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Entries in CrossFit (13)


CrossFit Crosses Over: From Competition to a Health Club Offering

CrossFit has become not only a fitness industry power, but also an industry driver.

With more than 13,000 locations and a market value of around $4 billion, it serves as the very definition of a fitness juggernaut. The acknowledged answer for millennials and anyone else who’s interested in a rigorous workout, it’s carved out a huge international niche.

Last year, in an article titled “Big Gyms Shoot for a CrossFit Vibe, Without CrossFit,” The Wall Street Journal discussed the ways in which traditional clubs were adapting to the phenomenon.

Today, the new trend that the Journal might describe is how clubs are adopting CrossFit. This time, the headline might read, “Big Gyms Shoot for a CrossFit Vibe with CrossFit.”

Way back then, in 2015, the story was about coat-tailing on, capitalizing on, the opportunity that CrossFit had identified and tapped by introducing similar high-intensity programs.

Riding CrossFit’s Coattails

Pura Vida, an IHRSA-member club in Denver, CO, the newspaper reported, had spent $120,000 to revamp a medical office in the basement of its building to generate a “hard-core” vibe. It created a small-group training space with concrete floors, monkey bars, weight racks, and more.

And that was just the beginning.

Continue reading "CrossFit Crosses Over: From Competition to a Health Club Offering."

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How Health Clubs Are Meeting the Demand for Performance Training

In 2000, when Greg Glassman introduced the now-famous CrossFit concept—an efficient, high-intensity workout based on nine basic functional movements that required no traditional equipment—it seemed a promising niche offering.

... albeit a decidedly different kind of one.

Describing the regimen’s raison d’être, Glassman said, “CrossFit isn’t a specialized fitness program, but a deliberate attempt to optimize physical competence in each of 10 recognized fitness domains—cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy.”

Today, Glassman’s fitness formula drives what has become a global powerhouse, with more than 13,000 “boxes,” as its facilities are referred to, affectionately, by their members, with an estimated market value, according to Forbes magazine, of $4 billion.

As in many other areas of society, including our own industry, millennials have provided much of the impetus. In fact, the introduction of CrossFit coincided neatly with the coming-of-age of this cohort. Born between 1981 and the early 2000s—the first generation to mature during the new millennium— this group now numbers 69.2 million in the U.S.

They’re also known as Echo Boomers, Generation We, Generation Next, the Net Generation, and the Global Generation.

Glassman, it seems, had clearly come up with the perfect, high-intensity program for people who were looking for a new type of workout—one with particularly strong appeal for millennials. Approximately 40% of CrossFitters are between the ages of 24 and 34—a millennial sweet spot—according to a recent study from Rally Fitness, an Ontario, CA-based manufacturer of exercise equipment.

CrossFit, though, has always thought out of the “box,” and, as a result, become something of a cultural phenomenon. In 2007, the CrossFit Games debuted. The competition now attracts some 200,000 participants each year, confers a $2-million prize, and is televised by the Disney Channel. The event also seems to have inspired—or coincided with the emergence of—other fitness reality shows, such as NBC’s STRONG, the Esquire Network’s American Ninja Warrior, and its upcoming Team Ninja Warrior spin-off.

What’s the bottom-line message for IHRSA member clubs?

Continue reading "How Health Clubs Are Meeting the Demand for Performance Training."

Click to read more ...


When Should Health Clubs Buy New Equipment?

The decision to spend money, or “reinvest,” in updated facilities or new exercise equipment is never an easy one. Typically, membership prospects expect it, members request it, staff push for it, and investors/owners often resist it. Further, when is the right time to make such reinvestments?

Perhaps most importantly, will the improvements generate more revenue or a return on investment (ROI)?

Change is rampant in the health and fitness industry. Today, it continues to show signs of reaching maturity, and diversification is evident on all fronts. There’s prolific competition in virtually every market segment—“big box” clubs, boutiques, specialty studios, CrossFit gyms, budget clubs, corporate facilities, hospital entities, online workout programs, etc.

Quite simply, the challenge to retain and attract members has never been greater, and organizations that want to be relevant into the foreseeable future must be committed to a path of continual improvement. Facilities, programming, services, and equipment have to evolve and present a fresh value proposition to survive.

Achieving differentiation in a crowded market is critical to success. As the centerpiece of health and fitness centers, one of the most recognized points of differentiation is a facility’s design and its offerings, whether one’s talking about multipurpose, fitness-only, aquatics, tennis, movement, or small-group training operations. Consumers also demand and expect quality exercise equipment that’s current, offers variety, is plentiful, includes the latest entertainment features, and, of course, is in working order at all times.

Thoughtful discussions regarding possible upgrades in these two areas—differentiation and consumer demand—should be undertaken regularly, as they likely offer a reasonable ROI.

Outlined below are some considerations that may be useful during planning and discussions:

• When did the most recent significant investment in new exercise equipment—not just a few replacement pieces—take place?

