Training Coaches: Internships

Training Coaches: Internships

It’s tough to hand your baby over to a new caregiver, isn’t it?

But when you own a business, you have to stop being a technician and start being an owner. So you replace yourself in lower-value roles—and, eventually, you replace yourself as a coach.

I’ll outline our process below. The process of training coaches has been one of my most costly mistakes in my 12 years as a gym owner.


Mistakes to Avoid


First, here are some hiring mistakes I made:

  • Hiring people who “look good on paper.”
  • Hiring for education instead of personality.
  • Going straight to a salary instead of the optimal 4/9ths Model.
  • Believing shadowing was a useful teaching method.

Here are some really common mistakes we see in other gyms:

  • Undefined processes (“shadow me until I think you’re ready”).
  • No continuing education plan after hire.
  • Long internships for no reason (“they’ll call you doctor”).
  • Relying too heavily on shadowing instead of instruction—read more here: “Is Shadowing Overrated?”

The most common mistake is an internship process that’s long for the sake of being long. This is typically a sign that the owner isn’t quite clear enough on his or her vision or is a little too focused on the “knowledge” piece of coaching.

When you’re training doctors, this is valid—they need more knowledge than bedside manner. But we’re not training doctors, and we get to see our clients every day if our coaches can keep them coming back.

We believe that coaches should be different but follow the same template in a class. If they tick all the boxes—professional appearance, hearty greeting, appropriate warmup, one-on-one attention to every athlete, motivating coaching, smiling/hugs/high fives—then they don’t need to be a carbon copy of the owner.

For that reason, our coach training process isn’t called an “internship” at all.


First Filter: The Advanced Theory Course


Every year, we hold an eight-week specialty class called an Advanced Theory Course. It’s open to six members, and we secretly filter the members by personality only.

Here’s the overall template:


1. Four Weeks—Be Taught, Be Trained

Participants attend four lectures by the owner (or the head coach) and are then assigned homework. They watch video modules, submit assignments and group up on Saturday mornings. They’re taught the CrossFit class template and train together in our regular groups. They track workouts on paper, noting how the class followed the template and whether the coach ticked all the boxes.


2. Four Weeks—Teach and Train Others

In the second stage, ATC students do “book reports”—teaching one main point from their chosen author—to the rest of the ATC group. Then they run a class for other ATC participants only. The goal of this stage is to identify people who are comfortable and fun in front of a group and people who can do their homework, absorb information, and teach it back.

After eight weeks, everyone graduates—back to class.

If we identify a person in the ATC who possesses an optimal personality, shows up on time and can translate knowledge into useful information, we invite him or her to the next phase.


3. Four Weeks—Practice the Art of Coaching

In this stage, the ATC student registers for a CrossFit Level 1 weekend and begins a “six-and-six” transition to coaching. The student will create and lead warm-ups and cool-downs for six groups and assist the main coach in the skill-teaching portion of the class. If those go well, the student will swap roles with the main coach for six more groups and then be evaluated.

New coaches are evaluated on the same criteria as our existing coaches. If they score 7 out of 10 in all requirements, they can start leading on-ramp sessions as soon as they earn the CrossFit Level 1 certificate. If they don’t score a 7 in all categories, they can redo the “six and six” classes—or they can just return to being a student. That’s fine.

The key components of the ATC model are:

  • Choosing people who will make clients happy.
  • Evaluating and providing feedback at each step.
  • Having objectively measurable criteria for advancement (instead of hoping we “rub off” on them through shadowing).

Asking a future part-time coach to succumb to a six-month shadowing process is overkill. It’s inefficient, lacks clear objectives and produces a different result every time.

Remember: Greg Glassman owns the largest brand in the fitness universe, and he’ll let you use it after only two days of training. But the L1 doesn’t filter for character and presence because those are mostly taught by our parents.

Identifying the fun, caring clients in your box is the first step; teaching them to teach is the easy part.


After the Filter


After the ATC, we believe in training coaches in four stages. You can read about them on the Two-Brain Coaching site.

In short:

  • Coaches should learn how to work with 1:1 clients first.
  • Then coaches should learn how to apply their skills to a group setting.
  • Then they should learn how to program for 1:1 clients instead of delivering your programming.
  • Then they should learn how to program for groups based on data and results.

Read more here:

The Four Stages of Coach Development

You can listen to Two-Brain Coaching co-founder Josh Martin talk about Degrees of Coaching on Two-Brain Radio.


Great Coaches Are Method Agnostic


The Two-Brain Coaching progression starts with principles and then moves to methods.

My principles include getting the clients results, first and foremost. I really don’t like the dogmatic adherence to any ideology. That’s what first attracted me to CrossFit: The method combined the basics from kettlebell training, weightlifting, gymnastics, running and even parkour, back then.

I want my coaches to learn how to coach first and how to apply a specific method second. So I put coaches at Catalyst through the Two-Brain Coaching First and Second Degree programs before I send them to a CrossFit L1. This makes them insurable, gets them some experience (and a bit of money), and teaches them how to relate to people before they learn how to spot flaws in thruster technique.

I’d also send them to Pilates certifications if I thought them useful. Or yoga. Or whatever new spin class variation appears next week.

I want my coaches to know how to get results, period. And that means training the best people in the best way.


Other Articles in This Series

Training Coaches: How to Find New Coaches
Training Coaches: Scope of Practice
Training Coaches: Continuing Education
Training Coaches: Building Careers

Two-Brain Radio: Training WWE Superstars With Josh Gallegos

Two-Brain Radio: Training WWE Superstars With Josh Gallegos

Sean: 00:05 – Hi everybody. Welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. On today’s episode I talk with a man known around the CrossFit community as Joshy G, Josh Gallegos. But first, if you’re enjoying this show, I would encourage you to subscribe to Two-Brain Radio. Every week we bring you the best from the fitness and business world. On Monday, Mateo Lopez fires up the marketing machine and explains how real entrepreneurs are generating huge ROI on ads. On Wednesdays, of course, I bring you great stories from the most interesting people in the fitness world and on Thursdays, Greg Strauch and Chris Cooper bring you the best of business, a host of experts who can help you level up as an entrepreneur. If you haven’t, please subscribe to Two-Brain Radio so you don’t miss a show. And of course we’d love to hear what you think in a review.

Sean: 00:59 – Josh Gallegos has been involved in CrossFit for 10 years, and you’re probably most familiar with him as one of the floor announcers that you might hear at competitions like the CrossFit Games. But Josh is also the coach for some of the biggest names in the WWE, that’s World Wrestling Entertainment. He does programming for the likes of Seth Rollins, Becky Lynch, Cesaro and Bayley, just to name a few. I talk with Josh about how he first got involved with training WWE superstars, his passion for coaching and how he’s using his Deadboys fitness program to spread the message of fitness. Thanks for listening everybody. Joshy G, thanks for doing this man. How are ya?

Josh: 01:43 – Baba booey to everybody out there in the podcast land.

Sean: 01:46 – First off, Joshy, most people know you from your voice and your work as a floor announcer during events like the CrossFit Games and maybe some of the Regionals that they used to go to and some of the Sanctional events as well. But how did you first find CrossFit?

Josh: 02:00 – Well, it’s a funny story. I have a buddy of mine, his name’s Jonas. He used to run CrossFit North Miami Beach. When I moved to LA, I was buddies with his brother Adam. And growing up, I used to go to the gym, you know, Gold’s gym in Vegas, clang and bang, if you will. So when I moved to Glendale, California, and I became friends with my buddy Adam, I drug his brother Jonas along with me. And we would do, you know, the typical body-guy stuff, benching and curls and crunches and all that good stuff. And Jonas wasn’t necessarily the most motivated individual. He was really good at playing Mortal Combat and smoking weed, but going to the gym, it wasn’t his schtick, it wasn’t his deal. So, fast forward to a couple of years, I was so bored with working out at a traditional gym.

Josh: 02:50 – I started training to compete in triathlon with my buddy Nate, and Jonas moved to Miami and he posted some pictures on Facebook or something and he was just shredded, just like shredded wheat, Shreddy Cougar, whatever shreddie analogy you want to use. That’s what he was. And he was doing triathlons and he had the craziest times. And he was just like a triathlete overnight. And I was like, dude, what happened? What did you do? And he goes, oh man. I started doing CrossFit. And I was like, oh, CrossFit. And before that I even heard the word CrossFit, like I will admit I was the biggest, and when I say biggest, I mean biggest CrossFit hater, I would cut promos on people that did CrossFit. I called it a cult. I said it was stupid. Why would anybody want to do that?

