Many CrossFit® gyms operate a program that is mandatory for all new athletes regardless of their athletic background, skill, or fitness level. Often called an On-Ramp, Fundamentals, or Foundations, it can vary from 2 sessions to 8 weeks, 1-on-1 to small groups, $40/session to $350 for the program. There seem to be as many iterations of the On-Ramp as there are CrossFit® boxes.
What if I told you that you don’t NEED an On-Ramp Program?
It’s a waste of your time, and more importantly, a waste of your members time and money.
Controversial? Maybe. But here’s the thing, I don’t really care if anyone agrees or not. I’m simply putting it out there that you don’t “NEED” an On-Ramp.
If you choose to continue running one, great. That’s your choice. But there IS another way. A way that I argue removes a barrier to entering your program, increases your conversion rate, frees up valuable time and space in your program and box, AND gets you more members without putting anyone at risk or screwing up your program.
First, let’s look at why boxes use an On-Ramp. There can be a number of benefits to running an On-Ramp at your box.
• It allows you to teach beginners the 9 fundamental movements of CrossFit
• It may create a less intimidating environment in which to start people
• You can identify movement issues in individuals prior to them entering a class
• It allows you to explain some of the ins and outs of training and your box
• You can introduce the concept of intensity to new members
Wherever you have benefits, you also have drawbacks. Here are some drawbacks of an On-Ramp.
• It takes up staff time that could be spent elsewhere
• It uses up space in your box that could be better utilised
• It reduces your conversion rate
• It costs your members more up-front
• It segregates people
• It doesn’t actually achieve much!
Here’s the biggest drawback: An onramp creates a BARRIER TO ENTRY. A barrier to entry is simply a friction point to getting started.
How easy is it for someone to get started at your box? How many hoops do they need to jump through?
How quickly can they start doing CrossFit at your box?
How much do they have to fork out up front?
It’s no secret that we’re living in an instant gratification society. People don’t want to wait, they want everything now!
They also don’t want to pay a lump sum for a “beginners” course and then get hit again with their first month membership.
They don’t want to be segregated from the cool kids, your community, while they learn the basics.
Having someone doing “this” before they can do “that,” is a barrier to entry.
Now a lot of you are going to say, “Yeah but I need to teach them the basics” or “It’s not safe for someone to jump straight into our classes without doing an on-ramp.” Stay tuned for part 2 where I’m going to address both those concerns….
In the meantime, let me know what you think. Do you disagree with me so far? I’m guessing you will have plenty more arguments for an On-Ramp too. That’s cool. There will always be arguments for and against.
Share your opinions in the comments below and let’s hash it out!