Op-Ed: How CrossFit’s New Online Onramp Can Help Your Gym

February 12, 2021 by
Photo credit: ISTOCK
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CrossFit’s Home Office rolled out its new online Onramp Course in the quarterly Affiliate Town Hall Friday.

Critics said things like this: “CrossFit is competing with its own affiliates” and “This won’t get anyone new into my gym.”

When I first heard about the initiative a few days ago, I have to admit that I felt the same way. But after thinking about it for a while — and after having a really meaningful conversation with the gym owners in the Two-Brain family — my perspective has changed.

As Two-Brain Business Mentor Oskar Johed put it, “Pre-Roza, affiliate owners were complaining that they didn’t get anything from HQ (now Home Office). Now when Roza is trying to grow the audience, people are complaining that their actions are misguided.”

While many gyms (and all Two-Brain gyms) have a clear path to onboard new clients, many CrossFit affiliates don’t. For them, this is a big step forward. And I think the online CrossFit OnRamp Course could potentially help your box, for these reasons:

  • If you don’t have an onboarding process beyond “try a group class!” then free online modules teaching basic movements are better than what you’re currently doing.
  • If you do have a system for onboarding new clients to your group classes, this new CrossFit offering won’t compete with your process.
  • All this probably won’t affect you at all. As Two-Brain Mentor Brian Strump said, “Even if someone does search ‘CrossFit,’ they aren’t ending up at CrossFit.com. They are likely searching ‘CrossFit’ and ‘near me’ or their zip code or city.”
  •  If your gym is closed, the new offering might create some interest in new-to-fitness clients who are trying different online options right now.
  • The sense that “I can do this!” is powerful. The biggest barrier to entry for some clients isn’t your price or their pre-existing injuries. For most, the barrier is social: They don’t want to look dumb (or weak) in front of a group of strangers. If they can try some of the movements in their home first, they might get the feeling they “can do CrossFit.” While this hasn’t been tested in CrossFit yet, it has been very successful with a Brazilian jiu-jitsu gym in our mentorship program.
  • The course finishes with a call to action to book with an affiliate, though it’s unclear how a new athlete will choose among their local affiliates.

The new CrossFit Onramp Course will be released in stages:

  • Test Launch (Miami and Dallas): Q1-Q2, 2021.
  • Soft Launch (Limited Markets, TBD): Q2-Q3, 2021.
  • Full US Launch: Q3-Q4, 2021.
  • Select International Market Launch: Q4, 2021.

Here’s what to do if you’re nervous about the CrossFit Onramp Course:

  • Rename your own onramp program. Many are using the term “kickstart” — Lindsey VanSchoyck wrote about how this simple word change generated more revenue.
  • Make your onramp program flexible to the client. This avoids the problem of creating “test-outs” and arguing with clients about their readiness to do CrossFit.
  • Start by coaching nutrition instead of exercise. Or start with habits coaching, mindset coaching or something else. Squat therapy is not the answer to our global obesity pandemic.

As a 12-year affiliate, it’s hard for me to look past my own skepticism sometimes. But it’s true: Eric Roza and his new team are trying to help affiliates. The course is well done, and it’s hard to go wrong with any video featuring Chuck Carswell.

I think this is a solid step forward.

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