Habits of Highly Successful Gyms: Focus and Metrics

Habits of Highly Successful Gyms: Focus and Metrics

Over the last several years, we’ve been tracking the best microgyms in the world. Their success led us to build the Two-Brain Roadmap. In this series, I’m sharing the six things they all have in common—The Six Habits of Highly Successful Gyms.

I started the series in the previous post, and I’ll wrap it up on Jan. 24 with a free webinar on the topic. You can register for the webinar here (500 people max, and it filled last time).

The first two habits of highly successful gyms are Focus and Metrics.




The best gym owners in the world ask themselves this question:

“What can I do better than anyone else in the world?”

Then they do that thing only and sell that thing only.

The average Orangetheory is 2,800 sq. ft., has 751 members and does $1 million+ in revenue.

The chain sells “the best one-hour workout in the country.”

Compare that to New York Sports Clubs (NYSC). NYSC has tens of thousands of square feet, 202 different types of classes and over 1,500 instructors across 101 locations.

But the average revenue per square foot at NYSC is $149 per month. The average revenue per square foot at Orangetheory is $384 per month. In 2017, NYSC lost $300,000+ per club.

Orangetheory doesn’t have to beat NYSC in every category. Instead, it needs to beat NYSC at one thing and focus on delivering that thing.

Successful gym owners don’t fall prey to “shiny object syndrome.” They don’t run 30 different types of classes. Instead, they sell exercise and nutrition coaching. They sell them with a unique prescription for each client. Because you can’t be the best in the world at selling group classes; you can be best in the world at making an effective plan for the client in front of you.




Every popular business book, every consultant and guru, and every podcast guest tells us to “know our numbers.”

But highly successful gym owners don’t know every possible metric of measurement in their gyms. Instead, they focus on the few metrics that matter.

For example, “How many members does your gym have?” is an irrelevant question. The answer doesn’t matter because a gym can have 300 members and not be profitable. As you’ll hear on Two-Brain Radio with Jared Byczko and Peter Brasovan from NapTown Fitness, profit is what counts. A profitable gym with 20 members is a better gym than an unprofitable gym with 200 members.

Off the top of your head, you should be able to answer these questions:

– How much revenue came in this month?

– How much revenue you can expect next month?

– Is your business profitable?

– How much can you afford to pay yourself as the owner?

– What are your expenses?

We teach you how to get these metrics—and then how to take control of them—in our Incubator and Growth programs.

And we built the Two-Brain Dashboard to give you clarity. Gym-management systems like Wodify and Arbox are building their business dashboards to match ours. When you know the metrics that matter in your business, you can make informed decisions. You’ll have less stress and more confidence. You won’t feel tired all the time. You’ll have control.

How do you get focus? Mentorship. My personal mentors have cost over $200,000 in the last three years. Their primary benefit is immeasurable: They give me the focus that I can’t create for myself. An objective eye that allows one to say “this is the thing to do right now” is the most powerful force in the world. That’s why we’re a mentorship practice and don’t just sell online courses.

Want a mentor? Book a call here to get one.

The Six Habits of Highly Profitable Gyms

The Six Habits of Highly Profitable Gyms

What do the most profitable microgyms in the world have in common?

Why do some gym owners become two to 10 times more successful than average?

We’ve spent the last few years studying profitable gyms—finding their commonalities and then working backward to build a Roadmap to help our clients get to success.

In this series, I’m going to tell you exactly what the top gyms in the world are doing—things you might not be doing. Stuff like this:

– Why gym owners who offer fewer services earn more.

– Which metrics the leading gyms actually track and why they matter.

– How the top gym owners can spend 99 percent of their time working on their businesses instead of in their businesses.

– Why the most successful gyms can charge 20-30 percent more than their competition.

– How the best gyms are marketing their services.

This will not be:

– A “secret” marketing campaign.

– “Easy money.”

– Bait and switch.

To benefit from this series, you must be willing to:

– Think long term.

– Help First.

– Do the work necessary to build an enduring gym.

If you are willing to do that, you’re going to get amazing results from this series. Here’s how I’ll deliver these hard-won lessons to you over the next posts:

In Part 2, I’ll tell you how to focus your time and energy on the things that matter. Then I’ll tell you the numbers you need to focus on to be successful.

In Part 3, I’ll tell you how to delegate so you can work on your business, instead of in it. I’ll also tell you how to charge what you’re worth (most people don’t believe it when they hear it … until I prove it).

In Part 4, I’ll use Two-Brain Radio to introduce you to Peter Brasovan and Jared Byczko, who will share a ton of insight on running their million-dollars-plus gym. It’s amazing.

Finally, I’ll host a free webinar on the topic, in which I’ll answer your questions and share the remainder of the Six Habits. Last time I did this, we hit our 500-registrant cap, and I answered over 100 questions from the audience (we were on there for over two hours, and I legitimately got choked up while answering a great question from Ric Thompson).


You can register for the free webinar here. It’s at noon EST on Friday, Jan 24.

Creating Truly Irresistible Bribes for Online Marketing

Creating Truly Irresistible Bribes for Online Marketing

Mike: 00:02 – Hey Mateo. If I had the ultimate guide to uninterrupted sleep for eight hours every night, guaranteed, would you give me your email address to get it?

Mateo: 00:10 – I would give you my email address. I gave you my phone number, I gave you my credit card number, I would give you my social-security number. I would give you passport number. I would give you pretty much every number that I could give you for that information. For that guide.

Mike: 00:23 – It’s like, OK, so I’ve come up with what would probably be perfect lead magnet to get you to stop scrolling and exchange some information to get in conversation with me. And potentially I’m probably gonna end up making a sale and probably getting most of your bank account and maybe, you know, your firstborn children.

Mateo: 00:38 – You would be yes, well positioned to do all of that.

Mike: 00:43 – Well positioned. I’d have all the tools in my arsenal. We’re going to talk—lead magnets are a big deal. That’s what a lot of people are trading their information for in the marketing world these days. So a lot of advertisers selling goods and services are really trying to get your info and they’re going to give you something for free in exchange. That is a lead magnet, correct?

Mateo: 01:00 – Yes. We’re going to get into it. I’ll give you my definition in a second.

Mike: 01:06 – All right, we’ll get to that. We’re going to talk more about lead magnets, how to get more leads with them, and how to make more sales as a result. Want to add $5,000 in monthly revenue to your gym? It can be done. If you want to know how you can talk to a Two-Brain Business mentor for free. Book a call twobrainbusiness.com. All right. I am back with Mateo Lopez of Two-Brain Marketing. We are on Two-Brain Radio. My name is Mike Warkentin and please remember to subscribe and check back in our archives. We have tons of marketing stuff going on and lots of good shows with Sean Woodland and the man himself, Chris Cooper, regularly. So please subscribe. We are talking lead magnets. Mateo. First question. You said in the intro, you’re going to tell me your definition. What is a lead magnet?

Mateo: 01:48 – So it’s essentially just a bribe, right? It’s a bribe. You are giving away something of value to your prospect. And then in exchange they’re going to give you their contact info. That’s really what it is. It’s an irresistible bribe for being—that’s a really good lead magnet. The more irresistible you can make it, you know, the more effective your lead magnet is going to be. And it’s a called magnet because, you know exactly what it sounds like. You’re attracting leads to you with this thing.

Mike: 02:23 – So you’ve got the big picture of the big U-shape magnet, like the horseshoe that’s just pulling people in.

Mateo: 02:27 – Exactly, pulling phone numbers and emails right to you.

Mike: 02:32 – And we’ve talked, guys, in earlier shows about what to do with those phone numbers and emails once you get them. So if you’re getting lots of leads, we can tell you more about that in those shows so check the archives. So tell me Mateo, how are lead magnets commonly used in digital marketing? What’s the most common way these bribes are served to people? And what do people want in result?

Mateo: 02:53 – Well, so no matter your traffic source, right? Whether you get most of your traffic from search engine optimization or from Facebook ads or from content marketing or from Instagram or from whatever platform you get the most traffic, could even be referrals in person, your lead magnet is that thing that’s going to take the people that you’re offering to that traffic source, right? You’re offering it to that traffic source and getting people to opt in and give you their information. Was that your question? What was your question?

