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It seems as though CrossFit Affiliate Owners everywhere are debating how the recent changes in the sport will affect business in 2019 and beyond. In particular, the de-emphasis on the competitive aspect of the sport and the increased focus on health has stirred up much discussion. In order to gain some perspective on the topic, we sat down with Mike Burnes and PJ Massey, Co-Owners of CrossFit Rail Trail (CFRT), and Ronda Rockett, M.D., Owner of CrossFit Launchpad.


As advocates of CrossFIt’s new direction, these guys offered valuable insight into the current state and future looking for Affiliate Owners. In fact, Mike and PJ voiced that they are big fans because they have always fostered an environment that is directly in line with CrossFit’s new position. The day-to-day focus at CFRT is put on performing CrossFit to promote health and longevity over competing in the sport. CFRT recently furthered this initiative by expanding to a larger space and offering yoga, Centergy, and Zumba in addition to CrossFit classes. Similarly, CrossFit Launchpad has always instilled a focus on health ahead of competition at their gym, as one of the first official CrossFit Health affiliates, complete with a doctor as the gym Owner and Head Coach.


Triib: Now that CrossFit the brand is diverting from The CrossFit Games and focusing on CrossFit Health, how does that affect you as Affiliate Owners?


Mike: I think it nests really well with our kind of mantra or the way we are with our focus anyway. We’ve never been a competition based gym, we try to get rid of that stress. I’m not saying you can’t be competitive in our gym, but I’m saying we don’t encourage one person competing against another. You won’t see a leaderboard in our gym. We truly foster the fact that you are supposed to be who you are as an athlete right now in terms of respecting the process, the progressions, all that stuff. I know other gyms are successful with competitive atmospheres. However, the way my business partner PJ and I attack it is this— if we as gym owners strip away the stress and the goal of trying to get to a certain weight, or a certain movement, and instead put the focus on where a member is supposed to be in the process, they will truly progress in the time that they’re supposed to.


PJ: In CrossFit, you’ve got people who are trying to “chase that RX.” We don’t use the term “RX”, we don’t use “scaled”, and we don’t have leaderboards. Some people will jump ahead to try to get to that weight, try to get to that movement, and not respect the process. I love that CrossFit’s focusing on health because we’ve never been a competition based gym. However, we still foster that drive if you want to be a competitive Games athlete. But CrossFit Health definitely nests well with what we have here at Rail Trail for sure.


Ronda: I think it’s fantastic that CrossFit is still focusing on the Games athletes because they are a big part of where CrossFit is today. But I think the majority of the folks that should or need, or already do CrossFit, should be looking at it from the functional movement perspective. So I like to make sure that I foster good movement at home to my members to show the kids, the wife, and family members that it’s not good to just pick something up haphazardly. I think that’s the majority of our members, and I’m not sure about your members, but I just find that it’s fun to have the competitive atmosphere and it should never go away. But I think that it’s great that CrossFit is focusing more time and energy on the folks that need it most because you go around anywhere, grocery store, restaurants, and it’s alarming on how people treat their bodies. I mean it’s crazy. I’m a big fan of the CrossFit Health focus and I think it’s perfect timing, honestly. It’s our bread and butter.


While degrees of health focus and competitiveness vary from Affiliate to Affiliate, these gym owners seemed to be in agreement that CrossFit Health is a good thing for business going forward. What are your thoughts on the recent changes in CrossFit? Have you seen any difference at your gym, or in the CrossFit community at large in regards to CrossFit Health or the CrossFit Games format? Comment below! Interested in the full interview? Check it out here



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About the author:

Luke Handley