As you know, the Circuit Breaker restrictions here in BC have been extended beyond the original 3 weeks and will likely remain in place until the vaccine has been more widely distributed. It is frustrating both for members and coaches that group classes are not yet permitted and we appreciate your patience and support throughout. I find it useful to reflect upon the fact that unlike some other provinces, we at least are still open for members to access the gym and to generally live our lives as normal except wearing masks and eating on patios. Already a significant proportion of our membership has received their first vaccine shot and there have been no positive cases in the families of our membership over the past month suggesting the Circuit Breaker and vaccines are doing their job in reducing the brief spike of cases seen in March following Spring Break. We look forward to being able to lead classes again but realistically we do not expect the easing of restrictions until a much larger proportion of the population has been vaccinated. My completely uneducated guess is another 2-3 months before we’re allowed to start coaching groups inside the gym again. In the meantime, we have something fun planned for you. Stay tuned for the announcement of the first annual Empower COVID Games team event!
Despite the lack of group class coaching, members have continued to diligently come in to open gyms to pursue their individual training and produce personal bests. I saw a couple Wednesday evening as two newer members both got their first double unders and proceeded to successfully complete a workout involving that movement.
Exercise is a Factor
The biggest risk factors for COVID complications remain age and organ transplant, but third is inactivity. Not obesity or diabetes. Inactivity. Stay active! Why are so many COVID cases asymptomatic? It’s complicated. I know I’m preaching to the choir here but absent a time machine to turn back the years, the best thing you can do to stay healthy is keep on exercising!
Peaks and Valleys: New Coach Schedules
We have been experimenting with the new open gym coaching schedule. This only applies to open gym times and does not reflect the coaches’ personal training or admin schedule but because you asked here is what open gym coverage currently looks like:
Big Cat: Tuesday 5pm, Saturday morning
Motor: Sunday morning
Shades: Thursday 5pm
Sprite: Monday noon-close, Friday noon-close
The Touch: Tuesday & Thursday opening to 1pm, Wednesday Opening-11:30am
WOD Father: Monday & Friday opening to 11:30am, Wednesdays Noon-close
We expect this schedule to change over time but it reflects the current availability of our coaches. We will tweak and tinker with it to optimize it over time but we hope not to return to the old standard of 17 hour coaching days for any of our coaches.
What is often missed by members is the work that goes on in the background to keep the doors open. With a 7 person limit in open gyms and no ability to run specialty programs like KidFit, personal training has become the only way under current restrictions to keep the business profitable. And in a year that has seen a lot of gyms close, we realize our number one priority is keeping our doors open so we can continue to serve you. This has required us to change tack a bit. We are in the process of looking for qualified personal trainers who wish to join the Empower team and build a personal training business within our walls, apart from group classes, to help increase revenue. Because we will be very selective in choosing new team members (Motor made it in under the wire;) we expect this process will take some time. If you know someone who you think would be an asset to our community, please send them our way!
There is much more than just coaching required to run a business. The job of a business owner does not end when he walks out of the gym. COVID has contributed to an even greater administrative burden for our team (108 hours in February, 100 hours in March). We are in the process of codifying the administrative functions and trying to increase revenue so that we will be able to bring on a team member dedicated to managing much of the time consuming administrative load like member billing, coach pay, lead generation and prospect follow up, freeing up coaches to do what they are best at: coaching.
A business mentor of mine once explained that you cannot go from your current mountain peak to a higher mountain peak without first traversing the valley. We appreciate your patience and support as we go through this very challenging transition process the end product of which we hope will provide for you a much better place to train for years to come!
The 7 person reservation limit imposed by COVID protocols is one of the biggest challenges facing our business and community. The difficulty is compounded when members reserve an open gym time but do not attend. This results in some waitlisted members not being able to access the open gym time or the business paying a coach to cover an open gym to which only one or even no members attend. Neither scenario is sustainable. Last month we eliminated burpees for missed classes because they were proving ineffective and we asked members to please be conscientious regarding their class bookings.
From April 1st to April 28th inclusive we had 24 missed reservations, nearly one per day or 3.5 full open gyms worth! This is just not an acceptable number. None of these absences were due to suspected COVID symptoms in a household. 4 members were responsible 30% of the missed reservations in April with 2 or more absences each.
We ask that you make a concerted effort to be more conscientious of our Empower community and make and check your reservations with care. Only reserve if you know you will attend. Otherwise leave that spot available for another member who will attend. If you absolutely cannot attend, please be sure to cancel your reservation before the 2 hour window (8 hours for early morning and weekend open gyms).
Please be considerate to others!
Empower COVID Games
Who can participate? You, that’s who!
Yes, I know you may not think you are ready to try your first CrossFit competition. You don’t even have a pull up yet. And you don’t like competition. But that’s only because you haven’t tried the Empower COVID Games.
We’ve designed it so that EVERYONE can play and EVERYONE can have fun participating no matter your fitness level. Age? Not a problem! Injuries? Don’t worry about it! Stressful? Not at all! Time consuming? Nope! COVID compliant? You betcha! But what if I’m not even in the province? Zoom it, baby! And if I have no gym equipment? We’ve got it covered!
This is not a CrossFit HQ event, this is an event designed for you by your Empower coaches and we’ve designed an event that overrides all excuses for why you cannot play.
We know that you will have a million questions and they will be answered in due time. Right now you want to start thinking about creating your team of three. You do not need to be of the same ability level. You do not need to be of the same experience level. You do not need to be of the same household. You do not need to be the same age. You do not need to be in the same city. The only thing you need is to be committed to having fun!
All teams will be scored on the same leaderboard but your team will be ranked by age division. Teams will be categorized into 1 of 5 divisions determined by the combined age of the team’s three members as of May 31st 2021. Which division will you qualify for?
Back Squats for volume. The plan is 5 sets of 10 for your greatest overall work capacity: 50 reps x weight used = total volume lifted. You do not have to do all sets at the same weight. If you only have lighter weights available you may need to do larger sets. You can still calculate work volume the same way: reps x load. Front squats and zercher squats are acceptable alternatives if you do not have access to a rack. If you can only access very light weights you may consider doing an overhead squat instead. Unable to squat today? No problem. We can substitute a shoulder press, floor press or even bent over row for great results. There is always something to work on in CrossFit:) These are big sets. Give yourself 5-8 minutes between sets to maximize recovery and performance! If 5 minutes rest feels too long, you do not have enough weight on the bar.
Equipment: Something to lift
Pause in the bottom position for 3 full seconds each rep. Increase the load every set.