Mike: 03:35 – Yeah. No. Yeah. I’m asking like how, cause again, you touched on a cool thing where you could have it. Cause you could use a lead magnet if you had a booth at a trade show and you know, sign up— I’ll give you a free InBody scan if you give me your email address, that’s a lead magnet. That’s not necessarily a thing that you get, but it’s a

Mateo: 03:58 – If we’re talking about trade shows, you know, every time you see a conference, not a conference, a contest or the spinning the wheel thing or the free pens or the, you know, win this little teddy bear if you answer this survey or whatever, T-shirts, whatever it is, those are the lead magnets. 100%. It doesn’t have to be online per se. But yeah, it’s that thing that you’re giving away for free in exchange for some contact info. Win this free car just give me your email or whatever.

Mike: 04:27 – Yeah. Even a free pen, like people do anything for free. The best example I saw this ever was at the Arnold Sports Festival and I was walking around checking it out there and there’s just this carnage of like celebrities and booths and all these different supplement companies and there’s this huge line and I’m walking by and this guy says, what are we standing in line for? And the guy in front of him says, I have no idea, but the line is huge, so it must be something free and awesome. Right? And that’s kind of the idea. There was a lead magnet somewhere. So essentially we want to do that. We want to get those huge lines leading to your stuff online.

Mateo: 05:01 – So yeah. So, and what people use it for, right? If you’re using them correctly, it’s that intro point into your sales funnel, right? It’s getting that lead, because then once you own that information, that contact info, you can push it further and further down your sales funnel, right? You can then offer that person, once you offer them the free thing, you can then offer them a low-ticket item. Maybe it’s a consultation, maybe it’s one personal-training session for 50% off. Maybe it’s your six-week program, maybe it’s whatever it is. And then the person buys that thing and then once they buy that thing, you can offer them your recurring membership program. You can offer them a personal-training package, you can offer them your supplements, you can offer them new T-shirts. And then once you offer them that thing, you can offer more PT or more, you know, you just pushing them further and further down.

Mateo: 05:53 – And then once they’re all the way through your funnel and they’re a client, you can restart the whole process. You can offer them another lead magnet for your nutrition program. And maybe it’s a cookbook that they can use for free after they’ve been at your gym for six months. And then once they get that cookbook, then you can say, Hey, I saw you did the cookbook, are you interested in our nutrition program? We can do a nutrition assessment for free or for 20 bucks. And then do the assessment like, well, based on this assessment, you’re fat and unhealthy, you want to do our six-week nutrition challenge and then again you’ve started the whole thing over and over and over again. Right.

Mike: 06:27 – So it’s not lead magnet so much as lead magnets, plural, where you’ve got—once you get these people in this funnel, you can use all sorts of different lead magnets to get people to do the things that you want them to do and ultimately the things that they want to do to change their lives. Or do you get the benefits of your product or service. They’ve opted in for a reason.

Mateo: 06:43 – Yeah. I mean, especially if—the more stuff you’re able to give away, I mean you’re, you’re really positioning yourself as an authority figure in the space, right? And you’re getting people to consume a lot of your content, they’re really going to trust you and like what you say, so that when it comes time to offer them something to buy, they’re going to be more receptive to that.

Mike: 07:08 – A professional-looking lead magnet, like it really sets you apart. Right? Like, if there are three ads and all three of them are asking you to join a gym, but one of them is just yelling at you. The second one is doing something else and the third one says, Hey, I’m going to give you this free 25-page full color guide to personal training or to squatting, whatever. That guide is probably going to stand out and at least if nothing else, make that one gym look more professional than the other gym.

Mateo: 07:35 – Yeah. I have a whole list of tips for making good lead magnets and one number—I don’t know which number it is, I can’t find it, but one of them is definitely like presentation is everything. Presentation can make or break your lead magnet. Not make or break, but it plays a big part for exactly the reason you just said.

Mike: 08:02 – OK. We’re going to get to that in just a sec, but I want to touch on one thing that you brought up there is that you’re getting—people are opting in and they’re giving you their contact information. So this is like an excellent way—there are some pretty shady ways to get email addresses and I don’t know how many times I’ve got nonsense spam stuff coming from all manner of people. Everyone from like, you know, the Prince who needs me to give him my credit-card number and he’ll pay me back to like legitimate products and services from people in the fitness market that I’ve clearly not signed up for, like I would know if, you know, company X, I had signed up for. And we’ve got all these new spam laws and all this other stuff going on. So when someone gives you their email address, fair game, correct?

Mateo: 08:43 – Yes. It’s tip number five, by the way. I found it. It’s number five on my list.

Mike: 08:48 – Well, I won’t hold our listeners hostage. Let’s get right into it. Let’s talk about some of the tips for lead magnets. What do we want to do in these things? And again, before you get going, I’m going to tell you that if you want to get just a ton of them, there’s more than 13 on TwoBrainbusiness.com/free-tools. We’ll put that link in the show notes. And again, this is a shameless plug. But the same time we’ve created a ton of stuff. Cooper, Chris Cooper has given away 90% of the stuff that he thinks about and talks about he gives away for free. You can get it all and see a ton of great lead magnets there. Now Mateo, tell us what the tips are.

Mateo: 09:21 – Well. Yeah. So I mean, the other great thing about lead magnets, too, before we get into that is you know, especially if you’re struggling to get people to opt in and book an appointment with whatever you’re advertising, if it’s a six week, a 12 week or whatever, putting in that intermediary step, which is the kind of step before that lead magnet step will really help you. It makes your sales funnel a little bit longer. It makes the process a bit longer. You may need to invest a little bit more in pumping that info out there, putting those ads out there for your lead magnets, but it will help you get better conversions into whatever program you want them to eventually buy. Right? I mean, that’s where people I see struggle the most is, you know, people will try to advertise online and they’ll go straight with their core service, right?

Mateo: 10:17 – They’ll try and present a stranger, basically on the internet, present them with their core service and their core offer. And the reality is these people don’t know you well enough and don’t trust you enough to want to give you, you know, even if just a month of your memberships is 150 month, that’s too high of a barrier. Right? So that’s why a lead magnet, what’s great is that it removes the risk, right? It removes the risk from the prospect. Like, all right, I’ll engage with this business now. There’s not a whole ton of risk. Like this is a transaction, right? You are giving something in exchange for their contact info, but this transaction has a lot less risk for the prospect. Because you know, no money, they’re not putting any money up for it. Right?

Mike: 11:10 – It’s like, I’m not gonna kiss a stranger, but I might shake his hand.

Mateo: 11:15 – Exactly. Right, exactly. You know, the reason why certain people have been successful with skipping this step is, you know, with something like, you know, we talked about this last episode or we’ve talked about it a lot, but you know why you’ve seen the successful six-week challenge thing going on is because that is, you know, in a kind of a roundabout way, selling them on your front-end offer or a core service offering that you have that is pretty expensive, but you’re giving it away for free. I’m putting that in quotation marks. So that has removed the risk from the prospect. So yes, you’re going to see a lot more people opt in for that. Right? So I don’t know if I’m explaining that correctly, but you see where I’m going with it is you’re kind of combining the two. You’re combining the two.

Mateo: 12:00 – You’ve kind of turned your six-week program, your flagship product, into a lead magnet almost, because you know, in theory giving it away for free. You know, I don’t think that’s actually what ends up happening, but we don’t need to go into that. And another reason too why we don’t lead with this in our course, right? We still tell people, hey, you know, advertise your six-week program, try and get people to opt in for this, is because, you know, we want to give gym owners the opportunity to get some phone numbers and start making appointments and start earning money now. Right? That’s the only reason why we do it that way. But if you’ve got the resources and a little bit more time, having a lead magnet is going to make the whole process a lot easier for you, for your prospects and really level up our sales funnel, if that makes sense.

Mike: 13:00 – It’s fun. Like I’ve used some of these at my gym and we send them sometimes just to our current members just as free gifts too. So we create this thing. We do use it as a lead magnet. Like I’ve got one, my wife wrote a top-five high-protein baking recipes or something like that. We have on the website as lead magnet for people who pop in and we use it on Facebook and so forth. And then we just send it to our members as a gift and they’re like, this is kinda cool. And it’s just a value added service for them. So they can use them in a number of ways.