• Would a walk-through of all exercise equipment areas reveal any noticeably outdated equipment? Although most strength equipment can last a lifetime—it shouldn’t. The condition of equipment speaks volumes about the tired/outdated status of the overall facility.

• How much is the club currently spending, per month, on the repair and essential maintenance of older exercise equipment, particularly its cardiovascular pieces? Are there cardiovascular units that are seemingly “out of order” on a consistent basis, even if they’re being repaired immediately?

• Adopting a strategy of replacing a few pieces of exercise equipment at a time—usually cardio selections—is important to ongoing customer satisfaction and member retention. This approach generates goodwill within the member community, and sends a consistent message to users that “their” club is constantly reinvesting in the product offering. However, although this “benefit drip” helps retain existing members, it does little, if anything, to attract new ones or to maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. It should be augmented periodically with a major/noticeable equipment rejuvenation that produces a “wow” factor.

• Evaluating the “highest and best use” of available space in a facility should be an ongoing endeavor, and informed by proven industry standards. Analyzing usage patterns, capacity metrics, revenue generated per square foot, opportunity costs, and fit with the chosen value proposition, should all be considered.

Continue reading “New Equipment: When Should You Buy It?” in the August issue of CBI.


This Week in the Fitness Industry: CrossFit Members Spend More at the Gym

CrossFit Members Spend More at the Gym than Other Workout Enthusiasts
CrossFit members spend more than other types of gym-goers, according to insights from Cardlytics, an Atlanta marketing firm. The Wall Street Journal reports that Cardlytics analyzed the spending patterns of people who started going to gyms in the past year. They found that CrossFit members spent an average of $120 a month at the gym—more than the $99 monthly average spent by those who take boutique cycling classes and the $75/month spent by people who take yoga, Pilates, or barre. Members of traditional multipurpose health clubs spent less than $46/month. 

Blink Fitness Video Celebrates Body Diversity
Blink Fitness—a subsidiary of Equinox—bucked the trend of using toned models in health club advertising by creating “Every Body Happy,” a marketing campaign that celebrates diverse body types, AdAge reports. The effort includes a 30-second video featuring body parts running the spectrum of shapes and sizes. "Blink stands for something different and offers a more universally relatable approach to fitness, which this campaign represents," Ellen Roggemann, vice president of marketing, said in a statement. "'Fit' looks different on everyone and we celebrate that." The video is available on Blink’s website and will be promoted on its social media channels. It will also play in Blink’s 50-plus locations. 

Millennials and Seniors Least Likely to Use Wearable Fitness Trackers
Millennials and seniors are the least likely generations to use wearable fitness trackers, but for very different reasons, mobihealthnews reports. "Millennials were more likely to select cost as their reason for not wearing their devices," Christina Hoffman, vice president of quality and strategy at Medscape, said in a presentation at HIMSS16 in Las Vegas. "On the other end of the spectrum, the Silent Generation says the reason they don’t is because a doctor hasn’t recommended it. What’s the opportunity here? The implication is that Millennials might benefit from free devices and the older generations, if the doctor says to them, this might be helpful for you, they’ll do it." The results were derived from a survey of 2,600 WebMD users.

Adrenaline May Hold the Key to Reducing Cancer Risk
Adrenaline may be the reason regular exercise reduces the risk of cancer, The Economist reports. According to a new study, injecting mice that had cancerous tumors with epinephrine—a hormone commonly known as adrenaline—reduced the growth of tumors by 61% in mice that were not physically access and 74% in mice that exercised regularly. These findings suggest that epinephrine could be used as an anti-tumor drug. The study’s lead author “is not proposing that they should be a substitute for exercise in those who are merely lazy—not least because exercise brings benefits beyond curbing oncogenesis,” the article said. “But people who are too old or too ill to be active might thus gain exercise’s anticancer benefits without the need to get sweaty.”


Bearable Wearables

The latest fitness craze is not CrossFit or functional training, or group exercise classes involving drums or ballet barres. And it isn’t about crunching abs. In reality, it’s more about crunching numbers.

The latest, fastest-growing, and, potentially, most disruptive trend is the explosion of so-called wearables: small, sophisticated, and mobile devices that can, among other things, count steps, track movement, and analyze sleep patterns for users with impressive accuracy. Analyzing data has become one of the most popular pastimes for fitness-minded folks.
The implications for health clubs?
Significant, yes.
Understood—not very well, quite yet.
The industry currently resides on the lower steps of the wearables learning curve.

An estimated 21% of the U.S. population currently owns a wearable

device, according to a recent report from Pricewaterhouse Coopers—that’s one out of every five citizens, or some 67 million people ... And another study puts the number at one in four.

