CrossFit Fringe—Making Fitness a Reality for Everyone

CrossFit Fringe is all about accessibility. While chatting with Tyler Lasley, I could feel his honest passion through the phone as he shared about his experience working with adaptive athletes like Kevin Ogar and Jordan Reeves. “Fitness isn’t for any one specific type of person. Everyone is an athlete. As long as you make fitness a part of your life and you care about it, you can benefit from it,” says Tyler.

Tyler LasleyHe is incredibly enthusiastic about his work with non-traditional athletes—whether they are finding fitness for the first time or are former competitive athletes. His goal is to create a space that makes fitness a reality and provides a place for the athletes who might not be supported or get what they need at traditional fitness facilities. Tyler has been involved with CrossFit since 2010, first with CrossFit United before unveiling CrossFit Fringe in 2013, when the gym rebranded with an updated philosophy. In 2016 they expanded by purchasing another affiliate and are now a two-gym system.

Surprisingly, Tyler wasn’t always a fan of CrossFit. Like many, he thought it was a cult. His background was in rugby—playing in the Super League in Chicago. But when he ended his rugby career, he lost his rugby family. After some encouragement from friend, Kevin Ogar (Owner of CrossFit WatchTower), Tyler caved and joined the CrossFit community / cult. He quickly overcame any concerns and became connected to the sport and his new fitness family. CrossFit gave him a way to compete against himself and a new group of athletes of all ages and backgrounds.

16836535_1217314218378485_3483140061497333124_oThe power of CrossFit became clear to him when he first started working out at a box and was regularly beaten by a guy twice his age. This experience fired up his competitive side but also gave him an appreciation for how accessible and effective CrossFit is for a diverse population of people. “CrossFit provides the opportunity to have a place to work out for people who otherwise might not.”

As Tyler describes it, “my rugby background causes me to focus first on form, safety, and function.” As a result of his competitive background and after seeing the injuries of rugby, Tyler is interested in getting the majority of people fit for function, instead of working on improving the one percent of competitive athletes. CrossFit Fringe doesn’t even have a competitor group. Yes, competitive athletes like Brooke Wells call CrossFit Fringe home, the purpose is to create an inclusive environment, not an exclusive environment.

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Since adopting it, SugarWOD has supported that environment and the CrossFit Fringe community. Before using SugarWOD it was difficult to bridge the gap between the two gyms and the system they were using wasn’t as user-friendly, so only a small percentage of athletes were actively tracking their performance. Tyler says that’s changed—”SugarWOD lets people meet other across both gyms and allows us to connect the macro community to the micro-community.”

CrossFit Fringe has only been using SugarWOD for a couple of months but has already seen improvements across its membership base, “SugarWOD has driven more competition and attendance is higher. People will see a score come in from one of their friends and come in for an unplanned workout, just for the sake of competition.” Tyler also suggests using SugarWOD has created awareness around progress among athletes, “It helps them celebrate the little things—even the smallest progress is worth celebrating.”

When I asked Tyler if he had advice for new gyms who are rolling out SugarWOD, his primary recommendation was “Get your coaches on board.” When they first adopted it, coaches would promote the transition to SugarWOD by telling athletes the reasons why they would love it. Reasons like - It takes less time to log workouts - There are fewer clicks - It’s cleaner and simpler.

Then the coaches would ask their athletes to grab their phone to download it and log their WOD results right then and there. With this approach and some gym ambassadors, they had over 200 athletes using the mobile app in just a couple of weeks.

We are so grateful to work with such a great gym and support their spirit of accessibility!

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