Jason Khalipa: Fitness Beyond COVID-19

Jason Khalipa is one of the fitness world’s most recognizable faces: 2008 CrossFit Games Champion, multi-time Games podium finisher, and fitness entrepreneur with a truly international business. Jason talks about which gyms have the best shot of surviving the pandemic, the future of strength sports, and his own experiences as the father of an immunocompromised child. 

In this episode of the BarBend Podcast, David Thomas Tao talks to Jason Khalipa about:

  • Jason’s business and international scope (2:30)
  • Gyms in California and a reopening timeline (4:50)
  • What kind of experience will people get when they go back to gyms? (5:30)
  • The moral and ethical dilemma of gym closures (7:50)
  • The impact of COVID-19 on the business of training and coaching (9:30)
  • Creating options for Jason’s clients and athletes (13:44)
  • Learning from experience on training from home and getting more out of training in less time (15:28)
  • The mental challenge of staying at home for athletes and active people (17:45)
  • Jason’s daughter Ava’s recovery from cancer and how COVID-19 has impacted family life with an immunocompromised child (19:10)
  • Businesses poised for success after the pandemic (21:19)
  • The future of strength sports (23:15)
  • How shared suffering brings together the CrossFit community through challenging workouts (26:30)
  • What Jason would like to see the CrossFit Games do this year (27:20)
  • Getting back to normal after social distancing and Jason’s own experiences (28:35)

Relevant links and further reading:

Transcription

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

 

I also think that the cream will rise to the top in a sense that a lot of people opened up boutique fitness centers, who were passionate about fitness but didn’t initially have a strong background or didn’t really know why they were doing it, they just like to workout. Those people are on the fringe, they’re probably going to use this as an opportunity to probably get out.

David TaoDavid Tao

Welcome to the “BarBend Podcast,” where we talk to the smartest athletes, coaches and minds from around the world of strength. I’m your host, David Thomas Tao and this podcast is presented by barbend.com.

 

Today, I’m talking to CrossFit games legend Jason Khalipa. In 2008, Jason burst on to the fitness scene by winning the second ever CrossFit games in dramatic fashion. In the decade following, he established himself as one of the most consistent athlete in the sport with multiple podium finishes and fan-favorite performances.

 

Jason is also the Founder and CEO of NCFIT, a company that operates its own gym locations, corporate wellness spaces on multiple continents, and digital platforms for both coaches and clients looking to get into better shape.

 

Our conversation today focuses on the impact COVID-19 is having on the fitness space, and which types of gyms, companies, and training methodologies will survive the pandemic.

 

In addition, we talk about gym reopening timelines and fitness in an age of social distancing. Jason also brings his perspective as the parent of an immunocompromised child. His daughter, Ava, having successfully battled leukemia several years ago.

 

Also, I want to take a second to say, we’re incredibly thankful that you listen to this podcast. If you haven’t’ already, be sure to leave a rating and review of the BarBend Podcast in your app of choice. Now let’s get to it.

 

Jason Khalipa, thanks so much for taking the time to join me today. There’s a lot going on in the fitness world. I know that you’re someone who maybe rose to prominence through the CrossFit community, but you have a much broader perspective. You work with athletes and businesses across strength sports and fitness. I’m curious to pick your brain on a few things.

 

First off, I’m curious, how is your business adapting to mandatory gym closures, being based in California? To give folks some context, how many brick-and-mortar facilities do you run?

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

Good question. Thanks for having me.

 

We own an organization called NCFIT. NCFIT has three different verticals that build up its business. One is brick-and-mortar, like commercial gyms open to the public like any other gym. Another is corporate wellness, where it’s brick-and-mortar inside a company, but we operate it, we run it everything.

 

The third is our digital products, where in our digital realm, we have business-to-business tools, so all of our session-plannings, programming, everything that we use for our gyms, we now sell to other gyms, which has grown pretty substantially, that’s one vertical.

 

We have another one which is our app in our at-home workouts, etc. That’s for the end user called NCFIT+. Between those verticals, we have five open-to-the-public locations. We have 14, 15 corporate wellness sites, and between Lucas Films, a partner of ours, Western Digital.

