The Easiest Fitness Level Workouts

Last year we released “Fitness Level“, which will tell you your overall Fitness Level in a number from 1-99. To calculate your Fitness Level, we look at 8 different categories of workouts. The more of these workouts that you have completed, the more confident we are in the accuracy of your Fitness Level.

Fitness Level Overview

You can browse through all of the Fitness Level workouts by going to “Explore” > “Workouts” on beyondthewhiteboard.com and selecting the filter for “Fitness Level” > “All”.

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In order for a workout result to be considered for Fitness Level, it must be done “As Rx’d” (as prescribed). If a Fitness Level workout contains movements (e.g. Pull-ups, Muscle-ups, etc.) or weights that you can’t complete without scaling, then we won’t be able to use that workout as part of your calculation. Fortunately, there are workouts in each category that almost everyone can do as prescribed. Below is a list of those Fitness Level workouts.  Use them to gauge/track your Fitness Level while you inch closer and closer to performing the more difficult ones without requiring modifications.

If a Fitness Level workout contains movements (e.g. Pull-ups, Muscle-ups, etc.) or weights that you can’t complete without scaling, then we won’t be able to use that workout as part of your calculation. Fortunately, there are workouts in each category that almost everyone can do as prescribed. Below is a list of those Fitness Level workouts.

Power Lifts
Olympic Lifts
Speed
Endurance
Bodyweight Metcons
Light Metcons
Heavy Metcons
  • CrossFit Games Open 13.1
    • As many reps in 17 mins as you can of:
      40 Burpees
      30 Snatches, 75/45 lbs
      30 Burpees
      30 Snatches, 135/75 lbs
      20 Burpees
      30 Snatches, 165/100 lbs
      10 Burpees
      Snatch, 210/120 lbs
  • CrossFit Games Open 12.2
    • As many reps in 10 mins as you can of:
      30 Snatches, 75/45 lbs
      30 Snatches, 135/75 lbs
      30 Snatches, 165/100 lbs
      30+ Snatches, 210/120 lbs
  • CrossFit Games Open 11.6 / 12.5
    • As many reps in 7 mins as you can of:
      3 Thrusters, 100/65 lbs
      3 Chest-to-bar Pull-ups
      6 Thrusters, 100/65 lbs
      6 Chest-to-bar Pull-ups
      9 Thrusters, 100/65 lbs
      9 Chest-to-bar Pull-ups
      12 Thrusters, 100/65 lbs
      12 Chest-to-bar Pull-ups
      Etc.
Long Metcons
  • 6 RFT: 400 m and Burpees
    • 6 rounds for time of:
      Run, 400 m
      25 Burpees
  • FT: Rows, Wall Balls
    • For time:
      Row, 2 km
      50 Wall Balls, 20 lbs
      Row, 1 km
      35 Wall Balls, 20 lbs
      Row, 500 m
      20 Wall Balls, 20 lbs
  • Small
    • 3 rounds for time of:
      Row 1000 m
      50 Burpees
      50 Box Jumps, 24 in
      Run 800 m

 

Affiliate R&D: The Coffee Box

coffee paleo grind

It never ceases to amaze me at how much ingenuity box clienteles have to offer.  If I’ve learned anything over the years it’s that you’ll want to regularly pick the brains of your members for ideas on how to improve the gym experience you offer. After all, nobody knows what to look for in a gym more than the ones actually paying the big bucks to attend.  Every once in a while you’ll come across a gem of an idea that will become part of the inner workings of your box for a long time.

Introducing The Paleo Grind, a coffee shop created and operated out of Reebok CrossFit Cardiff in Cardiff, Wales. No doubt, countless other gyms offer coffee to their members. Where Reebok CrossFit Cardiff goes above and beyond is by experimenting with bringing the actual coffee shop experience, the social congregation, the relaxed ambiance, the amazing aromas, directly to its members.  CrossFitters’ love of coffee is well documented. Perhaps combining the two, literally, is just what your gym needs? The project is still in its infancy and its success, so far, undetermined, but we were so intrigued with the idea that we couldn’t wait to share it with the rest of the world.

How It All Began
The Paleo Grind is the brainchild of James Henderson, a long-time, loyal member of Reebok CrossFit Cardiff. He loved the gym and his experience so much that he began thinking of ways to give back.

