Wisdom From the Youngest Affiliate Owner in Korea


From: CrossFit Journal

Jung Won Yoon opened CrossFit BP Lab in 2016, when he was 20 years old. Yoon, a CrossFit Level 3 trainer, is the head coach of the affiliate, which he owns with his business partner and friend Manchul Choi. The small gym has just under 60 members and is located in a neighborhood surrounded by coffee shops and restaurants, hidden away from the busy roads and skyscrapers of Suwon-si, a city about 19 miles south of Seoul.

Because CrossFit BP Lab’s community includes foreigners and Koreans, Yoon coaches his classes using a blend of Korean and English.

1. What was your job before you opened your affiliate?

ALT TEXTCrossFit BP Lab owner Jung Won Yoon has had exactly one job: CrossFit coach.

Coaching CrossFit has been my only job. CrossFit is my passion, profession and lifestyle. I started my career as an intern coach at the age of 18, and then became a part-time coach when I went to college.

After college and a few intense years of learning and coaching, I opened my own affiliate on November 21, 2016, and I’ve never looked back since. I studied business and communications in college and they have hugely paid off since I am constantly connecting and building relationships with athletes from all walks of life while making sure our affiliate is heading in the right direction.

2. What has surprised you most about owning an affiliate?

The most surprising thing that I have learned was how much the little things matter. Little things build into big things. The details really do matter. Paying attention to small details is crucial in owning a CrossFit affiliate. These can be things like where you write your scores after the workout, the kind of music you play, the color of the walls, how you introduce yourself to new members, how you stand when coaching a class, the logos you put up, the things you write on your Instagram posts, and how you’re investing in the relationships you have with your members. I have learned that small gestures such as a fist bump after a workout or going up to a member who looks like he has had a rough day and asking if things are all right is crucial in building camaraderie. Little things build into big things, growing deep and meaningful relationships. As human beings, such relationships make us happier and this also correlates with people living longer, disease-free lives.

3. Why did you decide to affiliate with CrossFit?

I decided to affiliate with CrossFit because I truly believe I can save people’s lives with the CrossFit stimulus. I’ve seen the power of it. I have experienced the euphoria of helping others live better. It’s an incredible rush. Paired with proper exercise and movements, eating well-balanced meals of meats and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar will give you a pass on chronic disease. It’s so simple and easy yet so hard at the same time.

ALT TEXTFitness and food: two great ways to build a community.

4. What is the best decision you’ve made as an affiliate owner?

The best decision I have made as an affiliate owner is taking my own classes. I take the 4:30 p.m. class every Monday to Friday and it has been a blast. I not only get to throw down with my members but it is the best way to show that I truly believe in the program that I write for my members. I work out with the members for an hour a day and that is it. It is good for my members to see how I move and to see me struggle with my weaknesses. Taking a class with my own members pushes me to move better and not avoid my weaknesses. I struggle with handstand walks and my members see that. They also see me practicing progressions over and over again in order for me to do handstand walks in an actual workout in the near future. You also get to experience the coaching firsthand and see how effective your program really is.

5. What’s been your biggest mistake?

My biggest mistake was not taking a break from work. Two weeks ago, I went on a three-day vacation to a nearby island called Jeju and it was the first time I spent a day without working. I realized you need to have breaks and go on vacations before you are forced to take one. After spending some time off from work I realized how lucky I was to be owning and coaching at my affiliate. When I came back I was so much more productive and I felt my energy and drive was at another level. I could even see subtle faults in movements better than ever.

ALT TEXTWith low overhead, CrossFit BP Lab needs only a few members to stay open.

6. Do you track average revenue per member? If so, what is it, and if not, how do you measure the performance of your affiliate?

No. Financially we are at a good place. Our gym only has to have 10 members to keep the lights on and the gym running. I have a log book. I use that to reflect on the classes I have taught each day. I coach four classes each day and if I feel confident that I have done everything I can to coach an effective class for all four classes and I know my members are having fun, I am happy. That is a direct measure of the performance of my affiliate. As I have become a more experienced and effective coach I realized the passion and quality of coaching is directly related to how much money I make.

Editor’s note: Since this interview, rent and overhead have increased. CrossFit BP Lab now needs about 15 members to cover costs.

7. What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone thinking about opening a CrossFit affiliate?

You have to have a passion for coaching CrossFit and helping people become better. If you don’t enjoy teaching, seeing, and correcting movement you are going to have a hard time staying motivated for a long time. You almost have to be obsessed with movement. When you are preparing to coach a class you should be determined to make sure your athletes actually walk out the door as better movers after your class is finished. Every single class. You have to be willing to learn everyone’s names and know what their strengths and weaknesses are. If you are not passionate and you just want to make a profit, your members are going to see through that.

8. What is your favorite feature of your location?

ALT TEXTThe attic: hang out after you work out.

The second-floor attic. As you can see from the photo it’s a small area but our athletes love watching the class before or after their workout. This is the place for coffee and creating community. This is where our members eat together, relax after class or do work before jumping into class. The second-floor attic has books and magazines, a microwave, a coffee machine, camping chairs and benches.

9. What do you like to do when you’re not at the gym?

I love to skateboard, longboard, stand-up land paddle and have outdoor barbecues. I have found that doing CrossFit helps me be a better skateboarder because I am now able to carve deeper and stay more balanced on the board when I am snapping a turn.

10. What’s the one thing you think you could do to move your business to the next level?

I believe that not getting complacent at the everyday things and paying attention to how the classes are coached will move my business to the next level. This includes checking to see if we are truly following a GPP (general physical preparedness) program and seeing if we are avoiding any aspects of fitness. I believe self-reflection after a class is super important. A few ways to do this is to film yourself coaching a movement or have another experienced coach take your class and allow them to give you some critical feedback.

Answers edited for space and clarity.

About the Author: Hilary Achauer is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health and wellness content. In addition to writing articles, online content, blogs and newsletters, Hilary writes for the CrossFit Journal. To contact her, visit hilaryachauer.com.

All images: Courtesy of CrossFit BP Lab


Editor-in-Chief and founder of WeRCrossFit.com. Web developer for the stars of CrossFit, and all-around fitness enthusiast and fan.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: