dream a little dream

so let's just say you had just been given the opportunity to do it "your way"...a new box, no cost to you, you can work out then whenever you want...you have 1400 sq ft of space in the corner of a strip mall with lots of windows just like the above photos to work with and have to coach 50-70 people per week in classes and of course are paid handily for it...and you were in charge of how this exact space looked and what went in it (inside and out)...what would you do...?
what have you seen and been through to understand what goes into a new place that other spots do not have or should have...dream a little..post your concepts and ideas about equipment, rules, operations...etc...to comments...i know there are readers out there who are reading and not putting any info in...go for it...
best design gets a free OPT hoodie and free CrossFit Calgary workout shirt - sent to you at no charge...if you already have these items...there'll be nicer awards to keep you interested


Chad Action Brandt said...

Nice post!
I am going into this transition right now, so this should be great.
1.) Showers if you could get them;
this is a question always asked by my buisness people.
2.) Cubby Wholes and lockers for the regulars
3.) My fav, Client Log Book.
This is my Client tracker, at the end of the WOD my clients write scores/times. I then take this book home and place it into my excell. This helps me out and helps those understand the importance of their fitness growing.
4.) Day care:
Another big one! I have a few ideas for this:
A.) Mommy hour: this is where a moms will work out and her friends will baby sit, then they will switch.
B.) Hire one of my many moms to help in this hour, plus have a nice little day care spot.
5.) Power Hour
This is for the fellas where we work on Oly lifts and tech work, ladies are welcome.
6.) Ladies Night
This is for the ladies to have a work out designed just for that crew that night, plus the get to hang out after.
7.) GOAL Board
I have a huge goal board in my gym with all my clients goals. The idea here is to teach goal attainment by breaking down the large goals into small ones. The board looks dull at first being white and black, But when you attain a goal you get to highlight it, making the board nice and colorful, showing success!
8.) Chicks that can do Pull-ups board: this is a must board to have
9.) Saturday Members Bring a Friend for FREE Torture class.
I use this as a marketing tool. It works great, plus I get to see my clients coach a little as I make them a trainer for the warm-up, possibly opening future Coaching avenues and it makes them feel like they have learned a ton!
10.) Qarterly Challenges and Team Challenges:
Put on ACTION Challenges and TEAM Challenges for my clients so they can see just how far they have come in their fitness adventure.
11.) GEAR:
I love gear, t-shirts, hoodies, toques, Jogging pants, you name it I have it. I hold Slogan contests every few months to keep the ball rolling.
12.) Most improtant Fundamentals:
I am a fundamentalist in my approach to coaching. Always train your fundamentals; I have broken down CF exercises in a color codes from beginner to Advanced. When you join my gym you must start with a 4 day fundamental course, from this you will learn my 4 Dynamic Warm-ups, and CF Exercises that are used in that specific color code. When my clients are finished this course they have the confidence to jump right into classes. If a client needs more help, PT's are made. To progress into higher grade colors you must test the exercises on your specific sheet, you pass you get the coaches signature. When completed you must take the next Color Grade Fundamentals class opening a door of all new exercises. This allows me to progress the masses in an orderly fashion: when they are ready.
11.) Doing 5 and 10km Runs as one big Team. I enter my clients into the local runs.
12.) Monthly Scrub downs. I have people come in and do a monthy scrub down of everything!
13.) Consultation and PT's these are a must! Slot an hour in the day for PT hour. PT clients all train together.
1.) Oly lifting platforms "home made" In ground, same height as entire floor.
2.) Pull-up station against walls
keep floor open
3.) Gymnastic corner: rope, rings matts
4.) Kettle Bell and WBS Corner
As well paint a line around entire gym to shoot WBS at (for big classes)
5.) Corner for bars and plates to be stored, could follow oly strip up the side wall.
6). Boxes all sizes, that can stack on each other
7.) Back extenstion & racks, again a client could help you out here.
8.) Tires, keep these outside if you want them
Design a sign or maybe you have some client talent to do this for you. Blinds for those who want privacy and sun block.
Put weights away
Clean up sweat, blood, puke
Cheer on your commerads
Don't be late
Give your all
Don't say can't, that's a quarter in the sware jar!
I could go on and on, but in the end it is all about making a huge family work together as one, helping each other attain their goals and helping a gym move to the next level: Their gym!

Garage Crossfitter said...

That is a dream that is going to come true someday for me....
Where do we start?
Exterior- Above the windows I would have the name of my facility in big bold letters, on the 3 sides, with the phone number. I would cover up all the windows with studs and sheetrock on 2 sides and the side with the door I would keep 1 pain of glass as a window on each side of the main door. I would change the remaining windows on the outside to mirrors. My theory behind that is, I wouldn’t want my clients being starred at and watched like a group of monkeys in a cage, my athletes have other things to focus on, and I don’t want to sell fitness as an image, I want to sell functional fitness results, results that are measured and calculated as increased work capacity over broad times and modal domains.