Josh: 03:37 – And when I saw Jonas and his results, I was like, God damn it. I gotta go try this CrossFit out. Now finally I gotta do it. So I went to a gym in Culver City, which turned out to be DogTown CrossFit over time, and I did my first CrossFit class and I was immediately hooked and I ate so much crow for it because I was the guy talking all the smack about CrossFit. And here I am now 10-ish years later, Captain CrossFit.

Sean: 04:01 – What was it about it that hooked you when you went in the first time?

Josh: 04:04 – It was a couple things. First and foremost, like if anybody’s ever trained for a triathlon, like your weekends are done, like say goodbye to any kind of social life; you’re spending hours running and swimming and biking. Whereas in CrossFit, you know, you go into a classroom setting for the most part and you’re in and out of there and an hour and you pretty much for for all intents and purposes get the same kind of results.

Josh: 04:25 – And it was not only just, man, I can cut my triathlon training basically in half, but I’m around a really, really cool community of people that want to get better, faster and stronger, and it was just the whole aspect of learning new and different skills, you know, it was everything from, you know, gymnastic skills to weightlifting skills. It was all of those things that encompasses CrossFit that I was just a humongous fan of and it just drew me in. I was then that person that was like, oh my God, you got to try and CrossFit. Oh my God, it’s so much fun. Oh, you gotta. I’m bringing people to class after class because I would just see results within a couple of months that I was striving to get the two or three years that I was at a Gold’s gym or the one and a half, two years that I was at trying to be a triathlete.

Sean: 05:11 – What then motivated you to become a coach?

Josh: 05:13 – Well, a couple of things. At the time when I started CrossFit, I was working at a little entertainment company called Sony Pictures, Sony Television for a Game show called Jeopardy. And Sony I guess apparently made a bunch of movies that didn’t make a lot of money and I was the unfortunate victim of corporate layoffs. So I was laid off and I was still going to DogTown at the time and I had this job as like an event coordinator that my buddy got me at his bar and restaurant, which I was really, really good at. Apparently I can throw and put together really, really cool parties, but it just did not, I wasn’t really passionate about it and I was also training people, voluntarily part time, the LLS leukemia lymphoma society, to train people to do triathlons.

Josh: 06:06 – So that’s how I got involved. So it was kind of like a, oh, you do it for somebody else. And I was like, man, I really like coaching people and I really enjoy CrossFit. And so I kind of shadowed a bunch of coaches at DogTown, you know, and I really, really got into it. And then the emcee things started to happen or the live event hosting started to happen. And I was like, well, man, if I’m going to start live event hosting these things, I should really know what I’m talking about. So I think that weekend, when they asked me to do Regionals, I think the next weekend or the following weekend, I went to Las Vegas, my hometown, and I got my Level 1. So I knew exactly, you know, everything I was talking about, I wanted to make sure people knew that I was a part of it. You know, that I wasn’t just kind of BSing my way through Regionals.

Sean: 06:50 – You mentioned the emcee thing and I talk about that at the top. How a lot of people will recognize your voice from those events. How did that whole thing get started for you?

Josh: 06:56 – It’s so funny, man. I have lived a very, very interesting life. I always tell people in a joking way, I’ve kind of, Mr. Magoo’d my way into weird situations and for those of you millennials who have no idea who Mr. Magoo is, look it up. But I’ve Mr. Magoo’d my way into a lot of weird situations and emceeing is one of them. At DogTown we put together a cancer charity fundraiser. So this is right when Fight Gone Bad kind of went away and DogTown, from what I remember, and don’t quote me, but they were one of the top gyms fundraising for Fight Gone Bad. And I had just left Sony, but I still had a relationship with a couple of the producers at Sony that started Stand Up to Cancer.

Josh: 07:40 – So long story short, we put together a cancer charity fundraising event. And—are you there?

Sean: 07:46 – Yep.

Josh: 07:46 – OK. So we put together a cancer charity fundraising event and you know, it was great turnout, it was called Crush Cancer, and the owners of the gym, Adam and Dusty, they were in this last heat of this event. And so when they went and worked out, cause I think Adam, I believe was the emcee of the event the entire time. So when they went and worked out, I just grabbed the microphone and I just started yapping and doing what I do, my schticks and my Fast and Furious references and nicknames and I was just going all out and I was just having fun with it. Like I didn’t look at it as a job or anything. I was just cutting promos and doing what I do best.

Josh: 08:22 – And a company by the name of WOD Gear, they were there. And they’re like, hey, we’re going to do an event. You’re really good at the microphone. We want you to come do our event. And I was like, oh, sick. So I did that event and that event led to another event. And then the other event led to an event for the Regional director at the time, Andy Rios. And he was like, hey, I’m going to submit you for Regionals. And I was like, oh, cool. That sounds great. I hope it happens. And it happened. So the rest I guess is history.

Sean: 08:52 – You talking about the Mr. Magoo analogy and that’s pretty good. I’m not sure if you, Mr. Magoo’d your way into this one, but you certainly made an effort. How did your relationship with WWE superstar Seth Rollins begin?

Josh: 09:04 – Well I definitely didn’t Mr. Magoo my way, if you want to say that I catfished him that’s probably a better analogy. So, you know, I started emceeing these events and I think this was like second or if my third year of emceeing the Games and obviously I’m a big WWE fan, back in the day before I met Seth, I was Bill Goldberg’s assistant in my movie days. Mr. Magoo’d my way into that one but that’s for another podcast. And I would just follow Seth on Twitter and I saw that he was a big CrossFit fan and I hadn’t been to a WWE event at that time in so long. And Lindsay Valenzuela, a CrossFIt Games athlete, was at the gym and I was like, oh it’d be fun if we all go to a WWE event cause it’s coming to the Staples Center.

Josh: 09:52 – So I bought us a bunch of tickets and I was like, you know what, out of the off chance that this might happen, I’m going to just, Lindsay, can I direct message Seth from your Twitter account, cause he’s not going to recognize, you know, Joshua Gallegos, he’s gonna be like who’s this jabber reaching out to me? But if he sees that Lindsay Valenzuela is reaching out to me, then maybe he’ll answer. So I asked Lindsay Valenzuela, invited him to DogTown, he came and I was there and we hit it off. I think he came in on a Sunday. We worked out together on a Sunday. Then he brought in Cesaro on Monday. We worked out on Monday and we just stayed in touch. And so then the next loop, he came in, we were working out and then he was just like, hey man, you want to write some programming for me?

Josh: 10:38 – And I was like, yeah, of course. That’d be great. That’s awesome. He’s like, yeah, I’ll even pay you for it. And I’m like, oh, that’s even better. I would have done it for free, but now you’re gonna pay me? Sure. So a buddy of mine, Mike Vackero and I were writing programming for him and then that just kind of opened the floodgates for all these other wrestlers. We got Cesaro and Luke Harper and you know, the list goes on and on. And as far as the athletes would see that, you know, the changes in Seth were very similar to the changes of anybody that starts CrossFit and you know, not that he didn’t have that base before, but you know, he was definitely getting stronger faster and not blowing up as you may call it, going into the ring and doing these matches and stuff.

Sean: 11:20 – Yeah. When you program for him and the other WWE superstars, sort of indoor stable, what are the things that you need to keep in mind to make sure that they’re getting the type of workouts that will serve them best inside the ring?

Josh: 11:33 – Yeah, it’s funny cause when people ask me this, you know, I don’t really try to reinvent the wheel. Like I’m a huge fan of keep CrossFit CrossFit in the sense of like, I don’t need to injure my athletes and I definitely don’t try to train them in the sense like as if they were Regional athletes. I try to keep, you know, for example, for Seth, he likes to have a warm-up. He likes to have a, you know, a conditioning piece at the beginning. And then he likes his lifts, whether they be bodybuilding or body-guy stuff or Olympic lifts. And then he likes to have a fun workout to do at the end. And then it really all depends on their schedule because unlike a Mat Fraser, and that’s no disrespect, or a Tia-Clair Toomey, Tia and Mat aren’t throwing themselves to the ground every night.

Josh: 12:17 – They’re not on the road 300 days a year. And so sometimes, hey, I got hurt in this match. Can you readjust the workout? Or, hey, look, I’m in a hotel in Malaysia. I can’t get to a gym, but this hotel gym has X, Y, and Z. Can you change it up? So it’s a lot of, you know, as CrossFit says, be prepared for the unknown and unknowable. I mean, that’s basically their programming. I am on a text thread with all of them and depending on their schedule or how they’re feeling, you know, depending on whether it be a match or you know, a travel schedule, I have to learn to adapt their training regimen. So it’s never really the same as much as I would love for it to be, you know, kind of regimented, it’s never like that. Sometimes their rest days are days that I don’t think that they should rest and sometimes their, you know, their workout days are days that I feel like they should rest, you know, and you know, thankfully with the invention of the Whoop, you know, they can kind of track their recovery level, but even then, sometimes when it says like, hey, you probably shouldn’t work out, they’re such machines that they’ll do it in.

