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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HOW YOUR BUSINESS CAN
We believe that small businesses can have a positive impact on local communities and the wider world. A successful charity campaign can make a world of difference for people in need, especially over the holidays. But not all charitable organizations are created equal, and supporting the wrong organization can do more harm than good. Here are some tips on finding the best fit for your business. ALIGN MISSIONS When narrowing down the thousands of local and national charities you have to choose from, comparing the mission statements of these organizations to your own is a great place to start. Charities that align with or complement your own goals as a business are natural partners. Still, while matching big-picture goals is a great start, you also need to make sure your chosen organization aligns with the heart and soul of your business: your employees and customers. FIND HUMAN CONNECTIONS The most powerful charity work your business can support is a cause that stems from the needs and passions of people connected to your work. Maybe a member of your team lives with a disability or a significant number of your customers face social, cultural, or economic challenges. Putting time, money, and effort into supporting a reputable
STAY ON TOP OF YOUR STOCK THIS SEASON DECK THE SHELVES
Nothing will hurt your retail operation more during the holidays than bare shelves. Running out of stock at any time of the year is bad for business, but December and January can pack double the punch — the holidays are a time of loose wallets and slow shipping. Not only does running out of a product mean you’re missing out on the seasonal spending euphoria, but it also means restocking is going to take far, far longer. BARE SHELVES ARE BAD BUSINESS This compounds with the everyday dangers of running out of stock. Members in the habit of getting a post-workout O2 will be disappointed if their favorite flavor isn’t in the fridge and quite possibly livid if there are no cans at all. Remember: The high markups that make gym retail so successful are made possible because members are willing to pay for the convenience of having items they trust at their gym. The slightest inconvenience can quickly tilt the scales in the minds of your members. STAYING DECKED YEAR-ROUND Unless you’re running one of the biggest boxes in the country, chances are you don’t employ a full-time inventory specialist. That’s why O2 and many other trusted CrossFit retailers offer an auto-ship feature; we know your business is a gym first, not a supermarket. We strongly recommend giving this option a shot.
It frees up time and energy you’d otherwise spend fretting over inventory spreadsheets and shipping forms, and it can boost your margins.
LESS STRESS, MORE SAVINGS
At O2, we see auto-ship as a win-win. Because we’re able to plan your next shipment ahead of time, we can tighten our own inventory. Naturally, we pass on the savings to you, offering a 5 percent discount on all purchases though auto-ship. This way, you keep your box from running out of cans and make more for every can you sell. We’ll even analyze your sales data to help find a custom shipment setting that fits your box. And of course, you can adjust or cancel auto-ship at any time.
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GIVE BACK THE RIGHT WAY
organization that helps the people and communities connected to your business is one of the best ways to show you care.
AGAINST THE ODDS
CHECK CREDENTIALS Good intentions only go so far. To really make your charity efforts count and ensure your donations are used appropriately, you need to do some research. Thankfully, organizations like the Better Business Bureau, Charity Watch, and GuideStar.org keep data on IRS-registered charities, making it easy to see which groups are reputable. In general, you should look for organizations that have a great track record of transparency and make all of their financial information readily available. REMEMBER THE ‘WHY’ If you’re just looking for a tax write-off or good publicity, charity efforts are going to feel hollow and frustrating. More than anything, philanthropy should involve a cause your business is passionate about — no matter how big or small. Taking the time to remind yourself why you’ve chosen to support a particular cause will keep you from losing sight of what giving back is all about. 30-MINUTE CAULIFLOWER SOUP