Interior- I would have a pullup setup going down the middle of my gym which would be able to hold 30 members at a time, 15 on each side, 42 inch sections, of varying height and bar thickness. Members would be able to hang rings from these bars for either dips or muscle ups. There would be lifting platforms on 1 of the other sides. Each would have a rack and a set of bumpers. There would be room on the “wall” side to do wallballs, or handstand pushups. There would be a rope in the middle of the room also, at one end of the pullup station. On the last wall would be machines, ghd machines (3), treadmills (3) and rowers (3), maybe more depending on space. There would be jump ropes, wallballs, abmats, boxes of varying heights, tires, sledgehammers, and a huge whiteboard with the daily wod and coachs thoughts posted, and the entire gym would have rubber matting. We would have a wall of fame, where current gym records would hang. Motivational posters and quotes would plaster the inside of the gym.

When members joined they would be required to start a journal and to record their progress with different wods and the positives and negatives of each workout. The journals would be kept at the gym and I would read through them and attempt to target any concerns or thoughts that I found that need to be addressed. If I found that many of my clients were having difficulty with oly lifting, I would hold a weekend seminar for oly lifts. A 1 week fundamental class would be mandatory and the basic movements and the meaning behind them will be introduced and form will be emphasized before intensity, if additional help is needed (based on coaches opinion) then that will be addressed. After graduation from the 1 week fundamental class then you will be required to workout with your “mentor” for the following week. The mentor will be a current client and will gladly include the new member in their daily wod, helping them with any questions they have or concerns. When a new member joined they would fill out a quick questionnaire which would ask questions like…convenient time to workout….special sessions you would like to see offered…etc…MAKE THE CLIENT HAPPY. I would also require existing members to introduce themselves with a good handshake, smile and enthusiasm and welcome the new member and take them under their wing. No swearing, and only positive criticism is allowed. We would hold one monthly “compete against coach wod”. Any client that would like to compete against coach (me) would be put into a hat and coach would pick out a winner and that client would have the opportunity to go head to head with coach for a chance to win a free month membership, if the client lost, they bought themselves 100 burpees for time, that would need to be completed the same day. We would hand out 1 free guest pass per member per month and they would be allowed to bring anyone they chose to participate in a wod. When the weather got nice we would have cookouts on the weekends as a community and grow as friends.

There will be a small “store” within the gym which would sell, homemade protein bars, jarrow whey, and some bulk organic foods, foam rollers, and a few good books, in case you are ever in a crunch and you don’t have time to hit the grocery store before or after your wod we would have some of the necessities there for you.

I would hold one community night per month, where the gym will be open (but closed to wods) to the community to stop in, check it out, ask questions and just get to know the staff without weights being thrown around and clients rolling around on the floor gasping for air. As my knowledge grew I would hold nutritional seminars for the community but they would be free to members.

This would be my gym… it will be my gym….with time…

deejay said...

1. I like the idea of platforms built into the floor
2. weekend seminars on all the different movements would be very useful
3. pull up bars running across the top of open garage doors
4. racks that don't have a fixed width
5. Happy lights for those early risers. James has me hooked
6. big digital clocks that can be set for interval timing or swim clocks
7. gymnastics area with mats
8. "bring a friend night" where we can bring in Crossfit virgins free of charge and expose them to Crossfit
9. color coded med balls
10. a big benchmark wod board with the top 5 times
11. a huge whiteboard
12. i like chads idea of the "swear jar" for people who use the word can't
13. Monthly challenges

that's all i got right now

Trevor Salmon said...

first off I'd colour up the windows enough to let sunshine in but not have the distractions of people looking in or out. Some cool graffiti type art work. Once in the door some cubbyholes for them to put the belongings. Next would be changing areas. One set aside for those that don't need any privacy and another with some form of door/curtain. I would also like to have at least 2 washrooms and a shower in at least one of them. I would want the walls done up with some sort of paint or material that will allow the participants/coaches to write right on the walls. This would be for warm up/daily wod/scores/quotes etc. I've seen some movable chin up stations where in the nice weather it could be relocated outdoors. The entire floor would be rubberized for dropping weights etc. I would want at least 3 good squat/power racks for heavy stuff and jerking etc.
Another designated space for the ghd machines (3) and rowers(3) and other for KB/DB/WB
equipment must haves are the above mentioned plus skipping ropes,rings,climbing rope, tires, sledge hammers,ab mats. Optional but enjoyable would be crash mats, gymnastic equipment(parallel bars, uneven bars)
Operations - monthly fees for unlimited classes and drop in fees.
Short term student memberships for those that may only be in town for 3-4 months.
All participants required to attend introductory session.
Schedule classes for mornings and evening weekdays and mornings on weekends.
Schedule bimonthly skills sessions.
Allow preapproved members to drop in during open hours so work out on their own.
Small area designated as a tuck shop to sell clothing/fuel etc.
Satellite or digital radio for music.
special events sessions - this could be for fundraising/information sharing/community building
quarterly competitions male/female/teams/affiliate challenges etc.
accomplishment board for getting a chin up/muscle up/pr etc.
That's it for now...the creative side of my brain is sore. Time to do some math or something.