 

We have a large e-commerce. When it comes to locations, we shut down all brick-and-mortar, including corporate and non-corporate sites, effective, whatever it was March and change.

David TaoDavid Tao

That’s roughly 20 locations that don’t have people coming in the door right now at the NCFIT banner.

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

Yeah.

David TaoDavid Tao

Do you have any guess as to when you might start rolling those back out or letting folks back in? That’s obviously going to depend on what the state of California does, but are you running corporate wellness spaces in any central businesses?

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

Yeah, they have claimed in particular, our Lucas Films, for example, was not…our Western Digital partnership, for example, in some countries was considered essential for the product that it makes. That still doesn’t mean that they’re going to keep us open.

 

Where it’s a little bit weird for us is, I think the better way to have the conversation is in particular for our California based brick-and-mortar gyms, our corporate wellness locations are in different countries with different rules and different, etc., those are going to open up probably sooner.

 

For example, we have a location Shenzhen in China. That’s going to open up sooner than our one in California, because it hit there earlier. When it comes to our locations in California, after Gavin Newsom talked about, stay-at-home orders until June 1st, I’m anticipating that our gyms won’t be open to the public, and at least something I feel comfortable with, until August 1st.

David TaoDavid Tao

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I was talking to Chris Spealler, earlier this week. He brought up that, that’s an important factor. Just because the gym can open, doesn’t mean that all gym owners are going to open it, it doesn’t mean that all members of their community are going to want to come back at that time. It’s extremely individualized.

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

It’s a super slippery slope that every owner needs to take into consideration for themselves. On the one hand, if you open up prematurely. You open up, let’s just say June 1st we could open, boom, we open up, or let’s just take Georgia even though Georgia technically can have group training right now…Anyways, let’s just say you could open.

 

If the prerequisite to opening is mask on everybody, thermometer at the door, temperature at the door, and cleaning in between classes. Let’s just say those three. Well, you could provide the mask. You could provide the cleaning. You could provide thermometer analysis. But what does that do for a customer that was used to a certain experience?

 

People came to our gym for the best hour of their day. They came in for the community came in for literally to have fun, like we needed them to have fun, get in a good workout and learn something new.

 

Those were always our three things. When you walk into an area and you’re getting your temperature taking, wearing a mask, and all the staff is wearing a mask, I don’t know if that vibe is going to create a culture where they’re going to want to come back, or they’re just going to say, you know what? I’m going to go ahead and stay at home for another month, and I’m worried if you open too early, you may turn those people off and they may never come back again.

 

Now, if you also open up too late, and let’s just say you can open up June 1st, and you decided to open up, I don’t know, whatever. That could also be challenging, but for us at NCFIT, once we get the green light to open, regardless of the scope was it, we’re still going to probably push out a month and clearly communicate with our members our five-step plan to keep them safe and this and that, and really look at it as a re-grand opening and not just fizzle in, but actually grow.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

That makes a lot of sense. You have one location in China, one corporate wellness location?

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

We have a location in China, Thailand, three in Malaysia, Japan, several all over the world.

David TaoDavid Tao

Was that presence in Asia and specifically China, something that might’ve given you a little bit more heads up as a business owner that, hey, this is something coming, this is something that could potentially be very impactful or were you all hit with this at the same time as other businesses in the United States?

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

I think we were all pretty much hit with it at the same time because for us, we saw it brewing. I was actually in Thailand in December, and you see things brewing and conversations, but it wasn’t a big deal specifically back in the United States. For us, we saw it heating up, and I was really in a moral, ethical dilemma for about maybe a week. I was having a tough time.

 

On one hand, I wanted to keep our members safe. On the other hand, I didn’t want to place my preconceived notions on when to shut down because once we start putting my opinion on the business, then when is it going to be safe for us to reopen? And so instead we chose to go off state and federal mandate it on when to close, because that’s a clear third-party, unbiased, CDC-based, whatever.

 

And then when we’re ready to reopen, we could use that same indicator as our goal. I think for those people that closed prematurely, what does that mean? You’re going to potentially open prematurely? I don’t know how that works.

David TaoDavid Tao

Jason. You’re not a qualified and educated epidemiologist among your many accomplishments?