“[My motivation], primarily, was to make the box better. Whilst I am not the box owner, I feel passionately about it and what it has done for me, so it is only natural that I want to improve it.”

The fact that James feels so strongly about his gym is testament to the work they are doing over there at Reebok CrossFit Cardiff. James long observed the lingering habits of himself and fellow members, both pre and post WOD, and quickly realized that the gym could benefit from a designated gathering spot. He initially experimented (with the approval of the owner) by placing a couch in a dark corner of the gym near a small store room to see if people would take the bait. Sure enough, people began choosing the couch as their hangout area of choice. The addition of a small light was the icing on the cake. Before long James realized the potential of the space. For him, it was only natural that the area also served coffee.

You see, James is pretty passionate about coffee too (as I suspect many CrossFitters to be). He’d long investigated and observed the health and performance benefits coffee has to offer. His goal was to pass on that knowledge to his fellow CrossFitters. As the spot became more and more popular, James approached the affiliate owner and, ultimately, came to an agreement regarding the creation, ownership, and operation of an officially licensed coffee shop. Alas, The Paleo Grind was born.

“I have come to a sensible arrangement with the box owners that balances the benefits of the coffee shop for members, with the [utilization] of the space and facilities.”

Services

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The Paleo Grind is a full service coffee shop, offering up an assortment of coffee and pastry options. Everything Paleo, of course. It is open to both Reebok CrossFit Cardiff members and the public. The plan is to eventually market it to the surrounding commercial and residential areas, giving new people a cool excuse to stop on by and experience CrossFit for the first time.

“Its only fair to the box that cross-selling works both ways.”

The operating hours currently orient themselves around James’ day job. They’ve been carefully chosen to fit in with peak gym demand times, but he’s also been able to get a few other members to help him run it when he’s not around.

The Product

coffee treats

As for the actual coffee, The Paleo Grind believes in the use of healthy fats. James is well aware of the recent Bulletproof coffee craze, but he also believes in combining other fat sources with coffee for unique flavors and awesome benefits. On his menu are MCT oil, butter, cacao, and egg yolk. He’s experimented, on himself, with each long before Bulletproofs were all the rage. In that same time his performance in the gym has skyrocketed, as well as many of his health markers.

“My take on it is that there are a world of tasty fats out there that can be blended with coffee to provide a really wonderful drink. [It] just so happens to be healthy [AND] improve performance.”

coffee options

James’s original intention with the shop is, and always has been, to educate others . While financial gain would be nice, it isn’t why he does what he does. The Paleo Grind differs from normal coffee shops because of the definite performance and health slant to the menu and DNA of the business. It falls perfectly in line with the nutrition principles promoted by the CrossFit methodology and the box itself.

“We don’t provide sugar and we’re proud of that. If someone asks for sugar I direct them to a sign on the wall.”

Don’t forget about the pastries! They also provide Paleo friendly treats, like cookies and cakes. All are made with Paleo-compliant ingredients like almond flour, honey, butter, etc. Healthy treats that ALSO taste delicious are going a long ways in helping teach people about the benefits of a natural, organic diet.

Benefits To The Box 

coffee community

How does any of this benefit Reebok CrossFit Cardiff? That’s easy. People love hanging out at coffee shops. Add the time members are already spending at your box and you’ve got people that truly view your affiliate as a second home, literally. The result is a life-long, loyal member base. I’ve never met an affiliate owner that thought their members spending more time than necessary at the gym was a bad thing. After The Paleo Grind’s inception a noticeable improvement in gym cohesiveness and community has been observed. James comments, “People that normally only WOD together are now spending 20 minutes actually talking to each other. A question that I’m hearing quite often around the couches is, “So what is it that you do for a living?””

People that normally only WOD together are now spending 20 minutes actually talking to each other.

Dafydd Dennis, the owner of Reebok CrossFit Cardiff concurs.  Who better to notice the change in the community at the box than the owner himself?  Dafydd, I imagine with a giant grin on his face, remarks, “It has definitely caused the guys to stick around for longer, and others have actually driven here just to get a coffee and chill out on their rest days. Partly because their friends are here, as well as knowing that what they get is the real deal! Legit coffee!”

