Profiles March 2, 2021

Community Through COVID: How Diablo CrossFit Reached One Million Fist Bumps


Diablo CrossFit recently hit over a million fist bumps in SugarWOD.

The gym has been using SugarWOD since 2016, but owner Craig Howard said usage skyrocketed after the coronavirus shutdowns. 

“It’s ridiculous how much people are involved,” Craig said.

“Our membership is down about 20 percent from last year at this time pre-pandemic, but in the fourth quarter of 2020 we had four percent more visits (in SugarWOD) than we did in 2019 when we had 20 percent more members,” he said. 

Craig said that with fewer social opportunities, the gym has become an even more important part of his members’ lives. They aren’t getting the social interaction they’re used to, they don’t want to gain weight, and they want to stay healthy. His members tell him their number one motivation for coming to the gym is the other people, the social interaction with people outside their family.

SugarWOD helps the members of Diablo CrossFit stay connected even when they aren’t at the gym

“The number of people recording scores on SugarWOD is up fairly aggressively,” Craig said, “it’s not unusual for us to get like 80 or 90 results in a workout where we have maybe 100 people doing it in class. The participation percentage is really high.”

Keeping Members Connected

Craig said he initially switched to SugarWOD because it was easier to use than his previous workout software and it helped strengthen his community.  

“It was really easy for our members to click on the workout, enter their score, fist bump a few friends and then move on,” Craig said. 

SugarWOD also helped when the gym was shut down because of COVID-19 restrictions. Craig said he made sure their at-home workouts were on SugarWOD so people could post their scores and interact with their fellow members.  

“Then we did our outdoor park workouts, and those we put on SugarWOD,” Craig said. 

Craig loves using SugarWOD for all his programming and workout tracking because when people wonder about the workout of the day, they can go check SugarWOD. 

“It also lets you know who is doing (the workouts), because you can see people commenting and having fun, and that interaction keeps people engaged,” Craig said.  In January 2021, Craig found another great use for SugarWOD — a free nutrition challenge for members. 

Craig kept the challenge easy. Every day, members would assign themselves points for things like avoiding sugar or processed foods, getting more than seven hours of sleep, and doing the Diablo workout. He said most days they had between 40 to 60 people a day logging results. The challenge was supposed to end at the end of January, but so many people wanted to keep going Craig extended it into February.

“I post the top 10 people every week, which makes it fun,” Craig said. He told members to post their results even when they aren’t doing well. 

“And they do! And it’s great. And the comments, the supportive comments — it’s been remarkable,” Craig said. 

Craig said there’s no question SugarWOD saves him time

“For example that nutrition challenge,” Craig said. 

“I spent 30 minutes on what the components were gonna be and then created it and then I dumped it to SugarWOD for the entire month. Probably about an hour’s work to do a monthly challenge that I’m getting 30 to 50 people a day participating in,” he said.

Craig also uses the SugarWOD marketplace to offer Progressive Programming, a daily class programming with built-in progressions for less than $25 a month, delivered 30 days in advance.

“Progressive Programming is our programming that we make available to the public but it’s also what we do every day in Diablo. It was a response to people saying, ‘I want to do your programming, how do I get a month’s worth of your programming?’”

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