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

I am not. I am not. And so I think that’s really important for us is that NCFIT…and this is something I talked to gym owners about all the time. Look, I might be the founder, I might be the CEO, but I am not NCFIT. NCFIT is a third-party entity. It’s a corporation, and it relies on data and whatever to place it forward. The personal responsibility might be different, and I need to keep them apart.

David TaoDavid Tao

Something we were chatting about a little bit before we actually started recording were some of the broader implications throughout the fitness industry, so not just functional fitness, not just corporate wellness under the NCFIT model, but how it might impact fitness training in general.

 

I know it’s something you’re very passionate about and something you’ve spent a lot of the past decade and a half really fine tuning both from your own perspective and the people you work with every day. What impact do you think this might have long term on the business of personal training and coaching?

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

I think for boutique fitness centers. Let’s unpack this, there’s lots of unpack here. The first thing is the consumer behavior is going to shift for a while. For example, you’re in New York, it’s going to take you a while from grocery shopping at midnight with a mask on and gloves, to walking into a training facility.

 

It’s just going to take you out, even if tomorrow you technically could, would you? Right? I think what’s important to recognize is that this is going to go out for a while, and it’s going to dramatically impact several businesses. Ones that I think are at pretty high risk from a brick-and-mortar perspective.

 

Take a SoulCycle and Orangetheory, F45, they base their model off X amount of people in X amount of square feet, and that’s how they created their profitability. Those are just way they did it and over the years, that’s when we shifted towards.

 

When we first opened, we were in a bigger warehouse, bigger spaces, and we used to go off 100 square feet per every member. SoulCycle probably goes off, I don’t know, 10 square feet per every member.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s not 100. [laughs] It’s less.

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

 It’s not 100. For those companies to pivot to have social distancing is going to be very challenging, because at one point, they’re just going to say, “Hey, to pay this rent to do these things, it’s just not even worth it. We can’t accommodate enough people in the space to pay our bills.”

 

Whereas in the CrossFit space, or even you can say, boutique strength and conditioning in general, they’re typically larger locations, they typically have more space. I do think we have a leg up in that sense, because we’re going to be able to socially distance people a little bit better. That all being said, this is going to take a while.

 

Businesses, I hope, have shifted and pivoted towards digital. When they did, there’s some pros and cons. Zoom is cool, but people only put up with Zoom for so long. You can’t coach that effectively. You can a little bit, you can’t, but with CrossFit and with strength and conditioning, it’s tough, man. It really is.

 

From a live-class perspective, Internet going out, delays, those things are amateur and after months, your members will no longer deal with it, especially paying a premium.

 

Members are going to have to figure that out.

 

I also think it’s going to make people have to step their game up. If you owned and operated a gym, and you used to just walk in and be, “Hey guys, hope everybody’s having a great day. The warm-up’s on the board, the workout’s right here, I got your clock, let’s go.” You’re probably not going to make it because your business which is probably just hanging on by a thread.

 

Now, when you’re required to really dive deep with your members through text, email, Zoom, Facebook, pre-recorded, you probably aren’t engaging enough. The professional coaches will thrive, and the guys who were doing it as hobbyists, I think are going to get stuck and maybe find a different profession.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

What are some of the things that NCFIT, that you all have been doing to pivot or maybe focus more energy in on the digital and content front during the shutdown?

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

Yes, look, I’m not going to say what we did was perfect, but we’ve been shifting every single week in figuring out what we needed to do. When we first shut down we, immediately cut expenses and try to figure out blah, blah, blah.

 

Then we said, “OK, we’re not going to keep billing our members.” Some gyms are, but for our gym’s size, it just didn’t work. We didn’t want to keep billing them and have them tell us what they want to do. We told everybody, “Hey, everybody’s put on hold. Everybody.” Our revenue went from X to zero.

 

Then they had to opt in, they had four different options. Option A was they could keep their membership as is. They could reinstate it, and they can get any equipment rental, and we’ll reimburse them for the months that they’ve given us when we reopen, so they paid us for two months. While we’re closed, we’ll reimburse them within 120 days of reopening, as an example.

 

Option B was you dropped down to our $40 a month NCFIT+ membership, which is our digital footprint, which I think is incredible. A lot of people have opted into that. I would encourage anybody listening that if you’re looking for really good strength conditioning, we have a great option, especially with dumbbells, called NCGO.