Sean: 13:26 – For a long time, WWE superstars, you know, they looked and they trained like bodybuilders. Why was and why is that starting to change?

Josh: 13:39 – I think it’s a couple of things. One, I tell people all the time, what these guys do inside the ring almost emulates a CrossFit workout, right? So, they may not be clean and jerking the big show up and overhead, right. but they’re moving heavy weight at a very fast rate. You know, they are doing gymnastics elements inside the ring. You know, obviously you can’t simulate them falling or taking a bump per se. But for the most part, like a CrossFit workout is anywhere, a good CrossFit workout, at least in my opinion, is anywhere between, you know, 12 to 15 minutes long of high intensity and for a show like Monday Night Raw, that’s what these matches are. They’re anywhere between 12 and 15 minutes of super high intensity. A guy like Seth, you know, can go anywhere from 12 minutes to an hour.

Josh: 14:31 – And with that conditioning base that CrossFit has given him, he never shows signs of slowing down. You know, he may show signs of getting hit over the head with a chair, but his conditioning is never a factor inside the ring. You know what I mean? Where if you watch some other wrestlers, you’re like, oh man, that guy’s already blown up. You can see him huffing and puffing. But guys like you know, Rollins and Cesaro who can go post to post and not blow up or you know, Becky’s another example. Or Bayley, like those guys, they are well conditioned in the ring and you could see that, you know, other wrestlers are very curious about it. They have the old Joshy G approach in the sense of like, oh, CrossFit isn’t for me, I’m going to get injured. You know, a guy who I have a constant conversation with is the Miz.

Josh: 15:15 – The Miz tells me all the time like I’m going to get injured with CrossFit, but my conversations with him are like you never scale a workout. You’re trying to do what Seth does. You try to do Cesaro does. Unfortunately, Miz, you’re not there yet. So you have to tile it down. And that’s I guess a lesson for the CrossFit community in general is that it’s OK to scale. And I think that that’s a lot of, some people are afraid to scale and there’s nothing wrong with scaling. Trust me, you keep that intensity level high, you’ll get the same results.

Sean: 15:45 – We’ll have more with Josh Gallegos after this. How do I budget for new equipment? What do I do to attract new members? Where can I find a coach who will allow me to work on growing my business? Gym owners, Two-Brain Business mentors have heard every question there is and they have answers. If there’s something you want to know about the fitness business, don’t spin your tires. Talk to a certified expert who can help. You can book an hour with an expert at today. In 60 minutes, a mentor will answer your questions and show you a path to success. These mentors aren’t random people. Each one ran a very successful gym or runs one right now. These are kindred spirits who want to help. Book a free call today Now, back to my interview with Josh Gallegos. When the superstars come to you and they’ve been training a different way and then they do a couple of your workouts, what is their reaction?

Josh: 16:50 – Whether you—are they seasoned CrossFit athletes or people who have never—

Sean: 16:54 – Say they’ve never done it before.

Josh: 16:56 – Their reaction is the same reaction that I had in my first class, which was like, wow, that was five minutes that I feel like I’ve been working out for an hour. Like, that was awful. That was gross. You know, thank you sir, may I have another, like that type of reaction. It shocks people in the sense of like, oh man, that was a full-body workout in less than five to 10 minutes. You know, I don’t have to spend three hours at the gym. I don’t have to worry about people taking photos of me at Gold’s gym when I’m trying to get a workout in. You know, I think that that is the reaction is that they don’t realize like how fast and yet efficient a CrossFit workout can be.

Sean: 17:34 – Yeah. And you’ve gotten to know these superstars as people where, you know, most people just know them from their in-ring persona. What are they like outside of wrestling?

Josh: 17:45 – I mean again, it really kinda depends on when you catch them, you know, I’ve been on the road with them and I’ve seen both sides. I’ve seen people lining up at 3:00 a.m. at the airport and no one asking politely, throwing a magazine or a Funko Pop or some sort of action figure in their face and not even saying, will you please sign this? They just expect them to sign it. And for anybody listening, if you’re a fan, like that is not the way to do it. You know, you ask politely and you get a polite response. You don’t be a jerk and expect to get a polite response back. And I think that how they are outside of the rings, look, every one of my clients and most of the WWE superstars that I’ve been in contact with, they’re all super humble and they’re all super rad.

Josh: 18:33 – But it also, at the end of the day, they’re human beings. And if somebody’s trying to have a meal and you go up to them and shove a camera in their face or something in their face and like, hey man, can I take a photo? Like that’s not cool. You know? And that’s what’s so great about the CrossFit community in general is I have the daunting task of reaching out to CrossFit gyms all over America. And I’m sure if any of you are listening, thank you very much. Where I’m like, hey, I have clients that are coming into Knoxville, Tennessee. Hey, I have clients that are coming into Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Hey, you know, everywhere from, you know, Charlottesville, North Carolina, or South Carolina, I reach out to everybody and 99% of the time people are super rad. They will open the gym at odd hours and they leave them alone.

Josh: 19:19 – And you know, we don’t have to, but we always reward them with tickets to the show and pictures and all that good stuff. And it’s just so cool to see that the CrossFit community has embraced them so much. You know, you get a guy, when he was on the road, John Cena, right? John Cena would be like, hey, can I get a gym somewhere? And we’d get them a gym and nobody would mess with them. And it’s John Cena. And then I’ll look on Instagram and he’ll happen to go to like a globo gym and there’s 34 pictures of John Cena taking photos with people that you know that he just wanted to go in and work out and, you know, it’s just cool to see that the CrossFit community is so rad and so welcoming and yet at the same time too, giving them their space and respect and that’s just really cool to see.

Sean: 20:00 – What have you learned about coaching from dealing with them?

Josh: 20:04 – Being able to adapt on the fly. You know, it is tough. I enjoy coaching obviously when I’m on the road because I get to coach them, you know, otherwise it’s just I’m writing programming and they’re doing the workouts and then they’re telling me how terrible my workouts are and that don’t ever, you know, put thrusters in a workout ever again. And then the next week I put in thrusters. But, you know, it’s , I guess, where I’ve learned the most is adapting on the fly. You know, being able to change their workouts when and if they need to, you know, if they’re in a hotel gym. And also kind of being creative, you know, for example, Bayley, she hurt her arm and I had to come up with workouts that all involved one arm.

Josh: 20:47 – You know, same thing with Rollins when he tore his MCL ACL, I had to come up with workouts that were just all with one leg, you know, and Rollins was the perfect example. And for his cardiovascular, you know, his conditioning to not be hindered because he only had one leg was just a true testament of A how hard he works and B, how effective the programming was.

Sean: 21:09 – Yeah. How did Deadboys fitness start?

Josh: 21:12 – Oh, that’s a great story. So obviously I’m a big wrestling fan. Rollins is a wrestler and this was right around the Team Series, I believe this was like two years ago. And I was like, man, you know what, no one is talking smack. No one, no one is cutting promos. It’s the Team Series. Like this is where people should have fun. Like I get the Open, right?

Josh: 21:40 – This is a lot at stake. And you know, at the time it was, you know, you gotta take it to Regionals and you can’t really, you know, mess around and you want to be humble. But like the Team Series, it’s the Team Series for God’s sakes. So we were in, I believe it was Sacramento or maybe it was Fresno, I don’t know. It was the first week of the Team Series. We decided to come up with like a name and it was just Deadboys, and it was Rollins and I, and we cut this promo and we talked about how we were going to take down all these different teams. I forget some of the teams, but it was like, you know, somebody ridiculous like Dan Bailey and Rich Froning, like that wasn’t gonna happen. But you know, we’re wrestling fans at heart, so we’re going to just pretend like that was going to happen.

Josh: 22:18 – And we would cut promos on Dave and this, that, and the other. And we just really, really ate it up. And I think that day too, we did all four Team Series workouts in a row, which was the dumbest thing on the planet because, because of Rollins’ schedule, that’s what we had to do. And no one took the bait, no one talked shit. It was just me and Rollins just sitting there being like, man, what? No one took the bait. So we did it again. I think it was last year was the second year. And still no one, no one did it. We tried. But yeah, that’s kind of where Deadboys was born.