Mateo: 13:25 – And that’s a retention tool for you, right? Keeps people engaging with what you’re having to say. And if you’re, you know, you can then go to that person, like we talked about earlier and you know, hey, I saw you downloaded the cookbook. You know, what had you interested? I’m trying to eat better. Oh really? Well have you thought about our nutrition program? And then boom, you’re off to the races there.

Mike: 13:47 – Forward it to a friend, print it out, give it to your friend. There’s a lot of different ways of thinking. It has legs. It’ll go for a bit. So let’s talk about how to make them, let’s do some tips and teach people what to do with these things.

Mateo: 13:58 – There’s a ton of things you can do, right? It almost might be overwhelming trying to get started cause there’s so many different ways you can do this, right? There’s checklists, there’s ebooks. You can do a case studies on your current clients, right? Hey, you know, Joe, father of two, you know, had a double bypass surgery last year. Now he’s got a six pack. Like learn how he did it. You know, you can do it tons of different ways. You can do videos, you can do quizzes, you can do cheat sheets, you can turn a blog post that you’ve written into a lead magnet. I mean, that’s essentially what we’ve done at Two-Brain with Chris. We’ve essentially taken, you know, he’s written blogs for years and years. We’ve kind of taken some of those, repurposed them, turned them into an ebook or a guide or a PDF.

Mateo: 14:50 – And now it’s a lead magnet, right? So there’s tons of ways you can do it, right? Lead magnets can be educational, they can be like a tutorial. You mentioned the squat one, like that’s another way you can kind of frame it. They can be, you know, you could use them to build community, right? You can create a Facebook group and invite people to join that Facebook group and in that group you’re going to give away value for free and then you keep nurturing that group and then you can turn them into prospects and to lead them into clients. There’s tons of ways you can kind of do this.

Mike: 15:32 – So it’s just some sort of bribe something that people want.

Mateo: 15:34 – Yeah, I mean the most common ones are your ebook, a PDF or some kind of like video series, like, you know, a week of at-home workouts, you know, something like that where you demo the movements, right? Those are kind of the most common ones. And eBooks are cool because you know, you can add to them, right? You can combine ones, you know, there’s tons of ways. And again, like you said, the more professional you can make it look, it’ll kind of make you seem like an authority figure, right?

Mike: 16:09 – Was that tip number five?

Mateo: 16:11 – I don’t know. I don’t know what tips we’re at just yet, but those are kind of the formats, right? The different formats and lenses and approaches, I guess you could go with these things. The tip, now we’re going into the tips, right? You want this to be irresistible, right? So the more of a value you can give away for free, and the more specific you can be, too, you know, that’ll really help you—the better results you’re gonna have, right? So, you know, the ultimate guide to becoming a top salesman, that sounds kind of general, right? The ultimate guide to selling more at trade shows. Now it’s a little bit more specific. Right? Now you’re tapping into a more specific kind of an audience. So that might resonate a little bit more. That might be a little bit more attractive or irresistible. Does that make sense?

Mike: 17:07 – If nothing else it’ll set you out from the crowd, probably, cause a lot of people probably say top salespeople—you probably won’t, you know. Yeah, you’ve definitely just, you’ve taken it to a different spot where it’s going to stand out a little bit.

Mateo: 17:18 – How to generate more leads with online marketing. Like, OK, how generate more leads with Facebook lead ads with Facebook’s new dynamic creative or with, you know, Instagram, you know, posts or whatever it is. Now you’re drilling down a little bit more, right?

Mike: 17:36 – Getting some descriptive words in the title.

Mateo: 17:39 – Right. So I guess the number one tip is you need to solve a problem, right? Like everything else we’ve been talking about, the key to having an effective offer, effective ad creative, is you need to identify a problem that your niche is having and then you need to provide them with some kind of solution. You know, if your lead magnet doesn’t do that, it’s most likely going to be a dud.

Mike: 18:03 – You’ve got lots. I mean, every gym owner knows thousands of problems that people are trying to solve. So, you know, if you’re struggling for an idea on that one, start talking to five of your clients or even five people who aren’t your clients and ask them what problems they’re trying to solve. And you’ve got probably got 500 lead magnets from those conversations.

Mateo: 18:20 – Oh, exactly right. Yeah. There’s tons from, you know, how to squat better to like how to eat clean on vacation. I mean, there’s tons you can go down. If you can, promise a quick win, right? So, you know, if your lead magnet can help them achieve a small goal or succeed in some way quickly, that’s going to be, you know, even better, right? That’s going to make your lead magnet really, really pop and really shine and make you shine in turn because they’re already getting results from you, right? So by the time you go and ask them to buy something, they’re going to say, yeah, I mean, I already lost 10 pounds following your workout video series, I’m gonna sign up for this personal-training thing or whatever it is. Right.

Mike: 19:06 – That’s trust and authority, right. Results based on after establishing trust and authority.

Mateo: 19:11 – Yeah. And yeah, so you want to get them to a point where they’re succeeding with your lead magnet. We talked about this already, but you want to be specific, right? We just covered that one. So that was tip number three. I guess I skipped around.

Mike: 19:25 – I’ll tack something on just because I know it’s something that Two-Brain is kind of based around, is that specific and also actionable, maybe if that’s lower down the list, I’ll apologize, but it’s gotta be actionable where—it’s frustrating when you get something and it’s just critical and it just is, you know, ranting or raving. It’s gotta be something that tells people to do something and something that will give them that win. Right? So that’s why like in this show, we’re telling you if you’re going to make a lead magnet, do these things that are going to make that lead magnet work for you. So we’re trying to give you some wins here. We’re doing exactly what number three tip is, but specific actionable stuff. And that is, you know, a Two-Brain principle that we’re always going to follow.

Mateo: 20:09 – So this is one that we don’t always follow the rule on with our lead magnets at Two-Brain, but it should be quick to digest. We tend to give a lot of value away. We tend to write a bunch of stuff and want to make sure you guys have all the information that you need to succeed as an entrepreneur or if you’re talking about your clients in your gym as an athlete. So while you do want to provide value, you know, you want to also make sure that this is something that they can consume relatively quickly or relatively easily, right? Like it shouldn’t be like a 20-hour video series on how to become a better squatter. Although of course you could probably create one, you might not want to use that as your lead magnet.

Mike: 20:57 – Yeah. So you can, I mean, I’ve looked at some of the ones on some of the popular sites and some of them are like 20 or 30 pages long, but there’s not a ton of stuff in there. Like it’s great big graphics and things like that. So it’s kind of fun to go through. It’s not like 70,000 pages of text. It’s like, you know, big tip, cool picture, big tip, infographic. Like it feels like there’s some stuff there, but it’s kinda fun to scroll through it. It’s kind of like a video game. You’re just plowing through. On the other side of it though, like you said, Chris has a ton of knowledge and a ton of content. We’ve kind of put together some super magnets for lack of a better term, where some of these things have never been produced anywhere. Like our ultimate business plan for gym owners like is one of the more definitive things. We did that on purpose and that one is very text heavy, but it’s solving a huge problem for a person. So I think what you’re saying there is, know what your audience wants and needs and then kind of tailor it to that, but you always want them to be able to consume it. The 20-hour video series is not going to work for everybody, that’s for sure.

Mateo: 21:55 – Yeah. I mean, most entrepreneurs like to read a lot of books, like to read business books, like to consume that kind of content. So yeah, having our super lead magnet, like you just said, that kind of works for us. Yes, so it definitely depends on the audience for sure.

Mike: 22:11 – There is a cost of production on these things so you, not that I’m saying you want to hit the minimum, but if a 30-page magnet gets you the email address, you don’t need a 70-page one necessarily. So you can kind of balance your cost of production versus what you want to achieve. And if you’re getting leads with a 20-page magnet, go with it.

Mateo: 22:30 – Hundred percent, a hundred percent. And again, that’s why we don’t lead with this right away in our course because like you said, there is a cost of production, especially if you want it to work well. Last couple of things are pretty simple. It should be easily accessible, instantly accessible, right? So if you say, click here to download now, we’re going to send it right to your inbox. You should actually send it to their inbox.

Mike: 22:54 – Nothing is more annoying.