Brent Maier said...

Most of my suggestions will focus on the big picture because if that fails, all the amenities in the world are not going to save you.

Majority of the Crossfit facilities around here have started in a garage and majority of them have failed to grow or didn't survive the prime time leap. There are a lot of problems that compounded this failure in my opinion. Primarily I would say they lacked having a fundamental business background, fitness training expertise and people person traits required.

- I think marketing and presentation is critical. You’re going to need it to get new people in the door unless you already have an established clientele. Come up with a fantastic logo that shines bright when the sun goes down. Run ads, get radio stations involved, have fundraisers & affiliate challenges, and local TV news and newspapers are always looking for stories like this.

- Decorate the place so that it has a classy, organized and streamlined appearance. The windows could give you additional business but on the downside they may have an affect on participant concentration and performance because of distractions. Stay away from Rhabdo as your mascot and make the motivational slogans an uplifting experience when you walk in the door. Anyone that has ever purchased anything from LuLuLemon KNOWS what I'm talking about.

- Hire highly personable and qualified instructors to run your business when you are not there. Treat them well and they will in return.

- Daycare? It would be very beneficial for those parents that just want to get away. On the downside, this may increase your overhead and if not sectioned off properly, could become a distraction for your clients as well.

- Consider having a kids and/or elderly program.

- Bathroom with a bench for changing for those coming from work and didn’t have time to change.

- Consider giving members cards that they scan when they come for a class. There is software that will help track attendance, times, and give you attendance reporting capabilities. I have heard of some places that use this, I'm not sure how effective it is. With attendance reporting, it will better allow you to contact those that have been slacking and identify trends for the best hours etc.

- High ceilings… Don’t make people dodge holes in the ceiling tiles with their heads in order to perform a muscle-up.

- Smudge free wall section setup for HSPU’s. Give them a nice surface for the shoes to slide without jacking up a nicely painted drywall. Maybe supply varied height heel hooks on the wall for people to hook for assistance.

- Equipment: This is a no brainer and really there are a ton of examples on how to best arrange the areas so that you can transition quickly yet allow enough room for safe lifting. This would probably be the easiest part and most enjoyable part of setting up a new studio.

- Last and probably one of the most important. From the time we're born, people want to be associated with a group that makes them feel good. The folks you do have, you need to keep the spirit alive every day and make them want to keep coming back. Results take some time, you have to keep them long enough to realize it. Take pictures and/or videos on a daily basis and post them online. Post WOD times as well. People love to see themselves and show other people what they are doing.

Does the word verification fail for you guys as much as it does for me? Most of the time, my posts are submitted from my phone. That is cumbersome enough.

Hixy said...

Hello. Please bear with my english as I come from Denmark. I'll do my best.


1) Olympic bars with bar clamps. Make sure you have enough for whatever limit you put on your classes.

2) Bumper plates. Additionally: Here's a nice how-to by Greg Everett on building sturdy plate racks! http://cathletics.com/articles/index.php?show=shorty&shortyID=48

3) Squat rack.

4) Benches.

5) GHD-machines.

6) Plyo boxes of different sizes. Make sure to have a couple of the same size to make sure the classes can all do the exercise at the same time.

7) Rowing machines.

8) Pull-up stand.

9) Rings - again, make sure there's enough for everyone.

10) Dumbbells for people who like to workout with those.

11) Kettlebells.

12) Medicine balls. 10ft target marked.

13) Stability ball.

14) Assistance straps for those who cannot yet do the bodyweight exercises on their own.

15) Heavy straps to add extra tension at the top of the movement.

16) Lifting platforms.

17) Paralletes for gymnastics work.

18) Ab wheels.

19) Leg press machine. Yeah. Some people feel the need to test themselves with this kind of machine. This and the benches can possibly attract some of the people who're vain and care for how they look.

20) Climbing ropes.

21) Music. Have different varieties ready if people have different wishes - metal, rock, pop etc.

22) Scoreboard with benchmark WODs and post peoples times (and post your time to inspire people! I know it would indeed inspire me.)

Have a place where people can write their goals, too.


A plate rack next to eat lifting platform with plates to 400 lbs.

Each lifting platform has 1 squat rack on it with 1 male olympic bar (45 lbs) on it, and 1 female olympic bar lying behind it.

Benches are aligned near the wall.

Dumbbells have their own rack against the wall.

Kettlebells and medicine balls are stacked in a corner.

Rowing machines are kept in a room for themselves.