Remember, too, about the additional business that is likely to come from new people visiting the coffee shop for the first time.  Also, albeit indirectly, members and customers are learning about nutritional concepts and ideas like the benefits of healthy fats, and ways to make guilty-pleasure snacks more healthy (but still super tasty).

Advice To Others

For other gym owners looking to try something similar, James notes that, other than the initial time-suck to get it up and running, the demands aren’t that difficult. All in all, he spent around 1000 british pounds (about $1600) for his initial investment, but he stresses that it can be done with less if anyone has savvy shopping skills. It all depends on the amount of non-essential equipment and decor desired.  Unless the business is booming from the get-go, a heavy duty, commercial espresso machine isn’t necessary.  Something for around 200-300 british pounds ($320-$480) should suffice.  The rest is simply working capital, decor, and contingency money.  As for day-to-day costs, he’s assuming, roughly, an 80% profit margin on sales, which ultimately goes back into coffee, cups, milk, etc.

He also stresses that gym owners have multiple options regarding the actual business structure of the shop. An owner might simply choose to sublet some space for a fee, and, in turn, forgo the associated risks, rewards, and hassles of ownership. Another might decide to manage and operate one themselves as a non-core offering in addition to the gym services. James says that, really, it comes down to personal preference.

“Obviously if the coffee shop turns out to be massively profitable then the box owner may wish to take an increasing share of the ownership rather than the simplicity of a flat rent. These are all basic business decisions and will follow simple economics. Ultimately, there are also personal relationships as well as skill and experience at play, so simplicity normally prevails.”

Dafydd thinks that every box owner should consider something similar; “I absolutely think that box owners should do the same thing; anything that will increase the strength of the community is an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.”

Results

It’s still super early (only 3 weeks in) to understand any financial possibilities of such a venture, but, from the sound of it, the community benefits appear undeniable.  You can learn more about James Henderson’s project, The Paleo Grind, and its progress via their Facebook page.  We’ll also be giving periodic updates right here via our blog.  Are any other boxes experimenting with something similar?  Be sure to let us know via our Facebook and Twitter pages!

Affiliate R&D: July Guests Experiment

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In the last seven years I have learned a lot about starting, operating, and training at a CrossFit affiliate. My knowledge, like many other affiliate owners, has come via experimenting with offering different programs and projects that we’ve either come up with on our own, or ones we’ve borrowed from others. In addition, the Beyond The Whiteboard team has always viewed the CrossFit affiliate model as a sort of research and development program for running a gym. The hands-off approach of CrossFit HQ gives every affiliate a chance to experiment and share (via the journal or their own blog) their findings. Different approaches to programming, nutrition, class structure, etc are forged from this concept. There is a ton of great information out there for affiliate owners just waiting to be discovered; we want to help organize it, as well as contribute to it. We also want it to be data driven. Our plan is to analyze experiments that are happening at affiliates around the country each and every day. Some will work, some won’t, but the goal is to always learn something new. I’ll go ahead and kickstart things with an experiment we recently did at my affiliate.

The Experiment

In February of 2014 we opened our second location.  We were looking for ways to fill the doors faster than we managed with our first. We decided to give existing members at the new location the option to bring 1 “guest” to the gym, for free…for the entire month of July. We called the initiative “July Guests”. In our experience, often times a single intro class, or drop-in, just isn’t enough for new, prospective members to fully grasp the programming, community, and results our box has to offer. Surely, a month-long trial would do the trick.

To fully test this idea we had to drop our on-ramp/beginner classes. On-ramp/beginner programs allow affiliates more time to educate members on the principles/philosophies of the CrossFit program, introduce specific nutrition concepts, and help familiarize newbies with group style training methods, but they still fall short of the complete CrossFit box experience, and that’s what we were after. Although on-ramp classes certainly have their advantages, nothing beats the atmosphere, camaraderie, and intensity of a full blown, jam packed group class. Here’s how it worked:

For Who?

Each current member received 1 “Guest Ticket”. They could give the ticket to anyone they were interested in introducing the gym to.

One of our initial fears was getting too many new members at once (though, doesn’t that sound like an awesome problem to have?).  In an effort to limit the potential class bombardment only existing members with potential guests in mind were given tickets.

Integration

Each guest was treated as if they were a long-time, paying member. No effort was sparred.