Mateo: 22:54 – There’s actually a couple, internet gurus out there or gym marketing people, I’m not gonna name names, where I’ve opted into their stuff and like there’s no thing, like they, they tell you they’ll show you the top five things or the new hybrid model for this and that. And you opt in and there’s like nothing there, it’s just a bunch of testimonies and telling you to book a call with their sales team.

Mike: 23:24 – That’s a kick in the crotch.

Mateo: 23:24 – So, yeah, you want to give them the thing and it should be instant. And you can automate that. It’s really simple, especially if you got like mail—even MailChimp or things like that can help you do that. And then we already kinda talked about this sporadically throughout this episode, but yeah, demonstrate expertise, right? You know, you want to hint at your service’s unique value proposition and you want to basically make sure that you’re giving away stuff that is relevant to what you are going to eventually sell them. Whatever your core services and relevant to the people who are consuming this content.

Mike: 24:07 – That’s big, exactly. Goes back to that establishing authority. You know, there are certain things, like I’ve heard you talk about it, I think it was a DJing something or other that I think you downloaded. I’ve downloaded some things that I’m interested in. The more of these things that you see and refer to, you start to really, the status of the provider goes up in your mind. It just does, right? Like HootSuite sends me all these different, you know, PDFs of cool stuff with social media. I read them all the time. By definition, just start to rank them up in my mind. So, it’s constant and the larger these things get, and that’s again where we talked a little bit about the cost production, and so forth. But, when you look at, again, if you go to the free tools on the Two-Brain site and you down—I think there’s like, there’s gotta be like six to 800 pages of free stuff here. Like it is literally gym-saving stuff. And if you’re not impressed by that, you’re probably not gonna be impressed by anything. Right? So you’re exactly right. Establishing authority. And there’s so many people, when I’ve asked Two-Brain people, how did you get into the company? How’d you get associated? They said, I read something that Chris wrote. And it could have been a blog or whatever. And it’s just that it’s a whole big giant mesh of authority-building stuff. And a lead magnet is one part of it for sure.

Mateo: 25:15 – And I realized I skipped number five again, even though we already tied back to number five. But yes. And this ties back to exactly what you’re saying. You know, it’s gotta be valuable, right? Both an actual value, like it should do the thing that you’re promising that it will do. Like, you know, if you’re giving away a productivity checklist, it should, you know, help them do that if they follow the checklist type of a thing. Right. But also perceived value. And this is kind of what you’re saying right now with the super lead magnets we’ve created, with the books that Chris has written, you know, in a lot of ways those are lead magnets, right? But it should have some high perceived value and that’s where cost for production, like it should look clean.

Mateo: 26:00 – It should look nice. It should be well designed. It should—you can use stock photos, right? But make sure it doesn’t look like stock or scammy or whatever. Right? You know, there’s ways to do that where it doesn’t feel, you know, I guess, yeah, scammy or not professional. And that’s again where it ties back to presentation is everything, especially with lead magnets, especially because this is going to be in a lot of ways people’s first point of contact with you, the first time they’re going to see or ever hear about you. And they’re going to be cold, right? So you want to make a good first impression.

Mike: 26:37 – Yeah. It’s like a modern business card. You don’t want typos on there and, I can’t take grammatical errors and typos. That’s my career is hunting those things down. So, you know, the tip that I’ll give you guys from a production standpoint is proofread the things. Or if you don’t have someone who’s good at—if you’re not good at doing it, get someone to proofread it for you. Someone who was good at English in school that can do it for you. Make sure you—write them. You don’t have to be a pro. And you know, Chris has talked about this a lot of times with people, just you need to generate content. You need to get it out. You shouldn’t sit on something until it’s perfect. At the same time, if there’s a big red line in your word document underneath a word, just do a little check on that to see if you spelled it right and then fix it.

Mike: 27:20 – And then the second thing is what you said about photos and stuff. Whatever you’re using, make sure you have the rights to use it. Don’t steal photos. You can get some huge, huge monetary problems with stolen photos, so if you’re using stock images, licensed them appropriately. This is advertising, right? So it’s a commercial use of something. Make sure you’re licensing this stuff properly. Do not steal a picture of a celebrity and put it on your lead magnet, even if it was on the internet for free. Do not do that. You will get in trouble eventually, if not now later. And it can be huge. We heard of a one lawsuit, it was for one usage of a photo of a celebrity on a website and it was, and the demand from the lawyer was a hundred grand, which is insane. This was something that was viewed like something like 400 times or something on a website that was not super high traffic. A hundred grand. So yeah, it’s insane. So take your own photos, license your photos. There’s tons of ways that you can do that. But do read the fine print on that stuff. Use things appropriately and then make them look good. And then, you know, from there you’re going to use this lead magnet, you’re gonna put it on something, you’re going to get it to people somehow. And that’s going to be part of your ad funnel.

Mateo: 28:28 – Yeah, we talked about this or I mentioned this at the beginning, right? Whatever your traffic source is, right? You’re going to take this and offer it to the people in that traffic source. Right? And one more quick, quick thing. So many tips. But yeah, like we’ve talked about in the ad copy episodes we’ve done and the episodes we’ve done talking about Facebook ads, right? Check the archives. If you can create some kind of scarcity and urgency, even better, right? So, hey, I’m giving away my bestselling book, “Facebook Ads for Dummies,” but I only printed out a hundred copies. So get yours now. Right? Obviously it’s a lie, probably has infinite amounts she wants to give away or he wants to give away or whoever, but, right. That’s a bad example. But you get the idea, right? This one weird trick, download this guide, but I’m only going to keep it up for 24 hours cause if everyone gets it, I’m going to be out of business. So download now, that kind of a thing.

Mike: 29:34 – And you can certainly define ways to make that honest, right? Where you rotate your guides. Like I’m only offering this for the next week. Take it down and put up another one, whatever. But that scarcity definitely, definitely works. I feel it when someone, you know, when if I’m hemming and hawing on something and there’s only three left, I’m like, I kind of wanted it, now I really want it.

Mateo: 29:51 – Yep it happens to me all the time.

Mike: 29:56 – OK. All right, so lead magnets. We covered a lot of stuff in this show. And a lot of it relates back to the ads that get people to click on lead magnets. It relates on what you do with contact information once you get it. All of this stuff we’ve covered in previous shows. So if you have questions about some of the stuff we’ve covered, scroll back through Two-Brain Radio, and do subscribe. We’ve got more stuff coming out. Mateo and I are going to talk about a whole bunch of marketing topics in the next weeks. More stuff to come. So please subscribe to Two-Brain Radio. And if you want to get mentorship to help your gym right now, you want to add $5,000 a month in recurring revenue to your gym, we can tell you how to do it. Chris Cooper has created a road map. No one else the industry has it or can show you how to navigate through it. Our mentors can. You can book a free call with a mentor at twobrainbusiness.com and we’ll talk about if mentorship is right for you. Mateo, it’s been a pleasure. I’m Mike Warkentin, this is Two-Brain Radio and we’ll talk to you next time.

Announcer: 30:53 – Thank you for listening to Two-Brain Radio. Make sure to subscribe to receive the most up-to-date episodes wherever you get your podcasts from. To find out how we can help create your Perfect Day, book a free call with a mentor at twobrainbusiness.com.


Two-Brain Radio presents marketing tips and success stories every Monday.

Chris Cooper delivers the best of the business world every Thursday, and Sean Woodland has great stories from the community on Wednesdays.

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How to Delight Your Clients Online

How to Delight Your Clients Online

Facebook groups are a powerful tool for client engagement between classes. Unlike Slack or any other group chat service, your clients are already on the platform.

But most Facebook groups suffer from low engagement, lack of quality discussion, criticism, arguments or all of the above. Some groups attract a wide variety of opinions without any kind of filter to discern fact from—well, crazy. Sometimes clients try to sell their Amway products to each other. Done wrong, Facebook groups are just a huge distraction for you—and for your clients.

Here’s how we’ve built the best Facebook group in the world, why we don’t let everyone in (even our own clients until they’re ready!) and how we keep the content valuable.


The Two-Brain Business Facebook Group: The Most Valuable Group in the World


The Two-Brain Facebook Group contains just over 500 members and over 50 posts every single day. Many contain sample materials that gym owners generously share with others (blog posts to copy, social posts to swipe and—most valuable of all—honest experience). When gym owners reach the Farmer Phase of entrepreneurship, this group provides most of the peer support they need to be successful. It’s a retention tool and adds a ton of value to gym owners: You could literally make more than $500 every month just by copying the stuff others share!