Sean: 22:52 – Why did you decide then to turn this into sort of an online coaching and programming service?

Josh: 22:58 – It’s a great question. So the reason why is, it really kind of started the year that Seth Rollins came to the CrossFit Games. That was really kind of when it was in its initial phases because that same year when Rollins came to the CrossFit Games in California, I believe they had a house show or maybe it was a Monday Night Raw two days or three days after that. And so what happened was we would go from the fittest fans on the planet to maybe not so much the fittest fans on the planet. And that’s no disrespect to wrestling fans out there. I’m just saying if you’ve ever been to the CrossFit Games, it’s ridiculous. The fan base versus the wrestling fan base. I mean, we would also get a lot of DMs and messages and when we’d go to, you know, these different CrossFit gyms, people were genuinely interested in Seth’s programming.

Josh: 23:52 – And so we decided like we wanted to make programming available geared more so towards wrestling fans than it was CrossFit Fans. Cause at the time I think Street Parking was still in its initial phases. There was all these different Misfits and Comptrain and you know, we weren’t trying to be the best CrossFit programming out there or we weren’t trying to breed competitive programming for CrossFit Games athletes. What we were trying to do was gear our programming towards wrestling fans because there are a lot of people out there in the wrestling fan community that just don’t work out. And I was a wrestling fan when I was growing up and that was my drive to go into the gym. I would see guys like Macho Man Randy Savage, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, those guys were the ones I wanted to emulate because you know, guys like Hogan and Warrior, they were just too jacked.

Josh: 24:43 – I was like, that’s just too much for me. Macho Man and Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, these guys are not only ripped but they’re really athletic. You know, they were CrossFit before CrossFit, if you want to call it that, you know, like they were athletic and those are the guys that I wanted to look like and emulate. And so in a way, you know, that’s what got me into the gym and begging my dad to take me. And I was just hoping that if wrestling fans would see, and like man their hero Seth Rollins or Becky Lynch or Bayley is encouraging them to just get off of the couch and you know, do 10 air squats, that’s better than them not doing anything at all. You know. And I know that CrossFit HQ kinda got a lot of slack from that weird couch and the jugs of, you know, antifreeze or whatever it is.

Josh: 25:27 – But in a way like whether that was geared towards old people, but that’s a lot of wrestling fans that we’re making them do that. I mean, obviously we’re not making go grab jugs but you know, squats off of, you know, off of a couch or a box or having them farmers carry just heavy bags and stuff in and around their house because you know, they’re intimidated, they don’t want to go to a gym and you know, especially not a CrossFit gym because they’re afraid that people aren’t going to accept them because of the way they look or their athletic ability. And that’s just silly, and that’s why we have a lot of Deadboys seminars when we go and have these big events is we want to tell people like, look it’s, everyone starts somewhere. You know, Seth started in his first CrossFit class and I’m sure he wasn’t great.

Josh: 26:09 – I know it took me 45 minutes I think to finish my first CrossFit workout. I almost threw it up but we all start somewhere. I think that, you know, whether they’re a member a month or you know, going on almost a year, like just knowing that we’ve been able to touch people in the sense of like get them motivated, I mean, most of my cancellations and trust me, there are some, most of my cancellations are because they have now decided to join a CrossFit, which is bittersweet. You know, obviously I would love for them to stay a member, but the fact that they have now gained the confidence to join their local CrossFit gym, it’s really, really, really cool.

Sean: 26:44 – Yeah. You mentioned the day with the Deadboys, and for people who don’t know what that is is if there’s an event going on in a city, sometimes you and Seth and some of the other WWE superstars you work with will hold like a fitness seminar at a gym. What, and you talked about this a little bit, but what are the things that you look to accomplish when you hold one of these events?

Josh: 27:06 – So it’s a couple of things, right? It’s one, wrestling fans can pay up to two, three, four, $500 to meet and greet their favorites superstar. Right? You want to meet John Cena? You pay $500 or whatever it is. You can meet him, but the catch is you literally meet him for 10 seconds. Hey Mr. Cena, how you doing? Great, thanks. Hey, can you sign this photo? There you go kid. All right man. Have a good day. Good luck this weekend. Thanks man. You too. That’s it. You just spent $500 on that interaction. Well, for maybe half of that you can meet Seth. You can spend an hour working out with him. You can ask him questions, you can take photos with him, but before you do all that stuff, you have to go through a workout. You know, it all kind of technically started in South Brooklyn it and he said it almost as a joke.

Josh: 27:54 – There were guys that were lining up that said, Hey, look, can we get a photo or can we get an autograph with you, and Seth was like, you go buy a membership from CrossFit South Brooklyn and I’ll take a photo with you. And the guy was like, all right. I don’t even know if he was from Brooklyn. The point is, is he bought a membership. So we’re like, OK, well what would be a cool way to get wrestling fans to interact? And at the same time to hopefully maybe get them enthusiastic about physical fitness and their well-being. You know, are we saying like, hey, we want you to stop drinking Mountain Dew? In a sense, yeah. But maybe start off by not drinking a 32-ounce cup of Mountain Dew every single day. You know, we get guys in there that are CrossFit Games athletes or Regional athletes and we get guys that have never worked out ever.

Josh: 28:41 – You know? And it’s cool to see that interaction kind of intermingle cause they all have one thing in common. They love wrestling and they love Seth and they love Becky and they love whoever happens to be there. But the thing that really brings them together at the end of the day isn’t that love for wrestling. It’s, oh man, we did this terrible workout together. And whether, you know, the wrestling fan did it super duper scaled and the Regional athlete did it super super Rx, the point is that they did it together and one didn’t look better than the other.

Sean: 29:10 – Yeah. And what do people who come out to these events, those who haven’t worked out before, what do they think about your message of fitness?

Josh: 29:17 – Oh, they, I guess it turns people instantly whether they sign up for Deadboys Fitness or they go to their local gym. I mean, I keep in contact with a bunch of former, you know, I wouldn’t even want to call it a seminar, but like day of the Deadboy event members that came and joined us and they, like I said, they’ve either joined Deadboys Fitness or they’ve joined a CrossFit gym or even like a Anytime Fitness or a Planet Fitness. I mean, they’re doing something, you know.

Sean: 29:46 – You have been a lifelong WWE fan. You mentioned that. If I went back in time and I told 10-year-old Josh Gallegos that he would one day be training some of the biggest WWE superstars on the planet, what do you think he would say?

Josh: 29:59 – He would probably call you a liar. You know, and I literally, I think it was maybe like six months, seven months ago, like I posted a Instagram post, I got to do a couple of shoots for WWE and they paid me for it. And it was just surreal to getting a check from WWE, you know, on there, Stanford, Connecticut, like I remember just going to these events as a kid and you know, idolizing these guys and it was such a huge accomplishment. And now granted the amount of the check didn’t matter. It could have been a dollar on that check. And I know that sounds so cliche, but it really was just truly like, man, like that is such a rad thing to be such a huge fan of something and being able to work with them in some capacity.

Josh: 30:44 – You know, I was able to try out as a ring announcer and unfortunately I didn’t get the job, which is fine, but it was just surreal to be standing standing in a WWE ring and pretending to announce that my two really good friends, Seth and Cesaro, were gonna match with one another. Even that moment was surreal. So to be able to go back to a 10 or 12 or 13-year-old Josh and be like, hey man, not only are you going to work with these guys, but you’re going to be able to go to any show you want and sit front row and collect these chairs and be buddies and Vincent McMahon one day he’s going to say hi to you backstage. 13-year-old Josh would be like, you’re insane, get out of here. What? What? You gonna have flying cars in 2019, too, buddy? Huh? What are those? Those “Back to the Future” shoes, they really gonna make those? Yeah. OK, bud.

Sean: 31:28 – Let me get my hoverboard.

Josh: 31:30 – Yeah, exactly.

Sean: 31:31 – What has been for you, and maybe you just answered this, but what has been the best part about your CrossFit journey?

Josh: 31:39 – Man, it’s so interesting. Like I said, I used the Mr. Magoo analogy, but like CrossFit has changed my life in so many different ways. Obviously the fitness level and the way I train currently. Like if it wasn’t for that, obviously I’d probably still be trying, I’d still be on the road training to be a triathlete or I maybe I’d to go back to Gold’s gym or whatever, but it’s been 10 years, maybe a little bit more. I so enjoy the way—CrossFit workouts, they never get old with me in the sense that like they may all suck still, but that way of training never gets old for me. But the fact that like when I get to go to the CrossFit Games or the Sanctional events or Regionals back in the day and still have fun and entertain on the floor, I know it’s completely different than something that you do, which is a play-by-play announcer.

