Let’s Change The Industry Together.

“If that’s how I have to act to succeed in fitness, then this industry isn’t for me.”


The REAL low point of my career as a coach didn’t come when I was losing money. It came when I was losing hope.


In early 2008, I finally realized that I needed help to run my business. I had finally figured out that being a good coach didn’t translate into being a good entrepreneur, and I went looking for help. But what I found turned my stomach.


The fitness industry has always been full of snake oil, deceit and hustlers. I was used to bad behavior when it came to training, diets and supplements. But when I sought help for my business, I expected better.


What I found was bait-and-switch advertising; scammy sales pitches; fake “ownership” plots to keep coaches tied to bad gyms; and advertising gimmicks that just didn’t work. Everyone made claims; no one gave proof. It turned my stomach. And I thought, “If that’s what it takes to succeed in this industry, then I don’t want any part of it.”


Luckily, I found help outside the fitness business, and brought what I learned back with me. I started sharing these lessons on my first blog, DontBuyAds.com, and then continued to publish every day for the next 11 years. Some of the best early feedback I got was:

“Stop telling people what NOT to do. That’s what everyone else does.”


That was great advice. The fitness business doesn’t need more critics. The fitness business needs action. So I started writing more tactical blog posts: “Here’s how to do THIS”, “Here’s the first step to X”, and “Here’s your Intramural Open Playbook.” I started doing free calls, and telling gym owners exactly what to do–without trying to sell them anything. To date, our team has done over 2500 of these free calls, and I did the first 2000 myself.


Then something amazing happened.


Over the last decade, other fitness professionals have said “This industry must do better.” They committed themselves to serving their clients the RIGHT way: through the “Help First” philosophy; through fair and transparent pricing; through Intrapreneurial opportunities for their team.


Last weekend, 400 of us got together in Chicago. Here’s what that looks like:

These are the forerunners of change. These are the tip of the spear. And you can be one of us.


In Chicago, I told these fitness entrepreneurs that the tip of the spear had two edges: Opportunity, and Responsibility. These leaders will see further, and become more profitable, because they’re not burying their head in the industry mud. But it’s also their responsibility to lead others to positive business practices, honest care for their clients, and the Help First approach.


Many gym owners went home and started local meetup groups. Want to join one? Look at www.twobrainbusiness.com/map and talk to gym owners in your area.


Others began meeting with local entrepreneurs in other industries to help THEM. Because the force for positive change exceeds the limits of our industry. Other entrepreneurs need our help. My mission is to make gyms profitable. My vision is to have them do it the right way. And we’re winning. Want to talk to us about it? You can book a free call here.


Thank you to everyone who came to our 2019 Summit.


First with the head, then with the heart, then with the hands.


(And don’t forget to eat the sandwich.)

Episode 172: Gym-Management Software: Our Unbiased Review

Episode 172: Gym-Management Software: Our Unbiased Review

Greg: 00:00 – Hey everybody, it’s Greg with Two-Brain Media, and on this week’s episode we talked to Jay Williams. Jay Williams is the Director of Products at Two-Brain along with being a mentor. He’s been with Two-Brain since the very beginning. We get into the major software companies that are in the CrossFit-gym industry today and the pros and cons of each. We also talk about the ranking system that Jay developed to give you the very best as a gym owner, and you’d be surprised of who scored the highest. Make sure that you guys subscribe to Two-Brain Radio to hear the very best ideas to move you and your business closer to wealth.

Greg: 00:38 – Two-Brain Radio is brought to you by Two-Brain Business. We’re committed to helping a million entrepreneurs find freedom and wealth. We’ll bring you the very best of the business world each week. To find out how we can help you create your Perfect Day, book a free call with a mentor at twobrainbusiness.com

Chris: 00:56 – Everybody hates their insurance company until they need their insurance company. My insurance recommendation is Vaughn Vernon of Affiliate Guard. Before I get into this story, I want to make it clear here that I don’t get any kickback for recommending Vaughn, but I’ve done it so many times. Whenever anybody online asks a question about insurance companies, I always say Affiliate Guard. Here’s why. Years ago when we affiliated with CrossFit, my insurance company dumped me, citing quote unquote “tractor pulls” that we were going to be doing, whatever the hell that is. I’ve never pulled a tractor in my life. I’ve driven lots of tractors and I can tell you, I don’t think I could pull one if I wanted to, but that’s besides the point. At that time, the person who swooped in and saved CrossFit gyms in Canada was Joanne LeGal, and if you’re in Canada, I recommend talking to her—period.

Chris: 01:45 – You don’t have to talk to her first. You don’t have to talk to her last. Just talk to her, period. If you’re in the states though, I recommend Affiliate Guard because the program that I get through Joanne in Canada is really, really awesome and all inclusive. Joanne’s personality, though, is what keeps me with their company. In the states. Affiliate Guard is run by Vaughn Vernon, a massive personality, a CrossFitter, a Jujitsu guy. He drives dirt bikes, he has good-looking kids, all that stuff and his policy is the best. It’s really, really tough to tell when you’re reading your policy if the benefits are the same as someone else’s because they obscure stuff on purpose. It’s just like taxes. However, when I’m looking at my policy, I ask myself, “Will that guy get up in the middle of the night and helped me out?”

Chris: 02:34 – This weekend was a great example of Vaughn’s personality. One of my friends and clients down in Florida had their garage door smashed open by a Mustang that was doing donuts in the parking lot and they texted me at 6:00 a.m. on a Sunday and I wanted to help. So I texted Vaughn, he’s two hours behind me and he responded right away. Your insurance company is not going to do that. As I said at the start of this, everybody hates their insurance company until they need insurance. And when you do need insurance, you want them to answer the damn phone on a Sunday morning and you want to talk to the head man and you just want to know everything’s going to be OK. With Affiliate Guard. It is.

Greg: 03:12 – All right, I’m on another episode of Two-Brain Business with the famous Jay Williams. Jay, how are you?

Jay: 03:18 – I’m great. How are you?

Greg: 03:20 – I’m doing well. So it’s been a little while since we’ve had you on the podcast. I want to say last time, about mid-year around this time last year was the last time you were on here. So anyone that hasn’t heard the other episodes that you’ve been on, can you give a little synopsis of kind of who you are within the Two-Brain Business along with the businesses that you own?

Jay: 03:39 – Yeah, yeah. So I am really Director of New Product Development here at Two-Brain Business. I’ve been involved since the very beginning with Chris. I also do some mentoring. I own a gym here in California where I am now, and another one in London, which is where I started, or my first gym back when Two-Brain was just an idea in Chris’s head, I was one of the first mentors. And so the business has kind of grown and I’ve kind of grown along with it.

Greg: 04:11 – Awesome. And if anyone hasn’t listened to your episodes, we’ll make sure to link those in in the show notes so that people can go back and kind of listen to all the struggles and successes that you’ve had because I mean, it’s not easy owning a business, especially in a different state, but really overseas, and kind of hear about your story and everything. So let’s kind of jump into the episode today. Now, big issue that we’ve seen within the industry of gyms is backend. So like the software of what owners are trying to look for, getting different kind of metrics out of it and that. So you actually started a really cool project a few months back and, it led to basically building a structure to kind of scale where a gym software is and basically the pros and cons and everything. So take us back. What kind of led you up to building the structure that you did and being able to evaluate these businesses the way you did?

Jay: 05:04 – Yeah, so before I owned a gym, I was actually a software developer and then I ended up managing a bunch of software developers. So I have some background in this I wasn’t a great developer or anything, but I at least kind of know what goes into some of it. And so whenever there was a software project or something that involves tech, Chris would always kind of get me involved. So a couple of years ago maybe we sort of put together a overly ambitious project on how to kind of build a basic website platform and like generate reports so that we could see what was going on inside all of the gyms in Two-Brain. And that kind of went sideways. So maybe, I don’t know, 12 months ago or so, Chris basically said, “Look, we need to figure out what is the best software platform that we can work with so that we can get these reports in front of gym owners and get them in front of us. So I need you to go out and evaluate all the software platforms and figure out which one is the best and then, and then we’ll figure out who we’re going to partner with for this year.” So basically, and this is kind of going way back, like when I first started my gym, we tried three or four different software platforms and none of them quite fit the bill exactly, so we ended up kind of putting together a hodgepodge of different things, which is what most gym owners do. And so I, over the years, it’s been 11 years now, I’ve always kind of paid attention to what’s out there to figure out what is the best one. If it’s time to switch, you know, is there a new one that’s coming up that is really good and how we could get the needs met for gyms.

Jay: 06:56 – Oh, just pause for a second here. What we ended up focusing on was the back-end software. So the things that people are using to do billing and booking at their gyms, to generate reports, to charge, you know, people’s credit cards, to put their classes in, that kind of thing. It’s really the backbone of the gyms, and when we look at kind of over the years, what are the things that people care about? What are the things people post about? One of the first things they post about in all of the groups, all the Facebook groups, is which software platform should I use? So that kind of led us down this path of let’s just pick the best one, partner with them and see if we can get the reports that we need out of that one.

Greg: 07:41 – And I know before in the past we have partnered with a software company and we know that they were going to deliver some stuff to us, didn’t really work out the way everyone wanted it to. So you ended that partnership with them, which everything was on good terms. And then it kind of led us into being able to create this scoring system that you’ve created to be really unbiased on everything. Right? There’s not one that we picked and choose and said, “This is the one we’re partnering with,” but more of, “Hey, this is how we’ve graded the top six best softwares that we have found so far.”

Jay: 08:20 – Yeah. So you kind of filled in that part of it. Like basically we have tried to partner with a couple of different software platforms, you know. Everyone kind of reaches out to us because of the size of Two-Brain Business and says, “Hey, we’d like to work with you guys. What do we need to do to work with you?” And we’ve had partnerships in the past that didn’t work. We’ve tried to work with some of the companies to say, “Hey, can you help us build what we need to build?” And we’ve just never had any success. And so when Chris came to me and said, “Hey, go solve this problem,” the original intention was that we would just find one and say which one is the best one to work with so that we can get what we need, right? Thinking that this wasn’t going to be a comparison post, it was more just going to be, go find the partner and then we’ll partner with them. What ended up happening was as I started to go through and evaluate all the different platforms, it was pretty clear that there wasn’t one that was going to fill all the needs. And I went back to Chris and said like, “You know, there’s some great things about each one. There’s some drawbacks from each one. I don’t think it’s time to have an official partner, but here’s all the information that I have about them. You know, let’s put this together into a post that we can share with everyone and tell them like what we think of it.” So that’s kind of what led us to this post. So this post is basically like the best gym-management software platforms and you know our review.