Here’s how we keep it valuable. You can copy these lessons to build a Facebook group that delights your clients.


First, We Keep Our Group Private


We don’t allow people who aren’t in the Two-Brain family inside because we want to maintain the huge wall of trust that surrounds our tribe. Many of the problems that plague other Facebook groups come from a lack of transparency: People are scared to tell the truth about themselves so they either over-hype themselves or stay silent.

In our group, all know they can’t hide the truth about their businesses because their mentors know their numbers. In other groups, it’s incredible to see gym owners posing as “experts” while their gyms are practically bankrupt.

We don’t even allow members of the Two-Brain family into our private Facebook group until they’ve reached the Growth Stage of mentorship. This is because entrepreneurs in the Incubator need focus more than they need peer support. Our Incubator program is done 1:1 with a mentor: We actively eliminate noise, great but distracting ideas and time on social media for Incubator clients to help them focus.

In your gym, this means you should remove people from your Facebook group when they cancel their memberships. It means you should make a big deal about inviting new people (and welcome them one by one when they join). And you should actively remove people who aren’t a good fit. Your Facebook group should be a bonus to your clients, not a right.


Second, We Lay out Expectations Clearly in Advance


Here’s the top post in our group:

*****START HERE*****
This is a group for high-level business discussion. It’s private for TwoBrainBusiness mentoring clients.

Questions are encouraged. Ideas are prized. Dogma is forbidden.

Dead horses have their own thread. If you’d like to ask about booking/billing software, search for the “master thread” on software.

Please keep the discussion focused. Memes and jokes are the backbone of Facebook but don’t fit in this group. Likewise, criticism of non-Two-Brain practices is discouraged.

There are no “experts,” no icons here; everyone is asked to be open to mentorship and play the role of mentor to others. If you’re not familiar with the concept of Beginner’s Mind, read this before posting: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshin.


Third, We Actively Uphold Our Rules


It’s extremely rare, but we remove people from the Facebook group immediately if they don’t follow the rules. The Facebook group is only a complement to our mentorship practice, and our duty to the group’s members is paramount. So if one member is negatively affecting the experience of another, we remove the problem person immediately. No warnings necessary and no doubt about the action.


Fourth, We Remove Distracting Conflicts Before They Arise


In some cases, an entrepreneur in one city will have a conflict with another. That’s none of our business, and we believe every entrepreneur should have a chance to succeed. But members of our Facebook group can request that another entrepreneur from their city be excluded. The second owner can complete our Incubator program and even join the Growth Phase; they just can’t join the Facebook group.

The funny thing is that this happens far less than you’d expect. Most gym owners realize that it’s in their best interest to have nearby gyms operating at the same standard they are, so they actively recruit their neighbors to join. Out of over 500 members in the Two-Brain group, we’ve only received four requests to block another gym owner—and three of these were for the same person!


Fifth, We Lead by Example


Mentors think before they post. Mentors don’t have spelling mistakes or grammatical errors in their posts. No one posts memes, rants or other time-wasters, because group leaders don’t bury good content under that stuff.

We don’t allow criticism of anyone, even the people who attack our strategies. Because that doesn’t help the people in our group.

We encourage thoughtfulness and positive internal dialogue. For example, every Friday, dozens of Two-Brain entrepreneurs post their Bright Spots to help them practice gratitude.

In your gym, that means you need to be actively engaged to spur conversation. Start with something like Bright Spots Fridays—it’s been copied by many gyms, and it helps with their retention in a measurable way.

It means that the group’s tenor and engagement are a reflection of your tenor and engagement. Use it to build people up or don’t do it at all.


Sixth, Gift People With Fame


Give them a podium early and often.

Every new person in the Two-Brain Facebook group gets a specific introduction: Here is this amazing gym owner; here’s what the owner accomplished in Incubator; here’s what he or she will add to the group. Then several dozen others respond with a warm welcome. It’s a great opportunity to show new people a red-carpet greeting.

You can do the same thing. Introduce a new person with a great memory from your on-ramp program, a good picture and some personal detail that you remember about him or her. Put the client on a podium. Brag about him or her every chance you get, like this:

“Hey all, Harvey brought up a great question this morning in our group … .”

“Guys, I just have to take a minute to brag about Helen. Last night, she … .”

“Just in case any of you missed it, Alena got her first double-under on Saturday!”

Look for opportunities to make your clients feel famous.

When you start a private Facebook group, you’re going to have to be the catalyst: Spur it into action. Share openly. Start conversations. Make it what you want it to be. Don’t wait.

You’ve probably heard this phrase: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Those people can pull you forward or pull you backward. And you can do the same for them.

“No man steps in the same river twice.” —Heraclitus

Like it or not, every interaction you have with the world—and the people in it—changes them. And it also changes you. So lead your people in the direction you want to travel yourself.

The people I spend most time with are in the Two-Brain family. I prefer to be around people who will change me in a positive way. That’s why our Facebook group is private. That’s why you have to complete the Incubator and start Growth Stage before joining: I want you to master the basics, then add complexity.


Other Media in This Series

How to Delight Your Clients
Delighting Your Clients: Giftology
How to Help Your Clients Win
What Jason Ackerman Learned From 10,000 Hours of Coaching

What Jason Ackerman Learned From 10,000 Hours of Coaching

What Jason Ackerman Learned From 10,000 Hours of Coaching

Chris: 00:02 – Welcome to Two-Brain Radio. I’m your host, Chris Cooper, here every week with the best of the fitness industry. Got a sec? We would love to hear from you. I write emails to my mailing list every day, and it’s a highlight when somebody takes the time to respond. If you’ve got feedback on my show or a guest you’d like to hear on Two-Brain radio, email podcast@twobrainbusiness.com and don’t forget to subscribe to Two-Brain Radio wherever you get your podcasts. Jason Ackerman has been a coach for a long time. He’s also coached tens of thousands of coaches around the world on the CrossFit seminar staff, and now he has a brand new book called “The Best Hour of Their Day.” In this episode, Jay and I are going to talk about what really matters when you’re coaching people. Is it technique? Is it smiles? Is it cheerleading? Is it being a technician? And Jay’s going to give you some amazing actionable directive steps for making the classes that you run at your gym the best hour of your client’s day. I think you’re going to really enjoy this podcast. This man is such a deep well of knowledge that we can talk on different topics and we have in other episodes, too. Today, Jay Ackerman with “Best Hour of Their Day.”

Chris: 01:10 – Jason Ackerman, welcome back to Two-Brain Radio.

Jason: 01:15 – Thank you very much for having me. I always appreciate you having me on the show.

Chris: 01:20 – Yeah man, you’ve got so much knowledge that we’ve had you on for a couple of different topics now. And so your bio has really been featured here before in the how to sell your gym episode especially. I thought that maybe we could spend a few minutes just catching up, like, you know, now that you’ve sold your gyms, what’s keeping you in the fitness world?

Jason: 01:40 – That’s a great question. I think ultimately what it comes down to is I love it. I was talking to somebody last night about how they weren’t working out enough, you know, they have let life get in their way. Work gets in their way and often the first thing for them that goes is training and eating right. And I was telling him how I’m the exact opposite. I wouldn’t take a job if I felt as if I couldn’t work out when I wanted to or I wouldn’t commit to something if I felt like I wouldn’t have the opportunity to train and eat right. So I think it’s that foundation of I love doing it so it’s more fun for me to help others.

Chris: 02:22 – That’s really interesting. And it reminds me of a James Clears’ book “Atomic Habits,” where he’s talking about, you know, instead of setting goals, setting an idea of the person that you want to become and then back filling that with what do I need to get there. That’s really interesting. Tell me about the nutrition business. So after you sold your gyms, you know, you were still traveling for CrossFit L1s and you had this online nutrition business. Tell us about that.

