How To Measure Your ‘Culture’

How To Measure Your ‘Culture’

Your culture is the sum of your 1:1 relationships.

Your gym culture is the sum of your 1:1 relationships with your clients.

Your staff culture is the sum of your 1:1 relationships with your staff.

Your “culture” is not how often your clients visit a bar together. It’s not how long they stick around after a workout, or even what they’ll wear to get bonus points in the Open. Your culture is relationships, and every relationship is 1:1.

You measure your culture by the LEG (Length of Engagement) of your clients. Great culture keeps clients longer.

 

In the Founder Phase, your culture is the sum of your relationships between yourself and your clients. You’re delivering your service yourself; if you build trust and empathy with your clients, you have a good culture.

 

A good relationship is a balance between friendship and objectivity. Your clients are not your friends, but your relationship must be friendly. You must stay professionally distant enough to charge money for your service; you must stay close enough to demonstrate your care. It’s not easy.

 

In the Farmer Phase, your culture is determined by your clients’ relationships with your team, and your team’s relationships with you.

 

Your team must understand your vision (we call this “The Owner’s Intent”.) They must also know that you care about their career and have a plan in place for them (we use the Career Roadmap exercise in TwoBrain.) They must see the horizon and know they can achieve their career goals on your platform.

 

Then your team must deliver 1:1 relationships with your clients the same way you would. This is the most challenging part of being a Farmer: handing over the responsibility for client relationships. Every staff person will have different personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. For example, one might be incredible at creating workouts for clients; but might not have a strong sense of empathy. Or one might be creative but not quite organized enough. For this reason, we always build a safety net into the Farmer Phase: we add a Client Success Manager role for 2-4 hours per week.

 

In the Tinker Phase, your clients’ relationship should be with your brand. This means they have to align with your company’s values and vision. Now you have six relationships to manage:

Your client’s relationship with your staff

Your client’s relationship with your brand

Your staff’s relationship with their manager

Your staff’s relationship with your brand

Your relationship with your direct reports

Your relationship with your brand.

 

In the Tinker Phase, we tell entrepreneurs to build a managerial layer (usually a COO or General Manager; a CFO; and a CSO, or Sales Lead.) These should be the owner’s three direct reports. In turn, they translate the owner’s intent, vision and mission with staff. Good Tinkers should be removed from daily operations, but still available to staff who have unique situations. For example, the CEO shouldn’t be the one with the key to the supplies cabinet, but should still be available to listen to a staff member with concerns about their career.

 

The Tinker must clearly define their brand’s values. She must answer questions like:

“How does our service fulfill our goal?”
“What will we NOT do?”
“Who is our perfect client?”
“What is the perfect delivery of our service?”
“How far will we go to solve a customer’s complaint?”

She must also define the language and behavior used by the brand. For example, the Tinker must have:
Staff Playbooks
A Quality Control or Evaluation process
A Style Guide for brand media

It seems like the Tinker is too far removed from client interactions to influence company culture. But that’s not true: the Tinker’s role is to define and teach the company culture to their key staff, who reinforce the culture by tracking client and staff relationships.

 

At this level, companies must track LEG as a measure of their client-facing culture; and they must track length of employment as a measure of corporate culture. Many businesses make wild guesses about “employee culture”, adding pinball machines and free breakfast cereal. But they fail to measure the effect of their action on employee retention. That means they’re not taking their culture seriously; they’re just trying to be as cool as Google.

 

Like everything else in your business, culture is measurable. That means, no matter how poor your current culture, you can improve it. The key is to focus on one relationship at a time and measure your progress.

 

Maybe monthly pub crawls DO build a better culture in your business. It’s possible! But unless you’re tracking LEG, you’ll never know what’s actually helping your business.

 

Episode 160: Leadership Lessons With Chris Cooper

Episode 160: Leadership Lessons With Chris Cooper

Episode 160: Top Leadership Lessons of 2019

 

The other day I was outside clearing some snow from the trails when I was reflecting upon the last year and some of the leadership lessons that I have learned. Over the past couple of years, Two Brain has gone from 20 or so gyms to now over 500! This is really exciting and has required a level up in leadership skills to tackle new challenges.  I think more so than anything, Two Brain is here to train leaders and level up entrepreneurs and that is why I want to talk about the 5 key leadership lessons I have learned over the past year. 

 

Be on the lookout for my new book coming out in just a few weeks: Founder Farmer, Tinker Thief!

 

Don’t Forget about the 2019 Two Brain Summit, June 8-9 in Chicago! This year we have some amazing topics and guests for both yourself and your coaches. Click hereto register and sign up now!

 

Top Five Leadership Lessons:

 

  1. Creating Clarity in operating procedures
  2. The importance of communication with your staff
  3. Asking for help is critical
  4. Building a moat around your business
  5. Leading from the front

 Announcer:                            00:02                       Welcome everyone to TwoBrain Radio. It is our mission at TwoBrain to provide 1 million entrepreneurs the freedom to live the life that they choose to join us every week as we discover the very best practices to achieve perfect day and move you closer to wealth .

Greg Strauch:                        00:29                       on this episode. You guys get to hear, Chris Cooper talk about the top leadership lessons he learned in 2018 . He’s reflecting on the past year of 2018, withTwoBrain. We’ve been growing more than ever and he talks about the five leadership lessons that he’s learned throughout this process to make him more of an effective leader. Enjoy the episode.

Chris:                                         00:53                       Hey everyone. Chris Cooper here and really thrilled to see you this year in June in Chicago at the 2019 TwoBrain summit. Every year we have two separate speaking tracks: one for you, the business owner and there’s one for coaches that will help them make better, longer, more meaningful careers under the umbrella of your business. This year. We’ve got some pretty amazing topics like: the client success manager, how to change your life, organizational culture or the business owner’s life cycle, how to have breaks, how to have vacations, how to help your marriage survive. Owning a business and motivation and leadership. How to convert more clients, how to create a GM position that runs your gym for you and leaves you free to grow your business. How to start a business owner’s group in your community and more. The point here is to do the right thing that will help gym owners create better businesses that will last them for the long term, get them to tinker phase, help them be more successful, create meaningful careers of their coaches and give their clients a meaningful path to longterm health.

Chris:                                         01:54                       We only do one big seminar every year and that’s the TwoBrain summit and the reason that we do that is because a big part of the benefit is getting the TwoBrain community together and and welcoming strangers into our midst and showing them how amazing gym ownership really can be. We’ll have a link to the TwoBrain summit, including a full list of all speakers and topics on both the owners and the coaches side in the show notes. I really hope to see you there.

Chris:                                         02:17                       Hey guys, it is super exciting for me to be here today and I actually had a different topic planned. Um, but yesterday when I was out snowshoeing around in our back field, packing down trails and you know, trying to get my trails back after another three feet of snow. Um, I was listening to his new book that I really loved by John Maxwell called “Leadershift”, and I really wanted to share some of that stuff with you guys. And so I started thinking about like the last year for me and, um, the leadership lessons that I’ve had to learn. So we’ll get into that. Um, what I’d love to do is just give you a little bit of context on, um, like what I’ve been challenged with over the last, and if, you know, there’s some mentors listening, they’re well familiar with this, but what’s basically happened with TwoBrain, and you guys have seen this from the inside, is we went from 20 gyms three years ago to over 500 now. And that’s meant that the company has leveled up. You know, and that’s my, that I’ve had to level up my leadership skills. But stuff that I learned in the gym one-on-one has certainly been helpful, you know, as formed a basis for all this stuff. But it wasn’t enough.

Chris:                                         03:25                       And so most of you guys know that I have some, some big, well known mentors like Dan Martell. And now my mentor is Marcy Swenson and all we talk about for $1,400 an hour is leadership. And every call, what I do is I bring a certain scenario to her and we’ll walk through it. And I’m usually taking notes so quickly that I have like a script almost by the end. And these aren’t always things that I have to tell my staff. Sometimes it’s like, well how can I make this better for the client? Or how can we make sure that we improve this next time? That kind of thing. Um, so that has really been super valuable to me and I’ve been sharing a lot of that stuff with the mentors. But I want to share it with you guys, especially with so many of you reaching the tinker phase so quickly.

Chris:                                         04:12                       I’m really, really proud of that and I’m going to be talking more to you guys about leadership, but I think this is stuff that everybody can learn. So why now? Well, the main thing is that when I published the article “why your rules don’t work” this week, I started getting a lot of questions and I’m always surprised when I publish something that seems so obvious that so many people you know want to argue about it or like just don’t understand it. And I think I’m preaching to the choir here because most of you guys understand now like why you need roles and tasks and why you need a staff playbook. And why consistency is more important than everything else. Right? Like you guys get it, but not everybody does. And so when I write these articles, that feedback that I usually get is misunderstanding. And most of the time the problems that they’re having are not that they don’t have the rules.

Chris:                                         05:03                       It’s a problem of leadership. And I think what we’re actually building here are leaders. I think that one of the best reasons anybody can open a business or become an entrepreneur is to learn crazy valuable leadership lessons that they’ll carry the rest of their lives. Whether they open five more businesses, whether they take a business from, you know, me and Danny and Jay to crazy smart people around the world. Um, you know, these are, these are lessons that you’ll always have. And so I want to talk more about these leadership lessons too. So I’m not going to spend a million years introducing this. I just want you guys to know like why this is coming up so much right now. The other thing too is my new book is coming out in about four weeks: “Founder, farmer, tinker, thief.” And the book is really about filters.

Chris:                                         05:51                       So, you know, there’s so much out there right now about entrepreneurship and leadership and you know, popular speakers have made entrepreneurship and leadership cool. But there’s almost so much that it’s hard to know what to apply and when and it’s all well meaning, right? Like, you know, I just, I just listened to “can’t hurt me” by David Goggins and probably five of you told me that I needed to read this book and for the first two hours of listening to it, I was in trance. It was awesome. And this, the story is great, but now five hours in, I’m saying, is he going to say anything new? Like, do I have to finish this book to, can I move on to something else? And what I want to do for you guys is be that filter. And, none of us can read every single book that’s out there.

