The fox and the grape in the Fitness industry

In the fitness industry there are the CrossFit affiliates and then there are those who denigrate them like the fox with the grape. I recently read on social media yet another post derogatory towards CrossFit by an amateur sports association which, citing an old post by an athletic trainer, supported the thesis that it is a dangerous activity. Under this theory, the author of the post explained the reasons why he will never offer CrossFit to his users. Too bad then, scrolling through his social profile and that of the association, it turns out that in reality they both use this specific methodology in their unaffiliated gym.

The Fox and the Grape

As I have already had the opportunity to write in the past, CrossFit is an open source methodology and therefore freely usable by anyone, while the CrossFit brand, being registered and protected by copyright, is not free to use for commercial purposes. Affiliated gyms pay a license for its commercial use of 2.700£ per year. This is neither more nor less than an operating cost that would involve renting the premises where the gym is located or electricity, water, gas, the tax on waste. 

If we consider a Box with an average of 150 subscribers who pay an average of a grand per year generating a collection of 150.000£, the 2700£ (2250 without VAT) account for less than 1.5% which is almost as much as the percentage of commissions that a box pay to accept payments with the POS.

It is clear that everyone chooses whether to undertake this expense based on their own personal assessments, but it is equally clear that many prefer not to do it just to save those €3,182 often disparaging the CrossFit method to convince themselves that they have made the right choice. They justify their choice with the fact that CrossFit is dangerous and that they prefer to do something else, such as the infamous "functional training" or "cross training". It is a bit like in Aesop's fable of the fox and the grapes in which the fox claims that the grapes are unripe because he cannot reach it.

Psychology defines this behavior as a cognitive dissonance, my grandmother who was less educated but more hoyty-toyty called it "I'd love but I can't", in any case it is not the right way to compete with affiliates because it is not only manipulative but also immature and infantile.

Valuing strengths

It is one thing to highlight one strengths over the competition, it is another thing to distort information to make people think that something is dangerous for them. Statistically, CrossFit is no more harmful than other activities such as amateur football which boast the higher number of ijuries of any other . The strategy of putting the competition in a bad light has never worked, especially if you then offer your users exactly the same kind of service that you are so busy denigrating.

Choosing or not affiliation is a mere strategic choice that can have an impact on your communication, positioning and marketing. In any case, a good entrepreneur knows how to exploit his strengths in an intelligent and objective way and not by leveraging any type of information that may seem favorable to him to put his competitors in a bad light. Even if a comparative communication is chosen, objectivity of the arguments is required and not the emphasis on certain aspects, decontextualized and used in one's favor in a pretext way.

For example, the fact that many people don't like running does not mean that running is harmful regardless but, in fact, in most cases it is not. Using the arguments against running to discourage anyone from doing it, regardless of everything and generalizing is incorrect. Likewise, those fitness entrepreneurs who do it with competitors are unfair. One wonders to what extent they are really entrepreneurs and not the envious ones who are looking for any way to get at least the crumbs of the success and resourcefulness of others.

There are plenty of highly effective and ethically sound positioning strategies that rule out the use of negative rhetoric that puts the competition in a bad light. It is enough to know them and use them, but frankly thinking of having success and visibility by attacking those who are not like us, often because we cannot or have chosen not to be like him, it is absolutely not good.

Toxic business

A prudent user, who wants to get the maximum value of his expenses in the gym membership, whether he is a CrossFitter or not, whether the gym is affiliated or not, will always have to be wary of those who throw mud on his potential competitors because it is a attitude that is not limited to the professional sphere but is extended to the whole way in which these people perceive the world.

It is a behavior that is almost always part of a more complex manipulative strategy typical of so-called toxic people, which risks leading users in a completely different direction from what they expected in terms of results, well-being and health, even mental. The risk is to end up in a kind of sect in which everything that is disliked by the owner of the gym and consequently to his collaborators, becomes forbidden and demonized to the point of preventing any contradiction. All this, to be honest, can also be extended to certain affiliates who are on the other side of the scenario, demonizing everything that is not CrossFit.

As always, the truth lies somewhere in between and that is why personally, as soon as I hear someone speaking ill of the competition and colleagues, I tend to distance myself, knowing well from experience that this type of attitude, in the end, never brings anything bad. good. You should also take this into account when choosing a gym or a box.

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