Josh: 32:32 – But I just, I really truly enjoy doing that stuff. It’s just so much fun for me. And then on top of that, I get to do what I like, which is helping people be better versions of themselves. But instead of those people being a soccer mom or you know, a lawyer or a movie or television agent, they happen to be professional wrestlers who I’m fans of. It’s really like a surreal moment. And sometimes you gotta take a step back. And again, I know it sounds cliche, but appreciate the small things. You know, I get to emcee really, really cool events and I get to see these amazing athletes at the highest caliber, you know, perform. And I’m right there with a front row seat. I get to train amazing athletes who are at the best and the highest level of their game when it comes to professional wrestling.

Josh: 33:20 – And I get to go to all these cool events and I get to see my friends succeed, whether it be Seth winning a championship, Becky winning a championship, Bayley. And not only am I happy for them because I’m their coach, but at the end of the day, I’m also their friend. And you know, those are the things that I just sit back and look and like, man, this is just such a crazy life. You know? It’s true. It’s crazy how I went from being laid off at a job that I loved. I loved traveling the world and taping stuff for Jeopardy. And I thought, man, that’s it. It’s not going to get any better than that. And low and behold, it only hasn’t gotten better, it’s doubled. It’s tripled. You know?

Sean: 34:00 – Well, Josh, you deserve all the success man, it’s been a blast getting to know, you know, not only as a coworker, but also as a friend. And best of luck to you and all the Deadboys Fitness members moving forward.

Josh: 34:10 – Yeah, man, I appreciate you. Thank you for having me on the show. Hopefully, all my Mr. Magoo references and we’ll have Mr. Magoo trending on Twitter hopefully soon, but no man, it’s been a lot of fun, Sean, you’ve been always awesome to me. I appreciate it and I look forward to working with you again.

Sean: 34:27 – Likewise my friend. Take care.

Josh: 34:30 – All right buddy. See ya.

Sean: 34:31 – Big thanks to Joshy G for taking the time to speak with me. You can follow him on Instagram at @JoshyG27. You can also follow Deadboys Fitness on Instagram and find out more about the program at Chris Cooper almost went bankrupt in 2008. Now he’s running a multimillion-dollar company dedicated to helping entrepreneurs avoid the mistakes that he made. He spent thousands of hours mentoring gym owners one on one, and his new book is packed with advice to help you grow your business and create your Perfect Day. “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” is an Amazon bestseller. Check out the book reviewers who are calling it a must-read and a lighthouse for your business. If you want to level up, this is the business book that you need. Thanks for listening everybody. We’ll see you next time.


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

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

Thanks for listening!

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Training Coaches: How to Find New Coaches

Training Coaches: How to Find New Coaches

When you own a gym, you have to hire staff.

Most of us started as coaches. So we know what makes a great coach.

And the moment we realize “I can’t do everything all alone anymore!” we start looking for other coaches to help out.

This is actually a mistake. You should replace yourself in lower-value roles first.

But eventually you’ll need someone to deliver your service.

Over the next posts, I’ll break down how to find the right people, how to train the right people, how to partner with those who can’t work for you, how to educate your staff, and how to build their careers with them.

It all starts with finding the right people. Because you can train a great person how to coach but you can’t teach anyone how to smile.

After 23 years as a coach and 14 as a gym owner, here are the lessons I’ve learned about finding great people and turning them into coaches.


ABH: Always Be Hiring


Good coaches fill a void. Great coaches create careers for themselves.

We teach the Intrapreneurial model at Two-Brain because coaches should generate the revenue that pays them (and covers the business’ costs).

Many gym owners get into staff trouble because they get into this loop:

1. Become overwhelmed with class sizes or class schedules.
2. Finally decide they need help right away.
3. Hire and train the first candidate out of urgency.
4. Get sucked into micromanaging and correcting coaches forever instead of doing the CEO work to build the business.
5. Get overwhelmed again.

Instead, a growing gym should run its Advanced Theory Course (ATC) at least twice per year, whether they “need” coaches or not. And gyms in larger urban areas should be advertising for coaches nonstop.

When you see new coaches as an opportunity to grow instead of as an expense, you’ll always want more.

I break down the ATC step by step here.


Hire for Personality, Train for Skill


“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

On my first visit to CrossFit HQ, I was surprised: everyone hugged. All the time. I probably hugged 30 people in the first 30 minutes. But I didn’t have a single discussion about leverage, torque or programming.

By that point in my career, I had been around thousands of fitness professionals. I’d been to national conferences. I’d attended dozens of seminars. I was an exam proctor for the ISSA. And I was never hugged once. Never.

Now, for a redheaded introvert from Canada, a lot of hugging and high-fiving didn’t come naturally. But what was immediately obvious was that the team—from founder Greg Glassman to the L1 staff to the media crew—were chosen for their personalities first. Then they were trained to become the best in their field.

Around the same time, I was forced to hire a coach for our 6-a.m. classes. I was busy with personal-training clients and had to put someone in front of a class fast.

I chose a girl with an amazing personality only because I couldn’t find a technical expert quickly. And, to my surprise, adherence improved. The class grew. People loved meeting happy, smiling Charity at 6 a.m. instead of worn-down Coop. She eventually became an expert, but her personality made her a star long before she finished her degree.

Technical knowledge will get people results. But personality will keep people showing up. And most of fitness is really about showing up.


Hire in This Order


It’s easiest to replicate your vision and values when you hire from within: That means training your best clients to become coaches.

Your best clients aren’t necessarily the best athletes. In fact, on balance, the best athletes don’t make the best coaches. But that’s another topic.


Hire From Within First

Find your happiest people and teach them how to coach.

Many great coaches start with only a weekend seminar’s worth of technical knowledge but a lifetime of positivity practice. Run an ATC to find a few candidates, let them try on the coach’s shirt, and then commit to training them to guide your people.

Hiring from within helps you overcome the trust hurdles between new coaches and your clients. And you don’t have to worry about a new coach fitting in with your culture.

On the other hand, you’ll lose a client. Make sure you have a clear training plan and tell them in advance. Then hire with a clear contract and evaluation process (we give you those in the Incubator).


Hire the Best Local Personal Trainer

If you can’t hire from within, there are probably several good trainers nearby who would love the chance to make their little job a real career. Maybe some of your clients trained with them at other gyms. Or maybe you’ve met them when you took a class at another gym.

If they’re a personal trainer at a big chain gym, they probably don’t have a shot at a real career—unless you give them one. Negotiate a rate for the clients they bring with them, and teach them how to make a career with the 4/9ths Model.


Call Local Colleges and Ask, “Who’s Your Best Senior Student?”

This is how I got my first job. Except the best seniors were all taken, so my boss settled for the top junior—me.

If you can’t find a good local trainer, you’ll be starting with a blank slate when you take the college route. This can have some advantages. If you train a new graduate really well, you’ll never have problems. If you don’t train thoroughly, you’ll always have problems—and you’ll probably blame it on his or her generation or something.



Take this route if you can’t find a great coach through any of the methods above.

We like or

We save job ads for the fourth step because this is the hardest process. Every other step means working from existing relationships. This step involves meeting people, forming fast impressions, running candidates through an interview, introducing a stranger to your community—but it could also mean getting the most qualified candidate. Of course, the resume means nothing unless the applicant has an amazing personality, too.

What should you say in the ad? Who should you try to attract?

Click here to download our sample job descriptions and job ads.

We teach all these steps in the Incubator and take a deeper dive in the Growth Stage Masterclass. If you’re interested in developing coaches, visit


Other Articles in This Series

Training Coaches: Internships
Training Coaches: Scope of Practice
Training Coaches: Continuing Education
Training Coaches: Building Careers

Starting a Gym: Do You Need a Partner?

Starting a Gym: Do You Need a Partner?

Short answer: probably not.

Entrepreneurs accept partners for three reasons:

  1. Complementary knowledge.
  2. Investment.
  3. Fear.

In some cases, partners can help a business launch and scale more rapidly. But in an owner/operator gym, there’s really not much room for two owners.

In this post, I’ll share why you might not want (or need) a partner and how to find a good partnership if you do. I’ll also give you the tools you need to make the partnership work.


Why We Take Partners


I started Catalyst with two partners. I couldn’t have started without them.

My first partners served two important functions: They removed the obstacle of choice by basically dragging me into a lease on some gym space. And they loaned me $16,000 to buy equipment.

In return, they wanted a recurring return on their investment: $1,000 per month forever, plus the loan payment. In hindsight, this seemed like a bad deal. But I wasn’t thinking logically at the time: I was thinking emotionally.

