Spotlight: Coach Mark Balkun Reveals Secrets to His Success in CrossFit Training and Managing a Gym

We asked our client Coach Mark Balkun to share with us his experience with sports and fitness. Coach Balkun tells us how essential his website is when it comes to attracting prospective clients and building a strong community.

Gym Manager Mark Balkun Crossfit Training

The Interview with Mark Balkun

FastComet: Mark, tell us about yourself and your passion for fitness and sports.

Mark Balkun: My passion for fitness and sports started at an early age. I begin playing sports with baseball around age 8. Playing baseball lasted until age 14 when I began playing football. Football was my true passion and talent but was very rough on my body. I continued playing football all the way through college. While in college I learned a lot about training the body and how to increase your performance levels through exercise. Post college, I started my amateur boxing career which lasted about 8 years.

To this day I still continue to teach boxing to the general population as well as professional/ amateur fighters. My most recent athletic challenge has been with CrossFit. We opened up CrossFit West Hartford about 18 months ago and since then it has had me in awe. I have since begun competing in CrossFit and hope one day to compete professionally. This has been a life long journey for me and continues every day!

FastComet: In your opinion why CrossFit is so popular? What draws so many people to the CrossFit boxes around America?

Beautiful, in shape people, competing at the highest level. To me, that is a very easy sell. I see crossfit only getting bigger, more popular, more advanced, and definitely worldwide!

Mark Balkun: Crossfit first is so popular, because when taught and performed correctly, the results are fast, life-changing, and powerful! The fact that you complete workouts as a community tend to keep people interested and engaged because their friends are there. It is also a very marketable sport. Beautiful, in shape people, competing at the highest level. To me, that is a very easy sell. I see CrossFit only getting bigger, more popular, more advanced, and definitely worldwide!

FastComet: Why did you decide to start your own gym?

Mark Balkun: I decided to start my own gym after I had been a personal trainer for a big corporation. I had a very large client base so it was an easy move. I opened up our CrossFit gym a few blocks down from my old workplace and was a fast conversion. My coach/friend/ business partner was my CrossFit coach so we teamed up together!

FastComet: What takes to run a CrossFit gym and what is the secret behind growing your business?

Mark Balkun: It takes a lot of time, commitment, passion, and trial and error to run a business. I have had to learn a lot the hard way from owning this business but it has made me so much smarter.

The secret behind growing the business is first developing a great product you can sell. Our coaches are the best in our area, our product began very good. Next is learning how to market your business so that people know about you, and ultimately come into your door! Then it is up to you to keep them there.

FastComet: Every year you organize two major fitness competitions – the Summer Meltdown and the Winter Black Ice events. Tell us more about them, is there something new about the upcoming Black Ice 2015 event?

Mark Balkun: Our fitness competitions have been a great success. We accent our great facility (Trinity College) and I feel that is a major component of it being so successful. We have a great venue with a lot of space so it’s pretty fun! Every competition the workouts change and we learn from our previous events. With every event we run, we learn more about how to run it a little more smoothly, new vendors, new prizes, and ultimately new competitors! This event should be another success and growing experience.

FastComet: How important is your website to promote your business to the local community?

Mark Balkun: Our website is essential to our business. It is how new prospects first contact our business. They go there for information immediately and helps us provide a first look into our business. The website has helped us with new leads and that is the key to new business for us!

FastComet: What is the most important feature you need for your website?

Mark Balkun: The most important feature for our website was connecting the website to our email. This gains us new prospects, which hopefully turns into new clients. Getting contact information from our website is huge! We set our website up to filter new leads into our business.

FastComet: Before coming to FastComet you had a website built and hosted with What are the major restraints of this platform? What made you change web hosting?

Mark Balkun: Our restraints were that it was not as user-friendly and we also had a hard time using the program. This has been an easier template to work with for us.

FastComet: Are you happy with our services (speed, security, technical support, availability, price)?

Mark Balkun: We are MORE than happy with your services! Mariya has been excellent and a huge help to us thank you so much!

FastComet: Is there something else you would like to tell our readers

Mark Balkun: Guys, having the confidence in your website and technical support group is essential to your peace of mind. Having your website run smoothly helps your business grow and stay organized! Providing the right information in a well-designed fashion online is key!

FastComet: Thank you, Mark, for sharing your experience about fitness training, CrossFit, and managing the CrossFit West Hartford! We are always very excited to help business entrepreneurs like you grow their business with their websites.

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Dimitar is Director of Technical Support at FastComet. He has dedicated more than ten years toward bridging gaps between customer satisfaction and technical support. As the leader of our support organization, he’s responsible for educating, empowering and recognizing our support team and focusing on the science and art of quality, productivity, and technical prowess. He likes to be challenged with the tasks and do the research to approach the goal desired.