WODs
Guests participated in the same WODs our veteran members did (with appropriate scaling of course). Everything from the initial QOD (question of the day) and skill work, to our warm-up and WOD.

BTWB Account
We created Beyond The Whiteboard accounts for each guest and guided them through the process of logging their scores (we offer free accounts to members).  Most of the “guiding” took place in between classes as needed.  Some of our long time members were also helpful enough to show the newbies the ropes.

Zone Details
Much like the BTWB education (in between classes) we pulled aside each new member and showed them the basics of the Zone diet, offering extra help if needed over the course of a few classes.  Nutrition consultation is important because it shows the broad spectrum of fitness offered at CrossFit boxes, as well as the personal touch prospective members are often looking for.

Photo & Weigh-Ins
We took an initial photo/headshot and put them up on our “New Members” board to help make them feel part of the community. We provided a weigh-in for each of them to serve as their baseline measurements.  A lot of positive changes can happen in a month, especially if the nutrition advice is adhered to.

Follow-ups
Guests were also included in our standard follow-up emails/texts/phone calls. These take place regularly over the course of a member’s first two months with us. It’s all part of ensuring the member experience is an enjoyable one.  In addition, after the guests free month ended we sent each two emails, weeks apart, encouraging them to continue their fitness journey with us.

The Goal
To give people the full CrossFit experience as quickly as possible, and, as a result, get lots of sign-ups, fast.

The Results

Of the 23 members that took part, 1 signed up before completion of the trial. In the first full month after (August) we had 3 more take the plunge. The second month (September) saw two more become paying members. In total, 6 of the July Guests are now consistent members at our new facility, which gives us a total conversion rate of 26%.

Month Guests Conversion
July(Free) 23 NA
July(Paying) 1 4%
August(Paying) 4 17%
September(Paying) 6 26%
In September, guests-turned-members were given a questionnaire about their experience with the July Guests experiment.  The questions were as follows:
  1. Would you have come to the gym eventually, or was the “free” promotion the push you needed?
  2. At what point during the free month did you realize you wanted to sign up for good?  How many days/weeks in?
  3. If you didn’t sign up right away (after the month trial), what was the main reason for the delay?

The responses were as follows:

  1. All 6 said the free month is what got them into the gym.  A few mentioned they were planning on trying out the gym at some point, or that they were in the market for a new gym, but the fact that it was free, plus the timing of the promotion, were the determining factors.
  2. 2 said they wanted to join after the first day.  2 knew after the 2nd week. 2 said they knew they wanted to join by the end of the month.
  3. 2 waited to commit because of financial reasons.  The other 3 simply had other commitments (family, school, etc) they needed to attend to before signing up.
Reached Goal?

Yes, and no.  We were able to get a lot of prospective members (23) into the gym in a relatively short amount of time.  We were also able to get them fully integrated into the box experience without having to provide additional times or services.  However, 6 new people in a month isn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, a lot of sign-ups.  That number is exceeded regularly at our first location in the same amount of time, minus the free month promotion.  Few people would argue that 26% is a commendable conversion rate. Unless, of course, you are struggling for members. In that case, any amount of new members is a success.

However, 6 new people in a month isn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, a lot of sign-ups.  That number is exceeded regularly at our first location in the same amount of time, minus the free month promotion.  Few people would argue that 26% is a commendable conversion rate.

Hindsight

Based on the answers given by the signees, the free, month-long period was an important choice. It got everyone into the gym faster than they would have had it not been there.  As for making the promotion a month long, 4 of the 6 signees claim to only have needed up to 2 weeks before realizing our box was for them.  Originally, we “hypothesized” that it would take up to one month before a person might come to that realization.  We were correct in thinking we needed more than a day, but, as it turns out, a month is more than necessary.  Two weeks seems to be enough of a time period to capture most interested parties. This opens up the possibility of doing more frequent July Guest-type promotions throughout the year, but in 2 week intervals.

 Two weeks seems to be enough of a time period to capture most interested parties. This opens up the possibility of doing more frequent July Guest-type promotions throughout the year, but in 2 week intervals.

