The New Client Journey: Design and Deliver

The New Client Journey: Design and Deliver

To succeed in the new era of gym ownership, you have to go deeper.

Each client carries more value than ever before. A free trial class, three options based on attendance and a link to scoring software? That stopped working in 2016 (and it barely worked then).

Now, every client must maintain a 1:1 connection to you, start the client journey with a consultation and receive a prescription that’s regularly updated. In Part 1, I told you how to use a consultative process, like a No Sweat Intro or a motivational interview. Today, I’m going to tell you how to design a client’s program based on their primary need and then deliver it with excellence.

In Part 3, we’re going to talk about the most important (and almost-always overlooked) part: refining a client’s journey with you.


A Program =\= Programming


As a fitness coach, you’re not just selling exercise. If you’re a CrossFit affiliate, remember: Nutrition is the base of the fitness pyramid. Metabolic conditioning and other types of exercise are added to that base.

But how you do you, as a coach, deliver the client’s nutrition and exercise prescription?

First, start with objective measurement. After determining a client’s real “why,” you must find Point A. Measure what the client cares about. If they want weight loss, measure their weight. If they want fat loss, measure their fat. If they want to gain flexibility, measure their flexibility. If they want to gain strength, measure their strength.

You already know their Point B, thanks to your intake interview.

Next, good fitness coaches map the path backward from Point B to Point A. Like this:



After they’ve mapped the process, great coaches prescribe the fastest path to their clients. Like this:

“Well, Alice, here are the steps you’ll need to take to reach your goal. To get there quickly, you’ll need to exercise five times per week and follow a clear nutrition plan. How does that sound?”

Next, great coaches tailor the delivery of their service to a client’s preferences. Like this:

“OK, Alice. Would you prefer to do your workouts here at the gym or at home on your own—or would you prefer a combination?”

Great coaches guide their clients by presenting one option at a time instead of overwhelming them with choices.


“OK, Alice. You prefer to work out with us at the gym. That’s fantastic. Would you prefer to do your workouts one-on-one with me or in a small group?”

Then great coaches overcome barriers, such as price objections or injuries. Like this:

“No problem, Alice. If you can’t afford to train 1:1 with me all the time, we can move you to our budget option of training in a group. We use the most effective group workout strategy on the planet. It’s called CrossFit—have you heard of that?

Or like this:

“No problem. If you can’t afford to move that quickly, we’ll take it a bit slower. With the budget you just gave me, I’d say we should train twice per week and really focus on that nutrition plan.”

Or like this:

“No problem. Your back is tight from work. We’ll take it a bit slower at first. With the limitation you just gave me, I’d say we should train three times per week and have one specific mobility session per week instead of four workouts.”

Then great coaches motivate clients by reminding them of their wins, showing them their progress and calling them when they don’t show up.

Along the way, they track progress, and adjust the plan—because no plan survives first contact with the enemy. And the enemies (Big Sugar, Netflix and cortisol) are pretty good at this game. So staff at Two-Brain gyms meet with their clients every quarter to adjust their plans.

But no one loses sight of the goal. The coach can’t afford to because the client never stops thinking about it. Clients don’t do your workouts for the sake of being good at your workouts; they do them because they want to achieve their real goal. And they’re willing to trade short-term pain to get there—if they trust their coach.

We call this The Prescriptive Model. Here’s an early podcast we did on the subject: Two-Brain Radio. But I walk through it step by step in my latest book, “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief.”

Great coaches don’t sell group programming. Great coaches sell 1:1 relationships, sometimes delivered in a group.

What’s included in that solution? Refer to the cornerstones of your business: nutrition coaching, personal coaching, group coaching and online (habits) coaching. Here’s more on that topic: “Your Gym 2.0: The Four Cornerstones.”

Show the client your plan. Ask “how does this look?” and then prescribe the solution using your pricing binder.

The last step before you get started on programming: Book a review three months later. In Part 3, I’ll tell you how to review client progress, update prescriptions and keep clients around for the long haul.

Two-Brain Coaching teaches the coaching process as four steps: learn, design, deliver, refine.


Other Media in This Series

The New Client Journey: Motivational Interviewing
The New Client Journey: Reviewing Their Progress

Post-COVID: The New Breed of Fitness Coach With Josh Martin

Post-COVID: The New Breed of Fitness Coach With Josh Martin

Mike (00:02):

The fitness industry has been under assault for months and it’s forced everyone to reconsider absolutely everything. Now, gym owners who prided themselves on teaching squat mechanics find themselves working more as life coaches and less as tacticians. Today on Two-Brain Radio, I talked to Josh Martin about how coaches can reimagine themselves as they work to sell services and help clients. Josh is here right after this. If you joined the Facebook group Gym Owners United yet? If not, why not? If you’re looking to rebuild your gym, you need to be in this group. Inside, gym owners from all over the world are learning from and supporting each other. You also get daily actionable advice from the one and only Chris Cooper. That group is Gym Owners United on Facebook. For access, be sure to answer all the intake questions. This is Two-Brain Radio. I’m Mike Warkentin here with Josh Martin. He’s the owner of CrossFit for Glory just East of Tampa, Florida. He’s a certified Two-Brain mentor, the co-owner of Two-Brain Coaching, the son of a major league baseball pitcher and an all around good guy. Today, he’s going to talk to us about the hyper-speed evolution of the fitness coach over the last few months. Josh, how are you down in Florida?

Josh (01:05):

Mike, I’m doing great. Thank you so much for having me back on the podcast.

Mike (01:09):

It is always a pleasure. If you guys are not checking out the Two-Brain Coaching website where Josh and Chris Cooper are blogging, you guys need to do it. I’ve been following along Josh, and that prompted this podcast. You guys have some really cool kind of mindset stuff that I want to get into, but before we do that, give me the quick update on For Glory and Florida. Where are you guys at right now? And again, this is being recorded May 19th for airing a little bit later.

Josh (01:30):

Yeah. So, you know, by the time this airs we will have been given permission to re-open gyms here in the state of Florida. Our governor just announced the prior Friday that we could open. He did give us permission to open on Monday, May 18th, but we’re opting to take things a little bit more cautiously. Make sure that we could deliver an amazing experience at our gym that really prioritizes our members’ health and safety. So we’re bringing our staff in, we’re actually walking them through some mock scenarios of what it should look like. And then we are going to open on Wednesday, may the 20th. Ironically that is literally two months to the day of when we officially closed the physical location due to the C OVID crisis. So, yeah, I mean we’re super excited to be getting back into our physical space.

Josh (02:25):

Florida’s requirements in terms of, you know, what gyms have to do are actually pretty conservative. Meaning we’ve got some occupancy things, the cleanliness piece, we’re going to take it a couple of steps further and limit the number of people in classes. But other than that, the members have really been super accepting of what we’ve put out there. They’ve just been wonderful during this whole time. And honestly, the heroes of this whole thing are my coaches. And it’s why I love talking about things like this because I do have an amazing staff that really delivers service that we sell, which is coaching. So we’re ready to rock and roll and hopefully by the time this airs, things are operating pretty smoothly at our gym here.

Mike (03:09):

We’ll definitely, I’ll be following along personally and if anyone wants to check it out, definitely go look at CrossFit For Glory and see what they do as they reopen. Let’s get right on to coaching then. You mentioned that your coaches are really the stars of the show here. The mentality has changed, right? So three months ago, most coaches would have said their primary job was cueing and coaching movement, right? Teaching, squat, knees out, chest up, all that stuff. Now they’re finding at least many of them are finding that isn’t the game. And maybe it never really was. As we go into selling with a new mentality, like I’ve seen your blog about this. What is the primary role of a coach now?

Josh (03:41):

Yeah. So this is a great question to start off with Mike. I really believe that the mission remains the same. Meaning, you know, we want to keep a client. That’s always what I tell people is the first role of the coaches retention. You want to keep the client, but ultimately so that you can get them to their goal. So I think the mission is still the same. What we’re finding though is that the strategy is what really differs these days. So what you talked about is one strategy where I’m cueing, you know, movement, corrections, movement faults, fixing these things, identifying things. But what we’re saying now is that you need to have a broader perspective whenever you are trying to get somebody to that goal. It’s not just, Oh, squat a little bit deeper, you know, lock the bar out a little bit stronger.

Josh (04:37):

One of the principles in fact that we teach it at Two-Brain Coaching is something that we call sleep, eat, move and manage. And the last piece manage is in reference to managing stress. But we want to work with clients and getting them to their goal by looking at how well do they sleep? Are they getting enough of it? Looking at their movement? Yes. Movement is a part of it. Looking at their nutrition and then finally looking at their stress management. You know, do they have a daily practice to manage it well and then manage it often? So tactically I think we’re all doing the same things. We’re offering services online, we’re offering them in person. The mission is the same, still getting the client to the goal, but the strategy is really where the coach needs to become a lot more flexible so that they can continue to get that client to their goal.

Mike (05:28):

You know, it’s funny because when I was coaching, I would look, I think I stopped my thinking a couple of steps too early where I’d say, OK, I want you to squat a little bit deeper. In the client’s, you know, why would I want the client to do that? Well, you know, full range of motion is going to be better for your joints. It’s going to be stronger, more muscles engaged. It’s going to help you, you know, just do this movement properly according to our standards. OK, so what does that really benefit the client? Ultimately this whole, the next steps that I stopped asking questions about were, what does that do? And now what if the client squats to the standards, the client is going to get stronger, client’s going to avoid injury, the client’s going accomplish the goals. That’s really the steps that I missed is that the client’s not there to squat to depth.

Mike (06:07):

The quiet is there to accomplish a goal of being stronger, fitter, healthier, picking up a child, whatever that goal is, and so my instruction squat to depth is related to that goal, but I stopped short of that in my thinking because I wanted, I was looking one step short I think. So it’s really cool. What you’ve got there is you’ve got this four pillar thing where movement is just one of the aspects. But interestingly enough, in the coaching world, it seems to be the one that we almost focus on, at least many of us focus on way too much to the detriment of probably the other three. And like you said, if I’m the best tactician in the world and I can make anyone squat well, it doesn’t matter if I’m a jerk and I can’t get that client to keep showing up for classes or doing my workouts. Right.

Josh (06:47):

Yeah. I mean, nobody ever came into the gym and said, you know, Hey coach, I’m looking for somebody that can make sure that I’m squatting to death. That’s my ultimate goal. You know? And even the client that walks in and says, you know, I want to lose 20 pounds. You know, if we just take that at face value, we’re really going to be missing out on the deeper connection that we can make with that client. And ultimately being able to ask those deeper questions or questions that get you deeper is what’s going to inform how you coach that client on a day to day, weekly, monthly, yearly, decade, long basis. Right.

Mike (07:23):

I go back to the thing that Chris has said many times, it’s the analogy of you don’t go to the hardware store to buy a drill bit, you’re actually going to buy a hole. The drill bit is just a tool that creates the hole and you don’t really care, it could be any product. Right, and so that’s the same thing where you know you guys are what’s been called method agnostic, right? Where it’s like CrossFit is a tool. Pilates is a tool, boot-camp style training is a tool. Whatever fitness thing you want to call, that’s just a tool to accomplish the client’s goal. And so I really love what you’re saying that coaching is about getting clients to their goals and that can be through, it was sleep, eat, move and manage was the last one. Did I miss that?

Josh (08:00):

Manage. Yeah. Yeah. Can I share a little story with you though?

Mike (08:04):

Yeah, do it.

Josh (08:04):

You’re talking about like, the idea that we put out that we’re method agnostic and like Pilates, you know, CrossFit, whatever, a lot of us came from the bodybuilding background.

Mike (08:16):

I did.

Josh (08:16):

It was very isolationist like curls and skull crushers. So I’ve never publicly acknowledged this, but I’ve told my staff, but I’ll come clean during this COVID crisis, once a week, every week for the past two months I said we’ve been closed, I have done a old school, traditional bodybuilding workout. I go outside, I write down like, you know, bicep curls and you know, skull crushers and dumbbell bench press. And it’s been great, you know, and I’m not getting caught up in like, Oh, is this going to make my Fran time better? How is this going to help my clean and jerk?

Josh (08:57):

The goal is to move for me, right. In that session. But the goal is not, you know, those other things. So the bodybuilding work has been great. It allows me to still kind of stay in what Chris talks about all the time is flow state. So I get a lot of deep thinking done. It’s how I conceptualize a lot of things, whether it’s for the gym or for Two-Brain in some capacity. So I’ve really had a lot of fun doing that. It’s probably not something that we’re going to program like in the gym in like a traditional CrossFit class setting. But for me personally when my coach was asking like, Hey, what do you need? You know, out of your workouts that you want to do, it was simple. I just wanted to move during the day and when he through that stuff in there, it was a great change up for me.

Mike (09:43):

You know. And I’m right there with you. I grew up on that stuff and when I’m in times of stress, which we’re definitely in, I gravitate back towards some of that stuff and it’s because I maybe don’t have Murph in me right now. Like that’s a really hard workout. Bodybuilding training is unbelievably difficult as well, but it’s a different style of difficult where I can motor through a set of eight bicep curls sooner than I can motor through, you know, 300 squats. Right? To loop this back, cause this is a rabbit hole we should go down a different time, but to loop this back, you’ve got—you as a coach, you need to know what your clients are needing. And if I was a coach working with, or if I was a client working with you, I’d be saying like Josh, dude, I have unbelievable workload right now.

Mike (10:25):

I know I need to be healthy. I know I need to be fit. I’m trying to like, I’m not going to do Murph. I don’t want a beat down. I don’t want Fran. And it’s not that they’re bad workouts, it’s just like my stress levels are way up here. I don’t need to fight my demons and go three minutes of Fran and whatever it is, what I really need here is just to move. And my wife, God bless her, when I was struggling with some of this stuff, she said to me as a coach, just go in the basement and do 20 minutes of something. She’s like, I don’t care what you do but just move for 20 minutes down there. Then come upstairs and we’ll have supper. And that for me was, you know, that was life coaching more than it was fitness coaching. Cause she didn’t know what I did, but I felt better, you know? And so that’s kind of what I want to get at in this podcast is helping people understand that there are these other aspects. So I’ll give you this, I’ll circle back with another question. We’ll get us back into that discussion. You know, it’s like we talk, it’s possible that some of us have focused too much on lumbar curves in the last decade. So you brushed that little bit, but tell me a little more about this. As gyms reopen now, what should coaches have been focusing on the past and what should they focus on now as these clients are coming back or not coming back in this stressed kind of uncertain state.

Josh (11:31):

Yeah. So I think first Mike, what people need is right now, it demands a realization that the barriers that folks have to exercise in a structured setting like you and I are used to, going to the gym, doing thrusters and pull ups. But the barriers that folks have to exercise as a means to getting healthy are really much more rampant than we actually probably realized. And what I mean by that is for you and I, it’s a normal lifestyle. I get up, I go work out and I just continue on with my day. It’s just become this habitual thing that I don’t really have to put forth the thought that what I’m doing is in the best interest of my health. But when you remove something like a physical location, you know that somebody has kind of attached this habit to go exercise in order to be healthy, it’s like, Oh well I don’t want to exercise at my house. It’s not something, you know, that I ever wanted to do. That’s not what I signed up for. And not to beat this pun to death, but in the CrossFit space, we refer to our gyms as the box and really a lot of gyms just need to step outside the box in what they’re delivering to their clients. And we mentioned it briefly earlier a couple of times, but that really, I fundamentally believe that means adopting those four pillars and integrating them in whatever way you can, the sleep, eat, move and manage pieces. Because these are really the four pillars as coaches that we need to focus on to make a difference in somebody’s life. Especially given, you know, the stresses like you identified that people are under, you know, you talk about Murph and if you are a CrossFitter who has done that workout a couple of times, even just hearing that word, you can feel the surge of adrenaline because you know what it’s going to take to kind of dig into yourself and to put forth like an honorable time because it is a kind of a very purposeful thing that we’re doing.

