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Innovation & Startups

Pittsburgh fitness entrepreneurs raise the (heavy) bar on CrossFit with social media (hubba, hubba)


Social media is proving an effective tool in building a robust fitness business, especially when it comes to CrossFit training.
 
Jim Crowell and Josh Bobrowsky, who graduated together from Upper St. Clair High School in the South Hills, opened Integrated Fitness in 2010, first in Bethel Park and then on the South Side.

Jim was working with a hedge fund company in Austin, Texas at the time. Josh, who studied social media at CMU, was going to law school at Case Western.
 
Both athletes, they loved the passion and drive of CrossFit, an intense conditioning regimen that started in California and has swept the country, bringing serious fitness seekers together for short training sessions that demand all-out physical exertion. Pittsburgh is home to a handful of CrossFit certified gyms. 
 
The fast-paced sessions are held in the gym and change daily, combining movements such as weightlifting, kettlebells, jumping rope, sprinting and jumping and climbing rope. There’s CrossFit Games as well, competitions that bring athletes together from around the region for intense day-long gameplay.
 
“CrossFit was a perfect fit for us,” says Crowell. “We’re both passionate about helping people. It's about getting someone in the best shape of their lives, from former athletes to those who’ve never been athletic.”
 
What makes CrossFit unique is the way it builds community, adds Bobrowsky. To that extent, Integrated Fitness has successfully grown the business with the help of social media, especially YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
 
The Pittsburgh gym has achieved the distinction of having the most views per month of workout videos of any CrossFit gym in the country. YouTube videos are averaging 700,00 hits a month, boosted by world record lift videos and celebrity interviews at the gym. Bobrowsky, who handles the gyms' social media, has 43,000+ followers on Twitter. 

Social media is a way for people to share with others online and interact with people from the gym, he says. People enjoy sharing their CrossFit scores, posting them on Facebook.
 
“Not everyone initially wants to share,” he adds. “But as time goes by, almost every person in the gym has at least one workout of exercise that they’re very proud of and they want their picture up there.”
 
“It’s not about being great CrossFit champions, but creating an atmosphere that creates an engaged community that helps individuals to reach their goals,” Crowell adds.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Jim Crowell and Josh Bobrowsky, Integrated Fitness
 
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