June 2017 marked the gym’s 3 year anniversary. We went out for a nice dinner with the community to celebrate. As I looked around the room full of people who make my gym what it is, I knew I wanted to sit down and reflect on the 3 year journey that is CrossFit Volume.
I believe that when people first think about opening a CrossFit box, it has the illusion of the “dream” job. The draw towards it is lifestyle. There is an assumption that it is easy. That you can make plenty of money, coach some classes and train all the time.
Of course this is not the case.
For many gym owners when they have the realisation that it isn’t what they thought it would be, some close down and some rise to the occasion.
I was somewhere in the middle. I never thought it would be easy, but I also wasn’t about how challenging it could be at times.
Luckily for me the “dream” aspect of the job, was never lifestyle. It was community.
Community came above financial goals, lifestyle design and my personal training goals.
For me it was about finding meaning in my work. Making a difference.
Coaching is so much more than just the technical stuff. When I hired my first remote coach- Nicole from Invictus- she taught me a lot about mindset. It surprised me because I thought not having a coach face to face would affect how hard you can push in training. But in fact she coached me through mediation, I had to watch educational videos on mindset and as a result it was the hardest I had ever trained.
I learnt that you really need to look past the physical results that people want from their training. It is important to dig deep into what is going on in some one’s life to be able to truly help them in their training. My clients just want to be heard and have some one to believe in them.
People want more value
This was a huge area of growth from me and I have my business mentor Drew Slater to credit here. In growing my business I learnt so much about the type of people who train at a CrossFit gym.
They are not the type of people who are looking for a quick fix or a bargain. They are ready and willing to invest in themselves in many ways. This has allowed me to be creative in my approach and offer more and more value to my clients.
We are so much more than just a daily workout now as a result.
We have specialty workshops and classes, educational seminars, retreats, nutritional support and much more to come in the future.
The technical stuff
Teaching technique to an intermediate to advanced athlete with strong, stable shoulders is an easy task compared to a de-conditioned beginner.
What I found was, when attempting the pull up (strict or kipping) most beginners are unable to depress their shoulders and engage their lats. This means they are starting off the movement in shoulder elevation and relying solely on their biceps for the pull up.
This is really ineffective and limits their progress.
Lat activation and shoulder depression is the key to developing strong and safe vertical pulling. Only once this is mastered, can the client move on to more advanced movements.
Learning the basics from a gymnastics coach has helped me become a better coach particularly coaching beginner.
In the past I had brought in experienced gymnastics coaches from Dalecki Strength to assist me in this field, and now my head coach and I run our own gymnastics workshop in house.
Earlier this year I attended Julien Pineau’s StrongFit seminar.
This seminar is not about explaining and teaching strongman movements. Instead it is the delivery of all Julien’s training philosophy and everything he has learnt over his career.
If you know anything about me, you will know that I have had my fair share of injuries and that means I have spent a decent amount of my training in rehab.
This seminar was transformational for me because it made rehab training enjoyable for me.
That’s right- ENJOYABLE.
If you have ever done any rehab before, you will know how boring and tedious it can be. Thats a bad thing because its stops people what they should be doing to rebuild after an injury just because they are so unmotivated to do the exercises.
The exercises and program that Julien taught me was basically the opposite. Its rehab training disguised as really really fun and tough training.
After the seminar we re-evaluated how we were teaching our people to hinge at the hip, we introduced sandbag squats and all different types of sandbag work. Lastly we learnt ways to introduce lat work and oblique work.
This has been fantastic both for my clients and for my own training.
The last thing is, after three year’s of running my gym, I’ve never been so passionate about helping people. I can’t wait to see how CrossFit Volume continues to grow over the next three years. Thank you for being a part of the journey so far.