It started in early March, when a group of CrossFit box owners that dubbed themselves the “Stronger Together” group, created an alliance to share best practices and ideas during the crisis.
“At first it was just about a dozen or so CrossFit gyms that decided to put differences and competition aside, and figure out how to navigate this situation,” said Guido Trinidad, founder of the popular, Peak360 CrossFit in South Miami, and a leader in the South Florida CrossFit community.
Organized by Mike Osuna, founder of Train8Nine, and another individual responsible for ushering in the popularity of CrossFit in South Florida via the I Am CrossFit chain, the group quickly evolved into something more as the days and weeks passed.
“We started to meet every week and discuss how to manage reopening,” said Jessica Bergman, owner of Downtown Strength and Conditioning. “But we realized the fitness industry wasn’t being addressed in the reopening plans, it was being left behind.”
The group at this point had expanded beyond the CrossFit community to include gym owners of all modalities. Through contacts, the group was able to land two separate Zoom calls with Miami Mayor, Francis Suarez.
“Mayor Suarez was really open and transparent with us,” said Trinidad. “He hopped on two different Zoom calls with us really late at night to give us advice and insight into what was happening. He’s a big fitness enthusiast, and his advice was key to helping us move forward.”
Next came Governor Desantis’s announcement on May 15th, announcing gyms in Florida were allowed to reopen at the discretion of local municipalities. But the Stronger Together group, along with Miami-Dade gyms owners, were left wondering when it was their turn.
Realizing gyms could be left behind without action, the group, through another series of contacts, was able to get in contact with the office of Miami-Dade County Mayor, Carlos Gimenez. They learned a “working wellness” group was being formed to advise on the reopening of local gyms. On May 22nd, the group had its first call with Mayor Gimenez and addressed their concerns.
“We developed some guidelines and proposals for the county to consider to help expedite the discussion and decision making for when gyms can reopen,” said Omar Luna, City of Miami Springs Recreational Director and owner of Springs Athletics in Miami Springs. “We didn’t want to waste anytime.”
On their second call with the County, the group was told that June 8th should be the target reopening date, with Mayor Gimenez mentioning that during his May 29th Virtual Townhall.
“It’s time for gyms to open,” said Bergman. “They need to be given the chance to resume operations safely and responsibly with guidelines just like every other business in the area.”
As gyms owners across the county expect to hear good news this week, one lesson can be learned – collaboration not competition is the key to long term survival and success in the new age of fitness.