Jason: 02:48 – So “Own Your Eating” is still alive. It’s still doing well. We still get a few clients. We have a certificate course that’s accredited by CrossFit. You know, if you have your Level three or eventually take your Level four, you can use us for credits. That’s still going well. And I enjoy it. I enjoy helping people with nutrition. As anyone listening knows, it’s a challenging and daunting task because nutrition is rarely, hey, eat meat, vegetables, nuts, seeds, some fruit, little starch, no sugar, right? It’s, hey, how messed up did your parents make you? And you know, what type of obstacles do we have to overcome? Which I love and I’ve really loved diving into the psyche and all of that, but it’s tough. So, you know, I’m still a big part of it. My wife, Roz, runs the company, but you know, like I said, it’s still alive. It’s still there. But I wanted to venture out and get back into what I enjoy even more, which is the coaching of coaches.

Chris: 03:50 – Yeah. And you’ve been doing that for a long time. Like how many people, if you counted up all the seminars that you’ve done, how many people, coaches, have you coached in person now, Jay?

Jason: 04:00 – Well, you know at the last trainers summit for CrossFit this past October, they were—every summit Dave Castro kind of has this kind of like funny running gag throughout the two days. It’s in the middle of week and this year it was all about how many seminars, you know, who’s worked a hundred, who’s worked 200 and then we got patches reflecting how many seminars we worked. And as they were going through it I was like, I’ll probably be around a hundred that’s pretty cool that I’ve worked a hundred and he got through all the one hundreds and I was like, oh man, I guess I didn’t work a hundred seminars. And then he gets to the two hundreds and I had worked 204 at the time. Now a little bit more than that. So you know, I was in my mind immediately, I was like, that’s a lot of weekends, you know, that’s a lot of time on the road.

Jason: 04:48 – But then I started thinking about the question you just asked and I’m like, hey, 50 people take 200 seminars. That’s 10,000 people. Not to mention people at boxes, people that have taken other seminars I’ve been a part of, you know, before the Level 1 or doing my own nutrition seminars. So it’s pretty cool. You know, I’ve had, you know, speaking of “Atomic Habits,” I recently read that book and other books that talk about those 10,000 hours that you need to put in. And in my mind I was like, man, here I am, 41 years old and I’ve not really put those 10,000 hours into anything. Cause I think we often think about it as like guitar or you know, jujitsu. And I’ve put a lot of hours into those types of things but not the 10,000 and then I realized I have, and it was in coaching.

Chris: 05:37 – So as someone who has put their 10,000 hours into coaching coaches, and congratulations by the way, it’s really interesting to look at your new book called “The Best Hour of Their Day” and ask yourself, you know what, what are the top lessons that this guy thinks that coaches need? So why don’t we start there? Why or what lessons I guess, do coaches need more than anything else?

Jason: 06:05 – I think, you know, I’ve said this before, it’s like you can teach anyone how to coach an air squat. It’s a challenge to teach people how not to be an asshole. Right? Or you know, to be the person that people want to be around. And I think that’s the biggest lesson. You know, when it comes to the book, “The Best Hour of Their Day,” it’s not a, you know, step-by-step guide on how to be a good business owner. If you want to do that, read “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” by Chris Cooper. But you know, those are the types of books that help your business grow. This is more so, you know, the intangible things. A lot of it’s honestly mostly mistakes I’ve made. And most of those mistakes were just not being a good person that other people want to be around. Not stopping and listening to other people’s perspective, not, you know, being empathetic. And I think that’s a struggle as a coach, you have to really put what you want aside for that hour to make it the best hour of their day. The book isn’t called best hour of your day, you know, it’s best hour of their day for that reason.

Chris: 07:09 – I think that’s amazing. And we’re going to dig deeper into that very soon here. But you know, two years ago a lot of coaches were talking about developing the soft skills. To me, I think what they’re referring to as the soft skills are the real skills of coaching. So what’s more important Jay? Is it the ability to teach or spot problems in the air squat or is it the ability to empathize?

Jason: 07:34 – I think at the end of the day you need both of course, right? You, you know, Mother Teresa or some other Saint or you know, whatever out there is probably a shitty CrossFit coach. Right. You know, but she’s probably really nice and you probably really want to be around her for an hour, but your squat’s not going to go up too much. So I think you probably need both. But I think first and foremost you need to develop those soft skills because without them you could have the best eye in the world. But if people just don’t like your communication skills, if people don’t like being around you, it doesn’t matter. And I think any one listening can probably think of a coach they’ve had in the past, be it, you know, high school, college or a coach in the box they go to that they avoid their classes, you know, off on a tangent. But if you’re a box owner and your members want to see who’s on the schedule, that might be a problem. Right? And I don’t think it’s right or wrong. I don’t think you should go and remove everyone’s names, but you should want your members to not care because they love everybody. And if there’s someone they don’t love, and it could be for other reasons, but maybe it’s because they don’t like their soft skills.

Chris: 08:46 – You know I had to learn that the hard way myself, Jay, I thought that being a great coach was being like the expert. And when I had to replace myself in my 6:00 AM class, I did it with a girl who was very bright and bubbly but young and uneducated, you know, she was a college student, and attendance went up in that class and that blew my mind. So I know that you’ve learned a thousand little lessons like this along the way. What made you want to put those lessons into a book?

Jason: 09:14 – I think it was like many things in my CrossFit journey, accidental. I think that, you know, you were probably a big influence on it. We’ve talked a lot in the past and I’ve had you on our podcast and I’ve heard you talking just about writing every day. I mean you get up at what, 4:00 AM in Canada, so it’s like negative a hundred degrees and you somehow manage to get up and make it to the office to write. And other people like Seth Godin and Tim Ferriss who talk about, you know, just putting 200 words on paper type of thing and just trying to create those habits like we discussed. I started just writing for me for maybe a blog one day and then as I started doing it I said, wow, these are kind of cool stories and I would maybe post part of them on an Instagram post and people would respond to them and I just started writing more and more until eventually, I mean I limited it to 30, but I think at the end I had maybe 50 stories in there and I kind of dwindled it down to the best 30 or combined some, but it just came about out of my desire to create a new habit, really, and then start something new and challenge myself.

Chris: 10:24 – Well I think, you know what makes the book so great is all the stories in there, you know, you’re not just speaking from theory, you’re not lecturing at a university. This is all like in-the-trenches knowledge, hard-won battles. What are the biggest questions that you’re trying to answer in the book? Or the biggest opinions that you’re trying to change?

Jason: 10:46 – I think by reading the book, hopefully box owners, coaches or even members can just take from it, you know, again, it’s a lot of just listening to other people and then also being true to yourself. There’s a few chapters in there dedicated to my journey in the sense that as box owners, and I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of—you probably have experienced but we get into this world because we love fitness and we love helping people and then oftentimes that overrides or takes priority over our own health. You know? And there’s a few times in my journey where I’ve completely disregarded my own training and like we talked about earlier, that’s the foundation. That’s what keeps me happy. If you look at my values, it’s health and then happiness. Because without health I’m not happy. So here I am not focusing on my values and then I’m expected to help other people and it wasn’t happening.

Jason: 11:41 – I’m a miserable person to be around when I don’t eat right or when I don’t exercise. And I came home, it was two days ago, and my wife and I, you know, typical marital arguments, like nothing big, but I left the house and I’m like, I’m going to work out. And I came back maybe an hour later and I was like, just pleasant to be around. She’s like, did you do drugs while you were out? And I was like, I guess I kind of did, like I improved something in my brain and you know, dopamine and endorphins are running and we have this little app on our phone that we use to kind of keep points of what we’ve done. Right? And some of them are chores, but some of them are, hey, we helped each other out and she added to it exercise because she realized how important it was for our relationship for me to exercise.

Chris: 12:33 – That’s really, really interesting. And so I think a lot of the clients at our gyms probably don’t know that about themselves but probably could if we can keep them coming back often enough to figure that out. So what are the key components of making their hour at your gym the best hour of their day, Jay?

Jason: 12:52 – So let’s look at tangible things that you can go in and change right away. I would say for one, something that gets overlooked a lot is just be punctual and run your class on time. Right, back in maybe 2008 I had a coach, like you, was the first coach that I hired. Great guy. There’s a chapter in the book about him. I changed some names so I don’t remember. I think I left his name cause he’s got thick skin. His name’s Matt and he would always run class like 15 or 20 minutes long. And I said, Matt, what do you—first of all now there’s two classes overlapping. And he’s like, who cares? We’re giving these guys more. And I said well what if they have somewhere to go? You know. And so start on time and end on time, whether it’s, you know, if someone’s showing up at 5 a.m. at your gym, they’re punctual, they have somewhere to be. Start on time and end at six.

