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Overcoming Challenges and Building a Strong Community

In this episode, Aaron Hanna’s journey of starting a CrossFit Gym highlights the importance of community and support. They discuss the challenges faced and lessons learned, emphasizing the need for organization and strategic planning. Aaron offers his perspective on supporting local businesses, adding depth to the conversation. The discussion also covers the evolution of CrossFit, the hybrid work concept combining CrossFit and bodybuilding, and the significance of hard work and dedication in achieving fitness goals.

Listen to the podcast episode here!

In this episode, Aaron Hanna shares his journey of starting CrossFit Gyms highlighting the importance of community and support. They discuss the challenges faced and lessons learned, emphasizing the need for organization and strategic planning. Aaron offers his perspective on supporting local businesses, adding depth to the conversation. The discussion also covers the evolution of CrossFit, the hybrid work concept combining CrossFit and bodybuilding, and the significance of hard work and dedication in achieving fitness goals.

Aaron’s passion for fitness started early in life, with a love for sports and weightlifting during his youth. He played various sports throughout high school and developed a particular fondness for working out, especially lifting weights. However, post-high school life brought some uncertainty. Aaron explored different career paths, including attending the Fire Academy and college, without a clear direction.

It wasn’t until his early 20s that Aaron’s path became clearer. A good friend from the Fire Academy, who later became his business partner, introduced him to CrossFit. Despite being fit, Aaron felt a bit intimidated by the new environment and the intense workouts. This feeling is common among newcomers to CrossFit, but Aaron’s determination to conquer these challenges quickly turned into a deep love for the sport.

Building CrossFit Westchase

In 2012, Aaron and his partners decided to take the plunge and open their first CrossFit gym. They found a suitable building in Westchase, which marked the beginning of CrossFit Westchase. The process of opening the gym was relatively smooth, thanks in part to financial support from one of the partner’s fathers. The community’s response was overwhelmingly positive, with people eager to join and start their fitness journey.

The success of their first gym led to the opening of a second location in Largo a few years later. This expansion required more strategic planning and investment, as the costs had increased since their initial venture. Despite the challenges, they managed to establish another thriving community. In late 2023, they launched Work Concept, a hybrid model combining CrossFit elements with more accessible workout routines to cater to a broader audience.

What is CrossFit?

CrossFit is defined by its unique combination of constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity. The workouts incorporate three primary components: weightlifting, cardiovascular exercises, and bodyweight movements. This diverse approach keeps workouts engaging and helps prevent fitness plateaus.

Aaron explains that CrossFit didn’t invent these exercises but rather brought them together in a way that maximizes their effectiveness. The beauty of CrossFit lies in its variety; no two days are the same, which keeps the body constantly adapting and improving. Each CrossFit gym is independently owned and operated, allowing for unique programming while adhering to the core principles of CrossFit.

The Benefits of CrossFit

  1. Improved Brain Performance: Regular exercise is known to enhance brain function, improving focus, concentration, and memory. This is something many people overlook, but the cognitive benefits of staying active are substantial.
  2. Reduced Fatigue: Engaging in regular physical activity can actually reduce overall fatigue, providing a significant boost in daily energy levels. It might seem counterintuitive, but exercising regularly can make one feel more energized and less tired.
  3. Community: One of the standout features of CrossFit is its strong sense of community. Members often form deep bonds, supporting and motivating each other both inside and outside the gym. This camaraderie is a significant factor in why many people stick with CrossFit long-term.

The Challenges and Rewards of Gym Ownership

Running a gym is not without its challenges. Aaron and his partners faced numerous hurdles, from securing funding to managing daily operations. Despite these obstacles, their passion for fitness and commitment to their community kept them going. Aaron emphasizes the importance of being organized and willing to take calculated risks. He advises new entrepreneurs to stay focused, seek support when needed, and prioritize self-care to avoid burnout.

Finding Balance

Balancing personal life with the demands of running multiple gyms is no easy task. Aaron, a father of four, understands this all too well. He has implemented several strategies to maintain this balance, such as setting aside dedicated family time, limiting phone use, and delegating responsibilities. These steps are crucial for both his personal well-being and the success of his businesses.

Aaron’s approach to finding balance includes:

  • Dedicated Family Time: Ensuring time is set aside for family activities and meals. Aaron and his family now enjoy regular dinners together, without distractions like TV or phones.
  • Phone-Free Zones: Keeping his phone out of the bedroom to avoid the temptation of endless scrolling and to ensure quality downtime.
  • Delegation: Leveraging the skills and willingness of his staff to take on responsibilities, allowing him to focus on higher-priority tasks and personal time.

Aaron Hannah’s journey from a fitness enthusiast to a successful gym owner and competitive athlete is truly inspiring. His story highlights the transformative power of CrossFit, not just in terms of physical fitness but also in building a supportive community and achieving personal growth. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or someone looking to start a new fitness journey, there’s something to learn from Aaron’s experience.

Join the Community

If you’re interested in trying CrossFit, visit CrossFit Westchase or Work Concept to learn more and sign up for a free trial. These gyms offer a no-contract approach, welcoming members who genuinely want to be part of their fitness community.

Palm Harbor Local encourages listeners to stay connected and engaged. If you enjoyed this episode, take a screenshot, tag the podcast on social media, and share your thoughts. Your feedback helps bring more content that you love. Until next time, stay active and stay healthy. 

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Overcoming-Challenges-and-Building-a-Strong-Community
We Love Local
June 17, 2024
Categories: Podcast