Josh (13:36):

But that also negates or necessitates a tremendous stress response from your body.

Mike (13:41):

I’m going to take a bathroom break right now, Josh, I’m just going to stop you right there because you mentioned, Fran and Murph. It’s crazy how it does that, your heart rate bumps up right away.

Josh (13:50):

It really does. And we’ve all got these like little things you know that do that to us and right now is not the time to introduce like all this excess stress into our clients’ lives. So I think what coaches need to do is realize that there is more that we should be focusing on delivering to our clients. Here’s ultimately what it’s going to do. It’s going to make the accountability piece that is necessary for success infinitely easier because the client is going to be majorly bought in because we’re not asking for a wholesale change of their life. It’s just these little things that done consistently over time that make a tremendous difference.

Josh (14:32):

It’s going to be motivating for them. You’re not going to have to continually make that phone call. Hey Sally, I saw you didn’t do your workout again from home today. What’s going on? And then you try to joke with her or trick her into working out. But if it’s, you know, Hey did you turn the thermostat down two degrees in your house last, night, Oh great. Did you sleep better? Awesome. Then you can connect that to how Sally is going to get to her goal down the road. And then kind of putting those two pieces together. It’s about retention and compliance. Are your clients sticking around, you know, if you’re doing a good job and they’re making strides towards their goals? Yes.

Mike (15:12):

So that’s the interesting part now is we’ve kind of established here that coaches are not just mechanical things. There are four pillars that they’re trying to address there. It looks to me more like life coaching and behavior modification than it does as just hardcore straight up fitness barbell movements and things like that. So here’s the hard part. We always try and give people actionable stuff as a Two-Brain principle, especially on this podcast. So we’ve got coaches now that maybe didn’t see themselves as this and maybe this was a wake-up call and you know, we’ve got these guys who have long prided themselves on being tacticians and perfect programmers and this is what they took pride in and how they value themselves. They’re now forced to provide something else entirely. You know? So how do people, and we know confidence is like a huge deal in selling, right?

Mike (15:55):

So if you’re going to sit down and sell your services, it was very easy for some of these guys before to say, I am an amazing programmer. I an amazing coach. I will prevent injury. I’m going to get you stronger. I’m going to make you fitter. Now they have to start selling services that maybe they’re not as comfortable with, where it’s like, I’m going to provide accountability, I’m going to provide motivation. I’m also going to provide the movement stuff. But I’m going to help you learn how to sleep and eat better. And I’m going to give you accountability to bring you into that. We’re going to keep setting goals and I’m going to interview you. We’re going to maybe do it more online consultations and talking. I’m not going to watch your Snapchat videos as often as I’m going to talk to you about your goals. How do coaches change their mindset now to sell that with confidence when it’s something new for them?

Josh (16:33):

Oh man. Yeah, this is a big one. So I think the first step is in doing some self reflection as a coach and admitting that you have more to learn. And this goes back to something that we, I got this from Chris probably 10 years ago and have talked about it so often. It’s in all the courses we built on Two-Brain Coaching, but it’s adopting this beginner’s mindset. I think the term is shoshin in Zen Buddhism, but it is in realizing as a coach that like it’s a journey for you too. And right now is the perfect time to go back to square one and realize, OK, the first thing that I have to do is actually sit down and learn where my clients want to go. And don’t just take it, like I mentioned this earlier, don’t just take it at face value because what many coaches are finding out right now is they didn’t actually know what their clients want.

Josh (17:35):

So early, early on in this thing when we were saying, OK, you need to customize today’s workout for each client based on their goals. We were getting these questions like, well I don’t know what my clients’ goals are, you know? And so I think that that’s the first thing. And so you’re looking for action steps. So the first thing that I would tell people to do is sit down with all of your clients one-on-one and find out what it is that they want. Then you’re going to come alongside them and design a plan that meets them where they are and something that they can start doing without a whole lot of change in their everyday life right now. Because ultimately that is what is going to stick over time. And so not to beat more principles from Two-Brain Coaching into this podcast—

New Speaker (18:27):

Please do.

Josh (18:28):

But the four-step piece that we use is called learn, design, deliver, refine. So first you want to learn what it is your client is coming to you for, and don’t just take it at face value. They don’t care about a bigger clean and jerk or Fran time or you know, like you said, squatting to death. Nobody says those things on the first day and you’ve really got to ask those deeper questions to get to the root of why they walked into your door or today, you know, in a lot of cases we’re doing consultations on Zoom. So that’s the first thing. Then you want to come alongside them and design a plan that is going to meet them where they are and progress them nice and steadily. Then you’re going to figure out how are you going to deliver it? Are they going to come in person?

Josh (19:17):

Are you going to coach them online? Are you going to do a hybrid of both? And then finally, this is the piece that we know coaches were missing out on because when you ask them what their clients’ goals were and they didn’t know, it’s because you skipped the refinement, which is basically goal setting. So you want to make sure that you are continually checking in on your clients, knowing how they’re progressing and doing it in a formal setting, not just a text of, Hey Mike, how’s your goal coming? It’s no sit down, let’s take a look back at all this work we’ve done over the last 60 to 90 days and measure are we getting closer to that goal? And then you refine the plan and it’s just like this infinite feedback loop and that’s how a relationship between client and coach really blossoms.

Mike (20:05):

Guys, if you’re listening right now and you want to work through a process like this, you can go on the Two-Brain Business blog at, go to the blog and we’ll get this link in the show notes and there is a series that Chris has written and it’s six different articles in two parts and it’s Your Gym 2.0 series and Chris guides you through it. There’s worksheets you can download and what he does is he leads you through this exercise where you identify your clients, you find out what your best clients want, you prescribe, you figure out the services that will help them most to reach their goals. You prescribe those services, and then you develop service packages relating to the needs and wants of your entire clientele. And he’s got pricing tips, everything. So there is a ton of actionable stuff that you can find on that blog.

Mike (20:44):

So do go check that out if you want to work through that. He’s also got a webinar that you could watch and work along with him. That falls right in line, of course, Josh, with what you’re saying. People just often just don’t know what their clients want, right? And now when they find that out and you know, you’ve blogged about this as well at Two-Brain Coaching, you’ve got this, you’re trying to interview people, figure out what they want and there’s techniques to that that you guys are explaining how to do. Then you’ve got the prescriptive model where you’re taking, you know, you’re not a doctor, but you’re looking at the needs and wants and the problems of this client. You’re prescribing a solution. So here’s where I think some people are getting hung up on stuff.

Mike (21:21):

This is a completely different mindset for a lot of people and for so long they thought my physical space, my shiny toys, my atmosphere, my cueuing, those are the things that I sell. That’s what I derive my value from. I love my clean gym. I love my Aleiko bar. I love the atmosphere, I love my community. But now online you’re kind of selling like milk jugs. Sometimes living rooms, workouts done independently where you don’t actually see a client, at least if you’re working online. So how does a coach, like what’s the value of the package that you’re offering? So if you say, you know, you’re providing all these different elements of coaching, movement is only one, is this more or less valuable than what we were offering before? Like how do you put a price on that? How do you get your mind around it to think what I’m selling is super valuable.

Josh (22:05):

So I’ll tell you a funny story that kind of brings this message home. And when you talk about the value of coaching, you actually told a part of this story earlier of like, you know, you don’t go to a hardware store to buy a drill bit. You go to buy, you know, the hole, so when all this started, excuse me, all of this being the COVID crisis, my wife reminded me that we had a pull-up bar that I had never installed into our new garage and we moved out of our old house a couple of years ago. It’s just been sitting in the corner collecting dust and I was like, man, I’m really need to put that thing up. So I’ve got a tool set, a drill and everything and I have some drill bits and I know that I’ve successfully installed this pull-up bar before at my old house.

Josh (22:55):

So I knew that I could do it. So I get started, you know, drilling into this thing and I know that I’m hitting the stud, but it’s just not working and it’s because the drill bits that I have, even though it was hardheaded, were not the correct wood drill bits. So I could have sat there for hours just kind of plodding away at this thing. So I had a drill bit to get this hole, but ultimately what I needed was the right drill bit. So I hopped in the car, drove down to ACE Hardware and this is, they actually had it like cordoned off. You could barely get into the store. They said, what do you need? I said, I need some drill bits to go into wood studs. They came back with two options. I didn’t care what the price was because I knew that this was the right tool for the job.

Josh (23:39):

So I buy them. I don’t even remember what I paid for these things. And within 30 minutes of getting home, guess what? I had that pull-up bar ready to go and I was doing it. If I would have just kept the other drill bits, I would’ve gotten that thing up eventually. But it would have been hours and hours and hours of my time. So the reason I tell that is because to me the value of the right tool is just gone up tremendously. And here’s why I say that. If you were just telling clients to, Hey Sally, go find a milk jug, fill it up with some rocks and we’re going to swing this thing like a kettlebell. I’m sorry, that’s just not fun. Nobody signed up to do that. And as a coach, you probably didn’t sign up to try to get somebody to find something around their house to do your workout with kettlebell swings. And so if you can adopt the mindset of sleep, eat, move, manage, and realize that there’s more than one pillar you need to focus on to get your client to their goal, build that relationship, probably starting from scratch now. But if you can do that with your clients today, man, the value of that to me from my perspective has gone up tremendously.

Mike (24:57):

So for people who are out there, let’s say they’re selling an unlimited CrossFit membership and it’s $185, whatever it might be, and they’re looking at this plan of, you know, life coaching, accountability, stress management, you know, telling people how to sleep and eat the whole deal and move of course, does that, if I would just present that to you, are those two things equivalent? Is one more valuable than the other? Is the life coaching plan, is that not worth $185? Like how do people frame that? Do you think they’re equally valuable or how does that work?

Josh (25:26):

Oh yeah, I think that’s a tough, tough one. Honestly, Mike. What we found is that if the messaging and the communication that gyms have been talking about prior to COVID crisis was about, look at my shiny equipment, look at how clean my gym is, all of these things, really what’s happening is now your clients are associating the value that they’re paying every month with the equipment that they’re getting. You know, that they’ve got all the new shiny toys and the Aleiko bars and all this stuff. But the ones that were saying it’s about the coaching because ultimately that is what truly gets somebody to their goal is the coach and athlete or client relationship, I think that’s probably the tough part that people are having right now is making sure that that communication is about the coaching service, not about the access to a facility and equipment.

Josh (26:28):

So what I think the gyms that really probably see that their clients are identifying with access to a facility, they need to start talking about what coaching is providing to these clients and how it gets them to their goals. And you can start to introduce these other elements. This is really become like in a way, you’re turning a cruise ship so you can’t tell your client, Hey, I’ve been offering you this unlimited CrossFit membership, you know, for $185 a month and you’ve been getting to come into the gym and use these barbells and this pull-up rig, but now you’re not going to have any access, but I am going to tell you how to sleep better and how to eat better and how to manage your stress. That’s because to them, truly that’s not what they signed up for. So it’s got to be kind of a slow introduction of these things if that is what you want to ultimately do. But it starts with that relationship that you’re kind of having to rebuild by meeting with each client individually, one-on-one again.

Mike (27:35):

Yeah. And that mirrors my experience where we switched to online stuff and we’re doing the Two-Brain plan where we’re messaging clients their personalized plans. We also are running some Zoom classes and some clients just right at the beginning were like that’s not what I’m into. I don’t like it, I don’t want to do it. And we totally respect that because that is 100% not what they signed up for. We had others who were like, I’ll give it a try and loved it. We’ve had others that were like skeptical, gave it a try and loved it. But it was like the Indiana Jones when, you know, the gold idol where he switches it for a bag of sand. It’s like there was a transition there, you know, and I’m not saying it was like a shady transition, I’m saying it was, there was a different perception of value that needed to be created and we worked really hard to do that.

Mike (28:17):

We tried to overdeliver and say, OK, we can’t give you barbells and Assault bikes and all this other stuff now, but we can give you increased personalization, more check-ins, more accountability, more. And you know, we’re running like nutrition classes and we’re doing like group social nights and trivia nights, all the things that, you know, a lot of the Two-Brain gyms came up with, games and things like that. We’re trying to create more so the value is replaced even though there’s no physical facility and it’s interesting, Chris just published a blog and it’s called, you’re gonna want to check this out, Expensive or Free, how to charge what you’re worth. And so if you guys are struggling with ideas right now and the value is like, I don’t know how to ask people to pay this for this, this thing, this new coaching, the first thing that Chris has got on this list, there’s eight different things, but the first one is be worth it.

Mike (29:04):

You know, and Chris just said, your value to a client doesn’t come from what you know, it comes from how you make him or her feel. And that’s really an interesting thing because how you make a client feel doesn’t relate to a space. It doesn’t relate to a barbell. It relates to a personal relationship. So that really, that really syncs up and it’s great that Chris published that blog right at this time. Josh, I’m gonna ask you one more question here and this is a big kind of a summary one, but you know, for gyms that have opened or will reopen, what are the greatest things that coaches can learn from the COVID crisis? How can we help our clients better going forward after we come through this like crucible stress experience?

Josh (29:41):

So this is such an awesome opportunity that has come through all of this. I’m an eternal optimist, and so I’m always looking for the opportunity, you know, even in a crisis like this. And to me the opportunity is to get to know your clients again, you know, figure out what it is that they were really struggling with through this. And then you can start to kind of tailor the service now that you are offering that client to better fit what it is that they’re dealing with today. Because if I’ve learned anything through this, it’s that people’s goals change much faster than we probably thought that they did. You know, three months ago, because when we went from gyms open to gyms closed, you know, and now I’m dealing with, you know, we’ve got two young kids at home. My wife is, you know, deep into the homeschooling stuff now with them.

Josh (30:45):

The goals that people have are right out the window. You know, my goal is to make it through the day without just trying to pull out the little bit of hair that I have left. Right? I mean, so I think it’s just an amazing opportunity to sit down with all of your clients. You could do it on Zoom, call them on the phone, don’t do it through text message or email. That’s a one-way communication street. You need to have communication be two way for this to really work. But it’s an opportunity to reinvest in what it is that matters most to them because ultimately that’s, you know, what is going to create this long lasting, fruitful, fulfilling relationship between, you know, the client and the coach long term.

Mike (31:32):

When you present it like that as a like an in-depth, long-term fulfilling relationship in which I have an expert who knows my goals and helps move toward them, that going back to my question before, that sounds like $185 service or more. That sounds like it might be more money than that.

Josh (31:50):

Yeah. I mean, I don’t even know what I would have paid for the right drill bit to be delivered to my house that day. But if I posted like this is frustrating to me, somebody get me the right tool and they said for a hundred bucks, I’ll drive it out to you, I would have paid a hundred dollars for that thing. You know? And so the same thing as here is, yeah, the value is just, it’s tremendous. But man, what an amazing opportunity we have all really been gifted right now.

