What Gym Owners Need to do at the 2022 CrossFit Games

A photo of downtown Madison, Wisconsin, with the words "Coop's Madison to-do list."

Chris Cooper: (00:02)

What to do if you’re going to the CrossFit games this year? Hey, my name is Chris Cooper. I’m the founder of Two-Brain Business. And for the first time in many, many years, probably a decade, I won’t be at the CrossFit games this year. But I wanted to share with you who I would visit, what I would do if I were going, in hopes that I can help you maximize your experience if you’re gonna be attending the CrossFit games in 2022.

Chris Cooper: (00:27)

Let’s start with your perspective as an affiliate and how going to the Games is valuable to you. First off, if you’re a CrossFit affiliate, I really wanna recommend that you take your staff to the Games. The last few years I did this because the first few years that I went to the Games, I was working for CrossFit. I was in their media department. And so I had some responsibilities. After that, I was working for Two-Brain Business or 321Go. And so I had responsibilities. But the last couple of times I went, I took my staff and guess what? They lit up. They love the CrossFit competition. They love seeing these superstars that have never been accessible to them. And so getting to see Matt Fraser in person, Kari Pearce, it really lit my staff up. And when they came back to the gym, they were super fired up to coach.

Chris Cooper: (01:15)

They weren’t just super excited about CrossFit, although that was definitely part of it. But just being in that crowd where you’ve got 20,000 people sharing one common heartbeat, it really made them excited. And it helped them overcome some fatigue and some burnout that they were having. So we took them down, we got hotel rooms, I took them out for dinner. It was a great time to just celebrate my staff and do something just for them. The last visit that I had at the Games, to be honest, you know, it was not my first time. It was probably my eighth and it was kind of old hat to me, but I got to see it fresh through their eyes. So the first tip is take your staff, even if it costs you a little bit. What you’ll get back in staff energy and staff retention is priceless.

Chris Cooper: (02:01)

The second thing that I would recommend as an affiliate is that you make time to visit the affiliate lounge. Now it might be set up a little bit different this year. I’m having trouble getting an agenda, but you wanna look for speakers who have actually been successful and can teach you a specific model. So for example, if Jeff Jucha is on the stage and he’s talking about hiring your staff, you want to make that seminar because he’s gonna give you a very specific model about how to hire your staff. And this isn’t just some random dude. This is a successful affiliate owner who’s willing to share a usable model and experience with you. That is super duper important. I also want to talk to you about some vendors and some partnerships that you should make and meet when you’re in the affiliate lounge.

Chris Cooper: (02:50)

The most important thing that you can do is meet other affiliate owners and then form a plan to stay in contact with them. Not because they’re doing better than you or you’re doing better with them. Not because you’re gonna share tips and tricks or compare your pricing or your bench press, but because you need this network of support. And if you can create this little board for yourself of support, then you’ll find that you can bounce ideas off them and you can kind of compare strategies and you can tell ’em what you’re doing and they can share what they’re doing or doing well. That is probably the most valuable thing that you can get out of the affiliate area. It’s not meeting your CrossFit heroes or the CrossFit affiliate team, though they’re great people. It’s really meeting other affiliate owners with a plan to stay in contact.

Chris Cooper: (03:34)

And in fact, if you just go in and say, “Hey, I’m looking for five people who wanna meet up every 30 days to talk business”, you will get a lot of hands raised. Go in there and shout it out. If you need introductions, find a Two-Brain Mentor who might be around the affiliate area and ask them to connect you with a few other people because they know lots of people. Now let’s talk about vendor village. There are some people that you should really go out of your way and make time to meet and have a conversation with. The first is Dave Colina at O2. I think Dave’s got an amazing revenue stream for affiliates. He’s got an amazing product in O2. More than anything else, this guy’s got an amazing heart. He’ll connect you with anything that you want. He builds his programs around helping gym owners, and O2 is gonna sponsor a couple of happy hours, but also if you go into vendor row or whatever it’s called, and you find the O2 tent, Dave will probably be there.

