Chris Cooper (00:00):
Hey, I’m Chris Cooper. I’ve written seven books, thousands of blog posts over the last decade or more, and I’m using AI in my gym.
Mike Warkentin (00:08):
So what’s the deal with that? And can AI help your fitness business? This is “Run a Profitable Gym.” I’m Mike Warkentin. Today we’re digging into AI with gym owner and Two-Brain Business founder Chris Cooper. Hey, Chris, how you doing today?
Chris Cooper (00:19):
I’m doing awesome, man. I know this is a passionate subject for you and I because we both like to write and like to edit and yeah, but not everybody does. And there are definitely cases where I’m now using AI to write blog posts for me.
Mike Warkentin (00:34):
And big news: Chris has a new guide. It’s in the Gym Owners United Group. It’s called “The Clickable Step-by-Step Guide to AI Mastery for Gym Owners.” Chris wrote it. It’s got all kinds of chats that you can click into, literally copy and paste great content for your gym. Chris created all sorts of prompts for AI. They’re dialed in and he’s gonna share that output with you. You can get this guide in the Gym Owners United Group or go to gymownersunited.com and request it. Chris will send it to you. Now, Chris, you’ve built tons of businesses on content, including Two-Brain Business. So why are you using AI right now? What’s up?
Chris Cooper (01:08):
Well, so I started writing about fitness in 1995 because I was super passionate about it. And by 1998 I was using a blog post basically to grow my personal-training practice. And then when I opened my gym, 2005, Catalyst, I already knew that what I had to do to grow that business was have a blog, and I had a free Typepad blog, and I had an email list, and I just slowly built an email list, and that built the entire gym. In fact, when we had to kind of regroup and start from scratch again after COVID reopenings, the first place I went to was that email list. And it’s easy for me because first I didn’t like writing, but then I developed a little bit of skill, and I developed a passion for it. I loved writing about fitness. As things went on, and my biggest challenges in life and my biggest epiphanies and my biggest lessons were all about business, and I learned that I couldn’t just be good at fitness to have a good fitness business, I started writing about business because I knew like that’s how I frame things in my own brain and make the lessons stick and work through problems—it’s by writing. And so I started writing. I wrote my first book on a blog: dontbuyads.com. I wrote for like four straight years a blog post every single day. And we really haven’t stopped. And now at Two-Brain Business, you know, any chat engine that tries to like sort through all the Two-Brain Business content can’t because we’ve published so much stuff. That said, my passion, the thing that gets me up in the morning, keeps me up all night, is helping gym owners run good businesses. It’s not really fitness anymore. And so when I’m creating content for my own gym, now I actually turn to ChatGPT for help. And now the skill is not writing about, you know, one-rep max or energy pathways or anything like that. It’s formulating a really good query in ChatGPT and letting ChatGPT carry the load across the finish line for me, for my gym. Two-Brain, I’m still passionate about it. You know, you and I write everything for Two-Brain by hand. There’s no robots involved.
Mike Warkentin (03:10):
And so you don’t have to use AI, gym owners. If you love creating content, you can certainly do that as long as you do it right. That’s the problem: if you don’t do it, nothing happens. So you can do it yourself, but if you don’t like it, don’t wanna do it—we’ve heard this from many gym owners: “I hate writing”—ChatGPT can help you. And so, Chris, you talked about getting good with prompts, and what you’ve got in this guide is just a huge number of—literally gym owners can click into your chats, see the prompts, adjust them as they see fit according to your precise instructions and get stuff for their gym. And, listeners, I’m gonna give you a very quick rundown of a prompt here. It’s like this: I wanna create a blog post that’s interesting for my audience, captures attention, provides an explanation as to why a topic is important or relevant, provides the audience with value by teaching them something new. Create three outlines for blog posts based on the following topic. And you can insert your own topic there. Chris has the role of nutrition in CrossFit weight loss: fueling your success. Return your answers so each outline follows an introduction, body, conclusion format using bullet points. The body should be concise and focus on one to two pain points. The conclusion should offer a helpful tip and summarize the post concisely. Now, this is a very precise prompt that goes into ChatGPT and it tells the artificial intelligence exactly what Chris wants, and it kicks it out. And you can customize it by inserting your own topic in there. So, Chris, you told me some of the prompts in the new guide had to be tweaked a lot. Like why? What are you adjusting along the way to get what you want?