Mike (32:14):

Guys, this is Josh Martin. He is at You want to check that site out regularly. He and Chris Cooper are blogging all the time about the evolution of coaching, how to be a better coach, not just a better quote unquote fitness coach, but a better coach overall, and that means behavior modification, helping your clients get to their goals. Please visit that site. Josh, thank you so much for being here today. We appreciate it.

Josh (32:37):

My pleasure. Thank you, Mike.

Mike (32:39):

Yeah, and thank you all for listening to Two-Brain Radio. I’m Mike Warkentin with Josh Martin of Two-Brain Coaching. If you want more actual advice based on data, check out Gym oOwners United. That is a group on Facebook. In it you’ll find daily topics from one and only Chris Cooper, as well as the support of a host of business owners from all over the world. That group again is Gym Owners United on Facebook. Please join today and remember to answer all the intake questions. Thanks for tuning into Two-Brain Radio and please subscribe for more episodes wherever you get your podcasts.


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The New Client Journey: Motivational Interviewing

The New Client Journey: Motivational Interviewing

“Never let a good crisis go to waste.” —Winston Churchill

The Covid lockdown created a lot of opportunities to learn. In many cases, the crisis forced owners to reevaluate their processes, pricing and perfect days—in other words, to start nearly from scratch.

One of the opportunities in the crisis was the chance to connect 1:1 with clients—an absolute necessity, really. We all had to dig deeper. And we had to do it every day. We had to work harder to keep clients around longer, to deliver what they actually need and to maintain the value of coaching. And many realized that this level of connection isn’t sustainable at their current group training prices.

Fortunately or unfortunately, this personal connection is now required. Pandemics will happen again, and if you want to keep your clients, you must have this level of connection.

We learned that the top online coaches use a technique called “motivational interviewing.” But this process isn’t new: Psychotherapists have been using it for decades. Precision Nutrition teaches it in its Level 1 course. We even teach it in Two-Brain Coaching’s First Degree Program.

Here’s a snippet:



Motivational interviewing forges a deeper bond with the client: Rather than merely asking “why do you want to join a gym?” coaches can get to the hidden reasons that lie below the surface.

Precision Nutrition calls this process “the five whys” (download the worksheet here.)

We’ve always taught a system called the No Sweat Intro (NSI), which is a shorter version—think of it as “the first why.” NSIs are generally finished in 15 minutes, and they’re far better for retention or conversion than free trial classes or sales pitches. However, you can go a lot deeper. And you probably should.

The NSI goes like this:

“What led you to our gym?”

“What’s your greatest struggle with that goal?”

Then we take an objective measurement of the thing the client cares about. After that, we give the client a prescription. You can read about the Prescriptive Model here.

But motivational interviewing gets deeper.

For example, a coach doing a motivational interview at intake would start the same way:

“What led you to our gym?”

But the coach would then start asking “why?” to get deeper:

“Why do you want to accomplish that goal?”

“Why is that important to you?”

“Why will that make a difference?”

Why will that matter?”

The coach’s next step isn’t to take an objective measurement on an InBody scale; it’s to have the client subjectively offer their own scale for success.

In the next installment in this series, I’ll tell you how to show clients the steps they’ll have to take to be successful. In Part 3, I’ll show you a new tool for guiding your clients on their journeys.


Other Media in This Series

The New Client Journey: Design and Deliver
The New Client Journey: Reviewing Their Progress

Your Gym 2.0 Part 3: Be Expensive or Be Free

Your Gym 2.0 Part 3: Be Expensive or Be Free

Andrew (00:00:02):

Welcome to another episode of the Two-Brain Radio with your host Chris Cooper. The fitness industry has evolved at warp speed over the last months. Now as gyms reopen or prepare to reopen, their owners are looking for ways to create new services and present them to clients. On May 17th, Chris led an online group of entrepreneurs through discussion on how to do exactly that. The overarching message: Your services must be expensive or free. There’s no middle ground. What follows is the audio from that presentation. Now here’s Two-Brain Business founder, Chris Cooper.

Chris (00:00:35):

Hey everybody, good morning. Feels great to be here with you this Sunday morning. It kind of feels like the first day of spring, you know, a lot of us are emerging from the COVID captivity and rubbing our eyes like wow, daylight and people and noise and life is coming back. And I’m really, really, really thankful to everybody who’s kinda stuck with the gym business in this industry. I think that the opportunity is massive for you, but more than anything else, I think that you have borne and the responsibility of leadership just tremendously well through this crisis and I think you’re going to get repaid for it now. All the Two-Brain gyms who have reopened have found that people were really, really eager to come back, including past members who quit or put things on hold before COVID hit.

Chris (00:01:24):

And we’ve seen this over and over in a lot of different markets where people are suddenly prioritizing the health and fitness part of their life and the community part of their life and just trying to get back to this vital vibrant state of being again too. So there are a lot of forces connecting right now and that’s like, you know, spring is always really great for the fitness business, getting outside, but also the captivity part. You know, people are rebelling against that and they’re ready to be healthy and you know, around people again. And so I think that you’re about to witness this phase of early adoption in some gyms. The struggle is really just, you know, how do we fit everybody back in. Our current members want to come back and former members want to come back and you know, how do we handle everybody?

Chris (00:02:13):

So today what we’re going to talk about is if you’ve repackaged your services, if you’ve made any kind of pivot at all, maybe you’ve gone through the whole Your Gym 2.0 exercise and you’ve done the NGPO stuff that we’ve been talking about for the last couple of weeks. Maybe you’ve just decided like I need to reprioritize or maybe you’re just going to take advantage of this great opportunity to change your rates or highlight another element of your service. Or maybe you’re trying to bridge the gap between online and in person coaching. So today we’re going to talk about that. We’re going to talk about taking it to the people and actually delivering on this new service. This has been a great question that’s come up in the Two-Brain Business growth group over and over. If you’re in the ramp-up phase or in the incubator, you’re not ready for this conversation yet.

Chris (00:02:57):

Don’t worry, you’ll do this one on one with your mentor. If you’re listening to this publicly and you’re not sure what this means, NGPO, restructuring your business, Your Gym 2.0, you can go back and we’ll link to our previous podcasts, webinars and blog posts that will help you through this exercise. So first guys, if you have questions, feel free to just ask them and I will get to them as we go. Before we get going, usually I don’t just wear a T-shirt when I’m doing these things. So today I am though because I’m wearing my Signum shirt and I’m wearing it for my friend Rob Connors. This was his founder’s club shirt when he opened up Signum. And now today he’s embarking on a new journey and he’s taken some bold steps. He’s informed his landlord that he won’t be renewing his lease and he’s slowly informing his clients that he’s moving his business entirely online. Business leaders become great, not by inventing something, but by reinventing themselves and their business when it’s necessary. You’ll have to become a great leader to evolve your business here. But with models like Rob around and Signum, the journey is going to be a lot easier for all of us. So thank you, Rob. Now let’s talk about connection to set up today’s conversation. Innovation is a really hot buzzword in business, right? There’s a certain romance to that Eureka moment when an inventor creates something new or finds the answer to a vexing problem, right? And we need these people. We need the inventors and the creators and the innovators. But most of these people aren’t actually successful in business. The people who are truly successful in business are the connectors, the ones who can take this idea and connect it to an audience. And that’s what we’re here to talk about tonight.

Chris (00:04:48):

Health, fitness, mindset, constantly varied functional movement across broad time and modal domains, comorbidities, I can’t even say it let alone invent it. Elegant solutions to the world’s most vexing problems. None of these can change anything unless we, the gym owners and coaches can connect those ideas to an audience. And that connection is best done in person. So over the last few weeks we’ve talked about how to determine what your best clients need and then what the rest of your clients need. We talked about packaging your services and pricing them using the NGPO strategy tactic. Today we’re going to talk about getting your clients on the right prescription. We’re going to talk about how to introduce your new packages or prices or rates or concepts to your clients. Now the first thing is, point one, goal reviews are the nexus of this new service. In the courses, first degree, second degree,

Chris (00:05:50):

Josh Martin talks about the process of learn, design, deliver, refine when it comes to training people. And this is very, very simple, but it’s profound the more you think about it. You must constantly measure people’s starting point and their progress and then you must update their prescription. Now we’ve talked about goal reviews and the prescriptive model for years since was even a service. You know, I think that the prescriptive model first appeared in stuff I was writing around 2014. It wasn’t in my first book, but it was the crux of the second book Two-Brain Business 2.0 and this prescriptive model means constantly learning, designing, delivering, and refining. And that’s what’s key to this new NGPO model is having a really a robust learning process when you bring somebody in. Designing, that’s the fun part for most of us, you know, designing their plan.

Chris (00:06:48):

But that also means telling them here’s what your prescription is, and then delivering that prescription and then the part that most of us miss, which is refining and updating that prescription. So let’s start with learn and then we’ll get into design, deliver and refine. We’ve always taught since the dawn of time, this model of no sweat intro and the no sweat intro is like an abbreviated version of motivational interviewing. Motivational interviewing has been a really, really hot topic recently, which is been amazing. You know, I love this topic. The challenge of motivational interviewing is it takes a lot of time. And so there are a lot of places out there now, that try to simplify motivational interviewing. What is motivational interviewing? It’s basically the process of getting people down to their core reason for coming to see you. So for example, all of us have had this experience.

Chris (00:07:43):

You’re talking to a brand new client, right? And Hey why did you come to see me? Well I just decided it’s time to get fit or you know, I just, I need to lose a few pounds. I’m not what I was in high school. I slipped a bit, right? That’s the surface level why? That’s the why that they’ve prepared in their head as they were driving over to the gym. You want to ask them, why do you want to lose five pounds? You want to get a little bit deeper and we’re trying to get to the root of their motivation. And this is what motivational interviewing is all about. Now, Precision Nutrition has been teaching motivational interviewing for quite a while, right? They call it the five whys. And you’ve probably read about the five whys in other books too, Simon Sinek uses it.

Chris (00:08:28):

Top sales coaches also use motivational interviewing, but they’re going to call it something else. I first heard about motivational interviewing a few years ago when I was in the Dan Martell group and these high level software manufacturers were talking about getting to the root of their clients’ needs using motivational interviewing and how well it was working for them. And when I got into it, I said, Oh no sweat intro. Yeah, that’s motivational interviewing. But motivational interviewing might not go deep enough, or no sweat intros might not get deep enough. Motivational interviewing requires you to ask why, why, why? Several times, at least three. The no sweat intro only asks why once. Now that’s way better than what most gyms were doing before we started doing the no sweat intro. When I started writing about the no sweat intro, it was because most gyms were just doing like a free trial class.

Chris (00:09:22):

Come show up. I’m going to throw you into this class. And if you like it, hopefully you’ll walk up to the desk and tell me so and then you’ll lay your credit card down so that I don’t have to ask you for money. The no sweat intro started the process of asking people what their goals were and why they had them, but we didn’t really get deeper. Motivational interviewing is taught in the first degree and second degree courses on Bonnie Skinner has done a couple of great motivational interviewing videos for us that we’ve built on something that’s called the personal roadmap that we haven’t released to you guys yet but we think might be useful for clients. Precision Nutrition uses it in our new nutrition coaching course that’s coming on the Two-Brain Coaching platform in the next couple of months. You’re going to get into motivational interviewing and the online coaching course that you already have access to on the Two-Brain Coaching platform.

Chris (00:10:14):

Brad Overstreet talks about motivational interviewing. This is getting more and more important. It’s not just a matter of measuring what people care about. It’s a matter of knowing why they care. When I got on a call last week with Kevin Wood, who’s been using motivational interviewing for a while, he says that he can predict how long a client’s going to stick around by whether or not they cry in that first intake. The challenge of using motivational interviewing to that depth is you’re going to have to spend like an hour with a brand new client. However, with this new model of the prescriptive model and NGPO and higher value services, you’re going to have to get deeper. So start with a no sweat intro, absolutely, but plan for a no sweat intro to take twice as long. Instead of 15 minutes, it’s going to take 30. You’re going to have to ask why more and more.

Chris (00:11:05):

And as you start to get deeper into people’s motivations, you’re going to start to form that bond of trust. Brad Overstreet calls this building team Chris, you know, or if the client’s name is Cindy building team Cindy. Getting everybody on the same page and working together. And that’s where that model of trust comes in, which is so key to the prescriptive model. So I said that you have to constantly measure before and while designing your prescription. After you’ve done the motivational interview of getting to their real why, now you can make a prescription following NGPO. As a quick review, NGPO is the four cornerstones of your coaching business, N is nutrition. G is group coaching, P is personal coaching. O is online coaching, which is more like accountability. So after you’ve gone through, your no sweat intro, you make your prescription. The key though, the nexus of this I said is goal reviews and that your prescriptions must be renewed or updated at least every three to six months.

Chris (00:12:11):

Now the process for doing this is on your roadmap and I wish I could share my screen more easily on a Zoom call, but I’m going to try here. The process for this is on your roadmap. Let’s take a quick peek here. OK. And I’m going to give you a brief view of the actual objectives on a roadmap. This is client focused highway, so if we get to client focus here, OK. Your process is first doing the seeds and weeds module. You guys have done that, that was the first step, then your seed responses. Then you know, practice making upgrades. Here’s where we really are. Milestone four in the client focused highway on the roadmap is upgrade five clients with new prescriptions after goal review sessions. So a lot of the questions that spurred this webinar were how do I pivot my current clients who I’ve been training online to this new model or to these new services when I come back into bricks and mortar. This is how you do it.

Chris (00:13:13):

You set up a goal review. If you’ve been doing goal reviews all along, fantastic. Hey, we might as well use our remaining time in captivity to talk about your goals. If you haven’t been doing goals reviews all along, this is actually the best opportunity you’re ever going to have in your life to start them. So what you say is, dear client, as we get ready to come back into the box, our time together is going to become more precious because you know we can’t fit everybody in every day. And so I want to make sure that we are optimizing your progress through the time that we have together. What I’d like to do to really dial in your plan is to get on a Zoom call with you. Do you have 10 to 20, 30 minutes where we could get together for a coffee over the next week?

Chris (00:14:07):

And so you know your timeline for doing this is like the time that it’s going to take to get from where you are now to fully open again, you might have a week, you might have three months, you know, none of us are really sure, but start with your seed clients. Book this conversation with them, go through some motivational interviewing and then make them a new prescription. It’s important to understand here that the right prescription is the goal. This is not necessarily an upsell. While many clients will be presented with an option that allows them to pay more and get more value for your service, it’s also true that some clients are overpaying for what they’re currently getting. You have to accept this, that if somebody is, you know, they’re coming to your gym five times a week, but that’s not really what it’s going to take to get them to their goals.

Chris (00:14:57):

You might have to back the office, Hey, you know, your goals are to perform better at cycling. You should really only be coming to the gym twice a month through the summer to maintain your strength and mobility. And you know, you’re doing your cycling four times a week or whatever it is. If you’ve got an athlete who’s in season and they’re a basketball player, you know what, you should really only be coming to the gym twice a week for half an hour at a time. We’re gonna work on your mobility and recovery to keep you strong through the season. These are what top coaches do. So the reason that a lot of people don’t do regular goal reviews, number one is it does take some time. But as you’ve experienced with online coaching, this one on one connection, it does take some time. We’re going to have to adjust your prices so that that time is worthwhile.

