with CrossFitters have been at events outside the gym. Throwing a party or doing philanthropy work this time of year is a great way to keep even the most spirited holiday lovers engaged. The charity route, in particular, seems perfect for our community. Everyone I employ full-time at O2 is an L1 CrossFit instructor. That’s not a marketing ploy, either. I’ve learned from experience just how dedicated and driven these folks can be. As an affiliate owner, you have an army of these incredibly passionate, hardworking individuals. Imagine what they could accomplish in one day, let alone in a whole month of working for a cause! There are plenty of ways CrossFit boxes can make an impact this time of year: from going out in funny Santa hats and shoveling snow for the elderly to having a drive for a local food bank where coaches organize donation teams, or anything else you can dream up. As long as it’s festive and exciting, your members will appreciate it. Whether you want to throw a party to thank your members or organize some charitable action, my challenge to you is to show some love outside of the box this season.
“Forget WODs. Forget PRs. This month, buy your members pizza.”
But is this seasonal dip necessarily a bad thing? I’m reminded of a conversation we had with Ashley Thompson of CrossFit 313 a few months back. She told us one of the main challenges she has as an affiliate owner is reminding herself that not everyone lives and breaths CrossFit. That rang so true for me. As people in the fitness business, it’s so easy to lose sight of the fact that members often have more on their plate than the workout of the day, especially over the holidays. I do it all the time with my business. (“You mean to tell me you don’t think about O2 all the time?”) So am I saying you should simply shrug and accept the lower numbers this month? No, of course not. What I’m going to suggest is taking a radically different approach to any other time of year. Forget WODs. Forget PRs. This month, I want you to buy your members pizza. Hear me out. One of the greatest things my old gym in Columbus did was throw an amazing holiday party every year. One night each December, the owner rented out the top floor of a two-story bar and offered free pizza (and booze) for members and coaches alike. It was his way of saying thank you and happy holidays to those who called his gym home. I have half a mind to sneak back there to partake in the celebrations since I just missed my Cincinnati gym’s potluck.
–Dave Colina Founder, O2
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