Affiliate Owner Spotlight: Derek Saltou of CrossFit Chiron

Kevin Foley is the founder of CrossFit HomeBase in Canton, Massachusetts. A military veteran and mentor to other gym owners throughout North America, Foley is dedicated to making fitness dreams accessible to entrepreneurs young and old. In this series, he sits down with CrossFit Affiliate owners to discuss the ups and downs of box ownership — including their tips for success.

First up: Derek Saltou of CrossFit Chiron (Mason City, Iowa)

CrossFit Chiron

Could you give me some background on yourself: Athletic, Career Path, Family, CrossFit, etc.?

I graduated from Mason City High School in 2007 where I played football, basketball and ran track! I went to NIACC for two years and ran track for awhile, and then quickly made the move to the University of Northern Iowa where I studied Human Movement and Exercise Science. I also minored in sports psychology and coaching!

While there I wanted to run track but realized that financially I needed to work! I began working at a gymnastics academy. I was taught the basics of gymnastics and then taught myself movements as I went along. There was a lot of encouragement for personal growth in education gymnastics in itself. I learned a great deal of valuable movements from this job. Along with this, I met a lot of amazing families. A family I was close to told me to give CrossFit a try, so when I finished up at UNI I did CrossFit workouts at our community college and fell in love.

Instantly I began studying, training harder, and eventually got my Level 1 Cert. I met my wife the weekend before going to get this cert. Crazy how life happens!

What is the biggest change you’ve seen in CrossFit, and how does it affect operating your box?

I try to focus purely on my clients. I know that when your focus is not on the bread and butter, it won’t spread right. We develop trust with our clients and focus on building relationships. CrossFit is phenomenal, but nothing outside of our community has affected us in a negative way.

CrossFit Chiron

What are the downsides of being an Affiliate? Upsides?

Health insurance, haha. Other than that it’s a dream job!

What system processes do you have in place to make your box run smoothly? Accounting, Member WOD Tracking, Membership Management, Retail, Reports etc.

We manage everything through WODIFY! It has been great for us and our members on a frequent basis. It’s like having a personal assistant.

What does your box place the most emphasis on in terms of training your athletes?

Technique, this should be KING in every affiliate. Strive for excellence by providing top notch training to put your athletes in the best position to deliver the best results!

Describe your weekly programming?

We hit as much as we can each week without over doing any movement. Too many programs out there don’t understand how to program.

We spread out our lifts throughout the week and leave the best movements for our Hero WODs on Friday.
The look at programming the same way I look at a stop light. We have “Green light” days, 100% days (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) “Yellow light” days, 75% but still put forth a good effort (Tuesday and Thursday), and “Red light” days, REST. Sundays are meant for rest and maybe some active recovery.

Explain your nutrition approach with your athletes? Is it a priority?

Nutrition is KING as far as the 23hrs our athletes spend away from the gym. We help transition them into a lifestyle change through the Lurong Living Challenge. We were two time Champs of the challenges! Lurong works diligently to plan a paleo meal plan bent on weight loss and increased performance throughout.

How do you on-board new members?

Personally, I feel very comfortable with my ability to command a class. We always break down movements regardless of who is all in the class. EVERYONE needs a refresher on movements. With that said we definitely place our focus on the newbies while also holding our vets accountable.

Is there Goal-Setting in place for New Members?

We send out an email explaining the importance of goal setting and using the SMART guidelines to establish the foundation.

The guidelines are: Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Short term is the best and more realistic. They can see success much faster.

What do you do to continue your education in fitness and business?

On March 22nd of 2015 I received my CrossFit Level 2 Cert at CrossFit Mayhem. Incredible experience, and I also had my Level 1 instructor Mr. James Hobart again!

My Level 3, along with a USA Olympic Weightlifting Cert, are in the works!

Advice for someone opening an Affiliate?

KNOW YOUR SHIT. Do not open up a place without years of study and schooling. You’re taking people’s health into your hands. They trust you to know the body inside and out. A gym is not a way for you to make money, it’s an opportunity to have an impact on EVERYONE! Take it seriously or don’t bother.

Leave a Comment