Sales in the Time of COVID-19: What People Are Buying and How to Sell It

Sales in the Time of COVID-19: What People Are Buying and How to Sell It

Mike (00:02):

Deep into the COVID crisis, gym owners are realizing they need to sell something to stay afloat, but many are struggling to do so. Is online training worth anything? Will anyone buy it? What do I sell and how? If you have questions like this, we have answers. I’m Mike Warkentin and I’m back with sales expert Jeff Burlingame right after this. The coronavirus crisis is creating chaos and it’s hard to know what to do. To help, Two-Brain Business has put together a page of essential resources for gym owners. We’ve got articles and podcasts just like this one as well as info on loans and government aid. You’ll also find the free guide, “How to Add Online Training in 24 Hours.” Head to and click COVID-19 in the top menu. The page is updated daily, so bookmark it and check back regularly. Again, this is Two-Brain Radio. I’m Mike Warkentin, and certified mentor. Jeff Burlingame is here to help with selling during a pandemic. For the last weeks, Jeff has talked to a host of his mentees and he’s heard about the problems owners are having as they try to move online and completely revamp their businesses. In some cases, owners are trying to sell stuff they’ve never sold before or invented and set up a week ago. Today we’ll talk about common problems and Jeff will offer solutions to help you make some sales as fast as possible. So, Jeff, how are we doing? I know it’s a tough time. How are things going in the community right now?

Jeff (01:19):

Yeah. Hey, things are, well, they’re tough as most would expect. But you know, the surprising thing is I guess less surprising because of the amazing group that is involved in Two-Brain, but seeing these gym owners persevere and just really fighting through this thing. I guess it’s important to keep in mind that it is hard. It’s hard on everybody in all different industries, but you know, when you’re deemed non-essential, it’s very challenging to, to accept that. But you know what I’ve seen with the Two-Brain family and the Gym Owners United group is just people really getting after this thing, moving online, doing the work. And for the vast majority of them it’s working out in a good way. And a lot of them as we were talking like right before the podcast here is like we’re seeing a new opportunity that might be the opportunity that we go with. Maybe we change our business model afterwards. Who knows?

Mike (02:19):

Yeah, we’re in uncharted territory here for sure. But it’s, I hear you. Gym owners and entrepreneurs are some of the hardest-working people and no one who owns a small business has ever shied away from a long work day. And I’m sure there are a lot of those being put in right now. The goal here over the next little bit is for you to help people not necessarily work hard, but work smart and answer some questions because I know you’ve got a ton of sales experience and I know a lot of gyms right now had their, you know, the thing that they sell has been taken away, which was in-person group classes or personal training. And now we’re trying to figure out a way around that. So let’s get right into it and try and help some people. All right, so we’ll start right into it. Two-Brain has recommended owners pivot fast to online coaching. We’ve spoken to dozens of clients since gyms started shutting down around the world. What are some of the speed bumps that are holding people up right now? What are the challenges?

Jeff (03:08):

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think the number one challenge is pivoting the program. It’s the actual thing we’re telling them to do because this is, as you said, unchartered territory for a lot of people. It’s something new, something different. I think it’s important before we even jump into this to recognize that this is not the first time this has ever happened in any industry. Like this is not new. This has happened under different circumstances, not necessarily a pandemic for example, but it’s happened. Industries pivot, industries change, the fitness industry and landscape has changed decade over decade for years and years and years. This is nothing new. And if we can get past that initial problem that we’re kind of looking at, staring us right in the face as this big, hairy, scary thing that’s happening, we can potentially dig deep enough to find the opportunity. And I think there’s a huge opportunity.

Mike (04:04):

We want to be, we want to be Netflix, not Blockbuster Video, right. People aren’t going to the video store to pick up that tape anymore. They’re clicking online and so hopefully our gym owners can figure this out too.

Jeff (04:15):

Yeah. And I mean, to be fair, they tried to pivot. They just, they may be ran into these speed bumps and gave up. So some of the things that we’re seeing out there is, you know, number one, they’re just posting programming. So it’s kinda like pivot to online. OK, cool. I’ve moved my workouts online, they’re online now, I’m done. But that’s just your programming and that’s not enough. So what we’re asking, yes, is more work. And this is where I’m hearing from gym owners a lot. It’s like, man, it sucks to be back to the Founder phase. And yeah, absolutely it does. But you’re essentially in new territory as we keep saying, you’re running a different business right now and you have to understand that. And your other business still exists its Farmer or maybe Tinker phase form and we’ll go back to that when you reopen your doors. And I will say when, because I’m going to uphold positivity here as much as I can.

Mike (05:10):

I like it. I’m going to grind one ax and I’m just going to say as a gym owner and a guy who used to think that, you know, my programming was amazing, I don’t think programming is all that important anymore. I understand that there’s bad programming, there’s good programming, but I also understand that the programming is not the thing. What we’ve learned now is it’s accountability and it’s motivation. It’s helping people. It’s building relationships. You can tell people to squat 40 times, 50 times, 60 times. We don’t actually know which is optimal. Your special workouts maybe aren’t the thing anymore. And I think big part of that may be letting go and if gym owners can start doing that, maybe we’ll move on here a little bit faster.

Jeff (05:46):

Yeah, we’re kind of in an area of forced acceptance here. We’ve been saying at Two-Brain for years that it’s not about the quote unquote community or programming or location or shiny equipment or any of that. It is still about coaching. And here’s the surprising thing. If you move online, you’re still selling coaching. Coaching is still the primary resource here and we’re still pushing that and that’s why it’s still has value. So with that, you know, if you’re just posting your program and you’re not adding value or even novelty, like the novelty of it being online. And I received my workout through my phone, I mean most gyms have already been doing that in the gym. Like if you’re on some of these membership platforms, like you’re getting the workouts, so that’s nothing new. There is no novelty there. So, the next speed bump is not adding value or novelty and associated with that speed bump giving them everything all at once, which is too much novelty in one dose.

Jeff (06:45):

So when we’re talking value, what we’re talking about is providing coaching to your current members. So not just saying, all right guys, here’s the workout of the day, text me if you need anything. See you later. No, it’s text that person. Get ahead of it. Say, Hey Susie, hopefully you saw the workout today. Are you going to have time to do that? Yes or no? And if they say no, this is where accountability comes into play where you say, why not? Do you have time? Yeah. Susie has time. She’s at home not doing anything, so we’re going to help her make time for this. How can we help them with their schedule? Could we provide a sample schedule? There’s some added value to here’s how you should manage your day when you’re stuck at home. New to working from home? Here’s how we manage that too, right?

Jeff (07:25):

And just help them provide that guidance, that accountability. That’s huge for value. And then on top of that, once we get ahold of Susie and we know she’s doing the workout, then we say, Susie, here’s how I want you to do the workout today. What equipment do you have in your house? I don’t have any. OK. Susie, do you have a backpack? I do. Do you have some books? I do. OK. Put the books in your backpack. You have a weighted bag now. Right? So we can provide value in that way. Nobody else is doing that. And if you’re just posting programming, the reason you’re missing the point is because every other company is posting programming right now for free. And you can’t compete with free because you need your members still to be paying you so you’re bringing in revenue so you don’t go bankrupt.

Jeff (08:08):

So you can’t just post the program. You have to coach them through that. And then you have to provide some form of novelty. So you know the DIY equipment is an example. Give them some running programming because everybody’s running. Not everybody has a rower or a an Assault air bike in their basement, but it’s like they got to do something so they’re probably going to run at this time. So coach them through that, coach them through yoga, give them some like added value resources, something different that you normally maybe wouldn’t have time for or didn’t know where to fit into your schedule when you had the physical location open. And then there’s, you know, tons of other amazing things that the Two-Brain family’s come up with too as far as novelty goes. But the important thing that I also mentioned is don’t give it to them all at once.

Jeff (08:57):

So what I’ve been doing with a lot of mentees that I work with with Two-Brain is we come up with a schedule for this. We call them phases. Sort of say like, Hey, phase one is like week one. Week one, you just moved the program online, divvy up your clients amongst the coaches, hopefully if you have coaches to help you. Otherwise it’s the you show, that’s the founder phase, we’re back to that. We just do that online. We contact every member that week. Phase two, week two, we’re going to add running programming three days a week. Phase three, week three, we’re going to provide yoga. Phase four, so on and so forth. Right? So spread it out over the course of this, however long this lasts.

Mike (09:37):

You’ve only got so many treats, right? So you’re not giving the whole bag away right at the start.

Jeff (09:42):

Yeah, exactly. Because that’s the thing with novelty is we’re seeing, and this is now data-backed, that this wears off. Novelty wears off. And I think we can all accept that because we know that and we’ve seen that in our lives in other examples, it’s like I’m finally got this thing and then two weeks later, like whatever, it’s a normal part of your life, right? So we have to say, here’s this thing and next week there’s this thing, and even release the schedule ahead of time and say here’s like our next six weeks of amazingness because you want them to keep their membership. So give them something to look forward to. Especially in such uncertain times as these.

Mike (10:22):

Yeah. This is nothing, honestly, I’ve heard you say this before when it wasn’t the COVID crisis because you still have to maintain novelty even in your gym. Right? I think all of us did a poor job of that at times where we were just, you know, putting up Fran and Helen and doing the workouts and not doing these in-house competitions and WOD and wine and you know, the pancake breakfast and all these different things that you can do and sort of affinity marketing retention tools. Now it becomes even more important to do that because you don’t have that in-person fist bump anymore. You’ve got to find ways to keep generating that novelty with something that’s like, I’m in my basement, I’m in here all the time. You know, you’ve got to find ways to do that.

Mike (10:57):

So I’m definitely with you. And we tried to do that, coming up with ideas that we’re rolling out, at our gym. Same thing, just ideas to get people engaged. And then, this is again, this is something that Chris has talked about. The Catalyst Games, Chris has run it at his gym. That was something I think he, I believe he developed in summer to help with retention in summer where it was a slow time cause everyone’s outside. I think he set it up, if I’m not mistaken, for August or September or something like that, to give people a reason to train, you know? And so that’s the exact same principle now applied here. But you’re saying don’t give them just programming and then don’t give them everything all at once.

Jeff (11:35):

Yeah. Spread it out if you can. And you’re right. Like this is a time where weaknesses will be exposed. I mean CrossFitters should be pretty familiar with that concept. But this is an example in terms of business where that’s happening. Again like going back to the Blockbuster/Netflix situation, like you’ve got to pivot and you’ve got to go with the data-backed information if you can find it. Luckily we’re lucky enough at Two-Brain to be able to collect some of this data from our affiliates that are in highly effected areas like China where they dealt with this long before it even got to the States. So you know, we’re almost 10 weeks deep into the understanding of the situation there for example. And that’s helping a lot.

Mike (12:24):

So when we’ve got, specific issues with sales, I’m going to get to that in a sec, but we’ve just said that we’re asking owners or recommending owners pivot to online coaching. So what I’m seeing is a lot of owners, and I’ve seen discussions in various Facebook groups and all over the place, public and private, some gym owners are really not seeing the value of online coaching. And I think we’ve talked before with you on sales. Sales is about confidence, right? You have to have this belief that this thing is worth the money and I’m going to sell it to you and it’s awesome. It’s life-changing and I believe in it. If you’re like kind of wishy washy about the product or service, you’re probably not going to sell it really well. And I think a lot of our owners are struggling with that. Am I right? Is that what you’ve seen in your calls?

Jeff (13:03):

Yeah, unfortunately, yes. So here’s a thought on that, right? And this is maybe I dunno, a little more abrasive or callous.

Mike (13:12):

Let’s do it, it’s the time for tough love.

Jeff (13:12):

But here’s the deal. If you honestly don’t believe that you can’t get your members results from home with no equipment, then how can you call yourself a coach? You have to be able to do that and to be fair to you, too, like, did you not get into this business to help people get results? And how is an obstruction like just being at home and not having all this shiny fancy equipment available to them something that’s going to prevent you from doing that? You can’t let that happen. So I firmly believe that with no equipment I could get people results. You know, and it’s just a matter of accountability, coaching them through those movements or the whatever programming you’re providing for them.

Jeff (13:59):

But having that one to one approach to it makes such a huge difference. And that’s why I find it valuable. And this is something that I think, you know, even if we had physical doors open, this is starting to help us realize that there were people out there that normally would have never approached your physical space anyways, no matter what you did.

Mike (14:18):

Because it looks scary in there.

Jeff (14:18):

Yeah, exactly. But they still need to get these results. They still need to be healthy and well, and we know that we can provide that for them. We just have to change our tactics and approach to it. So I firmly believe like when we go back to physical doors open, any gym that sticks to the online coaching could provide these solutions for people that normally would never come to your gym and effectively grow a whole new revenue stream that is really valuable.

Jeff (14:49):

But you’ve got to get past your initial, I guess these mind-blocking thoughts that you have, this value block that you have in your brain right now. There’s no way this isn’t valuable. There’s no way that just because they don’t have equipment, they can’t get results. There are businesses built around calisthenics and it’s been an industry forever. It’s nothing new. And the fact that you can DIY most of the most effective equipment implements means you have more than just body weight. So quit getting hung up on that. Like you don’t have your shiny equipment, you don’t have a barbell. It’s gone. The rower’s gone, the bike’s gone. There’s no rig. We have to get over it. We don’t have a choice. So give that up, accept that you can still get people results even if they just have themselves as the only implement.

Mike (15:43):

So we’ve all grown up here, quote unquote in the, you know, the gym business believing that our clients come for our gear and our space and our in-person cues. But it’s not about that right now. Right. Because we don’t have any of that stuff unless you’re doing online, like in video, you know, training, which is not really what we’re recommending. We’re talking about giving people programming and personal accountability. So talk to me about the value of that accountability, personalization and constant contact in the client’s mind. Cause again, there’s gym owners out there that are just saying, Oh, all the stuff, my gear, my space, everything’s gone. In a client’s mind, what is that value? How valuable is accountability? Constant contact and personalization?

Jeff (16:24):

Yeah. I would say this. Think about a member in your class right now. So you’re coaching class. You have 10 people in the class. How much time do you dedicate to each individual that is 100% coaching conversation and help and guidance.

Mike (16:40):

Yeah. In a class, you’re probably, depending on the size of the class, you’re probably rolling around maybe three times in 20, 40 seconds, something like that. Maybe

Jeff (16:49):

Five minutes. Three to five minutes of class is what you’re providing. The conversations you have before or after class, likely most of the time, not coaching related, not helping them in any way. So let’s be real. If you can contact them personally for five minutes plus, you’re doing what you did in the gym, in the physical space, if not more. So how is that not valuable? Right. It’s just the conversation itself. Like again, going back to Susie as the example, it’s like, call up Susie. You say, Susie, doing the WOD today. If no, why not? That level of accountability already, highly valuable. Now we know she’s doing it. Hey, but I don’t think I can do these squats this way as it’s written. That’s OK, Susie, I’m going to have you do it this way. Now we’ve modified the movements for her. Now she knows she can do the workout. She’s found a more customer personalized approach to it. So she feels more comfortable doing that. And then maybe we even have her send us a video of what she’s doing and we can coach her through that. That’s something you would normally offer with personal training. Now you’re doing with this program again, value, value, value. Like you just keep building. Maybe we help with nutrition, maybe we coach her through running or yoga. Like all of a sudden it’s all these different things that they weren’t getting before, or at the very least they would have to receive from multiple other media outlets. So rather than going out and finding this information, which takes some level of proactivity and energy that they may not have right now, let’s really recognize how we’re all feeling at this moment. They need accountability right now more than ever. And that’s what you can provide with online coaching, which is what makes it amazing.

Mike (18:34):

You make an interesting point. You make a really interesting point where people’s routines are just annihilated right now. Right? So you’ve got people who every time they used to get up at 6:00 AM and the kids went out the door at 6:30 and they were at work by 7:30 or whatever it was, and they didn’t get home, they went to the gym at this time, blah, blah, blah. None of that exists anymore. We’re all, I mean, I work in a bathrobe. I’ve always worked in a bathroom, life is fine for me here, but the general person has been booted out of a routine. And what I’m finding, what we’re hearing with our clients at the gym is they’re dealing with huge amounts of stress, too, whatever industry they’re in has been affected. They’re struggling with this, they’re struggling with kids at home, they’re struggling with all this stuff. What I’m hearing from clients is that this hour of accountability and this escape from my daily slog right now is the best thing I can have.

Mike (19:19):

And people really seem to enjoy that and that. So that accountability to me is like, you know, I said this to Chris Cooper yesterday. I was like, man, I wish I had been texting my members this much all the time, even before we got shut down. Right. If we’d been doing that, I think our retention would’ve better and our clients would have gotten better results. And again, we talked about how sustainable is it if you’re running a full slate of classes and so forth, but still the constant contact and accountability has, we’re visibly seeing people perk up and do more stuff. They’re coming to more classes, they’re doing things. Would I be wrong to say that online coaching is at least if not more valuable than group class prices?

Jeff (19:57):

Yeah, it’s easily more valuable like by a landslide when you include the accountability and communication aspect to it, they’re getting more out of that. Now, you know, I’ll say insanely more valuable if they have some equipment that they can acquire over time, that will definitely level it up. But just with body weight, it’s more valuable.

Mike (20:20):

How many gym owners do you think see that? Do you know a percentage, when you’ve spoken to people, how many of them get it?

Jeff (20:25):

A low percentage.

Mike (20:25):

So they have to change that, right, they really need to start reframing it in their minds and realizing that it’s not about the gear, it’s not about, you know, the shiny thing. It’s not about the whiteboard. It’s really about the accountability, the relationship modification, the personalization and the delivery.

Jeff (20:39):

Yeah, I mean, at the end of the day, we’ve created a limiting belief because we’ve had all of those shiny things for long. Even gyms that have been open six months at this point are probably just wracking their brains for this. And I get it. I get it. It’s challenging, but you need to zoom out from the situation. You need to understand. Again, just accept the shiny stuff’s gone. You can’t have it. You can’t have it for the next two to six weeks. We don’t know, but you can’t have it. So you’ve got to roll with what you can have. And what you can have is online coaching. And again, if you don’t believe that you can make it in your head valuable, then I don’t think you can call yourself a coach.

Mike (21:19):

And there is, you know, that’s another great point where you do have to make it valuable, right? It’s not just like, you know, texting a workout, I’m an online coach now, you have to do the effort and that effort is like here’s a resource, here’s a video, do it like this. Send me a video, I want to see it. Send me a picture of your pantry. I want to see what’s in there. Throw that thing out, keep that, eat two of those after your workout. That kind of stuff. You know, putting in that effort, your client should feel like there is value there and you really have to work for it, and again, there are ways to scale that up. I think Chris wrote an article the other week where saying, as people first start online coaching, they’re dedicating six, seven minutes to each client kind of thing.

Mike (21:56):

And it feels like a lot of work, especially if you’ve got a huge number. As they get better at it without seeing a decline in quality of service, they’re able to reduce that to like two, three minutes, still servicing the client to the best degree. But they’ve found ways to make it a little bit faster. You know, they’ve got say a library of links where it’s like, here’s my squat demo, here’s my press demo, here’s whatever. And they can quickly scale up on this. So then for them it’s much easier but the client doesn’t notice any decline in quality.

Jeff (22:21):

Yeah, I think that’s huge. And like just to hover on that point for a second, if you are a gym owner and you’re struggling to make the time to do this, I want you to think of a couple of things. One, like if you have coaches and they’re just not helping you, I’m doing air quotes right now cause they don’t want to help you also in air quotes, they do want to help. They don’t know how to help most likely or they don’t know the why around online coaching. Much like most gym owners don’t find online coaching valuable. So again, get your head right first, then get their head right, the same way that you know, give them tough love like I’m trying to give you, if that’s what works, fine, cool, do that. But at the same time you need to get them on board with the new normal that is right now, this is the situation.

Jeff (23:12):

This is where we’re going to be for the next two, six plus weeks. You know, we have to accept that your coaches have to accept that. If your coaches want to get paid anything, they need to participate and then we can get them on board because at the end of the day, hopefully your coaches are coaches because they wanted to help people and this is one of the most amazing times to provide that help for people. One of the times that they need help more than ever. You know, like we’ve lost a lot of the luxuries that we’re used to and people are struggling mentally with that, you know? So they can help a lot in the situation. That said if they can’t help, there are many people, many people that are out of the job right now that need a job and they are a part of the non-essential crew that you’re a part of now.

Jeff (23:59):

So we have this blood brotherhood going on right now, so you could provide that job for them. You need a bunch of links for videos, pay somebody an admin wage to do that. You need to contact a bunch of people, create a message for them to send out to all those people for you. And then from the responses you just do the responses. Like there are ways for you to save time and help others, both your members, your coaches, and potentially people that don’t have jobs right now because they got laid off. I think there’s a huge opportunity there.

Mike (24:31):

I agree with you. There are people who are out there that can definitely help. And honestly, one of the things about personal training is you really, I think it was Greg Glassman, I believe who said this, you just need a 150 people to like you to have a successful gym. And that’s honestly what it is. There’s a lot of other stuff that comes with that of course. But, you need to be likable. And so if you can be likable and connect with people, we can teach the fitness part. And Two-Brain coaching can ramp up coaches pretty quick. So if you found a really great person who’s great on text, you might be able to put someone through a coaching course and help that person get through it very quickly and then get some results. Because we all know that if you do any workout, it’s better than doing no workout. So if you have the skill of making people do things through accountability, you are highly valuable at this point. Moving to this next one, you told me that some people that you’ve talked to aren’t selling what people are buying. I want to ask you, what are they selling that people aren’t buying? And more importantly, what are people buying right now and how do we sell it?

Jeff (25:31):

Yeah, so I think the most important thing right now is that you need to, as I’ve been saying this whole time, get away from the barbell. So if you’re one of the gyms right now going like, Oh man, I missed the gym. Aw shucks. And here’s a picture of somebody doing a snatch with a barbell. Realistically, your members don’t have a barbell. The vast majority, if not all of them, none of them have a barbell. So you can’t keep selling CrossFit or group training because nobody’s buying that right now because of social distancing. So what they are buying is at-home coaching and that’s what you need to pivot to sell this. That’s this whole conversation has been about pivoting to sell that. So if you’re marketing CrossFit group training or anything that you were really marketing before we stepped into this whole crisis, you need to stop doing that and pivot to selling what people are buying, which is the at-home fitness.

Mike (26:21):

So no, Smolov squat program right now with my personalized touches.

Jeff (26:27):

No. Like I wouldn’t even post any pictures of your gym at all. And like none of this, I miss this, blah blah blah. Like that’s only making it worse for everybody involved.

Mike (26:35):

We all miss it.

Jeff (26:35):

Yeah, exactly. You’re just stating the obvious and like if you’re selling memes right now, like that’s not going to work either. Get away from all that stuff and start focusing on what does work and what can work for people right now, which is the at-home fitness. So your marketing should reflect that. And we, you know, for our marketing for Two-Brain, when we work with our clients, we’ve already pivoted all of that. So it’s like no longer the gym with the rig in the background and your big logo on the wall. It’s now a living room that’s well lit with Mrs. Jones doing a workout with no equipment. You know, maybe her dog’s sitting comfortably on the couch in the sun or maybe there’s two kids screaming in the background fighting over Legos.

Jeff (27:20):

I don’t know, like it’s play to the pain points if you can. Like you can kind of vary that up a little bit, or maybe the kids are getting involved and they’re also working out and you’re representing that the whole family can do this thing together. That’s really what you need to be selling right now. So a lot of that can be done organically. You can just pivot and change your images, add some videos, post, you know, screenshots of your Zoom classes if you’re doing Zoom classes or Zoom one-on-ones, you know, whatever works. So just kind of vary that up a little bit. And then we can’t obviously sell the same intro process that we did before. So if you did a consultation or no sweat intro in person before, we can’t do that because social distancing, so we’re kind of shut down on that.

Jeff (28:06):

But what we can do is we can sell a virtual no sweat intro. So ideally what we’re doing then is just letting them know that, Hey, you don’t have to go anywhere for this. Obviously you can’t, otherwise they’re just going to put that off. Like don’t feel that they’ll just assume, Oh, no sweat intro. That’s probably not in person right now. Make it obvious that it’s not in person. Say it’s a virtual intro, will be done over Zoom or Skype or whatever, you know, just pick your video format of choice.

Mike (28:32):

God forbid we use the phone too, right?

Jeff (28:34):

Exactly, like some format of just conversing with somebody remotely.

Mike (28:42):

We have the technology.

Jeff (28:42):

It’s all at your fingertips. It’s all available. So yeah, really pivot on changing up your marketing and your approach to sales in order to get people to still, you know, fill out a lead capture form or book that appointment, and the ones that are doing this right now, we are seeing a lot of success with that.

Jeff (29:05):

There are people selling right now, believe it or not, there are people that are making 10 grand a week right now. I saw that in Gym Owners United the other week. Yeah. There are people that are making money right now.