Jay: 09:55 – And so what I did with this is we had a spreadsheet with I think maybe 12 or 15 different gym-management platforms and I spent somewhere between an hour and two hours with each one. Some of them I had used before at my gyms and so we had kind of quite a bit of experience. Some of them I just had to get, I had to take my experience and then I had to get information from other people that were using them. And so I basically said, OK, based on these criteria we’re going to give them all a score and we’re just going to publish that score. So the five things that we cared about were just general functionality. So does it meet the basic needs of a gym? Reporting, so reporting is a really big one. We ask all of our gym owners to keep track of their average revenue per member, their length of engagement, their profit and a few other numbers. And if the reports don’t generate that stuff, then it makes it really hard for them to run their business. So usability, basically it’s like how easy is it for people to navigate around and do what they need to do? Integrations. One of the things we found was that there really, because there’s no perfect gym software, that means that you have to use other systems to do things like emailing clients or texting them or tracking workouts or whatever. And so it’s important for each of the softwares to be able to integrate with some of those systems. And then every software, like I said, has strengths and weaknesses. Some of them have lots of cool bonus stuff. And so we just included a category for bonuses. So each one of those categories, we did it on a scale of one to 10 and I just gave them a rating based on my impressions of those things compared to all of the other ones that we evaluated. So yeah, we’ll pause. Do you have any questions about that?

Greg: 11:57 – No, I mean, that sounds perfect. And to me, I mean I think too many gym owners jump on the phone with a software company and of course they’re telling them how their member app is amazing and how the sign-in app is amazing and all this other stuff. But it doesn’t really, they don’t really go into details of what the gym owner needs. And I know when I first jumped on my first call with a software company, they told me all the amazing things that’s going to help out my members but didn’t really tell me how it’s going to help me know the health of my business in the sense of what is my average revenue per member. How long is a member a member at the gym or length of engagement, what’s our gross revenue? They wouldn’t really tell you that kind of stuff compared to all of these amazing things that it can do. And I feel like those are like what you classified as the bonus stuff when really we need the functionality of it. We need the backend, the reporting, the usability, and then like you said, the integrations. Does it integrate with these other companies like Zapier, SugarWOD, whatever the other ones would be so that it can really flow correctly.

Jay: 12:59 – Yeah. And you know, this is the thing, like if you go to any of the websites for any of the softwares, all of them look amazing. They all look like, wow, this is going to solve all my problems. And when we started, when the word started to get out that we were looking for partners or looking for software, like we were getting contacted by all sorts of different software companies and they all wanted to hop on the phone with us and tell us how amazing they are and how their system is going to help solve all our problems. And we started doing that. I would hop on the calls and they would talk about their software and you know, kind of go down all of that route. Ultimately what it comes down to is if I don’t get my hands on it and actually see what it does and what it doesn’t do, then it’s all just kind of, it’s all pie in the sky, right? It’s like I’ve had enough experience with software in general to know that the promises don’t always match the reality. And I don’t come in expecting that they will, but that’s why I wanted to do this sort of hands-on review. Like, you know, you say that you can do all this stuff. Let me see how it actually works.

Greg: 14:11 – Agreed. I mean, of course they’re selling their product, right? They’re selling their service, so they’re going to try to make it as fancy or how amazing it is. And it’s gonna solve all your problems, but until you get your hands on it and do that, that’s the only real way to dig into it and see what does it really do and what does it not do. So, you had six software companies that you were able to actually go in and dig into this stuff. You had the five different categories to grade this off of, and each one of those, you graded from one to 10, correct? 10 being the best, one being the worst on each scale for each, function, reporting, usability, the integrations, and then the bonuses. Correct?

Jay: 14:52 – Yup. That’s right. So, you know, they all got a score out of 50, and all of them, like I said, they didn’t make the cut to be evaluated if they weren’t good. Like, all of these are ones that some of our clients are using and all of them have some benefits. And in fact, like when I look through this, it’s like, oh, I wish I could take this aspect of this software and combine it with this aspect of this software and then you create this amazing like combination of things. So, yeah, I mean, no matter what the score is, like, each one of these has a reason for people to sign up for it.

Greg: 15:31 – Agreed. And I don’t think we—I mean, as we’ve said before, this is unbiased. There’s not one software company that Two-Brain says “you must use this to get everything that you need for us to help you.” We just say, hey, whatever software you’re going to use, these are the things that you want from it. And these are the things you need from it. So, I think every single one of the softwares that was on this list all had one of our customers if not more of our clients using this, using one of the softwares if not more.

Jay: 16:02 – Yeah. And there’s a bunch of other ones that people use that that we only heard about or found out about after we published the post. So next year’s post is probably gonna have a few more. One of the things—so I can go through each one of these, but I think what’s interesting about this is because I did not come in with an expectation that any one of these is going to quote unquote “win,” one of the things that I looked at that I didn’t talk about on here is the level of support and communication that each one of them provides. And it’s actually why some of the smaller ones made the cut in terms of being evaluated versus a competing softwares, is like, you know, if they’re really good about communicating and they’re really good about saying like, “Hey, we’re going to work with you” and they actually demonstrate that they are willing to work with you, then it kind of gets them a few extra points and it gets them added to this list.

Greg: 16:59 – I would say, probably what, 2020 or later 2019, if we redo this and do a top 10 or even top 15, where all the software companies that are within the gym industry or even the service-based industry, I feel like you’re going to definitely add that to the categories and it will be really interesting to see where everyone kind of falls then with that support added to it. So, we’re not going to go through each one, of course, we’re going to link it in the show notes, the actual article so everyone can actually go through each one and dig into it. But out of the top six we had, we had Pike13, Zen Planner, PushPress, Arbox, Wodify and Mindbody. Now with these, I mean again, people can look in the article, there’s amazing things with some of them that did really great. And then other categories where they fell while other ones did really great in those categories and then fell in the opposite. So it seems like overall everyone did really, really well. There was no one that just was awful all the way around ’cause I feel like that would definitely not be a software that anyone would stick with for long term. And I can’t remember off the top of my head, but I feel like there’s some softwares in the past that are no longer software companies due to that fact. But I want to give—I mean if anyone’s listening and didn’t have time to read the article, kind of want to give the top one that scored the highest out of 50. And kind of the reasons why it did. ‘Cause to me, I will tell you, Jay, when I read this, I was surprised, I did not think that this was the software company that was going to be the highest ranking out of 50. It wasn’t on my radar for it. And then there was another one that was in the top three that wasn’t—I’d never even heard of this company.

Jay: 18:43 – So, OK. So Mindbody got the highest score and it was actually, like you said, it was unexpected. It does a lot of things really well. The main thing that it doesn’t do well is part of why it’s not expected. So the big thing with Mindbody is it kind of does almost everything, right? It’s like you can, you know, there’s appointments, you can charge people, there’s scheduling. I mean, it’s the biggest in the industry by far. And it does a lot. It does all of the things that you might need. The reporting is pretty good and they, you know, there’s ways to generate custom reports. The biggest drawback to Mindbody is that it’s very hard to use. And I think that’s where it stops people because there are so many options that it makes it so that you don’t even know where to start.

Jay: 19:33 – And so they do a lot of training and things like that. And so, like I said, the reason that it has the highest score is there’s lots of integrations, lots of bonuses, you know, lots of reporting, lots of functionality. I actually don’t use the system at my gyms because of the usability. And my comment to them when I talked to them was just like, “You know, look, how do you make this usable? Because so many gyms use it. How do you make it work for these new gyms that are coming on?” And that’s part of where they as a support team try to help bridge the gap. So when you kind of go down the list, you know, like you said, there’s one that you hadn’t even heard of. So the bigger ones really, Mindbody, PushPress and Wodify are kind of the bigger ones—or sorry, Mindbody, Wodify and Zen Planner are kind of the bigger ones. The smaller ones are PushPress and Arbox. And Pike13 kind of falls in between there. Arbox is one that made the list because one of the Two-Brain clients was very adamant that this is just an amazing software and I needed to talk to the founder and you need to check this thing out because it just does everything we want and they make changes all the time and it’s just amazing. And it’s based in Jerusalem and I went and checked it out and first thing I thought was like, ’cause I was looking at a version that was in a different language. The first thing I thought is like, “Oh this is never going to work. It’s a different language. The loading is a little bit slow because the servers are somewhere else, but it looks really nice.” And I talked to the founder and I shared with him our requirements. And backing up, I actually pulled together a list of requirements for all the stuff that we might need in a gym-management software. And I sent it to all the major software providers and said, “Hey, can you provide us with this stuff?” And so I did the same thing with Arbox. The next time I talked to him, he had actually built three or four of the things on my list into the system, demonstrating to me how it worked and it was like—and it looked amazing and it worked well. And I was like, “OK, like this is the kind of responsiveness that we would want with our gym-management software.” And so that’s why it ended up making the list. It’s a small company, they don’t have as many clients as some of the other ones, but the system works well and there’s a lot of things that it does well.

Greg: 22:04 – Yeah, I’d never heard of this company until I saw that post that somebody mentioned it and I knew you were going to dig into it. And that’s an amazing response from the owner to say, “Hey, what do you want us to help you with?” And then you giving them the list of demands and saying, hey, this is kind of what we need. And him already putting it into play. That doesn’t happen. And I think it happens more often with those smaller software companies than such as the bigger ones. But it’s really cool to hear that they’re willing to do whatever is necessary to fulfill a company that knows that hey, we have our entrepreneurs’ best goals and thoughts in mind and we want to make sure that we help them succeed. And it’s really cool to see a software company jump at it and say, hey, we want to to, and help out your clients, whichever way we can.

Greg: 22:52 – Yeah. And, you know, here’s the thing with the smaller ones like Arbox and PushPress, you know, we were rooting for these guys. You know, it’s like, we want small companies to be successful and you know, this is why we shared the requirements with them, like, everyone kind of gets a fair shot at it. But, you know, I was just really impressed by that response time because like I said, as a former software developer who lives very close to Silicon Valley, that’s the kind of thing you expect, like software turnaround is pretty fast. And I was also a project manager that would manage software developers so I can understand BS when I hear it. And when they say, “Oh yeah, I’m 90% done with that thing,” that means that they’ve barely started, you know, and so what I really look for is like, what kind of results can you generate? And that was a big win for them. So, yeah, I actually think, you know, when you look at things like Wodify and PushPress—or sorry, I mean Wodify and Zen Planner, they have a lot of the stuff that gym owners would need as well, and the scores were very close for some of these. You know, each one takes a slightly different approach to how they build the software and in some cases that hurt them in this evaluation because of what we are asking for. But it doesn’t mean that it won’t work for the business owner who fits that mold, right? So I think those are great systems as well.

Greg: 24:29 – Agreed. And I mean, out of the rankings, one through six, Zen Planner got a five and that’s a software company we use for my gym. It works. We’ve looked at switching over to some of these other companies that are higher on the ranking, but it just didn’t fit us as well as Zen Planner is right now. So people don’t need to fear that they have to switch over to Mindbody ’cause they got the best ranking. It was like what you said in the very beginning. It’s an unbiased grade and ranking of what they had to offer, and it doesn’t mean that every single one shouldn’t be tried by the gym or service-based business that is looking for something new. Get your hands on the products and actually really try it before you turn around and just say, O”K I’m gonna pick this one because it’s got the highest ranking.”