 

One of the ways we pivoted was we created a program specifically to be done with dumbbells. It’s not a in-gym workout that was translated, it was actually designed for dumbbells. We’ve also pivoted to do follow-along.

 

Moving forward, what we’ve learned is that our demographic in the gym would watch our videos, get inspiration, come in, and get coached. This demographic is at home. They need to have someone there the entire time adding value and teaching them. We’ve switched to follow-along pre-recorded instead of live, and live. We’re doing live too. That’s option B.

 

Option C is virtual personal training so people could opt in X amount of dollars, try and get our coaches paid. Then, option D is they just keep their membership on hold.

 

To answer your question, a big shift we made, we relied heavily on our current digital platforms, but we shifted them. Instead of in-gym, we focused on on-the-go, and one part of that was follow-along.

David TaoDavid Tao

Let’s talk about the actual programming of fitness and working around restrictions for people working out with minimal equipment. Obviously, you didn’t predict coronavirus and COVID-19, but at-home fitness is something I know you’ve been big on for a long time.

 

I’ve been following your EMOM style workout and following along with that. Actually, BarBend, we wrote about that, I think shortly after you started it, because it was such an interesting idea. Putting out an EMOM every day for people to do, and a lot of it’s very adaptable. It’s stuff you could do at home or with minimal equipment.

 

Is that something that you’ve been focused on since you retired from competition more and more? What do you think that has given you as far as a basis of knowledge coming into programming and working with your coaches here?

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

Yeah, it’s interesting. Look, for a long time I’ve met with the best in their class. Powerlifters, Olympic weightlifters, gymnasts, you name it, I’ve been in the trenches because I’ve tried to improve as a CrossFit Games athlete. Once I got out of the sport, as much and when my daughter was sick, I spent a lot of time doing EMOMs, AMRAPs, lighter loads.

 

I just didn’t want to load up my body. I wasn’t interested in snatching 300 pounds anymore. It just wasn’t exciting for me. I started putting out EMOM of the day just for fun. Then I wrote a book called “As Many Reps As Possible.” I pivoted the name on Instagram from “EMOM of the Day” to “AMRAP Mentality”, which was a good shift.

David TaoDavid Tao

 It’s a good brand, a good brand.

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

Then, as of recently, I recognize that we do want to support people who are on-the-go or at-home, and so we’ve shifted it to NCFIT+. Our business is NCFIT+, which is all of our on-the-go workouts, which has been in place for years and years. We just never really focused on it because we’re really focused on brick-and-mortar gyms.

 

Now we’re taking the experiences of what we’ve learned in the gym, and we’re taking it to people at home. That’s the way I’ve been training for a long time. It’s just, we never really pushed it because we had our in-gym products. Now we’re just using what I’ve been using for a long time to share with other people. Do you know what I mean?

David TaoDavid Tao

 

What is your training looking like these days?

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

 It’s, right this minute, heavily dumbbell-focused. I do a warm-up, a strength piece, that could be front squats, that could be heavy, whatever, tempo front squats. Then it’s a 15 to 20-minute metcon of some type and then a little bit mobility. We’re rolling out, with your collaboration, with “The Ready State” and Kelly Starrett, and I’m done.

 

Eat real food and train really hard through those EMOMs, AMRAPs, and you’re going to be pretty darn fit.

David TaoDavid Tao

You’re someone I know who travels around a lot. We’ve crossed paths literally on the road a few times. I don’t think we’ve ever actually seen each other in person in the city where either of us actually live, which is kind of funny now that I think about it.

 

How has adapting to being at home all the time with the family? That brings a lot of benefits, but at the same time for a business person, someone who is used to moving around a lot like you are, I’ve heard a lot of people say, “Hey, it’s a little bit challenging actually, to spend all day with the family.”

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

Yeah. For me, I still go to the gym and film some videos to have some time to myself there, but it’s a big change, for sure. I would say, without exaggeration, for the last year at least, we were opening some new locations in Southern California, I’d been on airplane, on average, once a week.