Among the most popular devices is the Apple Watch, released in April, which offers a tempting assortment of health-and-fitness activity and tracking features. Also in great demand are dedicated fitness and activity trackers, such as the Fitbit product line, Jawbone’s UP activity trackers, and the Microsoft Band. Worn on the wrist or clipped to one’s clothing, these units can track factors such as the user’s physical movements, sleep rhythms, calories burned, and heart-rate function. Other wearables make use of earbuds, heart-rate belts, and even skin patches.

The data generated is generally delivered via a Website or mobile app, allowing users to set activity goals, detect patterns over time, monitor food intake, and make appropriate lifestyle modifications. In many cases, wearables also can be used to share results or engage in friendly competitions with friends owning the same brand of device.

Bottom line, wearables can quantify a user’s movement and dining activity; motivate them to move more and eat more wisely; set exercise and nutrition goals; and create a supportive, healthy-lifestyle social circle.

It’s easy to see why some club operators view this popular, and rapidly morphing, technology as the new competitive kid on the block. If someone can obtain all of this information, guidance, and service from a $99 device, why would they want to pay $99 a month for a club membership?

That’s the as-yet-unenlightened response to the advent of wearables.

However, the experts that CBI queried agree that anyone with that mindset is looking at wearables the wrong way. In fact, this technology, they say, could prove to be a boon for the industry.


Read More

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Popularity of high-intensity training means safety needs to be considered

Are we back to No pain, no gain? With the proliferation of and passion for high-intensity workout regimens, such as P90X, HIIT, CrossFit, Tabata, Insanity, and Training for Warriors, it seems so - in a manner of speaking.

Following a season of “kinder/gentler” exercise, including yoga, Pilates, and other low-impact routines, today there’s a move toward pushing the limits - everything’s harder, faster, and more aggressive.

Just ask a CrossFitter about AMRAP, i.e., “as many reps as possible.”

While high-intensity training isn’t a new concept, novel formats and clever branding are luring legions of sweaty enthusiasts who love the challenge and sense of community engendered.

If these workouts are attracting new or even former exercisers - and, thereby, inspiring more people to be active—that’s clearly a benefit. Clubs can capitalize on this zeal to enroll new members, reenergize bored or unmotivated ones, and keep their highly motivated clients satisfied, all of which works to grow revenues.

Intensity, however, brings with it the risk of injury and the potential of greater liability for clubs.

Check out the story on the needs of safety with high-intensity training.

Click to read more ...


What is trending on Google?

TRX has the 10th most clicks on Google Trends.Studying Google Trends—which tracks the most popular searches conducted on the search engine—is a good way to gauge what millions of people are looking for when it comes to fitness.

The following are the top 10 “clicks” logged in recent years.

1. Beachbody’s Insanity - Interest in this 60-day workout program exploded in 2012, remained popular through early 2013, but has fallen off recently.

2. CrossFit - While it’s No. 2, it seems to be exhibiting more staying power than Insanity.

3. Abs - These workouts are clearly popular with both men and women.

4. Biceps - Interest seems to be perpetual.

5. The Seven-Minute Workout -  This just may be the most popular interval workout.

6. Kettlebells - This accessory may be popular because it’s more versatile than dumbbells.

7. Shoulders - As with many workouts, those for this part of the body seem to spike in January, and remain popular for the summer.

8. Back - Over the last four years, searches have doubled.

9. Plank - A challenge? Yes, but searches have climbed steadily since 2007.

10. TRX - Interest began to materialize in 2010 and has continued since.


Weights are not losing popularity to niche exercises

Even though functional equipment, CrossFit, high intensity interval training, small group training and obstacle course races are super hot right not it doesn't mean free weights are collecting dust in the corner.

Actually, the popularity of these niche exercises have forced companies to innovate and produce new products that not only stand on their own but complement the CrossFits and Tough Mudders rather nicely.

“Over the past 20 years, we’ve seen free weights migrate from basic strength training, to group exercise training, to small-group personal training, to functional training,” said Michael Rojas, president of Iron Grip Barbell Company. “Strength training has tracked a steady trajectory of rising popularity.” 

Check out what else free weight businesses are saying, as well as the accompanying product showcase in CBI magazine.


This Week in the Fitness Industry 2-21-14

David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.netThis Week in the Fitness Industry has stories on four big-wigs in the industry.

Two entries look at companies that are stronger than ever, while another company and its brand is super-hot. inally, the last story is about an organization that is trying show the personal stories of its members.

Check out This Week in the Fitness Industry and stories on Technogym, CrossFit, American Council oin Exercise and Apple.


Middle school CrossFit club very popular

Any way we can get youth to get up off the couch, out from behind the computer or away from any other sedentary lifestyle is good.

A Middletown, Conn., phys ed teacher has created a CrossFit Club at his middle school in hopes of piquing the interest of those not usually looking to get healthier.

The teacher said the class meets twice a week and he is seeing about 90 participants per class.

For more, click here.