Here is the clip from my favourite event ever on just how it was possible to unite a gym, its members and enjoy a gym challenge at your own gym.
Results from the event – click on Mens or Womens http://www.worldgymchallenge.com/competition_results.asp?CompID=243#ResultsTable
So here is the news on WGC. It is likely in the next few weeks that there will be some major changes to the website, if indeed it can survive at all.
Microsoft have changed some parameters on their software which means the existing code used in WGC will no longer be supported.
This in turns means that my hosting company cannot support WGC in its current format. Which means it is unlikely that we can support Live Leader Boards in the future.
To say I am gutted is beyond how I really feel .
WGC format was to publish live results for any Gym Challenge for a gym at any event.
That was it – so at the end of the day each person taking part saw their results in a format that showed their results and kept a record of their results in their own personal record.
The early days …
2006 saw an oppurtunity to create a website that could hold all the results and split timings from the athletes who took part in any event that was part of the X Training scene. What made this website unique was that we were the first to see the importance of split timings and the ability to have all the results published on the day of the event, plus add photos and race reports (this was before Facebook took off)
All results were published into personal folders with all the results from all of the events that you had entered so that you could see your split timings and the split timings of the winners from the events that had taken place.
Previous to this there was no such website that could do this and indeed the reason WGC was created.
The vision …
WGC wanted to create a Sport for Gyms. In 2006- 2008 having been a member of a gym for a number of years it seemed that it was crazy that gyms did not have their own sport, that was recognised by Sport England. In this I recognised that sport was the only way to get funding from Sport England and a process was initiated whereby X Training became Gym Sport under WGC vision and cracks started to appear in the support for WGC and many thought that there was an attempt to control the sport of which nothing could have been further from the truth.
One person cannot run a sport. It needed a joint vision to have the collective and unanimous agreement of all those involved in a single agenda and one vision to have the sport have its own governance and its own NGB (National Governing Body) WGC however was to have all the results published on its website . It was in place, feasible and doable.
The cracks …
Being the one person who was so focused on a sport for gyms had its many downs . In fact so many that it physically and mentally drains you to the point of exhaustion and depression. Family life suffers and the need for good news and some light at the end of the tunnel is forever being searched for.
But the harder you try , the harder you seem to alienate those you are trying to get support from.
Noticably the main people opposing a sport for gyms were , Gyms , Personal Trainers, The organisers of current events , the FIA (The then Fitness Industry Association) and in reality those who took part in events did not want to upset any of those mentioned so you are really up against it so to speak. To this day the greatest irony of a sport for gyms biggest opposers are those who currently profited from it.
Around the same sort of time as WGC was created (2006) CrossFit® in the US was gaining momentum. This was a scary times for the fitness Industry , because a brand was emerging that threatened the foundation of the curriculum behind the fitness industry that challenged its very foundations. In the early days there was so much resistance to CrossFit® by personal trainers and the industry at large that it seemed even by mentioning the word CrossFit® you were going to get injured. But we move on to where we are today and the rest as you can see is history. The story yet is not complete in their success until , where World Gym Challenge wanted there to be an Olympic sport , so do CrossFit® have these visions also and it remains to see if the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028 will host a CrossFit® event.
Ultimately what lead to WGC downfall was lack of funding. To host a website in todays age is incredibly expensive. The coding and conversion to mobile technology was not a thing at its conception , everything was very Desktop based. WGC was simply too far ahead of its time to compete with mobile modern and very fast world of social media of the todays world. And today is too far behind the mobile advancements.
What it needed back in 2006 was revenue to update and keep pace with the changing face of sport and technology, and yet through years of persistence it never secured at any level the income needed to grow with the emerging market of sport and technology.
It is often said that you must keep persisting at business and never give up , attack at every angle, keep the pace and momentum going , do not let it ever be a barrier to creating your dream and your vision but there are times when you look back on your endeavours and say how did it go so wrong?
Team effort …
There is no I in team so the saying goes. But at the same time, there are individuals that build teams, surrounding themselves with similar minded people who may not agree with your vision but can find middle ground so that changes can be made. That team never emerged. The risk of alienating the industry is too great a risk – when gyms, personal trainers, organisers and the FIA are against you then there simply is not an option for growth.
Seeking the alternative source of support meant that numerous visits to trade shows (LIW, Elevate, ExCel) meetings with Escape Fitness, York Fitness, Stash (rugby wear) For Goodness Shakes (performance drink) JST nutrition, Ultra FIT magazine the list goes on … means that the search for partners never really ended , but as each year progressed there was no hiding the fact the WGC was lagging behind in technology and eventually what was a bright and vibrant vision struggled to attract any interest.
Failings in the Industry …
A sport for gyms still remains an exciting prospect for someone with the right skill set, even the advancing CrossFit® modules and advancements will have struggles and it will be a slog.
It always bewildered me that for any gym that I joined locally, I was unable to secure a joint venture for the members to take part in a gym challenge. A focus point whereby annually members could check their performance markers and see just how fit they had become, and whereby members of the gyms become more of status in sense of what’s possible and achievements, where annual records can be set and trained for in order to become a far better and fitter then you are today.
For some reason the reality is classes that add an element of pain and discomfort are hugely popular, with terms such as ‘burn fat’ … get fit in six weeks … Tabata … HIT …10,000 steps … just staying short of the magic pill that will mean you can watch Eastenders pop a few pills and be super fit. And if you know anything about fitness and performance you will know that there is no easy answer other than train consistently and have a balanced nutrition mixed with a well hydrated body.
The next step …
It is hoped that WGC will remain a constant website promoting a sport for gyms and that its vision will not falter. After all there is nothing wrong with there wanting to be a sport for gyms …. apart from the gyms, the personal trainers, the organisers , CrossFit® (would probably be against it now as it may interfere with their plans) and I would imagine UK Active are none to pleased about it either, so with that in mind WGC will remain the only website fixed on a NGB based sport for gyms because it can see no logical reason why one should not exist as it has said from day one …It has an infrastructure in place, the venues, the gyms and the members all it needs is the unity for there to be a sport for gyms .
To those that stood by me in my darkest hours (you know who you are) You kept me sane and my thoughts and appreciation will always be with you.