Mike (29:15):

Join that group if you’re not in there.

Jeff (29:17):

They’ve accepted the situation and they’ve pivoted. Those are just the early adopters, like you can do that. If you’re listening and you haven’t done that, you can do that right now. But you have to commit.

Mike (29:27):

Is there a gear shortage in Michigan, equipment, fitness equipment? Is there a run on that right now? Up where I’m at in Canada the stores are empty because everyone’s working out at home. I’m just curious, have you seen that or heard that?

Jeff (29:39):

Yeah, and I think it falls under, so Amazon’s policy right now is like, they’re prioritizing like health, not fitness as far as health or wellness. But just like other necessities, they’re prioritizing like I guess face masks and hand sanitizer, cleaning solutions and you know, medical supplies. That’s what they’re prioritizing for shipments. So if you want anything that’s a non-essential, then it’s going to take you, I don’t know, four weeks or so I think at this point for even Prime shipping. But yeah, stores are sort of just kind of empty, supplies are low cause it’s kind of, I mean the companies that we get those things from are not able to either A ship them out or B manufacture more of them. So we’re kind of struggling supply-wise. I’m just going to say like you can DIY most of that stuff.

Mike (30:33):

The reason I was asking is that, you know, we’ve been kind of figuring out ways to create some marketing and so forth and figure out how to sell what people are buying. And it’s tempting to haul up, you know, I’ve got a few dumbbells and, you know, things around the garage, it’s just tempting to pull that up. But the reality is that a ton of people don’t have that stuff, nor do they really want it, nor can they find it at this point. So, we’ve been kind of working on body weight stuff, doing exactly the thing that you said, like stuffing—we actually use like packing chips so it wasn’t actually heavy and we could do the movements properly, but a backpack, right? So things like that. Backpacks, body weight movements, some common household items. I mean CrossFit’s been putting out workouts with jugs and stuff at home. And he used all these different things. We’ve kind of done that, but I’m always tempted to go grab that dumbbell and throw it in the picture. But I don’t know how many people actually have one and acquiring one right now is not going to be easy for the next four, six, you know, 30 days, I don’t know, six weeks. Who knows? So that’s an interesting one. So people are buying online fitness, at home fitness, body weight workouts that is working?

Jeff (31:31):

Yeah, 100%. We have gyms that are being successful with it. Again, the most successful ones are doing paid ads on it and we have pivoted with that, like I said, with Two-Brain, so we’re looking to put a paid ad out there. Like there’s a different template for that. The copy changes, the image changes, as I mentioned, like you want a living room, a brightly lit living room with a family doing the workout with no equipment. Like you just mentioned, like you don’t want to have a kettlebell in there. You don’t want them to assume that they need that equipment because again, like you also said, they don’t want to just buy that stuff if they normally, they’re not quite into the new normal yet. Like if we never are allowed to open again for example, if there’s like this final thing goes out and we’re all quarantined forever, unfortunately, then there’ll be like, OK, we need this equipment, but right now we’re all assuming we’re going to get back to it at some point.

Jeff (32:27):

And they would therefore have to like sell that equipment, right. So they don’t want to just buy this junk that they have to hold on to. So, yeah, like don’t include any equipment in those images, organic ads that you’re posting or the paid ads that you’re posting because we don’t want people to assume that they have to buy equipment, because they don’t want to most of the time. I picked up some equipment, like I owned a gym for a really long time and only recently sold it. And I don’t keep equipment in my house. I don’t have a home gym. I go to that gym to work out and now that I have this equipment, where does it sit? It’s just taking up space in my basement, like in the way, people don’t want that. It will just collect us and then they have to sell it when this whole thing ends because they’re just going to go back to the physical gym. Most of them. Now don’t get me wrong, like if they’re going to be a long-term remote client, like I mentioned, there are going to be people that would have never come to your gym anyways and they need to be online. They might be open to buy it, but don’t put that up on the marketing assuming that everybody that sees that will either A say, yeah, that’s fine, that works for me. Or B, do I have to buy equipment?

Mike (33:36):

Yeah, you’re narrowing your audience for sure. For sure. Got ya. Garage sales dude are going to be lit come, you know, 30 days, 60 days, 90 days. At some point there’s going to be a lot of dumbbells and kettlebells and things rolling around the people. Just like, I don’t need this anymore. Assuming we are allowed to open, which I hope. Let me ask you this. So for gym owner resisting right now, and I know there’ll be some who have not made a single sale since the COVID closures came in, what are the steps? What would you recommend? What are the steps to do right now? What can this person who’s listening and saying, I have not made a sale. I need to break the drought. What are we going to do right now to start?

Jeff (34:17):

The first thing you need to do though is you need to pivot your current clients online. So the first thing that we recommend if there’s an order of triage here is like number one, protect your revenue stream. So everything we were talking about at the beginning here, we’ve put out, you know, free guide to going online in 24 hours. So I’d recommend that to start, get your current people online, take care of them and coach them. Don’t just post your programming. So like number one, protect your current clients. Number one thing you can do, get your revenue in check. Number two would normally be like check your expenses too. So get deferments on loans and your lease and you’re going to have to have some tough conversations with like your landlord and your bank and examples like that. But those tough conversations are working. When people, you know, muster up the courage to go do it.

Mike (35:05):

And Chris Cooper has given resources for how to do all this stuff, if you check our COVID-19 page on TwoBrain Chris has given templates, even like say this to your landlord kind of stuff and it is working at times. Your landlord isn’t obligated to give you free rent, but he or she might and might defer it. You have some options, but Chris will tell you exactly how to do this stuff. So those things that Jeff just mentioned, that guide, all that stuff can be found on the COVID-19 page on All right, step three. After those two.

Jeff (35:33):

Sell. So now we get into the selling stuff. The next thing you would do is change your marketing, right? So we started talking, get rid of anything with a barbell, rig. Like forget that stuff ever existed. It’s gone for right now, just for the sake of the situation. So change the marketing, brightly lit living rooms. Ask your members for pictures, ask your coaches for pictures, get yourself in a picture. Get families involved in those pictures so we can really vary this up. And you might play to a bright side of things with like, Oh, happy family working out. You might also play to people’s pain points. It’s like going insane at home with their kids and they can’t escape them. So yeah, exactly. A Nerf battle going on while you’re trying to do pushups and burpees and stuff, like it could happen. So play to their pain points too, but vary it up so that you can sort of A/B test these things and see what’s working, what’s getting the most engagement, and then go to the one that gets the most engagement. So if you’re not paying attention to your analytics at this point on Facebook or Instagram or Google or wherever, do that, start paying attention to that

Mike (36:36):

As Mateo Lopez, our marketing expert has told us, you don’t have to figure it out yourself. You just fire in all these pictures into Facebook’s dynamic creative and Facebook will figure out based on the response, which are the winners. You don’t have to do anything. All you have to do is have five different pictures, put them in and Facebook will start serving them out and it will decide which ones are the best and they will be seen more. It’s actually quite amazing to see. I was just reviewing some actually today and seeing which ones, it’s never the ones you think, you know and all of a sudden, wow, that’s the one people are clicking on? So you do not have to be marketing wizard. You just have to take five different pictures and you can do exactly what Jeff said. Happy guy, sad guy, guy with kids, guy with dog, you know something else. And then you do the female version of that as well. And then all of a sudden you’ve got 10 pictures, away you go, that’s marketing campaign.

Jeff (37:22):

Yeah, 100%. So from there, change your offering, right? So again, we’re offering at home fitness now. We recommend that you do something like a 21-day challenge. So the reason we recommend that and you would charge for it and it is not a bait and switch, very important to lay this out. So charge an appropriate fee for it. But the 21 day challenge is exactly what people are looking for right now. Don’t kid yourself that they’re looking for online coaching. Yes, it’s valuable. We’ve already, hopefully you agree on this by the end of this podcast, but hopefully we can all agree it’s valuable. And you can get that mindset straight. But 21-day challenge as with before this crisis, people are always looking for the time determined challenge. That’s sort of, it’s a thing for a reason. It just works. So yeah, exactly.

Jeff (38:16):

Now it’s their LBO, your low barrier offer, and it’s slightly lower price in your current membership, but it’s also not going to take a lot of work from you. So it’s still high profit but extremely high profit if you’re not paying your rent right now, good on you if you can do that. But yeah, you offer that as a form of like a lead capture. So now people are like, Oh, that sounds good. That sounds like, they’re in their home. You know, eating potato chips, yelling at their kids, watching TV, trying to figure out what to do with their lives and you’re like 21 day challenge, let’s get healthy. It’s more important now to be healthy than ever before, right? Kind of prevent yourself from getting this particular virus or whatever. So we put that out there, that’s going to get their attention.

Jeff (38:57):

That’s important. Now what we need to do is get to talk to them. So we can’t, normally we’d say the purpose of our social media marketing is to get them off of social media into a seat across the table from you so that you can actually sell them something. Well, they can’t sit across the table from you. They’re going to sit across the city from you via Zoom. So we’re going to change that up a little bit. So that’s where that virtual no sweat intro comes into place. So make sure we offer the virtual no sweat intro. So again, it’s obvious that we’re not meeting in person. Never assume that they just understand, you know, I’m still seeing ads for things that are like big group gatherings. You can’t do that anymore.

Jeff (39:40):

No one has pulled that ad and that is a problem. So yeah, so make sure you’re offering the virtual no sweat intro and then, you know, you just follow the exact same no sweat intro process that you’ve laid out in the past. The only difference is like if you did a workout before, you don’t do a workout now, don’t even do it over Zoom, you don’t need to. You’re not doing a gym tour, hopefully you weren’t doing that before. I’ve said why not in the past, but don’t do that. And we’re going to spend a little more time building and developing trust here. So we are going to do a few things different within that no sweat intro. And the reason we have to do a few things different is because you are at a disadvantage when you’re over video or worse, just voice to voice over the phone.

Jeff (40:24):

So in person there’s a lot of nonverbal cues that we use to communicate and develop trust. This goes back to like fight or flight kind of ideas, but it’s just in our nature to interpret those things as humans. So what we can’t do is use a lot of body language because as you can see right now, like on Zoom, well, you can’t see if you’re on the podcast, but you get the idea, we’re like torsos, right? So you can’t see my whole body. So I can’t do a good job of body language. If I want to talk with my hands, I have to have them up in an awkward position to use them. So number one, you’re at a disadvantage for a lack of body language communication, which is used to develop trust with people. So we have to do something different. What we recommend is you sort of kick off the call with something not related to what you’re about to try and sell.

Jeff (41:13):

So just like simple conversation, don’t talk religion, politics or weather not allowed, but just comment on or compliment on something that they’re wearing. So I might say, Mike, I really like that hoodie. What’s that brand on there that you have?

Mike (41:28):

That’s Motorhead. It’s my favorite heavy metal band of all time.

Jeff (41:31):

Dude. Awesome. I love that band too. So you just have like a nice, easy little conversation, a little little icebreaker if you will. And then you roll into the questions and if you didn’t ask enough questions before in your no-sweat intro, now’s the time to do it. So you really have to dig and dig and dig and try and find out like what this person wants to do, what goals they have, and more importantly, why these goals are important to them. So we can really narrow things down to their emotional attachment to these changes.

Jeff (42:01):

From there, we do also want to make some micro commitments with them, which is as simple as just getting them to say yes, right? So literally all we have to do at the very simplest form of this is get them to say yes. So we just restate what they’ve said to say. Mike, what you’re telling me is you’re looking for an easy at home workout you can do within 30 minutes while your kids are on their iPads. OK, awesome. We can definitely do that. And then maybe another forum once we level this up a little bit, we want to get them a little more serious to committing to it. So we might go through and present what our online coaching package looks like very quickly because feature selling is not ideal. So like, hey, Mike, with our online program, what we’re going to do is not only provide you with the workouts, but we’re also going to contact you every day.

Jeff (42:50):

We’re going to make sure the workout fits within your schedule, decide when you’re going to work out, and then we’re going to help you determine how you’re going to actually do that workout. Does that sound good to you? So we get more and more serious, right? And then down the road from there, as we progress with the sales conversation, maybe we get to a point where we say like, all right Mike, so we’ve gone through everything and really realistically what we’re looking at with this is the online coaching package would obviously be a great fit for you, but I think it would be best if we also did some one on one sessions, via Zoom, maybe like one of those a month, and it would really be awesome if we could work with some nutrition. Right. You mentioned that nutrition was something you’re really struggling with in this time and if I’m able to provide that type of a package for you, is that something you’d be interested in?

Jeff (43:36):

Awesome. I just happen to have that package. Then we go through and we pitch that, right? So we’ll still have sort of an option close where we can say like, Hey Mike, this is that package I was referring to. This is our gold standard. That one is 495 a month. The other packages I have are similar, but it’s not going to include that one on one session or the nutrition. But I have this one here for 225, we’re still going to contact you every day, make sure that you’ve adjusted the workout to fit your schedule and you modify the movement so it works best for you. And then I have this other package here, which is 145 and that’s just the programming, but it’s something to get you started. So again, we were looking at this gold package. I think it’s going to be best fit for you to get you the best results. Do you want to go ahead and get started with that today?

Mike (44:21):

I do. Easy day.

Jeff (44:23):

Just get them to start saying yes, a little more often. You notice like it’s kind of a softer close than I would do in person just because, hey, guess what? It’s a lot easier to hang up a phone or fake the internet going out on Zoom.

Mike (44:40):

No, no Jeff, my connection is super sketchy.

Jeff (44:44):

Yeah, exactly. So you’re really not coming in just like the candy wrapper in front of them. I would recommend like not being super soft with it, but you know it’s not as direct or aggressive of close as I would do in person because I know it’s harder for people to walk out of a building. I have had it happen before, but it’s socially very awkward, so people tend to avoid that.

Mike (45:09):

So let me summarize that. The first thing you’re saying is for gym owners who have not sold anything yet, you need to retain your clients. You need to get in front of your current clients, the ones that you have, give them the best service that you possibly can in an online manner and show them value in that. Step two, you’re going to look at your expenses and you’re going to start figuring out what needs to stay and what needs to go and your expenses need to give you ROI. And they need to be justifiable right now. So the, you know, subscription to whatever music service that you are not using at your gym right now, that can go. But some of the other stuff like your website, you probably need to keep that one going because that is your lifeline at this point to the public.

Mike (45:48):

After that you want to address marketing stuff. So you’re looking at, you’ve got to figure out an offer and you’ve talked about 21 day challenge, which you have to figure out something that people are looking for right now, which is challenges are always popular, but it’s gotta be at home and no equipment. And then step three is going to be getting that offer in front of people. So that’s going to be advertising. And we talked about you need some photos, you need some copy and this stuff needs to be simple, right? We need person doing lunge or split-squat with back leg on the couch while there’s a pile of Lego on the floor or whatever. It’s gotta be something that just shows a person doing an at-home workout. It can’t require any excessive equipment. It can’t be some elite overhead squat situation. You know, with two giant competition kettlebells in the middle of your living room.

Mike (46:31):

You want to show them real people. I mean not real people. You can certainly use some, you know, athletes and so forth. Even a model if you still had one, but you need to show real people doing stuff in real situations at home fitness with stuff that they’ve got. And I’ll give you one media tip that if you are doing that and you’re using objects and so forth, keep the branding out of it, right? So if you’re running an ad, don’t take a picture of someone with a giant Nike backpack because Nike is going to not be super thrilled with that ad. You want to try and keep stuff logoless, but there is a way to do that if you got a little bit Photoshop skills or just pick a jug of water that has no labels on it.

Mike (47:05):

And then after that, Jeff you talked about just dealing with, once you get these people interested, you’re going to have to talk to them online as opposed to in person. So that means your website, all every, every system that you have needs to point them to that online situation. And it’s got to be the phone or video, whatever you do from there, maybe a slightly softer close or maybe a little bit more, you know, engagement and so forth because you’re on video opposed to like person to person sitting right across from someone. But from what I’ve heard, the sales steps are pretty much the same as they are in person. And if you guys go back in our archives, you will find Jeff talking regularly about how to sell stuff. One of the shows is called save your gym, selling during social distancing where he talks specifically about no sweat intros during this time. But there’s a bunch of other shows in our archives. Anything you see with Jeff will have tons and tons of sales advice and how to move stuff in person. And we talked about how to handle objections, how to close things, how to present offers, how to set your room up, all different stuff like that. Have I got the steps laid out for the gym owner to take right now if they have not sold anything?

Jeff (48:08):

Yeah, 100%. And you know, just a few things that maybe throw some icing on this cake here. Number one, I would say really practice your energy on camera, because Zoom video and a phone actually even a further disadvantage, is going to be toning your energy down. So you need to be more energetic than you probably feel is OK. And that’ll probably put you just on the line where you need to be. Just kind of like channel your inner Spinal Tap here and turn it from a 10 to an 11 and go as high as you possibly can with that thing. But it’s going to be very, very important. You can also work on like voice inflection, how you change the pace that you’re talking at, the volume of your voice that you use, your pausing, reflecting here and there.

Jeff (49:01):

And that’s, you know, vocal gymnastics if you will, to keep people engaged. And of course asking questions every 60 seconds or so, maybe 60 to 90 seconds will also keep them engaged. You don’t want to lose them at any point during the conversation. So all kind of huge. One other thing I’d say that I didn’t mention in sort of the triage steps, one step I’d throw in there right after flipping to online would actually be contact all of your old leads and old members, especially to offer them this either 21-day challenge or to offer them just the remote coaching option, online coaching so that they have something to do during this time. You’re showing that you’re thinking of them. They’re still in mind for you and you’d love to help out. And then when you sell it, sell it at the rates that you’re charging for it.

Mike (49:51):

These are warm leads. I mean, these are warm leads who have some association with your business. And maybe the reason they left was they couldn’t make your class times and maybe they’d love an at home thing. They love you and they love your coaching, but they just couldn’t make those class times. Now if you offer them an online thing, maybe that works. So that is a huge tip. I’m glad you brought that up. Guys, if you have time on your hands right now, contact your past, your departed members, and see if maybe they’re interested in a new service. That’s a great one. That’s a ton of stuff. And in the last, you know, 15 minutes here we’ve given you an actionable plan. Please take these steps so that you can start making some sales here because as Jeff and I talked on a previous show, you’re going to have to sell your way out of this crisis. It can be done. Thanks for listening. I’m Mike Warkentin with Jeff Burlingame and this is Two-Brain Radio. Please visit and click COVID-19 in the top menu. That’s going to take you to a constantly updated page of essential resources for gym owners. We want to help you through this crisis and that page needs to be bookmarked. Check it regularly for tactics, tips and updates from around the world. You can get through this. Thanks again for tuning into Two-Brain Radio. We will be back next time with more actual advice. Thanks.


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Effective Online Training With Eddie Lester

Effective Online Training With Eddie Lester

Andrew (00:02):

It’s another special edition of Two-Brain Radio. With trainers around the world moving online as fast as they can, Two-Brain founder Chris Cooper talks to Eddie Lester of to get his tips for the transition. Two-Brain’s new COVID page is now live with all the essential resources you need to get through this crisis. Visit and click COVID 19 at the top. And now, here’s Chris Cooper.

Chris (00:25):

Eddie, welcome to Two-Brain Radio.

Eddie (00:25):

Hey Chris, thanks so much for having me.

Chris (00:28):

It’s a real pleasure, man. A lot of gym owners right now are finding themselves doing more coaching, trying to figure out this new service of online coaching. And I’m really looking forward to the tips that you’re going to give us on how to transition.

Eddie (00:40):

Awesome. You know, it’s such a unique time and such a unique, we’ll say, situation that we’re all in and there’s so many people that are completely lost and I’ve been dealing with trainers on a daily basis, just really assisting them in adjusting and shifting to this immediate need, which is, you know, quite crucial for a lot of businesses.

Chris (01:00):

OK, man. Well, let’s start with the story of How did that all come about?

Eddie (01:07):

Yeah, so really Fitness Mentors originated from really, it’s kind of a unique story because I’ve been a trainer for about 13, 14 years and in the beginning, I went to school the pretty much for personal training, knew I loved the fitness industry. Was working at an Equinox and actually was recruited to educate at a vocational level for personal trainers actually for National Academy of Sports Medicine, one of their programs at a vocational college. And I was actually a big part of developing their current, which they still use their 900-hour in class curriculum, delivered at vocational schools and really, you know, kind of, I always knew I loved teaching and teaching as a personal trainer, you know, you get that immediate feedback, you get that all that, the tracking of results and that rewarding sort of nature.

Eddie (02:03):

But what I realized is that I loved teaching people about personal training and how to be successful in it. And I had about five years at this vocational college that really allowed me to acquire skills of educating to a live classroom, developing curriculum, and really just helping people become successful personal trainers. And what I realized, and this was what, 2013, 2014, was that I was only able to help about the, you know, 15 to 20 people in my class every six months. And for me, I really, you know, I always knew that I wanted to help a lot of people be successful in life. And you know, my chosen career and niche and expertise was fitness. So I really decided to create a basically online vocation company for personal trainers. And that’s really where Fitness Mentors started was I was educating them to passing their basically NASM and ACE exams and, you know, cause that was what I was doing at the time and really, enjoyed that, knew all about it.

Eddie (03:14):

So developed curriculum to assist students online and passing those exams. And since then, over the last years or so, we’ve really grown to help personal trainers. And this is something very specific, basically help industry professionals, understand the needs or what they need to know and the skills they need to know to be successful as a personal trainer significantly beyond just passing a test, you know, being industry ready in the sense of business. And that’s something that we’ve really focused our curriculum and education on is yeah, you need to know all the sciences. You need to know how to train and the habit coaching, things like that. But really what I felt most important was I need to teach these trainers and, you know, entrepreneurs for private trainers and people even looking to open their own gyms, how to, we’ll say, succeed on the business side because so many trainers were getting into this and getting their certification and then being just completely lost as what they need to do to get clients what they need to do to retain clients, how to even generate a lead or even talk to people in that sense.

Eddie (04:26):

So really that’s been the main point of Fitness Mentors is to help personal trainers really succeed on the business side so that they can help more people. That’s really what I saw.

Chris (04:37):

That’s really interesting. So, you know, most of the people listening to this podcast have worked in or own a bricks and mortar gym right now. And what they’re finding is that, you know, there’s two sides to a business. There’s operations and audience. They still got their audience, but the operations have just been, you know, taken away. They don’t have their own gym anymore. They don’t have their equipment anymore. So how do they start to make that pivot mentally first, Eddie?

Eddie (05:03):

Yeah, absolutely. So I mean really the one thing that I see as a kind of, well just anyone at helping someone achieve a goal in this time specific to the fitness industry is the first thing on a mindset standpoint is relinquish control. And it’s something that I feel is a really important first step because a lot of the people that I’m working with are so worried about delivering their service and how it’s going to look and these are people that have trained in person for, you know, decades, some of them. And, what I’m seeing is they have so much control one-on-one. They have so much control over everything that they do in person with this client. And the first thing that’s holding them back, and this is huge, it’s really holding them back, is the fact that think they need to have this perfect product that’s delivered online and they’re trying to control the exact same variables that they do in an in-person session.

Eddie (06:07):

So from a mind standpoint, we’re all going into this unknown territory relative to this event. And the first thing is just to understand that if you can relinquish control over what you used to do and how you used to control the session and those training variables, you can open yourself up to understanding that online training, the main goal is to help someone achieve a goal. And there’s thousands of possibilities in the way and the directions in which you do that. So that’s absolutely first thing as far as mindset goes, is relinquish control. And in that sense.

Chris (06:45):

So that’s amazing. So, um, how do you make that mental pivot to really embrace the fact that like your existing tool kit has gone now you have to kind of use these new tools?

Eddie (06:57):

Yeah, so I mean it’s a commitment in the sense of, I mean, there’s a lot of different ways to approach this, but the most important thing for those gym owners out there that are really looking to quickly pick up an online training service in that sense is simplify, simplify, simplify.

Eddie (07:21):

Find the simplest way that you can continue to serve your customers, your members. And, you know, there’s so many options for training, how you do it, the specifics around that, which we really cover in an in-depth course on our site. But really the most important thing is you need to immediately connect and find out what your members need and then give them the simplest service that can be performed by you currently. And, you know, I don’t want to get too much into the weeds of how to do that. But making something that’s so simple that they can do it and, or you can provide it, I think it super important.

Chris (08:06):

So what do you mean by the simplest service that you can provide?

Eddie (08:10):

So specifically, what do you have in your arsenal currently and you know, a lot of gym owners, if you have a staff that currently connect with or that connected with your members when in there, continue that process, how can you connect, but electronically? You know, the same group exercise classes that were being run at your gym or the group training, how can you most simply provide that, you know, a simple video call like this and create an invitation to all of the members to get them just continuing to exercise, you know, a lot of the trainers that I work with really think that that video is to be so much different or a multi, a group call is going to be so much different than doing it in person because of all those variables that you have. But really it’s the only thing I really think is different between a video call and the in-person session is really just the kinesthetic cues, of touch in a sense of, you know, like, sometimes with a trainer they’ll say, Hey, activate your lower traps.