 

To go from being on an airplane once a week, even traveling locally, just down for an hour, and now being home, it’s a big change for my family now. We travel and going out to eat was a big part of our family culture.

 

Now we’ve shifted that. This morning I got up really early. I took my son fishing because we’re just finding things to do locally and embracing more family time. It’s been very rewarding but at the same time, we needed to recognize where the boundaries are.

 

If my wife wants to go upstairs and go do her thing, I don’t need to go sit next to her. We need to give our space as well.

 

I think our background is a little bit different because we spent a lot of time in the hospital for a lot of years. We learned how to get along in a very small, confined space.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Are you at all still connected with the medical professionals who oversaw your daughter’s care when she was sick years ago?

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

Yeah. What happens with leukemia is, my daughter’s treatment was two-and-a-half years long, which is pretty long. After that, you go back once a month for blood work, and then after a year you go once every two months.

 

Then after two years, you go once every three months, and then once every blah, blah, blah. When she hit five years, then you go back once and you’re considered cured. We go back there…at this point, we go every two months.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

What kind of stress have you been hearing from those medical professionals, or seeing in your visits? It’s obviously not the emergency room, it’s a specialized ward, but are you seeing that impact or feeling that impact as the father of someone who might be immunocompromised?

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

Yeah. It’s more so the impact on who could go in the hospital and how they treat people. When Ava goes in for blood work, it just is her, there’s certain regulations and then one parent, that’s it. That’s for pediatrics, no other child is allowed in, unless the patient, and no other family right now.

 

In oncology, which is for all the cancer patients, it was always pretty crowded, but they always made it work. They’re being overly sensitive, which they should be, to just make sure that they limit the amount of people going in.

 

That’s the big change that I’ve seen. It’s not so much like you see more oncology patients. It’s like, there’s not a patient the same. It’s just the precautions are different.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

I should ask, how’s your daughter feeling these days? How’s she doing?

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

 

Really good. We’re super, grateful. We’ve had our fair shares of a ups and downs [laughs] that’s for sure. As of right now, we’re good.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Awesome. Besides being maybe a little more cooped up than normal, besides crawling up the walls like all kids.

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

The uncertainty of the business is really challenging. Also, for me, the uncertainty of where other businesses will lie. For us, we’ve been really grateful that we have corporate partners, we have digital footprint, we have these diversified revenue streams.

 

Where I get really anxious about is, I live in a town called Los Gatos. I’ve walked downtown, and I’m worried that more than half the restaurants and businesses are going to be out of business.

 

I’m trying to support them as much as I can, but I’m worried when we come out of this, how many are going to be able to sustain and the longer it goes, the more challenging it is. I also think that the cream will rise to the top.

 

In the sense that a lot of people opened up boutique fitness centers who are passionate about fitness but didn’t necessarily have a strong background or didn’t really know why they’re doing it, they just like to workout.

 

Those people are on the fringe they’re probably going to use this as an opportunity to probably get out.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

What are some other businesses in the wellness space that you think may come out of this stronger or that you think are well prepared to weather the storm?

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

 

Well, obviously like working against gravity any type of digital models that are done well Peloton is going to crush. Right?

David TaoDavid Tao

 

They already are. They’re doing they’re doing crazy volume right now.

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

Of course. Because they have a really good product. They’ve marketed it well, and it’s great timing for it. I think the people that are going to win are going to be the people that could get a really good product in the hands of consumers at home.

 

I think that other people are going to win are people who when we reopen, shift their business model and can sustain right now. If you have 20 gyms in your network, like within a two mile radius in Brooklyn, let’s just say.

 

The ones that really hunkered down, made the right business decisions or had a strong business beforehand. They’re going to be able to come out of this, and I imagine is going to be about 30 to 40 percent attrition in your area.

 

Even though, I think, the numbers when we come out are going to be a little bit lower from members who aren’t ready to come back just yet. I do think other gyms closing going to help the strong get even stronger.

David TaoDavid Tao

That makes sense. I want to shift just a little bit and this is something we were also talking about before the recording and that’s the future of strength competition. We were not only talking about CrossFit competition, but we were talking about weightlifting, the Olympics being postponed, powerlifting Strongman.

