SEALgrinderPT catches up with our friend Frank Dimeo for an exclusive SGPT interview. Frank is the owner of CrossFit Gulf Coast and was one of the first CrossFit gyms in the country. Stand by for this excellent interview with Frank.
SGPT: Tell us about yourself?
FD: I live on the Gulf Coast of Florida, married to a beautiful CrossFit gal, and I coach full-time. I’m very blessed!
A Day at CrossFit Gulf Coast
SGPT: How did you decide to start a gym? Why CrossFit?
FD: As a kid I loved sports, but being very short and fat back then, team sports really weren’t an option for me. I started swimming, lifting weights, and martial arts instead. I did a lot of hard physical jobs growing up and got strong along the way. I knew I could teach others to be strong.
I never heard of CrossFit until 2004 while I was training at a Russian Martial Arts school. I just started checking it out, there were only 4 CrossFit gyms in the world then. In 2005, I could see that it would become huge and decided to jump in. We were the 35th CF Affiliate.
SGPT: Tell us about your gym.
FD: In 2004, I had also found several coaches outside of CrossFit who impacted me greatly. I still learn from them today.
Bud Jeffries, Mike Mahler, Diesel Crew, Zach Even-Esh, and Sonny Puzikas. I have remained an eclectic learner over the years. Training strategies from all of these coaches are used at my gym, in addition to CrossFit.
CrossFit Gulf Coast core training
SGPT: What are a few things you would have done differently setting up your gym – now that you have been open for a while.
FD: Now that we have been in business for 7 years, there is not to much I would have done differently.
Two things do come to mind, though, one is I would have my gym a private training center much earlier. The other is I would have charged much more for my coaching than I did.
SGPT: What do you mean by private gym?
FD: I mean I would have made it much harder for people to enter our training program to begin with based on their attitude and mindset: and would have started deleting memberships sooner of those who didn’t have the tenacity to maintain consistent training. I would have looked more at what they could achieve over time instead of whether the bills were paid.
SGPT: What makes your gym different from other boxes (gyms)?
FD: My gym is pretty unorthodox, I like it that way. We cap our classes at 6 people. As I said earlier we are a private training center, I interview prospective clients pretty hard and I often times send them away even if they can afford our rates (which are high for our area).
Also, being an Underground Strength Coach, like yourself, we offer that training as well as CrossFit.
SGPT: Tell us about your typical athlete that comes to your gym? What style of CrossFit gym are you all?
FD: We are an “old school” , hard core gym. Almost everything we have was bought used or we made it ourselves. The training environment is very raw and basic.
We have trained many people who were going into the military, usually they wanted to be Marines, Pararescue, Special Forces, Rangers.
Now I mainly train LEOs, Firefighters, and some very tough gals who are medical professionals.
More people in the hospitality industry now train with us, like bartenders, and hotel clerks.
SGPT: What are your plans for your gym for future?
FD: My plans for the gym are to maximize the effectiveness of what I already have. I don’t buy faddish equipment or just something I think is cool. I buy or make what benefits my athletes the most. Some of them have been with me for years. I respect them and want to see them keep progressing. Business-wise, the next focus is digital products.
SGPT: What are you reading now?
FD: I read a lot, mainly I read biographies and current history. Since training manuals and books are always part of my study I won ‘t elaborate on them, except for “8 Weeks to SEALFIT” by Mark Divine, which is an incredible book. I read the Bible daily, there is so much in there that strengthens me.
I am just give finishing “Fearless” by Eric Blehm and starting. “No Easy Day” by Mark Owen.
SGPT: Thanks for the interview.
FD: Brad, it’s an honor to talk with you. Thank you for serving our country!