SugarWod interviewed CrossFit affiliate owner Agnes Vanblarcum
Owner and coach Agnes Vanblarcum started CrossFit in 2013. When she went in search of a CrossFit box near her family’s home in Kent, England and couldn’t find one, she and her husband decided to build one in their garage. As she grew in her fitness abilities and understanding of CrossFit, she became aware of the opportunity that CrossFit offered her community for better health, especially among the children.
As a mom, she is sensitive to kids well-being and became concerned with the obesity she saw among the young people in her area. She wanted to find a way to create positive change in the habits and futures of the kids in her area. So, she started a local CrossFit kids program with the goal of getting kids fit and strong and providing them with education about food and healthy eating.
After kicking the program off, she soon had over 25 kids signed up. What she found was that the kids who were attracted to CrossFit weren’t your traditional childhood athletes. Instead, they were the kids who didn’t participate in team sports and were seeking their own individual fitness outlet. Once they started CrossFit, they found their outlet. As Agnes describes, “the kids became so confident. They could each find something that they were good at. That made them feel really good about themselves.”
Agnes watched her CrossFit kids get stronger, healthier, and happier. She saw the improvements they were experiencing outside of the gym, ”I had teachers and parents approach me and tell me that their kids were performing better in school.” The word spread, parents and the community saw the impacts, and interest increased.
What started out as a hobby, grew into a growing business. With a successful kids program under her belt, parents began to inquire about CrossFit and in 2014, Agnes started coaching a group of women.
When their husbands wanted to join in the fun, she couldn’t hold out any longer and decided to open her own, official gym. Within one year of opening, Agnes added 100 new members. Today, with 120 members (not including the members of the kids program) she is planning to move to a new facility that is twice the size of the current gym.
First and foremost, Agnes and her coaches teach mobility and movement. They make sure that their athletes move well before they introduce intensity. They also limit class sizes to no more than 12 and monitor the progress their athletes make through SugarWOD.
CrossFit ChalkBox started using www.SugarWOD.com because they had grown so fast and it was becoming difficult to monitor the progress of each athlete. Agnes describes herself as “a little too much like a mum”—using www.SugarWOD.com, she spends time checking on her athletes every night, observing the improvements they make and delighting in the gains they realize. She closely monitors how strong her members become and is able to work with athletes when she sees that they aren’t improving as quickly as she might expect.
This care and motherly attention makes CrossFit ChalkBox a special place for its members. One of the many testimonials on their site is a testament to this, “I was new to CrossFit when I first joined ChalkBox a couple of months ago, but I now feel like I have been going forever thanks to the support and encouragement from the wonderful instructors and fellow CrossFitters! No matter what your ability or fitness level, every workout is tailored to your capability and no one is made to feel uncomfortable because they can’t do the same as everyone else.”
Agnes and her team at CrossFit ChalkBox have done an incredible job creating a gym that focuses on community and quality. The fast growth of CrossFit ChalkBox is a testament to Agnes and her team’s commitment to health and the success of their athletes.