 

What impact do you think long-term this might have on strength competition? We can start with the CrossFit Games or we can expand that to talk about other events, things you might normally see, like the World’s Strongest Man also postponed. The Olympics also postponed.

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

 It’s really tough. It is tough because live events were part of the framework and foundation that built the sport of fitness, CrossFit Games in particular. It was the Sanctionals early on, then Regionals.

 

It started off online, Open, but that was with the goal of getting to this in-person event. People were inspired to get in-person, be on the floor. I’ll never forget beyond the tennis stadium with 20,000 people. It was electrifying.

 

Whether you’re there or at Wodapalooza, there’s something about getting to this place where other people can support you and elevate you, and you could put on a show for other people. That’s inspiring. I’m worried that without live events in CrossFit, you’re going to see some of the excitement of competing start to dwindle a little bit if it’s just online.

 

I don’t know if it’s the same energy, and I’m also worried on…My big concern is that live events need to come back for the sport of CrossFit to continue to thrive.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s not just the fact that the Open is online. It’s not just competing online that makes that so appealing, it’s throwing down in your local box. How many CrossFit boxes have “Friday Night Lights” during the Open?

 

I heard a lot of complaints when they had two CrossFit Opens last year from people covering the sport, but I heard nothing but joy from people who were doing the Open at their boxes because that was more opportunities to throw down on Friday evening, or Saturday morning, or whenever people did the Open workouts with their friends.

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

Now if you watch the online qualifiers that are a little bit different right now, they had a Master’s one, I think. It just didn’t seem to have a buzz because you don’t have it in the gym, the excitement. A lot of our members would do Friday Night Lights. They didn’t care at all about the Games to your point, these live events. They just want to be in live.

 

We had a fitness competition at Western Digital right before this all happened, or actually right as it was happening, but before any closures. These corporate employees, they haven’t competed in anything physical in their entire life, some of them.

 

When they go out there and they’re doing burpees against somebody else, something happens to them. When they achieve success or whatnot, there’s something really powerful about that, about putting yourself out there having this win-loss, but also just the energy that is created.

 

These people competing in their first physical event was another but if you’re doing that at home by yourself, I don’t know if it would have the same impact.

David TaoDavid Tao

Well, you doing thrusters in front of 20,000 people at the tennis stadium. You get just a taste of what that feels like doing thrusters in your local box with 20 people cheering you on.

 

There’s this adrenaline rush there that you get with live events, and it doesn’t matter if you’re trying to be the fittest in the world, or you’re just trying to beat your old score. There’s that flavor that we don’t get here.

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

That’s shared suffering. That’s why we’re shifting to the follow-along, because I do follow along. I have a few of them already on my YouTube, which they’re getting better.

 

If you watch each one of them, there’s four of them so far, they’re getting better each weak in terms of quality and stuff like that. The follow-along is nice because you feel you’re sharing that suffering with this other person.

David TaoDavid Tao

What would you like to see from the CrossFit Games this year? Now, as of this recording, we don’t know exactly what that’s going to look like. I won’t ask you to speculate or to guess but basically CrossFit has said there’s going to be some form of the Games. We don’t know if that’s going to be remote.

 

There’s been speculation, and they’ve mentioned that it could be back at the ranch in California, which is a place probably too familiar to you at this point. What format would you like to see the Games take this year assuming there’s some version of it?

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

Great question. There’s been a lot of changes in the Games over the years. One of the things that I always used to love is when you dwindle it down to the top 10, top 20. There’s a big gap between the top 20 in CrossFit Games and the rest.

 

There’s a big gap between 50 and these 200 people that represent their countries now in this last year, a huge gap. You’re going to have hundreds and hundreds of people all over the ranch and get cut in one event. If you can’t hold an event with 500 people because you probably can’t, California is going to be a big issue.

 

My recommendation would be take the top 20 from last year’s Games, or call it the open, take the top 15, take the top 10 and do a epic event with just 10 people. I think you could…because at the end of the day, yeah, is there some people that sneak in, but the cream always rises to the top.

 

If you’re a top 10 in the Open or top 10 at the Games, they find some way of doing it, a top 20 would probably be a better example, I think you’ll get a good sample size of people who can go out there and do some damage.

