gym programming

NCFIT: How to Offer Gym Programming for All Athlete Levels

It’s Spring TRAINing at PushPress! Today, we're talking to NCFIT about how you can deliver gym programming options for all fitness levels.

Emily Beers
April 4, 2024
NCFIT: How to Offer Gym Programming for All Athlete Levels
It’s Spring TRAINing at PushPress! Today, we're talking to NCFIT about how you can deliver gym programming options for all fitness levels.

It’s Spring TRAINing at PushPress! All month long, we’re talking to some of the world’s best gym programming companies. We gave them each an opportunity to pick the topic of their choice to help with the success of your business. Today, we’re talking to NCFIT - available on PushPress Train - about programming options for all athlete levels.

CHECK THIS OUT: For a limited time, you can get 30 days of NCFIT programming FREE! Plus, try PushPress Train for 30 days FREE for new subscribers. (Offers valid through April 30, 2024).

When it comes to affiliate gym programming, NCFIT is a pioneer. Founded by 2008 CrossFit Games champion Jason Khalipa, NCFIT offered programming before it was the norm.

Jason Khalipa founder of NCFIT
NCFIT founder Jason Khalipa celebrates the end of a workout with a gym member. (Photo credit: NCFIT)

Gym Programming for Everyone.

As a gym owner, it can be tough (read: nearly impossible) to make everyone happy. And programming is no exception. As such, NCFIT believes in creating options for both the everyday gym goer and the competitive athlete.

Gabe Yanez, Chief Marketing Officer with NCFIT, said it’s a delicate balance but it can be done. And it’s important because this is an area that often causes a divide between members.

If competitive athletes or coaches abandon class for specialized programming, you’ve segmented the community. Even worse, it sends a message to your gym that the programming in class isn’t enough.

Yanez understands that elite CrossFit athletes will likely need individualized programming. However, NCFIT’s goal is to make class options suited to - and fun for - everyone.

Four Ways NCFIT Caters to All Athletes.

1. Reconsidering the RX and Scaled Models.

Deviating from the norm of using the “RX and scaled” vernacular in CrossFit is a big differentiator for NCFIT. Instead, the gym programming offers “fitness” and “performance” levels.

“This might just sound like semantics, but it’s not,” Yanez said. “The scaled version isn’t just a lesser version of the workout, as it has often traditionally been presented.” He went on to explain that they can sometimes be very different workouts, rather than one just being a lighter version of the other.

“The fitness and performance model gives us more leeway to adjust distances and rep schemes,” he said. “And create two workouts, rather than a watered-down version of the workout.”

Further, NCFIT has found that the fitness and performance levels help all athletes feel successful. Those who feel like they can’t do an “RX” version don't feel defeated. Those who want a heavier - or more technically-difficult - workout are given that option. Ultimately, it allows people to feel like they can choose whichever works best for them that day.

Gym programming for all fitness levels
Fitness and performance options offer an effective workout for all athletes. (Photo credit: NCFIT)

“It has also made it easier for people to hit the intended stimulus in each workout,” said Yanez. “And that’s how you get fitter. It’s not always about trying to do the more complex, heavier workout each day.”

2. Offering the Same Gym Programming... Plus Options.

A second key to catering gym programming to all athlete levels is offering three parts to each day’s workout. Part B is the class workout with the fitness and performance levels described above.

Parts A and C are for athletes seeking additional work to tack on to their class programming. Part A is conditioning and Part C is strength work.

In this sense, the “competitors track” isn’t its own, stand-alone programming. It includes the regular class workout designed for everyone, then simply offers additional (optional) volume in the form of skill, strength and conditioning work.

3. Reducing Emphasis on the Leaderboard.

A third key to encouraging connection for NCFIT gyms is to reduce the emphasis on a community leaderboard.

“We don’t encourage everyone to put their scores into a leaderboard,” said Yanez. “It isn’t a big part of what we do.” He explained that even though it is an option, and people can enter leaderboard scores if they want, it’s simply not part of the NCFIT culture.

“Moving away from the leaderboard has helped make it easier for people to choose the best workout for them that day,” he said. “It makes it easier for coaches to help athletes adjust their workouts. This has led to better results for athletes, fewer injuries and more consistency.”

Further, he added, “As for community, there is just less of an opportunity for cliques and groups that divide the fittest athletes in the gym from everyone else. It is not a perfect solution, but it has definitely helped.”

NCFIT gym community
Reducing leaderboard emphasis connects the gym community. (Photo credit: NCFIT)

4. Proving Effectiveness to Coaches.

Finally, making sure coaches fully support your gym programming is a crucial component of implementing it successfully in your gym.

As Yanez explained, getting buy-in from coaches helps members of all fitness levels to set and achieve goals through the programming.

“When you have one or two coaches convinced they need program X to be fit, that spreads like wildfire,” he said. And it sends the message that your programming isn’t sufficient.

With that in mind, take the time to educate everyone on the philosophy and intention of your gym programming. And encourage coaches to attend classes with members. Yanez said this goes a long way in inspiring confidence in the programming you’ve chosen.

“Coaches don’t realize how much influence you have on members,” he said. “What you’re doing, what you’re eating, members see it all.”

In Summary: Programming Matters for a Strong Gym Community.

Successful fitness business owners know that gym programming matters. And NCFIT has found several differentiators to deliver the most effective options for every fitness level.

First, by deviating from the traditional terminology, your members will choose a workout level that’s best for them on any given day. Second, offering options means that athletes can also choose the volume of work that matches their goals. Third, a reduced emphasis on the leaderboard can result in a better connection within your community. And finally, focusing on coach buy-in can trickle down to ensure everyone understands the philosophy and intention of their training.

Ready to get started? Claim your 30 days of NCFIT programming FREE! Plus, try PushPress Train for 30 days FREE for new subscribers. (Offers valid through April 30, 2024).
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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