2 sinks: one in each end. Very useful.

1 box filled with chalk for everybody to use.

Shaded windows at eye-level that can be opened for ventilation.

High ceiling for those who wish to perform gymnastic exercises in rings (a fairly high ceiling is needed).


Locker room directly after the reception with showers. Make sure there are wardrobes where people can store their clothes and belongings which contain a lock mechanism.



Put things back to where you took them.

Put weights back in the plate rack, don't let them hang on the bar.

If you don't know where to put something, ask! Don't just leave it completely malplaced.

Shouting is okay when giving yourself 100%. Don't abuse this rule, though.

Be friendly!

In general:

Be friendly and open minded.
Try to help when people ask for it.
Don't make people look bad - correct them instead.

Other initiatives:
Include a killer WOD for those who wish once a week. This should be really hard for the extremely advanced people!

Kids (15+) classes a few times a week. This might attract more children due to the social life aspect of things.

Technique classes with instruction on how to perform the different lifts - arrange as time allows.

Let some of the advanced people do a WOD with the lesser advanced ones - this will inspire and make people work harder. This also allows for newbies to ask for tips and get a few questions answered from those with experience.

I hope you can use some of this.

Kind regards,

Rob Sifton said...

The central point of a gym should be the White Board. "Men will die for points" says Coach, and he is correct. That is how you set the intensity, and atmosphere of the facility. At OPT the "Chix who do Chin ups" is the most exciting board I have ever seen in all my CF travels. To watch a woman get her name on the board is one of the neatest experiences around. That is the culmination of A LOT of hard work. There is no Medal just her name on a simple white board, but the pride to achieve that is immense.
The physical stuff is all peripheral. If you have a functional facility that creates excitement and community that is what you look for. The advertising does itself. Look at CFHQ they do ZERO advertising. If you put the correct atmosphere out there the correct people will be attracted to it.

So if you are asking about what physically is required. ALL of the things that test physical capacity and are all inclusive.
The variety is what makes this program, the trainers and the clients (Guests in my world)are what make the BOX and the experience. I know that what-ever CFC does for equipment in the new box it will succeed. Why? Because they have built the community from the foundation built on ethics, effectiveness, efficacy and pride. James was the spark that started it with OPT, but the people he has brought into this community along with him are continuing to ignite fires all over.

The first part I feel that makes it successful is the results(credibility) (White board, hard to miss the empirical data to back it all up!)
2nd is the the PASSION of the people teaching it. If they do not believe what they are teaching then the athletes will not believe them either.
3rd Accountability, if someone does not show up, you call and see why. You make them accountable. Are they hurt, busy etc. You be the support system that they might not have otherwise.
4th Respect. All people want it respect, you treat them well they will treat you well with an abundance that most have never seen.
5th - Ethics, if you give it will come back, donate some time to kids who do not have the ability to do this regularly. or open night for anyone to come to learn about fitness in general (once a month etc). What you give always comes back
6th Family day/time. What better way to bring a family together than sweating and pushing themselves to new limits together.

Promote FUN, Passion and pushing ones limits..

Oh by the way I wear a medium, (Just in case)

Anonymous said...

1400 square feet. This is a good question. I'll post up a late entry in the morning tomorrow.

Geoff Aucoin said...

Give Sifton the prize. Good stuff, Rob!

Gummo said...

I already have the perfect box--my garage.

In my garage I can totally let loose each and every workout and each and every workout let's me test my limits.

I can scream at myself in anger for missing a lift or rage out when I nail the perfect 1RM clean. I can spray clouds of chalk in the air and I can wipe my chalky-bloodied ripped up hands on my sweats before I jump back onto the pull-up bar.

I can blast the Metal as I psyching myself up for the brutal met-con that's waiting for me and I can crumple to the floor in a sweaty heap when I'm done.

I've never stepped foot into a CrossFit affiliated box, and I don’t know about all the ins-and-outs of one, but if I was designing one myself, I would try to embody these aspects. I would want to capture the emotions one would experience doing CrossFit.

CrossFit isn’t just about getting into shape and looking good naked for me, it’s more about tearing down emotional and mental barriers and whatever the box would look like, I want a client to come in and taste both personal highs and lows. I want them to experience their lowest low, when their lungs burn and their legs to feel like they are going to fail them, seconds from quitting. To the point when the one time impossible become possible.

At times my home gym has been a torture chamber for me, but it has also been a place of discovery. I can take a personal journey without ever leaving my home. I want to bring that to others.

Oh, and I would need puke buckets—lots of puke buckets.

Ross Blake said...

Wow there's a lot of fantastic ideas out there.

Mine is a little vision i've had for almost 2 years now. In fact i have some pictures of the end product in my office so what a fun way to revisit a long term goal.

I grew up as a swimmer/triathlete and love finshing a workout either in a beach or cool swimming pool (i live in Australia and this is pretty much possible year round!). It started as a recovery tool but now it's total self indulgence..

