Within the last few weeks the fitness world saw a lot of change, and it all started thanks to some insensitive, tone deaf, and hurtful comments regarding the murder of George Floyd from the founder, owner, and CEO of CrossFit Inc, Greg Glassman. Within the last week more news regarding his behavior, specifically accusations of sexual misconduct and creating an uncomfortable work environment at CrossFit Inc, have begun to surface. Because of all of this news thousands of CrossFit affiliates around the world made the choice to drop their CrossFit affiliation, and try to make their own way in the fitness world. WIthout the ability to use “CrossFit” in the name of the gym, all of these facilities have been looking to replace that word with some they feel suits the gym they are running. A lot have adopted the name “Community Fitness”, others just “Fitness”, but some have turned away from that side of things just a bit and gone with “Strength and Conditioning” or just “Strength”. The name on a building is likely going to play a big part in getting customers in the doors, but there is a big potential difference between an established Strength gym, and a recent CrossFit affiliate searching for a new name.
In almost all cases all of these former CrossFit affiliates are not changing their gym programming, and keeping things the same is a big selling point for many of the members. Most owners are reassuring clients something like this, “Just because the name on our building is changing, doesn’t mean you should expect anything different from our programming.” This is obviously a great reassurance for current members, but for those former affiliates that have gone from “CrossFit Blank” to “Blank Strength and Conditioning”, they are also making a promise to potential new members that they may not be ready to follow through on.
CrossFit gyms all program very similarly, and yes, there is an element of strength to the programming. You’re likely to see most CrossFit gyms program in days where they Back Squat or Deadlift heavy, or they go for a 1RM Clean & Jerk, but that is not the sole purpose of the program. CrossFit outlines 10 components of fitness (cardio/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy), and the majority of daily programming culminates with a high intensity interval style workout. A lot of gyms don’t program a specific strength cycle, but rather, more randomized (constantly varied) movements because the goal of CrossFit is to be ready for the unknown and unknowable. Another thing to mention is that a person who programs for a CrossFit gym is not likely to have more than just a CrossFit Level 1 certification (a weekend cert, which does not require any knowledge of strength cycles, and only very basic knowledge of energy systems). Contrast that with a Strength gym run by a lead trainer with years of education, and certifications to back up the programming approach.
The whole approach from these former affiliates is in many ways the antithesis of a true “Strength” gym. One is meant to be constantly varied without a specifically planned long term goal, and to help improve strength to some degree, but also seeks to improve athletes in many other areas. The other (the Strength gym) is likely to have a highly knowledgeable staff, with goal oriented specific plans for clients, and will use data and understanding to achieve a specific outcome, not just constantly varied exercise.
How could I possibly know this all to be true? My name is Daniel Muto, I am the current owner of Pisgah Fitness (formerly CrossFit Pisgah) located in Asheville, NC. I have worked as a CrossFit coach for over 5 years, and have owned, operated, and programmed for the gym for nearly 3 years. Prior to my CrossFit coaching days I worked as a personal trainer for 2 years at a number of gyms, just trying to understand the craft. As a former affiliate owner myself, I know many other affiliate owners, there are some that take time to learn and grow and understand their clients, and there are others who write workouts to try to make people tired, and that’s it. I was not satisfied with just a weekend certification, and took it upon myself to read, learn and grow as a trainer and programmer. I tried my hand in multiple disciplines from bodybuilding, to weightlifting, to powerlifting, to assist with that learning and truly understand each client. My reason for writing all of this is to help everyone make an informed decision when it comes to selecting a “strength” gym, understand the background, the coaching, the programming, and the abilities that gyms have.
In this new age of strength and conditioning gyms, not all are created equal.
Owner of Pisgah Fitness
Crossfit Level 1