Chris Cooper (00:02):
Everything you do in your gym should have a purpose. Everything: Your time, your energy and your attention are your most valuable resources, and those are finite. So, spend them wisely. Think about investing them. Now, I’m reminding you of this as competition season approaches. You invest valuable time and energy in events and competitions, and the return on that investment should be better retention, more revenue or more clients. But this isn’t always the case. I’m Chris Cooper. This is “Run a Profitable Gym,” and today we’re talking about the Intramural Open strategy, and I’m going to give you our free Intramural Open Guide to help you too. In the past, I’ve had a blast running the CrossFit Open at my gym. We were the first gym to use the intramural concept to crank up the fun, and it worked perfectly. Four teams competed for more than a month back in 2011, and my gym was buzzing.
Chris Cooper (00:56):
At the end of it all, my clients were happy, but my staff was completely worn out, and I was crushed. I think I worked 42 days in a row for the first few years of the Open. There was no time off, no weekends anymore for six weeks. And of course, I was bringing my A-game: coaching and cheering and yelling every single weekend that I would normally be resting. This story isn’t uncommon. I know many gym owners who go all out to put on the Intramural Open or the CrossFit Games Open or another in-house or public competition. But many of those gym owners don’t get a return on their time. They just get worn out, and they tell themselves that they’re doing it for the good of the community or that they have to do it. And that’s not true. In fact, I know some who give everything during competition season, and they actually damage their business.
Chris Cooper (01:43):
They’re so focused on that competition that their lead flow dries up, their retention machine breaks down and their operations suffer. For example, back in 2014, one gym owner we work with, back then, he lost 30 clients in the month after the Open, and he was too exhausted to figure out how to replace them. It took him a year and the help of a mentor to recover financially from the damage done by a competitive season done wrong. So, here’s your reminder as open season approaches: The Open is fun, but it’s not everything. Your business is not built on the back of competition, I hope. And done well, a competition can be the cherry on top of your service-sundae, but if the Open doesn’t make you money, doesn’t improve your adherence or retention in a measurable way and it just wears you out, you can skip it. It’s not your duty to do the Open at your gym. If you decide to do the Open, I have a detailed tactical plan to help you.
Chris Cooper (02:38):
In my 2024 Intramural Open Guide, you will learn how to use the Open to generate revenue before, during and after the event—this was unheard of in the early days, but it’s standard practice now—how to celebrate clients and improve retention measurably, how to avoid burning out your staff members and yourself, how to increase participation and create an incredible atmosphere, how to run the event. Now I’ve got a complete timeline including instructions on creating teams and selecting captains and scoring and so on. So, this is the 2024 Intramural Open Guide. We give this guide away for free every single year. I’ve done this now for over a decade. I do it to help you, the gym owner, build revenue and actually improve retention in your gym. I don’t do it to provide an alternative to doing the CrossFit Open. In fact, each event compliments the other. You can do the Intramural Open only, or you can do the CrossFit Open only, or you can do them both together.
Chris Cooper (03:35):
And if you go into the competitive season with a plan, you’ll be rewarded for your extra effort: more retention, more revenue, your clients will be happy, they’ll show up more often, they’ll probably want to upgrade their skills, and they might even want to make a big sprint forward in advance of the competitive season. So, to move your numbers upward with a plan that’s been tested literally in thousands of gyms around the world, just head to gymownersunited.com or send me a DM on Facebook and just ask me for it. Say, “Hey Coop, can I have the 2024 Intramural Open Guide?” so that I know what to send you. We pass out a lot of these guides, so make sure that you’re clear on which one you’d like. Let’s talk about where the Open comes from. I was a shy kid back in high school, but intramurals changed that for me.
Chris Cooper (04:23):
Every year, the farm kids at my school who couldn’t go home for lunch were drafted onto one of four teams, and we competed in fun events to earn points for our houses—kind of like Hogwarts. I was a “Panther,” and if you can believe it, I actually met my future wife on the team. And yes, years later, both of my teenagers were drafted into the Panthers’ house at my high school. Intramurals were a blast for me. And so, when CrossFit announced its first open in 2011, the intramural concept seemed like a natural fit. Sure, my gym clients could register on the CrossFit game site, but most of my members weren’t really interested in competition. They were interested in fitness and fun, and so, we combined the two—intramurals and the CrossFit Open—to create this amazing in-house event. In that first year, we used the Intramural Open as a fun infusion in the middle of winter here in Canada.
Chris Cooper (05:13):
Members of the four teams logged their scores on the CrossFit games leaderboard, but they also earned points for participation in our competition, which was less about snatches and more about smiles. I think that year maybe the “Keeping It Real” team won, but in reality, everybody won. Clients had a reason to keep training and showing up, and they formed stronger bonds as they worked with their teammates to earn points for their squads. My coaches and I had a great time creating fun games. One year, we added an extra event that was a Nerf-Gun Biathlon, and we had a blast cheering people to new PRs too. Of course, you know this. The gym was super full of energy that year, and that spilled over into social media. Everybody who saw our accounts and our clients’ accounts knew we were all about fitness, but also having fun.
