30Nov/16

Affiliate Owners: To Coach or Not to Coach

6 years ago I decided to spring board off my trip to the CrossFit Games and open my own affiliate.  Why did i decide to do that?

Because coaching was absolutely intoxicating……and guess what….. 6 years later I am more hungry than ever to learn and coach and share knowledge.

But there is the balance when you’re the ONLY owner to run the business and that’s where things can get slippery.  Why?  Because owning an affiliate isn’t just slapping some movements up on the board, sipping a cup of coffee and walking away.  gretchen-coaching

Theres………….

  • Managing the budget and reconciling accounts
  • Managing member relationships
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Programming
  • Websites and social media
  • Community Outreach
  • Writing Programming
  • Managing the programs you offer
  • Managing a staff and payroll…..and the taxes….oh don’t start me on the taxes
  • Cleaning the facility
  • Designing new gear……because lets face it YOU want new gear, but sure say it’s for members
  • Planning member socials……and attending them……
  • Hosting events, seminars, competitions

Should I go on or do you get the point?  Something tells me you see where I am going with this.  The question can often become, when do I stop coaching and focus on running the business?  My answer to you….. ONLY YOU KNOW…..for me I will never leave the coaching floor because that’s what i love!  Does it mean the business doesn’t run as smoothly as it could, certainly, but it runs a lot smoother than if I were miserable everyday.  So instead I juggle all the tasks of running a business while coaching 1/2 of the entire calendar.

I left corporate america not because I hated my job and office work, but because I LOVED coaching, being on the floor, developing relationships and being a part of someone else’s success. Seems silly to leave corporate america only to create a corporate job, at least for me………

So don’t force it, you want to coach – COACH!  You want to run the business – RUN THE BUSINESS!  That’s the beautiful part of being the owner of the affiliate, it’s yours to decide how you want to run it.

21Nov/16

It’s hard to move forward……

This past weekend was my first powerlifting meet since losing my daughter Hope in June.  The entire week leading up to it I was a mess, mentally, emotionally and physically.  I wanted to abandon the idea of doing the meet because it was just too much…….

  • ‘I shouldn’t be doing this meet, I should have a 3 week old’
  • ‘I’m not as strong as I should be’
  • ‘I’m not in the weight class I should be in’

And when it all came down to it, it was a long list of bullshit excuses that I was trying to use to hide from reality.  The reality that life has HAD to move on.  The reality that a shitty fucking thing happened to me. The reality that no matter what I did the world was moving on.f5249aaf8827b92114a3dc9e7659eb6d

So I called my mom and explained that I needed her support incase I lost my balance and crumbled into a 1,000 pieces.  She of course agreed to come and support me.

I was good until my third lift……. it would be a PR lift…… and I felt so overwhelmed with guilt……guilt?  really?  But i squatted the 250lbs bar, PR, and immediately began crying.  I was so excited and yet couldnt shake a sense of guilt for being so happy, for having moved on, for having joy.

I know it sounds weird, but if you’ve lost a child you get it.  After that i was able to relax and ENJOY the rest of the day.  It was freeing to make myself face reality.  It’s not easy to do, and I’m still sad just about everyday, but I am not letting that define me or determine who I’ll be.

It’s so hard to move forward, but I will keep making myself do it.

17Nov/16

Coming back to life

It has been 5 months since we lost our daughter and I am JUST starting to feel like I am coming back to life.  I’m starting to feel like I can make it through a full day without crying (most days), I can train without guilt, and I am truly happy running my business.10061-your-love-makes-me-feel-so-alive

The energy in my life a result is really rocking and rolling.  My husband and I can finally have conversations that dont just involve me crying ending in screaming.  I truly enjoy having my daughter around and it’s not a chore to care for her.  I am much more involved in my gym community and it feels good to reconnect.

Losing a child is the WORST thing a parent can go through, and I am far from healed and ok, but I am ok with breaking down because I know I have so much good in my life.  It feels good to start feeling alive again.

31Oct/16

COMMUNICATE with your members

One of my favorite things to do is have conversations outside of class with my members.  They don’t have to be long conversations and I don’t have to go out of my way to do it.

speak-listen-communicate-betterIt’s often stopping at the gym on a night I am not coaching.  Or simply staying after my last class of the day to connect to a member about their goals, their nutrition hell maybe even just about their day.