It’s also worth mentioning, however, that the 2 signees claiming to have needed the entire month gave answers falling perfectly in line with our original ideas.  One said it were the strength increases, and the body composition results, seen in the final week of the promotion that ultimately convinced her.  The other claimed to have been so fully invested in the trial that it was a complete surprise to find out he couldn’t come the next week unless he signed up.  In fact, he felt so much apart of the box because the “trainers just [focused] on [our] workouts [rather than] pushing [us] to sign up or sell their products“.  There is a market for individuals like these.  Given the low-cost nature of the program, it would be wise to consider month-long trials on occasion in order to capture such a market.

Per their answers to the third item on the questionnaire, there’s nothing we could have done to get 3 of the guests back into the gym any earlier after the promotion.  Unforeseen commitments will always pop up.  It might be worth it next time, though, to offer a special discounted rate for individuals that make it through the promotion and choose to sign up within the first week.  This would have helped to get the other two in earlier than they did.  Plus, it may also have convinced numerous others to sign up in the first place.

Size Matters

Class size is very important with a program like this.   We used the size of our classes (which were still small) to our advantage.  Adding a few people to each wasn’t difficult at all. The structure of the program was also such that no additional work, energy, or resources were required.  We didn’t open up extra time slots to accommodate the extra guests.  We didn’t teach them independently from the rest of the current members.  We didn’t require additional trainers to help out in the classes. In short, the simple, non-invasive, undemanding structure of the program helped to keep it business as usual. I would not recommend this approach if your gym already, regularly, has classes over 10 members.

Drawbacks

The largest drawback, for me personally, was not having an onramp program. Through no fault of their own, it was a struggle to get a guest to fully understand the “hows” and “whys” of CrossFit.  In my experience the best, most loyal, members are the ones that fully engulf themselves in the culture of CrossFit. That is very hard to accomplish if they don’t completely understand what it is they are doing. This could lead to cancellations further down the line, and could very well be the reason 18 of the 23 guests chose not to sign up.  If  nothing else, this experiment has shown me how important an on-ramp program is.

Perhaps an improved system with a way of instilling more CrossFit knowledge to the new guests, still within the confines of the basic structure, would be more beneficial.  A one day intro class, independent of the regular classes, and including a welcome packet with CrossFit terminology and philosophy, might do the trick.

Talk To Us

My hope hear is to give gym owners, both current and future, insight into ways in which memberships can be built.  Perhaps, with minor tweaks here and there, your “July Guests” initiative could be doubly as successful as ours. What do think? Feel free hit us up on twitter or facebook or support@beyondthewhiteboard.com .

Fitness Level Updates Coming Soon

In the upcoming weeks we will be releasing the biggest updates to our Fitness Level feature since its original release. The updates will address some backend issues, as well as implement major usability improvements.

What Is Fitness Level?

Fitness Level is a gauge of your overall Fitness and Progress. It is a single number that captures how your performance stacks up to the rest of the BTWB community.

The Issues You’ve Been Having

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As you already may know, the past few weeks we’ve been having problems with the weekly Fitness Level calculations. There have been server issues that have caused some of the Powerlifting and Olympic Lifting Levels to show up incorrectly as “N/A”. On completely different occasions, the same has happened for the other FL categories.  This has resulted in incorrect overall Fitness Levels being displayed. Not cool. This issue is only affecting a small percentage of Fitness Levels, which means you may not be experiencing any issues at all.  Most of the incorrect Fitness Levels have already been fixed, although there are still a few outstanding. Still, not cool. We appreciate your patience as we get every issue corrected and we’re sorry for the hassle and headaches we’ve caused. We can only imagine the agony of feeling your heart drop as you see your Fitness Level wrongly plummet from week to week.  After all, you work your butts off in the gym day in and day out; you deserve a feature that will accurately, and consistently, depict those efforts.

We are working hard to get this problem permanently fixed and get every incorrect Fitness Level updated. Rest assured, all of your data is safe and no data is lost.

Fitness Level 2.0

In spite of this month’s frustrations, we are finalizing a huge update to our Fitness Level feature, “Fitness Level 2.0″.  The new and improved feature will be updated in real time.  That is, you’ll see the effects on your overall Fitness Level, and the appropriate category, immediately upon logging results for eligible workouts!  You will no longer have to wait a week to find out how your hard work has paid off. Stay tuned for a more complete announcement regarding Fitness Level 2.0.  And, as always, thank you for being so awesome!