A CrossFit Business: Chris Spealler says 321Go

CrossFit Business owner Chris Spealler

Chris Spealler is a legend in the CrossFit community.   At 32 years of age, he has participated in, and excelled at, each and every CrossFit Games since the inaugural event in 2007.  Chris personifies the very BEST of CrossFit, and was awarded the Spirit of the Games in 2010 where he placed 3rd overall.

If training and preparing for the annual competition weren’t enough, Chris is also the owner of CrossFit Park City, a husband and dad, and he travels all across the country doing Level 1 and Level 2 certifications for CrossFit HQ.  He is definitely a busy guy, so what does he do in his “spare” time?

A new CrossFit business venture, of course!  Chris and his brother-in-law, Clay Weldon, have put together a program called the 321Go Project to share their experiences in building a CrossFit business.  Their goal is to help other affiliates become successful by teaching, training, and implementing the lessons they had to learn the hard way.

However before we dig deeper into 321Go, I took the opportunity to ask Chris a few questions about his preparation for the 2012 games as well as his experience in building up his own affiliate, CrossFit Park City.

Chris, in a recent CrossFit Journal interview, you said your goal is to be at a “lean 155 lbs.”  Have you reached your goal weight, and have you begun to shift your training from strength building to a more traditional CrossFit protocol?

Yes, I currently weigh around 153 in the mornings which is good for me.  I’m still working on strength a good bit, but I’m also using intervals and coupling the heavy movements with other things to create a response similar to CrossFit WODs.

From the outside looking in, it appears that you are approaching the 2012 CrossFit Games with a periodized training program that has you peaking just like elite athletes in other competitive sports.  Is that the case?

For the most part I am.  I think any athlete that has been around the sport long enough has to have some kind of plan over the course of the year.  It may not look quite like traditional periodization as it has some variance all the way through the year.  But there is a format that I’ll be following with lots of help from some other people.  It’s not set in stone though, so if I need to make adjustments, I will.

With respect to your affiliate, CrossFit Park City, how difficult has it been to build your business in a town where the permanent population is below 10,000 people, but with annual tourist numbers of 4 million?

I think it has taken us much longer than an average gym to hit the critical mass that allows a gym to just grow.  Typically that critical mass occurs within 6 months or a year, from what I have seen.  We have been in business for 5 years and are starting to see some steady growth with more numbers coming in monthly.

321Go Project - A new CrossFit Business

Clay, what was the genesis of the 321Go Project, and what is its purpose?

321Go Project came about after lots of conversations between Chris and I.  He was getting more and more calls from other affiliates, and I had done all of CrossFit Park City’s branding and community building. We both knew that most affiliates were really looking to build their communities and didn’t have any resource to turn to for help.

Based on both of our past experiences, we wanted to develop a platform where we could share information and tips to help other affiliates.  We give away a lot of information.

If an affiliate owner, whether brand new or existing, is looking to really establish themselves in their local community, we can help.  We can help not only with branding and building a consistent executable strategy, but pretty much anything an affiliate needs in the way of design as well.

Are you primarily helping affiliate owners that are just starting out, or ones that are established and trying to grow to the next level?

We initially began with new affiliates, but a good chunk of our calls now are from existing affiliates who are seeing other affiliates pop up close to them and realize it’s time they step up their game. Affiliates are slowly starting to realize that having the WOD blog as their main home page is not a good idea as it does nothing to bring in new members. Their sites need to have a clear call to action which converts visitors into clients.

Are there any affiliates that you are working with that you can mention by name?  And how have you been able to help them?

Sure. We are currently working on a full branding package for CrossFit St. Thomas, the first box in the British Virgin Islands.  They are looking to establish themselves as the go-to box for the locals and also for anyone wanting to drop in on vacation.

Another fun project we are working on is with Josh Bunch, who owns Practice CrossFit in Troy, Ohio.  Along with developing their whole new brand and website, we are creating their own member network within their site where members can update their profile and CrossFit stats.

And we also just finished up a whole site redesign for Matt Chan at CrossFit Verve. You can also check out some other boxes we worked with on our website.

What’s the best way for an affiliate owner to get plugged in with you guys to see if you can help?

It’s super easy, all the usual ways.  Website, Facebook, Twitter, and the good old phone (435.901.2173), which we still prefer.

We also want to make it clear that we want to be a resource to help affiliates succeed. Affiliates are free to contact us if they have any questions.  If we don’t know the answer, we will find someone who does.

Thanks Chris and Clay!

Make sure you follow Chris in his assault on the 2012 CrossFit Games, and if you are a CrossFit affiliate owner in need of assistance, check out the 321Go Project.

Related Posts:

CrossFit Training – Getting Fit for Life 

CrossFit:  The Biggest Loser or the Biggest Winner in 2012

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photo credit:  Fitbomb


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Tim Huntley spends his time advising and investing in startups and was formerly the CEO of Ganymede Software.

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