Jay: 25:12 – Yeah, I mean, I think if you were starting from scratch, like you were just opening a gym or looking for a new software, this could give you a good guide. If you’re looking to switch, I don’t know that it’s worth switching, because the cost of switching, if you’re an established gym is pretty high. Like you have to get a new system in there, sometimes you have to collect new credit-card numbers. You got to train your clients on the new system. And so if there were one that stood out so much that we said, “Gosh you guys, everyone has to switch to this,” then we would have said that. But that’s not the case. I think you pick the one that kind of fits your business model, fits your personality. If you’re starting from scratch or if you are just having so many frustrations with the one that you’re on that you just have to get off of it, then this is a good guide to use. But I do not recommend anyone switch. There a lot of other ways to get done what you need to get done, and I think all of these companies do a pretty good job with their support. And so if there’s something that you’re trying to do that you can’t figure out, like, email the support team because a lot of times they will be able to solve that for you.

Greg: 26:30 – Agreed. 100%. Now I know if anyone does want to read the article, we are going to post it in the show notes. So please go and read. We’re not going to dig into each one of these like that, but let’s say a software company is listening, Jay, we’ve kind of talked about it, hinted on it before about having kind of that list of requirements that we need for our clients to be successful in the things that we see as mentors to kind of have a standard so that everyone is getting a great service and then also going to be able to get the numbers that they need and be successful. How do they reach out if they want to reach out and actually get that list from you or contact you so that they can get you to evaluate their software?

Jay: 27:08 – Yeah, I think we actually published that after we sent it to everyone, so we can just include in the show notes. So I think it’s actually a blog post on the site. So we’ll just put that in the show notes and it’s basically like, it’s kind of tiered, of like, you know, what is the basic minimum and then what does it take to be Two-Brain compliant, and there’s like—it’s just a bullet-pointed list of here’s all the things that we need. So yeah, let’s just include that in the show notes.

Greg: 27:36 – Awesome. We will get that included in the show notes. Well, Jay, thank you so much for beign able to jump on Two-Brain Radio and going through this with us. I know a lot of people out there—I think the only thing that would supersede this on the affiliate owners page was “should I carry Kill Cliff or FitAID?” So I’m glad that we were able to do this in an unbiased way so that people could actually see the results, and if they’re brand new they can pick what they want and try different things. Or like you said, if you currently are a service-based business or a gym owner, don’t switch to any of the other ones just yet. Because until they actually give everything that is needed, it’s going to be more of a pain. So, this is just for people’s knowledge to realize that, hey, here’s kind of the ranking that we’ve seen in an unbiased way.

Jay: 28:19 – Yeah, it was a lot of fun. And I think we’re gonna end up doing this again next year and I’m hoping we have a few more on the list. And my preference is that we come out with one just clear winner that we can say to everyone like, this is the one you guys need to try this thing. And you know what, if we don’t, the feedback that we’ve gotten from these companies is that they’re all looking to improve and be closer to Two-Brain compliance. So maybe you’ll never have to switch.

Greg: 28:48 – Exactly. I hope for—either one of those sound amazing to me. And, of course the latter, if I didn’t have to switch, that would be best. But, I hope, like you said, next year we come out with one clear winner and say, “Hey, these are the people that everyone should be going to.” So Jay, thank you so much again for jumping on Two-Brain Radio and spending your time with us and talking about this.

Jay: 29:07 – Yep. Awesome. Thank you.

Chris: 29:08 – Hey everyone. Chris Cooper here; I’m really thrilled to see you this year in June in Chicago at the 2019 Two-Brain Summit. Every year we have two separate speaking tracks. There’s one for you, the business owner and there’s one for coaches that will help them make better, longer, more meaningful careers under the umbrella of your business. This year we’ve got some pretty amazing topics like the client success manager, how to change your life, organizational culture or the business owner’s life cycle, how to have breaks, how to have vacations, how to help your marriage survive, owning a business, motivation and leadership, how to convert more clients, how to create a GM position that runs your gym for you and leaves you free to grow your business, how to start a business owners group in your community and more.

Chris: 29:52 – Point here is to do the right thing that will help gym owners create better businesses that will last them for the long term, get them to Tinker Phase, help them be more successful, create meaningful careers with their coaches and give their clients a meaningful path to long-term health. We only do one big seminar every year and that’s the Two-Brain Summit and the reason that we do that is because a big part of the benefit is getting the Two-Brain community together and welcoming strangers into our midst and showing them how amazing gym ownership really can be. We’ll have a link to the Two-Brain Summit, including a full list of all speakers and topics on both the owners and the coaches side in the show notes. I really hope to see you there.

Greg: 30:31 – As always, thank you so much for listening to this podcast. We greatly appreciate you and everyone that has subscribed to us. If you haven’t done that, please make sure you do. Drop a like to the episode. Share with a friend, and if you haven’t already, please write us a review and rate us on how what you think. If you hated it, let us know. If you loved it, even better. See you guys later.


Greg Strauch will be here every Thursday with the Two-Brain Radio Podcast.

Two-Brain Marketing episodes come out Mondays, and host Mateo Lopez focuses on sales and digital marketing. 

On Wednesdays, Sean Woodland tells the best stories in the CrossFit community on Two-Brain Radio With Sean Woodland.

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Two-Brain Radio With Sean Woodland, Episode 4: Zach Forrest

Two-Brain Radio With Sean Woodland, Episode 4: Zach Forrest

Sean: 00:00 – Hi everybody and welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. On today’s episode I talk with three-time CrossFit Games competitor, training staff member, and owner of CrossFit Max Effort, Zach Forrest. Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland is brought to you by Two-Brain Business. For free advice and tips from best-selling author Chris Cooper visit twobrain business.com/blog. Today, Zach and I discuss some of the things that led to him having to close two of his locations in Las Vegas and the lessons he learned from the whole ordeal, his experience competing at the CrossFit Games and the time he lost his pants while coaching at a Level 1 Certificate Course. Certainly do not want to miss that. Thanks for listening everybody.

Sean: 00:48 – Zach, thanks so much for taking the time to do this, man. How you doing?

Zach: 00:52 – Absolutely. I’m doing well. How you doing?

Sean: 00:54 – I’m doing OK, thanks. Usually we start with the CrossFit stuff, but because of what’s going on with a couple of your gyms, I want to start more on the business side of things. You owned two separate facilities, you had CrossFit Max Effort and CrossFit West Vegas and they both shut down. Why did you have to close the doors on those facilities?

Zach: 01:19 – I’ll start with West Vegas because it’s typically for me, the easiest and most simple to explain. So we had been operating in the facility for a good amount of time and the city decided to change the ruling on some of the zoning and operation laws within our space. So we were in a very unique space, actually the only place in the city of Las Vegas to be zoned the way it is. It was business tech. And we had gotten cleared to be there. We didn’t need a special-use permit or anything and it’s really odd zoning, like for instance, an indoor shooting range could have also been in the same space that we were, but then it was also light manufacturing and textiles. It was very weird. But the space suited our needs. We moved in, we had been operating for man, a year maybe, and the city came back to us and they’re like, “OK, we’re redoing the regulations and you’re no longer able to stay there.”

Zach: 02:25 – And I’m like, well, can’t you like grandfather us in or something like that? And they said, no. So that was a pretty big deal. They said, if you want to stay there, you have to get a special-use permit and that obviously cost money to apply for and you have to jump through some hoops. So I’m like, OK, I’ll play this game, don’t want to upset anybody. Went to my representative, the district representative, the councilwoman and spoke to her about it and we got all the paperwork in order and all this stuff. And about three months later I was in front of a hearing with the city council trying to appeal the zoning regulation and they denied me, basically, even going through the special-use permit process and everything. They were just like, “You know what, your business doesn’t fit our vision for that complex.”

Zach: 03:14 – And so I’m like, so you’re just going to shut me down? And they said, “Yep, I’m sorry.” And it didn’t help that while we had been operating there, there had been some noise complaints from just one particular person. And this particular person, I have no evidence of this, this is pretty much just me speculating, but I’m pretty sure they are well connected within the local government. He comes from a family with old money out here and you know, he probably pulled some strings, but again, I have no hard evidence of that. It’s just my speculation, but I just feel like the city was a little bit unfair in that entire situation. But regardless, we had to shut our doors down, or close our doors. So that kinda sucked.

Sean: 03:57 – What did you learn from that whole process?

Zach: 04:00 – Like, I tried and that’s the thing. Like I try and take away lessons learned from every situation, win or lose. And in this one, I’ve talked to lawyers, I’ve talked to the people down at the zoning office and city workers and they’re just like, “You know what, this was just straight up bad luck. Like there’s nothing you can do.” Like it’s maybe don’t put so much trust in local government, I guess, or local policy. But that’s kind of, I feel like that’s jaded and that’s a sad outlook because like, there was literally nothing I could do. I could sue the city of Las Vegas, that’s my lawyer said, and you might come out on top, but like, who wins a suit against the city of Las Vegas? And how much money do you want to waste on that? So I don’t actually know what lessons I learned from that other than you just gotta take it on the chin sometimes.

Sean: 05:00 – When you look back at the beginning of this process, what do you think are some things that you could’ve done differently to possibly avoid this outcome?

Zach: 05:09 – Exactly. And that’s what I kept asking myself. The only thing I think I might have been able to do, and I don’t know who would have had the foresight to do this, would have been to go and talk to the guy that had been complaining. But then again, I have no idea how big of a pull he had, if he was actually the cause or the deciding factor in the city’s decision. I’m sure he had some influence on it. Which could have been mitigated if I had the foresight to go over and just randomly pick one of my neighbors and be like, “Hey, is everything OK?” He like came out of nowhere and that’s the thing. It just, all of a sudden he was upset with us being there. So it was kind of like I was blindsided by the whole thing. And I hate, like it sounds like I’m making excuses for myself or I’m like saying there was nothing I could have done. I just haven’t figured out what I could have done. Maybe you talk to the councilwoman again, Ms. Tarkanian, and try and find other alternative solutions. Like we tried soundproofing for that guy. We tried—they wanted me to completely change my business operation. They’re like, “OK, what we don’t like is the fact that you guys are running outside and that you guys are dropping weights. If you guys were like a Pilates studio or a little bit more high end—” I constantly remember them using the term “high-end boutique gym studio.” We might have a little bit more leeway, but because we’re CrossFit, I think they just didn’t like it.

Sean: 06:39 – Man. That’s crazy. Let’s move on—

Zach: 06:43 – I was like “high end?” We charge more than Life Time Fitness, which is where you’re going, Ms. Tarkanian, come on, give me a break.

Sean: 06:54 – Let’s move on to CrossFit Max Effort, because that opened in 2011 but that also recently closed. Why did you have to shut the doors on that one?