The value you create as a coach, mentor and friend is far beyond any paid for service, or marketing dollars.  The majority of the time your members are in your gym they are there to unwind and destress.  Sometimes that 5min of time you took at communicate with your members could be the little slice of heaven in their day they needed.  Try it……I swear….. you’ll never regret breathing into your community!

25Oct/16

Being The Boss Is FAR From Easy

The misconception that once you own your own business you’re on easy street could NOT be farther from the truth.  If anything it just made all your hard work that much harder. How?

Because regardless of what happens good or bad people are looking to you as the reason it went that way.  Yes it’s great to smile and take pride when things are going well, but what happens where you’re struggling?  It all lands on you……You’re the first to be criticized by outsiders and the last to be paid.4

The last 6 years have certainly gotten interesting with 5 gyms opening within 7miles vs being the only one for 30miles.  The work is the same, the success is the same, what’s VERY different is constantly trying to evolve as a coach and a business.

We’re constantly talking to our members and figuring out what they want and need and doing our best to bring it to the table.

What have we added this month?

  • Ladies only lifting class
  • Kettlebell Conditioning Classs
  • HIIT Class (high intensity interval training)
  • find out more on our website www.cocacrossfit.com
06Oct/16

Learning to love my body again

Many of you are aware of the hell my husband and I have had to face the last several months now having lost two children, one at 22 weeks and one at 7 weeks.  Anyone that’s had to go through a pregnancy knows the effects that it has on your body and your hormones.

Pre-preganncy I sat at 148lbs……. I currently sit at 165lbs……and with no baby to show for it.  I have sacrificed my training, by diet and my body to create life.  A sacrifice I was more than thrilled to make. And one that is difficult to swallow now as I look in the mirror.

I see the after math of the hell my body has gone through the last 9 months.  The muscle lost.  The fat gained.  The training ability almost non-existent.  I have such negative emotions wrapped in what I see in the mirror because it’s a daily reminder of what we’ve lost.  A daily reminder of what could have been.  A daily reminder of what will never be.

I force myself to look at myself everyday, and force myself to say nice things about the body that I have.  I force myself to try to accept there I am at as it wont be where I will end up.  I am learning to walk in the shoes of my clients a little more each day as I struggle to love my body again after my body failed me.

So here it is…… here is my body……. the body I am learning to love again….img_4141

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08Sep/16

Managing Miscarriages – a skill I NEVER wanted

This of course is not the way I anticipated sharing the news of our most recent pregnancy…….but after a long night of lots of stress and little sleep, we confirmed that we lost our most recent pregnancy just shy of 8 weeks.

Miscarriage at any week is a difficult blow…….. this one hits my husband and I extra hard after having just lost our first child at 21 weeks in early June.  We had planned on waiting until after our wedding on August, 21st to try, but managed to be one of the few that got pregnant on birth control.

We accepted it as the universe’s gift to us after taking Hope so early.  We were a little terrified everyday, but a little more hopeful everyday we were having a smooth pregnancy.  img_4114

Wednesday morning I had some slight spotting that increased through out the day into heavy bleeding and the passing of a few clots.  Confirmed this morning…… we lost the baby.  The pure devastation one feels as a mother is indescribable….. losing not one, but two pregnancies, and back to back.

Tears have been flowing for hours now and the decision to put all things babies on hold seems like the only choice.  The emotions involved with the high of the excitement around finding you’ve conceived met with the extreme low of losing a pregnancy take a toll on you mentally and emotionally.

Why share this?  Because this is real life.  Really shity things happening to really good people. Because miscarriage isn’t something to be ashamed of, or swept under the rug of shame. Because if I can help just one person open up about their loss then it’s worth it.  Because I have a support system that will keep me from falling into the dark.

31Aug/16

Stop programming competitions like The Games

I started CrossFit back in 2007 and to say it’s been a wild ride is an understatement.  One thing that has been crazy to watch is how much the elite level athletes have improved over those 10 years.  Hell…….. to look at the workouts in 2010 when I went to the CrossFit Games to the 2016 CrossFit Games…..they’re not on the same level.

