And We’re Back: A Report From the 2022 Two-Brain Summit

A large group of gym owners cheers at the 2022 Two-Brain Summit in Chicago.

Action creates impact—that was my No. 1 takeaway from the 2022 Two-Brain Summit in Chicago.

Over three days, I spoke to hundreds of gym owners, coaches and fitness entrepreneurs, and it was clear that everyone was moving forward.

After two years of the COVID pandemic, it was exactly what I needed to see—and I’m sure everyone else in attendance felt better after a weekend together.

A head shot of writer Mike Warkentin and the column name "Pressing It Out."

Two-Brain hasn’t been able to host a large, in-person Summit since 2019. We’ve put on two great online events that featured smaller regional meet-ups, but we hadn’t gathered en masse in three years.

Let’s be blunt: Two of those three years were likely the most difficult in the history of the fitness business. Gyms weren’t even able to open for lengthy periods in most places, fearful clients retreated to garages and basements, and ever-changing government mandates forced pivot after pivot. We all lost a lot of sleep in 2020 and 2021.

But in 2022, I didn’t get the sense that I was surrounded by weary, beaten people. Sure, every entrepreneur at the Summit had war stories and some new scars, but I didn’t see any broken spirits. Instead, I saw a lot of committed people who are taking action.

A group of Rampage coaches smile at the 2022 Two-Brain Summit in Chicago.

It was amazing to speak to people individually and hear about all the things they’re doing in their businesses. And it was great to watch them literally taking action at the Summit. As I walked around, I saw gym owners and coaches creating client avatars, dialing in mission statements, improving skills, connecting with accountability partners, and creating careers for themselves and others. This is the kind of stuff that has dramatic effects on a business.

Sure, some gym owners are still in the hurt locker. And others are tired. But the ballroom at the Crowne Plaza wasn’t full of tears and complaining. It was full of action. Even better, the gym owners who are thriving were only too happy to offer assistance to those who are still recovering.

From the stage, each of the speakers presented clear, actionable info that supercharged the group of gym owners. Hiring, marketing, coaching, staff development, leadership, vision—our presenters offered cheat codes for all of it. Many entrepreneurs moved their businesses forward measurably before they even left the ballroom, and all of them expanded their support networks after a weekend together.

The pandemic took a lot of stuff from a lot of people. A sense of community is definitely high on that list. In Chicago on June 4 and 5, hundreds of gym owners got that back, and I can’t wait to see what they accomplish in the next year with more support, a renewed sense of purpose and the guidance of an experienced mentor.

Thanks to everyone who made the event special. Keep in touch, and keep moving forward.

A group picture of the Two-Brain Business team of mentors and support staff.
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