Chris Cooper: (04:31)

They’re also going to be in the affiliate owners-only vendor area. And so you wanna meet Dave and talk to him. Some of these other vendors were also at the Two-Brain Summit and I got a lot out of talking to them. So for example, Chalk It Pro, if you wanna talk to Nate about software for workout tracking that really puts clients at the center, provides built in scaling options and makes clients feel like they’re not less good if they don’t do the RX version, this is the guy that you wanna talk to. They work with Level Method quite a bit, but they work with any programming stream basically. And what they do is they automatically build the levels into the app so that your clients don’t feel like, oh, you know, I’m not as good or whatever. There’s a couple of others here too.

Chris Cooper: (05:19)

Garmin International. So I don’t know anybody at Garmin, but I really think you should visit their booth. The evolution of the fitness world right now is strongly trending toward tracking heart rate. And you might remember Whoop sponsoring the games, I think last year, but nobody really told us how to use that heart rate monitoring and training to train people better, and what those metrics meant. Garmin has leading edge heart-rate technology. And if you have clients who do local 5K’s or cycling or swimming, I guarantee you they’re using Garmin and an app called Strava. Garmin is a great pathway into a lot of great heart rate training technology. You can see what they’re doing, even if you’re not interested in doing heart rate monitoring at your gym right now, that’s fine. This is a glimpse into the future of what’s to come. Again,

Chris Cooper: (06:10)

I don’t know anybody at that booth, but I wear a Garmin device nearly 24 hours a day. The next one that I really think that you should be going to talk to if I’m going down this list- and I’m definitely not gonna recommend everybody here, but I think you should go talk to Scott at Phoenix Multisport. So this guy is interesting for a lot of reasons. Number one, he’s a great entrepreneur. Number two, he has built his business, Phoenix Multisport, around one very specific client avatar. And those are people in recovery from addiction. They do a lot of stuff, some is CrossFit, some is sport, but this guy has built this brand by focusing on this niche. Whether you wanna offer a Phoenix program in your gym or not, these guys are really a great group to learn from. Another one is Ascent protein.

Chris Cooper: (07:00)

I think we met Ascent for the first time in person at the Two-Brain Summit this year. And I was actually blown away by their generosity, their quality. This might be old news to some of you, but I had never spoken to them in person before. And if you’re looking for a really good product to carry in your gym, you need to talk to these guys. There’s a lot of supplement dealers out there. Some of ’em have good products. It’s really tough to find a balance of a great product that you’re proud to serve, with a decent profit margin that makes it worth carrying. But I think ascent has kind of really done a good job. Another one in the supplement industry that you want to go talk to is Thorne. These guys, I don’t think get nearly enough credit in the CrossFit APN or whatever.

Chris Cooper: (07:46)

They have amazing supplements. Where it’s easy to get overwhelmed is just the sheer volume of supplements that they carry. So what you want to do is talk to Thorne, tell them you wanna carry the top five supplements or skews for CrossFit gyms and ask what those are. They’re probably gonna say, oh, there’s like a whey protein. You know, there’s a fish oil, or whatever. Then it’s really, really easy to set up your dispensary. That’s what they call it. You make really good margins. They make top quality products. And I’ll level with you. There are supply chain shortages coming, but Thorne has already thought of that and they’ve got a workaround so you can avoid some supply chain problems in the future. They’re also just a great bunch of people, and they’re just amazing to talk to. So I’d go talk to Thorne as well.

Chris Cooper: (08:32)

A few others. Victory Grips. Interesting product. I met these guys at Summit too. You should probably visit their booth and just go talk to them about what they’re doing. They have a really unique product. But if you think about grip training and grip strength, it’s really like the first cornerstone that a lot of our athletes need before they can perform some of the higher quality work that they want to do. I mean, if you’re like me, you’ve probably run a pullup clinic on the weekend or something and found that half the people in your group couldn’t even do a dead hang from the bar for 30 seconds. And that’s what’s limiting their pull up. So victory grips is a great product that you probably want to talk with their staff about. Another vendor you wanna meet is Renaissance Periodization, RP.