Chris (00:15:46):

Absolutely. The other thing that stops people from doing goal reviews is they feel like it’s a sales meeting. Like they’re going to have to upsell. That’s not the case at all. There’ve been many times when doing goal reviews that I’ve actually told somebody, you know, you need to back off a little bit or you need to switch to something that’s less expensive. Or even you need to take three months off from the gym. Here are five books, I want you to read them before you come back. And the books were like fiction, you know. So how often should you do goal reviews? We say every three to six months. These are not surveys, these are not like an email. How are you doing? Tick off the services that you want to do. These are more like motivational interviewing where you’re saying to a person, are you completely satisfied with your progress?

Chris (00:16:33):

You know, are you tempted to speed it up? Do you have questions about your progress? Are you happy? It’s not, Do you like the service? Do you like the coaches? How would you rate our programming? That’s not it. It’s are you happy with your progress? This client centric approach has never been more important than it is right now. This is what we’re trying to teach in Two-Brain Coaching. And this is what we’ve always taught through the prescriptive model and goal reviews. So, this also opened up the opportunity to grow your client base, but I’m going to get to that in a moment. So the client focus row is really, you know, where you want to focus as you’re going through this. So let’s take a brief break here for questions because I know we’ve got some comments. So please, if you have questions, by all means just, you know, ask them in comments.

Chris (00:17:26):

Here we go. All right. All right, so all the questions are people saying good morning and hello Rob. By all means, if you have questions, please ask them and we’re going to be moving on to the next thing. OK. The question I just got was how often should we really be doing goal reviews? So when you went through ramp up or incubator, you saw a plan, a goal review for every three and that should be like your default expectation that you’re going to meet with somebody at least every quarter. The truth is that people who have high value clients and are making a living off like 10 people online, they really start every session with motivational interviewing. How are you feeling, what do you need today? And that’s the crux of their delivery. And then they make up the program based on that.

Chris (00:18:13):

We have been saying do it every quarter because we want people to get into a regular routine and not forget to do it, not overlook it. The truth is that you want to have a goal review as a client is starting to think about what’s my next step or definitely before they start doubting their progress. So it’s like as often as that, but not too often because somebody’s going to have to do this. It’s going to take up a lot of your time. The smaller your client base, the more frequently you should do goal reviews. If you have 10 clients, you should be doing a goal review, you know, basically every week. It’s less formal. It’s more part of that conversation. If you have a big client base, you’re going to do them less often. Right. Brandy, can coaches do the goal reviews the coach that knows the client best?

Chris (00:19:04):

Yes, absolutely. They can, as long as they’re doing it the right way. And you’re just going to have to hedge a little bit against the icon problem of like the coach being that client’s only point of contact because if the coach ever goes to start their own business, they’re basically going to own that client. That’s our problem with the whole concept of a coach’s book of business. So if the coach is coaching group classes and they’re doing some goal reviews, that’s fantastic. If a coach is doing personal training and doing the goal reviews with their clients, that’s also great. You just have to make sure that the brand is also in constant contact with the client too. I hope that makes sense. Other than that you have to understand like how long clients are usually around before they drop off. So if we’re trying to optimize goal reviews or deliver them when necessary instead of every quarter, then you have to look at your LEG and you have to say, OK, when do people drop off?

Chris (00:20:05):

So if my average length of engagement, my LEG is like 13 months, then I know that I should do a goal review or a no sweat intro or a motivational interview, whatever you want to call it, at intake, after they come out of my intake program, when they finish on ramp basically, at the 13 month mark and then probably halfway in between. So for example, if somebody, if my LEG is 13 months, then I better be having a meeting with everybody at the 13 month mark to try to get them to 18 months. Right? And I know that that meeting is worth hundreds of dollars, whatever my average ARM is. If my LEG is 13 months, I should also be having a goal review with them like halfway to that mark to make sure that they’re on the right track, right?

Chris (00:20:56):

Because people will start to doubt their progress or doubt your service for months before they actually cancel. So to determine when you should be doing goal reviews, look at your LEG. OK, that’s goal review. Divide that LEG in half, that’s another goal review touchpoint. Then keep working backward. When you reach the end of your on-rmp program, that’s a goal review. And when you reach your intake program, your intake process, your no sweat intro, that’s a goal review too. So that’s four. Let me give you an example. When ww took some sample data from 50 Two-Brain gyms, and this is the start of our deeper data analysis that we’re using from the dashboard and the roadmap, what we discovered was that there are certain points when people tend to quit gyms. So that first point is right after the on ramp, which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

Chris (00:21:48):

It just means that people haven’t been converted well. So we know that every gym needs a consultative process goal review at the end of on-ramp. Then we noticed that people tended to drop off just before the eight month mark. So if they made it through your intake process, they were likely to stick around for about eight months. And again, guys, this is just example, this is not prescriptive. This is a sample of 50 random gyms. It might not be true for every gym. You have to do this analysis for yourself right now. But let’s say that you know, if this were true for everybody, we noticed that people dropped off after about eight months. Well, if we put a goal review of the seven month mark and we could keep people through that eight month mark, they were likely to stick around for 14 months.

Chris (00:22:33):

So that’s another six months. And if you multiply that by your ARM, that means that that goal review to you is worth six months times your ARM. So if your average revenue per month, your ARM is $200 and you multiply that by another six months of retention, that’s a $1,200 10 minutes that you’re spending or you know, 30 minutes if that’s what it takes to do your goal review. And the really interesting thing was that if a client was around for 14 months and they didn’t cancel at the 14 month mark, they were likely to stick around for another 10 months. They were likely to be there right up until their two year anniversary. So the goal review at that point, the 14 month point is even more important because you’re keeping them for another 10 months. So 10 months times your ARM, that’s a $2,000 appointment.

Chris (00:23:22):

Now it’s not an upsell really except that if you consider that retention is really just like reselling people on your service every day. So how often should you do a goal review? Every quarter unless you’ve been tracking your LEG data over time and you see when your dropoff points are, then your goal review should happen about a month before each of those drop off points. Now the next hire at Two-Brain HQ is a data analyst so that we can provide this data, you know, as a whole, but also for each one of your specific gyms. So within the next several months, we hope to be able to say to you like, Hey Justin, your dropoff points are at seven months, 11 months and 17 months. That’s when you should do your goal reviews. All right, that’s a great question. I don’t think anybody anticipated going that deep down the rabbit hole.

Chris (00:24:11):

Let’s see here. Erin has a great question. She’s driving and so she might not be able to type. I understand. When doing these motivational reviews, since we aren’t doing a hard sell, how do you present the new prescription? Erin. Yes. So let’s say that you ran into somebody on the street and they said, what should I do to lose weight? And you said, there’s no way I’m ever going to make money off this person. What would you tell them? And that’s how you present it to your client. So you would say, well, if I was in your shoes, I would focus on my nutrition first and then I would try to get exercise three or four times a week. What kind of exercise do you like? All right, the most effective exercise for your goal is constantly varied functional movement performed at high intensity or you know, whatever your exercise philosophy is, if CrossFit is your exercise philosophy, then you know that’s part of your prescription.

Chris (00:25:03):

If Pilates is your exercise philosophy, then that’s part of your prescription, whatever. Then you say, would you be more comfortable doing these workouts and this nutrition at home or in the gym? And then if they say in the gym, you say, would you be more comfortable doing these workouts in a small group setting or one on one with me? And then you make the prescription. So you say, OK, well look, if I were in your shoes, here’s exactly what I would do. If you flipped your pricing binder and you say, this is exactly what you just told me, and if they say, Oh wow, that’s too expensive. Then you say, OK, what budget would you like to fit this service into? And I’ll give you your new priorities and then you work backward through your pricing binder to say, OK, well you know, you said that $200 a month is your budget.

Chris (00:25:56):

If my budget were $200 per month, I would focus on nutrition as I said earlier. So you go to the nutrition pricing page and you say, here’s this, but you know within your budget we could also fit in one personal training session per month. I think that would be really useful. I could give you some walking homework to do in between. OK. Now it takes practice to make it feel that natural and I’m going to have to record me doing it, which means I’m going to have to do some more because when I’m talking to a client, it actually sounds that natural to the client and the only reason why is reps. I am the most awkward person in the world when it comes to asking people for things or help or money or favors. Trust me on that. The only reason that I got over it was reps.

Chris (00:26:41):

All right, so, next. So goal reviews are the answer. If you have more questions about goal reviews, by all means ask them. But the process is laid out in the client focus highway on the Two-Brain roadmap and you can work your way through that. Now, how to promote these new services. Let’s pivot to this. We want to get more clients using these new services. And over the last few months since we moved to everything online, we spent about $40,000 testing Facebook ads and digital marketing strategies in gyms. And what we’ve been saying to people is like, don’t go out and test a bunch of ads. Don’t guess, don’t throw money at Facebook. Let us do that. And so what we’ve been delivering is, you know, here’s what’s actually worked and we’ve been delivering that to people in ramp up and in growth along the digital marketing sections of the online coaching highway.

Chris (00:27:37):

But here’s what we found. Number one, even though costs are way down on Facebook, like we’re at 2015 advertising costs, it’s really, really not expensive to get people to book a free consultation, organic marketing right now, including like just your own Facebook posts, is incredibly powerful. So it’s not that digital marketing is less powerful than it was before. It’s that organic marketing, referrals are way more powerful than ever before. And I’m not sure if that’s because your audience is looking harder at trust or your audience trusts you more right now. Or maybe they’re just getting bombarded by Facebook ads. But right now you really need to focus on asking people for referrals. You really need to focus on affinity marketing because this is what’s most powerful. What’s interesting is a lot of you have just posted the Hey, I’m looking for five women in Saint Marie Ontario to join me for this.

Chris (00:28:39):

A lot of you have had a lot of success from that and then been frustrated when you turn to the next step and started doing digital marketing. Well what should happen is that when you’re working your way through the roadmap and you stumble on something that’s working for you, you just keep doing that thing and you slowly add other things on top of that. But you don’t stop doing that. So affinity marketing is working better now than it ever has. Some of us haven’t been doing enough of it. We should never have stopped. So when you’re working through the affinity marketing strategy, there’s a specific highway for that on the roadmap. OK, I’ll just buzz over there and take a peek and share my screen here. OK, here we go. So when you’re on the roadmap under the get more leads section, that’s the first line affinity marketing, right?

Chris (00:29:30):

And you’ll notice milestone one in affinity marketing is book three goal review sessions with your clients. So we’re right back to the goal review. Now the strategy here is when you’re having this review and you’re talking about people’s goals and you’re saying, are you happy with your progress, that you follow the process from there. If the person says, I’m not happy with my progress, or I’d like to speed it up more, or what else could I be doing? You pivot into a new prescription. If they say they’re totally happy with their progress, we pivot toward asking for referrals. And the way that we do that is through affinity marketing. So we know the people that they live with, the people that they work with. We know a few things about that client. And then we say, you know, how can I help your friend?

Chris (00:30:15):

Do you have a friend who this service might help? How can I help your coworkers? Do you think that this service is something that could help the other people at your workplace? You know, the other people at your golf club, we go through that process. That’s all laid out step by step, starting with people with the tightest affinity and working our way outward, like you’re starting with the bullseye at the center of a target and then working our way out from there. So affinity marketing is really like what’s working right now. The thing is that affinity marketing is always what’s working and that’s what digital marketing should build on. Every new person that comes in through digital marketing should lead to three or four other referrals. It’s just we can’t be complacent. We can’t wait for this to naturally happen. We have to take charge of that conversation through affinity marketing.

Chris (00:31:05):

And that’s really what the strategy is. OK? So if we think about your new business as if you’re starting over from scratch and you’re back in the founder phase, and you know what works in the founder phase is really building on your personal connections. So you should be posting to your personal Facebook page right now. You should be sharing tips freely with all the people who are paying attention, but not paying you money. You should be reaching out to people personally. Who were your former clients? You know, if you look at the people who said, we’re getting new clients back in the Two-Brain business growth Facebook group over the last week, a lot of those people were former clients and the box owner kept a connection with them. They would check in with them during COVID, but also before, how are things going?

Chris (00:31:56):

How things been going since the move? How’s your new schedule at work working out? You know, how are you feeling post-injury or whatever. Those are the people who are coming back right now. If you haven’t been doing that, start right now. You know, start today, text all the people who put their memberships on hold at your box and say, how are you holding up? Just start building that relationship of trust. There’s no upsell. There’s no automated text message or email that’s going to bring those people back. All you’re going to do is build up that platform of trust until you can finally say, I think the right thing for you, my friend, is to come in and do some exercise. All right? Now you can follow this step by step on the roadmap, in the affinity marketing highway. There’s a section called the gold standard in goal reviews, and that tells you when you’re doing a goal review, how to pivot to affinity marketing.

Chris (00:32:51):

All right, so let’s look at questions here. All right, so this affinity marketing is the answer that you need. It might not be the answer that you want because you know, again, people are less than comfortable saying, do you have a friend who might benefit from this service? Or you know, do you think your husband could benefit from this? But when you’re doing it now I want you to think of like your NGPO, your cornerstones, as different options that might help the people surrounding your favorite clients. So you know, if you really want your client to succeed, you have to take care of the people who surround them. You have to create an environment where they can be successful. That environment exists in your bricks and mortar gym for one hour a day, three times a week. That environment might not exist in their home 23 hours a day, seven days a week.

Chris (00:33:46):

The best thing that you can do to help your clients be successful is to create that environment in their life. And that means creating change in their spouse, in their peer support group, and the workplace. If you really, really care about a client, you’ll take those extra steps to create the environment in which they can succeed. You might think of that as affinity marketing. You might think that as help first, you might think of that as coaching or leadership, you have to create fertile ground for success. And that’s what happens through affinity marketing, right? You’re giving people everything that they need to be successful, including support and environment. All right, our third topic is the be expensive or be free strategy. Now what I’m talking about now is the audience building highway on the roadmap. So first we looked at the client focus highway to do goal reviews, to talk to people before they come back into your gym.

Chris (00:34:42):

You’re not raising their rates, you’re not sending out an email saying these are our new packages. Pick one. You’re not doing a survey. You’re booking a conversation with every single client and you’re planning for more Google reviews in the future. Then we talked about the affinity marketing to promote your new services and that’s the affinity highway, affinity marketing highway on the roadmap. Now we’re going to talk about building a bigger audience for this service or for your gym using the audience building highway on the roadmap. The reason that we’re focusing on this again right now is that organic marketing, organic lead gen is working exceptionally well and it’s mostly because people are looking for answers and they’re looking for answers from people that they can trust. And so now we’re going to talk about audience building. So on the roadmap on the get more leads category, there’s an entire highway dedicated to audience building.

Chris (00:35:36):

And the thing that you need to understand is authenticity and publishing content. Because what we’re going to talk about right now is your platform, being in the spotlight and you know, staying in front of your audience. I wrote about this a ton in “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” and right now people who publish actual content are doing better than people who are spending money on ads. So you’re at home, you’re hearing from your clients more often than ever. You’re more in touch with their questions, you’re more in touch with their concerns and what they actually need. Now is the time to start answering those through content production on the roadmap. You have a good lesson on authenticity and publishing. Then you have our entire social media playbook with templates. Then you have some prompts. Now, I just started Seth Godin’s storytelling course. Honestly, I signed up for this course because I thought like I owe some money.