Chris:                                         06:35                       Not Anymore. None of us can take that stuff and filter it or distill it. And we all want to read more, but we don’t have time. And so what I want to do for you guys is like continue to take these best lessons and teach them to you in the context of gym Ownership. So thanks for letting me do that. The very first one that I want to go through with you guys is clarity. So whenever you run into a problem in the gym, if somebody doesn’t do what you expected them to, either good or bad or somebody didn’t live up to your expectations or somebody didn’t complete a task, the first thing that you have to ask yourself is did they know exactly what to do? Now, the reason that we address that so early in the incubator is because these mistakes get really, really, really expensive when you’re focused on growth for a couple reasons.

Chris:                                         07:24                       Number one, if you’re bringing new clients in, you know, you’re using to brand marketing and like, wow, 20 new people came through the door this month, but nobody’s emptying the garbages in, in your restroom. Then those, that mistake becomes super expensive because their first impression is not good. If, um, let’s say that you’re bringing 20 new people in and you don’t have reliable coaches who are going to greet these people and care for them and embrace them. And so you have to get sucked in to coach every class to make sure that these new people have the best experience. That has a very, very expensive mistake because you could be doing other things. You could be focused more on sales, marketing, whatever. Right? So the first thing I want you to have is I want you to have the understanding that if somebody doesn’t do what you want them to do, it’s very rarely out of spite.

Chris:                                         08:16                       It’s not because they’re trying to screw you. It’s not because they’re asserting their authority. You know, they’re not your teenager, the reason that they’re doing something wrong, it’s because they don’t know the right answer. And it’s our job to tell them the right answer. Just as we tell our clients, here’s how to squat, you have to show your staff, here is how you empty the wastebasket. You have to show them as many ways as it takes. And one of the questions that I got this week was like, when should we give up on a staff member if they’re not just, if they’re just not doing the job. And there are actually four steps that I go through. The first is I ask myself, how have I clearly told them what to do? Do they have like a written document or a video or something that shows them what perfect looks like?

Chris:                                         09:04                       The second thing is, have I given them context? Have I given them an emotional reason to succeed? So do they understand how a client’s day can be ruined if they get in the shower and the shower is filthy from the guy before them? The third thing I do is I ask, does the staff person understand the consequences of not doing a good job? You know, do they know why it’s important and do they do they know that I’ll fire them if they’re not doing a good job? And the fourth step is would this person be happier as a client? So when I’m, when I’m going through a situation where I’m not really sure why somebody is not doing, you know, the thing that I think they should be doing first, I assume that I haven’t told them clearly enough. Second, I assume that I haven’t given them a good enough reason to do it that way.

Chris:                                         09:52                       Third, I assume that they don’t understand the consequences and fourth, I move on. Okay. So in your gym, these look like writing down your mission, writing down your vision for success, recording what your values are and sharing them with your staff. It means having recorded standard operating procedures. It means regularly communicating all of those things. Even when you think, like Dave Henry said this morning, even when you think they get it, they know this what I’ve told them before, why aren’t they doing it? You have to revisit those standard operating procedures at least every year, you know, and that was a great post that he made. So you also have to ask yourself, what don’t I know? For example, if a client is routine or a staff person is routinely showing up late for, um, you know, to teach a class or whatever and you’ve been over them and they use it, they say, yeah, I know.

Chris:                                         10:44                       I know I have to get here before you take drastic action and cut them out of your life. You have to ask yourself, what don’t I know about their life? And this is a very important lesson taught to me by Josh Price, who is like our vision, mission, leadership guru who I turn to to all the time when I’m struggling with these things is first ask yourself, what don’t I know about the situation? And what this all leads to you guys have picked it up is you need to sit down with people regularly, talk to them, show them the way, okay?Show them your vision for their career. Show them the horizon, showed them the steps to get there. Make sure that they understand that they’re important to you, all right? And, uh, if they’re making mistakes, assume that they don’t know what to do. So the second thing that I’ve had to learn this year, um, through both lesson and by screwing this up a lot is communication.

Chris:                                         11:39                       So the first thing is clarity. The second is communication. And what I was taught when I went to San Francisco and visited Thumbtack was, this: as your company scales up (and Thumbtack went from like two employees to 20 to 200 to 2000. Really, really quickly,) what I learned there was that internal communication usually gets lost. So thumbtack was growing and these guys were eating up market share. They had a couple of big competitors that are producing a ton of media. But like why thumbtack, here’s how easy it is, here’s how reliable we are, here’s how strong our filters are. And um, the problem was that the founder wasn’t talking to his own staff. And so the rule he gave me was super powerful. He said, if you spend five hours a week talking to people outside your company, then you need to spend five hours a week talking to people inside your company.

Chris:                                         12:30                       If you realize as a CEO that like you have to repeat your message over and over on various media before everybody gets it. Then you have to realize that as a leader you have to do the same thing with your people. So at the time he was producing like a podcast to people about hiring and HR. He was writing emails everyday like you know, not as good as love letters that you guys, right, but you know, emails they were shooting, they’re doing a ton on youtube at the time, but none of that was actually staff facing. It was all potential client facings, all sales stuff. So what he did was he asked himself like, how can I run a podcast just for my staff? And what he does on the way to work now is he pulls out his phone, he records a two to three minute voice memo and he sends it to all of his staff.

Chris:                                         13:17                       Like all 2000 people are on one text thread with this guy. Then every time he writes like a promotional piece that go to future clients, he writes an internal piece, you know? And so what I started doing is writing a digest to the mentoring team every Friday. and, every time he did a live video for his clients, he would do a live video for his staff, like a Q and a or an open office hour. And you know, after I do this video, every Monday I go right into our mentors private Facebook group and do on there too. I learned that. But what I’ve also learned is that we have to hold our people just as accountable for communication as we’re holding ourselves. So that means we have to give them the tools to talk to one another. As you get bigger and you introduce a management layer into your business, like a GM, you need to show people a hierarchy.

Chris:                                         14:11                       And I know we’re all crossfit and we hate that stuff and that’s so corporate. Uh, but the bottom line is like if your people don’t know who to talk to, they’ll talk to the wrong people and they’ll share the wrong message. And usually that message is one of frustration and angst. And I don’t know what he’s doing. I don’t know what’s happening. Why is he making these choices? Okay? You need to give your staff very clear, uh, examples of like, here’s the communication pathway and if something’s not going right, here’s who you talk to. And then you need to make sure that you’re investing in those conversations. So if you don’t have time to do all those conversations yourself, as much as would love to, you have to make sure that they have a point of contact that they can go to with questions that they can go to with anxiety or I’m not sure how to make more money.

Chris:                                         15:01                       Okay, now it has a gym owner. Maybe that’s you. And you want to sit down with every code, all of your coaches, every single quarter. And you want to do the career roadmap for them. And you want to work backward from the career road map and say, here are the steps to getting there. And then you want to celebrate bright spots just like you do with your clients. But if you hire a GM, then you have to make sure that your GM is also doing those things because they can’t just stop. So Josh has a question before I go on to number three. The biggest thing I hear on calls with regards to this as the discipline piece, what is the appropriate discipline for these situations? And then the follow through. So the discipline is a tough one because you, you can’t really discipline somebody who’s not an employee, right?

Chris:                                         15:42                       I mean, all you can really do is remove them from your team. Now if there’s subcontractor that’s not too hard. Um, I don’t like confrontational interactions even though I’m getting a lot better at them. And that’s something that I practice all the time. But the bottom line is like, you have to ask yourself, what is the best thing for my client here? And so actually Joshy you know, one of the questions I got yesterday was I have a bad coach. I know there are a bad coach. I don’t want to coach the 6:00 AM class anymore. I’m going to have to, if I fire them. and, they referred like two other clients in the past. You guys know the story. The bottom line is your duty is to provide the best service for your best clients. And you know, hopefully that means the majority of your clients.

Chris:                                         16:31                       And so your duty is to not just put forth the best coaches, but also to remove the worst ones and to constantly be reading your garden, not just planting new seeds. So your primary duty is to remove that person. Now I think that your responsibility to that person is to ask them, do you understand what I expect of you? Okay, so you start with that first. You ask yourself, have I clearly told them? If you think that you have told them exactly what to do, then you ask them, have I clearly told you what my expectation is? Or do you understand exactly what I expect of you in this situation? And I think a lot of the time you’ll be surprised to find the answer is no. Now, if they’re doing bad behavior, no. If they’re sleeping with your members are stealing money, then the answer’s obvious.

Chris:                                         17:20                       Like you, you remove them right away. But if it’s just a coach who’s not quite getting it and he’s not, he’s not wearing shoes. We used to deal with that with boxes all the time. My coach shows up all the time and I can’t get him to put a shirt on. Huh. Um, then you go through the same steps. You know, what don’t they know? What have I not clearly explained to them? And, did I give them an emotional reason for succeeding? And, do they understand the consequence and you know, will I follow through on the consequence? So the consequences in my mind is not like written warnings. If you have employees though, you’re going to have to go through that process of like, am I going to write you up twice before I fire you so I don’t get sued? Okay. So the law will determine your responsibility there.

Chris:                                         18:04                       If it’s a subcontractor, I like to give them the opportunity to fire themselves and of Jamie’s watching, um, he actually just went through something like this, at catalyst not too long ago where he sat down with them. This coach had been canceling her Friday night classes all the time or trying to get other coaches and Jamie was just like jumping in and taking them a lot. And um, finally he sat down with her and said like, are you happy? You know, are you happy doing this? Because people, when it comes down to it, they don’t care about your gym. They don’t care about you that they care about themselves first. And that has, I didn’t mean that to sound as harsh as it probably did, but the bottom line is like, if they’re not happy, then the best thing you can do for them is to give them an easy way out.

Chris:                                         18:48                       That saves. There you go. So in this case, Jamie said, um, you know, would you be happier as a client? And she said, yeah. And she rejoined the 6:00 AM class. She’s been working out. Life’s just better. And when people say like, did you get fired? How come you’re off the schedule? She can hold her head high proudly and say, no, I just wanted to be a client again. So it doesn’t always work out that way. But the bottom line is like it has to get done. Okay. So if you have other questions, guys, feel free to just post them. The next thing, the next big lesson of leadership that I’ve had to learn this year is asking for help. And um, so everybody here, everybody on my team knows that I have mentors, I have mentors for different areas of life. I have tax mentors and financial CFO and Mike Lee Mentors me on process a lot.