The look:So my ideal set up would be a house built around my crossfit needs. A space big enough to develop and train 10 athletes at a time, fully equiped and shopped for kitchen that everyone can use pre and post workout. Open air, big sliding doors that meet a wooden deck that in turn meets a cold infinity edge pool.

Equipment: Tyres, ropes kettle bells, rings, lifting platforms,c2 rowers (i love those babies!) olympic calibrated bumber plates and a pull up bar with power bands of every colour.

Measured 100m, 200m, 300m, 400m, 1000m, 5000m and 10000m run loops, moutain bikes hanging from the ceiling, laptops for veiwing crossfit online and logging proggress.

And finally.. Stepping back and looking at 5 trainers developing crossfit fire breathers, crossfit kids and grandparents.. What a community!

Thanks for the visualisation exercise James.


Mike Molloy said...

Another Garage CrossFitter here putting my two cents in.

Trainers need to take a personal interest in clients. If someone stops coming, I want a phone call placed to find out why. If my trainers aren't being invited to weddings, 1st birthday parties, etc, then we're not connecting like we need to. This single facet will make almost any gym a success, you can literally forget all the rest. However, since money's not an option, here's what I put in...

1) Everything starts at the door. I'd have a sign that says, "Check Your Ego Here and Now, its not welcome."

2) The gym should be well lit. I like the idea of having windows that let some light through but don't let people stare at my clients. Skylights would be amazing if at all possible.

3) Easy access to the street. Running WODs should not involve climbing up/down stairs just to transition.

4) The pullup system designed over at Diablo CrossFit. This thing cannot be beat. I'd stick it right in the middle of the gym.

5) I would have wooden lifting platforms built right into the floor. I'd build my own weight racks as designed over at www.cathletics.com a few months back to store all the plates. No need for anything fancy here.

6) A 10 foot wide by 15 foot tall overhung wall with climbing holds installed. These things are fun, adaptable and a great way to get clients warmed up for a workout. Climbing might be the most CrossFit adaptable sport out there and we should use that to our advantage.

7) I'd invest in a good projector and get it connected to a computer. I'd use this to show inspirational videos from CrossFit. Can you imagine the fight you'd get out of a class if you put up Callista Pappas' video right before starting the WOD. I'm getting chills already.

Make videos of clients and show them/others the amazing progress they've made over time.

This also allows for a white board that can be instantly updated with ease.

8) Some big old crash pads (ask a climbing gym for help) . I think the gymnastics skill development is one area that most of the gyms I've visited lack. When threat of cracking your head open is no longer apparent, reluctance to try new movements will go right out the window as well.

8) I'd set up an online database through google docs and insist on clients updating it everyday before they leave. Accountability is key in my gym

9) I have three boards for records:
a) Hero/Girl WODs
b) Pull ups/muscle ups with dates accomplished
c) Attendance records.

The last one is the MOST critical. Not everyone will progress to the point of competing for gym records, or even being able to do a full pull up (thinking older clients). However, everyone can be accountable for their fitness and those that make it a priority deserved to be recognized to the highest level.

9) Atmosphere. I'd blend the techniques used across CrossFit.
a) You don't know someone's name? you're doing burpees (San Fran).
b) Social contests like the Fish rowing contests held at One World.
c) Every Friday is a team workout.
d) Zone/Paleo BBQs once about once a month.

There's no point in listing the basic equipment, you're gonna have the best stuff already.

Anonymous said...

Platform, squat racks, central pull-up bars - that's all nice, except it's not for a 1400 sf box.

Step by step:

1. The Equipment (since I consider it my toys):
Keep foot print to a minimum.
Here's a piece of software that can greatly help: http://truefitness.icovia.com/

a) Squat cages - no, freestanding squat stands (like ProMaximas) - yes. The ones like Greg E. has now at his place - the Werksans - no.

b) Pull-up bars - hanging from the ceiling, attached to walls; installed in bay doors - that would be optimal. An exoskeleton a-la Robb Wolf's old Norcal would be my second choice.

c) Efficient storage for misc equipment would be key. If it can be put away - put it away. Have a dedicated space for a bunch of shelving - medballs, abmats, cubbyholes, jump ropes.

d) Rowers - those are essential even here in Florida, so in Canada they must be twice as essential. Have 4-6 of them, they stack allright so don't take too much room.

c) Threadmills - training 50-70 people would be tough with only a couple of them. It probably would be more reasonable to buy a couple more rowers instead and leave the running for the warmer times.

d) Barbells/bumpers - vertical storage for bars. Simple vertical stacking of bumpers would do fine. Stacking bumpers on the walls a-la CF Flagstaff could work too. 3000 lbs of bumpers would do nicely.