Chris (00:36:36):

I’ve been reading Seth, I’ve been following his model basically using what he does as a template since 2008. I’ve been publishing since before that, but I write in the model that Seth writes, you know, I repeat a lot of his messages and I just tailor them to my audience. I felt like I owed this guy something. So I signed up for this storytelling course just basically so I could give him $450. And the very first thing that I saw in the course was that awareness doesn’t work. Affinity does. There’s like the headline of the first lesson. And that’s amazing to me because all this time, you know, if you had a business, even before Facebook, all the advertising salespeople were selling you was awareness. We can put your sign up at the football field, we can sell you a block in the yellow pages.

Chris (00:37:32):

We can sell you a radio spot, a TV ad. We can basically sell you awareness. The problem is awareness doesn’t create any kind of desire. Sure, it helps people who are looking for a gym already hear about you, right? And they used to say stuff like, you’ve got to get your name out there, but that doesn’t solve the problem. Affinity solves the problem. Your relationship solves the problem. Trust solves the problem. And trust is based on authenticity. So now what we’re going to talk about is how to build that trust through content production. And we’re going to talk about our ethos and what I’ve learned about from being a content producer for the last, you know, 15 years, 20 years now, because when people try to sell an online service, they try to sell a product, right? And you can’t sell a product.

Chris (00:38:29):

You can’t sell your programming. You can’t compete with 19 bucks a month. The best programmers who are selling fitness programming out there are charging 19 bucks a month, first free, you know, I’ll even send you some demo equipment worth $300, you can send it back if you don’t like the program, right? You can’t compete with that. Don’t try to. The most successful service providers online followed this maxim: Be expensive or be free. The fitness industry is being driven by technology more and more. This creates new opportunities to reach mass audiences really quickly. So it’s tempting for us to say, I’ve got this new product, I’ve got a thousand followers on Facebook. If 1% want it, now that’s 10 people. I’m rich. But that’s not how it works. In the tech world, they call this scaling up. Building a product and then selling it to as many people as possible.

Chris (00:39:25):

And this usually means the incremental cost of production goes to zero after the product is built. So like the first one costs a billion dollars, but the second one costs nothing. Or it costs you five hours a week to write your programming, but after the first person buys it, the incremental cost to produce that programming is zero because you can sell the same programming to many people, right? When you’re selling a product, volume is the only play now. You have to get scale really fast, but that’s not you because you’re not selling a product. You’re selling a service. You’re intention is finite, right? No one is making more hours or more focus or more care. You have this relationship of trust and authenticity with your clients and you can’t scale that to a thousand people. That means that coaches can’t compete on volume. They can only compete on attention and care.

Chris (00:40:22):

All right? So yes, there are people out there in the CrossFit world, people who are CrossFit famous are selling programming and they’re selling skipping ropes for cheap, and they’re getting this large audience to pay for it, but that’s not your best move for three reasons. Number one, they’re selling a commodity. That means downward price pressure. Even if their product is getting sold at 19 bucks right now and they’re making money, a year from now, that’s going to cost nine bucks. Second, their stars are fading by the day, right. Their reach declines every time a new CrossFit Games champion is crowned. If you haven’t won the CrossFit games, it’s going to be harder and harder to sell your advice as a product that scales. And the third is you don’t have an audience to start with. So if you’re CrossFit famous or you’re famous because you are a trainer on the Biggest Loser, or you’re a competitor on Survivor, or you were in the NFL, you can sell something to that audience, but your star is going to fade over time because you’re no longer the world champion or the first round draft pick.

Chris (00:41:23):

OK, we’re going to do this for 30 more years, so we have to build an audience for ourselves. But that’s their plan. OK? Selling a product. Our plan is to be expensive or to be free, not to be in the middle, not to be cheap. That means you give out your knowledge for free, but your coaching is expensive. OK, so Stuart Brand famously said on the one hand, information wants to be expensive because it’s so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other. Stewart said that to Steve Wozniak at the first hackers conference in 1984. There was no Facebook, there was no Gmail, there was really no internet back then.

Chris (00:42:14):

But what it means and why it’s relevant today is you can build trust in your audience without asking for anything in return. And trust is the new currency for what we’re about to sell. It means you can be generous to build that trust and it means you can ultimately earn what you deserve. So I’m going to give you two examples of this expensive or free strategy. The two examples are and twobrainbusiness. So started publishing a free workout of the day every single day in 2003. It’s all the information that you need to get fit and healthy. There’s a workout to do. There’s some diet tips. There might even be a link to like a political rant or something else, right? But if you want to become a CrossFit coach, then that’s the most expensive certification on the market. And when the first L1s came out at, you know, I don’t think they were a thousand dollars, but when they reached a thousand dollars a decade ago, they were triple the price of the most expensive certifications back then, which was the NSDA CSCS.

Chris (00:43:20):

And they also required travel. You had to actually show up and be there for more than just a test and they actually required you to demonstrate your knowledge and not just tick boxes on the test. Now, I took the NSCA certification back in like 1994. I showed up. You didn’t talk to anybody. You had a Scantron sheet, whatever it costs, 250 bucks. We thought that was expensive. Then CrossFit came along, made the price of an L1 way more expensive, costly in time and social risk because you might fail in front of people when you’re demonstrating and from a price point, but it was way better. So if you want to be a CrossFit certified coach now, that’s expensive. CrossFit, but they don’t sell the knowledge. Information is the tool and informed audience is the advantage. You all took the L1, everybody listening to this podcast, thousands of people took the L1 because of the free knowledge that built your trust and your esteem in the brand and your desire to become a CrossFit coach. Let’s look at We’ve published free information every single day since 2013 when I started don’t There’s a huge amount, over a thousand blog posts on alone. I also publish on and I have a monthly column on elite FTS, like medium. LinkedIn, there’s a lot of content, our YouTube channel.

Chris (00:44:48):

But if you want mentorship where the most expensive, at least I hope we are, as an actual mentorship company in the fitness industry. We don’t sell information. Information is our tool. Information builds trust, an informed audience makes our entire industry better. Informed audience is also our best friend because when people have read our stuff, read my books before they book that free call, before they go through the incubator, then they understand the concepts, but also the ethos of Two-Brain Business. That also keeps the wrong people out. Can you imagine what our Two-Brain Business growth group would look like if there was like, you know, five negative condescending attacking people in there? It would not be the same. There are zero of those people because we give away the information for free. And the people who who want to be critical, who want to attack, they’re filtered out by that information or they can get all they want from that information.

Chris (00:45:48):

They don’t have to go any further and join the Two-Brain family. All right, so before we get to a publication strategy here, we’re going to get there. I want to give you a few notes on free that might answer some of your questions in advance. So notes on free. First, your free information should still be valuable. Your free information should still be true. If you’re doing a bait and switch marketing promise that doesn’t build value, it erodes value. And finally, your free content doesn’t have to be perfect, but it has to be consistent. Consistency is still more important than anything else when it comes to publishing free content, building trust in your audience. OK, it’s fine to have a couple of typos. It’s not fine to skip three months. Notes on expensive. The value of your attention is what’s important, not the value of your time.

Chris (00:46:42):

So the more one on one attention you provide, the more expensive your service should be. That’s true even if you’re providing one-on-one attention online, but you spend less time coaching overall. It also means that in a physical gym, group training is your discount option because you’re providing very little one-on-one service to a client in a group training class. Does it still have value? Absolutely. Should you discount your prices further to sell it? No. Group training is the option that you sell for people who cannot afford your highest value service, which is your one on one attention. And finally, my last note on inexpensive is before you can charge what you’re worth, you have to actually be worth it. And so I’ve given you some links here this morning in the Two-Brain Business growth group, I shared a link to a Seth Godin article that talks about value and the example that he gave was two of his books, one of his books took him 10 years to write, working two hours every single day on it. The other book took him like three weeks to write. It just poured out of them. And you know, which book is more valuable? Well, if you look at the market, the market actually likes the second book better. They’re both priced the same. The second book that took him only a few weeks to write has outsold the first book was took them 10 years by like six to one. Now, if you look at price and value, for me, most people will say that Two-Brain Business, the original book, was the most valuable thing that I’ve ever written. Help First took less time, right? Two-Brain Business 2.0 is more tactical. Like you could, technically in my mind, that’s the more valuable book. But I wrote both of those books together in 70 days.

Chris (00:48:28):

They just poured out of me. “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” took almost a year. It cost me $20,000 to have editing and layout and production and all that stuff. It’s probably the best book that I’ve ever written, but it’s very few people’s favorite book. So what’s more valuable? Two-Brain Business, the original book, is more valuable. So here’s the foundation of content marketing, which I learned, and that’s like the free part of this equation from and its editors. Before T Natinon, and now it’s called like T or something. Nobody had ever heard of Dave Tate, John Berardi, the founder of PN, right? This was their first public platform. This is where they built their audience. Before they had started writing free articles on, nobody had heard of them, including me. So I started publishing every single day on Catalyst Fitness in 2005.

Chris (00:49:22):

And then a member said, you’re just like Seth Godin. So I looked up Seth Godin and started reading him. In 2009, I started a little blog about the gym business called don’buy in 2012 I was hired by CrossFit media and invited to their media summit and the ethos of CrossFit media in those days as explained by Tony Budding, was we publish every day. Those were literally the first words that he spoke when we met in San Diego. Same meeting. Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit Inc says, talk to the smart kids and they’ll tell everyone else. So that kind of shaped what I put in my messages. I didn’t worry about writing for everybody anymore. I worried about writing for the industry leaders. And that’s why the industry leaders are the people who are in the growth group right now and in the tinker phase and coming through ramp up.

Chris (00:50:10):

So I think you know the same thing is true if you talk about writing for the caring people, right? If you write for the caring people, those are the people that you attract. And if speaking personally, if we can help gym owners leverage their care better and leverage that care for decades instead of for years, then we can have a meaningful impact on the world. Now that doesn’t mean that we sell mentorship cheaply or that we give it away for free. We don’t. It means that we provide information for free. It means that we share enough secrets to actually help gym owners thrive. Some of those gym owners then use the profit from those secrets or from our free material to pay for mentorship, which is our real service. You’re going to find the same thing in your gym. People will take your free information and they will be use it and they’ll act on it and they will tell it to their friends.

Chris (00:51:00):

They might even copy you and start a fitness blog and they’ll get a little bit fitter. And that is great because an informed, educated audience who’s a little bit fit and interested in taking the next step is your target audience. These are the people who are closest to buying from you. So when you’re producing this content and building this audience, you need to be supportive. You need to understand that people are going to take this information for free and start on their own, but that’s what’s going to prepare them to buy from you in the future. That’s what’s going to prepare them to trust you and that’s also what’s going to stop them from buying from anybody else. Our motto at Catalyst when I started producing content was teach our clients to know more than any other coach in town. That meant that our clients and the people on our email list knew too much about fitness to fall for the stuff that the other guys were selling.

Chris (00:51:56):

They weren’t falling into the trap of the pyramid scheme supplements. They weren’t just going to the gym and doing, you know, chest and triceps day anymore. They were actually trying new things. Maybe they weren’t paying me money yet, but they were paying attention and that meant that they were too smart to fall for all the traps that pulled many of my best future clients away. Does it take a while? Yeah, it does. There’s a reason that I started talking about CrossFit in 2003 and don’tbuyads in 2009. Audience building and trust is a slow play, but it’s the difference between finding the love of your life and getting married to them and using like a onetime dating app to get laid. This is the longterm play and this is actually the best time to start it. So before I get into tactics to start content production, I’m going to take a look and see if we’ve got questions here.

Chris (00:52:50):

So let’s see, questions. I see a few. All right, so Eden’s got one as an example for me, if my husband isn’t on board with nutrition, then it’s a hundred percent harder to stick to my goals. If I’m your client and you can get my husband bought in, I’d be thrilled. Yeah. So you really need to like create that environment in the household too. Especially right now. You know, a lot of your clients are paying attention to you, but their biggest struggle is creating that environment in their household because they are three feet from the carb cupboard all day. Their kids are sleeping later, right? They’re eating breakfast later and that means they’re staying up later at night and you know, they’re getting naps in the afternoon that they didn’t get before. And so if you think about your service as creating the environment for your client to succeed in, then you might be able to prescribe NGPO a little bit easier.

Chris (00:53:43):

You know, or get another client. You can’t sell Zoom classes to two people in the same house. You can’t do it. You can’t say, Hey, your wife is in the screen. Get her out of the screen. She’s got to pay for her own subscription. You can’t do that. What you can say is, I noticed your wife has been paying attention. Why don’t you invite her to do some of these workouts with us? Now, her needs are going to be different from yours, but this is a great starting point for her. And I’ll tell you what, do you mind if I talk to your wife about her nutrition plan? Because it has to overlap with yours and support yours. But it’s not going to be the same as what you need because she has different needs than you do, right?

Chris (00:54:25):

And that’s how you differentiate. That’s how you use affinity marketing online. All right. So if you guys have questions, guys, feel free to post them here. I want to talk about starting to produce content that builds trust in your audience and why this is the best opportunity and prompt you’ll ever have. Use the COVID crisis as a catalyst to produce content. It’s funny that the people who start with Two-Brain are told, you know, produce content and they rarely do it. The people who have been in the Two-Brain family for a long time have tried every other option that we’ve given them and finally come back to this consistent content production. And that’s what’s working to build their audience. So Sharday asks, is it better to be posting free content on your personal page or as your daily weekly Instagram posts?

Chris (00:55:18):

So Sharday we need to talk a little bit about content and your platform and your amplifiers. So your content should live on your website. Think of your website as a boat and you’re in the middle of the ocean and you’re fishing. And your goal is to get as many as many people, as many fish into your boat as possible, and then roll them back to the dock where you can sign them up or sell them. Your boat is your website. OK? Because nobody buys a fitness membership or books a no sweat intro off Instagram or Facebook or Twitter or any social media platform. Those are your amplifiers. Your number one goal on Facebook or Instagram is to get people off Facebook and Instagram and onto your website. So if you think about Facebook and Instagram is like the lures that will bring people to your boat, that’s how you use them.

Chris (00:56:13):

So look at what we do and follow our model. We publish on our blog, we post links to that blog on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, on LinkedIn, everywhere that you can think of. We also have a net because our lures, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, will bring people close to the boat, but it might not convince them to come aboard or we might not be able to land them. And so our net is our email list and our email list is just basically we give people free things that will help them. They sign up to hear more from us and then we send them our a copy of our blog every day because they might not see it on social or they might not be coming on our website every day. That net reinforces our message and gets it right into their inbox.

Chris (00:57:04):

So hopefully that answers the question. Post your free content on your website, share your free content on social. If you’re more comfortable in front of a camera, you can use YouTube if you want to. But again, YouTube should link people back to your website and that can be a hard jump to make. Nobody in the fitness industry makes a living on YouTube. They might be selling workouts or subscriptions or something on YouTube, but people have to go to their website to pay for it. If you’re selling ads on Facebook because or on YouTube because you’ve built a massive audience, you might make dozens of dollars doing that. But the bottom line is you have to get people back to your website to sign up. OK. And if you go into the audience building highway on the Two-Brain roadmap in the very first section, maybe in the second milestone, you will download our very specific social media playbook.