Chris:                                         19:42                       Uh, but also have like external mentors like Marcy Swenson. And I’m glad to find this out because I would have had a mentor either way. But it’s really important for your staff to know that you are investing in yourself as a leader and in the platform that you’re providing for them. So for example, when you’re starting the incubator, you should tell your staff, I’m doing this thing because I want to create a better way for you to make more money, or I want to create a better career for you, or I want to be a better leader for you. Or if you’re Justin Keane, um, I’m going to be home more. I’m going to be a better dad. Okay? That’s still chokes me up. It’s really important that your staff sees this. The more direction you can give your staff, the more clarity surrounding your vision, your mission and your process.

Chris:                                         20:32                       And, the more excited that are going to get, or at least the less scared. What really drives staff away is the unknown. It’s, ah, this guy doesn’t have any vision and I don’t know where we’re going to start to look for visionaries, right? So you have to be really, really good at asking for help first from the outside. Second, you have to be really good at asking for help from the inside. So I want all of you to do one thing this week. I want you to go to a staff person and say, can you help me with this? Okay. A lot of us think that we have to be the expert, but we have to be the one providing the answer and that is dead wrong, okay? Most of the time when somebody brings us a problem, they don’t want us to solve the problem.

Chris:                                         21:17                       Now, that’s counterintuitive for a left brained guy. Like me, you know, if somebody’s complaining about something, I want to say, here’s how you fix it. But most of the time what they really want is just to be heard. And so you need to make them feel like what they’re saying is important to flip that script when you’re encountering something really challenging. One of the best things you can ever do for your staff is say, can I have your help with this? Now you don’t want to say, how would you solve this problem? Because if you go another way and you never take their advice, then you’re proving to them that what they think doesn’t have value. But if you say, can you help me with this? And you work collaboratively on solving a problem, even if you already know the answer, they’re going to think he asked me for help and nothing will make anyone feel as important as that.

Chris:                                         22:07                       So what I want you to remember from this chapter is people will never remember what you said to them. You know, if you blew up one time in anger and you said some stuff that you regret, don’t worry. I’ve done it a thousand times. What they will remember is how you made them feel. And um, if, if you can make them feel important, they’re far more likely to stay with, with you, you know? So don’t just solve people’s problems, listen to them, help them solve the problems, give them a little bit of a lead rope to run with. Ask them how it went, and then finally ask them for help on the next thing too. All right, your people are smart. And one of the, one of the greatest experiences that I ever had was as a very young guy, um, I got a job that I was not qualified for and I went from wearing a Yogi bear costume for the summer to running most of a ski hill.

Chris:                                         23:08                       And this was a, you know, a multimillion dollar, a pretty large resort. I suddenly had 130 staff or I’ve never had a staff of more than like three before. Um, you know, we are responsible for $1 million in rental and lesson revenue every month. Right. I really wasn’t qualified for that. And when I went to the board meetings where the staff meetings, the owner of this resort was kind of this crazy guy, uh, who I still talk to, you know, 20 years later. And, um, this guy was famous for having these crazy tantrums and like he threw, you know, dry erase markers at me from across the room more than once. And, um, the second time I spoke up to him in a meeting and said, I don’t think that’s right. I think we’re losing money on this, you know, and I was only like 22. Um, somebody beside me was like, you gotta just shut up or else we’re going to be here all day.

Chris:                                         24:03                       And the owner, JJ, said, I’m not scared to work with powerful people. The reason that you’re all here is because you’ll speak up when I say the wrong thing. And you know, now that at TwoBrain, if you think of the team that surrounds me, these are brilliant entrepreneurs, successful entrepreneurs, and these guys have done things right that I haven’t even thought about, right? They’ve avoided mistakes that I stuck my foot in. You can’t be scared to work with brilliant people and working with brilliant people means listening to them, getting their help and letting them know when they’re brilliant, you know? Alright. Learn to ask for help more often. I mean, you guys all know my story right there. The gym was practically bankrupt. Like we couldn’t buy groceries until I finally asked for help. Nobody has done that worse than I have by all means.

Chris:                                         24:53                       All right, so the fourth tip is, uh, so the first one is clarity. The second is communication. The third is asked for help first. The fourth is dig deep to build a moat. All right? So the, the coolest new buzzword out there right now I think is build a moat, right? And I love talking to John Franklin. The guy is just so cool. I would never have been able to come within 10 lockers of this guy in high school. He’s so cool. And these are, this is like the phrase that he’ll use, oh. TwoBrain has this massive moat and what he’s really talking about is like trust, right? We, we’ve worked for a very long time to establish this foundation of trust. And when people sign up, it’s not because they saw an amazing ad, maybe that’s what led them to the phone, but, um, they’ve, they’ve seen this entire platform that thank goodness has helped them know, like, and trust us.

Chris:                                         25:44                       Okay? So what we want to do is build that relationship of knowing, liking and trusting with our staff. And um, years ago I had a personal training client named John and John had a single kid, a daughter, Allie, that he was super proud of. And John would come see me every Friday and one Friday he invited me to her wedding. Now I had never even barely met his family before, right. And I felt kind of weird. Like, dude, I’m your personal trainer. You, you’re inviting me to her wedding. And he said, you know, I’ve been training with you for six years. You probably know more about, her then her husband does because we talk about her all the time. And when I found crossfit, one of the things that attracted me to Greg was when he was talking about our relationship with our clients and how deep that gets and how we can get in there.

Chris:                                         26:33                       He said more than their therapist, you know more than their spouse, sometimes it, how many people on the call right now have been told about a pregnancy before anybody else. Right? The client comes in, I need to talk to you for a second, I’m pregnant. And you’re like, you know, you’re all excited and you’re in the secret with them and, and you’re trying not to show because they haven’t told the world yet. And like, you know, before her mom knows and maybe before her husband knows whatever, right? You guys have all had that experience before. You’re the first one to know that is crazy and we get that and we should have that with our staff too. So it’s really crazy important here that you understand first, what is your staff hoping to get? Okay. So “what do you want now?” Is the title of the seminar I used to teach back when we did seminars.

Chris:                                         27:24                       That is the most important question in entrepreneurship. What do you want now? So every three months when you sit with your staff person, I want you to say, what do you want now? Because they often change when I get on the phone with affiliates that I’ve never met before and always asked this question, who’s helping you? And they’ll name off their staff and I’ll say, would any of those people like to make a full time career? And you guys know what’s going to happen, right? We’re going to start personal training or we’re going to start marketing. And there’s these opportunities will exist where they didn’t before. And they’ll say, oh, I don’t think so. I don’t know. Maybe, maybe Jimmy. They don’t even know what their staff want. So every quarter you have to sit down with your staff and start with what do you want.

Chris:                                         28:13                       Now the next question you have to ask them is why do you want that? And people change over time. You know, we can assume that somebody wants to, same thing they did six months ago, but what doesn’t change is people’s values and motivation in life. And so if somebody says to you, I really need a salary right now, it might not be because they’re just trying to make more money. It could be because they’re trying to buy a house or maybe, you know, in one case in my gym, uh, he had a little baby, she was one year old and in Canada after a year, um, the mum goes back to work and his wife was getting close to that point. And I’ve been there and it’s horrible. I can’t imagine how you ladies do it in the states, you know, after six or eight weeks.

Chris:                                         29:03                       But anyway, um, so he said, I need a raise. And if I hadn’t probe deeper, if I hadn’t dug in, I would never have built the moat that wound up surrounding me with that guy. And this guy and I traveled together for years. You know, we stayed in hotel rooms and talked about ignite and cognitive training and all kinds of stuff. Um, and we still have a good friendship specifically because, um, you know, I, I knew what his motivations were and I would never have guessed them. Dig deep to build a moat after you know their why, then you have a sticky relationship with them. And from there it’s your job to say, here’s how we’re going to get you there. All right, so we’re going to take out our, um, how to make a career in coaching the career-o-matic is Brian and I like to call it, and you’re going to say, okay, here are your goals.

Chris:                                         29:57                       You’re going to have a baby this year and you need a new car. And that means you need to make $50,000. Here’s how we’re going to do. And you’re going to pull out your little spreadsheet that I made. So it’s rudimentary. It’s not pretty like Anastasia spreadsheets. And you’re going to say $50,000 on the top line. And then you’re going to say personal training. I think we could get you five clients a week. So here’s what you’re going to earn from that $250. And I can give you four classes a week that you’re not already doing. And the kids program, you know, if you, if you talk to Gretchen, we can get that thing going. And here’s what I forecast we can do nowhere else in their life are the, is somebody taking the time to say, here is how I’m going to help you achieve your goals.

Chris:                                         30:43                       It’s true of your clients. And you guys hear me rave about this all the time in the incubator, but it’s also true of your staff and it’s also true of you. And that’s why your mentor does that exercise with you in December or January. First we go through your emotional reasons to succeed and then we break down the steps to get there and then we give you metrics that you have to hit to get there. You need to do those same things with your staff. All right? The next piece is, um, the tools that you give to your staff to help them know when they’re being successful. So digging this mode means also telling them you did that, right? Okay? So I want you to establish like what the KPIs are in your business and which ones you’ll share with your staff. For example, you might decide that your KPIs are arm, leg profit, gross revenue and number of clients.

Chris:                                         31:36                       Okay, I’ll give you that one. Which one of those do you want to share with your staff? Well, ARM we can share no problem. LEG, we can share. No problem. Number of members, we have no problem. Do you want to share your total revenue? It’s up to you. It depends on the staff, right? And then you want to tell the staff, here’s how you can influence these numbers. So if the staff’s career-o-matic says that they have, they’re going to take five personal training clients a week, then you’re going to say, here’s my plan to get you there. I work with and my mentor and I have this goal to hit 10 personal training clients by March. Here’s our plan. What else do you want to know? All right. Give them some confidence in your leadership and then say, here’s how we know if we’re being successful.

Chris:                                         32:17                       So, um, my friend nick who owns the tire store, nick, I don’t know if you’re on here. Um, he’s got a whiteboard. You know, at the end of the day he can wipe out that big 80 and he can write 76 if they did for jobs that day. And the staff see that and they know like, wow, we’re making progress here. You know, the science of motivation really boils down to this. It’s hard, but you can do it and then proving it. So if we show people like you’re being successful, success precedes motivation, they’re more likely to want to do it, okay? And so it keeps them engaged. So the four rules here are clarity, communication, ask for help. First, dig deep to build a moat. And finally the only two words that really, really matter, but of all the hundreds of leadership books, seminars, ted talks, whatever, there’s really only two words that matter and they are following.

