From coach to co-owner

Student Robbin: ‘Every CrossFit-lesson is different’

Robbin Tan is a student Communication, he is also a coach and co-owner of a CrossFit fitness center in Almere. Business is booming: there are even some plans to open on multiple locations.

“I have always had a great passion for sports’, says Robbin. He started as a basketball player and even played on premier league level. “Yet after a while the passion for basketball died and that`s when I quit.” After that Robbin discovered CrossFit, a combination of weightlifting, gymnastics and athletics. “I coincidently met an old classmate of mine at the station, he and I started talking. He told me that he was busy trying to start up his own CrossFit Gym and asked if I would like to stop by some time.”

From passion to his own company
“I loved it instantly! The most enjoyable thing is that every lesson is different. Lifting weights, gymnastics, cardio, you are combining it all.” It started as a hobby but soon Robbin started to make it his job. He chose to do his internship post at the Gym CrossFit Immaculate in Almere. After his internship, which lasted a full year, he became a coach. It did not take long before his friend asked him to be head coach, but he wanted more. “I told him that I really wanted to work with him, but not for him.” And that is what happened.

“In the company I do everything that has to do with sports. I prepare the lessons and I guide the coaches in their progress. Luckily I do not have to do or worry about any paperwork. I just want to do the executive tasks because that is what I like.”

Helping people reach their goals
Robbin also teaches different age categories that range from children to seniors. “Because of my study programme Communication I know how best to communicate with different kinds of people, so they can become their better selves.

Some members need the diehard boot camp lesson with the ex-soldier who is yelling into their ears, but this doesn’t work for everybody. For the little ones it is more an extension of their Gym class.” Robbin guides new members but also members with a specific goal in mind: “one of our coaches is a two time Cross Fit Regionals contender, the preliminaries of the world championship. He wants to re-enter this year but because of some injuries he wasn’t in shape.

My goal is to help him get back into shape.” Robbin does not have the ambition to compete in big tournaments. He does want to stay in shape. “I do not want to become an old man who has to stand on the sideline of the soccer field, of which people might think: he used to be such an athletic person.

Personal goals
My primary goal is to finish my thesis and get a pass. I am very busy because I work 40 hours a week at the Cross-Fit center and I am supposed to do a study program which also takes 40 hours a week.”

Robbin is not yet able to make a living from his job at the Fitness center, but he hopes that this will change after he graduates. “I am very busy with school, so that is an issue. After I graduate, we want to expand the company with more different sports and locations.” Because CrossFit is becoming more popular, the company flourishes. Robbin: “When I started with CrossFit two years ago, we and my old employer Reebok CrossFit Almere were the only registered gyms.” Currently there are four other CrossFit centers and a lot of other big franchise gyms who offer CrossFit lessons. “The gym of my old employer is one of the largest CrossFit gyms in the Netherlands. It has been open now for seven years. CrossFit Immaculate has been open for 2,5 years and we already have half their membership attendees. We are looking good! “Currently we are only a CrossFit gym but soon we will add personalized training sessions and Yoga. We are looking to spot trends on the market and try to respond. I hope that I can make this my living so that I do not have to do anything else on the side.”

Dianne Bleeker


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