What I was really buying was a way around my fear. I thought, “These guys are my parachute.” Also, subconsciously: “If I screw up, it won’t be entirely my fault.”

But two years in and $24,000 paid, I started to resent their partnership. I was doing all the work; they were getting paid in good months and bad. Even when I missed a paycheck, they didn’t. The novelty and gratitude wore off, and I started to ask, “How do I get out of this?”

The truth is, it’s really hard to get out of a partnership. So before you enter one, here are some easy alternatives to the three benefits of partnerships that I mentioned earlier (knowledge, investment and fear):


1. Knowledge

In tech companies, it’s sometimes wise to have a partnership between a visionary and a technician. One person sets the course and the other puts in the hours programming.

But in a microgym, that’s not really necessary: The owner is always the first coach, and the gym was built to fulfill his or her vision.

Instead of giving up a share of your money forever, hire a mentor. You’ll get industry-specific knowledge, much higher ROI and step-by-step processes instead of just a sympathetic ear. And you won’t tie yourself into paying someone forever.


2. Investment

A partner who provides startup funding in return for equity might seem like an angel. But if someone has $20,000 to risk on a fitness business, he or she is probably not dumb: the investor expects a return. And every investment he or she makes should provide an outsized return. If it doesn’t, the investor can always put the money somewhere else.

That’s fair. But, like me, many first-time entrepreneurs don’t see the long-term payments they’ll be making and eventually get mad about the agreement.

“He’s made enough money off me!” they think, as they open the door in the dark at 5 a.m. But the investor just assumed the operational partner understood the agreement and provided the opportunity.

This is why you should borrow money from a bank instead of seeking an investor in your gym: The bank might charge some interest, but the bank eventually goes away. The bank doesn’t want to talk about your programming. The bank doesn’t want $500 per month until the end of time. The bank doesn’t want to treat you like an employee. It just wants its tiny fee for giving you the money.


3. Fear

I’ve worked with several gym owners who decided to “spread the risk around” by opening with multiple partners. This is almost always a catastrophe: four people become exhausted and impoverished instead of one.

A microgym isn’t an investment-grade asset. But the people in many of these partnerships just haven’t done the math to figure out how many clients they’ll need (at what rate) to pay everyone involved.

Worst of all: Everyone ends up hating one another. And broke, and tired.

Entrepreneurship is scary. But if you want to do it, hire a mentor. Instead of having four people guess and argue, talk to one person who has been there, done it successfully and will eventually go away until you need him or her again.


How to Get out of a Bad Partnership


OK, so you’ve determined that you’ve outgrown your partnership. The simple way out is to get a valuation and then purchase the partner or partners’ shares.

If the company isn’t doing well, this is great news: You can buy the shares for very little. Just use the Shotgun Exit term you’ll see in our Sample Shareholders’ Agreement.

But if you don’t have the money (or you don’t have a shareholders’ agreement that spells out the terms of your exit), you’ll have to leverage something else. What do they care about more than ownership?

In my case, I was facing a court battle with city hall over an occupancy permit. I couldn’t afford the HVAC upgrades they insisted we needed. I was ready to go to war because it was the only way to keep my box open.

But my partners did a lot of business with city hall and didn’t want to tarnish that relationship. I explained that I didn’t have much choice but was willing to buy out their shares and let them avoid trouble. They immediately and graciously agreed.

If all else fails, use your failure as leverage: “Look, Bill, we both had the best of intentions when we started this thing. I know we’re partners, but I feel responsible. The business isn’t doing well, and I don’t expect you to take a loss here. I would feel better if you’d let me take on your share of the debt and then try to figure it out from there.”


How to Set up a Great Partnership


Great partnerships aren’t born; they’re made.

Before you enter into a contract that’s more binding than marriage (no joke), you should talk about your relationship.

Who will do which roles in the new company?

How will each of you make money in the new business?

How will you make decisions?

How will one of you eventually exit?

Download our Sample Shareholders’ Agreement here.


Equality Versus Equity


Who gets paid? How much?

There’s a difference between owning 50 percent of a business and being paid 50 percent of the profit.

The operating partner (the one who’s in the gym every day) should be paid a wage before profit is calculated.

It’s also fair for the lending partner (that mythical “money guy”) to build a loan repayment structure into the business’ expenses before profit is calculated.

But the important part is this: You don’t have to get paid based on your equity stake. You should be paid based on your role in the company.

If both partners will be working in the business, that’s fine—break down your roles, assign a value to each, and pay yourself based on the value you bring. Just don’t say, “We’ll split it all 50-50!” because no two partners are ever 50-50 contributors.

It might sound like I’m down on partnerships, but I’m not: I love partnerships. I just hate unnecessary servitude and expensive mistakes. Listen to my podcast on the topic here:

Two-Brain Radio Episode 81: Partnerships

Get a loan, get a mentor—make your debts short-term and grow your confidence forever!


Other Articles in This Series

How to Start a Gym
Starting a Gym: Location, Space and Equipment
Starting a Gym: Scaling Up
Starting a Gym: Adding Staff
Starting a Gym Marketing

Two-Brain Radio: Taking Control of Your Business With Natalie Marcom

Two-Brain Radio: Taking Control of Your Business With Natalie Marcom

Mateo: 00:02 – Hey it’s Mateo of Two-Brain Marketing. On this edition of the Two-Brain Marketing podcast, I’m talking with Natalie Marcom from Nakoma CrossFit in Arizona. You’ll learn about her experience and what it’s like to run a gym in 118-degree weather. You’ll also learn about her advertising system and how she spent $260 on ads and generated $4,400 in front-end sales. So you don’t want to miss this. Make sure to subscribe to Two-Brain Radio for more marketing tips and secrets each week.

Greg: 00:31 – Two-Brain Radio is brought to you by Two-Brain Business. We make gyms profitable. We’re going to bring you the very best tips, tactics interviews in the business world each week. To find out how we can help you create your Perfect Day, book a free call with a mentor at

Greg: 00:48 – We would like to thank another one of our amazing sponsors, UpLaunch. Over the amount of time that you’ve had your business, how many people have come through your doors and never signed up for a membership? When I first opened, I remember getting everybody’s name and emails because that’s what I was told was the best way to start the conversation with potential new members. The big problem was I never knew what to say. Over many years, I spent countless hours developing plenty of emails to send to these new members or people that are thinking about signing up for a membership. This took a lot of time, probably way too long, and could have been spent on more productive things. If you’re in the same situation I was, don’t waste any more time and book a free session with UpLaunch. UpLaunch has over a hundred prebuilt emails to convert new leads into members. And when your members decide to take a break, they have a whole campaign to get them back through the doors. You have the ability to text message members from the app, and with integrations like Google calendar, Facebook and over a hundred more via Zapier, UpLaunch has you covered. UpLaunch was created by gym owners for gym owners. Head over to today to get the conversation started with your future and past clients.

Mateo: 01:58 – Hello and welcome to the Two-Brain Marketing podcast. I’m your host, Mateo Lopez, and today I am with Natalie Marcom. She just told me before the started like mark ’em up, mark up the board. I guess maybe if you’re writing down a WOD, who knows, mark’em up from Nakoma CrossFit, and we’re going to learn a little bit more about her and her business and some of the cool stuff she’s got going on with the marketing side of things. So, Natalie, how are you?

Natalie: 02:25 – I’m doing great. How are you?

Mateo: 02:27 – I am great. Thanks for joining me today. So for those who are listening and don’t maybe know who you are, tell us a little bit about who you are, where you’re from, and a little bit about your business.

Natalie: 02:44 – Who I am, that’s like a loaded question, isn’t it?

Mateo: 02:46 – Yeah, it is. It could just be like , you know, how’d you get into fitness? How’d you get into CrossFit and why you like doing it? And then that should be enough, right?

Natalie: 02:58 – It should be plenty. I started CrossFit about eight or nine years ago. I kind of felt like I missed the boat because I actually jumped into a CrossFit gym cause I thought it was a Christian gym. I thought, well how cute. I want to try that. And I walked in, I was like, there’s no cross on the wall. What is this?

Mateo: 03:22 – Faith-based fitness? That’s what you thought?

Natalie: 03:25 – I really did. I really did. It was kind of shocking. And then, I was morbidly obese actually at the time, and this guy was looking at me and he was a nice guy. He just wasn’t the best communicator. And I was like, this is not for me. And I walked out and then I started really my weight-loss journey and ended up being like, oh no, I missed it. That was going to be really cool. And so when we moved to now where I am, Havasu, I found out this guy who had a garage or had a gym in his garage, and I was like, I have to do that. So that’s how I started CrossFit, and then ended up opening my own gym here two and a half years ago in Lake Havasu City and at the urging actually of some clients that were like, you should open up your own gym. After I had left the gym for a time after my mom passed, not because that gym owner was really doing anything wrong, and I just decided I wasn’t going to go back. And I was even coaching and everything, I just was a little burnt out and so decided, well people really think I should do this and try this. Then I guess I’ll give it a shot.