e) Platforms - I love them but in 1400 sf I'd not put any at all or if I'd lay down 4x6 stall mats, I'd just have storage of 4x6 pieces of plywood in the corner and swap them out with rubber matting whenever necessary. A bit of a pain, but platforms separate the space badly and in 1400 you want as much open undivided floor space as you can get. Plus it's a miniscule difference for most folks

f) Dumbbells - I'd stick with mostly barbells in such a small space and have a limited amount of dumbbells - bars are easier to store and are more versatile for adjustment. I'd have a set from 5->70 lbs or so plus extra 5 pairs of 20's, 35's and 55's.

g) Kettlebells - biased on that - I'd not buy any but since money's are no object - 6x16kg, 6x24 kg, 2-4x 32kg

h) GHD's - really good piece of equipment, with humongous foot print though. I'd order the decent GHD's that are not too bulky like the new Econ Legend. I'd start with 2, and then order 1 more if I'd see that there's enough room

i) Rings - 6-10 sets hanging of pull-up bars

j) Boxes - stackable. Find a tire (500 lbs or so) that is about the right height 20-24 inches and that would save you from having floor space taken up by extra boxes. Each tire equals about 4-5 boxes.

k) Gymnastic mats - they have handles - hang them on the wall, out of the way

l) Ropes - a few if the ceiling allows.

m) Whiteboard - plenty, use it for handstand push-ups too.

So far that's good for the equipment.

2. The Community:
a) make it a place to hang out and have fun. A place that is fantastic to grow your own child in.

b) the whiteboard - leader board, chix with pull-ups (fantastic idea) - must have

c) a big photo wall or like the new Greg E's gym - vinyl banners with cool photos. I'm going to personally try to make 3'x8' banners with multiple photos in full color or may be even 3'x12' for our new box

d) Parties, races, competitions, gear. Off the wall stuff. Like a "Art Decor: Box Painting party". If you're going to build your own plyo boxes - have members come in with their kids and paint some boxes (Flags, Team colors, Pukie).
Same can be done with KB's. How cool would a KB with a Punisher Skull look on a photo?

e) Log books or if you got an extra computer and will have a front desk - put one up there so that everyone can log in their times/comments into it right away.

f) Gear - t-shirts, hoodies, hats etc. You got that already so no going into that

g) Cool graphics inside and outside the gym. The atmosphere has to be right. Graffiti if that's your/your clients thing (like folks in Cali have) or whatever is your favorite type of graphics. My personal favorite is tribal stuff and logo's a-la CrossFit Endurance/UFC type designs.

h) Coffee machine - purely optional but being around CF'ers - everybody loves coffee and espresso, so that would be a good thing for morning crew (and yourself possibly)

i) Good photo camera (with video) or also a video camera - make videos of your folks working hard and take cool photos. People dig them!
One guy recently joined us simply because he saw folks learning cartwheels in the video and he always wanted to do one. Now he's wife is suffering aka "having fun" along side with him.

3. Marketing: I'd not pay for any of it. We tried a bunch and it's not so hot. Instead we're doing stuff that is cool now. Like getting one of these this weekend and all our folks are super excited to ride around in it to 5k's, bike rides etc. http://www.militek.com/Images/products/m35rb.jpg (except ours is cooler looking). Way better than a limo for only $3800 delivered plus $100 bucks for a banner on each side. So many opportunities with it. Workouts on the side of the road, standing in a parking lot next to a big rush hour crowd, etc. Thinking outside the box (and thanks to Rogue Fitness for the idea)

Cool looking postcards for your folks to take and spread the word.

Good website that will rank high in Google, have content and share it with the rest of the community (and you have some seriously good stuff James! Share it!)

Don't get a car wrap. Everyone has one now. It's about 2003-2004 when they were the shit, too late now. Good looking vinyl stickers would work good and would be a lot less costly.

4. The business: Waivers, contracts, autodebit/Mindbody/zenplanner, discounts, referrals etc. All this stuff is ran by Monique - so if you need any questions on that - email me leo@crossfitevolution.com

Scan in cards are nice when you grow larger - if you're not there, you still know who came in or not (or have enough space of whiteboard for all the days of the week so you can just check the board).

5: Classes
a) I like Chad's idea of Power Hour - find out what are the less busy times are and plug it in there. For me that's Tuesdays and especially Thursdays - so we made Thursdays "Girls and Heroes Day" and it became more popular right away. When we move in the new box within a month I'll steal the Power Hour idea and plug it in on Thursday and Tue. Surprisingly when we used to run Olympic Weightlifting classes on Wed and Sat - they were more popular with ladies although majority of our folks are men.

b) Girls hour - give it a shot. it might work really well.

c) Daycare - would work great for stay at home moms.

d) Fundamentals - depends on how many trainers you have/need to do them. We've done it for the last 2 years and recently went away from it - too time consuming, makes the start up too costly/complicated and is hard to be duplicated by another trainer/keeps you in the gym more. Worked to a point but now it doesn't anymore for us. On-ramp classes are good or just get the folks to join the group class right away and ratchet them up a bit slower than you'd do with fundamentals.

