Interview with CrossFit HardBat Gym in Ocean City, New Jersey.
SGPT: Tell us about yourself?
HBCF: I am 27 years old and originally from Ocean City, New Jersey. My life revolved around sports and the beach growing up. I was a swimmer then attended college on an academic scholarship for engineering then soon switched to Physics where I stayed for 3 years. 1 year away from graduation I realized Physics was not for me. I was training with the Marine Corps Semper Fi Society (ROTC) and decided the military was what I was born to do. I dropped out and began training for the SEALs. After a long and drawn out process it didn’t work out and I went back to school for exercise science.
SGPT: How did you decide to start a gym? Why CrossFit?
HBCF: I began training CrossFit style workouts in preparation for the SEALs in 2006. I followed the Gym Jones website along with running, swimming, and weight training. After being tossed around by recruiters I found out, despite my scores, there was no way I would be a SEAL based on my previous history in my younger years. I dropped out of school before I started my training and after I realized the military was not going to happen I decided to go back to school and I changed my major from Physics to Exercise Science. I played rugby in college and was sitting in the hospital, flipping through a magazine, waiting for my teammate to get out. This is where I saw an article about CrossFit and realized “They have competitions for this shit!?” I soon quit rugby and trained CrossFit. I eventually landed a job as GM and head coach at a CrossFit facility and was treated poorly despite doing most of the work. As soon as I graduated I started the ball rolling with opening up my own facility with my friend who was in a similar situation at his gym where he worked. We both looked at eachother and asked “Why are we doing all the work and not getting paid all the money?” The rest, as they say, is history.
SGPT: Tell us about your gym.
HBCF: Hardbat CrossFit is a cut above the the rest. We do not hide the fact that we pride ourselves on our product. We have a great community built on competition, hard work and technique. Everyone in CrossFit trains to be better at life but we train to be the BEST at not only life but competition as well. We train hard but most importantly we train smart.
SGPT: What are a few things you would have done differently setting up your gym – now that you have established your gym?
HBCF: My business partner and I are both coaches and went to school for exercise science. Our knowledge about business was very limited in the beginning and we are still learning every day. I would have changed the way we dealt with finances from the start. Currently we have a great business plan but when we started we had no such thing. From the start I would have reached out to business professionals much sooner than we did. Finances, job descriptions/expectations, Billing, budgeting are all things we had to learn the hard way.
SGPT: What makes your gym different from other boxes?
HBCF: Knowledge. We try to better ourselves as coaches on a daily basis. When we acquire new knowledge, techniques, strategies, etc we teach them to our athletes. We have detailed instruction on every movement, in every class, every day. Even grandmoms and grandpops know the difference betweet internal/external rotation, a high bar vs low bar back squat, and the difference between triple extension and catapult style weightlifting. We make sure every athlete is working towards bettering not only their technique but their knowledge or health and wellness.
SGPT: Tell us about your typical athlete that comes to your gym? What style of CrossFit gym is your gym?
HBCF: I wouldn’t say we have a typical athlete that walks into our gym. We have a lot of students because we are so close to the University of Delaware and a lot of younger professionals but for the most part I would say we are pretty typical as far as demographics go. However, they don’t stay that way for long. We try to turn all of our athletes into competitors of some degree. If you joined a running club they would expect you to run an occasional local 5k and we expect our CrossFit athletes to compete, at least on the local level, from time to time.
SGPT: What are your plans for your gym for future?
HBCF: We will be known as the best gym in the Philly/Delaware/Baltimore area. Growing up many athletes traveled up to an hour or more for different sports teams and we will be the place to train if you are an elite level athlete of any kind. We will have athletes and teams in The Games on a regular basis. Hardbat CrossFit will also give athletes to training needed to go the next level of any sport whether that is highschool football to Division I, a state champion into a national champion, or a national champion into an Olympian. Through experience, continued education, and the best facility anyone can create we will reach our goals.
SGPT: What are you reading now?
-A New Earth: Awakening to your life’s purpose by Eckhart Tolle
-Unbeatable mind academy
-I also follow a couple of blogs online including Outlaw and Spencer Hendel and random blogs when they have good stuff like Donny Shankle.
SGPT: Thanks for the interview.
HBCF: Thank you for the interview.