Eddie (09:21):

And they’ll touch that specific area. But the verbal commands, the nonverbal communication as far as our language is still there. There’s so much that that actually continues through the video call and you know, that that’s just one thing as far as your group training that you immediately can pick up right back up on and keep your group training schedule. You know, if you have a group training schedule at your gym, look at that and transition to online if you, and to be honest, I believe depending on the exact legal nature of going into your gym, if you can still use your gym by yourself, obviously without anyone being there and record from that same classroom, that’s a potential option. Obviously some of your trainers managed to shift and do it from their garage or from home or park.

Eddie (10:10):

But you know the mobile device is a great way to connect with all of those members still.

Chris (10:14):

  1. So where have you seen coaches and trainers fail to make this transition in the past? Like what have they screwed up? What should we be avoiding?

Eddie (10:23):

So, to be honest, the way that I see people fail most, and there’s a broad variety of failures, but really what I see is paralysis by analysis to be cliche. Which is they’re trying to think of the best way to go online. They’re trying to create this, you know, a program that’s going to give the people everything that they had in person and they’re comparing it to training in person and they might even, you know, spend, you know, weeks and weeks and months and months trying to build this program as an online training program.

Eddie (11:05):

And most people don’t get off the ground. An it’s so unique. Even the people that are committed to building their business and they’re going for, what they do is they end up, if they’re analyzing it too much and they’re trying to be a perfectionist and compare it to in person training, they’re trying to provide all that and they build a business for months and months and months without actually even training someone. And so the failure happens before you even start because, and that’s a unique situation, but literally 50% of people that are trying to get an online training are just virtual in anything is they’re trying to build something that is far beyond what they need to actually perform the task. And I really like to simplify online training in the sense of you are helping your members, your clients achieve a goal and then work backwards from there. And what best ways can you do that online? Don’t compare it to anything you did in person.

Chris (12:08):

So again, simplify, choose the simplest method. Interesting. When a coach is used to coaching in person and they have to start coaching online, what new skills do they have to gain that they might not not already possess?

Eddie (12:24):

So a lot of the assistance with or that personal trainers provide is done through communication. And to be honest, every trainer that I’ve seen that works with clients currently has the skills to go or to move online. What they need, I think is to how to learn or learn how to effectively communicate online, if that makes sense. So communication is, is the most important skill for a virtual training business or a virtual gym, whatever you may want to call it. It’s really that point of taking the needs of the client, addressing them, but then communicating and holding them accountable.

Eddie (13:20):

And this even happens in my opinion, online, it needs to happen way more often than it ever did when you stepped into a training session and you checked in on them, you had your hour conversation with them as you went through your workout, and then you might’ve reached out to them once a week, you know, twice a week in between that. With online coaching and training, it’s what are they doing in the morning that can help them achieve their goals. What are they doing around midday that can help them achieve their goals? Are they doing we’ll say evening procedures to achieve their goals? And if you can increase communication effectively with that type of, we’ll say, schedule in connection that that provides a value that you can remain on your members’, on your clients’ minds constantly. And this is something that I’ve even had people going from my regular one on one training into online training is they’re actually finding themselves more successful because all of a sudden I’m on their back three times a day reminding them, Hey, like before you eat breakfast, you know what to eat for breakfast, right?

Eddie (14:30):

And to be honest, I do a lot of this through text messaging and utilizing text message softwares, I actually use one called It’s an automated way that you can actually build this and it follows up with people in an automated way, sends them a once daily text message and then you actually put people into groups and send one text message as opposed to sending, you know, one individually so that really saves time right there. And to be honest, the read rate on text messages is in the 97th percentile. If you’re trying to communicate via email, those things get lost. I mean, I’m sure you know, I’m sure gym owners know that, you know, you might have a 20% read rate on emails regardless of the content. Even if you’re giving the best thing away, only 20 people are going to open it. So when you’re providing accountability and great communication via text message, it’s almost a guarantee that they’re going to see that, you’re going to remain on the top of their mind and they’re going to get towards their goals. So communication I think is one skill that that is crucial to succeeding virtually.

Chris (15:42):

To get into the weeds on that a little bit. I’ve been in some coaching programs where the texts that I was getting from the coach were obviously not meant for me. You know, they’re talking about weight loss and my goal would be completely different. So where do you automate texts and where do you personally write a text?

Eddie (16:03):

What I should be clear on I guess from the last topic or what I mentioned was that the personalization of your communication is extremely, extremely important in the sense that you are talking to a human and that human expects via text you to be on the other side. And the more human to human you can keep your communication and even your automated text messages, the more success you will have. So and this does require a bit of extra time to make sure that it’s customized to the individual. But let’s say you have a training staff that has, you know, 20 clients apiece or a a group exercise classroom and you can hand off those tasks to those trainers and to have them effectively communicate with their clients. And you can group them into individual goals in a software.

Eddie (17:00):

So if you know that this person is in weight loss and so is this other person. So is this person and these other people are in a, you know, more of a hypertrophy, or muscle gain or performance or general health or whatever goals that they may have. You can actually group them and send out a direct, we’ll say text message with their name in it. Using some of the software cues to make it very specific to that individual. And the moment that you send out an automated text that doesn’t feel that personal is when someone might not continue to open your text messages as much. So, I’m glad you brought that up because it is so important to recognize the fact that it will require you to be as personal and human as possible and the personality that you have in person with your client, that needs to shine through your text as well. So be be yourself, be that person that they talk to, you know, one on one and have those sort of conversations and go back and forth a few times. And, you know, there is that software is pivotal for that type of work.

Chris (18:15):

All right, we’ll put a link to that in the show notes then. Thanks a lot for that Eddie. Let’s talk about client retention online. So, you know, gym owners are pivoting to this new service. It’s brand new to them. It’s also new to most of their clients. And right now the novelty factor is working in our favor. We can keep clients around because they’re looking at this thing like what is this? And the isolation factor is also helping because, you know, we don’t have daily habits anymore. It’s all back to square one. And so they’re looking for guidance. But historically, before the whole COVID tragedy crisis, what were trainers doing to keep clients around long term online?

Eddie (18:52):

Yeah. So, so once again, I mean it’s about creating a human experience. And when you think about online, it’s so easy to get disconnected from that cause so many—and to be honest, the internet kind of emerged as this sort of automated like machine-like feel and what I’m seeing the internet moving towards is being that personality and creating a personality of yourself in your communication, in your, we’ll say, branding online, kind of just in your overall approach. And really when we think about client retention online, it’s about that consistent human connection with the individual and when it comes to, I mean, one of the things that I recommended every single one of our trainers do is call every single one of their clients and say, how are you doing? You know, we talked about this on my podcast last week, but really, you know, connecting with them in a way that’s significantly beyond just like, Hey, I’m your trainer and let’s go achieve your fitness goals. But that one on one communication that you have in person, transitioning that sort of human approach to online is extremely pivotal. And that’s where I believe retention is, and also, you know, that real specific personality that you can create in that communication is super important.

Chris (20:31):

So sticking with, you know, the tools that people are using right now, there is an emerging trend in mindset coaching, habit coaching, even sleep tracking. What should new online trainers be looking at instead of just I sell you programming and then encourage you to do it.

Eddie (20:50):

Yeah. So, this is where, and when you talked about earlier how you kind of talked about, I believe you were saying about the approach for online training and what I mentioned from earlier is that that you need to separate yourself from what you currently do in person is all of a sudden your a goal-achieving coach and you need to once again separate yourself from anything that you feel like you were in person to that client and now you become a, we’ll say, you increase the amount of in the sense of, like you kind of mentioned. Yes, they work out with you. OK. A lot of people, a lot of trainers and, and you know, we’ll say group exercise instructors think on that sort of side of it. But when you’re online and you have access to them 24/seven respectfully and whatever hours that they’re focused on is you have the ability to increase your value as a coach by adding the, we’ll say, nutritional accountability, by adding the we’ll say sleep enhancing, coaching, we’ll say, by adding the habits that you teach them. And you know, when I think of coaching someone towards a goal, what do they need to do, they need to eat well, they need to sleep well, they need to exercise, and then they need to be mentally, we’ll say, sound towards continuing those habits.

Eddie (22:34):

And that’s really the way that I encourage breaking down just a goal and then applying that to online training is just how can you communicate that consistently with your clients? So you’re really opened up to so much more value you can add to the person’s life when you’re communicating with them. And that’s really what a lot of personal trainers getting to online training are kind of like, Oh, I needed to deliver the best exercise program. OK.

Chris (23:05):

That is a really common, yeah.

Eddie (23:06):

And maybe I’ll give them a little bit of nutrition. But once again, that communication as an online coach is pivotal and that’s where with that communication, you have extra, we’ll say text messages or avenues to track other variables that help them achieve that goal. And when you kind of combine, when you really focus on the overall approach to the goal as opposed to the fitness elements that we’re all so used to in person, that’s where the success is really had.

Chris (23:37):

Very interesting, Eddie. I think you made a couple of really big points there and I hope people were paying close attention and a couple of epiphanies about, you know, what is the nature of value in online coaching. I also think there’s an opportunity once you’ve, you know, learned these habits of constant communication, your gym reopens, that’s gonna make you a better coach there too. Let’s talk about audience building for a moment. Is it easier to acquire clients for online coaching than it is in person, or is it harder?

Eddie (24:07):

You know, it’s really the individual’s approach. So I mean, when we think about the, I mean there’s two different ways to think about this. When you think of audience online, we’re talking anyone in the world can participate in your online program. So when we think of the volume of people that you can connect with, significantly higher online. When we think of the people in your local area in your gym’s city or the city over, you’re limited to who they are, their locations, the convenience factor of your gym. There’s so many other things that apply to them choosing your gym and going in. So really do want to get into building the audience or just kind of talk about the difficulty there?

Chris (24:55):

Yeah. Cultivating the audience.

Eddie (24:59):

So, online and that we’re really specific about ensuring through our program, through we call it our certified online personal trainer program, really focusing on providing the content towards your specific type of population that you want to work with.

Eddie (25:18):

And you know if you’re a niche specific gym, there’s never a better time right now than to start putting out niche specific content for that population online. Because the way that you really cultivate an audience is to provide a ton of free value and a ton of content that can immediately help people right away. And then what you’re doing is you’re building this sort of trust factor online with these people. And that right there opens you up to to we’ll say, create a potential customer and then offering, you know, low barriers to entry online services is a very easy thing to do. I have a program in our course that is focused on, Hey, we want you to pay 20 to 20 dollars, $25 for our one month we’ll say online challenge that focuses on something super niche specific.

Eddie (26:15):

So I have a program that I want you and one of the ones that I was pretty successful with recently and with our coaches as well our online coaches is a low back pain reduction challenge.

Chris (26:27):

Oh, cool.

Eddie (26:27):

So just something super, super specific that like, Oh, like I’ve never done a low back pain, you know, recovery challenge and it’s basically challenges the people in your social network that you’re going to post on social media to join for $20. You know, you know, the back pain industry is multibillion dollar giant corporations trying to try to help people with back pain. But you’re coming out and you’re saying, I’m going to provide you the steps to reduce your low back pain and a 30-day program and I just want you to join for $20.

Eddie (26:59):

Just so that I can track everything and communicate with you and that sort of thing. I just want to provide this super low barrier entry offer. And what happens is, what people don’t realize is, I mean, to be honest, that sounds amazing to me. Like, Oh, I just want to do that. I’ll get a text message a once a day with a specific routine that to reduce low back pain and you can automate all that, and that’s why you can charge so little for it. But what you’re getting there is an immediate ability to build trust and build a personality, effective communication with someone and prove to them that your online services can be effective for their goals. And when we—I had a few trainers put this out, right when the coronavirus kind of started to started to close gyms and people were starting to not train in person and within, you know, two days we had anywhere from 20 to 40 signups from small social networks of these individual trainers. We’re talking two to 400, two to 500 friends on Facebook. A simple challenge like that all of a sudden for $20. Yeah, no way. Yeah, I’m absolutely gonna do it. Even if I don’t participate in it, it’s like it’s only $20. It’s a low barrier entry and there’s not a lot of risks, but what you’re getting is the opportunity to prove that an online service like this can really impact people and you’re getting a very warm lead to transition them into something like a monthly customized program that can help them with their specific goals.

Chris (28:32):

Oh that’s really, really awesome Eddie. OK, cool. So, all right, this is going to be my final question cause I think you’ve done an amazing job of giving us like, you know, some really, really important and valuable stuff here. What’s the one thing that most people overlook when they’re, you know, changing from one-on-one delivery in person to online?

Eddie (28:56):

So, I mean, I’ve beat this to death and I could easily go that route, but I’m gonna try to try to give something different. But, it’s, I mean, once again, keep it simple. I mean, it’s really about when you think about how you’re going to deliver a program, get the client first. I mean, really, it’s just like an in person training. You need to adjust to the needs of what people have. So when we think about overlooking things, I feel like that’s a really, you’re looking into detail already just by thinking, you know, Oh, what did I miss? What did I miss? It’s really about that individual and connecting with them in a human way and then allowing that human nature that we all have to really do the work itself.

Eddie (29:51):

And you know, when we think about online personal trainers, online fitness coaches, we’re online coaches to every aspect that leads to their goal. And you know, when we think of overlooking specific parts of that, it’s don’t underestimate the nice and genuine person you are. The more that you can be yourself in every aspect of your delivery, in every aspect of your approach, and I say this for your trainers, I say this for the true nature of your gym. The more that you retain that feeling of I like that person or that your client’s saying, I like that person, the more you can retain those qualities online, the more successful you will be. And this is really that shift of the internet becoming, or we’ll say needing to provide people with a human experience.

Eddie (30:52):

And especially when people are locked in their homes, you know, or especially when people aren’t going outside, the ability to connect is very much overlooked in a way that if you really are sticking to who you are, your core values, in a way the love that you give everyone through your programs already and that sort of feeling of, you know, connection, that human connection, I think that’s the focus when, when you start to think about online training and maybe that could be overlooked because people are thinking, you know, I need to provide the best program or the best nutrition program or the best way to track a nutrition program or that sort of thing. I’d say focus on the human to human, focus on that, that really deep connection that we all feel, that’s one of the most things that might be overlooked in that sense.

Chris (31:43):

I could see that being overlooked. Well, Eddie, thanks a lot for sharing your expertise here. You know, we’re all kind of learning as we go, but it certainly helps to have mentors like you and you know, is where people can find you afterward. So thank you for joining and helping.

Eddie (31:56):

I did want to mention that we are, because of this situation and really, you know, setting, I mean, just the impact of it. We wanted to give people as many tools for free as possible to get started online. That’s something that’s that so pivotal. So we did set up a program, basically how to start an online section of our course for free. So if you guys are listening out there, you want a little bit of extra help, you want that, we’ll say guided step-by-step process.

Eddie (32:32):

You know, I want you guys to pull out your phones right now and text online trainer and that’s online space trainer to the number three, one, nine, nine, six. So if you’re looking at your phone and you just open up a new text message, you’re gonna type in three one nine, nine six in the number to and then online space trainer and that that’ll give you access. You’re just going to need to create an account and you’ll get free access to our, basically a section of our course that teaches you how to start and, you know, just provide the tools and the products and the understanding of getting that first step into virtual training.

Chris (33:14):

That’s really generous of you, Eddie. Thank you. And we’ll put that link in the show notes too for people. So if you didn’t catch it or you’re, I guess you’re not driving anywhere right now, but if you’re listening to the podcast and you’re sweeping your floor and you didn’t catch that, it will be in the show notes. Thanks again Eddie. All the best to you, man.

Eddie (33:30):

Yeah, thanks Chris. I really appreciate it and have a good day.

Andrew (33:36):

This has been a special edition of Two-Brain Radio. Two-Brain business serves a global network of gyms, and we’ll be collecting and sharing the best strategies for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. To check out our page with essential resources, visit and click COVID 19 at the top.


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

On Monday, Two-Brain Radio presents marketing tips and success stories, and Sean Woodland has great stories from the community on Wednesdays.

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Motherhood and Games Memories: Cassidy Lance-McWherter

Motherhood and Games Memories: Cassidy Lance-McWherter

Sean (00:00):

Hi everybody and welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. On today’s episode, I speak with five-time individual Games competitor Cassidy Lance-McWherter. You know, they say it’s lonely at the top. What if entrepreneurs didn’t have to go it alone? Now you don’t have to. Chris Cooper has compiled more than a decade’s worth of hard-won wisdom into 15 free guides on everything from marketing and retention to hiring and firing. You can download them all for free at Cassidy Lance-McWherter debuted at the Games as an individual in 2013 and she had her best career finish the following year when she took eighth overall. She also won the worldwide Open in 2018 before finishing 10th in her last appearance as an individual in Madison. We talk about her time as a competitor, including a very memorable moment in 2018, what she and her wife Aly went through when they decided they wanted to start a family and why Cassidy is teaming up with Camille Leblanc-Bazinet aid to help people improve their well-being. Thanks for listening everyone. Cassidy, thanks so much for doing this today. How are you feeling?

Cassidy (01:19):

Hi. Thank you. I’m excited to be here. I feel great. Everyone. Yeah, it’s been an easy pregnancy so far.

Sean (01:27):

So you’re 22 weeks in, correct?

Cassidy (01:30):


Sean (01:31):

What are the biggest changes now that you’re kind of going through?

Cassidy (01:35):

Now I feel like my belly’s poking out. I was like, nothing, nothing, nothing. Then all of a sudden it’s like, OK, it’s there. So, I mean, day to day is normal. Working out like squats, I’m definitely a lot wider, like deadlifts. I usually deadlift really narrow. My feet are wider and just, I mean, certain things like accommodate the belly.

Sean (02:03):

What was your athletic background growing up?

Cassidy (02:07):

I did gymnastics my entire life. So grew up doing that competitively and then went to college for gymnastics.

Sean (02:17):

What was it about that sport that, that made you kind of want to commit to it at a young age?

Cassidy (02:23):

I’m sorry that made me what?

Sean (02:25):

that made you want to commit and be good at it at such a young age.

Cassidy (02:31):

I actually have never been asked that question. That’s a good question. I think it teaches you a lot. I’m a mover. Like I definitely cannot sit still. So for me just having the discipline of something that it’s kind of like CrossFit, you can always get better, right? And you can’t take a step back. So you’re always moving up each year. I dunno. It’s a lot of hours. You put a lot of time into it. And so I think that was like the biggest thing is I always had something, I wake up every morning and you know, I had goals to do. And it’s not just like a basketball game where you win or lose, right. You’re improving every single year and building skills and adding things kind of exactly like CrossFit is that you can never be fast enough, right? So you’re always trying to build that engine and build your strength or that capacity of what level you’re going to be. So I think those play hand in hand, but I just really, I can’t sit still even to this day. So I think that really helped me just to like focus on one thing.

Sean (03:41):

Competitive gymnastics at any age is a total grind. And you mentioned how many hours that you had to put in. How were you able to get through that and then ultimately go on to get a scholarship in college?

Cassidy (03:53):

Yeah, I think it just comes down to like, the ultimate goal is like, I always tell like the goal at the end of the tunnel and you know, you’re trying to always achieve that perfect 10, so trying to be better every single day. I think that motivation just comes from within you. You either have it or you don’t have it.

Sean (04:10):

What did it mean to you then to get that scholarship offer from the university of Washington?

Cassidy (04:18):

Oh man, it was a wild ride, right? We had, me and my other friend were recruited at the same time. We had 17 college coaches come out and look at us and we had many offers from different schools and we ended up choosing our school of choice. And I mean it’s anyone’s dream, right? To get to the end. Like I was never going to go to the Olympics, but college was that, it was that big, big competition, big championship that you could finish out and play.

Sean (04:58):

What is it like competing on a division one stage with so many other talented athletes?

Cassidy (05:08):

And now you have to pull my memories back because it’s been a long time, it’s like 10 years. It’s awesome. The crowd, you know, the fans, you do it for the fans, but also you work so hard and you finally get it. And especially in gymnastics, you work the hours and day, gymnastics or college gymnastics is just a show. So you get to perform for the fans and show them everything that you worked for, you know, your entire life. When you’re in a club gymnastics, you do competitions. But it’s usually just like your mom and maybe some family in the stands. So you’re performing. But when you’re performing to a huge NCAA stage, I mean the world knows who you are now, right? Or at least you think they do.

Sean (05:57):

You decided that after you get done at the University of Washington, I want to do some more schooling. So you go to Texas Tech and you pursue a master’s in rehabilitation counseling. Why did you decide that you wanted to do that?

Cassidy (06:09):

So honestly I was going to go into case management and medical malpractice. So my mom does the medical side and then I would do the rehab side. So if someone, we can take Kevin Ogar for example, he got injured, he needs a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Well, what else does he need? Does he need therapy? Rehab?

Cassidy (06:33):

You know, a one story house, all those things. So I actually worked with her for a couple of years on cases and stuff, so I was going to do that. But then sitting all day like that really kind of like got to me, so I’ll have that as a back fail if something ever happens with CrossFit and the gym right now. But that’s kind of how I got into it, but that was my goal. That was my career. And then all of a sudden CrossFit happened.

Sean (07:06):

Yeah. How did you find CrossFit?

Cassidy (07:08):

So I was actually injured in college and one of the girls told me, Oh, you can get in shape in five minutes. And I was like, there is no way I’m so used to training, you know, for six hours a day. I mean, obviously college goes less, it’s 20 hours a week. But after, you know, I couldn’t do gymnastics conditioning for the rest of my life. So I went in with her one day and I don’t remember the exact workout. I just remember I cheated.

Cassidy (07:39):

It’s funny though, but everyone was so fast and I couldn’t keep up with them and I was like, all right, I’m hooked. So ever since then, I’ve been doing CrossFit. Yeah.

Sean (07:52):

When did you decide that you wanted to be a competitor?

Cassidy (07:57):

So actually we went to the Games, we got an invite from 2010. So the first year that I did CrossFit, we went as a team and they asked me to be part of it. So that was cool. But I had no idea what I was doing and I mean, you know, it’s like rookie of the rookie, like I didn’t even know what my numbers were and it was strict press and shoulder to overhead and I was like, I have no idea, 65 pounds. That’s great. But then as the years kind of went on, I just did it like I was a 6:00 AM-er I went in, did my workout and then went to work.

Cassidy (08:34):

Then Aly deployed and I was distraught and I had tons of time by myself and keep myself busy. So I kept myself busy by working and then going into the gym a lot. And then so 2013 I made it to the Games and I didn’t do too well. Then I decided like I don’t want to compete at the Games. I want to be competitive with those girls. So since then it was OK, let’s work. Let’s go.

Sean (09:14):

You mentioned going to the Games for the first time as an individual, 2013 you take 29th, what did you learn about what you needed to do then to be competitive with the best in the sport?

Cassidy (09:26):

I don’t know if I knew like exactly what workout I needed to do or what I needed to dial in, but I know I needed to put in work and I knew how to put in work just from gymnastics. So whatever it was, you know, I had a coach and everything, so whatever he gave me I would do, if it was written on paper, I would do it and I would do extra and I would ask for more. And I tell the athletes that I coach today that I’ve done the work. I have a good base now, so don’t follow me. But if you guys are where I started, you know, ask me or do more, if you’re missing your snatches, if you’re missing your clean and jerks, you know, do some extra. Don’t just do your five sets of one and say, oh, that’s good for the day. Really get after it and spend some time doing that stuff. And you know, me and Camille have always talked about that too, people say they want it, but they’re not out in the snow. You know, doing burpees out in the snow because it’s too cold or they’re not going for a run outside or in the rain or it’s too hot. It’s 80 degrees. I can’t go, you know, 90 degrees, a hundred degrees. It’s too hot. You’re not going to get out there, like you’ve gotta be willing no matter what the circumstances are to put it in.

Sean (10:44):

You go back again in 2014, you take eighth overall, how then did that affect your drive and motivation as you moved forward in your career?

Cassidy (10:55):

That was a really fun year. That was like the best year. Yeah, that was a just a really fun year, I loved the programming. I loved they experience, Dave did a great job with secluding us outside. You always want that feeling, you know of those memories again. So you’re always trying to repeat, OK, why did I perform so well? Why was it so fun? What were those reasons? So trying to always like mimic or replicate that stuff that goes on. So that, I think that happens each year.

Sean (11:37):

In 2015 you take 26 overall and then you just miss making it back to the Games in 2016 when you took six in the Atlantic Regional, what did you think about your competitive future after those two years?

Cassidy (11:50):

Yeah, so, I’m going to blame Aly on this one again.