Zach: 07:01 – So that was more of a strategical decision on my part. Basically what had happened was our lease had come to an end as of December 31st, 2018 and I was talking to the building owners and they were completely willing to keep us around month to month. They did not want to resign me under a long-term lease because they wanted to sell the building that we were in. They were asking four million and it’s a standalone building with two tenants, myself and another business. And it’s a pretty large building, industrial, but it is one and a half miles south of where the new Raiders stadium is going. And so these, the land owners, the building owners were trying to capitalize on the market, and I completely understand why they were trying to sell the building. It was outside of my range, of being able to afford $4 million. I didn’t want to take on the risk. I would have had to take on an investor to get the loan, just to be able to buy the building. So it was just, that wasn’t a good option for me unless the investor wanted to be a partner in going to expansion, but yada, yada yada. Anyway, they were looking to sell the building, but they were like, “Hey, we don’t really have anybody lined up. You’re going to go month to month. We’re going to keep it the same rates. And don’t worry about it.” I’m like, OK. And I had already been looking for a space for six to eight months, about actually eight months, in case I needed to move and I was anticipating on moving.

New Speaker: 08:30 – But the market out here, because the two major factors, the Raider stadium and then the legalization of marijuana, the industrial market out here is, or at that point, was completely crazy. You can’t find an industrial space between 8,000 and 15,000 square feet to lease. Like you might be able to buy one, but you can’t find it to lease. My space was 16,000. So like even if I go to 8,000, I’m cutting my square footage in half. So I found an 8,000 square foot. And the rate was double what I was paying, actually it was over double what I was paying. So I was like, I will be paying more for half the space because that’s what the market is at right now. I was paying 75 cents plus CAMS at the space that I was currently in. And the space that was our best option at that time was asking $1.50 plus CAMS and more restriction on what we could do. They said, you can’t run outside, yada, yada, yada, and a bunch of stuff. And I was like, OK, well maybe I’ll just buy a bunch of Assault Runners and we’ll figure it out. Right. So while I’m in the process of doing this, the building owners came back to me and they said, “Hey, we sold the building, we’re in escrow. We’re going to be closing next week. Here’s your 30-day notice.” And I was like, “What? Like, you told me you would give me at least a 60 or 90-day notice and that you would tell me when you were working with someone to buy.” And they’re like, “Yeah, this guy came out of nowhere. He’ another local business owner right up the road. And he just made the decision that he’s going to buy the building. Like he didn’t even negotiate with us, he just came in and said, ‘I’m buying this building.'” I’m like, OK, well what am I going to say? The guy offered them exactly what they wanted and the new building owners were in our space like the next day. And so I’m starting to talk to these guys like, “Hey, do you mind holding off on moving? Like give me an extra month.” And they said, “The most I can give you is a month we’ll give you until like February first,” ’cause this was happening at the beginning of January or something like that.

New Speaker: 10:47 – And it was basically the last 30 to 45 days of us being in that space was just chaos. I was torn between, OK, do I move into this, what I considered a financial death trap of 8,000 square feet that was about a mile down the road from us. The building was in worse condition. They had more restrictions on what I could do operationally and the price was more expensive. My expenses would have been going up. So I’m like, best-case scenario, I retain all my members and I move over there, and now I’m downsizing but I’m not becoming more efficient doing so. And they want a minimum five-year lease. So I’m like, I really don’t think, even to stay open, I do not think that this is going to be a long-term solution for us that’s going to allow us to be successful. And so I made the decision to just shut the doors down and wait until I had a place that I can move into, be happy with and continue flourish. So it was a hard pill to swallow. And the hardest part about it was my ego. And that’s the lesson that I learned there was, even though the choice may seem like it could be the death of you, like when you have to look at all the other options, always, always, always stay away from the emotional decisions.

Zach: 12:19 – Like I wanted to stay in operation. I did not want to quit. I had 300 people that, like, they felt homeless. They’re like, “Where are we supposed to go work out now?” And I’m like, “You know what, there’s 30-some odd other gyms in town. Let me do some research, let me talk to some owners and see who can take care of you the best.” And I gave them my suggestions. And it was just—I felt like I was abandoning my family and that alone would have been enough to keep me making bad decisions. And I had to do some soul searching and had to pull back really, really hard to be like, you know what, in the end, this is going to be better for everybody.

Zach: 13:01 – If the staff is unhappy in the new space, the business isn’t doing well in the new space, it’s like that’s going to eventually get to the community and the members and my customers are going to be unhappy. They’re going to feel that. So I’m like, it all starts at the top but you can’t go somewhere where the owner and the leadership are completely unhappy with the scenario and the situation and expect the customers or community to feel different. You know what I mean?

Sean: 13:30 – About bringing an investor. Why was that not a good option for you?

Zach: 13:35 – Well, because, if we talk about the financials and what we’re looking at, as far as down the road, an exit plan for me as a business owner, it was really coming down to two things and this is why I made the decision. One, if I take on an investor, am I going to be able to—I’m either going to have to give up a ton of equity, which I really didn’t want because then that just messes with my exit strategy for selling the business and moving on to other things. But, I would have to expand beyond what I was, just to make money, enough profit to buy out the investor at a later date. And I was looking at the rate of return, on that profit and how large I would need to be in order to meet that rate to get someone out in the timeframe that I thought was reasonable, and it wasn’t feasible. I wasn’t willing to do it. I’ll just say that. I made a decision. I was like, I don’t want to do that. So looking at the numbers, I would have needed to get an investor on board for anywhere from 350- to $450,000. Might’ve been able to pull it off with 300,000. And the valuation of the company being at $1 million, I’m like, OK, so we’re looking at it, if I can’t do a good job in negotiating, I’m looking at 30 to 40% depending on what they come in with. And as far as equity is concerned, that’s a big chunk. Is it majority? Is it controlling? Absolutely not. But it’s still a big chunk. And I’m thinking, OK, what does that look like? That looks like me getting an investor and then me taking that money to take out a loan from the SBA for $4 million so I can buy the building. Upside is I now have real estate. I now have a hard asset that’s going to appreciate in value and look at the market’s going up in value probably. And I now also have the responsibility of managing that. It’s better for the business, obviously, to be in the building that you own, but I don’t know what the trade-off is as far as managing, ’cause I’ve never done it. Managing two spaces. It’s a 20,000-square-foot building. I did not necessarily want to be a landlord. There was no way we were going to be able to do enough business to pull off 28,000 square feet. I just wanted to stay in the 16,000 square feet that I had, which means I’d have to rent out the front of the building, which means I now have to either pay someone to manage that or manage it myself, and I had no desire to do that. So there was a whole bunch of small factors like that. I mean, they’re not really small, that I had to take into consideration. It was like OK, not worth it for me. It’s not filling my vision for what I want to be able to do. And that made that decision relatively easy once I considered all those things.

Sean: 16:37 – Where are you now in the process of restarting that gym?

Zach: 16:41 – So it’s funny because now I’m going to have to rework some things. I’m open to taking on an investor because I still feel like the brand is relatively strong, but if I’m going to reopen—and I say if because I haven’t fully committed to doing this and because the market is still crazy. There are a couple prospective locations, but I haven’t pinned down anything. If I were to do this and how I would do this would be different. It would need to change, in the sense that I would not offer the—I don’t know if I want to use the word classic or the word original CrossFit affiliate model because the market is changing, it is developing quickly. And I think that the original model for CrossFit affiliates is—not that it can’t be profitable, it’s just, it’s not going to continue to thrive. So I would have to change some things and take on an investor with the sense for what the goal of expanding outside the city of Las Vegas.

Sean: 17:48 – Why do you think that the old model of an affiliate won’t continue to thrive?

Zach: 17:55 – You know what? I should change the way I said that. I should. It won’t change—it won’t thrive for—how do I phrase this? I don’t want to buy a job. I think the operator-owner model is effective if you love doing what you’re doing every single day and you love being in the trenches and you want to wake up and you want to coach, even if you just want to coach like two to three classes a day. And you know, continue to work in the gym. I don’t want that. I didn’t want that. So I’m looking at how much money can—especially in the Las Vegas market—how much money total revenue can a gym pull in versus how much you need to pay skilled labor versus expenses and all that stuff. And I don’t think that in this market an owner-operator gym can provide enough income for me to do what I want to do. So that’s why I was like, OK, I’m going to need to expand and start a different way of running a gym. And it’s like I said, I shouldn’t have said it the way that I originally set it. I think if you are happy coaching and running the day-to-day operations, a gym can support that and pay you definitely a livable wage and definitely a good amount of money to support a family. But I wanted more.

Zach: 19:25 – Assuming that you are able to start another location, you mentioned how you had to send your old members to other gyms. How do you get them back?

Sean: 19:37 – I feel like that’s a trap question, Sean. With risk of sounding arrogant, I open up. And that’s all I do. I’m not, and that’s not me saying like—I gotta be careful how I answer this because I do love the affiliate owners and the community that we have out here, but at the same time, I know why we were the best and I know why we had a strong community and a strong gym. And I feel like it’s very difficult for the other gyms or for any gym to replicate what it is that I had and what we were doing. Not that it’s not possible. I just don’t see it happening. I don’t see the realization that needs to occur for it to happen. And I don’t know—like, how much do you want me to go into that. I feel like I would get them back just by opening up and by virtue of Max Effort is back in town. These people loved—it was their second home, third home.

Sean: 20:56 – Yeah, and I think there is some loyalty there that most people have to their gyms, whatever the original one was that, like you said, it feels like home.

Zach: 21:06 – I mean, I wouldn’t directly approach anybody, I’m not gonna poach members, obviously, that’s terrible, and I’m not going to directly call out anyone or have a marketing campaign that is directed at that. It’s literally just open, make it known to the community that we’re open and if someone’s happier at where they’re at currently versus the happiness that they had with us before, then they should stay there. It’s funny that you asked that question because that was asked of me a while back. Like people were worried, they were like, “Aren’t you worried that like if you reopen, you’re just not going to be able to rebuild to get back to where you were?” And I said, “Absolutely not. I’m not worried about that at all.”

Sean: 21:55 – Well, I hope it works out, man. Let’s go back now. When did you first discover CrossFit?

Zach: 22:00 – So, 2005. I was in the Navy, and Dave Castro beat me over the head with CrossFit.

Sean: 22:13 – What was it about it that hooked you?

Zach: 22:16 – That’s a good question. You know what? I was actually pretty resistant to it for a while. So, we had used it and I’m not sure, are you familiar, Sean, with Gym Jones?

Sean: 22:28 – I’ve heard of, yes.

Zach: 22:31 – OK. Mark Twight and Gym Jones. So I found CrossFit, I want to say in second phase of BUD/S. But we didn’t really do it because they weren’t allowed to call it CrossFit. So we would do some weird workouts where we would do on the minute, every minute for 30 minutes, 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 air squats, and then run into the surf, hit the surf and then come back and start all over again. And that was miserable. I couldn’t even keep down Gatorade during that workout, I was like throwing up as I was working out. And it was just one of those things where I had no idea what we were doing. I just knew that these were the hardest workouts that I had ever done in my entire life. And I expected it. I was like, this is what BUD/S must be. And I mean, this was in addition to our regular PT stuff like running. And then in SQT, I remember Dave asking, he was like, “Hey, does anybody want to do a fitness course over the weekend? It’s Friday, Saturday, Sunday.” And everybody in the class was looking around like, no, we don’t want to do this. And he’s like, “OK, I’m asking for volunteers And when he gives you that look, it’s not he’s asking for volunteers, it’s like if each one of you assholes don’t raise your hand, you’re all gonna pay. And we’re like, “OK crap.”