Chris:                                         33:12                       You have to set the footsteps in place for your clients to follow or for your staff to follow. You have to be the leader. Now that can’t mean that you disengage your team. And you run on up ahead and you climb the cliff face and then you turn around and say, hey guys, the view up here is amazing. If you can figure out how to join me, come up. He can’t do that. What you have to do is stay a step or two ahead of your staff and no more. It’s important that they see you leading from the front so they have footsteps to follow because we learn our behavior through modeling. You know, it’s one thing to tell people what to do, it’s quite another to exemplify that behavior. But if they can’t see you because you’re so far ahead, if you haven’t communicated what you’re doing or what the sales staff is doing or how much personal training you’re doing, they will lose sight of you.

Chris:                                         34:11                       And if you’re not turning around now and then and saying, here’s the map guys, remember, here’s the vision, here’s our goal, here’s our mission. They will lose sight of those things. And so you need to be communicating those things to them as often as you’re communicating to your clients and your other, your non-clients through media. You know, think about the time that you spent posting to Instagram today. Time yourself as longer than you think it’s, it’s 11 or 12 minutes for every post. Have you spent 11 or 12 minutes communicating your vision to your staff today? I doubt it. I haven’t, right? So I need to do that. We all need to do that and I’m going to dedicate myself to doing that because I know it’s my responsibility to put those tracks in place. All right? So there’s a couple of things that you need to focus on when it comes to follow me.

Chris:                                         35:05                       The first one is you’re not above any work, so it might not be your job to empty the garbage is anymore. Okay? It might not be your problem. It might not be responsibility, maybe somebody else’s even being paid to do it. But if you walk back and if you walk past an overfilled trashcan and they’re watching, then you need to do it because it’s your job to show them that it’s not acceptable to walk past and overflowing trashcan. Likewise, if you’re paying somebody to do the programming and you don’t have the programming and time for the morning class, or if there’s a problem, then you need to say to them, here’s the problem. Let’s walk through this together. Give them an opportunity to fix it. But no, you know how to fix it yourself and guide them that way. I’ll tell, I’ll tell you guys, if there’s somebody on this call and they’re saying, man, I need to get better at that, then you’re doing it right.

Chris:                                         35:58                       You should always be questioning yourself as a leader. You should be questioning your motives. You should be questioning your momentum. Am I making enough progress? You should be questioning, you know, the, the, um, the leadership persona that your team sees. Am I showing these people how to be what I want them to be? You should question your ability to share your, their horizon with them so that they understand what you want for them in life. You know, it’s funny, um, I won’t share which meant or this was, but when I finally explained to this person, like, you’re working too much. I want to give you this thing to help you. It wasn’t a shock to me, but it was to her and, and she was really moved by it. So it’s important, not only that you’re sharing like, here’s what you’re doing right, here’s what you’re doing wrong, but also here’s how I’m helping you.

Chris:                                         36:48                       Okay? The only two words that matter when it comes to leadership are follow me. Okay? I said that I want you to live your vision. I want you to be flexible in your methods, but unimpeachable and your beliefs and to also know as Babe Ruth said, that you can’t win the day when the game on yesterday’s home runs. Okay? Eventually as a leader, Opportunity becomes responsibility. And this is something that’s hit me really, really hard the last couple of months is, you know, we built this big mode and after we hit 500 gyms and we started getting approached by, you know, the, the software companies and software developers and like equipment companies and we want to pitch this thing to you. And at first I looked at those things as opportunities and then I looked at them differently and I said that if we’re going to lead us being the 500, then it’s our responsibility to make these people live up to our standard.

Chris:                                         37:46                       You know, it’s, it’s not just enough for us to go begging wodify to tell us the metrics that we need anymore. We, US 500, the few and the powerful, the tip of the spear need to say, if you want to work with us and do this, that rings true of many areas of our business. We need to hold everybody to a higher standard. You need to be looking at your expense sheet every single month and asking, am I receiving good value from this? Um, and you need to say, you know, what can I do to bring all the people up around me? You know, if you’ve got a popular gym and another gym down the street is closing at first, that may seem like a great opportunity to get their members. But if you’re a leader, you’re going to understand that it’s really your responsibility to try and help them if you can.

Chris:                                         38:33                       All right, my last piece of advice, I didn’t want to give this one a number. Uh, I came last year and so Robin and I sponsor some hockey teams and we go way out of our way to give these kids like an amazing experience. And we pay for hotel rooms and sometimes we have to like deliver food to the families. And you know, we dressed the kids up and everything, right? Um, and we’re, we’re thrilled to do it. We don’t want anything in return. That’s not why we’re there, but sometimes the parents complain anyway. And one of these mornings I was feeling really frustrated and I walked into the workshop and Mary who was running the cafe, rolled her eyes and said, Chris, never forget that some of the people, we do this for our assholes. And so on the days when it feels like, man, I, I’ve gone over and above, I can’t go.

Chris:                                         39:20                       I can’t do this anymore. Don’t stop. Just remember that not everyone is good at showing gratitude. Not everybody appreciates why you’re giving them. And some of them are assholes. All right? So if there are any more questions, by all means, please ask them here. Um, what I want you to remember is that mentorship is not a friendship. Friendship brings encouragement. Mentorship brings empowerments and I got that from my new favorite book leader shifts by John Maxwell. All right? Okay. So Nick, for me it’s definitely sharing my vision with them. That’s a problem. I haven’t submitted a way to keep that vision in front of them. Dude, you’re preaching to the choir here. Okay. Um, I am very blessed to have guys like Josh Price and Jeff Smith with a military background on the team because they will call me up and say, what’s your vision again? What’s our mission here?

Chris:                                         40:13                       Why are we doing it like this? Okay, they are, these are powerful people that I am not scared to work with. Now if you ran into these guys in a dark alley, you’d be scared of them right there. They’re big, smart, powerful dudes. But the bottom line is like, um, these guys are constantly asking me and that reminds me to tell the whole team. So here’s what I do first, we have a team digest that goes out every Friday. So I sent an email just to people on the team, here’s what’s happening with this thing. Here’s what we’re doing about it. Okay. And about every third month or so, or I’m sorry, every third email or so, I’ll remind them, here’s how this fits our mission. You know, to serve 1 million entrepreneurs, to get a million entrepreneurs to wealth. And so the questions that I get back are not like, why are we doing this?

Chris:                                         41:00                       But how will this help us fulfill our mission? And they’re always good questions, right? Because they’re always qualified by that. The second thing is you need to repeat that message over and over and over because even though people are reading it, maybe like you and I, you know, they don’t learn by reading, right? So maybe you have to do like a podcast for your staff. Imagine that. Or maybe you have to do like a video message to your staff every single morning. Right. One of the reasons that we started doing this Facebook live and one at every, you know, every day at 2:00 PM is so that we talk about these concepts in an informal way with you and you could ask questions in real time, even though, you know, we do the modules and we do the mentoring and stuff. Sometimes you know, you, you just need to hear it a different way.

Chris:                                         41:46                       And John Gilson, Tommy this, you know, you can be working with a client on their muscle up for two years. You can be doing personal training with them. They can be doing it in class and they’re just not getting that transition. And they, you know, they can do that. 100 ring dips and they can do that. 100 ring pull ups, but they just can’t pull their elbows back. And then one day of visiting coach walks in the door and he says, Oh yeah, Tuck your chin. And the client talks to his chin and they get a muscle up. Well, it doesn’t mean that that other coach was better than you, it’s just that he had words that the client heard instead of your words. People hear things differently. So what I’d like you to do is write down your vision and then I want you to think of two ways you’re going to communicate that to your staff.

Chris:                                         42:29                       Maybe you’re going to do a Facebook live like this and your private coaches group. Maybe you’re going to do an email digest like I do. You know, maybe you’ve got a private slack channel with them. Um, maybe you’ve got something else. Maybe you’re doing a podcast for your staff. Maybe you’re copying thumbtack strategy of like a mini podcast. So I want you to be leaders in your own community. I want you to be leaders in the broader community of gym owners in the movement. I also want you to be leaders in this group, so thanks for participating, asking tough questions and listening.

Speaker 3:                               43:01                       As always, thank you so much for listening to this podcast. We greatly appreciate you and everyone that has subscribed to us. If you haven’t done that, please make sure you do drop a light to that episode. Share with a friend, and if you haven’t already, please write us a review and rate us on how what you think. If you hated it, let us know if you loved it, even better. See you guys later.

 

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What Do Coaches Really Need? — Tools

In Part One of this series, I asked, “What do coaches REALLY need to be successful in the fitness industry?”

 

Of course, the largest thing a coach needs is a business plan, or to work for an owner with one. Without a stable foundation, the best coaches in the world will be forced to work in call centers or bussing tables. I’ll address the financial needs of coaches and owners in Part Four.

 

But successful fitness coaches also need professional tools on top of that business plan. Systems, software and apps have create opportunities for diverse revenue streams that actually help your clients. Coaches are no longer forced to trade their time for money; you don’t have to coach 13 hours every day to make a decent living.

 

Here’s are the tools ALL successful coaches have:

 

The ability to prescribe a nutrition program. Nutrition is the foundation of your clients’ fitness. Professional coaches know that no one can outwork a bad diet. Many gym owners create amazing opportunities for their coaches by signing up with Healthy Steps Nutrition. Others choose to get their coaches certified by Precision Nutrition (a good course, but there’s no business help attached.)
Or you can build client spreadsheets and handouts yourself, and track your clients’ meals on an app like MyFitnessPal.

The ability to assess a client based on what THEY want. Every coach knows that building a program means starting at Point A and working to Point B. Determining the client’s starting point is important for building a program. But most coaches make a huge mistake with their assessments: they test things the client doesn’t care about.
For example, no client says “I just want to move better” when they come in for their first appointment. They’re more likely to say “I want to lose 20 pounds.” But some coaches still perform rehabilitation tests like the FMS instead of taking body fat measurements. That’s crazy: the client doesn’t care whether they can touch their knee on the 2×4. They’re more likely to think “I’m not good enough to do this kind of exercise” than “Wow, that girl is a real expert at weight loss!”
We use the InBody on every client who wants more muscle, less fat, or any kind of visual change. It’s not a cheap piece of equipment, but it’s far more valuable than a few more barbells or Assault Bikes. Even if you use skin fold calipers or measuring tape, you have to measure what the client wants measured.