Cassidy (11:58):

So actually, so we go back like, she deployed to Afghanistan, right? I ended up training in the gym. Well she ended up coming back, right. And then we moved to Savannah for a couple of weeks and we’re moving to Florida in this time period. I don’t really have a gym to work out with like a lot plays into your training. You know, she wanted—I shouldn’t say she, we both wanted to hang out and you know, work and we didn’t really, she didn’t really understand what CrossFit was. And so it wasn’t really a priority to me at that time. But then you miss it. I missed, I took sixth and I think I just like was like, what happened? And you look back and you figure out all those reasons of why and you sit down. And when we sat down and talked and I said, Hey look, I’m going to do this and these are things that have to change and these are my goals. These are my priorities. I’m not saying that you’re not my priority, but this is kind of a separate passion of mine. And we both we became a team. And you know, for two years, 17 and 18 we busted our butt working so hard to make sure that everything was right nutrition,

Cassidy (13:17):

recovery, training, you name it, extra work, less work, whatever you needed to do to make those things happen. And you know, I missed 2016 because I didn’t have strict muscle-ups.

Cassidy (13:33):

That’s 100% my responsibility, but then she was also a good partner and OK, we’re doing 20 spotted strict muscle-ups or however many it takes you a day. And so she would sit there and spot me in the gym and you know, while no one sees any of this, and it’s always the things that are hidden behind the doors that people don’t see, but, and then I could do one by myself. OK. And then finally I could do two by myself. Then I was able to like 2018 I was finally able to do like four in a row. Like they’re still not like a strong suit for me. And people say, well, you did gymnastics, you should have this. But you have to remember girls never touched the rings. And I’m a better athlete with using my body, kipping-wise and you know, understanding that, that the strict portion for me is a lot harder anyway. So working super hard for 2017, 2018. Those were really, really good years as well. So you can look back and you know, it’s an entire year of hard work. It’s not just, Oh, I want to make it to the Games. Oh it’s July. I have one month to make it or whatever the goal is. Right. It’s a process and everyone needs to understand like each month means something.

Sean (14:57):

You mentioned 2017 and 2018 you went on a tear those two years, you won the Open in 2018 first in the world. What do you remember about those five Open workouts in 2018 and how you performed in them?

Cassidy (15:14):

So that was actually the first year 2017. And I know a lot of people say they don’t look at the leaderboard. I look at the leaderboard on all the other years, but 2017 was a year that, you know, I missed 2016. I didn’t want to, I turned off the social media. I wasn’t looking. I unfollowed a bunch of people, so I wasn’t looking about, Oh, what they’re lifting or what they’re doing. I just really kind of put my blinders on and, you know, that song Work Like a Racehorse. Like, Imagine Dragons. I literally listened to that song every day going to the gym. I put my blinders on and worked as hard as I could and harder at that point. Ryan Elrod was with me and we would get to the gym and you know, we would push each other. So that was a really fun and cool year, but leading up to the Open, I don’t remember the workouts just because it was another day of training. We honestly just, we did that workout. We did it once, moved on. I think I had to redo one workout because I had some missed rep in that year. I remember 2018 more than 2017. But Tia texted me and was like, Hey, you’re going to win. I want you to, here’s my score for the last workout. I just want you to make sure that you’re around there. And I didn’t even know where I was on the line leaderboard because I was so focused on just doing everything that I possibly could in the gym every day and outside the gym that I would put my score in and just move on.

Cassidy (16:54):

And so it wasn’t until the end that that someone told me and I looked at the leaderboard and I was like, is that real? Wow, that’s cool. But then you also go in knowing like, OK, that’s one piece of the puzzle. Now we have to get through Regionals. Right? You can’t just say, Oh, I won the Open. I’m going to slack or I don’t have to work so hard because I am the best at this. I think that pressure was, I have to work even harder now. I have to put more time in because now it really happens. Now everyone’s watching me on the stage. It’s not just a videocamera, you know, my score’s uploaded on the video, the big stage is happening and then there’s one past that. Right. OK, great. We knocked out Regionals, checked off that box. Now what are the goals for the Games? So it wasn’t just hit one, it was, there was a goal and a future and a plan for the entire season.

Sean (17:51):

You go to the Games in 2018 you take 10th and I think you had one of the more memorable moments at that competition in the speed clean and jerk ladder.

Cassidy (18:00):

Yeah, that was fun.

Sean (18:01):

What happened during that event?

Cassidy (18:06):

I was super stoked for that. So I loved that when it was, was that a 2015 workout?

Sean (18:12):

That was the first time they did the ladder, I think it was in 2015.

Cassidy (18:15):

Yeah, I love ladders. I did GRID and just the speed of that I can lift, I can lift heavy fast, but I can’t max out very high so I can move really well at like 80%. But I can’t max out high. So as soon as that came out and I was like, Oh, this is going to be super fun. I’m on, I’m ready. And again, like blinders went on. And you know, it’s a battle because you have to control with your judge too. And so my judge was right with me the whole time and made sure that each rep counted because you can’t miss a rep there. It comes down to seconds on that. And that was just a really fun workout. And then we got to the heavier workouts, which, the crowd was just electric then, it was electric. It wasn’t a squat PR, but it was definitely a power PR. And by the time we turned around, there was no time to really warm up a squat and for those heavy cleans. And that was maybe that was my fault for not warming up in earlier heats, but I didn’t really need to. And so I guess it came down to that final bar, but, the teammates and you know, the girls surrounding that event and then the crowd just cheering as loud as they could. That was so memorable. It was really fun.

Sean (19:38):

The first time you touched that 225 bar, I remember you missed the attempt and then you said, no, I’m not going to do it anymore. And then what did I think it was Tia, Amanda Barnhart and Kara Saunders were all right there. What did they say to you to get you to go and make one more attempt?

Cassidy (19:53):

Yeah, I mean, I don’t know if it was necessarily, I mean, they both were like, come on, you can do it. And I was like, yeah, but in my head I’m like, well, I already took fifth. Like that’s fine. It’s not a big deal. But then I like quickly turned it around and said, in my gyms, I would never say, oh yeah, you’re the last person, you’re done. Like it’s fine. You can move on. I would always be like, no, there’s time left. Like try your hardest. And so when they were doing that, I was like, Oh, OK, turn my head around, let’s go, you know, we have time. Let’s hit this bar. And you know, always finish with, you know, the best that you can and don’t just walk away or quit anything. So, and then they got riled up and then the crowd got riled up. So I was like, come on, just move the barbell.

Sean (20:38):

Yeah, it was definitely one of my favorite moments of that competition. I love that whole thing in the way it played out. How did you know that after 2018 that the time was right to you to maybe shift your focus and start thinking about a family with Aly?

Cassidy (20:50):

I didn’t know when I finished because I was actually a little disappointed with the finish of 2018. I really wanted to be top five and there were some errors that I had made as an athlete in certain workouts to drop. I was a little disappointed and you know, I still had it in me of like, OK, one more year, I can do this. I can get that top five, I can finish those goals. That was in the moment. And I promised Aly in 2017 that we would go, cause she wanted to be done. She wanted to start a family, which I don’t blame her, right. But I talked her into it and I said, let’s go one more year. Please let me just do this for me. I want to make sure I can see where my limits are and stuff. And then like a month goes by and OK, you talk to your family and you talked to your mom and dad and your father in law and your mother-in-law and friends and you know, they never talk about their athletic career. You never hear them say, Oh, I was this NCAA champion and blah blah blah. Because you don’t want to ever listen to that. But what you really want to listen to is the stories of the children and the families and all those memories. So I think it just really clicked that, OK, we’re in our thirties, you know, there’s no, we can’t go even later. You know, I’ve done CrossFit for the past 10 years. I’m still gonna continue to do CrossFit. I have three gyms.

Cassidy (22:33):

You know, it’s still going to be a big part of my life. But what can be an even bigger part is creating those memories with a little baby and watching him grow and her grow and seeing, you know, take them through sports and take them through, you know, piano lessons or whatever they want to do. Like those are the memories that you want to share and you can share with, I can share that with Aly and we can share that with the grandparents and we can share that with our cousins and sisters and brothers. And you know, you can’t share athletic careers with, hey, remember that one time I won the clean and jerk ladder? Yeah I was there.

Cassidy (23:16):

But she wasn’t a part of it. So I think, you know, you have to look bigger than just yourself and you really have to be selfless to have a family and take that away. So I think that’s where we’re at. So then a couple of months, like it was still hard because I was still working out and I was like, Oh, I could still do this competition. I could still do this. But then finally I was like, I’ve got to stop coffee, I’ve got to stop all of these things. Cause we had a lot of issues, but we’ve got to buckle down and get this going. We can’t just be half in half out. So that’s where we are right now.

Sean (24:01):

We’ll be back with more from Cassidy Lance-McWherter after this. Ever wished there were a step-by-step guide to business success? Well now there is Chris Cooper spent more than a decade making mistakes, learning from them and paving the path to wealth. Now he’s mapped it all out so that you don’t have to fly blind. Available to Two-Brain clients, the Two-Brain roadmap lays out the exact steps you need to take to grow your business and reach wealth, all with the help of a certified Two-Brain mentor. To learn more and see if mentorship is right for you, book a free call at Now more with Cassidy Lance-McWherter. What did you think about the IVF process before you even set foot into a doctor’s office?

Cassidy (24:50):

Honestly we didn’t know about the IVF process itself. We knew that it was one, more expensive, two, you would get better results. But we started with the IUI process and we’re like, we’re healthy. We’ve got this. We’ll time it, like it’s fine. I know you went through this so it’s like hello going on in your head. Like why—it’s just like crazy. I don’t know how to explain like how naive and innocent we were starting the process and nobody tells you anything.

Sean (25:41):

No, you’re absolutely right. It is amazing how the perception from when you first walk in to when you’re going through it changes. And for all the reasons you just said, how did you cope with everything that you had to deal with during this whole process?

Cassidy (26:01):

I think we were just a really strong team for each other. I mean, we tried not to tell our families at all because we wanted it to be a surprise, and we learned later on still early on in our process that that was a big mistake because the support, we could support each other like no other. And we grew stronger and we were a team and we had much more deeper conversations together. But the support that we had from our family and friends once we told them, I think really set everything at ease and we could finally take a deep breath and we weren’t hiding things and we weren’t missing birthdays and all these things because I was at the doctor’s or whatever, you know, they understood and they knew why and they weren’t upset with us and they could just really give us more love than we needed. And I think it all came down to support and love and communicating with everyone and everyone wants the best for you. You know, they’re not going to say, Oh, I don’t want you to have a baby. So, you know, you want to miss the appointment or whatever. They don’t wish that on you. And I don’t wish that on anyone else. Our support for each other really helped cope through all that stuff.

Sean (27:24):

There’s obviously some, you know, some very low points during this whole process. Even when you went through those, how did you keep going?

Cassidy (27:34):

Well, you have to keep going, right? What else do you do? You don’t have a choice. You can either get knocked down and stay down or you know, get up and figure out what went wrong and how to fix it and what you need to do. So the only option is to keep going.

Sean (27:54):

You mentioned that financially this is obviously quite a burden. How did that factor in to your decision to say, you know what, we’re going to keep pressing forward here?

Cassidy (28:03):

I don’t think there was any money too great to say I can’t afford a child. Right? I don’t want a child because it’s too expensive. No matter where you are in your situation of life. If you don’t have a lot of money or you have a lot of money, like a child is priceless. So you’re going to make it work no matter what.

Sean (28:28):

What was it like then for you to finally get that news that, Hey, this worked. Congratulations, you’re pregnant.

Cassidy (28:34):

I was in shock because I had heard so many times negative, negative, negative. And again, it was kind of like the Open, you know, I didn’t look at the leaderboard. All the other times I cheated and I did home pregnancy tests before I went in for the blood tests. And this time I was like, forget it, I’m not doing the home stuff. I’ll just go in my two weeks. And I kind of went in like, ah, it’s whatever, like, just let me know if it’s negative or positive. And the lady’s like, well, we’re not going to leave a message if it’s negative. And I was like, just leave me a message. I’m coaching tonight. Like it’s fine. And she’s like, OK, well I’ll call you around four. She calls me at two.

Cassidy (29:16):

And I’m like Jennifer, why are you calling me?

Cassidy (29:20):

And then she was like, well, I have some news. And she’s like, you are really pregnant. I was driving to the gym at the time and I was like, what do you mean really pregnant? What does really pregnant mean? And we didn’t find out till later what that meant. But, I was so in shock and I was so excited. I was screaming inside. And, but I knew I had to wait for two days to tell Ally because in two days it was her birthday. And so I thought, what a great gift. Now first I don’t have to buy anything.

Cassidy (29:59):

Secondly, what a cool gift to give her. Right? So but the issue is we still had to do all my shots. So, you know, I kinda lied to her. And I was like, well, the numbers are low, but they’re not, they don’t know yet, so I have to go back in Thursday and so you have to keep giving me shots. And she was like, what does this mean? I didn’t know there was a maybe I thought there was like a yes or no, you’re pregnant or you’re not pregnant. I was like, well, I mean like, I guess it’s better than nothing. Like I don’t know if I even made sense or whatever at the time, but she still had to give me my shots. And then on early Thursday, November 14th in the morning, I woke her up and she was like, Cass, I don’t need a shirt at six in the morning, it’s fine. I’m like, just get up please. There’s a card over there. So I give her like a little scavenger hunt and the video’s on my Instagram so anyone can go look at it. But, and then in the middle of the scavenger hunt, her sister calls from Philly and I was like, Oh my gosh, just, let’s go, and she’s talking like 30 minutes to her sister. And I’m like, OK, Melissa, I love you. I know we we’re not gonna to talk to you for six weeks, but we really have to go. And Al’s like, Cass, it’s just a shirt. I know, it’s fine. And I guess I give shirts a lot for gifts. And so she finished the scavenger hunt and started crying and we both started crying. So, yeah, it was just the most amazing feeling in the world.

Cassidy (31:44):

You look at, like you’ve said, the clean and jerk was a very memorable moment. Being pregnant doesn’t even top or I don’t know how to say that, but this tops every single athletic accomplishment ever in the history of athletic accomplishment. So having a baby and going through the year and a half journey of all the ups and downs and emotions, you know, this really just solidified our love for each other and how bad we wanted a family. And we even to this day, we can’t stop smiling. So it’s just super fun. I mean, I’ve bought so many baby clothes and everyone’s like, stop buying. How can you not?

Sean (32:39):

You deserve it, go nuts. Why did you and Aly then decide to write an ebook about your whole experience?

Cassidy (32:47):

I had documented a lot of videos going through just like our emotions and all of that stuff. And I haven’t even like posted that and it’s just kind of what I wanted for my personal memories. But she’s a phenomenal writer. And so I told her while I’m doing the videos, why don’t you document, you know, what our emotions are, what we’re going through, appointment by appointment. And then after, you know, we told people that we were going through this and hundreds of people reached out to us on Instagram and it was more than I have ever gotten on messages through CrossFit or anything for help. And I was like, I had no idea so many people were going through this and it was just eye-opening. You know, you’re think you’re alone but you’re not. And I said, why don’t we finish this book and make it a book and you know, give it to people.

Cassidy (33:46):

It’s kind of our journey and our experience, but you know, it can also be a guide and let people know what to expect. And you know, when they go in there, what questions they need to ask or what they can answer. Because truthfully you go into the doctor’s appointment and think that they’re going to tell you everything and they don’t. And you don’t know until you’ve already, it’s already too late. Right. So if we could help people with that and be kind of ahead of the game, then maybe it wouldn’t take them a year and a half to get pregnant, you know, and some people get pregnant on the first try and that’s awesome. But if you are struggling like I did, then maybe you can have these questions to answer. You kind of have an idea of what to expect with that kind of stuff.

Cassidy (34:34):

We actually have another book coming out now that we are pregnant and it’s just not quite finished yet, but that will be a little bit later. As our journey continues.

Sean (34:46):

What is the one main piece of advice that you give to people who may be going through a similar process right now?

Cassidy (34:56):

I think, you know, you don’t know what questions to ask, but come up with some type of questions every time you go into the doctor’s and you know, they can reach out to friends or me or you who have gone through that, find someone that has gone through that and ask them like any advice that they have. But I guess the biggest thing is just really love and support each other and it’s going to be emotional and people are going to take it different. Like Aly reacts different than I react.

Cassidy (35:27):

And you know, she always wants to talk about it and sometimes I’m like, just be quiet. I don’t want to say a word about it. But then sometimes it’s the other and like vice versa. I’m like, Al, what are you thinking? What’s going on? Like, why aren’t you saying anything? You know, having those, that deep connection, making time for each other because there is so much going on versus the shots or the negatives or just all the information that you get, you know, there’s tests and no tests and you’re doing things every day for a week and then you’re not doing anything for four weeks. So it’s just, you don’t really know where to stand. So this having open conversations with each other and I think that’s the biggest thing in supporting each other.

Sean (36:15):

You have recently joined Camille Leblanc-Bazinet with her Feroce Fitness endeavor. Why did that appeal to you?

Cassidy (36:26):

I think she’s doing such a great job with her outreach to people. Sitting down and talking to her, all she wants to do is help people, you know, she really doesn’t care about—everyone needs a financial backing and we all need to pay our bills, so if we take that piece of the puzzle out, really her number one goal is to help people. And I love that because that’s all I want to do as well. I just have a smaller reach but a different reach. I have my three gyms and then the support around that, she has followers from around the world that she can reach. So it’s very different and mine is very, my reach is very personal and in place with people and interactive where hers is on online basis. So if I can team up with someone to get the best of both worlds, why wouldn’t you do something and help people with whether it’s fitness, nutrition, we’re working on a moms’, I can say that now because she finally released that she’s pregnant. So, we’re working on, you know, pregnancy workouts and first trimester, second trimester and then third and then postpartum. But those aren’t yet because neither of us have gone through that. But I think she’s just such a good team player and we work really well with each other. We both work really hard and you know, we’d give each other a task and we just kind of go get it and independent in that restraint. So it’s really cool just to be part of something bigger than yourself.

Sean (38:24):

You mentioned this, you know, when we first started talking about what does fitness look like right now for you that you’re pregnant?

Cassidy (38:30):

Yup. So still fitnessing every day or working out every day, being as healthy as I can. And definitely not training. So the first trimester was a lot different because, you know, we had so many issues, we didn’t know where we were. So it was a lot of body weight stuff, still working out moving. But you know, my heart rate didn’t go very high and I would walk around more than I probably worked out. I did light dumbbell work, not a lot of barbell stuff, which is different than other people’s journeys. Because they got pregnant easy, they might not have to think about that, but I’m so worried about it took me a year and a half to get pregnant. Oh my gosh. But now I have to make it through 14 weeks. Right. And we’re going to the high risk doctor and so we hear so many more things than, you know, Miranda, she only has two scans this whole time. Well, I’ve probably had 14, eight scans at this point. So our journeys are a little bit different. Once we hit the second trimester, it was kind of a deep breath, you know, but you’re still not out of the woods. Right. I started picking up the barbell more and I told myself I wouldn’t go above 50% of what my max loads were. So that’s what they are. And you know, I still work out with the competitor group every day. I just scale to what I need to. And I’ve talked to a lot of the other CrossFit moms and they kinda gave me their guidelines. Emily Bridgers was really helpful and she gave me like weeks to week of what she took out and what she did. And we’re smart, like we’re all coaches and we’re all top athletes and we know our bodies as well as we can so we can go by feel. You know, my mom called me this morning and she was like, you should probably take out those box jumps. It’s like, I’m fine for now, but they’ll probably come out in a couple of weeks, you know? And she’s like, well, I just don’t think, and I’m like, mom. And she’s like, OK, Cass. OK, bye. I’m going to let you go. We know our bodies and no one wants your baby to get hurt inside. So I think I’m extra cautious with everything. So, you know, I don’t hit on the barbell, I don’t bring it up to my hips anymore. I just don’t think that I could whack my baby and smoke the baby’s face, you know. Well it’s probably his leg at that time, but now it’s his face so that’s not good. But you know, every week it changes and every day changes like double-unders just came out because it was just uncomfortable and you’re not going to push that. And you know, running has been on and off depending on the day. So I’m still working out as much as I can. To answer your question, it’s every day. But surfing is Sundays now that it’s warmer and it will probably continue to look like that up until, you know, we give birth.

Sean (41:35):

Are you done competing?

Cassidy (41:39):

Well, like local competitions?

Sean (41:47):

At the level that you’re used to?

Cassidy (41:50):

Yeah, I’m done. Yeah.

Sean (41:52):

Why did you make that decision?

Cassidy (41:54):

Because I want more than one kid and I’m 32 years old now. You don’t want to keep putting that on the back burner. So if I, once I have my two or three kids that I want, then I’ll look at where I’m at age wise and fitness wise. Right. And if I can make a small comeback, I mean then it would be masters. Right. Definitely masters. So that’s always, I could always do that. Or maybe it’s teams or maybe it’s just local competitions or maybe it’s just helping out with the competitions and events. So I’m definitely not out, out. But as an individual CrossFit Games competitor, I don’t think I can compete with the 20-year-olds.

Sean (42:39):

Yeah, it was getting crazy how good the field is getting. Final question for you. What has been the best part about your whole CrossFit journey?

Cassidy (42:51):

I think, that’s a tough one. I don’t think I can name one thing, but I think if you look back at the entire journey, like look at all the friends that you make, look at all the family, you know, you create and all of that. And that goes from the Games, I have so many friends from the Games that I reach out to. I have so many friends from around the world that I can reach out to and go and do things with the opportunities that that’s brought, but also like inside my gyms, like all my friends are inside CrossFit WaterSide. I don’t have very many friends outside of that. And I think of, well, what would happen if something, if I didn’t have this, where would my friends be? I don’t know. Like, I’m sure you make friends, but you know, we all go to the gym together. We all go out to eat together, you know, and we have our little cliques and niches and our bonds and similarities that we create together. And so I think overall, like the opportunities and friends that you come across are probably the coolest thing looking back at 11 years of CrossFit.

Sean (44:11):

Well, Cassidy, I appreciate you taking the time to do this. Congratulations again on the pregnancy. Congratulations to you and Aly, and I know you two are going to make fantastic parents. When’s the due date now?

Cassidy (44:23):

Thank you so much. Due July 18th and right on track.

Sean (44:26):

All right, perfect. Well, yeah, everyone will be sending good thoughts your way. And again, congratulations. Thank you so much for doing this.

Cassidy (44:32):

Thank you, Sean. I appreciate it.

Sean (44:34):

Big thanks to Cassidy Lance-McWherter for taking the time to speak with me. If you’d like to follow her on Instagram, you can find her @cassidy_lancemcwherter, and the link to her ebook is in her bio. If you’re in business, you need to know something. Certified Two-Brain mentors have been through it all and they’re available to help you reach success. To learn how a mentor can help you transform your business and add $5,000 in monthly recurring revenue, book a free call on Thanks for listening everyone. We’ll see you next time.


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

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Facebook Ads and the COVID Crisis: Early Advice and Observations

Facebook Ads and the COVID Crisis: Early Advice and Observations

Mike (00:02):

Gyms around the world are shut down or set to close due to the coronavirus. So how should you adjust your digital marketing strategy? Advertising expert Mateo Lopez will tell you right after this. The coronavirus is hitting everyone hard and Two-Brain Business would like to invite gym owners to join the private Facebook group, Gym Owners United. It’s a positive place where people can share ideas and help each other get through this period. We want interaction among actual people, not business accounts, so please use your personal account and be sure to answer all the intake questions because you won’t get access if you don’t agree to play nice. I’m actually a mod there and I can tell you many people are waiting for access because they have not answered the questions. Again, that is Gym Owners United on Facebook. It’s a positive place to work through this issue.

Mike (00:44):

All right, this is Two-Brain Radio. I’m Mike Warkentin. I’m here with marketing wizard Mateo Lopez. We are basically living through Resident Evil without zombies right now and a lot of people are predicting an economic apocalypse. Others see opportunity and are adjusting their strategies to adapt to the current climate. Today we’ll talk about the plays the smart kids are making on Facebook. Mateo, what’s the situation in New York?

Mateo (01:05):

The situation is we’re getting pretty close to lockdown here, I guess. I don’t really know what lockdown means. But it’s getting close to that. I know my family’s in LA, Los Angeles, and I know the whole state over there has officially been put on, what is it, shelter in place or not shelter in place, self quarantine or yeah, one of those things. So they’re locked up. They’re going to get pretty cozy with one another. Let’s see. Emergency order. All residents to stay in their residencies immediately, limit all non essential movement. So I think New York is pretty, pretty close to that point, I imagine we’ll probably get the same mandate in the next few days here. But I haven’t been outside, people tell me that there are people outside.

Mike (02:03):

You’re a digital marketing guy. You’re not like a physical marketing guy. You don’t need to go outside.

Mateo (02:08):

Yeah, no people, I’ve talked to a couple of friends and they’re like, yeah, I went on a walk. People are walking. I used to live in Harlem. And I called my buddy who still lives there, who I used to live with and he was like, yeah, no one even knows what’s going on. I’m like, oh cool. I think that will change. I’ll probably relocate soon. My soon to be in laws have, you know, they’re on Long Island, so I’ll probably move over there at some point. Wait out the storm. But what’s going on in your neck of the woods up North?