Zach: 23:52 – And I went through what I found out later to be a Level 1 course with Greg, Dave and Nicole. And it was a turning point in realization of like what fitness is. And even after that, though, like when I got to the team, they were doing Gym Jones, and I was like, “This is kind of like CrossFit.” And I had to research and look at Mark Twight’s background and involvement with CrossFit. And I was like, OK. So it’s basically the same thing. So we did Gym Jones training or CrossFit-style training about twice a week. And that was in addition to the regular running that I would do on my own and like bench press and like the weightlifting, ’cause I was a small guy and I needed to get bigger or so everybody told me. And it wasn’t until I moved to Vegas later on that I was like, “OK, I’m just going to fully commit to doing CrossFit”. And that was like 2008.

Sean: 24:46 – Then how did you get involved with the training staff?

Zach: 24:49 – So training staff, what had happened was we hosted a Level 1 at CrossFit Las Vegas. And I remember, I think it was Pat Barber, I remember talking to Pat, I think this was around 2009. And just picking his brain about the job and what he was doing. And I was like, you know, this sounds pretty cool. I’ll check this out and see what I need to do. And I reached out to Dave and he was like, “We have this new course coming online, a Level 2, take this and talk to me afterwards.” I was like, OK, cool. So I went to a Level 2, and I remember Andy Stumpf, who was a guy that I had been at BUD/S with. He was one of my instructors at BUD/S, and Nicole Carroll, Freddy Camacho. And I think that was it. They were putting us through a Level 2 and it was Carl Paoli, Jason Khalipa, John Welbourn was there. It was kind of cool. And I had worked with those guys a couple times and I remember walking in and sitting down to find out whether or not I passed my Level 2, and Andy just looked at me, he has the sunglasses on inside of course. And he looks at me, and he goes, “Well, you screwed that up, didn’t you?” And Nicole was like, “No, you passed. Don’t worry about it.” And then, so passing Level 2 that weekend, I reached out to Dave, I was like, “Hey, I passed the Level 2. Cool, what’s the next step? What do you want me to do?” And he’s like, “OK, cool. I’ll set you up with a course.” And I interned at a Level 1 in Reno and then interned at another Level 1 in Las Vegas and then start working ’em.

Sean: 26:37 – Everyone I’ve ever talked to who’s on the training staff, they all have one sort of crazy story. What is your one crazy story from your time as a member of the Seminar Staff?

Zach: 26:49 – Oh geez. Should it be training related or not?

Sean: 26:52 – It can be anything related. I mean, I’ve heard about fights, I’ve heard about all kinds. I’ve heard about people getting propositioned.

Zach: 27:02 – I want to be extremely clear, the training staff is amongst the most professional people I’ve ever gotten the privilege to work with, and the family sense, it matches that of the SEAL community. And there was one year, when at the Staff trainers summit where we all get together and we talk about how we deliver the courses. At one of the after parties, I don’t know what happened, but I lost my pants. I don’t know how it happened. I mean, I woke up the next morning, I was in the hotel lobby, and when I say morning it was probably like 4:00 a.m. or something like that. And didn’t have any pants on. And I think I remember getting a text from Hobart. Was it James or someone? And they’re like, “Hey, were those your pants in the elevator?” And I’m like, “I have no idea.” Yeah. They like to they like to play hard and that’s not characteristic of me to get blackout drunk where I start losing clothes. But I woke up—oh, I was wet, too. It’s like I had gone in the pool or something, and I think I remember the hotel staff not being very kind to me that morning.

Sean: 28:31 – Can’t imagine why.

Zach: 28:34 Well, I woke up and I think one of the things I asked, I was like, “Hey, where’s breakfast?” And they said, “Sir, you need to have pants on first.” And I was like, “Oh shit. OK.”

Sean: 28:40 – You first competed at the Games in 2009. That was the last year at the Ranch. What do you remember about that atmosphere?

Zach: 28:52 – Holy cow. I was in such awe, I was so happy to be there that the Ranch at that time seemed like, I was like, “Man, this might as well be the Olympics.” It was small. It was intimate. And I had heard about something called the Woodstock of fitness, had no idea what Woodstock was. I had to look it up. And I remember being there and just seeing what I thought was a very large crowd and being like, “Holy cow, this is a real thing.” I just thought it was going to be some like, backyard event, and going from my only experience, up to that point in CrossFit competition being the Regional that you had to qualify in—which, our regional was in Flagstaff, it was at CrossFit Flagstaff. Not a small gym, but I mean it was like, it looked to be about a very large CrossFit class. So I was like, OK, cool. I’m just going to do some workouts today and we’ll see what happens. And then I got to the Ranch and I was like, holy cow. It was amazing. For me, it was just like, it was inspirational. I was like, look at all these people that want to want to compete in fitness. And that was just 2009. But at the same time it was very humble. It was very much like—not archaic, but like, I don’t know how to explain it. It was like the, the woodland games or—what are those—

Sean: 30:22 – The Highland games?

Zach: 30:26 – The lumberjack.

Sean: 30:27 – Yeah, the lumberjack games.

Zach: 30:34 – Yeah, it was very raw and I totally fell in love with it. It was great.

Zach: 30:39 – Fast forward then to your final appearance in 2013, that’s at now, the StubHub center. What was the biggest change that you noticed between 2009 and 2013?

Zach: 30:53 – The biggest thing I saw was the support for the competition. It was no longer a gathering of people. I mean, it still was, but I was amazed. I was completely blown away with the medical staff, the athlete support, the crowd control, the logistics that were happening, the Rogue crew that showed up. It was just, it was amazing to me to see the management of it all and the behind-the-scenes stuff and it kind of you realize everybody is there in support of the competition, in support of the show, in support of the athletes. But it does not feel like that. You feel like you are part of something bigger. Like you legitimately feel like you’re part of a movement that’s changing the world. When you get to see the behind-the-scenes stuff at the events like that, it’s amazing to me.

Sean: 31:44 – What’s your fondest CrossFit Games memory from your time as a competitor?

Zach: 31:48 – Oh, I don’t have any—probably being in the tennis stadium. Anything in the tennis stadium is pretty amazing. Just the atmosphere. I don’t think it can be duplicated. I don’t think it can be replicated. Maybe at Madison in the Coliseum, but the tennis stadium was intimate, for lack of a better term, like the pit. It was very cool. And just being down on that floor, anytime I was down on the floor, it felt great. So I don’t think there’s any one event that I specifically cherish more than the other. It was just the entire cumulative experience.

Sean: 32:38 – Why you decide that, you know what, I’m done being a competitor?

Zach: 32:40 – Because I wanted to focus on the business. Because I wanted to focus on the business and because I realized that with the sport growing and maturing that the amount of dedication it took to be at that level was beyond what I wanted to give. And I enjoy business. I enjoy seeing something grow. I like working on my own skills and I like working on bettering myself and I think that I’m starting to value outside growth a little bit more. Not that I don’t do personal growth, but like seeing something being built and seeing how it affects the lives of others is one of the coolest things in the world to me. And that’s why I made the decision. That’s it.

Sean: 33:32 – You’ve been a competitor, you’ve been a Navy SEAL. How did those two things help you in your career as a businessperson?

Zach: 33:40 – I think it gives you some objective perspective. To do well in both of those things, or all of those things, as a competitor, special operations, being part of a team and also a business owner, you need the ability to know when to put your ego aside. When to you leverage your ego as a tool, and when to take emotion out of the equation in order to make some hard decisions. And you also need to be comfortable being uncomfortable. And it’s not just a physical sense, it’s emotionally and mentally and intellectually. Like there’s fatigue on all levels and nothing great ever occurred by someone staying in their comfort zone. So you just need to be OK with the fact that sometimes the grind is uncomfortable. Sometimes the training is uncomfortable, sometimes the decision is uncomfortable. Sometimes the conversation that you have to have with that person is uncomfortable, but you have to be willing to go through it. And know that it’s going to be better after the fact if you do it right.

Sean: 34:46 – You have coached people all over the world in your own gym as well. What’s been your proudest moment as a coach?

Zach: 34:58 – There’s a couple that stand out my head. Two female athletes on two certain occasions. Actually, man, there’s so many that are coming back to me now. But that popped in my head. I remember one athlete after the acquisition of 702 CrossFit West Vegas. I had been working with her for maybe four months and she was unable to run anything past, like a very slow jog and the first time during a workout that she was able to run a full 400-meter lap without stopping. And it wasn’t a jog. It was like a legitimate run, “I teared up, I was just like, holy cow. That was incredible. I was like, Dawn, nice job. You blew me away. Let’s keep this going.” And it was just, she was happy, and she almost didn’t even realize what she had done. It was so cool.

Zach: 35:57 – And then another time was when Annabell got her first pull-up. Yeah. She had been working really, really hard and had her on some bands and had her on some ring rows and gave her some extra work to do. And she’s dedicated. She’s consistent. She’s a workhorse and she’s a pitbull and she loves doing more and more and more. And so I had to work with her to temper that passion and focus it. And she eventually got her first pull-up combining that with some dedication on the nutrition side. And that was pretty amazing.

Sean: 36:34 – That’s really cool, man. I think everyone has those moments and it’s weird how you take probably more pleasure in their accomplishments than you do in your own.

Zach: 36:42 – 100%, yeah.

Sean: 36:45 – Final question. What has been the best part about this whole CrossFit journey for you?

Zach: 36:56 – That’s a hard question. The best part has been kind of getting a better sense of self by interacting with some pretty amazing humans. I mean, there’s so much good that comes from owning a gym, from coaching people, from competition, from exercise in general, specifically CrossFit. It’s hard to pin down, but I would say because I’ve been blessed and so incredibly lucky to have experiences with some of the best coaches in the world, who also happened to be some of the best people in the world, and my own members that it’s—you know, that quote where it’s like you are the sum of the five people you surround yourself with the most? You know what I’m talking about? It’s like there’s something about CrossFit that inherently good people involved. And the fact that I can be regularly exposed to those people has just elevated every aspect of my life. And I don’t want to take that for granted. And I’ve learned to appreciate human interaction. Even if for the most simple fact that I will always learn from it. So, either through win or lose, it’s like I’ve done nothing but grow from being involved in CrossFit physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually to a certain degree. I’m not really religious, but I know that it’s there. So yeah, that’s what I’m thankful for.

Sean: 38:39 – Well, Zach, I really appreciate you taking the time to do this. Great conversation and I want to wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors. I hope that you get the gym back up and running again soon.

Zach: 38:48 – Thank you, Sean, I really appreciate that.