David TaoDavid Tao

Event organizers, they have to be looking not only months ahead, but potentially even years ahead, right? You’re talking…Next year, the CrossFit Games, 2021 rolls around. Is it really going to be an event with thousands of people on a giant fitness festival in Madison, Wisconsin?

 

Maybe the Games will be there. Maybe they’ll have spectators, but you have to imagine that until there’s a vaccine out, until we have this under control, people are going to be a little more hesitant to attend this. Just like a crazy extravaganza where everyone’s crowded in and celebrating fitness.

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

You’d think, but people will get back to normal. This is information that I could share with you that maybe some other people can’t on when our daughter was really going through heavy chemo. Heavy chemo for about a year and a half, it was like pretty heavy.

 

We were as careful as you probably should be. If someone’s kid had this, they would probably be doing the exact same thing. We didn’t think we were overly, whatever. We’re talking, hey, look, if someone wants to come into our house, and they feel sick or whatever, they’re not coming in.

 

When they came in, if you, whatever, you’re wearing a mask or you’re washing your hands as soon as you walk in, you’re taking your shoes off, you’re doing certain things. It was almost like social distancing back then. We’d go to a restaurant, we’d clean up the whole thing with Clorox, whatever.

 

It took us a while to get out of that compulsive behavior when anywhere we went, we were like, “Hey, don’t do it.”

 

It took us about six months to a year to really get out of that habit. That’s what I think is going to happen. For us, we lived it for a year and a half. It took us about another year to get out of it, to not be quite so uptight. If you’re in it for about three to four months, it’ll probably take you another six months to get out of it.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Did you and your wife find yourself falling back into those habits pretty quickly when social distancing became the norm?

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

Yeah. We already had a lot of the N95 mask on, so we’re very familiar with it, so it wasn’t that weird. For me on where it gets tough is just there’s a lot of uncertainty in the coronavirus, whereas with chemo, there’s a lot of, “OK, this is what it is.”

 

She’s immunocompromised. Basically, if you’re sick, stay away, and if she’s neutropenic, which means her…anyways, if she’s neutropenic, which means that her ANC or blood counts are low, we need to be overly careful. That was pretty black and white. With coronavirus like, dude, is it on surface for an hour, five hours, two days?

 

Should I be cloroxing my bags? Should I be wearing a mask? Does a mask even help if I’m in a room with someone? Does it even stay in the air? There’s so much uncertainty. That’s what gets us a little bit more anxious, I think the main thing.

David TaoDavid Tao

I’m sure that that’s the anxiety we’re all sharing, so you all are certainly not alone there. Jason, those are all the topics I wanted to make sure we covered today.

 

Is there anything else could be related to the fitness industry? It could be related to competition or just from a business perspective, as someone who has active fitness businesses and is really trying to sail these uncharted waters. Anything else you’d like to share with our listeners?

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

If you’re a business owner right now, it’s like the “Wild Wild West.” You have an opportunity right now to create your path, and whatever that path is, you have an opportunity to do it. If you saw yourself doing a different career, right now is a great time to make that shift.

 

If you saw yourself getting out of a location and moving, right now is a great time. Right now is a really great time to identify where you want to go, why you want to go there, what team you want on board, get them on board and let’s go. That’s one of the benefits of this, someone’s got the opportunity to level set.

 

Is it sad and whatever? Sure. It’s a really good opportunity to evaluate your business, create the plan, and execute on it. I think that’s something we always need to remember because through this adversity, in these challenging times, you can learn a lot about yourself, your team, and where you want to get to.

 

That’s the exciting side of all of this. Not to mention, if you’re a gym owner out there, and you want to see what we have going on, obviously we’d love for you to check out the NCFIT collective. If you’re an athlete at home, looking for great follow along workouts and just great workouts, then see NCFIT+.

 

It’s app-based, but you could visit us. I can send you the links, and if you’re looking for a good read, you can check out the book As Many Reps As Possible. Let me know what you think.

David TaoDavid Tao

We’ll include all those links in the description that goes along with this video and the accompanying article. Jason, thanks for ending on some real positivity there. We could all get a lot out of that, and I really appreciate your time.

Jason KhalipaJason Khalipa

All right, brother. Have a great day.

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