Mike (02:43):

Yes. Yeah, it’s crazy. You know, I was talking to guys in the Bay Area yesterday and they said it’s nuts down there. Obviously they’re getting it harder on the coast and probably where you’re at as well. Here we’re kind of in the middle. Like I’m up in Winnipeg, Canada, so it’s a lot more isolated. We got a lot of space and not as many people. So we’re having cases, but it’s like under 30 right now. So we’re basically in prevention mode. But just as of today, gyms, date of recording is March 20th here, but they just shut down gyms. So we were already shut down. Most of the gyms in the city were already shut down. So they’ve just done that. Day cares, there’s limits on how many people can be in certain spaces and stuff. And everybody’s adapting. And so we’re doing the same things.

Mike (03:20):

We’re trying to figure out, you know, how to stay, you know, how to still sell stuff and do things. And if you check our archives, you’ll see a show with Jeff Burlingame, where we talked about the fact that businesses still have to sell, we have to sell, we have to survive, we have to generate income and so forth. And I’m looking forward to talking to you about some ways that we can do that and how we can generate income even though a lot of us have had to change our business models a whole lot. So I’ll get right down to it. The question I want to ask first right off the bat is, should a gym owner stop running ads right now? Why or why not?

Mateo (03:49):

Well like most things in these turbulent times, it depends. It’s a complicated answer. No one, it’s unclear, but hopefully we can kind of point you in the direction and give you some clarity. So I guess just a couple of things. It was just so crazy how fast things turned. Like last week, I go to a gym in New York and I was talking with the guys there. I was like, yo, like you guys aren’t shutting down, right. He’s like, I mean the city says we have to, we have to, but like I don’t anticipate that’s going to happen in a little while here. And then on Monday got the email, it’s shut down. And then everyone, I’m on a couple of newsletter lists. Just everyone shut down, all gyms all across the city just shut down instantly.

Mateo (04:35):

It was fast and things I think can change really quickly here. And I think, I mean I’m not a journalist or pundant or a representative of the CDC or Congress or the Senate. So I’m in no way in a position of authority here to speak on the issue at large. But like, I do think as testing increases, like there’s going to be more cases and there’s going to be more cases, like people are going to get a little bit more freaked out and we’ll see even more restrictions just like you’re seeing in California, kind of everywhere. And, if quarantines get more strict, you know, I think you’re gonna see a lot of businesses and especially in our industry where, you know, it’s a lot of people meeting in a place, touching each other and sharing barbells and equipments and, you know, high-fiving and fist bumping and yeah, those businesses aren’t going to be able to continue.

Mateo (05:37):

So, yeah, like you said, people are gonna have to adapt, in our industry. And I think we’re seeing that, you know, we’re putting out a lot of good material out there. Chris has been pretty much live almost every day answering gym owner questions and like you said in the beginning of the show, the group I think is going to become invaluable, the Gym Owners United for any all who are listening out there, to have not only the support of other people going through what you’re going through but also—

Mike (06:09):

In that group of, there is a free guide in the files section. How to add online training in 24 hours, it is the Two-Brain business step by step plan. It’s based on, we have clients all over the world. And so Chris talked to these guys and figured out what was working, what wasn’t working and put together the stuff that was working into a guide to help you guys figure out exactly how to respond to this as quickly as you can. And the early data shows that if you follow this plan, you can retain up to 90% of your members and we’re tracking everything around the world so you can get this guide for absolutely for free. You just have to join that group again, answer the questions on the intake or won’t get in. You gotta to tell us you’re going to play nice.

Mateo (06:45):

Yeah. And I encourage everyone to go in that group and read that guide. To me, it’s just the first step. But you gotta be able to pivot quickly because if you can, if you can take advantage of the situation and weather the storm and kind of hunker down and keep your cash reserves at the end of this, there’s going to be, I think a lot of opportunity for everyone who makes it out on the other side of this. I mean, you know, there’s research out there that shows, you know, a natural disaster and this is a little bit different, but it’s similar, right? Can cost 40% of small businesses to fail and to close down. So, for those who are quick and nimble, there’s going to be a lot of opportunity on the other side I think.

Mike (07:31):

There is, I mean you got to think that like there is a human cost to this. We’re not downplaying that in any way. We want as many people live through this as possible, but there is also an economic reality and there are some people who get through this that are not going to have jobs and businesses. And so the goal here is to help those people, give you the best shot as you possibly can to come through this with a business that’s, you know, that can survive. And also a business that might look different and maybe even better than it is right now. Now that’s going to be tough. But we are seeing gyms right now make some incredible pivots that are very fast. And who knows how long this lockdown is going to go. It’s gonna get harder the longer things go. But as long as we still have the internet, I think we’ve got a shot.

Mateo (08:12):

Exactly. So yeah, I know you asked about the internet, so let’s talk about it. Should you turn off your ads or should you, what should you do about your ads? Right. Well, you have to look at where you’re at in terms of your positioning in terms of what you’ve got in cash. You know, you gotta kind of pick and choose your battles here. And you know, everyone’s kind of landlord situations are going to be different. Everyone’s, op expenses are going to be different. Depending on if you’re going to try and provide for staff if you’re not able to or whatever it is, right? So you kind of have to make the call for yourself, but, you know, I don’t want to prescribe to anyone to say, you got to pour all of your cash into client acquisition right now. Cause you know, that may not be the wisest.

Mike (09:06):

You got to evaluate every expense and look at return on investment. At this point, every expense has to generate ROI. And if that’s advertising, maybe it’s for you, but if it’s not, don’t do it.

Mateo (09:15):

Right. So, I will make a couple of comments though on the ads front. You know, like right now, a lot of people have turned off their ads in every industry across the board, right? And so because of that, ads are kind of cheap right now. You know, historically if you’re looking at CPMs, you know, they’re down.

Mike (09:38):

What is CPM?

Mateo (09:38):

CPM cost per impression, right? So the cost to get a thousand eyeballs on your ad is really, really low. So if you’re trying to get exposure right now, you know, it’s really cheap to do that. If you want someone to get an eyeball, if you want to spend some money to get eyeballs on your ads or on your posts or on your business, that’s cheap.

Mike (10:00):

You want a real time stat on that? I just hit refresh on my ads manager. And so I’ve got a campaign that I just started for online training a little while ago and I shut off the six week challenge campaign at the same time. And my CPM is down by about 30, a little over 30% from where it was before.

Mateo (10:22):

There you go. There you go. And for others that might be more, for others it might be be less, but it’s going to be, it’s a lot cheaper right now. And the double advantage of that is everyone’s at home so they’re probably on their phone and scrolling. Right. So, not only are more eyeballs probably on the platform, but it’s cheaper to get your ad in front of them right now. So, if you’re in a position to take advantage of that, I would consider it.

Mike (10:50):

Even other stuff. My cost per link click is down 20%.

Mateo (10:55):

There you go. Cost per click is probably going to be down as well because again, you’ve got more people scrolling. And they’re bored at home. And again, not a lot of people—

Mike (11:06):

I’ll give you one more cause I know exactly what you’re going to say and I’ll tell you, my leads though. My cost per lead has gone up by, it’s more than three times. So 300%. So, and I’ll qualify that by saying that I made this campaign very quickly and my landing page is not optimized. I’m going to do coming up as fast as I can, but we had to put her our training business online. I didn’t have time to do much more to get this thing up. So there are some issues there, but it’s flat out truth right now is I’m getting lots of clicks but I’m not getting a lot of leads.

Mateo (11:38):

And that right there is cause of the offer. Right? I’m going to make an educated guess and say it’s the offer or the way in which the offer is presented, which is exactly what you’re saying. The landing page may not convey the message of what I’m trying to give to people right now in a way that’s adequate. Right. So, yeah, if you’re still using a six week challenge ad people might click on it, but then they’re going to have a lot of questions scratching their head like, I’m not going to go to the gym. Right. So, yeah, I would not be surprised if your opt ins are going down. Now.

Mateo (12:22):

The key there is that you gotta like we’ve been talking about, you have to pivot your offer, right? And so, you know, I think something that y’all need to think about doing is yeah, how can I position my online offering and create an offer or my online program I should say, and create an offer that’s compelling enough to get people to want to inquire about it in this time. And it’s going to be tricky because for us in our niche, we can’t try and say, Hey, we’re going to put all of our classes on Zoom and y’all can watch them in real time every day at 12 and 6:00 PM and it’s going to be great. Like you can’t really compete on that kind of a front because Beach Body, P90, all the P90X and Sandy stuff, all those people, Peloton, like they are all way more equipped to compete with you and offer that.

Mateo (13:18):

They’re going to offer a superior product than you are, if you’re going to try and compete on that front, right. So, you can’t really just take, you know, your coaches and start filming them and try and compete against those big companies. So if you’re not going to offer at home streamable workouts, you know, what do you do? I think Chris will probably be the better guy to talk to you about that. And he’s creating a kind of a solution. The first step again is that opt in that Mike was talking about. But yeah, you gotta you gotta position yourself as like, we’re going to give you coaching and it’s going to be more one-on-one. It’s going to be more custom to you and what you’ve got at home. If you’ve got a couple of dumbbells in home, great. I can actually live with that and create a program totally around what you’ve got. If you don’t, OK, that’s fine. Let’s, you know, adapt here. And that’s really what you have to, that’s the value you have to present right to these people and it’s going to differentiate yourself a little bit more.

Mike (14:18):

And there’s accountability, right? The accountability aspect of that too where it’s like you’re providing coaching, you know, programming and accountability. And the real big part that I’m hearing from a lot of people is that it’s that contact and accountability, the trainer checking in and saying, Hey, did you do the workout? Why not? OK, do the workout. Text me back as soon as you’re done. That kind of thing. Cause people are in a funk right now.

Mateo (14:39):

Yeah, you have to be able to explain that in a short little piece of ad copy and an efficient landing page. Cause otherwise, yeah, people probably won’t opt in because they won’t see the value. Right. They can go, they’ll see the ad right after that for Beachbody and saying the whole beach body catalog right now, two weeks for free, you can get on demand. You’re not going to be on the beat that right. So you’ve got to highlight the one on one coaching aspect. The other thing I would advise you all to do is if you are going to try and run some ads for your online training programs is look at who is advertising right now and look at those ads for inspiration. So look at Headspace.

Mateo (15:22):

You know, the meditation app, they have only increased their ads right now. Look at Talkspace, which is the texting therapy, like therapist app. That’s I think Michael Phelps is like their spokesperson or whatever. They’ve got a ton of ads up right now and all of it’s like, Hey, are you feeling anxious or alone? And you know, everyone’s like, yeah, I am. You should talk to a therapist. I mean, your ad can very much say the same thing. Like, are you stuck indoors? Are you going, you know, are you pulling your hair out or you like feeling stressed? Like, a great way to distress is like getting together with a one-on-one coach who can help you work through this. And, you know, fitness is a great way to do that. You know that I’m just riffing.

Mike (16:06):

I’m actually copying that down. You’re gonna see that in my ads in like 10 minutes.

Mateo (16:09):

Yeah. Yeah. And again, like you know, this has all happened so quickly that it’s not something I can say, Hey, I’ve got an ad vault ready for you guys to go copy and paste. I know it converts. Because there hasn’t been enough time. We’ve all been in the situation for a week, but these are kind of things I’m thinking about. And that I would encourage all of you all to do if you are trying to start—.

Mike (16:36):

And I’ll tell you by the next virus that we are going to have that ad bank.

Mateo (16:40):

And the second wave that happens in September cause everyone starts going outside in July we’ll be ready to go. So yeah. The other thing is, you know, there are definitely some other people out there who are already starting to do it. You’re starting to see some 21 day at home challenges.

Mateo (17:00):

You’re starting to see those ads. You know, they’re out there. Again, I’m not going to tell you to go do them cause I don’t have hard data that I know it works, but I’m going to start trying that out very quickly here and report back. But yeah, you’re starting to see 21 day at home challenge, opt in here, is a cool video and then you get on a call, right. And on that call, you know, it’s back to the old days of you got to sell people over the phone. You know, that’s where we’re at now. And if you have social proof, if you can do a Zoom call, if you can provide some kind of presentation with before and afters and preview the meal plan, I mean, I think you gotta go to that back to that kind of model. I mean, that’s what I used to do in person, like back when I first started, I had a computer out and I had a slideshow that I would try and sell someone into a program with. So go back to that and do the same thing, but just do it over Zoom. I mean, that’s what it was made for. Right. I don’t know if that’s what it’s made for, but it’s definitely capable of doing that for you.

Mike (18:00):

So would you, we’ve advised clients to keep taking no sweat intros, our introductory program that we always have Two-Brain businesses do. How, so you just same process. You just Zoom that stuff and away you go or do the phone. Correct?

Mateo (18:17):

Whatever’s, you know, easiest for you and the client. Right. If you can get someone on Zoom call, I think that’s going to be really helpful and effective in converting. But people may not know. It may be an extra step that, well actually that’s not true. Everyone’s talking about it now. Like it’s in the zeitgeist, like everyone is like talking about Zoom Hangouts right now just because you can see it on Instagram and Twitter. Like people are just drinking with their friends, like hanging out, but just via Zoom. So actually more and more people know what this platform is. So actually you probably would have a better chance of getting someone to use it now than you would have previously. Like if it was not this and you’re trying to sell it, just get someone scheduled for a phone call. But you actually might be better off trying Zoom. I’m not sure. That may just be the bubble I’m in. But yeah, more and more people are using these video platforms so you’ll probably have a better shot of getting someone on a sales call with.

Mike (19:14):

So what you’re talking about, let’s go back to compelling offers here and let’s talk a little bit about what are, what pain points when we’re trying to put this stuff up there and make people click this stuff and ultimately sell a service, what kind of pain points are we going to solve right now? Like it’s not, we’ve obviously got the same ones as weight loss, strength, conditioning, things like that. But things have shifted a little bit. Like, are people looking for something else you think? I know you don’t have the data yet, but what’s your hunch?

Mateo (19:43):

Well, I got made fun of today cause I had a landing page that said, you know, one of the benefits of the program is that you’re a social distancing compliant workout program. And I got, that that idea got shot down. I’m obviously not sure why. I thought it was pretty funny.

Mike (19:59):

People are worried right now, I’m not gonna suggest it isn’t going to work.

Mateo (20:02):

Yeah, I mean that could be a benefit. That could be a benefit of your program. Hey, you want to want to stay compliant with your local social distancing protocols? Sign up for this program. You’re going to be good to go. The pain points are the same man. It’s like, well, if anything, there’s more benefits, right? Because now you know, everyone’s stressed out. You know, everyone’s stressed out, everyone’s probably going bored. So if anything, you have more benefits to highlight, Hey, this is gonna, you know, make your day a little more exciting. Hey, there’s some people you’re gonna be able to talk to every day. Hey, like you’re going to get a shot of endorphins coming in and oxytocin and you know, the whole like, Oh I don’t have time objection’s out the window. I don’t know if I can fit this into my schedule is totally out the window at this point. So, but yeah, so those are kind of the pros. The cons are yeah, you’re going to have to work a little bit harder to, especially if you’re gonna charge a premium, to explain the value and the value is, I think what you said already is pretty much the go-to point here is like it’s going to be one-on-one.

Mateo (21:15):

We’re going to hold you accountable. Like it’s gonna you’re easy for you to like eat bad food, keep ordering Thai food and drinking wine and like watching Netflix all day, especially if you don’t have work and you haven’t like had a minute to catch up on your shows. It’s going to be very easy for people to just do that and skip their at home, work out. So your pitch to them is like, Hey, we’re going to make sure that you don’t skip it and we’re going to make sure you like, don’t just eat, junkie chips all day while you’re just at home doing nothing and like stress eating, you know what I mean? Like those are the things I think you need to highlight.

Mike (21:50):

Yeah. And we’re not recommending, Two-Brain Business is not recommending that gyms start running Zoom classes. What, you know, Chris Cooper has been saying is you really need to connect with your clients, your current clients, talk to them, offer them coaching, individualized attention, you know, talking regularly and staying in contact. But I have seen a couple of things where we started doing that 100%. We also run some Zoom classes. We’ve noticed that people were kinda skeptical at first and they’re getting on and then they’re saying, man, I really felt kind of crappy before this and I feel better seeing your faces. Right. And like, I don’t know if it’s going to last. The data that we’ve seen is that the Zoom classes kind of peter out a little bit. That’s what Chris has told us from the gyms abroad that started them. For me because we doing both approaches, the value right now is that I’m seeing smiling faces and they’re like, wow, it’s good to see my buddies, you know? And I think for people who are getting cooper up, the longer this goes, having a trainer check in on you might be a good thing.

Mateo (22:45):

Yeah. That’s really what you have to highlight. It’s like you can, I mean, someone can get the P90X program, but like the value you’re providing is like, you’re going to make sure that person does it. You know what I mean? That’s your job as the coach and that’s the value.

Mike (22:59):

I did a workout actually today with our lunch class and I can tell you like there was a moment in the workout when the coach said I was lying on the floor as I often do, and the coach is like, Oh, Chris has already picked up, his a milk jug. And I was like, God dammit, I gotta pick up my milk jug now. You know, and like, I wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t heard that. And so the idea of like some interaction with, even if it’s just that text that says Mateo, you need to do a workout today. I know you’re busy. You have to do a workout. Just that is something.

Mateo (23:29):

Yeah. You know, they’re not busy.

Mike (23:31):

I know you are.

Mateo (23:33):

Oh, I am. Yes. No, yes, but yeah, I mean I think that’s it right there. I mean, you can also lean back on what we know. It’s like, you know, it doesn’t have to be six week one, right. Make it a 21 day kind of a program, because that at least says, Hey, we’re hoping this’ll be over very soon. So make it a 21 day and you can always, once they see the value, you know, upsell them later on after, you know, we’ll be able to know like, OK, you can come back or not. But, make it a 21 day transformation or some kind of at home corona program and you know, talk about all the results you’ve gotten your clients, and just run with it.

Mike (24:24):

We had a client today get a plank PR. We got a plank contest at the end and we were giving away a roll of toilet paper. She posted that was the longest plank of my life and that was pretty, you know, pretty awesome. You mentioned something that I want to ask about because your partner John Franklin at Two-Brain Marketing, you mentioned this to me, I understand that Facebook is tightening up regulations, their rules on coronavirus ads and so forth. How does that affect the gym space? Do we get hit with some of that stuff where ads are getting long, taking longer to get approved or are there any restrictions or where are we at?

Mateo (24:55):

I again, I haven’t experimented too much with this, but yeah, I think you do have to be kind of, I would just like not mention it. Just you can allude to it. Are you stuck at home? Are you like stressed out? You know, the answers yes. Like you can talk about it without using the word. I have seen ads that just mentioned it and you know, like, you know, again, that may change, like I’m sure they’re going to get more strict about it. But if we kind of take a look over here, like I mentioned Talkspace.

Mike (25:34):

Facebook is banning ads that promise to cure coronavirus. That’s a headline from February 25th. That’s business Can’t cure it.

Mateo (25:42):

I mean, here’s an ad right here from Talkspace. We’re donating 1000 months of free online therapy to medical workers on the front lines responding to Covid-19 outbreak. So this ad has not been flagged. There’s another one during times of uncertainty, we all need support we can depend on, Talkspace is here to help. I mean, that’s a way of talking about it without talking about it.

Mike (26:03):

Yeah, it’s just the finger on the nose. It’s like we’re all on the same page here, but we’re not saying it.

Mateo (26:07):

While our routines may be disrupted and the world feels tumultuous, remember that your feelings, whatever they may be are valid and it’s normal to feel unsettled in uncertain periods. Here at Talkspace, mental health resources for Covid-19 related concerns. Click here to learn more. Like, you know, they haven’t shut those down yet, but I’m sure they’ll get a little bit more strict about it.

Mike (26:32):

This one here, again, this is the same old article, the social network, will now bad ads, the mention if they promise to cure or prevent the virus or attempt to create a sense of urgency about it. So again, older article but still, if you’re probably using that to you, we always talk about urgency and numbers and things like that, like 12 spots remaining, all that. You probably want to stick to that kind of stuff rather than like growing a virus related calls to action.

Mateo (26:56):

Yeah. But like I think you’ll probably be all right. It’s not like your ads are going to say, like you have to get this fitness program now, otherwise you’re going to die of corona. As long as you don’t say that.

Mike (27:09):

I wonder what will happen if they put in like social distancing where it’s like, OK, gyms can reopen with 10 clients, you know, or one client per every 12 feet or something, 12, you know, whatever it is, 144 square feet and then you have to be like, man, the coronavirus social distancing regulations mandate, we only have 12 actual physical spaces.

Mateo (27:25):

Now those ads are real. yeah man.

Mike (27:37):

So we’re kind of in the gray area right now. We’re still kind of feeling it out to figure out where those walls are, I guess. But you know, just probably from like a, just common sense and courtesy and so forth. It seems like we probably as fitness people don’t want to drive stuff with coronavirus because that’s not really what we’re all about there.

Mateo (27:55):

No, but you want to talk about the pain points that are, you know, are relevant. And I think I kind of wanted to mention one more thing. You know, we’ve been talking about like, Hey, you got to look at your expenses and you know, you kind of have to make a judgment call here, but if you do want to survive, you have to find some way to acquire clients.

Mike (28:14):

Cause you’re going to lose some right now.

Mateo (28:17):

New blood, you’re gonna lose some, a hundred percent. You’re going to lose some. People are losing their jobs. They might not be able to afford your membership anymore or you know, it just might, you know, for people it might not be worth it to pay for this thing right now. Cause it’s not the same thing they were getting before. I mean, you know, it’s just going to happen.

Mateo (28:35):

So you have to be able to acquire new clients. So if you’re not going to invest in ads, you know, that’s, you know, your choice and your decision. But, you have to have a plan in place to acquire otherwise. And the other things we talk about at Two-Brain, affinity marketing, networking, going to local businesses, partnerships, you can’t do any of those things right now. You can’t go door to door, you can’t hold events, you can’t do workouts at the park that are free that you can attract new people. You can’t do any of those things we normally can. So I think if you’re going to choose a route to try and get the word out about your new program, I think you’re going to need to think about how to incorporate advertising.

Mike (29:19):

Think about this, like what you just said synched up with something that I’ve experienced where we’re running these Zoom classes and I’m watching our clients do these workouts at home and I’m seeing like, you know, spouses and partners and buddies and like kids walk through and I’m like, this is actually like almost embedded marketing at this point, right? Where if you’ve got a spouse that’s like, Oh, this CrossFit stuff is scary, this fitness stuff. I can’t do it. They’re literally like sitting in the background, having a cup of coffee while the spouse is just hammering out a workout that’s not that bad, you know, so they’re actually forced to watch the stuff and like now might be the time to say, Hey, you know, would you like to do the workout with your husband or wife?

Mateo (29:58):

That’s true. That’s a very good point. I didn’t think of that. You’re a hundred percent correct. You can definitely probably get some more spousal referrals in this time period. Potentially. But no, it definitely something important to think about. But I do think like the other kind of strategies that require more like outreach and events and things like that, yeah, you’re not going to be able to rely on those. So you’ve got to find a way to get new blood.

Mike (30:27):

So it’s a bit of a thing where you have to, like at this point it’s kind of a gut check, right? Where you have to look at your expenses and obviously we prioritize retention of current clients before anything else. But you have to kind of decide, look at your expenses, look at your budget, you know, risk tolerance. And say, I am going to lose clients no matter what during this situation because the economic effects are going to start that trickle down situation. But I need to find new clients and then you have to figure out whether you, how you’re going to do that. Right? So we are probably for those gyms that are thinking longterm and survival and even thriving, you need to find those clients and that might be through an ad.

Mateo (31:04):

100%. Beyond just your ad, you know, your online presence, something that’s included in there is your website and your website right now probably is not helping you. If anything, it’s probably hurting you because everything’s telling at least if you’ve designed your website following kind of the principles that we teach at Two-Brain, it’s like book a no sweat intro, come into the gym or book a free intro or a consultation, come into the gym. If anyone sees that or if anyone lands on your site and clicks that button, they’re going to get to the next step where it’s schedule a intro at the gym and they’re going to stop right there.

Mike (31:46):

Report you to the government, too.

Mateo (31:47):

So y’all need to pivot and make sure that— everything’s a pivot at this point.

Mateo (31:55):

But one of the things that also needs to move is your website. You have to make sure that the offer that is front and center on your site is relevant to the current situation here. And it’s got to be an offer that people can actually like, Oh, that actually kind of makes sense for where I’m at right now versus what you’ve probably have right now, which is, you know, buy your two day free pass at the gym. No one’s gonna do that. That’s not a good offer right now. So yeah, your website is probably doing little to help you at this point. And on top of that, your automation probably as well is probably hurting you too. If you do get an opt in, I bet right now, especially if you’re using some of the other, more niche solutions that we have in our space, it’s probably saying, yeah, come by the gym. When can you come? Like, Oh, like I got some spots open right now. Like you probably do have some availability, but I’m not coming over to see you. So again, your stuff’s probably not relevant. So y’all need to change that.

