Raw CrossFit

Raw CrossFit


Devin Glage opened RAW CrossFit in the small town of Penetanguishene, Ontario in September of 2009. At the time, he was in love with fitness, stoked about CrossFIt, and even more stoked about owning in his own business.

He was willing to devote all his time and energy to his new business; in fact, he embraced it.

He started doing personal training with anyone he could, properly teaching them the CrossFit movements before allowing them to attend group classes, which were small at the time as his membership was just getting started.

Right away, he gained momentum and had 50 clients before he knew it.


As Glage got busier, he started to run into man power issues. Like many gyms, he started moving away from one-on-one personal training in favour of larger On Ramp/Fundamentals programs. And like most CrossFit boxes, group exercise classes generated his main source of income.

Now, instead of receiving one-on-one attention, many new athletes were training in groups of 10 to 15 people with one single coach.

Ultimately this led to degeneration; clients weren’t moving as well and classes went less smoothly. On top of this, Glage wasn’t developing as strong of a bond with his clients as he did when he spent more one-on-one time with them. Loyalty was down and retention followed suit.

Glage knew he had messed up – it was time abandon the group exercise model and resume with more personal training.


Fixing his problem required a few major changes.

1) Incentivize Coaches

He needed to change the way he compensated his coaches, so they’d be incentivized to bring people in on their own to personal train. As things were at the time, Glage’s coaches were always asking for more hours, for “more classes, more classes, more classes,” because they were being compensated per class they coached.

Now, Glage’s coaches receive a percentage of what they sell. They begin by making 20% of their earnings, and as they become more experienced coaches they start making 30%, 40% and eventually 50% of their sales.

Also, coaches receive a higher percentage of revenue for clients they bring in on their own, as opposed to clients that are given to them. This encourages referral generation, and ultimately allows each coach to be an entrepreneur/independent contractor.

2) Retention

The new payment structure also solved the retention problem. Once a client has been through personal training and attends group classes, the coach continues to make a percentage of his client’s monthly wage, meaning the coach is incentivized to keep his clients around even once they’re out of the personal training nest.

3) Client Understanding

There’s nothing worse than having someone think you’re just trying to take their money, charging them an arm and a leg for personal training. But if the client understands why he need to be at a certain level before joining group classes, he is more likely to accept and even embrace paying for personal training sessions.

You can explain to the client that they might get injured if you send them to classes too soon, or that classes run more smoothly when everyone in class is well prepared, but you need to give them some sort of tangible measuring stick so they know exactly where they’re at and where they need to be before entering group classes.

Glage solved this by introducing his standardized BENCHMARKS.

Blown up on his wall are the physical benchmarks that are required in order to graduate to classes. With this, clients can monitor where they’re at and compare themselves to bronze, silver, and gold level standards of fitness. And then when you tell them they’re not ready for classes, you can point to a specific deficiency they have – for example, their Tabata Squat and reach a score of 14 before beginning group classes. When you do this, your clients respect your system, Glage explains.

SEE BENCHMARKS HERE: BenchmarkPosterCRV-Press.pdf

(coming Aug 2013)

“This has been our biggest selling tool,”

– Glage said.

4) Sales Skills

Glage had to improve his own sales skills, and confidence, so he could seal the deal with anyone who came through the doors.

He started working on mastering his First Day Introductory session. One of the keys to this was confidence. He had to believe he was worth what he was asking for, and more than that he had to make the prospective client realize the value of fitness in their life.

“It’s all about how much value the client is getting. If you charge a fee based on your time, the conversation becomes all about you and is seen as an expense. If you charge based on perceived value to the client, they see it as an investment with a return and will spend much more,” Glage said.

During the Intro Day, Glage ensures he asks prospective clients a lot of questions, so he’s doing more listening than talking. “It’s almost like an interview, and they get me to tell me why they’re hear what they want to change, and what change looks like for them,” explained Glage.

And more than anything, the Intro Day is about developing a bond with the client, which is why one-on-one Intro sessions are crucial. You lose the ability to bond when you’re in a group of 12 people.

Today, he also does sales training with all his coaches so they understand the process, as well.

“I can’t remember the last time I gave an intro day and lost a client off of it. I had one girl tell me she’s moving to a different city on Friday, and I still managed to get her to sign up for an on ramp program,” he said.

5) Broadening Scope of Influence

Because there are only 6,500 in Penetanguishene, Glage needed to broaden his sphere of influence to neighbouring towns like Barrie and Orillia.

To do this, he needed to set himself apart.

One-on-one personal training did this for him. Word got out that his affiliate was different than others, that people get taught the movements properly through personal training – they’re not just thrown into the fire of a group exercise class. At Glage’s gym, people know they have a coach for life – a fitness professional holding them accountable to their health and fitness goals.

“The best thing about this structure is the way you give your clients one-on-one attention,” he said. Today, some of these clients are doctors and dentists who travel 40 minutes from Orillia just to train at Glage’s gym.


RAW CrossFit Revenue

2010: $58,131

2011: $111,442

2012: $134,328

2013: $153,412