Sean: 38:50 – All right, man, talk to you soon.

Sean: 38:54 – Once again, I would like to thank Zach Forrest for taking the time to speak with me. You can follow Zach on Instagram. He is @zach_af, that’s z a c h underscore a f. Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland is brought to you by Two-Brain Business. To learn how to generate profit and take your business to the next level, check out “Founder, Farmer, Tinker Thief” by Chris Cooper. It’s available now on Amazon, and if you want me to read it to you, I literally do that in the audio version. Thanks for listening, everybody. We’ll talk to you again soon.



This is our NEW podcast. Two-Brain Marketing, where we’ll focus on sales and digital marketing, runs every Monday. Your host is Mateo Lopez!

Greg Strauch will be back on Thursday with the Two-Brain Radio Podcast.

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Aligning The Vs

Have you ever seen geese flying south for the winter?


They organize themselves in giant Vs in the sky. The front goose flaps hard; the rest benefit from their slipstream. In cycling, we call that “draft”, and it’s surprisingly powerful. When I ride right behind a tall guy, with my wheel inches from his, I can travel at the same speed with 30% less effort. You’ve probably seen this in the Tour de France, or with geese: one works hard, then drops to the back to rest and the next takes their place in the pace line.


In business, there are really two Vs that create a slipstream for everything else: Vision and Values.


Your job as CEO is to set the vision, and constantly reinforce it with your staff. That way, when someone else takes their turn at the front, they can keep the flock pointed in the right direction. Your other job is to make sure your values align with each staff member. Because if they don’t, you’re going to have problems that grow over time.


Here’s how Vision and Values align (or don’t) with your staff:

If your team clearly sees your vision and shares your values, you’re going to go far in the same direction. And you’re going to make life easier for each other.


Moving clockwise to the bottom right quadrant:


If you share the same values, but have a different vision for your business, it isn’t always bad: maybe they want a gym focused on training athletes, and you want a gym focused on health. You might eventually compete; or you might cross-refer. That’s up to you as a leader.


Different vision, different values: this is just a job to them. They might work as a placeholder for the short periods, and that’s fine. Just make sure they aren’t keeping a better candidate out of an important seat.


Same vision, different values (top left): the most common outcome is that they leave to start a competing business. They want the same outcome, but want to achieve it in a way that you can’t condone. Your duty to your clients, your other staff and yourself is to remove these people from your team. The longer you wait, the worse it will be.


Now let’s take this Vision and Values alignment to the other gyms in your area.


Starting from the top right: if two local gyms share the same vision and values, they can work together. My best example is the Regional meetups of Two-Brain gyms, where 6-10 gym owners get together to share best practices and support. These gym owners have different backgrounds and programming, but they share the same vision for success. More importantly, they share the Two-Brain values. They often cross-refer; sometimes they share staff.


Moving counterclockwise to Same Values, Different Vision: these are good people who want to run a gym that’s not the same as yours. Maybe they’re therapists, or maybe they love Pilates. You can cross-refer and cross-promote. You SHOULD help each other.


Different values, different vision: they’re not your competition. These are probably the globo-gyms running New Year’s sales, or independent MLM salesmen peddling sugary shakes. You don’t have to waste any attention on them. Their clients will graduate up to your service if you continue to educate them.


Same vision, different values: maybe they want to run sales, or give discounts. Maybe they want to try to steal YOUR clients or slander you. These are actually the best competition to have, because they’ll filter the worst clients and send the best to you. Read more here. And people are smart: we’re all attracted to the best. Just be the best, wait for them to go away, and buy their equipment at a bargain price later.


One of the greatest things that happened at the Two-Brain Summit might surprise you: I got food poisoning. I missed my flight, and showed up 36 hours later. And guess what? Everything was fine. In fact, it was probably better. I didn’t need to be there for our clients to benefit. I’ve been focusing on our Vision and Values a lot over the last year, thanks to Josh Price’s guidance and gentle reminders. And the Two-Brain team didn’t just stay on course: we flew faster and higher. It was the best Summit ever by all accounts.


Your job as owner isn’t to work the hardest, or the longest. It’s not to be “the face”. It’s to lead.


Share your vision, and check to make sure your values align. If they don’t, take action immediately. When you have your Vs aligned, you’ll go faster and further with less drag.



Two-Brain Marketing Episode 13: Jacqui Hamer

Two-Brain Marketing Episode 13: Jacqui Hamer

Mateo: 00:01 – Hey, it’s Mateo from Two-Brain Marketing and on this edition of the Two-Brain Marketing podcast, I’m talking with Jacqui Hamer from CrossFit Durst. I’m super excited about this week’s episode because you’re going to learn about how Jacqui spent $175 on ads and generated $7,000 in new member revenue, so you don’t want to miss this. Make sure to subscribe to Two-Brain Rdaio for more marketing tips and secrets each week.

Greg: 00:26 – Two-Brain Radio is brought to you by Two-Brain Business. We make gyms profitable. We’re going to bring you the very best tips, tactics, interviews in the business world each week. To find out how we can help you create your Perfect Day, book a free call with a mentor at twobrainbusiness.com.

Chris: 00:39 – What makes a good gym website? The answer to that question keeps changing. Five years ago I would’ve said that you need this rotating banner image. Three years ago I would’ve said you have to have one splash page highlighting the benefits of your service. That’s true. The problem is that the benefits of your service change by the client you’re trying to target and so you need to be able to adapt. You need to be able to add your own landing pages. Your main cover page should reflect what your most important clients want. That’s going to be different from what my most important clients want. So a website that’s based on a template with the same kind of rotating image is not going to work anymore. I use For Time Design for the twobrainbusiness.com and Catalyst gym websites because those are the most important websites I own. I want responsive design that’s going to work well on mobile. About 60% of your clients are going to come through mobile and more in the future. I want a responsive designer, which means I can contact them to make changes and I want to know how to change my own oil. I want to know how to get in there and add my own posts. I talk a lot about content marketing and that means I have to know the medium through which I’m delivering my content. Using For Time Design has been my choice now for about three years because Theresa and her team are super responsive.

Chris: 02:01 – She can answer questions for me, she can show me how to do it myself if I want to or she can do it for me if I don’t have time. She’s created a big series of videos for Two-Brain clients in our Incubator and Growth stages to watch so that they can do stuff like build landing pages themselves. A lot of website companies try to pull the curtain in front of their knowledge. They try to hold a lot of stuff secret so that they can charge you to do the basic things. Just like in car maintenance, changing your oil, rotating your tires. If you want to do that stuff, awesome. If you don’t have time to do that stuff, take it to the garage. Theresa at For Time Design gives you both options and she’ll even teach you how to do it yourself if you want to. I use fortimedesign.com that’s what’s made them an official Two-Brain partner is our firm belief in their commitment to helping first and a strong sense of service value.

Mateo: 02:55 – Hello and welcome to the Two-Brain Marketing podcast. I’m your host, Mateo Lopez. I’m one of the digital marketing mentors at Two-Brain Business. Thanks for joining us. This is your weekly dose of digital marketing magic. And this week I’m super excited, we’ve got Jacqui from CrossFit Durst and in today’s episode you’re going to learn about her experience and how she was able to build a campaign that generated 25 new clients. She was able to generate over $7,000 of front-end revenue after only spending 175 bucks on ads. So we’re going to learn about that and see what went down to make that magic happen. But Jacqui, how’s it going?

Jacqui: 03:35 – Good, great, having a great day, excited and nervous to be here.

Mateo: 03:39 – Awesome. Don’t be nervous. But that’s great. I’m excited you’re excited. For the people who are listening. Who are you, where are you from? And tell us a little bit about your business.

Jacqui: 03:49 – Perfect. So my name’s Jacqui. I am from Brantford, Ontario, one of the Canadians in the Two-Brain-fold. And I own CrossFit Durst. We are a CrossFit gym here in the Brantford area. And we started to focus on just trying to get more people in our door, trying to let our community know that we existed, you know, we’re a few years in. And we had heard people say they didn’t even know we were in town. So that was kind of our focus and how we got started.

Mateo: 04:23 – Awesome. And how long have you been with the Two-Brain family?

Jacqui: 04:27 – We started with Two-Brain in December.

Mateo: 04:31 – I know you mentioned growth was kind of something that was on your mind, but what really motivated you to pursue mentorship and business coaching?

Jacqui: 04:38 – I’m a big believer that all coaches need coaches when it comes to everything. So that was kind of step number one. We reached out to Chris before we even opened our doors for that first free call years ago. And we have been following his principles since day one. I’ve read every book. I’ve secretly followed along. And then recently we’ve had two neighboring gyms of friends of ours get involved and we just saw the growth happening for them. We saw their lifestyles change and that was kind of the final straw for me. I saw these people just living the life I wanted to live while running a gym. And I was like, I need see what this is all about.

Mateo: 05:22 – So I guess what was the life you were living? Tell us about, you know, opening up the affiliate, how life, what life was like and then how maybe it changed a little bit. Talk to me about this life that you saw them living and you felt you weren’t living and yeah, let’s start there.

Jacqui: 05:38 – So, yeah, so I was working a lot of hours coaching. I was doing everything. I was wearing all the hats in my business. We had coaches, yes. We had gone through in December, we had actually lost some coaches. We had lost some members. It was kind of just a bit of a change happening in our gym and in our community. And it was hard. I was covering those hours, felt overwhelmed and then I’m seeing, you know, one town over my friends who are running a gym and they’re buying motorcycles and taking vacations and spending time with their families and all of a sudden, you know, I used to call them up and we would chat together about, “Oh man, running a gym. It’s just, we basically opened our own jobs.” That’s all we did. We’re not owning a business. We’re not living the life of ownership. We are working full time and grinding and you know, nobody sees the back-end stuff that’s happening and how much time we’re putting in. And it was, you know, definitely taking a strain on my health, my training, all those reasons I wanted to open a gym. Just felt like I didn’t have time to do any of those things.

Mateo: 06:57 – Why’d you want to open a gym?

Jacqui: 06:57 – Oh, I fell in love with fitness a long time ago and have been in many different realms from marathons to triathlons. And I started with a boot camp. I was training ladies doing a boot camp and I started doing CrossFit and I fell in love with it and I was just hooked. I was hooked. I walked into a CrossFit gym and people walked up and introduced themselves. It was a family. It was a community. And I was like, this is what’s meant to be. So I gave up a corporate job in Toronto to follow my dream. So yeah. Yeah, it was a big leap. I even moved to a different city to make it happen. And now fast forward five years later and we’re slowly getting to that dream.

Mateo: 07:48 – Amazing. OK, so, you found CrossFit, you fell in love, you felt that this was the way the world was supposed to be with this methodology. So you quit your corporate job, you opened this gym, you mentioned some of the coaches, some of the members left. Kind of, as you were thinking about—or in December and shortly after that you signed up for Two-Brain, you know, what were some of the challenges you were seeing, what were some of the roadblocks and some of the reasons why maybe you saw people leaving or conflicts arising.

