Happy Monday and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up. Today’s edition brings to light more efforts within the community to reach underserved populations and takes a look at gyms struggling to keep pace with increased membership.
Coming just a week after CrossFit HQ kicked off their first L1 scholarship program, two other gym owners create their own scholarship programs.
Despite the tough times for many fitness businesses, Emily Beers profiles several gyms who can’t keep up with the increased demand and member growth.
We’re hiring! The Morning Chalk Up is looking to add a growth hacker to our ranks. Key perks include remote work, a competitive salary and unlimited burpee breaks. Job description details and how to apply available here. Job application closes this Friday.
“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”– A. A. Milne Christopher Robin
Gym Owners Give Back in the Form of Memberships Scholarships
As CrossFit Inc continues to build more diversity through the training ranks, other gyms are finding ways to diversify their boxes and provide fitness opportunities to underserved communities.
Marco Alejandro and Brandon Garcia are two of these gym owners. Alejandro, the owner of CrossFit MFP in Ardmore, PA, recently launched a scholarship program for individuals in tough financial situations looking to improve their lives through fitness. And Garcia, the owner of CrossFit ELM in Thornton, CO, is currently funding five one-year memberships for people with health problems, who wouldn’t normally be able to afford CrossFit.
Marco Alejandro: “Our focus with our (first scholarship) individuals are African Americans. (People who) have faced adversity is some sort of way and want to use fitness and wellness to give them a second chance and opportunity for themselves.”
Brandon Garcia: “One of our recipients this year is a Type 2 diabetic, and her A1C (average blood glucose level) has steadily gone down and is nearing the normal range.”
The big picture: Alejandro and Garcia are part of a growing trend in the community to offer fitness at discounted or fully subsidized rates to underprivileged people or communities. In recent weeks, we have featured three other gyms who offer subsidized memberships, scholarships or coaching education to underserved communities, including Noble Clay Fitness in Atlanta, GA, Subversus Fitness in Philadelphia, PA and Saltwater Athletics in Somers Point, NJ. Further, Brand X Method encourages their gyms to comp every 15th membership, and CrossFit Inc. hosted their first scholarship Level 1 Certificate Course last weekend in Atlanta.
CrossFit MFP’s first scholarship recipients: Alejandro’s first two recipients—both of whom received six-month memberships—are a 19-year-old boy named Marquis Mays and Jeanne Lee, an African American woman in her 50s.
From Wait Lists to Record Breaking Revenue: Gyms Rebound Since Reopening
While some gyms are back on the chopping block in terms of having to potentially close their doors again because of the ongoing pandemic, others are having trouble keeping up with the demand since reopening. Some are even having PR revenue months.
What they’re saying:
Carrie and Chris Auster, the owners of CrossFit Bridge City in Texas experienced a record-breaking revenue month in June. The couple managed to retain 95 percent of their clients during the shutdown, and in the first half of 2020, they have “grossed more than any other year so far,” Chris said.
The same is true for Nathan Corrigal, the owner of Southwest Strength in Melita, Manitoba. “Best ever month in June, and we’re looking like beating that this month,” he said.
Patrick Heringer, the owner of CrossFit 513 United in Cincinnati, OH, has had similar success. “We reopened on May 26 and (had lost) 10 percent (of our) membership, and then we had our best month ever in June by 12 percent. (We’re) on pace to match that in July,” he said.
Forrest Jung, the owner of CrossFit South Bay in Hermosa Beach, CA is having so much trouble keeping up with demand that he currently has a 100 person waiting list.
“They have come from all around: Globo gyms, small gyms like Orange Theory and other CrossFit gyms. Most people are coming because their gym either closed down or their gym wasn’t following guidelines like they should be,” said Jung, who is only able to operate at 50 percent capacity right now because of current COVID regulations.
Terrence Limbert, the owner of Forge Valley Fitness in Vernon, B.C. is so “slammed” he needs to hire a new coach. “Zero dollars spent on advertising. Probably 90 percent of our new intakes are referrals. Revenue this month is back to matching pre-covid months,” Limbert said.
The same is true for Mitch Roehl, the owner of The Loop Fitness in Lake Stevens, WA, who has been averaging three new members a week since reopening. “Not only are our numbers very close to where we were, we had to hire a coach just to handle personal training sessions,” he said.
What to watch for: Gyms experiencing exponential growth offer hope for other owners who are still lagging behind their pre-COVID membership numbers. But there are a lot of factors at play. Gyms are still trying to survive under the threat of local closures which can change in an instant as we’ve seen play out through much of California and Arizona in the past week. How long this lasts and whether more gyms are forced to close again are two important questions facing owners moving forward.
Why Are Athletes Organizing?
Barbend’s Editor-in-Chief David Tao breaks down the news of the newly launched Professional Fitness Athletes’ Association (PFAA) and what it means for the sport of fitness. Tao is also joined by six-time CrossFit Games Athlete Cole Sager, who is on the PFAA’s executive leadership team.
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