Mike (33:15):

So if your automations are messed up or maybe you set them up once and don’t know how to do it, or maybe somebody set them up and you haven’t a clue how to adjust them, how do you sort this out?

Mateo (33:24):

Well, Mike, I might have something for you.

Mike (33:28):

Good, cause I don’t really like all that work on that end to be honest.

Mateo (33:33):

Yeah. We have a website company, it’s called Gym Lead Machine. I mentioned it on here before and we have a brand new page. It’s prebuilt and ready to go for our clients that we can upload very quickly that’ll talk about, it’s optimized to convert for an online program. And all the automations are already built out that are going to direct people to inquire or schedule a phone call or a Zoom call depending on how the client wants to do it. And the automations are all geared towards booking that and they’re also a little bit more like understanding of the times. I mean, you helped me write some of the things.

Mike (34:19):

I did. How fast can you upload the stuff? How fast can you get someone going on this thing?

Mateo (34:24):

We can get them going really, really quickly here. Almost in probably less than three days, we can get someone up and running with their site, with the brand new, kind of a homepage call to action and automations that actually make sense for the times. Because, yeah, you probably don’t want texts going out being like, Hey, I got some spots open tonight at the gym. Just come, come by. So we can get this switched over for people.

Mike (34:52):

That’s good. Cause I mean, I’m on a bunch of mailing lists. I’m sure you are, hundreds probably, and some of this stuff that’s preloaded into them is coming in right now. And it’s like, it’s not people’s fault, right. They’ve got all these different automations, it’s tough to find everything, but some of them are just like comically off time, you know, and it’s like, huh, really not the right time for that one.

Mateo (35:14):

Exactly. Yeah. I don’t want the supplement pitch at the smoothies. I don’t want the smoothie at the gym pitch right now. Yeah. So we’ve got that going on. If anyone’s interested, check our

Mike (35:29):

I like it. Let’s talk. I’ll give you another one. Engagement campaigns. Is this a time to run an engagement campaign where we’re just educating, showing people who we are talking about people maybe not asking them to buy, but just asking them to learn about us or anything like that. And then hoping to capitalize maybe at the end of this thing, is that something that people can or should do?

Mateo (35:50):

Yeah, I mean you can definitely do that. I understand the rationale there, especially because like we just talked about, CPMs are really, really cheap, so yeah, you can probably build a pretty big retargeting list from that. Or rather you can probably season your pixels, what we call it. You can probably, take advantage of that for sure. But, you know, if it were me, I would probably try and get some actual opt-ins first. If I’m going to spend some money, I want to try and get some contacts that I can hunt down.

Mike (36:29):

That engagement thing that’s going to be, I mean, you gotta have a war chest for that, right? Like, that’s a long game where you’re going to have to try and capitalize.

Mateo (36:34):

Yeah, you gotta have a war chest and it’s a long game. And right now we’re playing the short one. We gotta, we gotta make rent, we gotta be able to pay staff and we gotta get some cash. So, that would be my advice. If you’re rich, go for it. Get a gigantic retargeting list on your pixel, rock and roll. But if not, you know, I wouldn’t—.

Mike (36:54):

I’ll put you on the spot here, can I do that? So I know that we have not had enough time to test all this stuff out. And so keep that in mind. This is not like the recommendation from on high, this is just putting Mateo on the spot right now. Imagine you are a gym owner Mateo. I know you run gyms and been at ground zero for these things. If right now you were going to try and create an ad to generate some cashflow for your business because you had rent due in 11 days and you might not make it. What would you say? What would you pitch? What’s your offer?

Mateo (37:29):

Stay home, stay fit. You know, we’ve got our new workout from home or transformation, home transformation or home fitness challenge. You know, it’s a great time to get fit if you’ve got time on your hands. If you’re looking for a way to relieve some stress, stay healthy and build your immune system in this stressful time. We’re here to give you a helping hand, virtual one-on-one fitness coaching. It’s going to keep you accountable and keep you healthy and keep you indoors so it will keep you safe. If you want to learn more, click here, learn more about our 21 day online

Mike (38:21):

Like it. And I’ll ask you this. I know you and John test all sorts of images and so forth and you guys just throw it all in there, see what works. Then run with it. Just give me some ideas of if you were, again, just, if you were going to go with your gut and pick an image or two for thing thing, what would you show? What are you looking for?

Mateo (38:39):

Honestly, I would do like a cell phone video, 10 seconds of you doing, you know, Bulgarian split squats with your foot on the couch, you know what I mean? Or, or like, you know, some kind of like, I saw one really funny. This is my buddy, he’s in Australia. Shout out to Alex. Miss you, hope you’re safe. He took a towel and looped it around the door handles and then he used that as a ring row. So you could do that as I was demonstrating it. That’s why my audio went in and out. Yeah, you can do a quick little Giphy video of that and use that as your ad. If you’re gonna use stock images, stick to like running people or lunges. Cause it’s probably the only two things. Lunges or pushups, anything with a yoga mat cause people probably have that at home. I would do quick little videos of like actually demoing some movements in your house, you know, an elevated split-squat with the couch. Maybe if you got two jugs of water doing some deadlifts, with some Arrowhead water jugs and try that out. That would be my first.

Mike (40:05):

And as always, I’m going to guess that you’re going to tell people to evaluate their data, and if it doesn’t work, punt it, and if it does work, run with it.

Mateo (40:15):

That is correct.

Mike (40:15):

That’s the thing I’ve learned from you guys, from you and John talking to you guys is that there doesn’t seem to be a magic bullet for stuff. There’s only best hunches and then you test it in the marketplace and then you figure it out and go with that. Any advice? Any final words for our audience here? Again, we’ve got scared gym owners and people are listening to this that are like, they’re going to try and be aggressive trying to figure out what to do with ads and maybe try and capitalize or even try and save themselves. You have any final words of advice for these guys?

Mateo (40:42):

Stay golden. Like I don’t know, honestly, like these are some uncertain times. I would say take a minute. You know, you’ve got a little bit of time here. Take a minute, take a breather and then figure out what’s important and then once you’re there, get back on the horse and you know, you gotta you can help people in this time, right? So just make that message, put that message out there. Like, I’m here to help. I can help you, let’s talk. I mean, I think that’s what you gotta tell people. And I think that messaging’s gonna resonate and you’re gonna be able to keep on keeping on.

Mike (41:29):

And you are, you’re testing stuff right now. Correct? You’re researching, firing, and you’ve got the lab going to try and figure out what’s going on.

Mateo (41:36):

We are about to, we just finished up the new page for the new kind of website template, the new automations. The next thing on the docket is yeah, we’re going to start testing this on some client acquisition stuff and some ads and we’re going to have a little bit more info for you guys on that front.

Mike (41:57):

So you need to subscribe to Two-Brain Radio because Mateo will be back once he starts figuring out what’s going on here with ads. We’ll talk to you about it and we’ll give you some options, some ideas. So definitely subscribe to Two-Brain Radio and Mateo will report back whenever he’s got more data. So we will have episodes coming up about how you can adjust your ads, things that are working. We will tell you what’s going on. Thank you for listening. I’m Mike Warkentin with Mateo Lopez, this is Two-Brain Radio. Please remember to join Gym Owners United on Facebook. Use a personal account, answer the intake questions, and then enjoy some peer support from gym owners just like you. We’re all stronger together. Thanks again for tuning in to Two-Brain Radio. We’ll see you next time.


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Coronavirus Town Hall for Gym Owners No. 3 With Chris Cooper

Coronavirus Town Hall for Gym Owners No. 3 With Chris Cooper

Andrew (00:00:02):

Welcome to a special edition of Two-Brain Radio. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to threaten gym owners around the world, Two-Brain business founder Chris Cooper is hosting a series of emergency webinars to help fitness entrepreneurs get through the crisis. What follows is the audio from the March 20 live webinar. For more info that can help you in your business in this tough time, visit the blog on And now, here’s Chris Cooper.

Chris (00:00:25):

Hey everybody, thanks for making it. Today is March 20th. For some of us, this is the start of week three of the coronavirus crisis. For others it is day one. And so we’re going to briefly cover why you need to be focused on right now, what the best tactics are for the gyms who are being really successful through this crisis and the steps that you should be taking in the next 10 days, 60 days and 90 days to make sure that your gym survives and actually comes out of this a little bit ahead. So, as questions come up guys, what I’d like you to do is use the chat button. So if you scroll down to the bottom of the screen there, you’ll see the chat and I will answer them as I go to give you a couple of updates, uh, in the last few days.

Chris (00:01:13):

The good news is that our strategy is working, that a pivot to one-on-one delivery of your programming is still showing a 90% conversion rate for people in your gym. And it also has a longer adherence rate than broadcasting group classes does. My goal with this video is to be signal in a world full of noise. And so I’m going to stick to the facts. If you have questions, by all means, please ask them, but I want to make sure that I’m not giving anybody the wrong impression because it’s so easy to get buried in the minutia of this. So the very first thing is I still see a lot of posts about doing online group classes. That’s a natural pivot for you to make because you’re so used to doing group classes that, you know, your ideas is like we’re going to do this exact same service, but now we’re going to do it over here on the internet instead of in person.

Chris (00:02:09):

The problem is that, adherence data from group classes, so I’m talking about like broadcasting your class on Zoom, Skype, Facebook live, doesn’t matter. The adherence rate drops off starting at the three-day mark. So while doing the group classes is a good stop gap, and it can buy you a little bit of time, it’s not going to be your permanent solution. So if you haven’t already downloaded our guide to pivoting to online training, please do that. There’s a really, really, really important point in there. There’s also like, here’s the email you need to send your clients, here’s the language that you need to use with your clients. Here’s how to establish the value and here’s how to set yourself up for longterm success with this program. And, continuing with the bright spots, a lot of gyms in Two-Brain who have made this pivot successfully are like shocked to find out that they’re already getting new clients or old clients are coming back because now they have this online training option.

Chris (00:03:09):

It’s a real epiphany for a lot of gym owners because it shows you like they didn’t hate your service, they didn’t hate you. There was just one little thing stopping them and it was probably convenience. And now that you’ve removed that one little barrier, people want your service. So believe it or not, there are some gyms who not only have 100% retention, but they’ve already gotten new clients by pivoting to this online model by demonstrating leadership in their communities, by giving people clear answers on how to stay healthy during this crisis. And just by making this service available, there’s a lot for us to be optimistic about. I hope to convey that over the next hour. That’s right. Rob, you’re doing it man. Way to go brother. So we’re going to get into data guys, and I am going to make sure that I answer every single question before I leave here today.

Chris (00:04:00):

But I know that not everybody has an hour and a half, two hours to spend with me. So I’m going to start by going through the big points. OK, here’s what we’re going to do. The first thing, if you’re not closed now you should plan to close. So when the crisis hit and it was left up to us in Canada whether to close or not, my thought was I don’t want to close. I want to be like the common hub for people to go find support and community and get out of their house. And we were debating back and forth on whether to close or not. And then finally we said, yeah, we’re closing. And we did that maybe four hours before our government decided a mandated close anyway. But what happened was that people in the community started saying, thank you for making that decision.

Chris (00:04:47):

Thank you for making that tough call. I’m sure it was tough. And so it’s really important here that you are taking the steps before they’re forced upon you. They’re going to be forced upon you anyway. Set yourself up for an online pivot and just close the gym if you need some help with that. You can see previous recordings where I walked through that pivot step-by-step. Here’s what you say to your members on email. Here’s what you say one-on-one. The step though, once you’ve moved to this online training that I think a lot of people are missing right now is how you deliver that. So I’m going to go through that again. And then in our new Facebook group, Gym Owners United, I’m going to share a video of one of my coaches at Catalyst doing this with a client this morning. I asked him to record what he said.

Chris (00:05:32):

He did it off the cuff and it’s perfect. Cause it’s not hard, you guys, everybody can do this. So the first thing you’re going to say is client, we’re closing the gym because my worst fear would be exposing you to unnecessary risk. However, it’s most important to me that you maintain this buffer of health and fitness and strong immunity during this time of crisis. We are going to keep coaching you. We’ve lost a tool, but we haven’t lost our ability to coach you. So during this time what we’re going to do is issue a workout every day. I’m going to get in touch with you every single day and I’m going to tell you exactly what to do and how to make this work out perfect for you. Now, this is normally a service that we charge more for than what you’re currently paying, but while this crisis is going on, you are going to pay your normal gym rate and still get this higher level service.

Chris (00:06:25):

OK? There’s a few things in there. Number one, I was really careful to anchor the value of this service as higher than what they’re currently paying. Number two, I was presumptive in that they’re not going to cancel. Number three, I told them exactly what to expect. Now let’s talk about how that looks like in delivery. There’s a difference between a program customization and program personalization program. Customization means this. You’re going to take the gym’s general fitness programming, and you’re going to deliver it to each client one-on-one, and you’re going to customize it for that. So your message sounds like this. Hey Zack, good morning. How are you? Good. Here’s today’s workout. I know that your goal is to get over lower back pain. And so when you’re doing this workout, I want you to focus on X, and this is going to have the effect of Y, and here is the primary benefit for you.

Chris (00:07:27):

OK? So instead of just delivering features, here’s how many thrusters and pull ups you gotta do. You have to be very cognizant of delivering benefits. Here is how this workout will benefit you today. Next, you pick up the phone and you call the next client. Maybe she’s getting the same workout, but her goal is weight loss. Hey, Jennifer, hope you’re doing well. Here’s today’s workout. What I want you to focus on in this workout is alternating periods of high intensity with low intensity. So you’ve got enough time to metabolize, preferentially fat for fuel. So here’s what I want you to do. I want you to go as hard as you can for the first three minutes of step-ups and push-ups. Then I want you to take a 40-second break. Don’t let yourself cheat and start early. Then I want you to go as hard as you can again for five minutes.

Chris (00:08:21):

Now you can use the same workout for 150 people in your gym, but the customization has to be different. The next level of online programming is personalization and that differs from customization because customization means taking a general prescription and making it fit. This client personalization means writing a completely different prescription for that client and their goals. So what we’re doing here is we’re anchoring value. We’re showing people that we can still coach them really, really well at home and we’re not undermining our private personal online training. All right? You can certainly ask questions about that in the chat if you want to, and I’ll come back to those in a moment. We have learned a few things about delivering online training in the last 24 hours. The first is that you need to think about offering some kind of challenge. So start with the personalized training.

Chris (00:09:14):

Run with that for about the first week. If somebody starts to drop off and you have to pay really close attention to this, if somebody isn’t making your workouts anymore, you need to pick up the phone and call them, not text them, not Facebook message them, not tag them on Instagram. You pick up your phone and you call them, how are you doing? How are you really doing? And ask them that question. Then it’s a good idea to think of like a challenge. And a couple of people in the Two-Brain group are having a lot of fun because this is traditionally the CrossFit Open time, right? So they’re going to run like instead of the intramural open, the intramural closed or there was the Quaranteams was the name of another great one. Right? So it’s great for stickiness to have some kind of challenge and if you can introduce another layer of accountability by making people into teams, that’s great.

Chris (00:10:09):

The last piece about online training that I want to talk about before I answer questions is what you’re actually selling online training is not just your training done online. OK? It’s not like a recorded video. It’s definitely not your programming. You cannot sell your programming. Chris Spealler’s selling his programming for 19 bucks a month or he’s probably giving it away free now. You’re not going to compete with that. What you have to do is know what your clients need right now and deliver that to them. So I spent the last four hours on video calls with the top training platforms in the world and I was grilling their CEOs or their product developers and saying like, what do the top online trainers in the world do that I can teach to gym owners who want to do online training? And what they said was they do challenges, which is great, but also they tend to focus more on what is the client need right now.

Chris (00:11:11):

What do our clients need right now? They need structure. Most people are sleeping in for the first time in 30 years. Most people have their kids home all day for the first time. Most people have a cupboard full of carbohydrates that’s just calling to them all day. They lose structure because they don’t have the structure of school and work to set their clock to all day. The next thing that they do, even if you look up like health and fitness trends on Google right now, you’re going to find a lot more around sleep, around mindfulness, around stress reduction than anything else. And so when I was just talking with Train Heroic, they were saying that their coaches who keep clients the longest have actually pivoted to talking to the clients more about rest and sleep than they are about performance right now. OK?

Chris (00:12:04):

Nobody is going to increase their one rep max hang power snatch in the next six weeks. OK? You need to get them to embrace a new goal. You can do that by setting up a short term challenge. You can do that by gamifying the experience, putting them in teams. You can also do that by giving them some structure into their day. All right. I hope that helps. So before I forget, we do have a brand new online coaching course. How to set it up, how to deliver it, how to have your coaches help you deliver it. How to charge for it, how to get your current clients to do it, how to get future clients to do it. We’re having that all set up. We’re going to give it to Two-Brain family members for free and it’s going to be part of our incubator process going forward from now on.

Chris (00:12:53):

All right. Thank you for your questions. So many here. Where do I get the guide, Josh? If you’re in the Facebook group called Gym Owners United, in the file section you will see our online training guide and what you’ve got in that guide our step-by-step, here’s what you’re delivering, here’s how you’re delivering it. Here’s how you anchor the value. Here’s how you talk to clients about it. Here are some samples. What’s not in that guide that we didn’t foresee the need for was how to deliver the why. Like how to tell your clients this will help you because, and now that was a blind spot on my part because starting as a personal trainer, this is something that I had to do at every single session for 10 years. Group coaches generally don’t have to do this, but if you learn how to do it now and you practice, it will make you a better group coach later because you’ll be able to do this. The silver lining here guys is we’ve basically taken all the problems you might face in the next five years and condensed them into the next 60 days. And we’re going to go through them all at once. And when we get out the other side, we’re going to have a brand new coaching toolkit. We’re going to be better coaches, we’re going to have a brand new revenue stream. It’s great. We just have to make it there.

Chris (00:14:08):

All right, Jennifer de Merino. Hi Chris. Any data on using online coaching with online virtual group classes? Yes, Jennifer’s. So you will have clients who say, I just want to see everybody’s faces. I miss my gang. And I totally get that. So for these people, if you want to, you could open up an online group class maybe twice a day, three times, six noon and five, whatever you want to. And measure that we don’t have data on it. Thank you for asking for data. I love that. Here’s what you have to know. The coach who’s really good at coaching people in person is not necessarily the same coach who can deliver an amazing class online. If you’re going to deliver classes online, you have to ask yourself who are the best in the world at this right now, and I’m going to say the best in the world of this right now is Peloton.

Chris (00:15:02):

If you’re going to deliver a single Zoom class online, you should go on YouTube and spend an hour or two hours on YouTube watching Peloton classes. These people are not movement experts. They do not have PhDs. They’re not talking about premeditation or mobility. They are throwing a party and they are choreographing this whole big thing and they are calling you out by name, high five. It’s like, it’s a dance night with your best friends, right? It’s not quite a bachelorette party. It’s still guided and coached, but it’s more cheerleading than what you’re probably used to and maybe what you prefer. However, just like one-on-one delivery, if you can practice and develop this skillset, even if it feels foreign, even if it feels fake, even if it feels weird, you are going to be a better coach on the other side of this. Brian St. Andrews, it’s great to see your brother.

Chris (00:15:51):

Are they upselling or replacing at a current rate? Service-wise, I mean. Some of them actually are upselling, right? You know what I mentioned, Rob put up his hand earlier was that as soon as these guys started publishing online training available, some of them started getting new clients or getting old clients back. And so we still follow the prescriptive model. You do a one on one call, we determine your goals. We figure out your starting point and then we are going to make you a prescription. So some people’s prescription might be, I need to see you one-on-one. We’re gonna do one-on-one online training. You’re going to have a personalized plan. I’m going to use Zoom to come into your house three times a week for 30 minutes and I’m going to walk you through this and teach you OK. But for most people, they are selling their base online package, which is usually brand new to that gym at their current membership rate.

Chris (00:16:43):

They want to keep people engaged. You know, that’s your top priority for the next 10 days is retention. So you can bill them April 1st but you can’t undermine the value cause you’re going to sell this in the future. I hope that helps. Pete, how’s the equipment loan program working for other gyms? So, Pete, we’re not sure. It’s tough because retention is the only reason you would loan your equipment is to keep clients around longer. Right? We agree on that. Retention is a lagging metric, meaning we can’t tell until this is all over. If that’s going to work, two things are telling me that it might work. The first thing is if you’re a Robert Cialdini fan and you’ve read like “Influence and Persuasion,” then you’ll know that lending people something means you’re probably going to see them again. Right? Like they’ll always look at that dumbbell and be like, oh, I gotta get that back to the gym. Also that they owe you something.

Chris (00:17:38):

We actually teach this as part of the sales process in Two-Brain Business. When somebody comes into your gym, you give them a bottle of water and it triggers this reciprocal, I must give something back response. OK. Very powerful psychological move. The other reason that I think it might work, and this is because this is the only data there is, is if you look at gyms in areas that have had a natural disaster, a hurricane or flooding, sometimes they have tested a equipment loan out and they’ve always gotten the equipment back and they’ve always gotten a client back. It’s a small sample size, very few gyms usually lending out to very, very few clients. And we can get into the whole backstory of why they tried it in the first place. But in those cases, retention was at a hundred percent. I’m not willing to bank my business on that.

Chris (00:18:24):

At Catalyst, we’re not lending equipment out, but you know, until we have actual data and next time we have one of these, we will have actual data on that for you. Until we have actual data, I don’t think there’s any harm in it and I think there could possibly be a positive upside. Brian, CrossFit folks pay 167 and your OPEX-style client pays 267 to 367. That’s fine, Brian. The thing that you’ve got to do is like differentiate the service that your CrossFit people are getting from the service that your OPEX style people are getting. And I was literally on OPEX’s podcast or webinar or whatever it was two hours ago talking about this. What you’ve got to do, and this is going to be trickier for you than for most, is you’ve got to say, I have this like think of it as an OPEX downsell.

Chris (00:19:10):

I have this version of my OPEX style training that’s available for you know, 189 and I’m going to give that to my CrossFit gym members. What you can’t do is provide the 267 level service to the CrossFit people because now you’re undercutting like your best clients. I think that you get that. So I’m sorry guys, I can’t see names. I see MAR asking opinion about actively using this to attract new paying clients. Yes. It’s happening already. It’s really easy to get like five personal training clients. The way that you would do this is first you would, you would take the online training option to people who are former members because they already know you, like you and trust you. Then you would take it to like the friends of your current members and then you would put it out on Facebook.

Chris (00:19:57):

I will say that online training is so novel for people that it’s like, you know, CrossFit in 2010. If I post, I’m opening a CrossFit gym and it’s 2010 and Facebook is around, I get my firsthand clients and that’s happening with online training right now. Most of the people in Two-Brain who are reporting, I got this new online training client are surprised and delighted. I can’t believe it. I got this new online training client, you know, I’ve never tried this thing before and it’s immediately successful. Is that going to work forever? No. There’s low hanging fruit. There are people who are dying for this. It’s like the perfect storm to sell online training right now. However, we recognize that, you know, in the next 10 days your priority is retention. That’s not going to save your gym in the long term. You have to keep acquiring new clients.

Chris (00:20:43):

The only way you’re going to acquire new clients right now is online. And so the course that we’re building to give to the Two-Brain family and to build it into our incubator should be done by about Tuesday. And it’s how to acquire clients online too. To be honest with you, man, the only thing that’s slowing us down on the development of that course, we know what to do. We know what the systems are and we know how to set this up and how to price it. We’re testing ads right now, so we’re putting like thousands of dollars into ads for gyms to get clients in their doors through online coaching. We’re measuring what works and that’s what we’ll put in our curriculum later. Dre, this may be premature, but I don’t want to forget. Oh, Drew. All right. If I hover over it, I can kind of see it.

Chris (00:21:27):

Sorry Drew. We’re making all of our content available direct to our members via email and through a private Facebook group. The thought is they are paying and this is the only way to show them value for their membership dues. Would you encourage them to share pics video of them working out? Yeah, more media is better. Absolutely. But, so Drew, you know, something that I said on the Train Heroic webinar that I did a couple of hours ago is like walls are coming down right now. I’ll give you an example from our group. So Bill Schiffler, CrossFit Renaissance, one of the best CrossFit names ever. He had a husband and wife combo and the husband was paying for unlimited membership. The wife was paying for, let’s call it two times a week. They’re sitting together in the living room at the start of the workout. Bill is not going to say to the wife, sorry, you only paid for two workouts a week.