Chris (00:57:59):

And that’s very step by step. OK. And the first page in big red letters says your number one goal on social media is to get people off social media and onto your website. OK, thanks. Andrew says exactly. We’ve been posting Monday to Friday for the last year. Blog is on the website and then share it through Instagram feed, Instagram stories, Facebook feed and email list. Perfect. I’ll tell you exactly what we do at Two-Brain. So I write, you know, usually about two weeks in advance. Warkentin would love it if I did it three weeks in advance. And then, those are saved his blog posts, he cleans them up and edits them and Tiffy adds graphics. I record them or parts of them for YouTube. And then when they’re published, the links to those things are shared on Facebook, Facebook stories, Instagram, Instagram stories, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah by our media team. You can do this yourself. We have an editorial calendar that we follow through. Through the COVID crisis. The strategy is exactly the same. Tactically, it was sped up because things were happening every two or three hours. That meant we were writing the blog posts like an hour before they were published and that was just due to necessity. Right now, you know, we’re able to plan out in advance. So what do you write about? What do you talk about? Right now you are in more constant contact with your clients one on one than ever before. So I want you to write down, keep, you know, open up a notepad or Apple notes or whatever on your phone, on your laptop, and I want you to start a new note called questions. And what I want you to do is every time a client asks you a question over text, through messenger, through email, over the phone, on LinkedIn, whatever, in your public Facebook group, I want you to write that question down.

Chris (00:59:55):

And then tomorrow I want you to write them the answer. This is what love letters are all about. So pre-COVID, the questions that we would get from gyms is like, what’s my best marketing strategy? How do I get five new clients? How do I keep clients longer? Right? Big broad questions that required three or four posts to answer. During COVID, the questions that we were getting were more, uh, abrupt. You know, man, how does, how’s Chris stay motivated? How’s he not getting depressed? We got that a lot. How do I lead my team? You know, yesterday we got a great question. How do I talk to my clients about these new services that I’m about to offer? This morning I got a fantastic question from Justin about should I start using my personal brand instead of my gym’s brand, right? And when we see these questions, we think about it.

Chris (01:00:47):

We say, who is the best in the world? Or what’s the data say? And then we create a response and that gets posted later. You have an opportunity right now because of all of your extra work, one on one with clients to identify what these top questions are and to post the response. People try to do too much. They try to jump from first date to wedding, you know, and create perfect media. Man. If you go back to don’ and you’d go to the very first posts on our page, they’re crap. Like they don’t even make sense. I’m all over the place chasing different rabbits. I don’t make a good point. Your best blog posts are probably 200 words or less. They answer one question and that’s it. If you find that you need to give a deeper response or this question begs another question, make that a separate blog post.

Chris (01:01:40):

You know, I like to set some time aside each week to really think through a problem. I write the question that I’m trying to ask or answer first. Sometimes I have to answer it in several steps and that’s basically the title of my blog posts. And then I fill in the blanks from there. You know, luckily we have such a massive library of work that I can sometimes lean back to stuff that we’ve previously written. Like this week, the series that you’ll read is called be expensive or be free. I wrote two of the blog posts and I modified a previous blog post for the third one. Eventually you’ll get to that point. And Andrea asks, how often do you dust off old posts and republish? Not as often as I should. The thing is, Andrea, like sometimes I forget stuff that I’ve already written about.

Chris (01:02:36):

Or sometimes like the answer needs to be updated, but in the gym those answers don’t actually change. Do they? Like the pendulum of fashion in the fitness industry swings left and right, but the answers don’t really change. And so if you’ve written a good answer one time, you can republish that several times. One of the best practices if you read blogs like HubSpot is to update your best post from before each year. So for example, HubSpot might come out with like top 10 CRM software for the health care industry, 2019, and then what they’ll do is they’ll pull that article up again in 2020, they’ll revisit it. They might write a new intro and they’ll change the title of 2020 and they republish. Right? One of my most popular blog posts of all time is how to sublease your space. I wrote that three years ago.

Chris (01:03:32):

There’s a very simple equation we share that publicly. It’s also in our modules. I haven’t had to update that, but if I wanted to, what I could do is reopen that and say how to sublease your space after the COVID crisis. How does this help you? If you’re writing for your gym and you’ve written stuff before, you’ve done a video before, you’ve made a good post before talking about like the plate method for eating. You could republish that as like how to stick to the plate method during COVID or how to stay on track with your eating during COVID and reference the previous material. The thing is like, you will get tired of your own voice and you’ll get tired of these messages long before your clients will. So you need to take that same message and repeat it. You might tweak it a bit.

Chris (01:04:21):

You might put it on a different platform like YouTube instead of your blog. But the bottom line is like nobody reads everything that you write. Nobody hears everything that you say. Nobody is dipping into your back catalog. Nobody’s listening to all your previous podcasts. The best thing that you can do is repeat your key messages at least every quarter. All right. And, honestly, like this is what we try to do too. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve talked about the prescriptive model on our podcast, in our blog and on YouTube. It’s not enough to just have that information out there today. We talked about the prescriptive model and goal reviews and affinity marketing stuff that I’ve literally written books about, but now it’s more relevant and we could reframe it as how to use that during the COVID crisis to help your business and why it’s more relevant again too.

Chris (01:05:15):

Alright, Elsbeth asks, what you suggest is a good strategy to manage consistency. I like offering free content because it’s free. No one complains, but on the flip side I get lazy and struggld to be consistent. I’m going to share with you, OK. For the first time ever, I’m going to draw back the curtain here. OK? And I’m going to share with you my actual tool. This is what I do and this is what I’ve been doing since 2009 maybe. OK. This is 750 OK. Now I did cut and paste some stuff here to get myself started, so I was doing some blog post editing this morning. I cut and pasted some of my edits here to get going. This is an old Ernest Hemingway trick. What Hemingway would do is he would stop writing in the middle of a sentence on one day.

Chris (01:06:04):

So the next day all he had to do to get going was finish the sentence. And that kind of greased the wheels for him. What I do if I’m struggling to get going in the morning is I will look at like, a previous blog post, make a couple of edits, and then actually cut and paste my edits in here. And then what you’ll see at the bottom of the screen here is my word count. So that’s what I’m at today. You can see that it was saved just basically right before I started this podcast is webinar. And you can also see my history, right? So here’s the days when I hit 750 words, and here’s the days of when I hit 449 words, you know, and here’s the days that I skipped. My best streak of this was almost two full years, but I’ve been keeping track of this stuff, you know, daily.

Chris (01:06:53):

And what you see if you went back through all my days here is now at first the most important thing for me was showing up and typing something and getting the little X, doing 750 words no matter what because that built consistency, right? Seth Godin says there’s no such thing as writer’s block. Just like there’s no such thing as plumber’s block. A writer shows up every single day and writes and it’s 750 words and that’s it. It might be crap. He might never open it up again. It doesn’t matter. They show up and write, there is no such thing as writer’s block. You might have a stretch where you’re not writing anything good, but those stretches will get shorter the more often you write, right? So just keep a diary. All the best writers in history kept a diary. So that’s where you start.

Chris (01:07:41):

What I find write now though is I will have bigger questions to think about than ever before. Justin gave me a huge question to think about today using personal branding versus gym branding. And so I’m not gonna write anything about that for a few days. I’m going to talk to a few contacts that I have in the industry. I’m going to think about it on a couple of bike rides, I’m going to think about it while I’m doing my flow state exercise, like cutting wood, but then once I feel confident in here’s the answer or here’s the direction that you need to go, I’m going to write a lot. And what you’ll see on some of those days, especially Sundays, is like 3000 words, 10 pages of written notes and that’s because I’m ready to write about that. Brand new content producers, that’s not going to work for them.

Chris (01:08:29):

They’re not going to be able to do a week’s worth of content on a Sunday. That’s not going to happen because you’re looking at the blank page and you’re like, how am I going to write 10 pages here? That’s why the essay writing assignments and stuff that we get in high school, they’re counterproductive. They teach kids like that writing is painful and it’s hard and you have to be focused for hours at a time and you have to stay up all night and you know, that sucks. Just like reading should be fun. And you teach people to make reading fun by reading whatever you want, including comic books. Writing should be fun. And you should teach people to write consistently by teaching them to write whatever they want. Write a rant. You know, you want to write a political rant about how your governor should not be locking down gyms?

Chris (01:09:14):

Fantastic. Do it on 750 Write it on a piece of paper. Don’t mail it, you know, don’t post it on your social profile. We haven’t talked about today is like the dark side of publishing content, which is you’re on a platform, you’ve worked really, really hard to build an audience to stand in the spotlight and you can use that spotlight to erode trust, right? Like if that spotlight reveals core values and character, if you let it. The interesting thing that happened to me this week was I was invited to speak at two political meetings for two political parties who are completely opposite of one another. One’s very, very conservative. One is very, very, like socialist in Canada. And I got invited to both because neither party had any idea what my political beliefs are. And I doubt anybody here knows that either.

Chris (01:10:10):

Right? So I don’t talk about politics or religion on my business platform because that’s not what it’s for. When you become a business owner, you have to understand it like your personal platforms of Facebook and Instagram, those become your business platforms, right? At first in the founder phase, you are your brand. And so if you’re doing things on that platform that makes people go, what? Or ew or I can’t believe that he believes that, or wow, that guy’s a staunch Democrat, staunch Republican. I’m not that. You’re hurting your business. And you know, the second you open a business, you become a public figure and you have to be aware of the content and the messaging that you’re putting out. You know, a big mistake that I see a lot of people using right now is they’re using their business platform as a political platform and that’s going to hurt them down the road.

Chris (01:11:02):

Unfortunately, it’s probably going to mean that their business platform goes away. All right, Brandy says, I love 750 words. Been doing it almost two years since you recommended. I’ve been able to go back and build blogs from these. I was initially hesitant to buy in and pay, but worth every penny and then some. Yeah, I mean, Brandy, I don’t know why you pay for 750 words. I’ve been using it for a decade. I think I pay $4 a month and I honestly think that like, that’s free. I don’t even know if you have to pay them, but it’s worth it, you know? OK. Next. Final question is where should I publish? You know, should I write a blog? I don’t like writing. Should I do a video? I don’t like video. The answer is that whatever makes you most comfortable or whatever is easiest for you to produce is the answer.

Chris (01:11:54):

A second ago, I said that the way you teach kids to love reading as you let them read whatever they want, including comic books. The way you teach yourself to love the writing or producing content is you do it in the easiest possible way. Don’t worry about what’s best. Don’t worry about you know what gets the best SEO or whatever. Do it in the way that’s easiest for you. If you find that you’re really relaxed with somebody standing in front of you, ask you a question and you can confidently answer, then do video. You know, pretend that I just asked you a question or get together with somebody else in Two-Brain and interview each other, right? Record the answers that you give and that can become your content. Post those things on YouTube first if you want to, and then just take the transcript of what you said.

Chris (01:12:41):

This costs about two bucks and post that on your blog. That’s all you have to do. If you like writing, if you like responding to emails better or texting, then by all means just copy and paste your responses to people in your blog. I mean, some of you know that I do this, some of you write me these very thoughtful emails. OK? And I’m like, Jennifer Worth, man, we had such an amazing conversation about unraveling the ball of yarn the week before last that turned into like three blog posts and you’ll see those in the future. How do I start those blog posts? I take my email responses to you and I treat those as the seeds and I copy those responses into 750 words or onto a blank word doc. And then I say, what if Jennifer didn’t know me? Right?

Chris (01:13:31):

So I removed the really familiar language and the references to your gym and your business and I generalize them a little bit and that becomes a blog post. So for me, answering questions just gives me amazing prompts and there are weeks that go by when I get so many good questions that I don’t have to think about topics. When I’m not sure what to write about and I really have to go looking for topics, it would be nice if that day came soon again, when this state of emergency has passed us, what I do is I go into our Facebook groups and I say, what do the people that I care about the most care about the most right now? What are they questions about? Sometimes I’ll see them asking questions and think, man, I answered that question back in 2012 or I answered that question two weeks ago and I might even share a blog post with them.

Chris (01:14:21):

But that prompts me to say, I haven’t written enough about this. I haven’t talked about this in the right way. I haven’t told a story that helps this message stick with them. And so I’ll start over and I’ll redo that content again. I’ll give you a great example guys. Back when I wrote the original Two-Brain Business, I wrote about the 4/9ths model and I talked about it like math, but I didn’t tell people how to present it and I didn’t put it in a context or tell a good story around it that made it easy to understand if you’ve just gone through ramp up, like you know, Amanda Chase is paying attention here. She heard me talk about 4/9ths back in 2013. When she went through ramp up this time she heard about the salary cap and also how to understand the math, but why it was important and how to present it to other people talking about dollars instead of percentages because that’s such a big topic and it’s so important.

Chris (01:15:19):

It’s like you’re carving a statue out of marble and every once in a while you got to go back to the statue and knock another edge off of it because that creates a clearer, more beautiful picture that’s simpler for people to understand. OK, so the key to creating content I think for gym owners is number one, don’t try to be perfect. Number two, find the thing that’s easiest for you to do. Number three, find a partner. Let somebody interview you. You know, like Leslie is in this group, three or four years ago on we had a 30 day content challenge. She actually won that challenge. You know, she can probably provide some more tips here too. But for you, if you’re struggling to make content, here’s what I would do. I would find a partner in the Two-Brain Business growth group.

Chris (01:16:08):

I would text them every single day one question that they should answer through content. OK. What would you say if a client asks you this, ask them to do the same for you. Write out the answer in a text if you want to or shoot a little video, send it back to them and it take that as the seed for your content and build a larger message around it. Explain yourself a bit more. Add in the elements that you’d have to add in if you weren’t talking to another coach or gym owner, and then post that on your blog. Show that blog post on Instagram, on Facebook. Right now, as you move toward a higher value service, I’m going to try and bring us back to this NGPO and presenting it to your clients again, the most important thing that you can do is to build trust and affinity with your audience.

Chris (01:16:54):

That’s it. It’s not the secret Facebook ad strategy. It’s nothing except for that build trust and authority. People are scared right now. They’re still nervous. As a leader, the greatest thing that you can do is show them that they can trust you, build affinity with your audience. And so if that means paying somebody to take on one more class a day while you build content, it’s worth it. That’s the best investment you can make. It’s not a short term play. You are not going to say, if I invest $12 paying somebody to take a cleaning for an hour so that I can write content, what’s my ROI on that going to be? It’s more like a college education. You don’t look at the ROI of a college education because a college education opens the door for you. And that’s what content creation does. Opens the door. It opens the mind, it opens the heart. Talk to the smart kids, talk to the kids who care the most. Ask them, how can I serve you? Tell them the answer to their most vexing problems, build trust in your audience. And as my mentor Todd Herman says, if you know how to build an audience, you are set for life. Thanks everybody. Thanks for spending an extra 20 minutes with me today. This is a huge, huge topic and we’ll answer more questions in our private Facebook group.

Andrew (01:18:14):

This is Two-Brain Radio. Please subscribe for more episodes wherever you get your podcasts and be sure to visit and click COVID-19 at the top. On that page, you’ll find the things the best gyms are using to survive the COVID crisis. If you need some guidance, visit today.


Chris Cooper delivers the best of the business world on Two-Brain Radio every Thursday.