Jason: 13:44 – And if someone’s showing up at 5:00 PM, they’ve had a long day and they want to get home to their family or to do whatever they do, end on time. So little things like that. Being organized and making sure that the class isn’t about you. And what I mean by that is, you know, we talk a lot about the whiteboard brief and how that’s really the foundation of a good class. But too many people at the whiteboard just talk and talk too long. And I tell people, if you’re standing at that whiteboard for more than five minutes, this is now about you. This has nothing to do with your class. So make sure that everything you’re doing is about the members, about your community and not about you as a coach. And it starts with that organization. Have a timeline and run on time.

Chris: 14:36 – What about the personal habits of the coaches, you know, between classes?

Jason: 14:43 – Yeah, I think, you know, as a box owner, you need to make sure the people that are coaching your classes actually care about members. And it should be obvious. If you’re having to tell your coaches to stick around for 15 minutes or to get here early, they probably don’t care enough. Too many coaches or you know, whether it’s just punching in or doing it for their free membership, you know, however your box is organized, but it needs to really be about giving back to the community. As you know, and anyone listening knows, I mean there’s 15,000 affiliates and they’re all basically the same, right? We all do functional fitness, you know, based on price and based on location that has an impact on your membership. But really, at the end of the day, it’s your culture and your community that separates you from the other boxes.

Jason: 15:30 – And that comes down to what’s going on in between classes. My good friend Chuck Carswell, not to name drop, but Chuck’s a good buddy of mine. He’s in the book and one thing he said years and years ago, and he says it all the time is ask one more question and I think that’s important to take away at the box level. And you don’t need to be, you know, insane about it, you know, but that just means, hey, when you’re talking to one of your members, find out one more thing about them. Find out what makes them tick. And it really—I love that when you like talk to a member and their eyes light up because most people go through their day and they don’t ever get to talk about things that they love and reminisce about their high-school football days.

Jason: 16:19 – I mean, if we ask Chris Cooper about his, you know, hockey accomplishments his face would light up—

Chris: 16:23 – That’d be a short list.

Jason: 16:23 – I scored four goals in one game and all that kind of stuff. But, you know, it’s fun. Too often it’s all about like we want to talk, but it’s nice to just to listen. I was in Kailua, CrossFit Kailua in Hawaii, and I started talking to the owner of the box and I kept asking one more question to the point that my wife was like, we have to go, like we have to leave. But this guy was telling me just these family stories and he’s like, wow, I haven’t even thought about these in years. And it was just fun to see that and that has to be something you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy that, you might not be a good coach.

Chris: 17:08 – Hey guys, Chris Cooper here. I wrote the bestselling fitness business book of all time, but I often think about taking it off the shelves. Here’s why. Business evolves quickly and while the ideas in my book “Two-Brain Business” still have value, my program has evolved. That’s where my most recent book comes in. In “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” I break the entrepreneur’s journey into stages because the things that work in the first stage don’t work in the second and vice versa. Everything I put in that book is based on thousands of hours on the phone with gym owners and tens of thousands of dollars in research. I know what works, when it works and why it works. I’m not just going to try and inspire you with pie-in-the-sky philosophy and memes about grinding and hustling. I’m going to give you step-by-step instructions based on what the best gyms in the world are doing to succeed. You can spin your tires like I did 10 years ago as a struggling gym owner or you can avoid my mistakes by reading a book based on a decade of knowledge. Check out “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” on Amazon. I wrote it to help people like you. And now, back to Two-Brain Radio.

Chris: 18:12 – Ask one more question is great advice. I hope everybody here starts practicing that today. What’s one thing that you’ve learned from being around CrossFit HQ and being on seminar staff that you would tell a coach in a gym to do?

Jason: 18:31 – Continue to learn. I think too many people show up these days at the Level ones and that’s kind of the end for a lot of them. And then I also work on Level 2s and they come back and they’re terrible, like terrible coaches. You know what I’m saying, you know, if you’re listening and you have your Level 2, you know what I’m talking about. You got feedback. And I tell them like, same thing we’ve kind of discussed, like they look at me and or the other coaches on staff. Like you guys are so good. I’m like, this is what we do and we’ve put in our time. There’s not many things you can do in life not having either a mentor or not having this desire to improve and actually get better at it. Right? So you need to have this desire to get better.

Jason: 19:20 – You need to seek out better coaches. And from box owners, we often get frustrated that our coaches aren’t developing, but we’re not doing anything to foster that. And one of my biggest pet peeves is, I don’t know which groups you’re involved in online, in Facebook there’s a ton of like affiliate owner groups and I know you’re in a couple of, but I see that question all the time. Level one or Level two, which should I, you know, do? You see that question pop up. And it’s so frustrating to me because if you’re a coach, that should not be a question. I don’t understand that. Like why would you not want to get better?

Chris: 20:03 – Yeah. The answer should just be yes.

Jason: 20:07 – And I see other people chiming in. I avoid it because I don’t have the time to get sucked down that rabbit hole. One of the guys on staff, his name’s Dan Hollingsworth, I always see him commenting on it and I’m like, Dan, why do you do that? And it’s because he cares really at the end of the day. But you know, and right now, especially in the CrossFit world, they’re the same price. Back in the day, it was a little cheaper to go back and get your level one. But now I believe it’s $1,000 either way. So go on and get it. I have my Level 4 credential and we have to do CEUs for that and my mine’s about to expire in July so I need to submit it. And I was like, I went in and I said, I hope I have enough CEUs. You need 50, and I had like 102 and I still haven’t even gotten—some of the credits are still, you know, not posted yet. So it’s like clearly even—it never ends. It never ends and you shouldn’t want it to.

Chris: 21:04 – No, I mean I haven’t taken the level two but I’ve taken the Level one five times and learned something new each time.

Jason: 21:11 – What’s stopping you from taking the Level 2?

Chris: 21:12 – Nothing. Just still learning from the Level 1.

Jason: 21:16 – Yeah, it’s true. And that’s true. Like you can always go back, the level one’s always changing. The level two just changed. So you know, this year it’s brand new. The test is different. There’s nutrition portion to it. So there’s some great stuff happening. But yeah, we should always be—and I don’t want to harp on just it’s all about certificates and credentials, but that might mean as coach at a local box, just go to another box, seek out someone that’s been doing it longer or you know, there’s over 200 people on the CrossFit staff. You probably don’t live more than an hour or two from one of them. Go there once a month and learn from them. It’s the same thing I do in other aspects and I continue to do it at seminars every weekend.

Chris: 22:03 – OK. So these are like some of the most simple directives that you can do. What’s something that you’d like to stop that you see in coaches all the time? Something that kind of makes you smack your head and go, God, why do people still do that?

Jason: 22:15 – So something very small, and again, this is just, I’m not the only answer. This isn’t right or wrong. When you’re teaching a new movement, avoiding saying, don’t do this. Don’t do that. So in other words, all right guys, we’re going to do the air squat. Here’s what I want. I want you to keep your chest up. What I don’t want you to do is round your back or overextend. I want you to get below parallel. What I don’t want you to do is stop before your hip crease is—only coach the things that you want to see. All those other things are going to be opportunities to coach. But at the same time, I think we forget, hey, this might be someone’s first time ever air squatting and if I tell them don’t do X, Y, or Z, they may forget which one they should do and which one they shouldn’t do.

Jason: 23:04 – So the analogy I use, because years and years ago, I was lucky enough to train with some high-level MMA guys and Randy Couture was talking, a former UFC champion and he preached it. And that’s kind of where I took it from. But I was like, he was like, I hate the expression, don’t get taken down. So you’re in the middle of a fight, imagine, and your coach yells, don’t get taken down. Next thing you know, you get taken down, you’re on your back and you’re already upset. And I’m like, I’m in this bad position, someone’s punching me. I really shouldn’t be here. But then the second thing that’s going through your mind is, and I’ve disappointed my coach cause he told me not to do this. So it’s the same principle with CrossFit, you know, don’t do that. And now you’re like, man, I’m sorry. Do I do anything right? You know, it’s like when your wife tells you not to do something, like, do you like me at all? Like why are you here? All you do is tell me what I don’t do right. Why are we still together?

