“Culture” is a workplace buzzword these days. The feel when you interact with others, the service attention you receive, and the priorities of the people all contribute to that culture. Each CrossFit Box (gym) has a culture, but there is a huge difference between the gym and the workplace—one pays you to fit a culture, and the other you pay to enjoy the culture. CrossFit can be financially unachievable for some, but those who do have a membership “get it.” The members know the people are what we’re paying for, not the equipment or the class times. Each person shapes the gym’s personality, and it’s rewarding to be a part of that identity. CrossFit is not a cult, it’s a culture.
I’ve been a CrossFit trainer for 17 months, but I’ve spent 5 years as a member of six CrossFit boxes (yes, a member, not a drop-in). Some communities have a culture worth propagating, and some have a culture not worth much. That’s intuitive, right? Some are great; some aren’t worth much. However, some cultures aren’t apparent to you until you’ve been a member for a little while. Once it’s apparent to you, and you’re comfortable with some other members, you must ask yourself this question:
“Do I fit the culture, or do I need to fix the culture?”
The question is a fascinating one. It’s one that determines how important you are to the gym and those around you.
I’ve observed many types of cultures that need fixing in a bad way. “Box 2” for me had a two-section gym, in which the “serious lifters” always had one side while the “regular people” had the other; talk about divide! My “Box 4” only used high-level, competition-style instruction and programming, and few fitness levels were able to enjoy the classes for which they paid a lot of money. Does your gym present you challenges, or does it give you obstacles? You should not feel handicapped by your own trainers!
Alternatively, I’ve also observed many types of cultures to fit into. “Box 1” for me had a familial, home-grown following which inspired its members to value time with one another rather than times on the leaderboard. “Box 3” has a hands-in “break down” after every class, during which the person who gave the most valiant effort led that countdown. Now, at CFI, the culture is loyal one. Our athletes chose to “fit” into a new space, a familiar family, and a new ownership. We knew if we didn’t fit right away, we’d fix it. Our athletes value who they know rather than what they knew at previous CrossFit gyms.
As a coach at CFI, I’d love to charge everyone with the same question about culture: “Do you fit into the culture? Or do you need to fix it?” Take ownership of your vision of CFI—what are we missing, and how can you make it happen? Do you want more recognition for your effort? Recognize others without expecting it in return. Cheer other classes on, even though you don’t have a bar in your hand at that moment. Select a new partner in a partner WOD to make a connection. Your personality is as much a part of us as, say, a coach or an owner; we lead and train for you, so we are passionate about meeting your wants and needs. You fit into our culture, but you can fix small aspects to make it a better home for yourself. Your desired culture is our commitment to our athletes and our community.
Coach Josh Womack