I then step back and take a look at my affiliate, Coca CrossFit, and think about what I’ve observed in the last 6 years owning it.  My ‘average’ athlete in 2010 is very similar to my ‘average’ athlete in 2016.

Sooooooooo if the ‘average’ athlete has remained the same why have the local competitions followed the CrossFit Games trend in increasing the difficulty?  Because it’s cool and sexy……… but does it really make sense?  I say NO!unc02i

Can we push our ‘average’ athletes to be a little better each day…..HELL YEAH you bet we can.  Can I expect an ‘average’ athlete to reach the level of muscle ups, walking on their hands, running a sub 20min 5k, lifting 3x body weight deadlift…..sure….if that’s ALL they do!  But our ‘average’ athlete has a full-time job, kids, stress, homes to maintain etc.  To expect them to crush regional level workouts at a local competition is ridiculous.

Many of our athletes want to compete because it is fun to get out and be a part of the community, but they’re turned off because every event is trying to out program the previous one and it’s gotten out of control. What happened to the local competitions that were designed to challenge athletes withough expecting them to be at the regional level?  The Games are The Games and should be hard.  How’s about having more local competitions designed for the MAJORITY of CrossFit athletes….. ‘the average joe’?

29Aug/16

Lead your class of ONE…..

With the wide variety of online membership tracking platforms available now a days many gyms require there members to sign on and RSVP for the class they plan on attending.  We at Coca CrossFit have never done that, but that’s mainly because we have 5,000 sq feet and have never run out of space or equipment to be able to run classes.personal_training_graphic

One thing I’ve heard from members of other facilities is ‘my class was cancelled’  their gym requires a minimum number of athletes to take the time to run the class.  I call bull sh*t…….. one, two or three people aren’t worth you time?

I love my classes of one when they happen because it’s a chance to really focus on one person. To really dig into their technique and their body for a full hour.  You have a full hour to get to know them as a person, their careers, their family etc.

My advice to gym owners…… instead of canceling a class that doesn’t reach your minimum requirement…..run the class and embrace the extra time, love and attention you can give the few members that took the time to show up and work.

10Aug/16

Proudly a ‘soft’ gym…….

I have been criticized recently for have a ‘soft gym’….and of course not knowing what that meant I had to investigate further.  Apparently the ‘word on the street’ is that Coca CrossFit is a ‘soft gym….meaning that our programming isnt heavy enough, challenging enough or pushing people as had as it should.

At first I was HIGHLY offended and once my emotions came back down to ground earth I sat back and thought about where that could be coming from and I had to agree………in the evolution of our facility we have gotten ‘soft’, but is that a bad thing?cute-smiley-face-marshmallows-pink-white-heart-faces-2463

Reason 1 we’re a ‘soft gym’:  When we first opened I was coming off competing as an individual in the CrossFit Games with a contract with Reebok and I thought my sh*t didn’t stink.  I wrote programming that was geared towards athletes that wanted to compete and while I had 100 members in 2 months I focus on 12……why?  Because they were the most important……WRONG!  It created a gym with competitors and everyone else, and that wasn’t a community to me.

Reason 2 we’re a ‘soft gym’: I wrote the daily workout to be regional and games level weights and skills…….. we’ll guess what….. the average CrossFit athlete is FAR from Games athlete but wanting to please our coaching staff pushed, and pushed, and pushed until they broke…….WRONG!  Our job is to keep athletes safe while expecting the best out of them…….. giving people permission/even encouraging members to scale is our job!  Train to Train another day I say.

Reason 3 we’re a ‘soft gym’:  Over the 6 years my priorities have shifted tremendously.  My first few years I was known for pushing athletes to compete and taking them to a new level.  Our image to the surrounding world was CrossFit is scary and only for people that want to be monsters………WRONG! In the last two years I have worked really hard to bring CrossFit to the average person looking to take back control of their life.    The amount of joy I feel when someone thats never worked out a day in their life says ‘I missed a few days and I really cant wait to get back’  is unmeaserable.

So if being a ‘soft gym’ means we have ONE community where we keep people safe and accept ALL skill levels equally ……. than I’m PROUDLY A SOFT GYM!