A clear way to assign homework. For many years, I printed clients’ homework onto a prescription tearaway pad. The pad had my logo on the top (a big green arrow.) The clients would take their homework to the globo-gym, prop it up on the treadmill or squat rack, and record their workout as they went.
Now, it’s far easier to prescribe homework to each client (unless you’re using an app from the CrossFit space. None of the popular ones include a good way to deliver homework beyond the daily WOD scoreboard.)
There are great apps out there. We use Trainerize. Catalyst has a white-label app (it’s just Trainerize with our logo and colors). We prescribe homework for clients who do Personal Training or Nutrition Coaching. The app integrates with MyFitnessPal and a bunch of others. It’s easy to attach demo videos that you make, or already exist elsewhere.
There are other options out there. You need one.

The ability to mentor a client to action. You can call empathy and care “soft skills” if you want to, but they’re really the skills that matter most. A balanced relationship of accountability and care are what makes a great coach. You’re not their friend, but you’re not their boss, either. This is what we develop first in the TwoBrainCoaching program. Because a client has to WANT to come back tomorrow…

 

Continuing education. Certifications and seminars are great. But they’re usually too much at once; as someone who used to run large seminars every month, I know that most attendees retain only a fraction of what’s taught. Coaches are lucky to remember three useful things a week after any seminar, and most aren’t using more than one thing a year later.
The best method for continual coaching development is a slow drip of information and application. A balanced approach (learn something and apply it; learn another thing and apply that) creates long-term growth. Annual seminar weekends have a novelty effect: your coaches replace previous knowledge with new knowledge. For example, after attending a mobility clinic, my coaches began spotting mobility “problems” in every single client. Monthly seminars for your coaches have a compounding affect: each lesson builds on the one before. Coaches gain broader context and can prioritize what’s most important for each client against that backdrop.

 

A way to measure progress. It’s really hard for clients to see their progress from inside their own skin. So you have to show them. That means frequent body fat tests; or applying a performance scale like The Level Method; or diligently applying Bright Spots.
The most important part is that you’re meeting with your clients every quarter to discuss their goals and SHOW them their progress. Many coaches make the mistake of assuming their clients can look at themselves objectively. That’s impossible for humans to do. A key part of retention is making sure your clients know exactly how much they’re progressing.

A way to change course. Nothing works for everyone. If a client doesn’t make progress for three months, you haven’t failed as a coach…unless you don’t alter their plan. If you’re not measuring their progress; meeting with them to discuss their goals; and then creating new plans based on both, you’re not really coaching them. You might be choreographing their classes, or selling them a membership; but is that enough?

Mindset. I mentioned that one of the Tools a coach possesses is mindset. A coach can have different philosophies about how their clients are served.

A method-first mindset: “This program is what I sell. Here’s how this program will solve your problems.” Does CrossFit cure everything? Does Pilates, or Yoga, or Spin? Of course not. But disciples of each discipline want to believe they hold THE answer, because they think that’s their job. Many think they have to talk their clients out of every other avenue to fitness and hold them close to keep them long-term; that’s not true. And no method is best for everyone forever.

A programming-first mindset: a derivative of the method-first mindset. “CrossFit is the best, and we’re the best at coaching CrossFit.” Evidence of this mindset appears on almost every CrossFit gym’s website. Clients visiting the website hear all about why the gym is the best CrossFit gym in town; but see nothing about how the coaches will help them lose weight. The programming-first mindset focuses on features instead of benefits. But clients only care about benefits.

A client-first mindset: “I’ll do anything to get a client to their goal.” Some clients need yoga. Some need weight training. Some need a rest. And all of them need different things at different times. A client-first mindset means the coach views every relationship as a ten-year plan, with ebbs and flows in intensity. They forge partnerships with other coaches. They build new programs and groups around what their clients need, instead of what they think they can sell. And they change a client’s prescription based on their progress. This is tough, but I know examples of Spin Studios who transitioned into CrossFit gyms because the majority of their clients needed CrossFit, not spin classes. Can you imagine making that shift in your practice? What would it take? And what would the penalty be if your clients made the decision to take up Spin instead of CrossFit today?

How do these tools work together to create meaningful careers? That’s part of the gym’s overall business plan, which we build in the Incubator. Which of these tools are you already using?

TwoBrain Marketing Episode 1: Sherman Merricks

TwoBrain Marketing Episode 1: Sherman Merricks

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This is our first episode of Two-Brain Marketing, our NEW podcast dedicated specifically to attracting new members.

Announcer:                            00:02                       Welcome everyone to TwoBrain Radio. It is our mission at TwoBrain to provide 1 million entrepreneurs the freedom to live the life that they choose. Join us every week as we discover the very best practices to achieve perfect day and move you closer to wealth.

Mateo:                                      00:26                       All right, so we’re here with Sherman Merricks, TwoBrain mentor, extraordinaire and owner of dynasty crossfit. So Sherman, for those of the, for those listening who don’t know, I mean I think you’ll do have a kind of prolific internet presence, but for those who don’t know, you know, who are you, how long have you been in business? Tell us a little about your, your story, finding crossfit and, and, and your gym.

Sherman :                                00:52                       Yeah, I’m married. I live in Gainesville, Florida. We own dynasty crossfit and my wife and I, we’ve had our gymfor seven, eight years. We’ve been affiliate, you know, sort of that typical story from back then you could start your garage. That’s what we did. On our garage , we’d been slowly but surely building this thing up to what it is today. I was actually doing crossfit for a couple of years before I even knew where to what a, you know, what an affiliate was and that type of thing. It’s been a great run. You know, I’ve been with two brain for awhile. No for awhile. And excited about this. A little podcast right here to talk about some cool things that you guys have in store.

Mateo:                                      01:39                       And so how long have you been involved with TwoBrain?

Sherman :                                01:42                       Hmm Man. I mean I’ve been with TwoBrain since day one. Coop. Chris Cooper has been my mentor before TwoBrain. I would imagine if I had to put a number on it. I mean I’ve been with Coop probably four or five years right around there.

Mateo:                                      01:57                       And how has your business, I guess changed like before TwoBrain and then after TwoBrain, you know, what were the differences in your business and then I guess, uh, your lifestyle, your quality of life. Can you tell us a little about that?

Sherman :                                02:10                       Yeah, definitely. So before TwoBrain, it was sorta the typical, you know what, I opened a gym for me. I opened the gym from the beginning because I’ve sort of always known I wanted to be my own boss. I wanted to be an entrepreneur. And the barrier to entry to open up an affiliate was so low, alright man, this is my shot right here. You know, like I like fitness, I want to run a business. So you know, I sort of combined those two. And like I said, we started off small in my garage, you know, I was working a job and training in the afternoon and all of that type of stuff. But we came, my wife and I, we sort of came to a turning point when my wife, she became pregnant with our second child, which is our daughter.

Sherman :                                02:48                       And we had to make a decision, right? If she was going to go back to work or what was going to happen. And honestly, my wife, she made quote unquote the money back then, but I just couldn’t imagine staying on that track of going to work at eight and nine and stand there all day doing office work and going home every day at five or six being miserable. So we decided that we’re going to, you know, start the gym in the garage and that’s what we did. So basically once she came home for maternity leave, I was like, Hey, now’s the time we had to go all in and I quit my job as well. So young couple, no income, two kids. But that was sort of a blessing in and of itself because a failure really wasn’t an option. Right. We did not have a choice why there was no, there was no one that would, you know, give us money and things like that.

Sherman :                                03:42                       So that really lit a fire up under me, of course. And my wife as well. And we’ve been, you know, we’ve been blessed ever since. We’ve been growing and learning and that type of stuff. And I’ve always known, you know, I’ve always had mentors, whether that personally, professionally. So when I got into this, I actually had another, um, I was working with another company, we’ll call it a mentorship. Um, I was working with another company because I’ve always known I needed help. So I’ve always been doing something. And then I met Coop at a, uh, met Coop at, some type of seminar or something. He came down to Florida and my wife and I, you know, we sort of clicked in. We’d been with TwoBrain ever since.

Mateo:                                      04:23                       And what were the changes? You know, I, I know you, you and I have talked previously, but I know you were working a lot in the gym and I know it wasn’t always so easy.

Sherman :                                04:34                       Um, so what were the changes that you saw after starting to work with, you know, the mentorship program in the incubator? Oh yeah, man, definitely. So, I mean, when we first started it was, I was the coach, programmer, cleaner, social media person. Actually that’s my wife. You’re in charge of that. Um, but basically we did everything, right? Like, one of my most vivid memories is cleaning the gym every single night with the mop, regardless of how long the day was. Right. So I would coach the 6:00 AM you know, and then, you know, we coached throughout the day and then at night after the last class I would have to stay back and mop the floor with the mop. I remember that. Just thinking about it makes me sort of cringe a, I can’t believe that I did that or you know, I probably did it for about a year, two years, probably like two years because I’ve been there for sure.

Sherman :                                05:25                       That’s sort of one thing that we still behind. You don’t have an a clean gym and you know, clean bathroom, all that stuff. And Man, just doing that on top of everything else would just make the day’s so long. So I was basically just in survival mode for years.. Just trying to grow the business and the little down time that I had to make sure that, you know, people were coming in, payments going through, trying to gain new members. I’m able to really just looking back now, it was just like, it was really just a mess, but you do what you have to do and you know, to get things done. But like I said, I was looking for something different. Actually one of my, one of the guys that I know, he’s like, hey, you should come down to my gym. So a seminar, uh, this Guy Chris Cooper has come in and I think you will like him.

Sherman :                                06:08                       So I’m like, yeah, I don’t have anything to lose. I’m always trying to learn something. And so we went to that seminar and you know, listening to some of the things that Chris was saying really resonated. My wife and I, we did not want to be tied to the gym 24-7, you know, we wanted to grow the right way. Just not, you know, say we have 200 members, but we can’t make money. We can’t feed our kids. We can’t save for retirement. All of that stuff. And Chris was talking about that stuff, um, way back then. And then since then, you know, like I said to Barry for awhile and now to where we are today, you know, sort of fast forward, I want to bore you too much. But you know, now I don’t coach any classes, and I’m , you know, not needed in the day to day.

