We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Crystal Hatch a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Crystal, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. We’d love to hear the backstory behind a risk you’ve taken – whether big or small, walk us through what it was like and how it ultimately turned out.
Most of my adult career has been about taking risks. The first was when I decided to move to Denver with no job in order to pursue a job in Visual Design, the second was quitting my third design agency job to start my own design business, the third was deciding to open a physical gym teaching a movement methodology that no one was doing, the fourth was when my sister and I decided to open up a second physical gym right as the pandemic hit (we had no idea) and the fifth was moving that physical gym and methodology into an exclusively online program.
Looking back I laugh because I really set up my life so that I would never be okay with just “being comfortable”. Each time I felt like I was doing well, something was beckoning me and pushing me to shift with the next current.
Most of the risks I took I really believe made me into a stronger woman. I can say that not all of them turned out, but they all had a purpose and reason. The two physical gyms both had to close due to Covid, but our online program is picking up speed! I feel like being a woman in the fitness industry, and in the “calisthenics” space is really unique because it is almost entirely male dominated. It’s not like yoga which is mainly female and so I feel like my sister and I are really carving out our niche in a way that is supportive to woman who want to learn how to do AMAZING feats with their body. We are all about strength and how you can move versus how your body looks.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers?
I got into the fitness industry way back in 2008, when I took my first yoga class. I was really excited about the way that I could use breath and only my bodyweight to gain strength and endurance. I was hooked!
After that, I got into running, KravMaga (street fighting), gymnastics strength training, weight training, and calisthenics. I had a very successful brick-and-mortar gym in Denver ‘Awaken’, the first gymnastics strength training facility in the world. It was so successful that it caught the attention of some very big names (including Tim Ferris) and I spent many years helping other fitness facilities re-create what we had at Awaken in their different spots around the globe (UK, Australia, Singapore, Italy, etc).
During the end of the 7 years at Awaken, the other owner and myself had some conflicting views on how we wanted to run the business and so my sister and I set out to open another facility separate from Awaken that took everything we had learned, along with the best of our trainers and program developers to create a new system of training using calisthenics and traditional free weights. Club Calisthenics was born!
Not long after we opened our doors (just two weeks actually) Covid hit and forced us to get incredibly creative and transform our top-rated, world-renowned gym to a method of training that’s entirely online. Which anyone can access now, not just Denver locals.
The ClubCal Training Method contains monthly modules that focus on a specific calisthenics skill. Within the modules are follow-along calisthenics workout videos that use a combination of bodyweight exercises (dips, pull-ups, push-ups, hollows, lunges, etc) along with traditional weight training (dumbbells, barbells, etc) and the workouts are tailored to your individual level (we have 3 Levels). Our system is not only sustainable but methodical and easy to use. Just press play and follow along!
Level 1 will take you step-by-step in progressively building the mobility and strength needed for Level 2.
Level 2 is where the fun begins. Each month we’ll work towards a different calisthenics skill like planche, human flag, handstand push-up, pistol squat, front lever, back lever and more!
Level 3 is for serious calisthenics athletes and includes a full-class library as well as a Planche and Lever Course
All of these levels are accessible through our ALL-ACCESS Membership – a limited time offer only $15/mo (usually $39/mo)
As an entrepreneur, I want to empower others to find love and movement in their bodies, regardless of what they look like or where they start. The moment when someone first kicks up into a handstand holds a tuck planche, or goes upside-down on the stall bars for the first time is the reason why I do this! To get someone to feel strong and empowered. The fun part is you can start at home, no mask required.
Let’s talk about resilience next – do you have a story you can share with us?
This one is a bit harder for me to talk about because I like to focus on solutions and not dig up problems, but I think it’s important to normalize. For quite a few years I was really beat down emotionally by an ex partner. During that time, I felt like I had to be perfect – had to look perfect, talk perfect, eat the right things and not rock the boat… I also had to take care of everything in the household (along with running my business) and it was a seriously dark time for me. I just remember feeling like I was a prisoner in my own home and like I had become a shell of a person. I’m normally a really happy and charismatic person, but my self esteem was so beaten down that I ended up feeling like I was just in survival mode most days and that although I was in a relationship, I was completely alone. More alone than when I was single.
The good news is that I was able to get away from that relationship (with the help of my sister and family) and although it was incredibly hard, I was able to find myself again. And not only that, I was able to do some pretty incredible things in terms of my personal development and my businesses. I don’t regret that part of my journey because it allowed me to develop great strength and also make connections and meet friends that I never would have met if it wasn’t for that really hard relationship. I’m not justifying what happened to me, I just find like it’s healing for me to see the light in dark situations.
Any advice for managing a team?
After going through the ups and downs of running multiple businesses, there is one thing that both Holly (my business partner) and I believe is a core value. Treat others how you would want to be treated and give your team the agency and freedom to make decisions, make mistakes and grow. We run our business Club Calisthenics by treating our people as an equal part of the team. What doesn’t work is to make people fear you or make them feel incompetent – both of which I have seen in action (during my career) and it only leads to people leaving and then ultimately talking bad about the owners/leaders.
- Website: www.clubcalisthenics.com
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/crystal-hatch/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ClubCal
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crystaljoyfit/
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/ClubCalisthenics
- Other: My bio: https://www.clubcalisthenics.com/crystalhatch Recent Podcast about my journey with Gymnastics Strength Training: https://www.clubcalisthenics.com/post/crystal-hatch-interview-on-mind-muscle-podcast
Photographers: Leszek Nowakowski Jason Espinoza