Chris Cooper (04:30):
Yeah, so I hope nobody’s like trying to scribble all that down. All you gotta do is go in the guide, click the link, and that prompt is written out for you. But the key now is if you are good at prompts or asking the robots the right questions the right way, they’re gonna return a piece of B+ content. And for 95% of the gym owners out there, a B+ blog post is a thousand times better than anything else they’re doing because they’re not doing it. So, you know, if you’re not publishing a blog post three times a week at at least a B+ level, use ChatGPT to do that and help build that habit because everybody else is doing it now. You know, like five years ago if you had a blog, you were ahead of everybody. Three years ago if you had a blog, you were even with the best. A year ago, if you had a blog, you were falling behind. And now if you don’t have a blog, you’re buried. So you have to do it. So the key now, though, is not like learning to write. The key is learning to talk to the robots and getting the output that you want. It’s almost like you’re programming them. That takes a few reps. So, for example, if I just said, “Hey, write me a 700-word blog post on how CrossFit helps you lose weight,” I’m gonna get something that’s not in my voice. It might be factually correct or like directionally correct, but it’s gonna be pretty vague. It’s not gonna be helpful. Really smart people are gonna realize that like a human didn’t write this. You know, it’s very general.
Chris Cooper (05:59):
I wanna give people specific helpful advice to build trust and then guide them toward coaching. So the way that you do this is not by studying AI for five years or just trying it over and over. What you do is you write the prompt and ChatGPT spits out something that’s okay. It’s directionally correct. It’s not very specific. And so you go back to the prompt and you edit it and then you say like, “Okay, now do that again, but explain it as if to an 8-year-old.” Okay, so now it’s got more conventional language. Then you say, ,”Now I want you to give five actionable bullet points that people can do on their own in that blog post.” Oh, okay, now it’s better. So it’s really this process of constant audit and refinement until you get it good. And the the neat thing about ChatGPT 4 is that it learns your voice at the same time. So the first few blog posts that it was spitting out for me sounded a little bit like an infomercial. The last one sounds a lot like me. Andto be honest, Mike, my son and I share a Chat GPT account. When he turned in his first essay at his gym class this yearthe teacher didn’t say, “ChatGPT wrote this.” They said, “Your dad wrote this.” So I’d, it sounds a lot like me.
Mike Warkentin (07:18):
You’ve been cloned! I’m gonna give you a tip if you’ve ever written an SOP—and Two-Brain talks about this all the time. The SOP say is for cleaning your floors. It is step by step. Put the water in the bucket. Put the soap in the water, and so on. If you have done that for your gym, you’re using AI the exact same way. You’re directing it very clearly with instructions to tell it what you want. And you can even look at a result and say “try again. Please write a different version using more flowery language or more whimsical language or more directly”—whatever you want. You can do that. So think about this as instructing a staff member very clearly and very directly. And then you can ask it to revise based on what you want till you get what you want. And Chris again has these prompts. You don’t even have to come up with the topics or the ideas for this stuff yourself. You can literally get this guide at gymownersunited.com. Get the guide, click the button. You’ll get into Chris’s chat, and then you can just copy, paste, make adjustments, edit as you see fit. And Chris has instructions for that. So do get that guide. Now, Chris, as a gym owner, what were you most disappointed with when you were using AI to create content?
Chris Cooper (08:20):
Well, it wasn’t quite as simple as I thought. You know, a lot of people post about it online and they’re like, “Oh, all you gotta do is press the button and you got 20 blog posts in seven seconds.” And that’s I guess technically true, but they’re not good blog posts, and you really have to refine the output over time. So the blog posts, the links that I’m giving people in this guide, you can copy that post verbatim. You know, I’ve gone through maybe seven iterations to get something that I like, but you can change it for yourself, too. And if you don’t like it, tell the AI engine what you don’t like about it, and it will fix it and rewrite it. I always say “thank you” to the AI engine. But the reality is it doesn’t care. Like you can’t hurt its feelings. If you ask it to rewrite something 30 times, it’s still faster than you writing it once yourself.
Mike Warkentin (09:09):
I have a theory, Chris, that when the machines actually do take over, they’re gonna look back at our chats, and if we were polite, we’re gonna get preferential treatment. So I’m doing the same thing as you and I’m being really nice to the machines.
Chris Cooper (09:18):
It’s the only weapon we got, man.