If you go without the Fundamentals - then once a month 2-4 hour seminars would work great (free for members and a friend, a fee for non-members): Olympic lifting, POSE, rowing, nutrition, gymnastics, rope climbing etc. Keeps everybody excited and it's plain fun.

6: Trainers
Build from within. No hiring folks from outside. Grow them, educate them and make them part of your team.

Congratulations by the way on the opportunity!

Leo S.
CrossFit Evolution

Sterling said...

nice location I'd consider attempting these mod'. Take out some glass and install an over head door. Door way is way to small and hazardous for running.

I'd keep the rest of the glass but get a custom glass wrap decal made up. Maybe have each remaining window have a decal with one of the ten domains of fitness on it.

The main door would have a full wrap with huge letters spanning the front side. C-A-L-G-A-R-Y
tinted full panel decals that are see through from the inside.

We all know how long the winter is and outdoor WOD's are a must when the weather permits. We all know what needs to go inside a box but outside is just as important.

I'd setup the long side with the overhead door for spring,summer, and fall outdoor wods. Wall ball against the building. The high peak outside I'd fashion a bar going across the soffet/facia board with climbing ropes hung from it. I'd rig it so they could be stowed under the soffet when not in use with a pulley system.

I'd fashion a portable outdoor pullup bar. Right about where you see the stop sign in the picture. I'd anchour a post step/sleeve right tight against the building. The other Step/sleeve I'd put at the edge of the side walk. You could then slide the posts over the sleeves and bolt on your cross member. Or make it permenant. you could make two. One at each end.

This would allow Two straight bars going across the walk. You say its going to be wobbly, no it won't you have perfect anchor points below the window on the foundation and the edge of the sidewalk to hilti in small rings to quickly fashion your supporting cables.

If you are interested in the design I can send you pictures of the one I fashioned. It is rock solid and three people can swing on it.

Outdoor speakers under tucked under the soffets is a must.

Other crazy ideas. rent a hottub on wheels a couple of times a year. Hell you sweat together, whats a soak together! Rent a bouncy castle once a year for kids to play on in the lot out front!

Make a deal with a massage chair company and put one at the entrance. People pay a buck or two for a chair massage and it costs you nothing.

Showers are a real perk but plumbing can be a complete nightmare and just not an option.

Anyway great thoughts from everyone! fun to dream!

My blog

dunkie said...


I e-mailed this along with a picture of the floor plan to you (since I cant post a picture here).

Things that were considered in this design:

-Keep the middle of the room open. Allows for space to do things like burpees, walking lunges, jump rope, and a central path to walk down and view things.

-Using the assumption of 50-70 people a week, there should be space for at least 8 people doing general WOD's at the same time. If doing a specific WOD that requires something like wall ball, or GHDSU, then 4 can go at once.

-Along with the ability to have 8 people going at once, everything should be available in the same relative space so you aren't running all over the place.

Top row: Left to right

Red bars: bar racks for Olympic bars of varying sizes.

Blue circles: space for doing wall balls or HSPU's.

Grey U shaped boxes: pull up bars with kettle bells up against wall beneath

Big grey boxes: restrooms

Middle/Upper Row: Left to right

Grey C shaped boxes: movable squat racks

Black/Brown boxes: platforms for Olympic lifts built into the floor (i.e. flush)

Small black boxes: bumper plates

Grey oval shaped boxes: movable benches

Red Bars: cubby holes for bags, personal belongings, ect…

Blue bars: windows

Middle Row: Let to right

Teal bars: c2 rowers

Double circles: rings attached to ceiling

Brown circles: ropes attached to ceiling

Lower/Middle Row: Left to right

Blue circles: Med balls

Green Boxes: plyo boxes

Red circles: Med balls

Brown/Black/white boxes: Olympic platforms with built in squat rack and pull up bar (these would not be built into the floor like the others)

Black boxes: bumper plates

Bottom Row: Left to right:

Grey circles: Kettle bells

Grey Boxes: GHD

Teal boxes: c2 rowers

Blue bars: windows

Black bar: white board

Other things that I would include that aren't pictured

-4 wall timers 2 above the wall balls and 2 above the windows.

-Stereo system

-2 sets of dumbbells

-numerous jump ropes

-Wireless internet and an in house laptop

-floor covered with rubberized matts


-pvc pipes for warming up

-puke buckets

Outside the building:

Nothing flashy needed. The large open windows is your "marketing" tool. People will walk by and see people hard at work inside. That way, if they come in you know they are there for the right reasons.


I coach a middle school baseball team. I have 3 rules. Work hard, come prepared, respect others, be responsible. I feel like the same can be applied at a CF gym.