Sherman :                                06:49                       Um, however I am still president, my gym, you know, I think it’s cool for people to sort of do what works for them. You know, I really don’t have a preference to be totally removed from my gym, not in the gym ever most days. But I know some guys, they frigging don’t do anything with their gym. You know, someone, a mentor, they don’t do anything. Someone else is running it. And I have,, you know, I have a general manager and all of that stuff, operation director and I have all of that, but I still like to be involved in the gym, hang around in the community some and stuff like that. But man, my life is so different now. You know, like, you know, like I love to travel my family and I, so we, you know, we travel probably four or five weeks a year and all that type of stuff and you know, the gym runs just fine without me.

Sherman :                                07:32                       Um, and that’s really a testament to the years of hard work and learning and growing and trying to, you know, get this thing to where I want to be. That’s sort of where I am today.

Mateo:                                      07:43                       And so you were saying before the gym wasn’t making as much money, you were in the gym day in and day out, doing all the, all the roles and tasks. Now I guess what I’m hearing you say is it’s a lot different. You’re, you’re moved to you, you choose to be in when you want to be in, but you can leave and go on vacation when you want to. And the businesses make enough money to be able to support you and your family. Is that correct? Correct. That’s great man. And so tell me a little bit about, tell me a little bit about your experience trying to grow some of your programs. We’re going to talk about the paid advertising strategies that you’ve been able to implement with two brain marketing. But I want to first hear more about, you know, your, you’re super charismatic guy, you’re great on camera. How are, you know, before really pushing heavily with paid advertising, how would you grow your programs? How would you market at your gym?

Sherman :                                08:33                       Yeah, so that, you know, this is a great question because I think that like, I like the paid advertising, but I also really enjoy doing the organic stuff. Now I will say if one of the biggest differences is, you know, the organic stuff is very, very difficult. It takes years and years to hone in. I wish I would’ve found paid advertising a little bit earlier. Um, but you know, with my organic stuff, like I still do a lot of organic stuff now. If you guys don’t know what organic quote unquote stuff we were talking about is, you know, a lot of, some of the programs I run, I don’t, I don’t run any paid advertising and we still have great turnout and stuff like that and great signups.

Sherman :                                09:09                       But one of the biggest keys to my success has been, you know, keeping an email list and really continuing to put out content for people that can really benefit them. Not just when I’m trying to get them to sign up for something. Right. So some of the things that I really implemented, you know, like I enjoy going live, right? I enjoy being on being on camera. I’m comfortable in front of the camera. So we try to get on it, interact with people as much as possible if I’m being honest. You know, we’ve gotten away from that a little bit just because paid advertising is so good. But it’s funny that we’re doing this little interview right now because we’re actually running a a weight loss program here soon and I’m only doing, you know, for the most part, organic marketing. And like I said, we’ve just, we’ve only been marketing it for about not even a week and we already have like three sign ups already and we’re going to promote it for like six weeks.

Sherman :                                10:00                       So our goal is to get, you know, 25-30 sign ups at the price. We were asking and I think a lot of gyms could benefit from really understanding how to utilize the, how to utilize the organic market in. Because when you can put the organic marketing with paid marketing, then you have a recipe for success that’s hard to match.

Mateo:                                      10:19                       So when you’re talking about creating content for people in your audience and your use your newsletter list, what’s the stuff you put out when you go live? What are you talking about?

Sherman :                                10:29                       Yeah, so here’s the thing that I think a lot of people complicate and over complicate. You know, as fitness professionals, most of us take stuff for granted, right? They take information for granted that we know it’s second nature to us, but to the common person, you know, just how to prepare their plate is a huge deal.

Sherman :                                10:48                       Right? So I go on and just talk about anything really. You know, if someone asks me a question in the gym one day, I was like, oh, all right, I’m going to go live with it. I’m going to talk about, you know, she just said, what type of foods should I eat at night? Or what’s the latest I should eat at night? It’s basic stuff. You know, one thing I will say about the live videos, they’re sort of better when you can sort of announced them because it’s not, and I don’t want to say better to just have a little more interaction when you can announce them because the people that want to watch them, they will actually get on at that time and they’ll interact with you as opposed to when you just jump on a live. Like I do a lot of times, uh, you know, I won’t have a lot of interaction while I’m on there.

Sherman :                                11:29                       So I sorta just me talking into my phone, out of the camera. But people will pop on and then people will go back and watch it and then questions and comments that come up. But honestly, I just talk about anything that could be beneficial to my future clients. Right. I’m a potential client.

Mateo:                                      11:47                       So what you’re saying is you basically you’re surveying your current clients and seeing, okay, what are the questions I’m getting most often from the people who already are our existing clients. And I think the lodge there as well. If my current clients have these questions, prospective clients are probably going to have these two. And so you’re, you’re kind of creating the content, the videos, the things you’re talking about, the emails or writing about based off of that feedback. Is that correct?

Sherman :                                12:12                       Correct.

Mateo:                                      12:13                       That’s great man. That’s great man. Awesome. So now I’d like to talk a little bit more about, actually before we move on for people want to try this out. What’s your process? Do you like you blast a post out saying, hey, we’re going to go live talking about how to eat after 5:00 PM and that goes out 10 hours before or whatever it is. Like what’s the, what’s the process?

Sherman :                                12:34                       You know what I would do get the most bang for your buck is posted on your, um, on your social media sites like a day before if you can, you know, if you’re gonna go live on Tuesday, post on Monday, say, hey guys, tomorrow we’re going to be talking about how, what type of foods to eat after 5:00 PM or are we going to call it about how to really get shredded it for the summer. Something called summer shred, right? I’m going to talk about that tomorrow at 5:00 PM and then the day of you post it again and I like to post everything from my, from my personal page as well.

Sherman :                                13:09                       So I’ll post it from, I’ll post it from the business page, then I’ll share it on my personal page. Of course, I’m asking, you know my members to share it. I’m, you know, my wife is going to share it. A coach is going to share it because I think for the most part, we as gym owners, we don’t like asking people to do stuff, but if we don’t ask them, they’re not going to do it. But if we ask them, most will do it. So you know, all of my members would tell you I don’t have an issue with asking them to do anything. Right? Like Hey, oh we’re going to be running this program. Tell your friend posted on your page, Hey posted on your page again. Right? Because a, that’s how you read people that cause the people that want to get in shape man.

Sherman :                                13:48                       Like that’s the thing. It’s not really about crossfit and barbells and all that. If you are talking about a solution to their problems, people are going to come in and to talk to you. Right. So I think it’s hard to come back to your question if you have to be sharing it across a lot of different avenues on social media, but you need more than just you sharing it. You need your coaches, you need your clients in that type of thing right there. Okay, cool. So what you’ll do is you’ll basically say, hey, we got this thing we’re going to run with your people in your, in your captive audience know first your clients and then they share it. Help get the word out and then you know, you have a little bit of time to collect some. Yeah. Get some, some anticipation going in and people looking forward to see what you’re going to have to say.

Sherman :                                14:34                       You know, one of the biggest things is, you know, like used to it, like I consider myself fairly good on camera, but there’s still a piece of me that gets sort of hesitant when I get, when I get ready to make a video or something, I’m like, man, no one wants the feed is, well, how am I going to look? You know, how’s it going to? But really once you get on, if you’re really, you know, genuinely trying to help people, it’s going to turn out fine. Right. It doesn’t mean the video is going to be perfect or anything like that, but it’s going to help to someone and that’s all, you know, if I’d get on and speak to one person at a time, that’s totally fine. I was one person that I helped, you know.

Mateo:                                      15:07                       Awesome. So how has your business changed since joining? What is your experience been with paid advertising prior to doing the two main marketing course? And, uh, how has your business changed since implementing some of the strategies that we teach?

Sherman :                                15:25                       Yeah, so I think that before, before I was working with too many marketing, you know, we basically did, I didn’t know real paid advertising. I would boost some posts. I would boost some posts. You know, back when people were, I don’t even know people still boost posts, right? Oh, I would boost some posts. You, I was like, all right, I’ve made like a pretty good post. No rhyme or reason to it. This, all right, I’m going to put $20 to it see how many people would comment. Right. I wasn’t even trying to really get people to sign up. I’m just trying to get more traffic to my page. And like we talked about, most of my programs were selling out with only organic marketing. So I wasn’t too concerned about honestly paid advertising until you and John, you know, I watched some of you guys stepping out, hey, these guys are killing it.

Sherman :                                16:07                       I need to really look at this. You know, if I can grow my business like these guys have. So, you know, I jumped on TwoBrain Marketing and now it’s like, it’s a different, it’s just a totally different animal as far as the, the number of leads coming in, uh, the way that we have to deal with them and all of that stuff. So beforehand there was not a lot of, there was not a lot of paid advertising going. Like I said, I would really only boost a post and then until I sign up with, to bring in marketing, now it’s just a lot of work has to be done right to really see the benefits of it, you know?

Mateo:                                      16:40                       And so what I guess before we talk about actually, yeah. Can you tell us a little bit more about that work when you run paid ads? I guess before we talk about that, what exactly do you sell and how do you sell it? I’d like to talk more about, you know, what’s your front end offer? What do people come to you most often looking for you to solve? What do you, what are you selling? How do you sell it?