Mike Warkentin (09:19):
That’s right. Canadian politeness. So check this out: I got this from the Washington Post. There’s a quote in an article they had. It said, “on’t use chatbots for factual answers because you’ll often get the average or typical response and that might not actually be correct.” So do you agree with that?
Chris Cooper (09:36):
In most cases, yeah. What you’re gonna find is something that’s directionally correct, like “gym owners should raise their prices,” but it’s not gonna tell you tactically exactly what to do. And that’s really where you need a human with experience to do that. Howeverthe caveat here is that for the gym, let’s say that you’re telling people that they should do some high-intensity interval training every week and they should do some longer form, more aerobic training if they want to have a well-rounded fitness program. That’s something that a chat bot would write. “Okay, This part of this balanced fitness program.” But if you want it to be more specific, you can set up the article, the chat bot spits it out, and then you can reply to the chat bot and say, “Actually, if people want to improve their metabolic flexibility and burn more fat, they should actually be doing more work at a heart rate within Zone 2 three times a week for about a half an hour.”
Chris Cooper (10:33):
And the chat bot will say, “Ah, got it.” And then it will rewrite the article with that in mind. So you can make it specific, but you have to teach it on the specifics or else you’re just gonna get something vague and general. Right now, publishing something vague and general is still better than not publishing anything at all. We’re at this kind of like unique short-term nexus where quantity of content is still more important than quality. That’s gonna change real quick though. And, and if you wanna maximize the power of this and get SEO benefit out of it, the more specific and tactical you can be, the better. But that’s gotta come from your human brain.
Mike Warkentin (11:07):
And I think as your business evolves, your use of ChatGPT and AI will evolve as well. And the example I’ll give you is with Two-Brain Business. I’ve typed in like, “Tell me how to improve retention at a gym,” and it will create an answer. And what it’s looking at almost certainly is like these giant commercial gyms, right? Not microgyms. And so it’ll give me some general stuff, but it’s not exactly what Two-Brain Business would recommend based on the data of working with thousands of microgym owners over a period of years. So we would never publish that article. If we were perhaps a younger business mentorship company, you could certainly crank that out to build an audience, but it’s not the right info. So when the Washington Post says “don’t use a chat bot for factual answers,” that’s what it’s getting at. Your gym, you might have a passion for a certain style of training, or you might have a methodology, or you might have proprietary stuff. It’s not gonna be able to help you with that. You’re gonna have to tailor it. But if you said “lay out the benefits of the squat for everyone in building leg strength,” it’ll crank that out and crush it. But if you’re looking for very specific stuff, you’re gonna have to get it to learn or you’re gonna have to tailor and adjust. Does that make sense with you, Chris?
Chris Cooper (12:11):
Yeah. And the other factor that’s really big is the time factor. So, for example, you know, in 2010 doing free trials in a CrossFit gym was effective. You had enough low-hanging fruit, early adopters who just wanted to try it. Now it’s not. But no AI is gonna discern that that recommendation changes over time. The other thing, too, is like the timeline of an entrepreneur. You know, I wrote “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” to address this problem of there are 300 things a gym owner can do but not all of ’em can happen right now. And some are completely inappropriate at different stages of your growth. Like ChatGPT is not gonna understand that that really takes experience and a human brain.
Mike Warkentin (12:51):
There you go. So what’s a place where a gym owner can really, really screw up using AI right now?
Chris Cooper (12:55):
Well, for example, if you said to AI—and I just had this conversation with somebody this morning—”should I hire a general manager for a gym?” AI is gonna come back with “yes, you should and here is why.” And they might even say, here are Two-Brain’s steps to hiring a general manager. But what they won’t tell you is like, “Hey, you’re not making enough revenue to pay a general manager yet. You don’t have a very clear idea of what you would do with your time if you did hire a general manager. Here is how the wrong general manager can actually torpedo your business.” You know, and that’s really where experience has to play in. And as much as an AI system can learn, it can’t do, and so it can’t actually have experience. It has to take the sum of the experiences that it learns from other people. And so often you wind up getting general, non-specific advice that’s not tailored to you.
Mike Warkentin (13:50):
Yeah, and what I’d add for you, gym owners, as a media guy, if you are creating no content, creating any content is a good thing. However, if you start creating a ton of crappy content, that’s not good either. So you wanna make sure that things come out at least that represent your business appropriately. Meaning if you run a nutrition business and you believe that macro tracking is the way, you’re not just gonna cut and paste a blog post that says the plate method is exactly the way to lose weight—even if it’s whatever, “correct” according to ChatGPT. Make sure as you get more comfortable with it to at least review the stuff, edit a little bit and make sure it represents your business appropriately. But again, publishing something is better than nothing. Just don’t publish BS on your platforms. So I’ll give you that tip. Chris, the last thing I’m gonna ask you is this: AI-generated content, it’s super cool, it’s bells and whistles. Let’s get it done. Where does it actually fit into your funnel, and how does it relate to getting new clients?