Chris (00:22:17):

You can’t do this one. Right? So while you have to be careful to preserve value, by the same token, you cannot try and hide your workouts from anybody. Like at this point, I think you should almost be more public with things. Don’t give anything away, but you’ve got to understand like your programming is not your secret sauce, right? Nobody is paying for your programming. Sorry man. It’s not that special. And that’s a hard lesson that I had to learn, too. What they’re paying for is that personalized value delivery. You know, Two-Brain publishes content every single day. I do not hold back on information because what we sell is not access to information or access to equipment. What we sell is mentorship. We’re a mentorship practice and you’re a coaching practice. I hope that helps. But yeah, they should be sharing it because you’re proud of them.

Chris (00:23:08):

Mark, what if a limited number wants to upgrade to unlimited during this time. Free upgrade? No, charge, man. Something you gotta be really careful about here guys, is that you don’t throw out all of your systems and policies longterm because of the short-term crisis. I know. It’s tempting to just like throw policies out the windows. I’ll give you whatever you want at whatever discount it takes. You know what, don’t pay me this month even though everybody else is paying me. I’m going to tell you right now, people have a long memory and what’s most important here is the story that you’re telling about your fair and equitable and valuable coaching. So if people want to upgrade, that’s fantastic. Mark that’s a testament to your great coaching. Let them upgrade. Rory Fitzpatrick, what would you charge for equipment rental? $0.

Chris (00:23:59):

You not an equipment rental company. Christopher Heed. How do I contact all 130 of my clients every day and personalize the program for them? So again, there’s a difference between customization and personalization. And I hope you caught that earlier, Christopher. It’s not that hard, Train Heroic estimated two to three minutes per client per day using video. When a lot of gyms do it for the first time, it was six or seven minutes the first time. But that’s because their clients are excited to hear from them and their clients are emotional and the clients have a lot to talk about. And so the coaches wisely sat there and listened, let the client be heard. And then they said, here’s your workout, blah, blah, blah. But as people get acclimated to staying at home and used to this crisis and it drags on, two to three minutes is probably average. And that’s coming from one of the biggest platforms in the world who’s been doing this for three years. All right.

Chris (00:24:58):

So Mark, you use SugarWOD. Yeah, me too. Should we continue to use and allow members to see a week’s worth of workouts? Not in advance, man. I don’t think so. I think, the thing is like, you’ve got to—I don’t deliver a week’s worth of workouts in advance to my clients anyway. You know, one of the greatest things about our type of gyms, whether you’re a CrossFit gym or not, is novelty. It’s that, constantly varied, you don’t know what’s coming next. If you think about the attention that the CrossFit open workouts get or used to get on a Thursday night at 4:59 when everybody’s tuned into that YouTube channel and they’re hitting refresh, refresh, refresh, refresh. That’s what people used to do with in 2007. You might remember that. So, the thing is, if you tell them in advance, right?

Chris (00:25:53):

Like, let’s say that you were doing the CrossFit Open, but you knew all the workouts in advance, you don’t get that excitement. CrossFit does that for like the masters and I think the teens now and I gotta tell ya, it’s not as exciting. Right? It’s building that anticipation, seizing that moment and being aware of the value of a surprising and delighting your clients. There’s so much value in that and I would do that all the time. Hey, Jeff, affiliate owner, Stay Classy. I’d also recommend adding classes to Saturday and Sunday. The five day work week is gone. Yeah. Keep your members engaged and with structure seven days a week. Also scheduled OG gym time a few times a week on Zoom just to bring the community together to chat and work out together. That’s great, Jeff. I think that’s a great balance there, you’re definitely not hurting anything by doing that.

Chris (00:26:41):

You’re supplementing your delivery, right? It’s not the whole thing. I think that’s fantastic. One thing you guys should know is that big chain gyms like Lifetime, Equinox, what they sell per month for 299 to four 499 is mostly accountability. That’s what you’re selling here in good times. When people have a structured workday and they’re always going to work out at 6:00 AM because they have to be at work at eight and they are always gonna eat lunch at noon and when they get home, they’re always going to see their kids at dinner time and the kids will be tired by eight o’clock. During those times, people need accountability and they’re paying twice as much as they would pay for a CrossFit membership. Well guess what? That’s twice as important now. I’ve been home with my kids for about three days.

Chris (00:27:26):

I’m having a fantastic time. They need more structure and so do I. All right, MJ, we’re closing our doors via government mandate. Closed the business tonight in Arizona. We’ve run daily at-home WODs and videos up and running. We also have the option for members to switch to one-on-one online client up and running. Both strategies are doing well and are successful. Next move is to Zoom class schedule, which we have in place ready to rock and roll. That said, we’re in Arizona and we’d love to take advantage of great weather and incorporate park workouts. Question is what percentage of park workouts versus Zoom classes should I run, ideas to run both led by coach. What about capping 10 at the park. OK, so MJ, a couple things. Your at-home WODs and videos should supplement one-on-one delivery. I think we’ve already been clear enough about that.

Chris (00:28:14):

I’m not going to beat a dead horse. I would save the park workouts for like your 60 day plan and I’m going to go through this guys, 10 day, 60 day, 90 day plan, very shortly here. The park workouts are awesome. People are going to miss one another. You want to bring them together. The thing is though, like you do not want to expose people to this disease, right? Just like letting kids run wild in your box, you have to imagine the worst case scenario here that one of your members catches covid from another one of your members. What does that do to your box and what is worth that risk? To me it’s nothing. The thing about classes, so when the gyms were closed in China, we were working with the gyms and their pivot was like, OK, do exactly what we’re doing, but take it outside.

Chris (00:29:05):

Kind of inconvenient, but we’re going to do it anyway. The problem they found was like at the start of the class, they would say, here’s a mask for everyone and everybody stay 10 feet apart and this is China, right? Where this is happening every two years. Like, Oh, we went through this with SARS. It’s just another SARS, whatever. So people are used to social distancing. Our culture in these gyms are not used to social distancing. So when Jim walks up to you after the workout like this, you are going to fist bump him. When Betty Lou at Catalyst sees me coming to the gym, she’s going to hug me. And you as the leader need to remove the danger of that happening because I as the client can’t, right? And capping 10 limit at the park, I guess. But you’ve got to keep people apart. It’s really, really tough.

Chris (00:29:55):

MJ, if you do it, please let us know how it works. So. OK, David, does anything change with insurance, with coaching online? This is a fantastic question. So David, I got on the phone with the Affiliate Guard and the RRG and I said, are these gyms covered? And both of them gave me back the response that if these are your normal clients, they already belong to your gym and you’re moving them to online training, you should be fine. If you start selling online training as a separate service and you are talking to clients over Zoom at intake and you’re delivering their programming and you never ever meet them, you might need an additional rider. Neither of those companies was able to provide it for me, but I should be able to find you something in the next 48 hours. Let’s see,

Chris (00:30:39):

Justin, I’m in Two-Brain growth and was looking to see when that tool you were talking about is going to be available. Is there a post or link somewhere with detailed steps on how to deliver the message about one on training? Yeah, so Justin, that’s been available for about 10 days. If you are in the Facebook group, click on files and you’ll see Online Training Pivot. We’ve sent it out in two emails, one to you and then a week later to everybody. I want to make sure that you get it though. So please shoot me a Facebook message afterward and I can make sure like that you’ve got that in your hand. What I’m talking about, the new tool is a course, and that’ll be available to you guys next week.

Chris (00:31:20):

Locklin: Do you have any advice for dealing with landlords in regards to reducing your pausing rent? Yeah, so I’m a landlord and I come at it from their perspective. Most governments now, so I’m talking Canada for sure. Australia, New Zealand for sure and some places in the States are now talking about mortgage abatement, which means you can skip one to six months of paying your mortgage with banks. Not every landlord knows this yet. Your best bet is start framing the conversation now by saying, Hey, look, I’m OK through April, by the end of April. if this is still going on, I’m going to be in trouble or I’m going to need your help. Can we take May’s rent and spread it out over the following six months. As a landlord, that would actually be a sigh of relief to me because I would know what to do.

Chris (00:32:07):

Most landlords don’t know what to do, so they’re going to either charge you rent and risk losing you and your business or just lose the money entirely. Right. I think that’s the best, easiest solution. Dana, how many clients per coach do you think is a limit or does the limit exist to retain quality of service when starting out? Interested in first helping our current clients as much as possible, haven’t posted anywhere, public, social, just wondering if we should try to reach out. So the first thing I do, Dana, is like run it just with your current clients for a week. Get a sense of how long it’s going to take, knowing that that time is actually going to go down per call. And in our Facebook group, Gym Owners United after this, I’ll share that video from Mike and Catalyst on how he does it.

Chris (00:32:53):

I mean he’s a pro, but he and I have been doing this together since like 2003. It’s really, really easy. You just have to show that you care enough to tailor the workout to them. OK. So I would start with that. And then how many clients, you know, can you handle, I mean, we split up about 185 clients, over four coaches and it took them about two to three hours. So, you know, Train Heroic is telling me like two to three minutes per client per day. The only data that we have says six to seven minutes. But again, it’s because this is a brand new service with a brand new crisis. So budget for six to seven minutes per coach, I hope. Joe Venuti, don’t play with me Joe. OK, I’ll come to your gym and we’ll pick up that CPR dummy and I will drag it someplace outside in the cold Boston winter and leave it for you to find like a corpse.

Chris (00:33:53):

Oh, Justin. Incubator. I’m sorry brother. You’re not in growth stage yet. I will talk to your mentor and make sure that you have that guide. You’re right. You need to be pivoting to that right now. And by early next week you’ll have a brand new course in incubator that’s available to you. OK. Louis, how best to market the online training programs to new or old and active members, social media and newsletter to the PDF that you put on a few days ago. Would that be a way to offer new clients online training? Fantastic questions. When we’re marketing something, anything, we always start at the center. OK, what do our best clients need? Then we say who is closest to them? OK. So it’s like referral marketing, except you take the reins and you say, you know, how can I solve your husband’s problem?

Chris (00:34:47):

And then you call the husband. OK? So start with that. Then you start with former clients. You know, about three times a year, we tell every Two-Brain gym member, like reach out to all former clients. What you should be doing right now is calling every client who’s canceled in the last year and just saying, how are you doing? No, no. How are you really doing? And just listening to them, right? They’re probably still paying attention to you even though they’re not paying you money. So all you’re doing is having that conversation, which has value in its own sake. You’ll feel better for helping them. Then when you say, OK, I have five spots available for this new online training option that we have. You can do everything in your home with the equipment that you have or don’t have, who wants it? We’ve seen people sell out on that program every single time we’ve tried it, you know?

Chris (00:35:38):

But I always go to the newsletter Lewis, if you know me, like I’m an email guy, right? We have a 43% daily open rate on our email list of 23,500 people. A lot of people read our stuff every single day. And that’s where I tell people about new opportunities more than Facebook. The PDF that we put out, would that be a way to offer new clients online training? No. So guys, I always want to share my experience with you. I never want to share my ideas with you. The difference is testing. I don’t want to give you stuff that hasn’t been tested. So when we share, here’s what to do, it’s because we have data showing us that is the best option and the other things didn’t work. So when we’re talking about like how to get new clients, we have a couple of good strategies already.

Chris (00:36:24):

Like I just shared with you, we do not know how to do Facebook marketing for online clients yet. That’s what we’re dedicating thousands of dollars into testing right now. And that’s what we’ll have sorted before we publish this course. I hope that helps. Alison, it’s great to see you. I won’t read your compliments, but I thank you. Just wanted to double check the, you said the adherence for members attempting classes online drops off after day three. Where’s that data coming from? So Alison, a mentorship practice isn’t top-down, like I don’t tell the mentors, tell your clients this. It’s actually bottom up. So what happens is, you know, 850 gyms inTwo-Brain right now, 2000 gyms in our network that we have, you know, some data from, or we’re keeping tabs on, we’ll say what is actually working and that will trickle up to the mentors, which will trickle up to our managers who will run data tests on it.

Chris (00:37:18):

So for example, when a Two-Brain gym gets on a call with their mentor this month and the mentor says, what steps have you taken? We’re doing video classes. What’s your adherence like in those classes? What’s your attendance like? Is it dropping and where does it drop? The first person to say to me three days was actually on the CrossFit L1 staff. He’s a very charismatic dude, if he’s losing clients at three days, I start to worry. The mean average, so I’m saying like as low as three days, the mean average is more like five to six days, but you’re going to have to check in your own gym. So what you need to do is look at who showed up to this class on Monday, who didn’t show up to the same class on Tuesday and you need to pick up your phone and call that person because you’re losing them.

Chris (00:38:02):

Ricard. Yeah. Have you figured out the best way to pay staff at the moment? Yes. 4/9ths, man. Basically, you can do this one of two ways. You split up your client list and you can say, I have this much money available to pay my coaches. I’m going to pay them like the group class rate to deliver these messages to my clients who are paying for a group membership, or I’m going to pay personal training rates to people who are delivering personal training one-on-one online. The same as I always did, up to a four ninths. Jarrett, can’t tell if this is JP or not, but I think it is, experts are surfacing everywhere on best practice. My question is thoughts on the longterm effects of this on the economics of the boutique fitness industry. Specifically CrossFits. Yeah, man. So Jarett, I’m sure you’ve read this book. Let me grab it.

Chris (00:38:56):

  1. This is “Antifragile” by Nassim Taleb. And in 2013, we had an economic downturn. I was reading this book and I was like, yeah, but how’s this gonna work for the gym? And one of the examples Taleb gives in the book “Antifragile,” he actually says like, we are unprepared for a worldwide pandemic. What would you do if you had to close your business? And around 2013 I started to wonder like, what would I do? And I started to think about park workouts and we actually started doing some strongman stuff like at my farm. But at that time there was an emerging small group of online coaching people. Jonathan Goodman is one of them, and they were delivering training online and I was like, how are they doing this?

Chris (00:39:49):

So I had Goodman on the podcast a few weeks ago, just, you know, for luck and he gives you the step by step on our podcast. What I see longterm though is a massive opportunity. There’s going to be, you know, barriers are coming down. There’s going to be more partnerships. There’s going to be more cross referrals. Gyms are getting a new revenue stream by adding this online personal training component. Jer, I know, you know you’ve got like, a chain of gyms at Brick. What you need to know is that big chains that sell themselves as coaching gyms like Orangetheory and F45, they are trying to pivot to online training. Right now, Equinox has already done that. They’re laughing. Lifetime has already done that. They’re laughing. So but these big chains, they have to pivot like a thousand trainers over.

Chris (00:40:37):

And so, when they do that, it’s gonna take a while. So we’re lucky enough to be nimble, open-minded, positive, caring coaches with one-on-one relationships with our clients. We can pivot faster. To the transparent response to the affiliate owners who are struggling prior to this almost inevitable recession, even if temporary, what’s the prep for them without going further into debt? I mean that’s really tough. So there’s a couple of ways that people are trying to cashflow this. The first is to like put their own personal funds into the business. I really don’t like that. If you do it, make sure that you write yourself a document saying that you, the shareholder are lending the business this money. Because when you took that business, that money out of the business, you are taxed on it. When you put it back in, you’re not making that tax back.

Chris (00:41:34):

And when you take it out again, you’re going to get taxed again. So to avoid double taxation, you have to have some kind of document saying, I am writing a loan to my LLC or corporation. The second thing that you have to be aware of is SBA loans. And grants. We’ve actually got a list published in that public Facebook group, Gym Owners United, or we’ve got a few links so far. The thing about SBA loans is you have to stay on top of them for two reasons. The first is that you don’t know when they’re going to become available in your state. The government does not communicate them very well. The second thing is they are first come first served. So a few days ago we published a list of SBA loans to the Two-Brain group and people applied and they were already approved. So that means if they lose revenue in their business, they’re going to get access to that pool first.

Chris (00:42:23):

You need to get on these lists right now. What should affiliates look out for in these newly surfaced crises? honestly, Jarrett, there’s so much man, I think what they should look out for is the opportunity to lead and the potential longterm ramifications of every single action they take. They don’t want to undermine their policies. They don’t want to undermine their value. However, by staying small with low overhead right now, they are going to be the longterm winner. You know, something that I said a few days ago in an email which got me a lot of hate mail was if you’re the last gym left on the block, you are going to benefit big time. And I usually try to be more tactful than that. Honestly, you know, I’m a shy Canadian, but in these times, like I don’t have time to be unclear.

Chris (00:43:17):

So if you can last through May into June, you will be able to hire the coaches and owners of other gyms. You’ll be able to save their clients from lapsing back into morbidity and chronic disease. You’ll be able to continue the mission. And so what we should be looking out for is opportunities to stay alive, to lead your community and to prosper at the end of this. J Wine, are these initial calls just check-ins in general or are you prescribing different package options right off the bat? So Jay, as a caring coach, you’re calling to say, how are you doing? Then you’re saying, it’s my job to take care of your fitness. Here are your options. Does that make sense? Amen. Can you go through one-on-one delivery brief please, just joined. No, please go back to the start of the video and watch that. Brian, Coop.

Chris (00:44:10):

One more question. My lease renews in 90 days and I signed an extension. Best practice around unwinding that for now. Brian, I mean, the best practice is you grab a cup of coffee, you grab one for your landlord, you go sit down with them and you say, here’s the reality of the situation. You know, can we go month to month after the end of this until I’m on a firm footing. I will definitely, you know, look to your guidance. But right now everything is so topsy turvy in my world that, you know, so you’re just being like transparent and open and honest with them. As a landlord, that’s what I would look for.

Chris (00:44:48):

So Joe Venuti, don’t touch Randy. So Randy is Joe’s CPR first aid on me. He’s full size, he weighs like 180 pounds. And I once did a fight gone bad workout where I had to pull Randy back and forth along the floor at Joe’s gym, CrossFit Mass. Chris O’Brien, do we need to call each member with daily WOD personalization or can we email them? Why or why not? There is a hierarchy of communication. OK. And this is ingrained in humans. The best communication is face to face, but we can’t do that. We have to go to the next level of personal communication. If you could get on a Zoom call with them or send them a video, that would be best. The third level would be a phone call so that they can at least hear your voice and inflection. The fourth level would be a text, which feels more personal because not everybody has my phone number.

Chris (00:45:37):

And the last option would be an email. I love email, dude. I wish that was the answer. It’s not. You gotta go top down. So you can’t talk to them in person. I would say send them a video every day or get on a Zoom call with them and explain it. If that doesn’t work, you’d pick up the phone. Especially if you have clients who are like 60 years old, they’re at risk. They need to be home. They don’t know how to use Zoom. They’re not going to get Facebook. You pick up the phone and you’d call them and they’ll pick it up on their old rotary landline with the curly cord and they’ll listen to you and then they’ll call you back when they’re done. Rory, what would you charge for in-home training compared to what you’re charging for group training at your facility?

Chris (00:46:19):

So slightly more is the answer, Rory. And if you download that free guide and I’ll explain exactly why and also what to do if you don’t know what you should be charging right now. Oh, OK. Jared, do you have any data on youth programs? My adults skipped out on the Zoom and asked to go personalized. Fantastic. I gave my youth performance group that option. They said no, I posted in the Gym Owners United group and someone else said they had a similar experience. Yeah, man. So, we’re still gathering data on kids. Honestly, about five, six days ago, a few of us thought it would be a good idea to tell members, yeah, bring your kids into the gym, let’s make them healthy and safe and burn off some nervous energy. Some people advertised that and got some really negative feedback. You’re exposing my kids.

Chris (00:47:07):

We got to remember that people are thinking emotionally right now, not logically, and they don’t know the science maybe that we do. So I would run an online kids group class. Now if these people are looking for specific athletic coaching, it’s actually pretty easy. So you would talk to each one and you’d be like, OK, here’s what I want you to focus on in this workout. You know, you need anaerobic capacity, 40 seconds and then you rest, this other person’s like, you need lateral movement, whatever. And you have both of those in the workout. But then you could easily run an open Zoom call for everybody. What you got to realize, guys, is like, kids are more connected than we are. They are used to, maybe not FaceTime anymore, but they’re used to FaceTime. They’re used to Tik Tok, they’re used to gaming with one another over the internet. They work and they think and they behave differently with their peers than we do. Let’s see. So Rob, four ninths of what? Four ninths model is a salary cap. If you think of all the revenue that you have coming into your business, 44% or 4/9ths of that revenue can be allocated to pay your staff. That’s how 4/9ths works. So if you’re charging $10,000 a month or collecting 10,000 a month in revenues, you can afford to pay out $4,444 in coach pay. OK. That’s just how it works. Just like the NFL’s new CVA cap, they’re at 47%, 4/9ths.

Chris (00:48:37):

Beth, how do you replicate the community aspect if you switch everyone and you don’t think virtual classes aren’t the way to go? Not everyone in the gym is Facebook friends. So what ways, so Beth, I got to tell you, the problem with the community aspect is that it’s impossible to measure. And in many cases the gym owner projects larger importance onto it than it actually has. If you’re worried that people will miss each other or that you’ll worry that you know they need to see each other, then do the Zoom call, by all means. But that is not the backbone of your coaching program. OK. That’s all. Jared, all the best to you, brother. I hope things are well.

Chris (00:49:15):

Oh, let’s see. Tanya, Chris, we just downsized in February and it is good because I’m not as stressed about our rent or clients. Awesome. Small as good right now, Tanya. I agree a lot of gyms right now who have pivoted to one-on-one are waking up to this epiphany of this whole new world and they’re like, wait a minute. I’m making 80% of the revenue that I was making before. I’m working four hours a day instead of all of the hours. My payroll is less unless I want to pay my coaches and I don’t have this ridiculous rent payment. I’m taking more money home. I have better quality of life. I’m here with my kids. I’m done by noon. Why the hell am I going back? And it’s just starting to hit people. But the way that you make yourself antifragile or more resilient is you lower those overhead costs that might not even be necessary anymore. Sorry, I’ll finish the question. It’s under control right now. We have to close up shop tonight and have been loaning out equipment. Nobody wants to drop and everyone is ecstatic that we’re going to put on one of the coaches teams. We’ve got this thanks to your team already. Got one new client from Germany and I’m in Texas. Well, yee-haw, Tanya. Congratulations. OK. So

Chris (00:50:28):

Jared, yes. Kids want the Zoom class. Do it for them again, man. Our kids are growing up very differently from how we grew up. They communicate online like they’re fluent in online. If you have a gym that’s all kids. Yeah. Then this advice changes. Go to video classes. But for kids classes right now it seems like running a video classes better than one-on-one. We’ll keep that for adults. Let’s move to Q and A.

Chris (00:51:00):

OK, great. We answered those questions already. What I want to move to now guys, is I want to give you a very, very clear 10 day plan, 60 day plan and 90 day plan. I hope and pray that this is all over before that 90 day plan kicks in. And I hope that you never ever need it. But my gut says that this is not going to just suddenly end. Even if a vaccine is discovered tonight, even if a cure is discovered tonight conclusively, you’re still going to have a couple of weeks where everybody has to get vaccinated where you’re, you know, you’re going to have to show like that your facility is clean and people start to cautiously trickle back in. OK, we’re dealing with fear here. We’re not dealing with logic. And that means it takes time to catch fire and it takes time for the fire to go out.

Chris (00:51:44):

So let’s start with your 10 day plan. First you have to manage your cashflow for the next 10 days. April 1st is probably the start of your next billing cycle. If you can make it to April 1st you’ve got quite a bit of breathing room. So your top priority right now is retention. And that means doing everything you possibly can to keep people’s membership active until April 1st and that’s why I say like if it takes six or seven minutes per phone call, if you have to let a client cry on you right now, that’s OK. Do whatever it takes to keep them. If they want one-on-one, but they also want three group classes a day on Zoom, that’s fine for now, right? Like let’s do whatever it takes to keep them. We’ll worry about, you know, getting rid of redundancies and stuff later. So that’s revenue.

Chris (00:52:36):

The second thing that you can do right now is if you’re ready to sell online coaching to people locally, you can post on Facebook that you have the system ready. But I’m going to warn you here, don’t do this until you’re actually ready to deliver on it because like introducing CrossFit to Sioux St Marie in 2008, I did a bad job of it and that kind of soured my market for years for clients who would be perfect for my gym. They didn’t want to come there because of the way that I rolled it out. OK? I blew it. Don’t do that with online training because that’s the next big thing. You also need to look at your expenses. So, what you want to do is this, you want to pull out your P and L or just like make a list of all the bills that you pay every single month, and then you want to go through them step-by-step. For your staff, which is the most uncomfortable one for most people,

Chris (00:53:27):

You want to contact your staff and say, is anybody, does anybody want to stay at home right now? Would you rather be at home than come in? Let them make that decision easy for you. The second thing that you say is, Hey guys, I know that our classes aren’t running. We’re still coaching our clients. That means I still need you. We’re going to deliver one on one sessions. Here’s the price for that. We’re going to deliver a one-on-one delivery of our programming. Here’s what I can pay you per hour for that. I hope it helps. OK. I have a bad feeling that there are going to be a lot of fitness coaches losing their jobs. I definitely don’t want that to happen. But yeah, it is an expense that a lot of gyms are going to have to face the hard reality with.