Chris Cooper: (09:17)

If you’re a real OG around CrossFit, you remember, RP was really popular 10 years ago. They’re coming back and they’ve got a nutrition certification right now that I think is really good. I’ve spent some time with Nick talking with him about this and the flexibility and application of RP is better than ever before. I think they’ve got a really interesting price point and I love that they’re coming back into the CrossFit community in a big way. So you wanna definitely go to the Renaissance Periodization booth and talk to them. My final one, you know, my favorite booth every year is always Rogue. I could go in there and walk around for two to three hours. And, you know, I always make it a point to go get a new Rogue hat every year. I usually spend a few hundred bucks in there on stuff for my kids.

Chris Cooper: (10:00)

They like the shoes. They like the Games swag and stuff. But more than anything, while you’re in the Rogue tent, you wanna notice the organization. So what they’ve done is they’ve thought through flow in advance. They don’t have 3,000 people coming through one turnstile, but they’ve set up their products so that 10 people can be looking at the same thing at once, for example. And security is covered, even though they probably don’t need it. They’ve thought of that. Like they’ve got different entrance and exit points to their tent, but it doesn’t feel that way. And so the organization, the selection, like, notice that they only have a hundred of this tank top, but they’ve got 500 of that T-shirt, okay? So spend some time in the Rogue booth too. Now, if you’re looking for a place to work out in Madison, I strongly recommend CrossFit Recursive.

Chris Cooper: (10:47)

It’s owned by Nikole and Dirk Gessler. Amazing, amazing people. They’ve turned their gym over to Mayhem programming, I believe for the week, but you can still show up. You can try out Mayhem programming. There might be a drop-in fee. There might not. I’m not really sure. These are people who just know how to throw a great time. And they’ve hosted the Two-Brain Business brunch at the Games at least three years that I can remember. So visit their gym, definitely if you wanna get a good workout. They’re the closest one to the venue anyway. Finally, the real blessing of the Games to CrossFit affiliates is simple. It’s media. Yeah. It’s inspiring to you, and maybe to your clients. But really more than anything else, it gives us a great story to tell about fitness. And so use the opportunity to create lots of media.

Chris Cooper: (11:32)

Send wish you were here videos to your private members Facebook group. Take a million pictures that you can use on Instagram to inspire people in your local audience to come and find you if you’re a CrossFit affiliate later. Draw on the experience to fire you up and re-energize you about owning a gym. Use the experience to treat your staff to a once in a lifetime opportunity. But more than anything else, use the experience to create media. Tell your story about why you love CrossFit. Share that with your audience, take pictures. If you can grab somebody else and interview them, do it, but more than anything else, take pictures and videos that you can give to people back home. Your clients who aren’t there wanna know what it’s like. So tell them, tell them the story, share the video. “Hey, got up this morning. I was feeling kind of tired until I got here.”

Chris Cooper: (12:23)

Take a picture at the bonfire in the camping area, share what it actually feels like when somebody does a 300-pound snatch, you know? Record that and stream it to your audience. When you are there and your audience is not, you become their eyes and ears and their storyteller. If you really want the CrossFit Games to benefit your local community, be your own media department and share it with them. So these are my top tips for being at the games this year, don’t forget your sunscreen, and we’ll see you next year when we’ll be back with a meetup for affiliate owners.

Mike Warkentin: (12:59)

This is Two-Brain Radio. We’re here twice a week with tips, tactics, and interviews with the best gym owners in the world. Subscribe for more episodes. Now Coop’s back with a final note.

Chris Cooper: (13:09)

We created the Gym Owners United Facebook group in 2020 to help entrepreneurs just like you. Now, it has more than 5,600 members and it’s growing daily as gym owners join us for tips, tactics, and community support. If you aren’t in that group, what are you waiting for? Get in there today so we can network and grow your business. That’s Gym Owners United on Facebook or Join today.

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