Chris Cooper (06:01):
The only problem was that I was exhausted at the end of the competition and so were my coaches, and we’d put in a lot of extra hours that improved the client experience, but we didn’t generate any additional revenue in those hours. And the following year, we solved a lot of those problems. We organized prep courses that people could take in advance, which generated some revenue and got our clients ready for the event. We set up heats on competition day. So, these were set up in advance to avoid coach burnout. They didn’t have to be there for four hours. We ramped up the fun with more creativity—and then something unexpected happened: Other gym owners asked how we were running the event, and so we told them and they started running the Intramural Open at their gyms too. Every year, ever since for the last 10, we’ve made improvements, and we share them with the community for free.
Chris Cooper (06:49):
And now, thousands of gyms worldwide use the Intramural Open as its own event, or they layer it on top of the CrossFit Open to make the competition fun in their box. It’s a Two-Brain Business original, and I’m proud of it. More than a decade after I created it, the Intramural Open is so common in gyms that people forget it wasn’t part of the original CrossFit competition, but now you know: It was really born in a rural high school in Northern Ontario, and it was developed and perfected in a micro-gym in a small Canadian city. Now we produce an updated guide every year, and it’s designed to help gym owners do three things. Number one: Generate revenue before, during, and after the multi-week competition. Number two: Help and retain more clients. And number three: Run the event with the greatest ease and least amount of stress.
Chris Cooper (07:33):
This guide is plug and play, and we share it for free every year. Intramurals were life changing for me, and I hope the Intramural Open makes your box more fun and your members happier and more excited. I also hope you use it to generate revenue. That wasn’t part of the plan in 2011, but it’s an essential element in 2024. Remember, you should get a return on the time that you invest running competitions and events at your gym—even if that competition is all about smiles and good times. So, get the guide; it’s step-by-step. Just go to gymownersunited.com and request it, or send me a DM on Facebook, and I’ll give it to you. Just say, “Hey Coop, I want the 2024 Intramural Open Guide.” Now, I want to give you a revenue generating tactic that you can use right now—even before you go get that guide.
Chris Cooper (08:17):
So to help you take action, here’s a quick look at one tactic you should use right now, well before the competition gets going. In fact, I bet you can use it to generate about 2,500 bucks in the next 10 days. That’s running an open prep course. During the Intramural Open, your members care more about a thruster or a snatch and a pull-up than any other time during the year. In fact, their ability or inability to do them becomes this emotional experience for your clients, so you have a great opportunity to help them in the weeks leading up to the event. So, do this right now: Set up a prep course to prepare members for competition. You know exactly what people always need to work on, right? Double-unders, pull-up variation, handstand push-ups—stuff like that. Now you’re a great coach, so I’m not going to tell you how to teach movement.
Chris Cooper (09:05):
I’m sure you can think of a hundred ways to fill a six-week open prep course that helps people make significant progress with tricky movements. What’s a reasonable fee for the six-week course? I’d suggest $250 as a starting point, but you can adjust that if you’re offering more value. If you offer this course right now and sign up 10 people, that’s $2,500 in immediate revenue or more. Participating in your course will help people succeed in the Open, which is great for retention, and you have a great opportunity to suggest to eager clients that they book additional one-on-one sessions with you. Of course, your general gym programming is getting people ready for the Open, and so not everybody will need this, but if they would need to just get over the last little hurdle, or they’re really struggling with their double-unders or some other skill, and they just can’t get it in a class setting, you’re going to find that at least 10 people in your gym want that extra help so that they can perform their best when the Open comes up and feel victorious when it happens.
Chris Cooper (10:04):
If they choose to participate in your course or do some one-on-one sessions with you, they’ll be more successful, and that’s great for retention, and you have a great opportunity to suggest that clients continue with one-on-one sessions after the Open ends, too, to make more progress. A six-week prep program is just one example of a pre-competition, revenue-generating tactic, but the options are endless. You can do specialty courses and clinics for weightlifting, powerlifting, gymnastics—whatever you want. You can run accessory programs for conditioning or just, broadly, strength. You can run private and small group skill sessions. You can run competition nutrition seminars. I’ve got other revenue-generating tactics in this 2024 Intramural Open Guide. I’m not going to go into detail here because it’s all laid out for you in that book, step by step, bullet by bullet. If you’re heading into competition season without a firm plan, just take my plan, copy it and do that.
Chris Cooper (10:58):
Use it, copy it, make money, improve your retention. I bet you can sell out a prep course in about a week if you take action today. The guide is available right now in gymownersunited.com, or you can just send me a DM on Facebook. But please ask specifically for the 2024 Intramural Open Guide. This is “Run a Profitable Gym.” I’m Chris Cooper, and every week I do something like this to help gym owners actually achieve more. Look, we’re all surrounded by good advice, like “You should run the Open,” and we’re all surrounded by these vague statements, like “The Open improves retention,” but I’m always mostly concerned with “What exactly do I need to do right now that will produce a measurable outcome so that I get a return on my time and the investment that I’m making into my gym?” Hope this helps. Thank you for your service. Have fun in the Open this year.