Chris Cooper (14:42):
Well, we build four different funnels in Two-Brain, and one is a content funnel. And at the top of that funnel is your blogs, your YouTube, your podcast. Now AI is not going to replace you on YouTube or a podcast right now, but in this guide I’ve actually used AI to come up with a bunch of interview questions. So you can just play a game. You can hold up your phone: “HeyMike Warkentin’s interviewing me right now” and just record that content right now. So that’s another way that you can use AI as kind of like an external brain. But really you should be publishing blog posts. You should be coming up with scripts for your YouTube channelvideosframeworks for your podcast. That’s where AI can really help right now. And then you can use AI to post onto social media other places, too.
Chris Cooper (15:32):
You know, for example if you’ve got a really good “container,” like a big public Facebook group, you can use AI to distribute free guides to people. We don’t do that. So when we publish a free guide in Gym Owners United every three weeks, hundreds of people ask for it, and we respond to it humanly. Like we don’t use a chat bot to do that. We’re actually talking to people. However, you could use a chat bot there. Another good way is let’s say that you have a large number of alumni at your gym and you just want to be able to answer questions for them. You could easily create like a chat bot that answers questions and put that in a free public local group and just let people ask their fitness questions to your chat bot anytime. You know, there’s a number of ways to do this, but it really sits like at the top of funnel.
Chris Cooper (16:21):
The closer you get to signing up a human for your human business, the less application a robot has. So if you’re super passionate about something, like I am about business coaching a robot’s not gonna replace you. If you know that you need content but it’s not a top priority for you—you know, kind of what the gym is for me. I know I need to publish blog posts—that’s where I’m gonna turn to ChatGPT. I’m gonna let it write five iterations of an article. I’m gonna pick the one I like best. I’m gonna audit that and edit it five or six times till I get something that’s like a B+. And then I’m gonna publish it. And that’s what I’ve already done for you in this guide. You can copy my stuff verbatim, plug in your own link, and it’ll write it for you. It’ll even write the Facebook intro, the Instagram post for you if you want to. It’s all free. Just go ahead and do it. But start publishing.
Mike Warkentin (17:12):
Your content doesn’t just sit there. You have to use it to do something. If it’s on your website, it should have a very prominent “book a call,” “book a free consultation or No Sweat Intro.” That button should be there. So when people get to your website, they can do that. Or your content should be sent out in private groups or to email lists, and it should have a call to action. So you send it out: “Hey, for more information, contact us, book a consultation,” whatever. It raises the status of your business, and it gives the viewer a next step. And that next step is continuing the conversation. So you can message them, you can DM them, all sorts of things like that. But know that whatever content you publish, it doesn’t just sit there and die. It is part of a funnel that leads to a free consultation that leads to a sale that leads to a lifetime commitment to fitness, whether that’s in your gym or not. But you’re gonna keep that client for hopefully two years or more, make sure they’re getting results, and then hopefully they stay at your gym or at least continue working out. Either way, it’s a win for everyone. So the content is the seed that leads to the mighty oak if we wanna talk about it that way. Chris, thanks so much for being here today. That was great.
Chris Cooper (18:16):
Yeah, thanks buddy. AI is a tool like a barbell is a tool, like an InBody is a tool. You can use it or you can choose to do it a different way. I choose to use it on the projects that I love but don’t consume my entire passion area of my brain. So I don’t use it for Two-Brain. I do use it for my gym. I wanna help other gym owners do it ’cause this is what we’ve been telling them for a decade. It’s the hardest thing that they do. And just grab this guide, copy, paste my work and grow your gym.
Mike Warkentin (18:46):
You need that guide. You can get it in Gym Owners United. You’ll just go there and request it. It’ll be a prominent post that you’ll be able to find very easily. That was Two-Brain founder Chris Cooper. I’m Mike Warkentin, and this is “Run a Profitable Gym.” Do not forget to subscribe because we help gym owners run profitable businesses every single week here with two shows. Get Coop’s guide in Gym Owners United.