Mateo: 04:42 – So you were burnt out and decided, oh I know what will make that better. I should open a gym. That will be—

Natalie: 04:53 – And there’s way more backstory to it than that.

Mateo: 04:56 – That makes sense. All right, cool.

Natalie: 04:59 – In Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

Mateo: 05:02 – Arizona. Got you.

Natalie: 05:04 – So like halfway between Phoenix and Vegas.

Mateo: 05:06 – Got it. And Nakoma CrossFit. So is that cause like you might be in a coma after you go take the CrossFit class?

Natalie: 05:14 – Yes, no, we have native American culture all around us. And when I created my name, I wanted a name that meant “strong,” and Nakoma, in Native American language, means “strong warrior.”

Mateo: 05:29 – That’s awesome. Way cooler than the off-color joke I just made. That’s amazing. Great. Okay. So been open for about two and a half years, you said. What was it like taking those first steps, you know, from being, I guess sounds like you were coaching a little bit and being on the athlete side to then, you know, trying to try and open and run your own gym. What was it like in those early days?

Natalie: 05:54 – It was scary because I bought out another gym, but all I took was their equipment. I got no people, no nothing. And so literally from scratch, have built this thing and it’s been really—many times I feel like I’m white-knuckling it. And at times I feel like I’m working myself to death. But then there’s, you know, as a business owner there’s some really great highs to it, too. And so that’s kind of what fuels me and keeps me going.

Mateo: 06:28 – Awesome. And so where along in the process did you think about maybe I should pursue some mentorship or find some help and some guidance? And how did you stumble onto Two-Brain?

Natalie: 06:41 – Well, people are not my problem, connecting with people. Coaching people are not my problem. How to run a business? I have never done that before. So this is first-time entrepreneurship and really recognizing like, I don’t know what I’m doing. And so searching the internet, being part of owner groups on Facebook and hearing people say, well, there’s this mentorship program, there’s this business program, there’s that and the other. And really looking into them, subscribing to emails and newsletters and searching people out. And as you know, Chris Cooper is very persistent in his emails and just always getting these little nuggets of information. I’m always like, well, I want to know more about that and I want to know more. And so, two years of that, and he had a summit, the second summit that came across my inbox and I finally was like, well, I’ll try that and see, you know what, I think of that and went, and it literally took probably 12 people talking to me at the summit before I was like, okay, I think I’ll sign up for some mentorship. I mean it’s been really great. The thing is like even at the summit you’re left, like, you get all these little nuggets of information and you still are like, but I want to know more. And then once you jump into the Incubator, then you’re like, oh, okay this, these are the answers and this is the prioritization that I was really looking for and seeking. This is like the nuts and bolts, very direct step one, step two, step three, how to, and that’s really what I’ve needed.

Mateo: 08:28 – Yeah. The, the summit can be overwhelming just cause like there’s so many things you want to take action on at once cause you’re learning all these things you never thought of before and that’s where mentorship comes in. It provides that direction, that framework,I think. So this was—was this last year’s summit? I’m assuming. So 2018 okay. I was there. I was around for that. Yeah, I was there. There are a lot. Well, awesome. Okay, cool. So you’ve been, you’ve been operating for, you know, two years. It sounds like you were looking for some help. You got on a bunch of newsletter lists. Something stood out about what Chris was saying, went to the summit and then pulled the trigger. That’s awesome. So what was the first thing that you saw, or I guess before I ask that one, what was the thing you felt you really needed help with? I know you said the business side, but what was really eating away at you? Was it a time thing or was it just, you know, what was it?

Natalie: 09:32 – I was getting to the point where I was like, I tell people like I needed to grow up in business and I needed to figure out how do I make my business more legitimate. I had a couple of coaches, how do I add more coaches, which Two-Brain actually came after I had a bunch of coaches, but then how do I make us more of a team? Really the driving force for me though was how do I pay myself, and I mean I’m 43 years old and so I’m looking at you know, retirement in the not-too-distant future and how do I start paying myself and be able to save for my own future. I was paying myself for my coaching hours. How do I make it, like I said, a legitimate business where you turn a profit that means something.

Mateo: 10:20 – And so when you started working mentorship, what was the first thing you started to see a change in, in the business? What was the first thing you were able to take action on and say, oh wow, like this is now moving in the right direction?

Natalie: 10:31 – That’s a funny question because it’s like a fire hose, the things that changed. What the first thing I’m not even sure, but I actually made a list of things that have changed since. Probably the first time that I was like, you know, you asked what’s your first Bright Spot? Like the first one that I was like, oh my gosh, this is really working, was I hit record attendance in the gym in July when my numbers would normally be down. So you have to know that in Havasu, we hit temperatures of like 118 degrees in the summer, and we are a swamp-cooled facility. And so when you walk in, we feel good when the air is circulating and it’s still a hundred degrees in the gym. And so you can imagine that people are like, it’s a little too hot to be working out today.

Natalie: 11:34 – So to hit record numbers of attendance in July when people are like, oh, hell no, I’m not going to the gym. I was like, oh, this is really working. But I mean, along with that, I finished—I had been working on standard operating procedures and I knew I needed to make an operations manual but I finished that, we did coaching evaluations and seeing not only the reactions from my coaches but also seeing the reactions from clients that were here. Like, oh, you really care if you evaluate your coaches. Those were some of the like intangible things. But my fixed costs are down 10%. I increased revenue $2,000. Again, I told you about the record number of attendance, the interest in my gym, just in people coming in, if I had to try to put a number on it, it would be something like 200%. It is unbelievable, some of the changes that have happened in just a really short three months of being with Two-Brain.

Mateo: 12:37 – Wow. That’s incredible. And that’s great. So let’s talk about that awareness then and talk a little bit about what was it like for you once you started doing the paid advertising stuff with, with Khaleda, what did you see, what was that experience like? And what kind of results of your first campaign and how did you manage?

Chris: 12:57 – Hello my friends. It is Chris Cooper here. Since 2009 I have been writing daily blog posts, producing podcasts, videos, all kinds of stuff on social media with one mission in mind: to make gyms profitable. I came to that mission because I was an unprofitable gym owner. It almost ruined my finances and almost ruined my career, my marriage, everything. And since that day, since I made my recovery, I have wanted to help other gym owners become profitable, too. It’s part of my mission to the world because if you’re profitable, you’ll be here changing lives of thousands of your clients for the next 30 years. I think together we can have a tremendous impact. When we started mentorship, I did every single call myself. I was doing up to a thousand free calls a year and I was doing 10 calls with people who signed up for our early mentorship program, but the Incubator has been updated and improved a dozen times since then. Now the Incubator is really the sum of all of our experiences with over 800 gyms worldwide. In the Two-Brain mentorship program, we can now learn from everybody. We can collate data, we can see what’s working where and when and what the new gold standards are as they emerge. When somebody has a great idea, we can test it objectively and say, “Will this work for everyone or will it work for people on the West Coast or on the East Coast?” We can do that with little things like Facebook ads. We can also do that with operations and opening times and playbooks. All the questions that you have about the gym, we can answer them with data and with proof now. That’s the Incubator. It’s more than what I wrote about. It’s more than my experience. It is the best standard in the fitness industry, period. And I hope to see you in there.

Natalie: 14:38 – Thank you. Yeah. How did I manage? That’s the better question. I white-knuckled it. So, the thing I really have appreciated, Mateo, especially about you is how simple you have made the breakdown of how to create an ad. Khaleda and I would joke, I said, you know, you create these little one-and-a-half-minute videos, then they only take you 30 minutes to get through. You know, you listen and you pause and then you go do this and then you listen and you pause and then you go do that. I have learned stuff in creating an ad that I had no clue. I am not a very technical person and I was like, I just created a movie. Really learned it doesn’t have to be like the most impressive thing you’ve ever seen in your life. It gets the point across.

Natalie: 15:32 – White-knuckling, I joke about that because once we turned the ads on, my calendar filled up and I was like Khaleda what do I do? I mean I was having four and five appointments on my schedule a day in addition to coaching and trying to do administrative work. And so how did I manage? I turned my ads down from $15 a day to $5 a day. And that helped. But I still was really overwhelmed and emailed her again, Khaleda, what do I do? Like I’m still really overwhelmed with all these people coming in the door. And she was traveling and so it took her 24 hours to get back to me. But I was so panicked in that 24 hours that I just shut them off and I was like, well I could have done a dollar a day, but yeah, managed, I just worked my ass off literally 12-hour days and did the very best I could.