Other stuff:

Music: I hate the music that is played at my CF gym. I think people who come in at a certain time of day should all vote for what kind of music is played (if any) during that period. If you cant stand the music, move to another time where people like the same music as you.

Operations: the CF gym i go to is basically open gym. You can come in whenever (i.e. no set class times) and membership is unlimited visits (no punch card stuff). Personally, I like this. I think a middle ground could also be reached though that would be better suited from a profit stand point. Make things open so anyone can come in whenever they want to do their daily WOD. However, every other hour have classes and let it be known that half the room is reserved for classes going on (i.e. top or bottom of the room). That way you can charge a monthly unlimited, or a class based fee.

That's all I can think of right now. Hope you like it!



Katrina Burton said...

My vision of this space (your post doesn't indicate if this is CF Calgary, or not so I won't go into those details):

1400sq ft isn't alot of space but is very do-able.

- Lifting platforms that are flush with the rest of the floor. That way you can do shuttle runs, skippin, anything on them when not needed as lifting platforms.
- Movable racks (one for each platform)
- Olympic bars of various weights along with rubber plates. Some for the heavy lifting guys right down to the beginner female and CF Kids. Stored on one of the non-windowed walls with bike rack hooks (great floor space saver).
- Rowers
- Skipping ropes
- Kettlebells of various weights. Again small ones for the CF kids right up to the 2pod big papa.
- Soft Medicine Balls. 24#, 20#, 16#, 14#, 10#, 8#. 8# only for the kids.
- 2 gymnastic ropes that can be looped through a pulley system that will lift them to the ceiling when not in use.
- 1 8" gymnastic mat for under the ropes. Can be stored against the wall when not in use.
- 1 pullup station that can have 8 people doing kipping pullups
- pullup/muscle up assist bands of various strengths
- 3 sets of rings that can be attached to the bars of the pullup system when needed
- Shelving unit capable of holding all the med balls, kettle bells, rings, skipping ropes, assist bands when not in use
- No treadmills just because of the lack of space. Can run outside. Dress accordingly! Too dark? Bring a flashlight!
- 1 clothing rack attached to the wall at the front door for people to hang their coats/bags when they come in
- A small stock of CF gear for sale. T-shirts, tank tops, hoodies, sweats, ball caps, bumper stickers.

- Must attend a minimum of 4 personal training sessions before able to join the group classes. The PT sessions will teach the basics of CF (squat, press, deadlift, pullup, situp, box jump, etc). More advanced elements (push jerk, front squat, overhead squat, handstand pushup, etc) can be learned by booking further PTs with the coach when THE COACH feels their technique during the basic elements allows this.
- Max 8 people per class. This allows the coach to watch technique easier and make sure everyone is safe. Plus there is only a limited amount of equipment and space.
- Sign up for the hour you will attend. Monthly/yearly membership allows you to attend an unlimited number of classes at that hour each month. Can't make your class, you can email the coach and see if there is space in another class for that day only.
- I'm assuming there is 70 clients. Would need to offer a minimum of 9 classes per day to accomodate them. Maybe a schedule using a 5 on 2 off format: 6am, 7am, 8am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 4pm, 5pm, 6pm. Can add/remove classes as needed.
- CF Kids classes available twice a week. One week night and Saturday afternoon.
- Bring a Friend for Free class: Saturday before or after the kids class. Must bring a friend to attend.
- Coach will take attendance before each class. Those that are absent will get a phone call/email at the end of the day checking up on that person. Clients are encouraged to call/email the coach when they are going to be absent.

- Clean your equipment after use and put it away where you found it. If you don't think you got it from the right spot, ask the coach where it is suppose to go.
- Chalk stays in the chalk buckets provided. If you spill, clean it up.
- Do not start warming up, working on skills, etc until the coach gives you permission. Really important for the Kids classes.
- Come in ready to work hard and try your best!
- Leave the coaching to the coaches!

- Outside I would have one sign on the front above the doors with the name of my gym on it, as well as the side or rear of the building if it has good visibility from the road.
- Windows would be painted with art work representing what it means to CrossFit... larger than life size painting of oly lifting, gymnastics, rowing, running, etc. Also have blinds on the inside to reduce sunlight if needed.
- Inside walls painted a light green colour. Light green is associated with calming moods. I like the colour red, but that activites the pituitary gland and leads to higher heart rate... something I don't think we need at CrossFit. And some bright yellow accents to activite people's optimism and motivation.
- White Boards... 1 for the WOD, 2 for "benchmarks", and 1 "graffiti" board for notices to members

hart_atk said...

NO globo gym crap... i.e. scan cards, mirrored/windowed walls, rows of equipment etc. keep it simple, very simple. its all about the people, almost nothing else matters- i would workout with rob, geoff, trevor, brett and fellow crossfitters on a dirt floor in a dingy basement everyday with no hesitation.