Sherman :                                17:00                       Yeah, great question. So we are really selling a solution to weight loss problems. For the most part, right? At my gym we don’t target males, right? Just a and not that we don’t have males in the gym, we just don’t pay to get the man. Because from what we’ve seen, you know, over the years of being with TwoBrain Marketing, the guys are very difficult to get in, right? So you know, when we were talking about paid advertising, now we’re talking about ROI. It make dollars and cents. So from a business perspective for us doesn’t make sense for us to target males. So all of our ads are sorta catered toward my ideal client, right? It’s going to be that way. Females aged 26 to 60 or so, right? So all of our service is speaking to weight loss, getting lean, that type of thing and our front end offer is really to get people in the door. It’s a 90 day challenge and that’s what we were talking about to get people in. Now, here’s one of the biggest sorta fallacies that I’ve seen with people new to running Facebook ads. We run the 90 day challenge, get them in the door, listen to what they want, and then we make the best recommendation based on their goals, not on what ad brought them in. Right? So yes, they’ve seen the 90 day challenge ads on Facebook. That’s what has them sitting in front of me. But me or my, one of my coaches, whoever is doing the no sweat intro has to sit down with them and we see this person really needs one on one personal training. That’s what we’re going to recommend to them. We’re not going to recommend, oh you should do this group challenge, when that’s not going to get them the best results possible. Cause at the end of the day we don’t. We want them to be super successful cause if they’re super successful then we’re super successful,

Mateo:                                      18:33                       yeah, no it makes total sense. So what you’re saying is someone will come in because they see an ad program sounds cool, but when you sit down and talk with them, you’re prescribing the best solution. That’s going to fit, fit their, their needs, right? Yes,

Sherman :                                18:48                       absolutely. That’s exactly what we’re doing.

Mateo:                                      18:50                       So can you walk us through your, you know, your sales pipeline. So someone sees the ad, they, they inquire for more information. What happens next?

Sherman :                                18:59                       So someone through the ad, they got to, you know, you’re going to see a picture or a video, they got to click on it, they’re gonna go to a landing page. The landing page speaks to them. They’re going to enter their information and then it, cause first we’re going to capture their information before we let them see our scheduling availability. Right? Because we want that. We want to have their contact info because they’re interested, right? They’re interested. It’s sold before we even let them see our scheduling software and what availability you have. We’re going to capture their info. Once they go there, now they’re going to pick a time that works for them. They’re going to self schedule. They don’t have to call us. Uh, they don’t have to come in or anything until their time. Once they enter their, their appointment time, that’s when we start working. Right now we have two options here because they may enter their info and not see what time that works for them.

Sherman :                                19:49                       And a lot of times people won’t book anything because they don’t see a time that works for them. And then that’s when we’ll reach out to them within two or three minutes and say, Hey, we saw that you want more info about the 90 day challenge. Do you need any help scheduling your appointment, right,? If they say yes, we’ll, you know, we’ll help them through that. A lot of times people, a lot of people just trying to get the price, you know, first thing they say, oh, well how much is it first? You know, we will give prices over the phone. Um, but we want a little bit more information before we just give out the price because we like to know more about this person. Right? It could be $1,200 a month to come here if this is someone that very deconditioned, they can’t go to a group class. They need personal training four times a week. Okay. But we don’t make those type of decisions over, the phone. So we’re trying to get them to come in. Right. But if someone perceives, absolutely give a price range.

Mateo:                                      20:38                       Who handles that? So you said they had given their information, you guys respond in two, three minutes. Who does the setup here?

Sherman :                                20:46                       My old general manager, she, she moved away but she was so good that I couldn’t let her go. Right. So she actually handles it. Her name is Stephanie. Not going to tell you the last name cause I don’t want people reaching out to her, all of that. Right. And she does it remotely. She actually lives hundreds of miles away. So she’s in charge of the software that we use. You know, when she’s reaching out to him, uh, she’s following up with them. She scheduling, she’s rescheduling if they had issues and all that stuff. So, um, so I’m totally hands off of that. Right. I’m not doing really anything with the software. She scheduling, communicating with the coaches, making sure everyone’s on the same page. Awesome. And so someone books an appointment, what happens once they begin an appointment? We’re going to, so they could only book an appointment, I want to say three days out, three days out.

Sherman :                                21:38                       So, um, in that time, we’re going to email them a couple times. We’re also going to text message them the night, the day before, right? So Mateo, if you had appointment with us on what’s today, Tuesday, whatever, Wednesday, Wednesday, an appointment with us on Friday, right? Tomorrow you will receive a text message from us saying, now in the meantime, while you’re receiving this, you’re still going to be receiving emails from us as well. It’s all right. Just talking about the value that we’re going to be adding and the No Sweat Intro, right? Um, you may meet our team and stuff like that. So once they go through that, they’re gonna receive a text message the day before if we don’t hear back from them to confirm, because we ask them to confirm because I don’t want my coaches showing up if no one is going to be here. So we basically asked them to confirm, uh, you know, we send him a message, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Sherman :                                22:34                       Look forward to seeing you. Please confirm that you will be attending this appointment. And if they don’t confirm, we will reach out again the day of the appointment via phone call or text messages. Again, sometimes people just miss it or they get busy and they forget, but we want to make sure that we stay on top of them. And you know, this has been sort of new to us. Paid Advertising, um, you know, like, you know, Mateo, like it’s a numbers game. So just because someone books an appointment doesn’t mean they’re showing, right? So we need to make sure that we’re following up and really doing everything we can do to get them to show up and you know, the numbers, you know, everyone’s not showing up and then we basically work it from there. If they don’t show up, they’re going to go into a different funnel and we’re going to continue to nurture them forever until they tell us, leave us alone, or they come in for a no sweat intro.

Sherman :                                23:22                       Right. I think that’s the biggest piece that I was missing prior to TwoBrain Marketing was the continual followup. Right? Like, if someone came in, I had a Google sheet back in the day and I will follow up for a month or two because you know, whenever I get low on clients. So I didn’t look at that Google sheet. Oh yeah, that lady came last month. Let me follow up with her. But six months later I was following up with no one. Right. Uh, I was following up with no one. I wasn’t going back to, you know, I wanted to go in right in July, look at the people in February and following up with them, they were thought to just lost leads. So now we have a system and all of that. I have someone in charge of all that and we just follow up with them consistently until they tell us no.

Sherman :                                23:59                       Right. Like our software is managing all of that person’s in charge of the software. Um, and you know, one of the things that I’ve seen over the last six months is, you know, really keeping up with the data and stuff. There’s, there’s, there’s probably 25-30% of people that come into our funnel and just sit in there. They don’t respond to any emails. They’ll open them, but three months later, like they’ll book a No-Sweat Intro and come in. Right. So just because they’re not ready, right, when they get into your funnel, it doesn’t mean they’re not ready. So really you’re doing yourself a disservice if you aren’t constantly following up with these people until you get a yes or a no. I want a yes or no. Personally I prefer yes, but I will take a no as well cause they tell me no.

Sherman :                                24:38                       Okay well I can scratch them off the list and I can move on to the next person that I can help.

Mateo:                                      24:44                       And so what kind of returns are you seeing from your paid advertising efforts? You know, what is your ROI been? How’s your membership grown? Talk to us a little bit about that.

Sherman :                                24:54                       So membership has grown. I don’t have exact numbers in front of me. I guess I should, but I do keep up with, you know, my ROI and that type of thing. Right. They are now, you know, I’ll just use last year, I’ll use what was August, September, October, November, right? So September, October, November, I was spending about $800 a month on Facebook ads. And in those three months we gained on average say 12 people. And that was, you know, that was on average about $11,000 in front end revenue. Right? So I was spending seven, I was spending 750 and then that was turning around and about $11,000 in front end revenue.

Sherman :                                25:35                       Because again, everyone that comes in, they’re not doing, you know, like we would require some personal training before we allowed them in our group. So some people it will come in and do a little personal training. They didn’t go to group. Some people that would come in and be like, Hey, I only want to do personal training. So you know, for us, everything sort of starts with personal training anyway. So that’s how we get our numbers. Our numbers are so high. So for me, um, you know, this year we bumped our ad spend up to about $1,200 a month. You know, so, and we’re seeing, you know, the, the benefits of that. And I think one of the, one of the main things I’ve learned is to, this is sort of a, trying to think of the right term is sort of a hit and miss game, right?

Sherman :                                26:13                       It’s not going just because you spend x amount of money per month, it doesn’t guarantee that it’s going to work. Right? You have to play with your ad, you have to get your, your copy right, you have to find the right picture. And sometimes one picture may work and it may be crushing it. Then all of a sudden, two weeks later, it may not be doing as well. Right? So that’s what you, you’re constantly sorta of with it, making it better. But I’ve seen a huge ROI on my, on my, uh, on my investment with, TwoBrain marketing and so I couldn’t be happier.

Mateo:                                      26:43                       And what do you attribute your success to? Like what’s been the key, I know you mentioned a little bit about staying vigilant and, and, and looking at your metrics on a regular basis, but what else is it just that you’ve been able to utilize the prescriptive model when you bring people in and give them the solution then those high ticket items or what do you think has been the key to your success?

Sherman :                                27:03                       So I think one of the, you know, one of the major cue cards or test has been, yes we’ve been able to get people in, but we really take the sales piece seriously, right? Like all of my coaches, no, I personally train them on the sales piece because the market, it may work, but if people are coming in and you can’t sell them and you know, some people don’t like the word sell, but everyone’s selling something and the people that don’t know, you know they’re in trouble. Right? Because you better believe that there’s other franchise type gyms out there that are absolutely selling. They’re trying to sign these people up. So, as are we, and I think one of our, one of our biggest pieces have been my coaches and myself. We really take the sales piece seriously. We read, we get together, we role play. We’re constantly trying to get better at that sales piece. Well, I think there were going to have to do a whole other call just for that man for sales training.

Mateo:                                      27:54                       I love it. All right, Sherman. Well that’s all I got. Thanks so much for coming on here. And, uh, where can people find you if they want to talk to you more on social media?

Sherman :                                28:03                       They can simply email meSherman@twobrainbusiness.com.

Mateo:                                      28:10                       Awesome, man. Thank you.

 

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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Cargo Cults and CrossFit

Cargo Cults and CrossFit

Every year on February 15, natives on the island of Tanna celebrate “John Frum Day.” They paint “USA” on their chests, march with replica rifles made of painted bamboo, and wear homemade GI uniforms.

 

The procession is the peak of their religious year. But if you look around the island, you’ll see many military mockups: control towers fashioned from bamboo and rope; large landing strips for nonexistent planes; radio headsets made from wood and coconuts. Day after day for over 70 years, men from Tanna have manned these outposts faithfully, waiting for airplanes that never come.

 

Why?

 

Well, in the 1940s, the Vanuatu islands were occupied by US military forces trying to establish bases in the Pacific. Over several months, hundreds of thousands of personnel landed, building Quonset huts, hospitals, docks and airstrips. And they brought cargo.

