Box of the Month — CrossFit Barkada

In this edition of Wodify’s Box of the Month, we spoke with Tanya Merchant, who along with her husband James, owns CrossFit Barkada in Aurora, CO, roughly 10 miles outside of Denver.

[This discussion has been edited for length and clarity]

Wodify: Can you tell us a bit about CrossFit Barkada?

Tanya Merchant: Barkada is a Filipino word that means, “a group of friends or clique,” and we’ve interpreted it to mean, “the family you choose.” We’re the largest box in Aurora at 9,000 sq. ft. and home to a diverse group of athletes along with a team of nine coaches and one registered dietitian.

Our head coach and director of programming, Justin Biays, is a 2016 Regionals athlete and owner of Dark Horse Performance. Through our partnership with Dark Horse, we offer personalized programming and one-on-one coaching for athletes with specific goals.

W: CrossFit Barkada has a unique organizational structure in that neither you nor your husband is the Head Coach. Why is that?

TM: My husband James has an accounting degree from Virginia Tech, so when we opened Barkada, we structured it so that he would run the business side. Other box owners that we'd talked to had the knowledge and experience in the fitness industry to run great programs, but they struggled with administration and bookkeeping. James’ education and work experience gives him an edge.

This structure of separating the business admin from programming allows Justin to focus on ensuring that our members are receiving top-notch programming. It’s been great so far!

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W: What do you enjoy about being an owner?

TM: The best thing about being an owner is that our kids are exposed to the value in working hard. They see the long hours and effort that we both put into making our box a success. They have begun to recognize that their lifestyle is only possible because we work so hard for it. They even try to help out by cleaning chalk spills or hanging out with the younger kids in the kid’s room during classes. They refer to Barkada as their first job.

W: How has Wodify Core helped your box? Were you using a different management software before Wodify Core?

TM: The sheer amount of data available within Wodify Core really enables us to connect more with our athletes. Whether it’s identifying those whose attendance has dropped or athletes with upcoming birthdays and membership anniversaries, there is so much information available to help us really engage with our community. Our members are so much more likely to come in day after day when they get positive feedback from their fellow athletes. Nothing beats the days when more than half the whiteboard is covered in gold stars from PRs!

We have used Wodify Core since Day 1. Our old box used Zen Planner, but we knew that we wanted to provide our athletes with a system that offered more features.

W: What made you choose Wodify Core? Do you have a favorite feature?

TM: We chose Wodify Core because of the performance tracking, the integration with our website to post WODs, Point of Sale for our pro shop, and the visual aesthetic. It just looks more professional.

Our favorite feature is definitely Performance History. Our members love being able to access past performance during class, particularly on days when weightlifting is programmed as a percentage of an athlete’s 1RM. It takes away the guesswork (and the math!) so that they can focus on the movement.

Ready to put what you’ve learned into practice?
Download a free PDF handbook with many of NCFIT’s gym management procedures and philosophies that you can implement in your gym today.
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