The word “community” gets thrown around a lot when people talk about CrossFit. I know when I was thinking about trying CrossFit for the first time, that word appeared on YouTube videos, reviews of gyms etc. Apparently, one of the best parts about CrossFit was this “community.”
Community or camaraderie is something that I had associated with sport at school, but as an adult the norm for physical activity often winds up being solo – going to gym, going for a run, etc. Yet motivation and accountability can be difficult when exercising alone. Cameron van der Burgh (2012 Olympic Champion in the 100m breastroke) recently started CrossFit training, and one of his reasons was that he ‘couldn’t find the motivation to gym in public facilities.’ [Click here to read the rest of Cameron’s blog post] Even famous athletes struggle with motivation, not just us mere mortals! So the concept of a community in CrossFit made sense but I didn’t really know what that meant until I experienced it.
The important aspects of community will be different for different people. Community can be people at the gym who have become your friends, and they become the reason you keep going back every day. Community can be that person next to you pushing you when you are wanting to take a break. Community can be that sense of belonging; that group of like-minded individuals. Community can even be your coach who knows your name and greets you with a friendly smile and welcomes you when you walk in the door. The list goes on and on.
I love the way our community is taking shape at My CrossFit. I’m seeing everything I listed above and more. And that is truly a wonderful thing to see, because community is what keeps a CrossFit gym going. There are just far too many examples of these behemoth gyms with stunning equipment, ample space etc. having to close their doors while the smaller gym down the street is thriving. Why? Because the smaller gym has that community experience that people crave. That sense of belonging, of gym being a home away from home. The stunning equipment and ample space can help getting someone in the door and maybe signing up, but that’s about all it does. People stay for the community.
Our community must be on the right track, because we had our first batch of members re-sign and extend their memberships with us. I’m quite happy to say that we had a 100% re-sign rate, with several members upgrading their contracts to 12 months so they are now with us for at least a year (and hopefully much more).