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Steph Hammerman: Inspiration Is the Spark, Motivation Is the Fire

Steph Hammerman: Inspiration Is the Spark, Motivation Is the Fire

Sean (00:00):

Hi everybody and welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. On today’s episode I speak with adaptive CrossFit athlete Steph Hammerman. The Two-Brain Radio archives are full of great shows you might have missed. We’ve got amazing stories from the community, sales and marketing tips, and the best of the business world all delivered in three shows every week. So to the stay in the loop, subscribe to Two-Brain Radio wherever you get your podcasts. Steph Hammerman is one of the most well known adaptive athletes on the CrossFit landscape. She is the first Level 2 coach with cerebral palsy. She is a cancer survivor and has completed a hand-cycle marathon. She also owns Hammer Driven Fitness in North Carolina. To call her a fighter would probably be an understatement. We talk about growing up with cerebral palsy, how she started to and continues today to use her voice to advocate for others, how she got into CrossFit and why the societal perception of adaptive athletes still has a long way to go. Thanks for listening everyone. Steph, thank you so much for doing this today. How are you dealing with this kind of new normal that’s going on right now?

Steph (01:11):

Hi Sean, it’s so awesome to be here and thanks so much for asking me. This new normal is definitely interesting. I own an affiliate in Knightdale, North Carolina. We’re CrossFit HDF, excuse me, also known as Hammer Driven Fitness. So obviously we’re shut down like the rest of the world, but we’re using technology to the best of our ability and taking as much advantage as possible. We’re running classes daily, trying to keep people involved and you know, I think it’s really cool because not only are you bringing your community together, we’ve also talked about opening it up to the entire world. And while some may think that it’s risky, I think it’s been paying off and it’s been a lot of fun.

Sean (01:58):

You obviously have a lot to deal with when you’re running an affiliate. I’m just curious when things get back to normal, what are your intentions with keeping around what you’re doing right now as far as the online stuff is going?

Steph (02:11):

Yeah. So I mean, I don’t hundred percent have an answer what that’s going to look like because we don’t know the exact timeframe of when we’re going back to normal, but we’re trying to build it out to a point of maybe giving somebody an option, whether it’s daily or you know, three times a week. I’m not really sure what that’s gonna look like, but you know, there is a reality of the fact that some people might not feel comfortable right away going back into the affiliate and you have to be ready for that. You know, it’s definitely hit hard, but at the end of the day you kind of have to roll with the punches and I think that’s what we’re planning on doing. Yeah. Yeah.

Sean (02:50):

When you were born, I’m going way back here, you said that doctors told your parents that you would never read, speak or write because of cerebral palsy. How did your mom and dad react to that?

Steph (03:02):

You know, it’s interesting. I was actually just talking to my mom today, because I’ve done something pretty cool. I actually signed a book deal this morning.

Sean (03:11):

Oh, congratulations!

Steph (03:11):

Thank you. And so I’m working on that, but I was talking to my mom about it and, you know, there’s different ways that people can react and I’m very, very grateful for the amount of resources that my family was able to have access to. I think, you know, I’m not in their heads and you know, I don’t think we’ve ever really had a deep conversation about it, but I’m sure it was scary at the time. But I also have a twin brother that’s completely able bodied and an older brother that’s able bodied and a younger sister. So they kind of never really treated me any differently. I think that’s what made it the best was that I was treated like anybody else in my family, whether it was good, bad, whatever, in between, you just kind of lived your life. And so I’ve always lived like this very quote unquote normal life. And, I don’t know. I don’t see my life that’s very much different.

Sean (04:11):

What kind of lessons did you take from the fact that you grew up around able-bodied siblings who didn’t treat you any differently?

Steph (04:20):

Yeah. You know, it’s interesting because now that I’m looking at my life, I’m 30 now and I’m actually interacting with more people with different abilities than I ever have in my entire life. And for a long time I kind of stayed away from that reality because I felt like I didn’t want to be boxed in, right. I didn’t want to be friends with somebody just because they used a wheelchair or just because they had cerebral palsy. I certainly didn’t want to date somebody that had a different ability because I felt like that’s what people expected of me and part of my personality is if you say you think I’m going to do something, trust me, I’m going to prove you that I’m going to do the complete opposite. And so I think growing up with able bodied siblings only helped kind of build that fire, build that independence and be able to be where I am right now.

Sean (05:11):

You wrote that at a young age, I found my voice and it was the most powerful tool I would ever acquire and something I never take for granted to this day. What did you mean by that?

Steph (05:23):

You know, there’s some people that live with cerebral palsy that it affects them deeply. And I had one of my really good friends growing up, his name was Brandon and he lived with CP to an extent of the fact that he was actually like kind of trapped in his body. He was brilliant and he was a very attractive person, but he literally couldn’t speak. He didn’t say any words. He really couldn’t use his vocal cords, but he spoke with his eyes. And so from a very young age, I was taught that I was really lucky because I was able to voice what I needed, right? If you asked me something or I needed an accommodation at a very young age, my parents let me kind of fight for myself and advocate for myself. I went to a mainstream school by the time I was six years old, so I was mainstreamed from six years old, all the way to graduating high school and then going to college and really had to kind of fend for myself. So, not to say that I didn’t have resources to help me, but the fact that I was able to speak and was able to speak so well, you know, my parents realized that by the time I was three, I was explaining to people what CP was and they were like, she’s going to be just fine.

Sean (06:41):

You mentioned this before, but you are clearly someone who enjoys proving people wrong. When was the first time that you remember that you actually got enjoyment out of doing something that someone said you couldn’t?

Steph (06:53):

Oh, that’s a really cool question. You know, it’s funny. So I was probably six years old going on seven and I came home from school one day, it was like probably April-ish. And I said to my mom, I’m going to go to camp. And she goes, OK. And when you’re, especially in New York when you go away to sleep-away camp, you go away for eight weeks at a time and you don’t come home. And she’s like, well, what do you mean you’re going to camp? I said, well, I’m going to camp with my friend Jessica, and Jessica was my best friend at the time. And she said, OK, sure. And I was like, no, I’m really serious. So I went to my parents. I told them I wanted to go away to sleep away camp. Nobody in my family had been to sleep away camp.

Steph (07:40):

It was a completely able bodied, mainstream camp. The next thing you know, we had a visit to the camp and I was the first camper to ever use any sort of assistive devices. And that camp I went to for eight years and every bunk that I went to had a little ramp. So you knew where I slept. So to this day, that’s kind of like a little joke, but I think that’s probably when I realized like if I wanted something, I had to fight for it. And one of the rules in our house was if you want to go away and do something, you need to know how to do it either by yourself completely or with minimal assistance or know how to ask for what you want. And so while some of that seems to be like tough, you know, or a tough way to handle that, I think that’s what’s made me so independent was yeah, it was tough growing up and I probably hated it at the time that it was happening, but the best thing to ever happen was me being able to dress myself, me being able to do what I need to do to live this fulfilling life.

Sean (08:48):

You reacting to things the way you did at such a young age is obviously credit to your parents and the support system that you around you. What kind of values did they instill in you that allowed you to be such a fighter so early on.

Steph (09:03):

So I grew up in a very big Jewish family and my parents were not the only like support system, which I feel very lucky to say. My grandparents, especially my grandpa, my grandpa and I are very, very close. There’s like daddy’s girls and then there’s grandpa’s girls and I’m definitely like a grandpa’s girl and he is very successful in his life and he’s always taught all of his grandchildren, you know, there’s 17 of us and from every single one of us he’s taught us the value of hard work and if you want something you need to go after it, but you also need to work for it. And so I think that’s kind of just always been part of our life is, you know, if you want something that’s awesome and it’s really cool to, you know, have dreams and have wishes, but you also need to make a plan of action in order to attain them.

Sean (09:58):

You said that you started advocating for others when you got to college. What type of things were you doing?

Steph (10:05):

So college for most people, when they think about college, they probably think like partying and whatnot. And well, yes, I had a lot of fun with my friends. I was a social butterfly. I always have been. But as soon as I got to college, I started getting involved in everything I could from housing and residence life to community service projects. And I would just do any student activity that I could get involved with. But then my sophomore year of college I sat on the student board for, what do you call it? Like our political board, I forget what you call it. Like an advisory board. And I realized that no one was really talking about things that people with disabilities needed. Like the push buttons on the doors. Like, have you ever been around the whole campus and thought like, why aren’t some of these buttons working?

Steph (11:03):

Like, are people doing maintenance orders on them? And like kind of seemed like an asshole. But like I just needed to do what I felt was right. And so my school was very small. I went to Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. And I became very outspoken and I became friendly with the president of the university. And I was like, I think a really good idea would be to stick you in a wheelchair for one week and let me know how you feel. And he looked at me and he said, if you create it, we will do it. And so what I did was I created an entire week of activities or an entire month, I’m sorry, of activities that students could do from fun activities to educational. And in the month of October they did them. And one of those things was going around the campus for an entire week as best you could using a wheelchair.

Steph (12:04):

And that changed a lot of people’s perspective. The president realized he had these big glass doors with like golden handles and he couldn’t get into his own building. And I was like, you know, you say that you want to have an open door policy, but how can you do that when you know some of your students use accessibility devices? And the coolest thing about this university is that they didn’t just do, they listened and they acted. So when he realized that he couldn’t get into his office or that an elevator wasn’t working, the next week, it was fixed. And so part of my job became literally like pressing all the buttons once a month, like making sure I knew where they were and I was the voice of, I guess you’d call like we had a disabilities office, but I was the voice of the students that basically said like, this is what we physically need. And so that was pretty cool.

Sean (13:01):

I’m curious what kind of reactions you got from people. You said that it changed their perceptions. What were people saying to you after this whole experience?

Steph (13:08):

I think, you know, it was frustrating for some, one of the other things that we did was we created a wheelchair basketball tournament. And so they had a really cool idea about athletics and we had a local basketball team come and play against them, but play from a seated position. So that was really cool. And so people’s reactions were more of out of frustration rather than like feeling bad for me. They were like, man, like this must suck. But at the end of the day, it’s part of my reality. So I don’t really know anything different. I talked to Kevin Ogar about this a lot too and their situations are a little different in the sense that when they were, they weren’t born like this, right? So they had a life beforehand and it was altered completely. And I think the first time I ever had a feeling of what that was like is when I was diagnosed with cancer. Because CP was part of my life and always will be, right. But being diagnosed with cancer then kind of shifted that of how my body’s reacting and how that changes. So I mean, I think people’s reactions are very interesting because I don’t ever let people feel bad for me. So it’s just not my nature.

Sean (14:27):

Yeah. You mentioned getting diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma stage three B.

Steph (14:32):

I didn’t mean to jump around.

Sean (14:34):

Yeah, no, that’s good because I was going to talk about this anyway. That was in 2016. So what was it like for you getting that news?

Steph (14:43):

You know, it’s crazy because I’m one that remembers a lot of things. Ty says I have a memory of an elephant, but it’s actually four years ago this week, my life started to really start to change. Four years ago this week I was actually in Cookeville Tennessee training with Rich and it was the first time we ever started to realize that I might be very sick. I was doing a workout with Chris Henshaw and Rich at the time. We had a couple of cool people there and for some reason I just couldn’t finish this workout that he had asked me to film with them. And I’d done it like so many times. And my fatigue level was just like really, really high. And, little did I know a couple of days later we would start to figure out that I would be diagnosed with cancer.

Steph (15:34):

So it was kinda crazy to be at the fittest point in my life and then realize like, you ain’t so fit homie, like kind of sick, you know? And so I think that was a little, it was very interesting to be in that space. But when the doctor looks at you and says, hi, you know, I’m your doctor and we’re going to fix this. But reality is I’ve never worked with anybody with CP before. My, like, my light bulb went off and I was like, this is an opportunity to educate. And so what I did with the doctor was I was like, listen, I don’t have time for this shit, so we need to figure this out. And so what I did with her for 29 weeks, 29 weeks of treatment, I wrote everything down from how I felt to when I use the restroom to what my temperature was like when I worked out, when I didn’t. And I hope that it makes a difference for at least one person.

Sean (16:32):

Yeah. Seven weeks into your 29-week treatment, your doctor says you’re basically cancer-free. Why do you think you were able to beat it so quickly?

Steph (16:42):

I’ll tell you exactly why. So I remember I had to have a surgery to put my port in and she said, you can’t work out for 11 days, or 10 days. So on the 11th day I went to her office and I showed her a video of me doing a clean, 35, 55 pounds or something like that. And I was like, just watch this. And so I made her watch it and I said, can I go back to doing this? And she said, I don’t know why you’d want to, but sure. I looked at her and I said, this is what’s going to save my life. I said, if you allow me to continue being exactly who I am and allow me to continue doing exactly what I love, I’m going to be just fine. So I had three questions for her when I first met her.

Steph (17:34):

And these were three honest questions. It might make you laugh. But these were real questions. I asked her three things. I said, am I going to die? Am I going to lose my hair and can we still have sex? That’s all I wanted to know, three things I wanted to. And she laughed and we laughed. And I said, listen, if you can tell me the answer to these three things, I’m gonna, you know, I’ll be just fine. So she said, yes, you’re going to lose your hair. No, you’re not going to die and yes, you can still have sex. And I said, OK, then let’s fix it. And I remember going into her office on the seventh week, I’d been training my entire treatment because I’m so grateful for this, but I have a very good relationship with Jason Khalipa. And he was able to connect me with a gym in New York.

Steph (18:20):

And, JP gave me a free membership to the New York Brick gym, which was amazing. And I remember going into her office on the seventh week and she looked at me and she said, I’ve never in my life seen somebody like you before. I said, what? She said, I don’t know, but it’s gone. And I’m like, OK. And I said, so am I done? And she’s like, we have to continue to do treatment. And she said that because I was so physically fit before I got sick, that’s the reason that I was able to fight so much easier and because we stayed so positive throughout the whole thing. So like, I’m not trying to make light of cancer, especially in this time right now. I know people struggle with different things. I know people, you know, might not survive it.

Steph (19:14):

I understand that completely. But coming from a personal perspective, we tried to make it really fun. If you know anything about me and my boyfriend Ty, like we just try to have fun with each other and we looked at it like, like a mini honeymoon in a sense. We’re not married, the world can calm down. Right. But we just started dating and like, we needed to figure out how we were going to make that work. And so we just had fun doing it, you know,

Sean (19:45):

Thirsty for more fitness talk? Every week Two-Brain Radio brings you three new shows filled with inspiring stories and actionable advice. Learn the ins and outs of digital marketing and sales on Mondays. Then join me on Wednesdays to hear from the top athletes, coaches and personalities from the fitness world. On Thursdays, Chris Cooper and other business leaders share their expertise on how to grow your business, solve problems and move closer to wealth. Want to chat? Email with feedback and requests, and don’t forget to subscribe. Now back to Steph Hammerman. I’m sure though that there were some rough times in there when you go through something like that. So how did you deal with them?

Steph (20:29):

So when they tell you that cancer is cumulative, they’re not joking. The more you do treatment, so like I remember my first like three treatments, I was like, I totally got this. This is a breeze. Like I didn’t feel anything. And then you got to like the 10th treatment. And I remember that was probably the first time ever thinking like, I don’t know if I can beat this and I the cancer has already gone, but I didn’t know if my body could handle any more of the medicine. And what people don’t talk about, and I think we need to be talking about more, especially as a woman, is your body changes so much. Some people lose weight, some people gained weight. I gained anywhere from like 50 to 80 pounds like it would fluctuate and my body changed, you know, drastically in just weeks.

Steph (21:20):

So going from being so fit to being and understanding your body to then having no control over how your body is is changing was like, it blew my mind. So I think that’s where I really struggled was mentally just being like, you know, I’m losing my hair. I lost everything on my face, everything on my head. Like it was crazy. And I think mentally going through like, do people think I’m still beautiful? Like how is somebody still gonna love me? Like those were real things. And unfortunately, like, I wish I could kind of go back and tell myself like, it’s all gonna be OK. You know? But during that time, I’m not gonna lie to you. There are some times where you’re just like, is this worth it? You know? Or like why me? I don’t think I ever really asked fully like, why me?

