I was sitting the other day in my office listening to Jonathan talk to a prospective member about joining the gym, and I heard him say this phrase, “We are in the business of long term fitness.” And it just kind of hit me. Not necessarily the “long term” part because I know that, we talk about it daily. We’ve built our whole program around it. But the part that hit me was the word “business”.
Obviously CrossFit OYL is a gym (the best gosh darn gym in Haslet!), but to me it’s also a business. It’s a way of supporting me and my family. OYL supports a staff of coaches and trainers, and also a physical therapy practice. But even bigger than that, CrossFit OYL has supported hundreds of families in the Haslet, Rhome, Justin, greater Fort Worth area and beyond in that it’s provided a new lifestyle, a change from the old, and ushered in a new level of health that might otherwise not have been possible. But when I hear in the “business” of long term health, it really triggered something for me. It made me think of all the other fitness “businesses” that are focused on short term business success rather than the long term fitness of their clients.
What is Long Term Fitness vs. Short Term?
When you join CrossFit OYL, we don’t offer a 6 week get fit quick challenge. We don’t offer you videos of 6 minute abs, or hand you a pill. We also don’t focus specifically on competitions, or max lifts, or all out sprints. Don’t get me wrong, we work very hard in our 60 minute group classes, but we never want to push our upper limit so hard that we break.
When a new person joins and it’s their first day in class, the first thing I tell them after showing them where the bathrooms are, is an explanation of our mantra – 1% Better. The specific phrase I tell them is, “Even the smallest step forward is better than any steps backward.” I then say, “I’d rather today’s workout be too easy, that you come back tomorrow. I don’t want today’s workout to be so hard that you’re sore and feel like you need a day off. Instead, I want you to focus on building the habit of coming to the gym 4 days per week.” And I mean it. I truly would rather some do 4-5 days of easy workouts than 1-2 days of hard workouts.
We still do hard workouts.
That’s relative to their fitness level, we still do hard workouts. But what I mean is to use a light weight for you, maybe even a plastic PVC pipe instead of a barbell. For your long term fitness, it’s more important to build the habit of working out than it is the working out. We know our group class program works. We’ve been doing this for 7 years and seen hundreds of transformations. Jonathan and I have both been around CrossFit for 10+ years each back even before we opened the gym together. We know this stuff works, but it only works if you’re consistent.
But the habits & consistency thing is for another blog.
This is about long term health.
This is about setting ourselves up for a low trajectory to a distance horizon. In fact, we could even be on a zero angle trajectory and still be healthier. Let’s say I start CrossFit when I’m 40 years old and I can press 65 pounds over my head with great form. Pretend I never improve that. I workout 4 days a week for 20 years and on my 60th birthday, I can still strict press 65 pounds. How many 60 year olds do you know that are unable (because of strength or mobility or both) to stand up, grab a barbell, and press 65 pounds over their heads? I bet it’s a small number.
That’s long term fitness. Our goal is 20 years from now, not 20 days or even 20 months from now.
The Business of Health
Oh boy. Might as well find a GIF of a can of worms here. I won’t get into deep accusations here today, but this is the part that hit me when I heard Jonathan say, “We are in the business of long term fitness.” It hit me that fitness and health is truly a business. It’s a reality I’ve faced before. I think we’ve all been frustrated with the medical system at least once in our lives. We all have a story of a time that it felt like it was more about money than about the patient’s health.
I’ll speak to some people that I know personally. At OYL, we have a current member that was recommended and even on the schedule to have surgery done, but after working with our on-site physical therapist, Dr. Ryan Perez of Elevation Athletics Physical Therapy, was able to reverse his symptoms and cancelled his surgery. Here’s a video link to his full story here. Here’s another similar story here about another patient that was lined up for shoulder surgery based on her doctor’s recommendation.
I’m still a businessman.
My point is this. I am in business. I run a business. Jonathan and I are both wired as businessmen. We are here to make money to support ourselves and our families, our staff and their families, and the fitness eco-system of Haslet, Rhome, and Justin area. That’s why we charge money and don’t do this whole thing for free. But we are not in this business for the short term. Just like your health, our goals are 20+ years down the road. Of course we want a new member to join us in class today, but our goals reach beyond that.
If we sold quick 6 minute abs, or a magic pill, or high cost 6 week challenges, we could make a lot more money. We could use our power to bait & switch people, lock them into crazy contracts that require a finger print + blood sample to break. We could make huge promises that are true and sound like an infomercial. It would be easy to create a much more lucrative business based around “fitness”. I’m sure you’ve seen other businesses like that.
Our business is long term fitness.
But our business is long term. We are in this for the long haul. I want to help you for the next 5, 10, 15+ years. I want your health to improve over that time. That’s why we require 6 month minimum commitment for new members. It’s not a contract. If you really hate it that much then tell us and we’ll let you break it. We offer a money back guarantee for that exact reason. It’s a commitment, not a contract. We want people in our gym that are committed to the long term, not a short term quick “fix”.
Long Term Fitness Equals Health
And actually, according to the CrossFit Inc. definition of health, health is your level of fitness across your lifetime. So not just being strong in your twenties, or running marathons in your thirties, but the cumulative amount of fitness you possess across your entire life time. More years of being semi fit is better than a few years of being really fit.
So that’s really what we’re about – health. And we define that as long term fitness. It’s the same thing.
If this sounds like a change you’d like to make, we’d love to help you find a gym near you. We are different than a traditional gym, but we’re not the only gym community like this that exists. If you live near Haslet, TX, then come on in for a chat! If you live elsewhere, we have a network of other gym owners, some CrossFit and some not. We want to help you find long term fitness. Just drop us a message below & we’ll help you find a gym and a program that works for your long term fitness goals!