 

Huge crates of clothing, food–unimaginable riches is unlimited quantities–fell from the sky. For a few very short years, the natives witnessed the blessings of the twentieth century, delivered by US Marines and engineers.

 

And then the war ended, and everyone left. The cargo stopped coming. The “miracle” was over.

 

So the locals set about trying to bring the miracle back, by building the things that brought the cargo in the first place: air strips, docks, control towers. They began to mimic the processions of the Marines to call down the cargo. “John Frum” wasn’t a real person; but John From America was, and they want him to come back.

 

But The Holy Cargo didn’t happen because the landing strips were there. The Miracle wasn’t birthed by marching. It was the other way around. The Cargo Cults have famously confused cause and effect, and practiced the rituals of the US Marines until they became dogma. Now they’re afraid to stop.

 

You can read one version of John Frum and the Cargo Cults here. The physicist Richard Feynman coined the phrase “cargo cult science” to describe the bad habit of confusing cause and effect.

 

And we, as gym owners, are guilty of cargo cult science.

 

We confuse the effects of good business with the causes.

 

“People join my gym because they want to move better” – that’s false.

 

“People stay because of the community” – also false.

 

“If you get them results, your clients will tell their friends” – no they won’t.

 

“Have the cleanest bathrooms.” “Clients will seek out the best coaches.” “People will choose me over an app because apps are for nerds.”

 

Data collected from the best microgyms in the world proves it clearly: these are not the causes of good business.

 

Having clean bathrooms is critical but insufficient.

 

The gym community is great because people stay long enough to make friends.

 

Clients seek results, not credentials. Clients don’t talk to their friends unless they’re asked. And great trainers provide all the tools to help their clients, not just the things they saw John Frum doing.

 

“There’s a fine line between salvation and drinking poison in the jungle.”

 

Mark Twight wrote that around the time he was leaving CrossFit. His exit was a loud one, and many didn’t understand his warning at the time. His quote was referencing to the Jonestown massacre as an example of blind followership: Twight was saying that although he believed in the fundamental principles of CrossFit’s workout methods, he no longer believed in the brand.

 

All of these little myths about clean bathrooms and “community” seem harmless, but they’re not.

 

If you believe your clients will stay because you have a great community, you’ll lose clients. You have to measure LEG and then improve it. You have to have 1:1 meetings with your clients every quarter or so. You have to show them a path to their goals. You have to call them between classes. These are the actions–supported by data–that improve retention (your LEG score).

 

If you believe people are typing “learn to move better” into Google, you’ll put that phrase on your website and your Facebook posts instead of the things that people actually care about. That’s cargo cult stuff.

 

If you wait for your clients to bring their friends, you’ll be waiting a long time. Bribing them with free months and discounts won’t speed up a nonexistent process. But believing it will happen will stop you from actively marketing your gym. You’ll spend time building control towers instead of learning how radios work.

 

Dogmatic rituals hurt our progress. Priests and prophets of “John Frum” have urged their followers to throw their money into the sea; slaughter their livestock in sacrifice; and let their crops go untended–because John Frum would provide all of that stuff when he comes back.

 

Your business is too important to risk. Doing things simply because “that’s the way we do it in CrossFit” or “that’s the way it’s always been done”–even because “that’s the way this blogger says to do it”–that’s not good enough. You need data. You need to test.

 

Question authority, kids. Evolution is life.

How To Combine Zwift With CrossFit

How To Combine Zwift With CrossFit

I’ve owned a CrossFit gym for 11 years, and a personal training studio for 14. I’ve been a fitness coach since 1996.

 

Years before that, I was a cyclist. And now I’m a Zwifter.

 

Last summer, I started cycling again. Before long, it became all-consuming: I’d give up my CrossFit workouts to get on my bike most days. I thought I’d get back to CrossFit full-time when winter took me off the roads. But then I found Zwift, TrainerRoad and The Sufferfest. I brought my bike indoors, added a smart trainer, and haven’t been bored since. I ride around 4x/week on Zwift now.

 

The most compelling thing about Zwift for a CrossFitter is the data: you can track improvement in Wattage over time, for example. The AI engine changes my workouts as I improve, and the courses and group rides keep it novel.

 

The most compelling thing about CrossFit is the constant novelty and combination of strength training with HIIT. And while most CrossFit gyms don’t include much in the way of aerobic capacity building, I’m convinced that you can’t build strength on a bike in a meaningful way. CrossFit actually has some roots in cycling: its founder, Greg Glassman, was a part-time cyclist. And the Tabata protocol was developed for cyclists first; now it’s used almost weekly in many CrossFit gyms.

 

If you’re a cyclist trying to get stronger or improve your wattage threshold; or if you’re a CrossFitter who wants to ride a bike faster, this is how you do it.

 

  1. Strength Training – a little goes a long way. Stick to the major lifts (deadlift, squat, and press.) Don’t avoid quad-dominant lifts, but don’t specialize in them, either. Use weight training to balance out your musculature and avoid overuse injuries.
    And go heavy: you get plenty of reps on the bike.
  2. HIIT – replace some of your hill climbs or harder intervals on the bike with high-intensity anaerobic work. I don’t mean step class or a spin circuit. I mean thrusters and pull-ups with maximal effort for short duration. If you haven’t done CrossFit, you don’t know what “hard” is. Find out.
  3. Cycling – do your workouts on Zwift, TrainerRoad or The Sufferfest after your strength training. You’re not necessarily trying to prefatigue your muscles, because you’ll use different fibers and metabolic processes on the bike anyway. You’re simply doing your high-skill work while you’re fresh. And lifting weights is high-skill work.

Now, should you replace 1-2 of your workouts every week with CrossFit? Probably, at first.

If you’re a cyclist, you should start combining CrossFit into your workouts by joining a CrossFit gym and going through their OnRamp program. Here’s a map of over 500 gyms I recommend (not all CrossFit gyms adhere to the same standard of quality, unfortunately.)

 

Tell the coach your goal, and that you’d like to do CrossFit 1-2x per week. They’ll tell you which days to attend classes. Then they’ll review your goals every quarter, because your CrossFit prescription will change. Make sure you sign up for a nutrition program while you’re there!

 

If you want to add some strength training or mixed-modal HIIT training to your workout at home, follow these steps.

 

  1. Take OnRamp at a local CrossFit gym (or whatever they call their Intro program.) Learn the fundamental movements until you can do them under fatigue.
  2. Start with calisthenic movements like squats, lunges, pushups and burpees. Since your first adaptations will be neuromuscular, you don’t have to add external weights right away.
  3. When it’s time to add weight, buy a barbell or kettlebell or dumbbells. Do NOT buy a “home gym” or anything with levers. If you have room to add a pull-up bar, fantastic. Hip flexion movements (like leg raises) are really important for cyclists.

Here are a few suggestions to get started:

  1. Choose a shorter, circuitous route.
  2. Add bodyweight “calisthenic” movements into your ride.
  3. Monitor your heart rate and keep an eye on your wattage.
  4. Keep it simple.

 

Some CrossFit + Zwift workouts I’ve used:

 

  1. Volcano CCW Lap + 20 Squats
    Set up on the Volcano Flat CCW course. Ride in to the start line as your warmup, staying around 50% of your FTP. When you cross the start line, hop off your bike and do 20 air squats. Then ride the 4.1k lap as quickly as possible. When you cross the start line again, repeat.
    Your goal: do 5 laps (with 20 squats at the start of each) for time. Record your time.
  2. EMOM (Every Mile, On the Mile)
    This is great for artificially raising your heart rate, and then attempting to maintain output in that state.
    Use a heart rate monitor and try to maintain 80% of your FTP, at least.
    Ride a mile. Hop off the bike and quickly do 10 burpees. Note your heart rate.
    Click back into the bike and ride another mile. Every time you reach the mile mark (or 1.6km) do 10 burpees.
    Your heart rate should keep climbing. Your goal is to continue for a certain distance, like 30 miles.
    If you want to scale this workout (meaning modify it to last longer), base your total workout time on your wattage output. Continue only as long as you can keep your wattage output above 80% of FTP.
    Choose a flat route, like Greater London Flat.
  3. AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible)
    Give yourself one hour to complete the following as many times as possible:
    Ride the Richmond Flat Loop (5.0km) or similar
    Complete 30 pushups
    Complete 40 situps
    Complete 50 air squats
    Complete 60 jumping jacks.
    Then return to the bike and start again. Record your score.
  4. Tabata: 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest
    After a warmup on the bike and some mobility work:
    Ride hard for 20 seconds (at least 3 watts/kg)
    Coast or ride very easy for 10 seconds (<1 watt/kg)
    Repeat for 8 rounds.
    Then hop off the bike.
    Do as many air squats as possible in 20 seconds.
    Rest for 10 seconds.
    Repeat for 8 rounds.
    Hop back on the bike, and repeat. Your wattage output will definitely dip on the second round of 8 Tabata sets.
    After 8 more sets on the bike, hop off and do 8 sets of step-ups or lunges.
    Your pattern should look like this:
    8 sets of Tabata (:20 on, :10 off) on the bike
    8 sets of Tabata squats
    8 sets of Tabata on the bike
    8 sets of Tabata step-ups or lunges
    8 sets on the bike
    8 sets of leg raises
    8 sets on the bike
    8 sets of planking
    8 sets on the bike.
    If you’re really pushing hard, this is MORE than enough, even though it’s short.
  5. “We Will Overcome”- complete the following for time
    11.5km ride – use the Astoria Line 8 route (New York)
    Complete 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups and 300 squats–break them up any way you like (I would usually do 20 rounds of 5 pull-ups, 10 pushups and 15 squats)
    11.5km ride – Astoria Line 8
    …for time.

Now, you’re probably going to be doing all of this stuff in cycling shoes. Make sure you have lots of space behind your bike to move around. Also try the half-variation of these first: cut everything (including the rides) in half.

These are also great replacement workouts on days you don’t have 90 minutes to ride your bike. On those days, focus on intensity: cut the above workouts down to half, and go hard.

 

Make sure you warm up first, and don’t do any of these workouts until you’ve been through an introductory program at one of the CrossFit gyms on this map. They might give you different workouts, or might tell you not to do these at all. Let a live coach be your guide unless you’ve been doing both cycling and CrossFit for awhile.