Definitely create a more engaging color scheme.
People clicking off the site because it's difficult to look at isn't good for SEO results. In looking at the other sites, I noticed the content and the photos. The site itself didn't compete or distract. They're easy to read.
Have you determined what your keywords should be? For one example, take "crossfit". http://theathleticbuild.com/category/tr … -training/
Once again, the photos grab my attention, but there's also informative articles that use the keyword in a natural way.
Hover over the photos and check out the titles.
Also notice the small photo down on the left with the title "Top 20 Fittest Bodies of Crossfit".
Contrast this with the crossfit example from your site. On the homepage...the Crossfit link (Crossfit Love) takes me to a bland wall of text with the term Crossfit used way too many times (15+) – that could put off the Google bots (keyword stuffing). Also, there's no page title. You should have an <h1>* tag for each page. Something like "Ripped Up's Guide to Crossfit Training for Everyone". You could use subheads <h2> as well. These help Google determine if the page is a good match for the searched words/phrases.
Break up all that text with some subheads and photos, and include alt text on your photos (search bots read alt text and titles).
*Use VSD's HTML tool to add snippets of code to your page.
Have a look around the "interwebs" and take note of color schemes and layouts that could work for your site. Try a template site for inspiration: http://www.templatemonster.com/category … opertylist
In the long run, you'll be missing out on traffic because the site isn't responsive. Phones aren't just for people on the go. Many now use them (and/or pads) as their main or only way to browse the internet and shop online. I would consider the VSD site as a placeholder while getting up to speed on a responsive design.
Here's Google's Guide to SEO: http://static.googleusercontent.com/med … -guide.pdf