The birth of CFEN

I thought it would be a good idea to put together a little story of how CFEN all started and how we have grown. We are lucky enough to have many founding members at the gym who walked in on day 1. So this article gives them the chance to look back and see where we have come and gives new and potential members a chance to see how it all started!
The whole idea of opening a CrossFit facility came back in 2013 whilst I was serving in the Royal Marines. After helping a number of people in the military with their own training and seeing them progress I felt an instant ‘buzz’.

Long story short I handed my notice in (for which I had to work a year before leaving) and began planning to open CFEN……. What a learning curve I was about to embark on. I had no business background and to be honest I went bundling into most hurdles and managed to get back up and keep progressing towards opening the doors.

As many of you know I had initial setbacks finding the correct facility, due to landlords and councils, and it quickly got to point where I thought that maybe it was never going to work out! Fortunately I found a premises in Finedon Road Industrial Estate which eventually became our home! After walking in and seeing the empty shell I knew it was perfect. Over the next three months we went through all of the legals and set up procedures until one day I received a phone call telling me the keys were ready to collect…….. Wow what a day that was!
It was late afternoon and I went straight to CFEN to begin setting everything up. The next 2 weeks consisted of 17 hour days painting, setting up reception and putting flooring in. Luckily I had the help of the CFEN legend that is Tim from PTC Building, coming in and helping me for absolutely nothing in return! What a hero and I’ll always be thankful for his continuous help.

During this time I was thinking to myself; ‘I hope someone turns up when we open’ and worrying that it may never work out! But to calm my nerves one day whilst painting the wall ball lines I was greeted with a South African accent PK, who soon became our founding member! PK was one of our 6am originals and subsequently won Member of the Year which was voted for by the whole of CFEN.

We were all set up and ready for our open day not really sure if we would see anyone at all but slowly throughout the day people trickled in the door and we ended up seeing around 30 people. Most of which are still here today! We started off with very little equipment and basic classes and had 1 to 5 people in a class as a maximum.

In the first month we had 15 members and each month we would add 5 – 10 people to our team. It was so exciting seeing us grow and having the ability to help more people as word spread. Just over one year later we have now grown to over 120 members and have 150 people that come in each month.
I always wanted to continue growing CFEN and give it back to the members as a thank you for their support. So to give you a small idea here are the things we have done and added.

New equipment;

  1. New Rowers
  2. Barbells
  3. Peg Board
  4. Sandbags
  5. New storage systems
  6. Wall Balls
  7. More plates
  8. Sleds
  9. Climbing Ropes
  10. Dumbbells
  11. Assault Bike (Although I’m not sure many would look at this being a positive)
  12. Glute ham developer, new signs and much more.

Social events;

  1. We have had many birthday workouts and celebrations
  2. Nights out
  3. CFEN Birthday
  4. Charity competition
  5. Christmas party
  6. Halloween party and fire works
  7. Meals out
  8. Days out and many more!

It was a whirlwind during the first year and a half but it felt amazing seeing so many people change and improve and to build an amazing community of awesome people. The heart of CFEN is all of you and the foundations for which we will continue to work, is that everyone supports each other through every workout we do and we never leave anyone behind. As a team you can do so much more!

After 18 months of 5am until 10pm days I decided it was probably about time to bring a new coach into the team. Initially I found it tough to find someone that I felt could fit in perfectly to what we have. After 3 months of searching we found the amazing coach and person that is Ed! Ed has been a god send since joining the team. Always being enthusiastic to learning, growing and helping others and I couldn’t ask for a better person to have by my side.

With Ed starting it meant we could finally include more classes which we desperately needed…… We had classes being fully booked 2/3 months in advance!! When we started the new classes they immediately filled and we’ve seen even more new members who have instantly moulded in the community!
So here we are 18 months later, we find ourselves with new classes, new coaches and new opportunities and as we continue to help people and fill up our monthly achievement board. I wanted to take a chance to thank every single one of you that has been a part of CFEN for helping us do what we love and enabling us to help as many people as we can!

So what can I see over the Horizon for CFEN. For one we will continue to give everyone the best coaching and environment possible to help you all on your goals. We have more social events than ever coming up in the lead up to Christmas and I’m extremely pleased to announce that we will be providing CrossFit Kids and CrossFit Teens Classes in January 2017! It’s been something I have wanted to implement for quite some time, as giving kids a positive outlook on health and fitness is a powerful tool to our future! We will be releasing more information on all of this in the near future so keep your eyes peeled and get in touch if you would like to know more.

As well as this we will be looking to expand our coaching team in 2017 enabling us to help more people at different times! 2017 looks to be an exciting year for everyone at CFEN. We have enormous and exciting news that will be announcing in the coming months and we can’t wait to tell you all!
It’s funny to look back at where we started and the hardship it initially was. But with a little drive, the fight to keep moving forward and the help of an awesome community of friends anything is possible!

Thank you #TeamCFEN!

Jack Fleckney


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