Jacqui: 08:19 – So, you know, as it happens to many gyms, another gym moves into town and opens up, and we had a divide our community kind of at that time. We have always, and I guess going back to the question of why I opened a gym, I opened a CrossFit gym for the average person, everyone who wants to be involved in health and wellness. And that was always our goal and always our focus. Yes, I would love to train people that are going to be super successful and go to the Games and everything else. But we all know they’re the 2% of society when it comes to CrossFit. So we were really focused on that weight loss, that betterment, that general fitness. And for some, I don’t think that was necessarily what their focus was. So we saw a divide kind of happen at that point. Also, you know, logistics people live closer to other gyms, so some coaches found that, you know, it just made more sense for them. So it was a sad hard time, you know, not only when coaches leave, it’s number one, sad because you’re losing a coach, you’re losing staff, but you’re also kind of losing a friend. So that was kind of our big divide. So when I started with Two-Brain, they really helped us kind of focus on what we’re doing and how to focus on us and our particular growth and what the focus of our gym is. Like, I remember writing my mission statement and I’m like, “I’ve never wrote this before, but this is exactly what it is.” We’re here for everyone to pursue their health.

Mateo: 09:48 – This is a story we hear a lot, right? Where people, they start the gym, they have their founding people, their founding clients join and they’re in love. And then they move past that general fitness phase. And then they want, you know, a little bit more and want to be maybe more competitive and then they’re using the space more than using the corner to do extra programming. And then, you know, it’s stuff where you want to fulfill their wants and needs, but at the same time it’s now coming at odds with what you’re trying to do with your gym and help the people you want to help. And yeah, you’ll see people kind of splinter off or if you don’t have a mechanism for checking into those people in and keeping them involved, it can be tough. And then we also hear stories—a lot of the coaches who are feeding into that and then they splinter off or they take people and they’ll do their barbell-only gym or whatever. So I guess for people who are going through that stage, clients at that—you know, the growing pains of that and coaches—dealing with the logistic problems or getting unsettled. What advice do you have for people who are seeing that kind of conflict bubbling up?

Jacqui: 10:57 I think the biggest thing is really hone in on what your mission is and what your goals are and be true to those. You know, we were in an odd circumstance where another gym did close. We took on a bunch of members a few years back. The members that we took on, they weren’t the members that necessarily chose us. We were just the only gym in town now at that point. So we had a much more competitive environment all of a sudden show up on our doorsteps one day. Our community wasn’t in that realm. They were here about supporting each other and you know, Rx’s were awesome. Like we got an Rx today. They weren’t determined to Rx no matter what it did to their bodies. They had coaches that helped, you know, make them have that smart approach to things. So I just say, when it comes to anyone that, you know, you are seeing that splintering off or you’re seeing within your gym, a different focus start to emerge. Yes, there is definitely ways you can foster it. Like we now have a build program that’s a strength and conditioning program. There’s different programs that you can follow and offer them, but ultimately stay true to your core. Those are your core members. Those are, you know, in the Two-Brain world, your seed clients. They’re the ones that are going to be the ones that stick around and that help your business grow and move you to that mission.

Mateo: 12:21 – Yeah, I love that. I think you hit the nail on the head. You have to use to figure out the problems you want to solve, right? You can’t solve all of them. You can’t solve weight loss for the average person problem while also trying to be the best in the world at solving the people who want to be competitive athletes in CrossFit while also being the best in the world that gymnastics or whatever it is, right? With these people, when they have different desires and wants and needs. Yeah, goals change and you should be checking in with people to make sure that you guys are still aligned or that you have a prescription for your client that’s going to help them meet that goal. But at the end of the day, you have to pick what you want to be the best at the world at, what problem do you want to solve and be really efficient at solving. And that’s where you really need to have a clear, like keep a pulse and a clear understanding of your mission, what you were saying. And so you have to pick that thing that you want to be really good at solving and you can’t solve all these problems, because then you’re just bad at trying to solve a bunch of problems, right?

Jacqui: 13:16 – And I think there’s spots for everyone within a community. Like we still have some extremely competitive athletes and you know, and then we also have grandma who’s in there wanting to work out. But when you have people that—and it’s not even the focus on necessarily what it is that you’re offering people, but it’s the type of people, right? When you’re fostering a community that wants to support each other, it doesn’t matter if it’s grandma, if it’s the competitive athlete or it’s the six-year-old in the kids program, when you’ve got the same type of people that are willing to come out and rally around other people, it just fosters a different environment and it’s more in line with our mission and what our vision is of the gym as opposed to, you know, having little pockets of competitive groups that are, you know, yeah, not necessarily looking at the whole whole and don’t necessarily care about grandma and her workout or cheering her on when they’re finished their Rx workout.

Mateo: 14:08 – Yeah, totally. You know, to be competitive, you have to be in your own world, which is fine, but then if you’re not trying to—that’s not the community you want to create, then they’re just, may not be the best fit. Awesome. So you talked about life leading up to signing up for Two-Brain or joining Two-Brain, talked about how you were juggling a lot of responsibilities, wearing a lot of hats, there was a little bit of discontent in the membership. And then you talked about working on the mission and the values of your company, how that really helped you kind of narrow your focus. What else, working through the Incubator and with your mentor, what else did you see change in your business?

Jacqui: 14:45 – Oh, big question, lots! I think one of the biggest things is probably my confidence. When I started in the Two-Brain program, and I started with Tammy, she’s a fantastic coach, she was my rock through starting, and I was lost. We were making money, I couldn’t tell you how much. I had zero metrics. I wasn’t tracking anything. So she not only got all of my ducks in a row and held me accountable to all of that. Also just in terms of being able to ask someone for feedback that’s been there and done it, and that is a third party, rather than trying to go to my coaches or going to friends or other friends that own businesses, whatever the case may be. I truly didn’t have someone that understood the full picture and has been there and done it. And being able to work with Tammy, it got to a point that I got near the end of the Incubator and I’m like, I know what she’s going to say. Like just—she’s given me the confidence to make my own decisions and to be confident. So when I started I’d be like, “Oh, what should I do? What should I do? And then near the end of the Incubator, I was like, “So this is what I’m thinking about doing.” And she’s like, “Yeah, that sounds great. Have you thought about it this way? Have you thought about it this way?” But I was coming to her more confidently with, “OK, I think this is the plan,” or “What’s Two-Brain’s view on this? Like how would this work?” And she’d be like, she would walk me through it and walk me through the pros and cons of making those decisions. Whereas before it would just be like me in a corner being like, I” don’t know what to do. Help me.” So just in terms of my personal growth, and I even had members and coaches come up to me and say they can just see a difference in me, that there was a different confidence level. The coaches loved the implementation of systems and processes and different apps and different programs that we’re using that also enhanced their lives and made everything easier.

Mateo: 16:52 – Awesome. That’s amazing. I haven’t heard anyone talk about it quite like that, but that’s great that, it’s almost she empowered you to be able to make your own decisions now and you had a better framework for understanding, you know, the business side of things and how to make these decisions. Amazing. So you touched upon this a little bit in terms of the mission, values and people who you want to help, but in your own words, what do you sell? And then how do you sell it?

Jacqui: 17:17 – OK. So we sell fitness, we sell health, we sell longevity. I want people to be able to walk in our doors and every day be working one step closer to that better version of themselves. When I meet with people at first we talk about their goals. I don’t want to just say, “Hey, here’s what we offer,” plunk you into the program. The first thing we do is we sit down and aside from knowing their name, I know nothing about them. I know nothing about how I can help them because I don’t even know what they want done. So then we talk about what their goals are. Some people’s goals are really specific or very big. Other people are, they hey, thought CrossFit sounded fun and just kind of want to give it a try. So from there, depending on those goals, we then make our prescription to them of what we think would be the best fit. That might be personal training, nutrition, group classes, boot camp classes. Really just depends on that individual. But ultimately I want them to fall into something that they’re comfortable with. If they’re not comfortable in a group class and they’re nervous about it, well I’m not going to throw them into my busiest class and say, “Hey, give it a go and see what happens.” I’m going to potentially recommend personal training for them. If personal training’s maybe not the right fit, well maybe we do on-ramp in a personal setting and then transition you into classes. So yeah, we sell betterment. We sell working on a better version of that person and what that means for them.

Mateo: 18:50 – Yeah, I think that’s amazing. And I think that was one of the biggest things, a big game-changer for me when I joined Two-Brain was just that simple question. Like, do you prefer working out in a group or in a one-on-one setting? Just asking that simple one question when you’re sitting down with someone, understanding their goals made a huge impact on the way in which now I can help people and own my business. It was a really big game changer for me. And it sounds like you do a very similar thing when you’re sitting down with your new clients. So let’s talk about the new clients that you have coming through now. You were working with Blake through the marketing course and setting up some of your paid advertising systems. So in April, how much did you end up spending on ads?

Jacqui: 19:27 – So in April we started our first ad that Blake helped me out with, and we spent $174.

Mateo: 19:36 – How many leads did you generate?

Jacqui: 19:38 – 105.

Mateo: 19:40 – Wow. And then how many new members did you end up signing up?

Jacqui: 19:44 – We ended up having 25 new clients out of that.

Mateo: 19:49 – And how much new member revenue was that?

Jacqui: 19:51 – That was over $7,000 just in that month of revenue.

Mateo: 19:56 – Wow. So how 175 bucks in ads, $7,000 in front-end revenue. Now that’s not typical, or you don’t hear that every day. Those are pretty amazing results. But talk to me, I’m curious, talk to me a little bit about the system or rather, how did you handle that influx of leads? You know, what did you guys do to get people booked, once they were booked, what did you do to get them to come in for their appointments? And then once they came in, you know, what happens from the moment they walk into the door to then when they’re finally sitting down and talking with you and signing up.

Jacqui: 20:26 – OK. So it was actually really all kind of funny because it just started happening and we started booking clients in and I remember getting a message from Blake being like, “Whoa, your ad’s killing it.” And I’m like, “What do you mean?” And he’s like, “This is doing amazing. Don’t you realize?” And I was like, “I don’t know. I’m just booking No-Sweats.” So I tried to just make myself available for as many No-Sweats as possible. We were using Equiniti, I believe it’s called, to actually book our ads through the click funnel that we were using. So members would see our ad online, they would click on it, it would take them through the click funnel where we had this great video that Blake helped me put together as well as a bunch of information. One of the great things is once they clicked on it, there was a few different levels, so they really had to really want to come in and actually meet with us because first they had to give us their name and information. Then on the second click-through they actually had to give us some information about themselves before it actually allowed them to book a No-Sweat. So before they even walked in our door, we had all their contact information. We also had some really important information about what their goals were. So even if they didn’t show up, I could call up and say, “Hey, I wanted to talk to you about that weight-loss goal that you had, sorry we didn’t actually get to connect for your No-Sweat.” So then that’s the next step. Once they book, they were booking into that No-Sweat Intro, which is basically just a consultation where they’re sitting down.