Chris: 24:01 – That’s so great man. You know, most of the debates that I get sucked into, and I honestly, I’ve tried to get out of most Facebook groups because I just don’t have time for the debates anymore. But, most of the ones that I get sucked into revolve around does a coach have to be full time to be a good, helpful, legitimate coach. And so in my mind there’s a difference between a job, a vocation and a coaching practice. Do you think there is a difference? Does somebody have to be a full-time coach to be a great coach? You know, where are the shades of gray there?

Jason: 24:39 – I don’t think you have to be full time, but I also think it helps. It’s just again, it’s time under tension. You know, if you coach two classes a week, you’re going to coach like you coach two classes a week, and it’s like anything else you do in life, you know, whatever your hobby is, if you put more time into it, you’re going to be better at it. And coaching is a skill that you can develop but also a skill that you can lose. And the more time you’re there you’re just going to also have the experience of seeing other people, coaching different types of athletes. So certainly a full-time coach is ideal. And then obviously what you’re doing out in the world is what’s helping people achieve that. Back in 2007 and 2008, it was very hard to do that. But now, I mean, I think maybe, I don’t know, you probably have a better knowledge of this, but 50% of boxes maybe have full-time staff?

Chris: 25:35 – Yeah, it’d be hard to pinpoint that statistic for sure. But more importantly than anything else, like when you and I found CrossFit, even the box owners weren’t full time. Now it’s an actual, it’s not just a vocation anymore. You can be an owner operator and make this your career. And a lot of careers are actually being built on those platforms too, which is fantastic. So this is the question I ask all professional coaches, Jay, what’s your limit? You know, how many hours of coaching, how many clients can you see in a day before you can’t put out at the Jason Ackerman level anymore?

Jason: 26:12 – Well, I’ve not been in that situation in a while, but I would say if I went back and opened a box or you know, really wanted to be full time somewhere again, which isn’t, you know, out of the realm of my, you know, thoughts, probably four to five classes a day, five would be like the upper limit. Like you said, that fifth class is diminishing and it would also not be in a row. So you know, I coach the 7:00 AM and the noon and then back to back in the afternoon. But I mean if you do more than that, it’s just, you know, coaching is not an eight hour and obviously that’s part of the challenge out there. But coaching is not an eight-hour-a-day job. You can’t expect that. And like you said, that would include 15 minutes before, 15 minutes after. So four hours of coaching is really six hours on the floor and six hours of dealing with and interacting with people. And it’s hard. It’s hard to do more than that. Absolutely.

Chris: 27:17 – OK. Jay. So to wrap up, what I’d love to have you do is go back to one of the first comments you made, which is it’s the best hour of their day, not the best hour of your day. What does that mean and what does it look like in practice?

Jason: 27:28 – I think I really hit my stride with this actually after I’d sold the boxes. I was coaching in Florida when I was living there and it was a box called North Naples CrossFit, great community. And I think that’s really where it hit home with me, what that looks like. And it’s a lot of the little things we discussed, it’s show up on time. I mean, I coached the 3:30 twice a week, but I was always there by 3, 3:15 at the latest. And that means, you know, whether it’s lights on, the music’s on. I’m kind of looking around. I have my timeline either written out or in the app, whatever the programming they were using at the time and actually doing some laying out of the class because it needs to be organized.You know, the people are there and they deserve to be coached by a professional. And it’s very obvious when you’re not prepared. And that might look like, I can tell if you’re looking at the whiteboard and seeing the workout for the first time or not, immediately. But you know, and also knowing I had the luxury of coaching the same people very often. So knowing, OK, you know, today is snatching and Theresa’s going to be here and I know kind of her limit and Eric’s going to be here and I want to push him to do this. So really thinking about that ahead of time and giving everyone that, making sure they know, hey, I’ve thought about you and I’m aware of it and I’m going to look at your form going around.

Jason: 28:53 – I would do that all the time. Hey, let me see three reps to make sure that’s a good weight for you. Or let me, you know, let’s check this out. And making sure they felt like they were actually cared for and almost like they were the only one in the class. I mean, that’s where CrossFit started from with Coach Glassman, right? One on one to two on one to four and eventually you know or more. But making sure they still feel that. And then all those other little things, spending five minutes or less at the whiteboard, making sure the general and specific warm-ups make sense. You know, setting goals for them. And I think too often it’s like, hey, here’s the workout. It’s Fran, set your weight up, versus hey Coop, I want you to be sub six today. And you know, Theresa wants you to try to go unbroken on your pull-ups.

Jason: 29:40 – You’re giving little, dangling those carrots for them to actually feel like they left accomplished, because CrossFit’s terrible at the end of the day, right? We all know how terrible it is. It hurts. Oftentimes you leave and you feel discouraged. But if I can leave you with a win, then all of a sudden you want to come back again. And if you’re the coach that’s always leaving people with the win, they accidentally enjoy being around you, right? It’s like dating someone. Like, if you just make them feel good over and over again, you know, in passing ultimately they’re like, I want to be around that person, and that’s who you want to be as a coach.

Chris: 30:20 – And I think actually Jay that you just pointed out, the missing link in going from one on one to two on one et cetera, up to group is that the group members still have to feel like they’re being coached individually. And I think that a lot of gym owners in my experience miss that. And is that something that you’re seeing in coaches too?

Jason: 30:39 – Yeah. Well, and it’s hard. I mean, so many boxes. I mean, we talk at the level twos and I’ll often ask like, how many do you coach? And then there’ll be people with significantly less experience than me coaching 20 to 30 people in a class. You know, and having done that myself, I know I’m not as effective as a coach. And you know, this is a business ultimately and you need to make money. But part of that is the issue. How do we figure out how to make that happen in these larger classes? Is it limit class size? Is it bringing on more secondary coaches? And there are ways to kind of mitigate that problem. But really at the end of the day, even if you are that coach coaching 30, find one win that you can give somebody, just one little thing and it doesn’t have to be always a PR, you know.

Jason: 31:30 – Again, Fran, the ultimate example is, hey, today your only goal is to go unbroken on those 15 thrusters. Like that’s a huge win. I remember the first time I did that in Fran, you know when I’m broken for the first—I don’t care if it takes you a minute longer than your previous time, but I need you to do that. And I love it at the level ones, I always tell people at level one, so the workout, you know, not a complete spoiler, but it’s thrusters and burpees and around the second round people pick up the bar and they, I can see it in their eyes. They’re like, what is happening? Like, cause they go crazy on round one and then immediately they’re like, I cannot do that again on round two. And I’ll find that person that I can tell doesn’t want to do it but can do it. And I get in their face and I make sure they hold onto that bar and go unbroken. And then afterwards they’re always so grateful and thankful. Like I’ve never pushed myself like that, because now it’s eye opening. Now it’s you can do that all the time without me. It helps when someone’s in your face yelling, but you don’t need me there. So if I can show that to, you know, Theresa or Eric at the box, now when they come to someone else’s class, they still know what they can do. And that’s, you know, again, now it’s making it the best hour of their day even when you’re not there.

Chris: 32:47 – Well, being put on a podium would definitely be the best hour of my day. And I’m sure that most people don’t even get to hear praise anywhere else in their life like I do. So, I think this is an amazing book. It’s probably more important to read this book than to take your Level 2. Would you agree with that Jay? Just kidding. I’m just kidding. But critical. I mean, you know, people go to the seminars and they learn cues and tactics and stuff, but you know what most people call the soft skills I think really are the real skills and Jay’s a living testament to success in coaching. He’s coached probably 10,000 other coaches by now easily and this is really the message that I think all coaches should hear. So Jay, thanks a lot for writing this book, man, and thanks for sharing some of the highlights with us.

Jason: 33:35 – Well thanks for having me again Coop and thanks for all you’ve done for the community as well. I would not have had the opportunity to write this without you, so I appreciate it.

Chris: 33:43 – Thanks man. Take care.

Andrew: 33:49 – Thanks for listening to Two-Brain Radio. Be sure to subscribe for more great episodes, and if you’d like to learn how a mentor can help you build a successful business, book a free call at twobrainbusiness.com. Chris Cooper’s team will show you exactly how you can add $5,000 a month in revenue and move closer to your Perfect Day. Visit TwoBrainbusiness.com today.


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