Here at O2, we’re all about humility and hustle — two traits gym owner Sam Hook has in spades. Sam and his wife, Nicole, were told plenty of times they’d never be able to run their own CrossFit gym in their small town of Purcell, Oklahoma (population 6,436). And yet, as they approach their second year in operation, the owners of Salty Dog Athletics are proving the naysayers wrong — and having a blast doing it! The first surprising thing we learned is that Sam wasn’t just a latecomer to CrossFit — he wasn’t even really much of a gym guy. As he himself puts it, “I never really stuck to formal workouts. I was never in shape or anything.” Regardless of how he feels, the truth is that Sam was fit enough to serve in the Navy and shipped out for a tour in Afghanistan in 2010. It was during this tour that Sam had his first taste of CrossFit. “My roommate in Afghanistan was in decent shape, and I decided I needed to start doing something about my own health,” Sam reflects. “I had been struggling with high blood pressure and just getting older. I asked the guy if I could work out with him. Turns out he’d been doing CrossFit.” Sam found that this new workout routine made a big impact on his life. “When I got back to the states, I felt better than ever,” he remembers. “I wanted to keep doing this CrossFit thing.” Of course, Sam had all the demands of civilian life and fatherhood to take into account. “Between coaching Little League and my job, it was hard to get to the gym,” he explains with a laugh. Sticking to CrossFit was especially difficult because the nearest box was several towns away. But rather than give up, Sam decided to bring CrossFit into his home. “About three years ago, I got a CrossFit starter kit and began working out with my wife and sons in the garage,” Sam explains. “In our small community, people started noticing. Soon enough, friends were asking, ‘Hey, can I come work out with you?’” Slowly but surely, Sam’s homegrown following spilled out of his garage and onto his front lawn. Many of these friends and neighbors would ask Sam for advice during these group workout sessions, so the father of three decided to go out and get his CrossFit level 1 coaching certification. His wife, Nicole, would soon follow suit. Today, Salty Dog Athletics has outgrown the front lawn. The Hook family has built a 1000-foot workout facility in their backyard, with Sam and Nicole becoming full-time owners and coaches. When asked how he made this dream possible, Sam had this to say: “You can’t go into opening a gym for the money. Your heart’s got to be in the right place.” HOW SALTY DOG ATHLETICS DOES THE IMPOSSIBLE
This hearty soup is a quick, easy, healthy addition to your holiday table. It can also be made vegetarian by substituting chicken broth with vegetable broth.
• 1 small head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cored and sliced • 1 leek, chopped • 1 medium onion, chopped • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped • 4 cups low-sodium chicken
broth or vegetable broth
• 1/2 cup heavy cream • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil • Salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter into warm oil. Add onion and leek, season with salt and pepper, and cook until tender, about 10–12 minutes. 2. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add cauliflower, broth, and cream. Simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 15 minutes. 3. Using a blender, purée in batches until smooth. 4. Top servings with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of pepper.
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Rethinking the Holiday Slump Page 1
Choosing the Right Charity
Deck the Shelves or Lose $$$ Page 2
30-Minute Cauliflower Soup
How Salty Dog Athletics Does the Impossible Page 3 The Philosophy of Bill Walsh Page 4
‘THE SCORE TAKES CARE OF ITSELF’
The term “game changer” gets tossed around so much these days that it no longer seems to hold enough weight to describe a legendary coach like Bill Walsh. But how do you describe someone who quite literally changed the way football is played on the highest level? It takes incredible willpower to defy conventional wisdom and turn a struggling team into a powerhouse.
always suggests to me a leader who hasn’t prepared properly and whose pants may soon fall down.” For long-term success, you have to have a game plan. For Walsh, preparation for leadership begins by bracing yourself for the worst. A mantra repeated throughout the book is “expect defeat.” In business and in football, losses are just a fact of life; how you prepare for and respond to these crises will determine your team’s success. But the most valuable element of leadership in Walsh’s eyes is how you treat the members of your team. You need to have the courage to let them know you believe in them. Using simple but earnest positive reinforcement, this legendary coach turned the 49ers into an incredible team, and the benefits show. Segments of the book contain anecdotes and reflections from players such as Joe Montana and Randy Cross, whose deep admiration for their former leader speak volumes. “The Score Takes Care of Itself” was published posthumously. Walsh’s son, Craig, did much of the legwork to piece this definitive portrait together. What we are left with is a truly insightful read from one of the most innovative, inspiring minds in sports history. It will be a long time before a book like this comes around again.
In Walsh’s memoir on leadership, “The Score Takes Care of Itself,” he explores the philosophy that guided him through his coaching career and led him to success. Working with award-winning author Steve Jamison, the two distill Walsh’s decades of experience into a comprehensive guide that can be used by coaches and CEOs alike. One theme throughout the book is the idea that sound fundamentals trump instincts. As Walsh aptly puts it, “Hearing someone described as being able to ‘fly by the seat of his pants’
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