Mateo: 16:34 – Yeah, I mean, and obviously it paid off. You mentioned before we hopped on, you spent close to $260 on your ads in total and generated close to $4,400 in front-end sales, which is awesome. So what was that experience? Well, I guess before we dive into the details there, in your words, cause I know you said you made like a movie basically, you know, a video describing what you offer and you know, your programs at your gym. In your words, what is it that you sell and how do you sell it?

Natalie: 17:07 – I sell service, I sell help to people. Kind of confused by the question what do I sell? I mean, like we sell things, we sell CrossFit classes. We sell nutrition, we sell personal training, we sell movement assessments. We sell products, FitAids and Perfect Bars. We sell things, but I sell help to people. And really what I feel that—I mean in my own professional opinion of what people need, I sell a service. How do I sell it? I sell it by connecting to people and asking them questions in a way that I can say, “OK, here’s your need and here’s what I offer,” and try to pair those two.

Mateo: 17:55 – I don’t think you’re confused by the question, you answered to perfectly. That was it, there you go. So, all right, so then you had these leads coming in, had appointments being booked up. Walk me through your process, what happened when they were they were booked and then they kind of walk into the door? What happens?

Natalie: 18:13 – Well, this is kind of where having a mentor gave me something I never thought about. Part of the booking process I stole from my mentor, his questionnaire that he has on Acuity. So when people go on Acuity and they book the appointment, I already have an idea of how they heard about me, what they’re looking for, what their goals might be in a very general, broad sense. I mean they can just answer—some people answer in a few sentences, some people answer in one-word things, but at least I have an idea before they walk in. So, when they book an appointment, I am calling them. If I don’t hear from them—I’m trying to get a response from them. And so when I don’t hear from them, in saying, hey, are you, you know, I’m just reminding you about your appointment. Are you going to be there? Then I will off of your suggestion for their appointment to try to make sure they’re coming in the door, I send them a video text message and I’m like, hey, this is me. Like you get to meet with me. Lucky.

Mateo: 19:18 – Don’t stand me up, please.

Natalie: 19:20 – Yeah, exactly. Because that just really makes me mad. And so I’m trying to get a response from them. If I don’t hear from them from video and there’s all kinds of reasons that maybe you don’t get video text messages or whatever. Then I will email them just a few hours or text them a few hours before and be like, Hey, just wanted to remind you. Most of the time with those two bumps, I will hear from somebody, and then if I haven’t heard from them, then it’s a 50/50. They may or may not show up. When they come in, then before they come in, I’m looking at that questionnaire that they filled out on Acuity and I’m asking them questions but also like I have that awareness of who they are and what’s bringing them in. And then I pull out my questionnaire of things to ask them like, well, what brings you in?

Natalie: 20:14 – I already know the general answer, but sometimes when you just ask them what brings you in and what are you hoping I can do for you, it just opens a floodgate. And I listen, that’s the biggest thing, is just listen and then trying to, like I said, pair how they’re answering these questions, not only what are you looking for, but what are your goals and why is that important to you? And by the time that they get done saying all of this, and then I tell them, well, you need this, this is what I offer and this is where you’ve been lacking and this is how we, you know, accomplish that or help that problem and accomplished that goal, they have kind of sold themselves. They already understand, I don’t have to push. And most of the time it comes down to can they afford it or can they not?

Mateo: 21:07 – I think what you just said there was really important, just listening. Right? I think that’s the most important part of the sales process. And then prying, you know, saying what brings you in? You said you have an answer from your sheet but you have to keep going. Right. Get a little bit deeper. Find that why and then—

Natalie: 21:23 – The real why.

Mateo: 21:24 – Yeah, the real why. Exactly. Because only if you have that can you appropriately prescribe, you know, what the right solution is going to be for them. And that matches you and what you have to offer. That’s awesome. So now how’s it been adjusting, especially with this new cohort of people and getting your staff up to speed, you know, what was that process like and what advice you have to people who are starting to get in a whole new batch of people, who are advertising a little bit more heavily than they have in the past, and getting your staff like aligned and ready to say, hey, we got some new people coming in. We’ve been advertising pretty heavily. Like, we want to make sure the experience is consistent and they keep coming after their six or 12 weeks that they’re starting with us.

Natalie: 22:12 – We had to lay a foundation first before we ever even started the marketing. I mean like we already had our gym culture of being helpful and encouraging and friendly and warm, and laying part of that foundation was bringing more people to on to teach fundamentals is what we call our on-ramp program, and knowing those processes before you even bringing people in the door. So then when we have that part, it’s seamless, it’s just more work. I also am a stickler for not running any more, at max three people in fundamentals at one time. It’s really important for us to really connect with people and get to know them and to make them feel comfortable. And so when I say something in my ad like I’m going to take you by the hand and I’m going to lead you step by step and I’m going to make you feel comfortable in the gym, that I am holding true to that standard. So for me, no more than three, which it makes it very busy because when you get an influx of, you know, 18 people, I’m going to have to run fundamentals two times a day, three and four and five days a week. But we’ve laid that foundation and having more people to be able to spread that work amongst has been helpful. But practiced in leading people and then I’m on the opposite side of that. I mean, I teach fundamentals, too, but I’m on the other side of that and really working with the retention part of it and how are you doing? How is this going? How are you feeling? And then offering those, cause you always get this soreness, you know, and this was really hard. And then helping people, you know, this is what you do and how you do it. And so that’s how I’m working with all of the busy-ness. Does that answer the question?

Mateo: 24:16 – Yeah, and it does. And I think that’s important. Making sure you’re having that check-in point right after their first—they go through their fundamentals and then even after their first few classes and making sure everyone’s kind of aligned and checking in with these new clients and saying, Hey, how’s it going? Yeah, you’re sore. Like try X, Y, and Z. Here’s this PDF. Make sure you’re drinking water, whatever it is, to make sure that, you know, they continue to have one, that level of service and attention they were getting in their fundamentals. And then two, just to make sure that they’re happy and getting the results they want and they’re going to keep coming back. And it sounds like you’re doing a great job with that. So my last question here then for you is, it sounds like you’ve gone through a really, well, amazing journey. Your whole fitness journey sounds, you know, like it’s been a process, but it sounds like it’s been a great one. And even in the last three months you’ve seen a really dramatic change in your business, bringing in more revenue. You’re advertising in a way that you never thought was possible for someone who is not so tech-savvy. So what advice do you have for anyone who’s maybe kind of where you were after that first year and a half, two years? Running a box by themselves and are hoping to make a change.

Natalie: 25:36 – Seek out help and seek out the information that you want. Like for me, I was like, you want me to spend how much on Incubator? It is scary to jump into and to, you know, commit to spending the money. And I know that talking to other people in Two-Brain, they were like, oh, but believe me, it’s worth it. And I’m like, but you stayed on, like why? I understand it now. The thing is like, what I have learned with Two-Brain is not any information that I couldn’t get anywhere else. All of the information is out there, but there’s no possible way that I could’ve put it together in the six to eight weeks that I did it. And so the accountability and the precision with how it’s laid out and the step-by-step direction has been invaluable to me, worth every penny.

Natalie: 26:40 – And I already just in the three months have made back that money that I spent. And so my advice is to lay down your ego, let go of the fear, because fear, I think, is what stops us a lot from doing things. And just jump in and go for it. Like take the risk and do it. I have to be one of the most skeptical people, I think, and in Two-Brain they say it takes what, like nine touch points before you really know whether it’s a yes or a no. And I was like, well, for me it took 12 and that was in the middle of a summit an day after day, you know, before I signed up. So I was that skeptical. But really just take the risk.

Mateo: 27:41 – Well, thanks so much for coming on today. It’s been amazing. Had a lot of fun. For people who want to talk to you more, maybe they’re visiting Arizona or maybe they just want your advice on how to keep their gym cool in the summer, where can they find you?

Natalie: 28:01 – I’m at I am also on Facebook and Instagram.

Mateo: 28:08 – Awesome. Thanks so much, Natalie.

Natalie: 28:10 – Thank you, Mateo.

Greg: 28:12 – Thank you for listening to Two-Brain Radio. Make sure to subscribe to receive the most up-to-date episodes wherever you get your podcasts from. To find out how we can help create your Perfect Day, book a free call with a mentor at


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

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

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