gym competition

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff: When A Gym Competition Goes Sideways

A gym competition is usually a fun community event! Here's the story of how it doesn't always go as planned and the lessons one gym owner is sharing.

Emily Beers
March 14, 2023
Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff: When A Gym Competition Goes Sideways
A gym competition is usually a fun community event! Here's the story of how it doesn't always go as planned and the lessons one gym owner is sharing.

It’s March Madness at PushPress! We’ve asked our community of fitness business owners to share their craziest stories. With every story comes a lesson that the gym owner learned the hard way so that you don’t have to. Today, we’re talking about hosting a gym competition, so sit back, relax and enjoy the shenanigans!

If you’re like most fitness business owners, you have big goals for your gym. From the best programming to the cleanest facility, you want everything to be just perfect. You buy the best equipment. You train your coaches to deliver the best classes.

And naturally, when you host a competition, you want people to leave raving about it.

Hosting a gym competition

So what happens when gym events don’t go as planned? Amanda Peretich, owner of CrossFit Panthera in Dunkirk, MD shared her story.

Hosting A Festivus Games Gym Competition.

In April 2022, Peretich decided to host her first Festivus Games competition.

“The day went great from start to finish,” she said. “We were on time. People were complimenting us on how well run everything was. And we made it to the awards ceremony without a hitch.”

Before the competition began that day, she had put two members in charge of medals.

“I told them the ribbon colors for first, second and third,” Peretich said. However, the various divisions were inscribed on the back of the medals and no one noticed.

“We had handed out probably two thirds of the awards before someone came up and told us they got the wrong medal,” recalls Peretich. “And we realized the error of our ways.”

She continued, “There were lots of divisions: Teams of three and individual, male and female, intermediate, beginner, masters. Which meant a lot of medals.”

Peretich and her team acted quickly. In the middle of the awards ceremony, they made an announcement: They had made a mistake and wanted to make sure people got the correct medals for the gym competition. Unfortunately, it was just a bit too late.

“At that point, folks had gotten their medals and rolled out,” she said.

Making It Right.

At first, Peretich says she felt like the mistake turned the whole event into a huge failure. It would’ve been easier to let the “medal debacle” make her think twice about hosting a competition in the future.

“It felt like a disaster to end a perfect day,” she said. But she didn’t let it deter her.

Amanda Peretich owner of CrossFit Panthera
Amanda Peretich, owner of CrossFit Panthera

Only one person from the entire event was adamant about getting the correct division on their medal. So Peretich immediately contacted Festivus to find a solution. The medal company sent her a replacement sticker to accommodate the competition participant that requested it. After that, she said, “no one else seemed to care.”

In fact, she added that after the fact, she received so much positive feedback about the gym competition.

Moving Forward.

Ultimately, when it comes to events - or your business in general - most people are forgiving. As much as small details matter, oftentimes little mistakes or hiccups will be overlooked in favor of the event as a whole.

Peretich had these lessons to share:

1. Create A Memorable Experience.

When it comes to running a gym competition - or any event at your gym - people will remember how the event made them feel. Focus on the big picture: Make them feel welcomed and successful.

CrossFit Panthera Festivus Games

And every gym owner who’s ever hosted a successful comp will remind you to provide enough bathroom options.

2. Stick To The Schedule.

If you’ve ever attended a poorly-run event that runs over the estimated time by hours, you know how much people appreciate punctuality. So keep your event running on time. And if it happens to start getting off schedule, keep people in the know. When athletes are informed, they can adjust their event warmup times accordingly.

Pro Tip: Use PushPress Grow to promote your competition or even to keep athletes updated throughout the day! Book a demo with our team today to find out more.

3. Don’t Neglect The Programming.

When designing the workouts for a gym competition, safety should come first. After that, make sure it’s balanced and effective, which doesn’t always mean flashy. However, keep in mind that when spectators are present, it’s beneficial to make workouts fun to watch.

4. Show Your Appreciation.

First, be sure to thank your participants and spectators for coming out to the event. After all, it wouldn’t be happening without them! Second, show some love to your volunteers and judges. Free coffee, smoothies or lunch goes a long way to say thank you to your team.

5. There’s No Such Thing As Perfect.

At the end of the day, perfection isn’t feasible. For example, even at the CrossFit Games every year, things go sideways. And despite the little hiccups, athletes and fans always have a great time.

Inevitably, unexpected things will come up. Take responsibility for them, ask for forgiveness and get back to the big picture.

Emily Beers

Emily Beers is a health, fitness and nutrition writer. She has also been coaching fitness at MadLab School of Fitness in Vancouver, B.C. since 2009.

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