Steph (22:16):

But there were times where I was definitely frustrated and I just wished that like I could stop the medicine from making me feel a certain way. And, you know, I mean, I tried to make the best of it. You would go into chemo and two weeks later you would go again. And so it was just like the cycle, you would have, you know, three days, bad days, and then the rest would be good. And then, you know, it would start all over again. So, you know, it was a little, it was a mind game. Yeah.

Sean (22:43):

What’d you learn about yourself after going through that?

Steph (22:47):

I learned that a lot of people love me. I learned that I am worth it. Which I think was really hard to kind of learn. And I learned that I’m a lot stronger than I think I am. And I think that’s where I started to really think like, what’s next, you know, and like how can I make the most of this situation? Because if I just sat in the chemo room and just like felt sorry for myself, I don’t think I would be sitting here and talking to you.

Sean (23:21):

How did you start your fitness journey?

Steph (23:24):

That’s a really good question. So I’ve always been pretty athletic. When I was a little kid, they had these things called the games for the physically challenged. So it was different from the Special Olympics, but it was called the Empire State Games. And so I’d always been like involved in swimming. Swimming was always like a big part of my life. I used to do some horseback riding and things like that, but as I got older and in my teenage years, I started to kind of like neglect, you know, myself and really what my parents would advise of me. So good luck with that with your son.

Sean (24:03):

Thank you. I was just thinking I’m going to go through that.

Steph (24:07):

But then when I was a sophomore in college, I kind of had this epiphany moment. I saw a picture of myself on Facebook and I was in a sorority at the time and I just didn’t like how I looked. And it wasn’t necessarily that I thought that I was ugly or anything was wrong. It was more like, I just felt like I just didn’t like the way that I physically looked. So I remember giving my grandpa call and saying like, you know, if I could find a trainer, would you help me? Would you help me get this trainer? And he said, as long as you’re going to stick with it, I’ll totally help you. And I did. I ended up working with a trainer for quite some time and he’s the reason that I really started to become an athlete because I remember he looked at me and he said, you’re a beautiful woman, but you need goals.

Steph (24:58):

And I said, OK, well I want to lose, I don’t know what I said, probably like 50 pounds or something like that. And he was like, that’s going to happen. I need like a tangible goal. And I actually went to a race to watch my friend run and he was one of the best runners in South Florida. And I saw these people hop out of their wheelchairs into these bikes and in an able bodied race. And I was like, what are they doing? And little did I know these hand cyclists were real athletes. I didn’t know anything about hand cycling before. And I remember I looked at my trainer cause I was with him and I said, I want to do that. And he’s like, OK, well let’s go talk to them. And little did I know that my grandparents were connected with the head of this organization that did that. So I was like, of course they are.

Steph (25:49):

Of course that would be, right. But I remember telling the head of the organization what I wanted to do and he’s like, OK, what are you waiting for? Get on a bike. And I was like right now? And he’s like, yeah, get on a bike. So I did and I went in the parking lot and he is like, you’re really strong. Your arms are really strong. I think we’re going to sign you up for a marathon. And I was like, wait, what? He’s like, yeah, you can train for a marathon. Right? And so I looked at my trainer and he’s like, yeah, we’re going to train. And yeah, I did, December 4th of 2013 I did my first. Or 2011. Sorry, I did my first full marathon. 26.2 miles on a bike.

Sean (26:30):

That is insane. How did realizing that goal then change you moving forward?

Steph (26:35):

Oh, it was the best thing ever. So that was 2011 and I remember at the end of that race, it was four hours, 34 minutes and 16 seconds and you talk about like a clock and you know CrossFit and a clock, like that clock can read into your soul, like makes you think about things. And I just remember looking down at my hands and my hands were so gross and I looked up at the clock and I’m like, that’s cool, but I think I could do better. And so I had a friend that was coaching CrossFit. We’re going to fast forward to 2012. Had a friend that was coaching CrossFit. And I had told her that I was kind of getting a little tired of the trainer situation. Like I loved him dearly, but I was kind of bored and I wanted something new to do, but I wanted to be a better cyclist.

Steph (27:25):

And she’s like, without hesitation, she was like, come to my gym. I’m going to introduce you to the owner. And I was like, OK. So on May 3rd of 2012 I walked into my first CrossFit gym with my crutches in my hand in my power chair and I met this guy named Turbo, his name’s Scott Lefferts, but everybody calls him Turbo and he owned CrossFit Hardcore, the Garage in Boca Raton and this guy’s straight up from like New York. OK. Like full on like big buff dude looks really intimidating. And I said, hi, I’m Steph. I want to be one of your athletes.

Steph (28:05):

I started the conversation, I told him that I was a hand cyclist but I wanted to improve my times and he had never worked with any adaptive athlete before. And you looked at me and he’s like, you really want to do this? I said, yeah. He said, OK, get on the floor. I’m like OK. I got out of my chair and got on the floor and he’s like, OK, you’re going to get back up. I’m like, OK, I’m going to get back up. It took me like 25 minutes to get back up. And he was like, well that’s a burpee and we’re going to work on it. And I said, OK. And he said, you’re going to come back tomorrow? I said, yep, I’m going to come back tomorrow. And that was the start of my fitness journey.

Sean (28:48):

So what do you think about, what was it about CrossFit that hooked you?

Steph (28:54):

The people. And it’s eight years later now, right? Like it’s so crazy to think, and I really hope that people listening to this understand that, like that’s what still drives the CrossFit community now more than ever. Like you need to forget about the things that make us different, you know, whether you’re a different gym down the street, kind of break those walls back down because the people are what kind of kept me going. It didn’t matter that I used crutches. It didn’t matter how slow my Murph time was. It mattered that I was there and that I was doing it and that people would cheer me on regardless of what I was doing. And I think not to say that people have forgotten about that, I think that it needs to be reminded, is that like community is so much more important than just the fastest Fran time, you know, or going to the CrossFit Games.

Steph (29:55):

Like, yes, I think that’s important, but your average person just wants to be included. And I think that that’s what made this experience and continues to make this experience really special. You know, think about our friendship, right? Like we wouldn’t have become friends if I didn’t open my mouth and say, Hey, I want to know who you are. You know, and having that kind of conversation. I remember when you came to watch me do the mile time on my crutches and you know, you think just, and I’m not trying to take anything away from it, but you think because somebody is like a big name in the community, like you can’t go up and talk to them. Right. And that I threw all that stuff out the window because I just wanted to be around cool people. And I think that’s kind of what makes it different is like people ask me all the time how I make opportunities happen.

Steph (30:52):

And it’s literally I just open my mouth and say like, this is what I want to do. Like, can it be done? And if the answer is no, then the answer is no. But you never know what’s going to happen. If the answer is yes, it could change your life completely.

Sean (31:05):

Why did you think that CrossFit would be a great avenue for adaptive athletes to compete?

Steph (31:12):

You know, I can’t take credit for that. I think what’s really cool is that this community has grown so much, especially in the eight years that I’ve been involved. But I think it just naturally started to grow. You know, you talk about Stoutie, Chris Stoutenberg out in Canada that runs Wheel WOD programming and Kevin and all of our stories kind of intertwined with one another. I think that the adaptive platform is growing. I think that the reason that it works so well is that it can be adapted to anybody that needs anything.

Steph (31:53):

Whether you’re 80 years old or you’re somebody that recently got injured or you have cerebral palsy, there’s something that you can physically do. And I think that’s what’s pretty amazing about it is over time, you know, we started throwing workouts at each other in 2013, 2014 and now those workouts have turned into an entire platform that Stoutie runs every day. And so I think it’s not one person that thought like, Oh, this is going to be a good idea. I think when we were able to, I think it was, yeah, it was 2015, we were able to kind of all get together the core group of us, and kind of realized that there was like magic in a bottle and realize that we all had so many different things that we could offer to the community that, you know, it was important that our voice be heard. And I think, you know, I think Dave Castro, I think Greg Glassman did a great job of kind of letting, just letting our voices be heard and not really stifling it. But I think that it still has a long way to go.

Sean (33:04):

You did your first competition in 2013, I think it was the Crush Games in Miami. What did that experience teach you?

Steph (33:11):

Oh man, that was the coolest experience of my life. Again, that’s one of those experiences where you just, you just ask, right. I met Miko Suna and we’re still friends to this day, actually just messaged with him today and I said to him, I don’t know what I’m doing but I want to show people what I’m doing and I hear about this Crush Games idea and I just want to try it. Just let me know like if you’re willing to do it. And he said yes. And he introduced me to now somebody who’s one of my best friends, his name is Brandon Fullwider. And Brandon was my right hand person and literally just said, anything you need, just tell me your scales. Mike told me the workouts in advance. I scaled them to whatever I needed to be. I wasn’t really in a division.

Steph (34:01):

It was necessarily more like a, like an exhibition kind of thing. But one of the coolest things happened there where Brandon and I got to know each other and he kind of pushed me. He was a really good coach and I wanted to PR my clean. My clean at the time it was like 35 pounds and I would do it from my knees and he was like, I think you could do 40 and I was like, OK. And so at the last minute he ended up putting 42 pounds on the bar and didn’t tell me. And he was like, just try it. I’m like, OK. And I tried it maybe three or four times and Dylan Maletsky was there and Miko Suna had said like Steph the hammer Hammerman or something like that. And I had 10 seconds left and I swear this could probably be on like ESPN top 10 of the week or whatever. I have three seconds left and I made the lift and it was like the coolest experience of my life. Like the whole crowd went wild and I was like, that’s such a cool feeling. And that’s what led me to want to reach out to Guido and really start the ball rolling with, you know, Wadapalooza and creating more of an avenue because that feeling was so cool and I wanted to be able to give that to more people.

Sean (35:16):

Why did you want to become a coach?

Steph (35:19):

I think because people think I couldn’t, like I’m not gonna lie. Like I didn’t know if I could. And I remember I met, um, chef Wallach, David Wallach. And he looked at me and he was like, not only are you going to coach, you’re going to coach for me. And he was the first person to, that I knew of, that actively had adaptive athletes coaching. And I was like, cool. And people ask me like, how I became such a good coach and like, yes, I think it’s such a great compliment. I don’t think I’m the world’s greatest coach. There’s certainly things that I need to learn or need to be better at. But I took my mistakes one at a time and I learned from them, you know, and I think one of the things that makes me relate to people so well is that I just make them believe in themselves. I didn’t make you do double-unders. I didn’t make you do butterfly pull-ups. I didn’t make you do muscle-ups cause I can’t do that. You know, like I just made you really believe in yourself.

Sean (36:22):

What is the biggest challenge that you have when you’re coaching someone who is not an adaptive athlete?

Steph (36:29):

It depends on, now, I’ve gotten a little bit more comfortable, you know, obviously anybody can walk in the door. But especially if they’re coming from complete ground zero, just effectively communicating, realizing what cues might work for somebody and what cues might not. I think one of the coolest challenges that I’ve been given in the last three weeks is I’m working with a deaf athlete. And we’re having to, you know, work on some sign language. I think it’s really important that people not forget that people with disabilities come with all different kinds of different abilities. And you never know who’s going to walk in your door. So I think the most challenging thing for me is just finding what works, whether you’re an adaptive athlete or not, because not all adaptive athletes are the same.

Sean (37:17):

Yeah. You’ve said that societal perception of people with adaptive needs has changed, but it has a long way to go. So where do you think that we still need to make progress?

Steph (37:28):

I think in the CrossFit community it has gotten a lot better because I feel like a lot of us now, we’re putting ourselves out on social media being like, these are things we can do, right? So if myself or Kevin walks into your gym and you’re like, cool, I just want to work out with you guys, I really hope that it starts turning into, you know, instead of it being like, Oh, you’re so inspiring, to man, that’s really cool. Or man, let’s celebrate those real PRs. So I always joke that if you and I worked out together for six months, you would just realize like that’s how Steph works out, right? It would just become normal. And then you would start to understand the scales. So I think societal perception’s always gonna be there. I’m never going to change somebody’s perception if they don’t want it to change. If somebody wants to learn and they’re eager to change and they come to me and they say, how can I make this better? That’s different. But I think, you know, I think societal perception’s always gonna be kind of hanging over us and it’s job to just continually educate the best we can.

Sean (38:39):

How do you feel when people say you’re such an inspiration?

Steph (38:43):

I’ll be honest. It’s a very back and forth feeling because I want you to understand that when somebody tells you you’re inspiring, that’s great, but what did I physically inspire you to do? And so like my joke is, you tell me I’m inspiring, but then you go stick your hands back in a bag of Cheetos and go sit on the couch and watch TV. Did I inspire you to do anything? But when people tell me that I’ve motivated them to do something, that’s creating change. So think about inspiration as the spark and motivation is what creates the fire, right? And this blazing fire of people going to do things and move forward and make a change in their life. So while yes, I understand that a lot of people think it’s inspiring and they gain inspiration, think about the word inspiration. Inspiration has to lead to somewhere. If I’ve inspired you to do something, I’d love to see that end result.

Sean (39:46):

As an adaptive athlete, how do you want people like me to treat you when we see you at our gyms?

Steph (39:54):

Like normal. I don’t know, if I’m talking during class, tell me, stop talking. There’s no reason to treat somebody like a china doll, right? If somebody comes to a CrossFit gym and they’re coming to you and they’re being vulnerable enough to say, I need your help, right? Adaptive athletes don’t necessarily have to be people that use assistive devices. Adaptive athletes can be the guy and the woman that’s coming to you at 500 pounds and needing to save their life. You’re not gonna make somebody that’s 300 plus pounds go and run a mile, you’ll know how to scale that back. So I don’t understand why when you see an assistive device that automatically like goes out the window. And so I would love to see like that correlation kind of be the same. I’m coming to you and saying, I know that you do amazing things and I really need your help. I pay you for your knowledge. Right? I know I don’t pay you to baby me. Right? And so I think if you want it in real terms is I think one of the best things that Stoutie does. One of the best things that Kevin does and a lot of these gym owners do is, OK, we understand what you need. We’re going to meet you where where you are, but we’re also going to push you to a point that you didn’t know you could go.

Sean (41:22):

You always have something going on. You’re always working on something. So what is next for Steph Hammerman?

Steph (41:27):

Right now trying to figure out kind of how we’re going to kind of deal with this crisis. And you know, fortunately I hope it goes away soon. But like I said, I’m really trying to work on bringing a book to life. This has been something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and hopefully create this new kind of platform for people of all different abilities and you know, show people that fitness, not necessarily just CrossFit, but fitness in general is so important regardless of how old you are or what you look like.

Sean (42:03):

Steph, it’s always a blast talking to you. I really appreciate you taking the time to do this and best of luck moving forward and I cannot wait to read your book.

Steph (42:09):

Thanks so much.

Sean (42:10):

I want to thank Steph Hammerman once again for taking the time to join me. If you’d like to follow her on social media. She is on Instagram. You can find her @Stephthehammer. Thank you for listening to Two-Brain Radio. Do you want to take the guesswork out of entrepreneurship? We have a ton of free resources to help you do just that. For free access to guides on marketing, retention, buying, selling, and more, visit TwoBrain Thanks for joining us everyone. I’m Sean Woodland and we’ll see you soon.


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

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