Jacqui: 21:58 – Again, Blake had helped me work through a bunch of visuals that we used as sale aids. So I sit down with them at first I have a blank piece of paper. All it has on it is their name and the date. And I ask them what brought them in. Some people go really deep right away, other people, you kind of had to warm up to them and really get down to what are those goals? Is it weight loss? Is it to keep up with their grandkids? Is it a specific fitness goal they’re after? And then once we knew that, walking them through the different programs we offer. So even if someone told me they didn’t want PT, I still showed them our PT offering because it was amazing that sometimes when you show someone it all of a sudden they’re now interested in PT and it makes sense for them. And you know, I’m not sure exactly what was behind them saying no, but now all of a sudden they’re signing up for a three-month PT package when they told me they were here for boot camp. So that was the big thing. So I started with our most expensive offering, our personal training, down into our group training and our nutrition offering, and then finally our boot camp offering, which was the original offer.

Mateo: 23:04 – What are some of those visual aids that you use in your consultation?

Jacqui: 23:08 – So we basically just have a price chart. So it has the different membership options across the top. And then down the side it kind of shows what, with a little either check or X, what you’re actually getting in those packages. So it really just kind of shows the value for dollar that people are getting. And it was kind of even great comparing to our boot camp to our CrossFit. Everyone thinks that boot camp’s going to be the cheaper offering or it’s going to be—interesting because people do think it’s going to be the lowest barrier of entry. But once they realize, well, that’s only really three classes a week whereas CrossFit I get the entire schedule. So when you really lay out that visual of hey, this gets you everything, this gets you this, this, this and this. Which, you know, goal-setting sessions, getting access to our members-only Facebook groups, or you know, emails that come out, all these different things that they’re now seeing they get access to versus just boot camp with those three classes. All of a sudden what they came in for, now they’re basically upselling themselves into one of our programs.

Mateo: 24:18 – Yeah, they’re seeing that, “Wow, there’s a lot of other value coming out of this other stuff.” And if you’re framing it in a way where like, “Hey, I understand you have these certain weight-loss goals” or whatever it is, you know, this is going to get you here the fastest. You can do this boot camp and you’ll still get great results. But do you want to get there faster or whatever it is, these are going to be the better options for you or this will get you there the most efficient way or we’ll be able to, you know, keep a better eye on you, which I think is awesome. And having it laid out visually like you just described, they can see the stack, right, of just all this stuff they’re getting with the, you know, the hybrid of the higher-end package versus the, the three times a week boot camp. I can see how people said, “Well, you know what I actually kind of want that one,” which is awesome. So when they walk in, like is someone greeting them? You have a front desk or how does that work?

Jacqui: 25:01 – So generally we have, we do have a front desk when you walk in the door. And our coaches are all very well trained that if they see the door open at least a quick hello. Generally we have a front desk staff, we call them our Director of First Impressions.

Mateo: 25:16 – I like that.

Jacqui: 25:21 – And he is generally our greeter. So he has access to our system. He knows who’s coming in, when they’re coming in, and he’ll greet them by name. So if he sees Jen’s due to come in, they’ll walk in the door and he says, “Hey, you must be Jen. Welcome. You’re going to be meeting with Jacqui, she’s going to be right with you. Did you want a bottle of water?” We offer them something. They have a seat. We have couches in our front reception area, and then if I’m still finishing up with a client, he’ll just let them know “she’ll be right with you.” He usually tends to point me out within the room as well, so they kind of know who they’re looking for to come get them because we are in one big space and no matter what we’re doing, you’re kind of visual there.

Jacqui: 26:02 And then I’ll come over and see that there’s someone, that my next appointment’s here, come over and greet them again. I know their name, I know who’s coming in. I already have their name on a piece of paper ready to go, and we take them back into what I’ll loosely call my office area, which is really more our kitchenette with some stools, but it does the job. And then we go back there and that’s where we sit and actually start our consult. It’s relatively private. It’s off to the side of the gym. They can still see everything that’s happening in the gym, but we’re not right up in the front with them having to give personal information with other people around or with our front desk staff there listening in. It’s just more of them and I sitting and chatting.

Mateo: 26:43 – That’s amazing. I love how you have the addressing people by name. I think that’s huge. I think it’s amazing. I need to start doing that. That’s awesome. And I love how you’re offering them something as they walk in. Just establishing a little bit of that reciprocity rule. I think that’s amazing. Awesome. So now that you’ve had all this growth happen the past couple of months and you’ve established some systems, you know, what are you working on right now to get to that motorcycle bikes and vacations, point of life that you want to get to?

Jacqui: 27:21 – So right now I’m working with Blake and we’re working on my Perfect Day. So for those in the Two-Brain world, you’ve probably heard this before, but that Perfect Day of what do you want your day to look like? And I’m also working on my main coaches’ Perfect Days as well, so it’s kind of twofold. So right now I do most of our sales, which is great. I actually enjoy doing it. I enjoy doing those No-Sweats and making those connections. So we’re trying to get me coaching a little bit less so that I do have more time for those No-Sweats and being able to read. That’s one of my goals actually this week is our 15 minutes of reading a day. Whereas like these little things that you don’t even think about are just so like meaningful. And just kind of a de-stressor for the day, you know, working on what next steps for the gym are, what other programs can we offer, what coaches do we have and what do my coaches want? Does so-and-so like coaching kids? Does so-and-so like coaching boot camps and on-ramps? This is the first time that I have been able to actually sit down with coaches and be like, “What drives you?” As opposed to, hey, I just need you to cover this and I need you to cover this and I need you to cover this. I have coaches that are flourishing in personal training. We never offered personal training before Two-Brain. It’s probably one of the biggest things, that question of would you rather have group training or personal training blew my mind with how many people say personal training. So yeah, we’re gearing towards—still in our growth and we’re just gearing up, we’re now offering a mens program. So I’ve got the boot camp up and running. I’ve got a coach manning that now and now I’m kind of throwing myself in this mens program and we’re trying to get more guys in the door. And at the same time working on allowing me more time to do the back-end stuff and all the things that I need to do as a business owner and not just feeling like all I’m doing is coaching.

Mateo: 29:24 – I think that’s great. And I think the really important thing, one of the most more important things that you said was just seeing, understanding your Perfect Day, right? But also sitting down with your staff to understand what drives them, like you said, and where they’re trying to get to. Because I think that was another big eye-opener for me working with Two-Brain was you want to, if you want to have high retention, not just with your clients but with your staff, and not have those people splinter off and go to the gym that just opened up down the street that’s offering more barbell stuff or whatever. Like you have to sit down with your coaches, understand, just like you’re sitting down with your clients, understand what are your goals with your staff. Same thing. And I think now that you’ve unlocked more time, you’re able to do that, which I think is what you were talking about before. And I think that’s really important and I think going to be one of the keys that’s going to unlock that Perfect Day for you as well. So I think that’s awesome. So I guess last question for you, Jacqui, because I’m sure you’ve got more No-Sweats coming your way, you’ve seen this awesome growth you’re working through, getting close to your Perfect Day. What do you think’s been the key to success so far?

Jacqui: 30:26 – Oh, great question. I think it’s a combination of things. I do think everything through the Incubator, I don’t think if I had just put out this marketing ad on my own, say I was a whiz at marketing and I could put together all this stuff by myself, I don’t think I would’ve had the back-end systems to maintain the clients that were coming in the door. So not putting the cart before the horse, making sure that you do have all your ducks in a row and that when you all of a sudden get inundated with 42 No-Sweats in one month, or actually I think that happened in three weeks, that you have the systems in place to manage that because that would have—it was overwhelming on its own with all those systems in place, I couldn’t imagine doing it six months ago when I didn’t have any of those systems in place. So I think that’s key. Having everything organized, having all of your coaches on board, having your coaches meetings, let them know what the goal is, what you’re working towards. Let them be in on what’s happening. Let them know about the ads before the ads start to go live so they know what’s happening. And we were able to kind of work together as this big group. They understood when someone walked in the door, it was probably a No-Sweat, that we wanted to treat them in a certain way and make them feel welcomed and ensure that they knew that someone would be right with them. And then once someone did sign up, again, fostering that growth for them in that nurturing— brand new, they’re little babies in the CrossFit world, they’re scared and they’re nervous. Introducing themselves even if they’ve never worked with them, making sure the coaches are working together.

Jacqui: 32:15 – So I think going on a big long tangent on this one, but ultimately, working with Two-Brain, getting everything organized. I thought I was organized. I thought I had systems in place. When I started working with them, I realized how many holes were in my system. And it’s great intentions. You start things, you’re like, oh yeah, I got contracts for my set up. I’ve got this set up, I’ve got systems this way. And then you realize you might have some of these things in your head, but you haven’t clearly communicated them to all of your staff. So getting all of that done and then being able to have an amazing ad go out with the support behind it. So then just start bringing the people in and then you just start taking care of it. Managing those sales, setting people up in the right spots. And then just continuing to communicate again with your staff and your new clients and foster those relationships has been, I think, key for us. Now we’re getting the referrals from those people that just started last month that are now referring friends in. So yes, so the Incubator and Two-Brain was huge for me. I wouldn’t have been ready for the marketing phase had I have not done the work through the Incubator. And then by the time I got handed over to you guys in marketing, I was just like, I remember I went on vacation and I told Blake, I’m going on vacation. I don’t really want to do anything before we go. We’ll get everything ready, but we’re not going to hit start. And he’s on my Facebook. So he saw that I was back from vacation and I got a text and it was “You’re back, let’s do this.” And I was like, OK, no more hiding. We got to hit start. And then we just hit the ground running from that moment. And it’s been phenomenal. It’s been amazing. He’s always reaching out, asking if I need any help with anything, and just setting me in the right direction.

Mateo: 34:11 – Awesome. Well that’s all I got, Jacqui, if people want to talk to you more and if people want to learn, you know, a little bit more about how you trained your front desk staff or you know, how you on-boarded 25 people in one month, where can they find you?

Jacqui: 34:27 – So, they can reach us, either follow us on Facebook. We’re CrossFit Durst on Facebook, CrossFit Durst on Instagram. Or they can also reach us via email. If anyone wants to reach out, i’s CrossFitdurst@gmail.com. Feel free. I would love to love to spread the knowledge, love to help anyone else out, that you know, has any questions. ‘Cause I know I received a ton of help from the Two-Brain family, not just the coaches and the support is amazing.

Mateo: 34:55 – Awesome. Thanks, Jacqui.

Greg: 35:03 – As always, thank you so much for listening to this podcast. We greatly appreciate you and everyone that has subscribed to us. If you haven’t done that, please make sure you do drop a like to that episode. Share with a friend, and if you haven’t already, please write us a review and rate us on how what you think. If you hated it, let us know. If you loved it, even better. See you guys later.


This is our NEW podcast, Two-Brain Marketing, where we’ll focus on sales and digital marketing. Your host is Mateo Lopez!

Greg Strauch will be back on Thursday with the Two-Brain Radio Podcast.

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