How the elite Wodapalooza was never meant to be for the elite

Six years ago, Guido Trinidad had a vision to create a giant fitness festival in Miami, Florida.

It’s safe to say he has succeeded.

The result: Wodapalooza Fitness Festival—one of the most prestigious fitness throwdowns for CrossFit athletes in the world. Last year, nearly 1,500 athletes from 22 countries around the world—and 25,000 spectators—traveled to Miami for the event, many of whom were high-level Regionals and CrossFit Games athletes.

Trinidad insists, though, creating an event for Games athletes was never, and still isn’t, his main mission: His number one goal has always been to create a fitness festival for athletes of all levels—“A celebration of fitness,” he said.

“It’s tempting to make your event about being all about elite athletes. But I’d rather brag about how many different types of athletes we have competing," Trinidad added. “One of the biggest reasons for our success, I think, is that we have always stayed true to our intention. We’re a community event, and all of our business decisions have been about making sure we create an experience that’s going to last a lifetime."

“We have always focused on adding value more than on making money.”

Trinidad admitted sometimes it has been tempting to stray from this philosophy for the sake of saving some cash. This is certainly true when it comes to the Wodapalooza venue.

Wodapalooza takes place at the world-renowned Bayfront Park in downtown Miami—a gorgeous venue that sits right on the water and perfectly represents the city of Miami.

“Part of the reason we decided to start the event is because it was going to be in that park. You see it and you think, ‘This is Miami.’ And when you’re working out there, you think, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I’m working out here,’” he said.

Somewhere along the way, Trinidad realized he could move Wodapalooza to a different venue and save a whole lot of money, since hosting the event in a park without basic necessities like electricity or bathrooms means they have to bring in stages and restrooms and lighting and sound systems and big screens and scaffolding and bleachers—the list goes on.

“We realized that other venues would be less expensive, and probably less of a headache, too. But then we realized it’s worth the cost. It’s an amazing experience in that park. It’s an experience that’s going to last a lifetime,” he said.

And so, Trinidad and the Wodapalooza crew decided to stick to their guns and keep their event at Bayfront Park.

“It’s worth is,” he added.

The other aspect of their success, Trinidad said, is making decisions that will be good for all parties involved—meaning the athletes, the spectators, the vendors and the volunteers.

“All four need each other, and we need to provide something to everyone,” he said.

For the athletes, giving everyone the same experience, whether you’re a Games athlete or a scaled athlete, has been one major key.

“All the athletes get the same number of workouts. The same swag. And all the athletes get a placard with their name on it. Every year, we debate whether we should spend $10,000 again on placards. But we need to. It adds to the experience,” Trinidad said.

As for the fans, one of the special aspects of Wodapalooza, Trinidad said, is how they can mingle with their favorite athletes.

“The fans can get up close and personal with them. At the CrossFit Games, they’re so far away from the athletes. We want to keep that personal touch with the athletes,” he said. Again, it adds to the whole all-inclusive celebration aspect of the weekend, he explained. 

On top of getting to hang out and chat to some of the fittest atheltes in the world, there are always other things for the fans to do at the park, as well—from guest speakers, such as CrossFit celebrity Jason Khalipa, various entertainment options, and even an obstacle course for them to tackle.

“Eventually you get sick of watching snatches and pull-ups, so we have to give them other things to do,” Trinidad said.

As Wodapalooza expands and grows and changes in the upcoming years—including potentially adding other forms of fitness to Wodapalooza, like MMA or standup paddle boarding, in the future—Trinidad insisted the event’s message won’t change.

“I have seen the power that CrossFit has had on my life and so many others’,” he said.

“Wodapalooza will always be an opportunity to celebrate that.”