Thank you for your comments and concerns, it feels good to be missed.  For those of you wondering,please know that coaching group classes is one of my favourite things in the world.  In fact, I long ago realized that if I were independently wealthy and never had to work again the one thing I would still be doing is coaching CrossFit classes.  But not at 5am – sorry 5am crew I love you but if I had a million dollars, I’d sleep in.

I started Empower because I love coaching but as a gym owner my number one priority is making certain that we can keep the gym doors open so that there are classes to be coached.  In 2020-21 the threats to our existence have multiplied.  In fact, March 2020 when the first shutdown occurred, my work hours immediately doubled even though coaching hours dropped.  That workload has only increased since then. 

I don’t need to tell you that the pandemic has been very hard financially on small business owners.   With gym occupancy limits and no special classes we find ourselves extremely limited in our growth potential but thanks to the support of our dedicated members we are staying afloat.  Although March to November of 2020 was a bit of a blood bath for us, we are now in our 4th consecutive month of positive cash flow.  For March we recorded a profit of $2855.96.  Now I realize that a business clearing less than 3 Grand per month in pre-COVID times would be considered a hopeless loss destined for inevitable  bankruptcy but given the current circumstances and operating restrictions, the fact that we are able to cover all our operating expenses and still have some dollars left over is a huge win!  Many small businesses are not so lucky right now and again we thank you, our membership for supporting us through these difficult times.  

The financial concerns are real but over the past 12 months we’ve faced a host of equally challenging threats to our continued viability.  And it is often threats we didn’t see coming.  This week, for example, a disgruntled former member called in a COVID non-compliance complaint to the City citing occupancy and mask violations .  We were of course in compliance on both counts but much of my Thursday was spent addressing this threat to our continued operations. And that was only my second biggest challenge this week.

I’m sure that you imagine when I am not in the gym I am sleeping in, relaxing on the beach and sipping a margarita.  In fact I am fighting the increasingly tough battles that have to happen in the background to keep our doors open for you.  Accountants, bookkeepers, CRA, lawyers, local health authorities, insurance, hydro, landlords, grant applications, rent relief programs, local MLA’s, suppliers, Zoom, Zen Planner, website, VPD, neighbours; all of these and more fill my days when I am not in the gym coaching. 

My day off yesterday started with COVID tracing at 6:30am. Moved directly to prepping the day’s blog and doing the March books and then was interrupted by a call from the City and the drafting of an incident report and letter drafts to our lawyer, the City and the VPD.  Because bookkeeping is important but keeping our doors open is the priority.  My day ended in a coaches’ meeting, skipped dinner and straight to bed.  Today I began drafting this blog post at 2:15am before checking emails and heading to the gym for the 5am crew.  If you run your own business you know that sleep is sometimes hard to come by.  There are plenty of off days but no actual days off.

My biggest love is coaching but my number one responsibility is keeping the doors open.  To that end I’ve had to lean more heavily on our team of Empower coaches who have stepped up to help keep things running while I fight the battles that must be fought to keep the ship afloat.  I understand it is not the same.  I coached Judo from 1993-2012, trained and worked as a classroom teacher from 1998-2001 and have been coaching CrossFit specifically since 2008 (full time since 2009).  I’ve had a lot of years to make mistakes and gain experience and am still learning everyday on the job – which is why I love it.  Our newer coaches have not yet had the opportunity to make all the mistakes I have.  They want to serve you to the best of their ability and they will get better with practice.  You can help them.  They are painfully aware that they are at the start of their journey toward coaching mastery and are doing the best they can to make sure your hour at Empower is the best hour of your day.  Please be patient, encouraging and supportive of them.  Constructive feedback from members has always been helpful for me for developing and improving my coaching style.  Many of our old school members will remember giving useful feedback to me over the years because none of us are perfect but we all want to be better! 

It is for the good of the business that I am taking a step back in my coaching schedule.  I’ll still be here doing what I love most but just not as much.  But please know I’ve not abandoned you, I am working hard in the background to make sure Empower can continue to serve you through the pandemic and beyond.  And meanwhile our next generation of coaches are getting the practice reps needed to become excellent coaches. We have set a goal of eventually hiring a general manager to take care of the essential day-to-day running of the business, freeing Leon and I up to do more of what we love doing.  My goal is to eventually get back on the coaching floor and do less in the background.  But until that becomes a real possibility, my priority is making sure that there continues to be a business to run and a place for you to come train!

If I really wanted time off the government is currently offering some fairly generous grants for gyms forced to close during this “Circuit Breaker”.  Guess the smart ones all took a few weeks off work instead of busting ass.  But we ain’t that bright and we like keeping the doors open for you so we’ll keep hustling with that goal in mind.  Meanwhile, get all the sunshine you can and use your strength to overcome anxiety.  3 out of 3 Empower doctors assure me that this is COVID’s last hurrah, the storm before the calm if you will.  Weather out the next few weeks in safety, get your vaccines when they become available and life will start looking up soon! 

Saturday WOD

Equipment: Kettlebell or equivalent

Warm Up
1 min Deadbugs
1 min Windshield Wipers
1 min Full Body Rocks
1 min KB Jefferson Curl
1 min Cross Crawls
1 min Skipping

Back Extension or Jefferson Curls

Hero WOD Michael
3 Rounds
800m Run
50 Back Extensions
50 Sit Ups

Cool Down
Downward Dog
Pigeon Pose
Cobra Pose
Quad Stretch