The vast majority of people in the world are not fit, yet the focus of many gyms is on already fit folks … in some cases, the focus is on the highest performers in the gym.
A gym owner's huge advantage comes from seeing the need to create a Fitness Bridge for regular people.
CrossFit has been trying to do this for a long time. They provided a simple definition for fitness, and excellent coaching & movement education.
They’ve also done a phenomenal job spreading awareness about the metabolic damage from refined carbohydrates and a sedentary lifestyle.
By many measures, CrossFit has been wildly successful. And yet, considering that obesity continues to increase at a rapid rate across the globe, CrossFit has hardly made a dent.
In the US, as of 2020, nearly a third of humanity is obese.
On top of that, almost a quarter (23.2%) of adults fail to meet the General Physical Activity Guidelines for both aerobic and muscle strengthening activity, according to the CDC.
There’s still a LOT of work to do.
So what went wrong? We know functional fitness works -- Glassman said it in his aphorism: The needs of an Olympic athlete and of our grandparents differ by degree, not kind. The fundamental principles used by CrossFit clearly work. Why haven’t more people acted on them?
The problem lies in the early focus on “Elite Fitness,” highlighted so dramatically by the Games. This created the perception that regular folks have, about how it’s not really for them -- it's extreme or crazy or dangerous.
True, the gladiatorial spectacle may have been necessary, to gain any market traction at all -- but the negative perception has been magnified by the thousands of inexperienced coaches around the world who emphasize intensity above mechanics and consistency.
And by not having the proper experience to scale workouts appropriately, coaches push “regular people” into injury and burn out. This destroys the crucial longevity aspect of long-term health.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of great coaches out there. But they’re the exception, not the rule.
And here’s the thing -- there will always be many more beginner coaches than experts.
Plus, every great coach had to go through the phase of not-being-great. Everyone has to go through inexperience to become experienced.
And the most problematic part of group fitness is appropriately scaling and coaching workouts for each individual.
Even CrossFit Mainsite does a poor job of this -- imagining that “beginner” options include movements like box jumps, walking lunges and full-range burpees.
You might ask: what’s wrong with those movements?
But if you’ve worked with true beginners, you know these movements are totally inappropriate.
WHITE & YELLOW level members (beginners) should do plate jumps, low box stepups, and elevated burpees or bodybuilders.
The skill needed to scale workouts properly develops only after a lot of real-world experience, with clients, on the floor. It is because the vast majority of coaches do not have this experience, that we have a deep-rooted, systemic problem.
The solution is to build a structure that avoids haphazard, dangerous or improper scaling. Coaches have to be guided systematically – until they gain the experience needed.
The answer is data-driven, levels-based workouts. Data proves it's about the actual reality, not feelings or guesses on the fly. Levels prove you have a system that controls the ‘danger variables.’
When someone can SEE that workouts are exactly right, based on their abilities, they can be confident and secure. They can trust the coach and the system. This results in better outcomes.
Over time, this unique factor -- an actual proven system -- will destroy the normal negative perception and eliminate the dangers of group functional fitness.
It offers a true bridge, from Not-Fit, to Fit.
So, who are your real clients?
Regular people, mostly beginners, who want your help to get fitter, and leaner, and more healthy.
Where can you make the biggest impact?
By focusing on that vast majority of people who are "normal" or "average" -- not high level athletes, not highly driven, not fanatical -- they just want better health and fitness and appearance. These folks want and need appropriate workouts, that are effective (data-driven), doable (perfectly scaled), and safe (levels based on proven loads and movements).
The idea that we have to scale load and intensity, not programs, is fundamental. It’s just that this requires an uncommon level of expertise. To make it common, there first has to be a system that makes it easy.
And that’s exactly what data-driven level-based workouts are. A proven system.