Resources April 10, 2020

5 Programs You Can Implement at Your Gym to Keep Your Community Health and Fitness Focused


As of last week, about 90% of CrossFit gyms in the US, and 80% around the world have closed, whether mandated by their state or country, or voluntarily to help “flatten the curve” of the COVID-19 pandemic. By now, a lot of gyms and fitness facilities have been closed for a couple of weeks and have settled into a routine. 

April 30th is the mandated closure date for many gyms and businesses around the country and there is possibility of that extending further. What does this mean? It means, for the next couple of weeks, gyms have to pivot to a completely virtual offering for their members. 

If you have just closed, or if you are struggling to figure out how to go virtual with your communities in an engaging and supportive way, read on to see 5 programs you can implement at your gym while the doors are closed.

1. Equipment Loan Program 

We have seen many CrossFit gym owners loan out their equipment to their members while they are closed at no additional cost, and we think this is great. But, some are likely questioning why you would even consider loaning out your (expensive!) equipment? 

Lending out your gym’s equipment gives your members the opportunity to have more options for workout variation and intensity. Even if it’s just adding a pair of dumbbells and a slam ball. Checking out the gym’s equipment to her members has allowed Nicole Christensen, CrossFit Roots owner, to program 3 workouts/day! One of bodyweight/no equipment, one with minimal equipment (jump rope, kettlebell, dumbbell, etc.), and a Home Gym workout for those that have a pretty decent set up at home.

Above all, it gives you an opportunity to continue providing value if they are able to keep their memberships while you are closed.

You can read how Nicole communicated the equipment loan program with her members here.

Finally, it is important to have an agreement for your members to sign upon equipment check-out. We’ve included Nicole’s template for the Equipment Loan Agreement here.

2. At Home “Group Classes”

You’ve probably seen gyms offering live stream classes for their members to jump on and workout together, virtually! In the CrossFit space, and other functional fitness gyms, members are used to a complete coach lead class for an hour. Real talk, we’ve all been cutting those warm-ups short at home… 

Offering a few live, coach lead classes a day provides familiar faces and that similar class framework your members are accustomed to. And yes, the coach does the workout! 

Pick a few times popular times in the day that people would be able to make, not your typical gym schedule! For example, CrossFit Roots is streaming 10AM, Noon, and 5PM classes for their members through their Private Member group using Facebook Live. Facebook live allows members to watch the complete coach lead class later when they are able to. 

Another option is to use the Youtube Whiteboard feature right in the SugarWOD app. SugarWOD gym owners can add a Video component using a Youtube link for a recorded or LIVE video stream. You can find help on how to add a Youtube video to your Whiteboard in SugarWOD here!

Mayhem Athlete (left) and CrossFit Omnia (right) have added live and recorded videos to their community’s virtual experience!

3. Accountability

Being in the health and fitness industry, we have all learned (whether on a personal journey, or by way of profession) that it is pretty darn challenging to stay accountable when you do not have access to people and resources. This is especially true during a time of uncertainty like we are experiencing now. “What’s the point? No gym, no diet, no problem.”    

So, how do you motivate your members to stay accountable? We’ve outlined a few ideas we’ve heard from gym owners in the community!

  • Encourage your members to set up a schedule. Give them a number of workouts to hit per week. If you can offer a couple of virtual classes a day, publish your “Weekly Class Schedule” on your blog so your members can see it. This gives them a visual to plan their week. 
  • Have your members “pick a workout buddy”. They can reach out to a friend, another member, or their spouse to hit a workout together via zoom or Facetime. Raise each other up (off the couch) and get after it!
  • Offer 1:1’s with members. Have your coaches set up 30min check ins. Catch up and see what your members are struggling with. Help them set up a schedule or start small with one goal to hit/week. You don’t have the luxury you usually do seeing your members everyday in the gym. If you make these 1:1 chats happen your members will feel supported and motivated to keep their fitness a priority. 
  • Giving fist bumps and comments in SugarWOD. Do we even have to say it? We miss our gym friends too, so give them some love! We’re all working out at home, getting creative with our options to execute movements (ladder pull-ups anyone?) and taking hilarious notes in an attempt to keep our sanity intact, so be generous with the fist bumps and comments! Virtual fist bumps aren’t contagious 🙂

4. Focus On Nutrition 

During this time of uncertainty, consider offering an option for your members to focus on something they can control: their nutrition.

“If there is any silver lining to the Covid-19 pandemic, it may be that people become more motivated to improve their day-to-day health. Absence of a vaccine, one’s current risk of surviving a coronavirus infection is best mitigated by the strength of their current health.”

EC Synkowski, founder of OptimizeMe Nutrition

Eating more fruits and vegetables (via the #800gChalllange®) and relatively more protein (via Lazy Macros) provides the nutrients needed to help maintain a healthy weight (which is a risk factor for many chronic diseases), but also to reduce inflammation and mount an immune system response. These two simple dietary changes – when done consistently in the long-term – can create significant positive impacts on one’s health.  

Run the #800gChallenge® or Lazy Macros Challenge and help them spend this time developing sound nutrition habits. 

Alternatively, you can set up your own lifestyle/nutrition/habits challenge in SugarWOD by creating a Gym Benchmark scored for points and schedule it each day for the duration of your challenge!

5. Launch ROMWOD at Your Gym Through SugarWOD

That’s right, ROMWOD is coming to SugarWOD! Soon, gyms will be able to push daily ROMWOD videos to their members directly in the SugarWOD app! 

Now that most people are working from home, likely in odd places as they figure out this whole WFH thing, who knows what is happening with everyone’s posture (cringe). It is an opportune time to check in with mobility and offer another piece of value to your members. 

What’s ROMWOD you ask? ROMWOD stands for Range Of Motion Workout Of the Day. They provide daily videos designed to increase range of motion, optimize athletic performance, and promote recovery, healing, and longevity. 

And ROMWOD is for everyone, not just elite athletes! Want a better overhead squat position? Or be able to sit on the floor and play with your kids? ROMWOD is for you! Keep an eye on our Social channels and your inbox for the full launch next week! 

Have you implemented similar, or different programs at your gym? Let us know what you have found working for you and your communities in the comment section!