What’s your process for new members?
We have a free intro class that we do a couple of days a week where we give a brief spiel about CrossFit, and we give people a nice little workout. From there, we have our On Ramp program, which is a six-class syllabus of putting people through the basic movements and a couple of WODs to get a taste of the intensity. Then we drop them into the group classes and let them get a taste of working out with everybody. We also give people the option of doing some one-on-ones with coaches to get started. We’re always trying to tinker with it and play with the idea of keeping a good influx of people and the quality high and funneling people into different time slots so that we don’t have everyone converging on our 7:30 p.m. class.
Do you have any good solutions for those types of time-slot issues?
Yeah, a couple of things. We try to put On Ramps at times that fill the gaps in our days even if they’re not necessarily convenient for everyone. So if somebody starts coming to a 7 a.m. On Ramp class, that’s a good sign that they can probably come to the 6 or 7 a.m. morning class later on. So shifting our On Ramps to those times has helped fill up our morning population. Right now we have morning, lunch and evening On Ramps. And that’s been pretty good, but we just started a 9 a.m. class, so we’re thinking of doing a 9 or 10 a.m. On Ramp for people with flexible schedules or who work from home.
How have you built a community at Virtuosity?
We’re a very social gym. We always try to have parties here or nights out when we go have a couple of drinks with people from the gym. We’re always trying to keep those elements happening. And just little things like, during classes, pairing people up with partners and making them find somebody new so that they’re talking while they’re warming up. Stuff like that helps get people out of their introspective circles and interact with others and make new friends.
What’s your policy on letting members customize their workouts and do their own thing?
We’re constantly playing with that. As much as we can, we want people working in groups because we take a lot of care in how we design the classes in terms of warm-ups, cool-downs and workouts. As far as people with different goals, we have a powerlifting class, an Olympic weightlifting class, we have a lot of trainers knowledgeable in endurance and gymnastics, so if somebody’s got something specific they want to work on, we can pair them off with a trainer and try to get them to work on some of that stuff. But for the most part, we try to encourage people to jump in with the regular membership as much as possible and not have too many barriers up.
What makes Virtuosity unique?
My personal slant is having top-notch coaches. Some boxes just throw a workout on the board and people come in and are just sort of left to their own devices. We go to great lengths to develop our coaches in terms of how can we get people to move better, get stronger and faster, be safer and get them better? That’s my personal approach. Our coaches really know their stuff, but they also interact well with members. We’re in a pretty dense urban environment here. It’s a pretty trendy young community with a lot of hipsters and professionals. There are a lot of interesting folks here. Not everybody looks the same; they’re coming from a lot of different places, and it’s kind of cool that way.
Location: Brooklyn Barbell Club, 221 North 8th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Number of members: 350
Number of trainers: 8 on staff and “a dozen or so assistants”
Years in Operation: 3
Facility Size: 5,000 square feet
Membership Fees: $250 per month for unlimited memberships