Chris (00:54:16):

The next thing is, your next big expense is rent. And we talked about like how to approach that with your landlord. OK, so that’s fine. Next is, loan and mortgage payments. There are a lot of debt relief programs out there right now. If you look at, um, a lot of banks are being given extra months, or extra credits like the fed dropped their rates to 0%. Banks can buy money to loan you really, really cheaply right now, interest rates are falling. They’re not as low as they’re gonna get. But, the government also took the extraordinary measure of mandating that people have extra time to pay their rent. You know, pay their mortgage. That’s going to trickle down to you guys eventually, but you’ve got to take the initiative right now and call the person holding your loan and saying, Hey, can you spread out April’s loan payment over the next six months or the next year?

Chris (00:55:14):

Cashflow is most important right now. So, let me give you an example. Around 2009, I had the two locations, right? And I was turning around the CrossFit gym, but like cashflow was still at a premium because we were making all these mistakes. I had about $12,000 in accounts receivable. We were billing people at the end of the month after they’d already trained with us. And I had no money to pay myself or my coaches and I had this like $600 loan payment because I was, I hated debt. I wanted to pay it off as quickly as I could. So I call my banker, I’m like, I can’t make my loan payment. Surely somebody before me has been through this. What do you do? And she’s like, Chris, this happens to everybody. Don’t worry about it. What we do is we spread out your loan payment over 10 years instead of three years and you make smaller payments every month and then when you get ahead, you get some cashflow momentum going, pay it all off at once.

Chris (00:56:11):

We don’t care, you know, but for now, like spread it out as much as you can. So if you’re not sure about your cash position in the next 30, 60 days, I do recommend applying for a line of credit or spacing your loans out or even taking like a cashflow loan. I have people in Two-Brain right now who have applied to the BC in Canada who have gone through, you know,, they’ve applied for funds. They’re going to get those funds at like 3%. The funds are going to be in their bank account. They’re not going to touch those funds. But the funds will make sure that they live to fight another day and they’ll pay those loans back later. I know that we’ve all been taught this dogma of don’t take personal debt, bootstrap everything. But guys, we’re in this for the long haul, right?

Chris (00:56:59):

We want a 30-year business. Your family’s groceries depend on this business. Like, do not be too prideful to tell your bank that you need help. I also know some lenders for equipment who are actually, pushing people’s fees back for a month or their loan payments. I’m just not going to name who they are because I’m not sure if they want every client to ask for that. And then finally you go through the rest of your expenses and you don’t say, what can I cut? Because you can never cut your way to success. You ask yourself, how do I improve my ROI? So for example, I pay my bookkeeper $200 per month. I don’t think I’m going to not pay my bookkeeper this month or I’m not going to get my taxes done this month. What I think is like, how can I get a better return on that $200 that I paid the bookkeeper this month?

Chris (00:57:46):

Call the bookkeeper. Christine, what should I do? I really need your guidance. She’s thrilled, right? Other people are canceling bookkeeping, which is crazy. She’s like, Chris, here’s what you need to do, blah, blah, blah. Improve your cashflow position. And I’ve got amazing value that far exceeds ROI on that. If you’re a great coach, you will provide this kind of value to your clients. And at Two-Brain, like we’re providing more value to our clients than ever before right now. That’s your 10 day position. Cashflow 60 day position is get your clients back. So you have to be prepared to ramp up operations again, I said it’s not just going to be like flipping a switch. What you need to do is you need to look for when your city reopens public gathering places and if they open public gathering places like parks before they reopened gyms and restaurants, then you need to start doing your workouts in the park again.

Chris (00:58:40):

OK? The next thing you need to do is you need to stay in contact with the people who cancel every single week. So you know, on Friday or on Monday, Hey, I know that you canceled. How are you doing? No, how are you doing? Right? You have to stay in contact with them because they’re still paying attention even though they’re not paying you money and when it’s time for them to come back, if you’ve been staying in constant contact with them, it’s going to be a really easy transition back into your gym. If you haven’t been in touch with them, it’s going to be really awkward and hard. OK? So stay in constant contact. And then finally, at the 60 day mark, when people are coming back in the gym, that’s when you call previous clients who have previously canceled and say, Hey, you know, now would you like to come back?

Chris (00:59:28):

We have this new online training option. Would you like to get on a Zoom call and talk for 15 minutes about your health and fitness goals? OK, 90 days. So 10 days, protect your cashflow. 60 days, get your clients back, 90 days, get your money back. Now you need to be applying for actual refunds. So there’s going to be tax refunds. There’s going to be a small business administration loans. We’ve got a doc to show gym owners in Canada, the US, New Zealand and Australia where to apply to get this money. A lot of these countries have grants for landlords, for small business owners and for employees to ease that burden. So number one, I mean, if the government will pay your employees next month, you don’t have to, you can save that money. If the government, if you do pay your employees and the government will reimburse you, that’s fine, but just know that it’s going to take a little bit longer.

Chris (01:00:22):

And, you know, they are trying to like speed up the application and payment process, but you’ve got to understand it’s going to take weeks and months and people are applying for like billion dollars in aid. Right. So those are your 10 60 and 90 day priorities. I actually do have one more cashflow idea that I really, really like. So I mean if all of your clients quit, this is not going to solve your problem. But if it’s close, if you’ve got $5,000 worth of bills on April 1st and you’ve got $4,000 in the bank, this will work. It turns out that more people actually buy nutritional supplements when there is a health crisis going on. OK. It’s crazy. So, our friends at Driven Nutrition actually set up this program where they can turn around payments. So it’s a presale, you’re not putting money out of your pocket.

Chris (01:01:20):

You set this up and you say to your clients, here’s how this thing can help you. They’ll help you with all the messaging and stuff. You take orders, they ship directly to your clients. They don’t ship to your gym. You don’t have to deliver anything. You keep 40% of the revenue, which is insane for supplement sales and they turn payments around to you in three days after it ends. So if you need quick cash, I mean, I like these guys. I really believe in their values. I think they’ve got a great product and if you need an extra thousand dollars or whatever, this is a great way to do it. And that’s Driven Nutrition. Karen Herring, could you elaborate a bit on what you meant by being ready to roll out online coaching locally? Yeah, Karen. So do you mean pivoting my clients online coaching or selling new clients in my city on online coaching and I’ll wait for you to respond to that while I answer Matt.

Chris (01:02:13):

What’s the best initial response to cancellation requests? So, Matt, you can’t say no, right? You have to, you have to be confident enough as a coach to tell them what they need without poisoning that relationship later. And it’s a fine line to walk. But I know you, Matt, and I know that your clients trust your judgment and they are coming to your gym because of that. So you have earned the authority, the loyalty and the trust where you can say to your clients, I understand that you want to cancel. I’m scared too. We have this new option where I can train you at home because I don’t want you to lose the buffer of fitness and immunity that you’ve built. You’ve got to stay fed to take care of your family. Are you willing to try it? If they say, no, I’m a waitress, I don’t make the money, then the best thing that you can do is make sure that they’re going to come back.

Chris (01:03:10):

You say, I totally understand. What can I do right now to help you? If they say, well, you can give me your program for free, you could say, I wish I could, it wouldn’t be fair to the rest of my clients. If they say, there’s nothing you can do, you know, come to my restaurant. Then you call the restaurant, you order 20 pizzas, you give them to families in need and you say add a $50 tip for Tanya. And then when it’s all said and done or you call Tonya every Friday, you know, are you doing OK? Are you really OK? What can we do for you when it’s all said and done? You call Tanya, you say, I am so excited to see you back. Are you working yet? OK. The thing is like you’re a genuine dude. I mean, people know you, they love you and for good reason.

Chris (01:03:59):

And, I think if you stick with like what comes naturally here, you’re good at this. Karen selling new clients in my city for online coaching. Yeah, Karen. So, it’s actually pretty easy. I don’t know if you were on the call when I said like, it’s like selling CrossFit in 2010. Right? There’s enough people out there who are just kind of like curious, like what’s going on over there that you’re probably going to get like five clients really, really easy. So what we teach is all you have to say, you build up your system. Here’s what I’m going to do. You say, Hey, local friends, I’ve got this new online training system. I’m about to launch it before I do, I want to test it on five people. I know it’s gonna work. I just want to see like, you know, do I have my systems down?

Chris (01:04:45):

Is it easy for you and is it fun? I’m willing to try it on you at my introductory rate of 199 but only for five people. And whenever we’ve done that in the past, exactly, Jonathan Goodman. Exactly. And when he was on the podcast, he walked through that way more eloquently than I just did. OK. Yeah, it totally works. And when we had people test it in Two-Brain afterward, all of them sold out their five spots right away. And you know, it’s not like, OK, they made 1000 bucks with a Facebook post. That’s cool. But what that really did was show them that it was possible and that thousand dollar win was enough to give them the motivation to build a bigger program. I think some of the fear of the online training is nobody wants to invest time and energy into building something that feels temporary.

Chris (01:05:33):

Like in, you know, in 30 days we’re not going to need this thing anymore. So let me tell you why we keep talking about it more and more. Your competition is not the gym down the street. Your competition is moving online, Peloton, Swift, Optiv, Mirror. These systems are really good at getting clients and keeping clients. Peloton is not a bike company. Peloton sells recurring memberships and that’s where they make all their money. The way they’re beating you is they know how your brain works and they know how to gameify the exercise experience, make it fun, get people hooked and keep them addicted. They’re not baiting and switching anything. They’re actually selling an excellent service that’s helping people. That’s not going away. This crisis has made more and more people aware of the opportunity to train at home with minimal equipment and a coach than ever before.

Chris (01:06:28):

There’s a brand new world that’s opening up to us. I want us, the micro gym owners who are free to pivot, free to go back to square one, free to start from a blank slate to be the first to benefit from that. And so you’re not just setting this up for the next 30 days. It’s not a bandaid. This is a whole new leg on your chair. And this is exactly why we’re adding a new course to the Two-Brain incubator and growth programs. So when you sign up now, you’re actually starting with online training to make you some money, retain your clients, and then you progress into all the other business building stuff that we have for you. Yeah. OK man, I really went off on a tangent there. You think I’d be out of tangents. This is a now hour five of live webinars and podcasts interviews that I’ve done today and I’m not at out of tangents yet.

Chris (01:07:19):

Aaron, can we package equipment with the online offerings? Yeah, man. I’m not sure what you mean. Can you lend it with the online offerings? Absolutely. You’re going to have to stay on top of that, you know, for all the reasons we talked about earlier about, you know, feelings of reciprocation stuff. Yeah, you can lend equipment. Absolutely. Should you lend equipment to everybody? I don’t think you need to. For example, if like you’re a level method gym and you’re using the map and somebody is trending toward the right side of the map on like strength and power, lend them some equipment. If somebody brand new, it’s more than enough to use body weight. If though you’re talking about can we sell equipment to match our online offerings? Yes, you can. I mean, you could do something as simple as like an Amazon affiliate setup where you’re getting like a 4%, you know, there are some people doing that already in Two-Brain.

Chris (01:08:19):

You can certainly do that. You have to think longterm. Like, what is my model going to be? And if you think like more and more, I’m going online with this, you know, I’m just gonna move this whole thing online then yeah, that should be part of your model. If you’re telling people buy equipment and they’re buying it based on trust and in your judgment and your prescription, you should be rewarded for that 100%. If you’re going to continue to open a bricks and mortar gym and maintain all the expenses, you know, all the responsibilities for maintaining that, I don’t think I’d be selling equipment. But that’s just me. If you try it, please let us know how it goes. So guys, it was my mission today to be as concise as possible. Work with a distributor like Rogue and create a package.

Chris (01:09:07):

You can man. I mean if you’ve got an in with Rogue or a another distributor and you want to create a package, sure, like I said, barriers are being dropped here and my comment that like the last gym standing is going to win, that is part of it. But more than anything else, there are new opportunities for everybody. It’s like we’re all starting from square one and we haven’t erected these fences with our neighbor, with potential partners, with people we haven’t met with our competitors. They don’t exist anymore. Everybody is focused on one common enemy, coronavirus. It’s amazing. It’s a great time to be alive. It’s a great time to be in business. It’s a great time to be a leader. With that in mind, people are more open to these partnership opportunities than they ever have been before.

Chris (01:09:59):

Some of the podcasts that I was on today, a month ago, a week ago, these people would never have wanted me on their show because, you know, maybe we thought of each other as competitors. That’s not the case anymore. We’re all united around a common goal. And if you have a connection already with an equipment supplier, absolutely do it, man. What you got to realize is this, and I’m going to go down this other tangent here, Aaron, because this is important. There are two sides to business, right? There’s operations or like your service or your product, and then there’s audience. And if you know how to build an audience, you’re set for life. That’s a verbatim quote from Todd Herman, my mentor. If you can bring an audience to an equipment supplier that they didn’t have before and it’s big enough to create value for them, that is incredibly valuable.

Chris (01:10:53):

If they can bring you an audience, you know, you’re working with Rogue, you’re the only one selling online training and Rogue, you know, links to your product on every receipt. That is enormous valuable. In fact, it’s so valuable that in most cases now, the ability to build an audience is more valuable than the ability to deliver the service. So as much as we want to say our service is 10 times better than the dude down the block, it’s not always true. But if we can build an audience, we are an extremely valuable partner. And yeah, I could rant on this forever. So I’m going to stop myself right now. The bottom line is like the person who should be paid the most in that relationship or make the most money is the person who brings the audience. OK, that’s it.

Chris (01:11:43):

OK guys. So I told myself I was going to be concise on this. Some of these calls have gone like two hours. I’m really thrilled that you guys stuck around. You know, you’re asking great questions and stuff, but people look at the recording and they’re like, Whoa, two hours, no way. So I’m going to try and keep these as concise as I can. If you have specific questions, join the Gym Owners United group. We post our stuff in there. Including like a ton of free guides. We’re constantly trying to be a signal in a world of noise, meaning that, you know, we want to give you clarity, best practices backed by data experience, not opinion. And thank you. Thank you for being my audience.

Andrew (01:12:23):

this has been a special edition of Two-Brain Radio. Two-Brain business serves a global network of gyms and we will be collecting and sharing the best strategies for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. For tactics that can help you and your business, visit TwoBrain


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

On Monday, Two-Brain Radio presents marketing tips and success stories, and Sean Woodland has great stories from the community on Wednesdays.

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From Good Athlete to Great With Jonathan Arkin

From Good Athlete to Great With Jonathan Arkin

Sean (00:00):

Hi everybody and welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. On this episode I speak with chiropractic neurologist and CrossFitter Dr. Jonathan Arkin. What’s the difference between a good athlete and a great one? It’s an amazing coach. The same goes for great business owners. If you’re ready to level up your business, book a free call with a certified Two-Brain mentor at TwoBrain Dr Jonathan Arkin first showed up on my radar when my friend and colleague Tommy Marquez actually spoke with him at the Norwegian CrossFit Championship where Dr. Arkin was helping treat the athletes. We talk about what exactly the field of chiropractic neurology entails, how your brain influences your athletic performance, why it’s always a good idea to train handstand push-ups at the end of a session, and some things that he does to help athletes improve neurological performance. Thanks for listening everyone. Dr. Arkin, thank you so much for joining me today. How are you doing over there in Norway?

Jonathan (01:06):

Hey, fantastic over here. Getting a little unexpected vacation.

Sean (01:13):

There’s a lot that I want to talk to you about, but I would be remiss if I didn’t start with the basics cause a lot of people just don’t know what it is that you do or about the field in which you do it. So let’s start with what is chiropractic neurology.

Jonathan (01:29):

Got it. So chiropractic neurology, otherwise known as functional neurology is a new way of practicing neurology. It was developed 40 to 50 years ago by a man named Dr. Frederick Carrick and he’s a chiropractor. He’s also a PhD. And while he was going through chiropractic school, he realized that there are so many different applications for manual medicine that most people just don’t realize. So he kind of was at the time a self-taught neurologist and he’s one of the few examples of people who can actually do that. Like his true genius is that he just can absorb information and instantly understand everything about it. So he created this new, branch of neurology if you will. And so what he did is he flew around the world and he studied with people who are experts in different fields because he had the benefit of having, a large amount of time and a large amount of funds to be able to do that with.

Jonathan (02:29):

And now he practices and he practices in hospitals around the world. So he has hospital rights where he gets to treat the most extreme neurological cases in the world. And so he created this field of chiropractic neurology to help spread that knowledge so that other people can do the work as well. So we kind of like to say the way that we function is a little bit different than the way that other people in the field of neurology function. So we study the exact same anatomy, the exact same physiology, the same pathology is all other neurologists, but we practice slightly different. So in the world of neurology, we have the medical neurologist and the medical neurologist is a expert in neurology and he’s fantastic at diagnosing and getting you to where you need to be if you are in danger. So, if you are someone who’s diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and you require dopamine to function, then he will prescribe the dopamine.

Jonathan (03:23):

If you have a brain tumor or a bleed, he’ll get you to the neurosurgeon. But there’s a really big problem in neurology that if you don’t have a pathological disease or something that’s going to kill you, there’s not really much they can do for you. And this was the entire world of brain injuries, right? So what they typically do for people who have brain injuries, if they’re dizzy, they will send them to a physical therapist and the physical therapist will then do lots of exercises in order to help get your brain used to being dizzy so that you won’t seem as dizzy. The problem there is that while the physical therapist is highly educated and extremely talented at doing these exercises, he doesn’t actually know anything about the brain or spinal cord. So they cannot specifically treat the patient in front of them and they can only generally treat them, which is why a lot of rehabilitation from balance disorders and or brain injuries, the results are actually astonishingly low in medicine and it’s not their fault because their job is to save your life and they’re fantastic saving your life.

Jonathan (04:28):

Now this is where myself and my colleagues, we really tend to bridge the gap. So we are chiropractors or some of us actually are osteopaths. We have some medical doctors who are in the functional neurology training as well. So we go through our four to six year postgraduate school depending on whatever degree you have. And then we have to pass a very rigorous board examination, which has a practical and a written aspect. And then we begin to treat our own patients. So we might take the patient who is supposed to get rehab for their brain injury, but we do it very specifically for the person in front of us. So while we’re performing the exercises, we might change it completely for one patient towards the next because brains are extremely individualistic and no two brain injuries are the same. So if you do the same exercises for the people, they don’t get better.

Sean (05:20):

What exactly then is a brain injury?

Jonathan (05:23):

So a brain injury can be defined in a couple of different ways. We have mild traumatic brain injuries, which most people would consider a concussion, then we have moderate traumatic brain injuries and major traumatic brain injuries. And it’s really hard to define. It’s more of a scale of just how bad the damage is. But the term mild traumatic brain injury can be extremely misleading because there’s nothing mild about it. It just means that maybe you didn’t get actual physical damage to your brain, but you can have horrible side effects. You can have people who can never walk properly. Again, I’ve had patients who were paralyzed from mild traumatic brain injuries. Look at any professional athlete who suffered many brain injuries. They’ll notice that they have mood disorders, depression develops, they’ll get chronic pains. It can develop literally any symptom that your brain controls, which is all of them, right?

Sean (06:25):

What was it that initially drew you to this field?

Jonathan (06:28):

You know, honestly, so I was in school, I was doing my postgraduate education work and I was kind of bored and I was like, I really don’t want to spend the rest of my life adjusting people’s backs and necks. And that’s not to say there’s anything wrong with that because chiropractors and physical therapists do fantastic things. If you know anyone who has true back pain, the gift that you give them by relieving them of their back pain is profound. But for me, it wasn’t what I wanted out of life. And so I got kind of lucky where I met a few people who were very, very, into this world of chiropractic neurology. And I went by and I went to start hanging out with one of the more renowned chiropractic neurologists, if you will.

Jonathan (07:14):

His name is Dr. Mark Ellis. And he showed me some crazy things. He would have stroke patients walking, patients who haven’t walked in years walking in days, he would have migraine patients actually healed, which is unbelievable because if you know anything about migraines, those patients, the best we can do is hope that we make their symptoms a little bit less. But he fixed them. And so I was like, what the heck is this guy doing? I got to know about it. And so then I started taking the deep plunge.

Sean (07:42):

And along those lines, what drew you to CrossFit?

Jonathan (07:46):

You know, CrossFit was a really interesting experience for me cause when I was younger I was competing. I was a mixed martial artist. So I had maybe seven fights in the cage. I competed in muay thai, I was like 12 and two in muay thai, competitive in jujitsu as well.

Jonathan (08:06):

And then when I started chiropractic school, I didn’t really have the time to train anymore, so I kind of laid off on it. And then one day my buddies, they had one one of their partners drop out of a CrossFit competition. They’re like, Hey dude, can you join me? Like, yeah, but I don’t know how to do CrossFit. And they’re like, it doesn’t matter. You just gotta be a body. And I was like, OK, here we go. So I jumped in and I was so horrible, but I got the butterflies. It had been years since I had those butterflies and I was like, Holy shit, here’s some competition. Let’s do it. You know? So that’s how I really got into CrossFit.

Sean (08:39):

You had your own practice in the United States, but then you relocated to Norway. What made you make that transition?

Jonathan (08:46):

There is some chick. Yeah, she dragged me over here. She’s in the other room right now. I just heard her sigh.

Sean (08:56):

  1. That’s it then. That’s a really good explanation. I thought it might be more complicated than that, but you cannot argue with following your heart. I wanted to ask you about Sidney Crosby, cause everybody knows him as, you know, the NHL star for the Pittsburgh Penguins and how he had a series of brain injuries. How did his treatment help put chiropractic neurology out there in the mainstream?

Jonathan (09:23):

So when Sidney Crosby had his injury, he’s widely regarded as one of the most talented athletes of all time, not just in hockey, just athletes in general. And it was a travesty when it looked like he was going to have to retire and he couldn’t get on the ice again. And it really struck the heart cords of a lot of athletic fans around the world and other athletes who had suffered similar trauma because up until that time, no one really talked about brains. You know, one time you ever heard of brain was if someone came down with brain cancer, right? Whereas now with everything that’s going on in the NFL and other leagues, brains are the hot topic. Everyone’s talking about them. So Sidney Crosby was kind of the first stepping stone. So when Professor Carrick got to work with him and I think it took like a week or something like that. But to actually get him back on the ice and going, it was something absolutely astonishing. It really made people start thinking, wow, there really is something to fixing the way our brains function. Because after Sidney Crosby got back on the ice, he dominated again. Some would say he was even better. So, and this has been repeated in many, many different sporting events, but his was just so in the eye of the public that it really catapulted people to start thinking about brain health.

Sean (10:46):

What are some examples of some of the treatments that he received to help get him back on the ice?

Jonathan (10:52):

You know, it’s really hard for me cause I was not there personally for that one. That was a little bit before my time. So I can’t really say exactly what they did. I have good ideas of the types of things they did cause I have an idea of what his injury was, but what they would have done a lot of treatments targeted at fixing what’s called your vestibular system. And your vestibular system is the part of your brain that’s really responsible for maintaining your balance and for recognizing where you are in space. Like, how do you know that your right arm is on the right side of your body without looking at it? Well, we have neurological mechanisms to tell us that. And so they did a lot of different therapy for him, which would have included moving his body in very specific ways or they would make his eyes move in very specific ways because we can use eye movement to very specifically activate certain regions of our brains. They may have shined different colored lights into his eyes in order to stimulate different parts of his brains. These are things, I’m just guessing based off the case that I know, but I wasn’t there personally so I couldn’t tell you specifically. But those are the general things that you would see for that type of disorder.

Sean (12:01):

What do neurological pathways in the brain have to do with fitness?

Jonathan (12:06):

Absolutely everything. And I think this is a time when I might go start ranting on this. Feel free to reel me in.

Sean (12:18):

I meant to leave that very open-ended.

Jonathan (12:19):

Nice. OK. So the orthopedic model is a little bit outdated. We used to think that if I want to get stronger, I need to gain muscle. And to a certain extent, that is absolutely true. Bodybuilders are strong people. There’s no doubt about it, but it’s not the only part of the puzzle. You can have very, very small people and generate massive, massive amounts of force and power. All you have to do is look at some of the Chinese Olympic lifters, right?

Jonathan (12:55):

You have men who are walking around at 60 kilos doing a snatch or a clean and jerk out like 170 kilos. It’s unbelievable. So the first thing that the brain is really, really responsible for when it comes to fitness is activating muscle fibers. Why can you have someone who’s 30 pounds lighter than you lift more weight than you on a deadlift? Well, this person is more efficient at increasing the recruitment of muscle fibers, and that’s not because they have more muscle, it’s because their brain can more quickly activate the muscles. And this is really easily seen in warm-ups. Why do we have to warm up to lift a heavy weight, whether it’s a squat, a bench or a deadlift? Well, the reason why is because it takes time to increase the amount of muscle fibers that we’re using on our lift, so when our brain is more efficient at activating that we can more quickly and more efficiently activate those muscle fibers to make us stronger.

Jonathan (13:55):

The next super, super, super critical portion of physical fitness that our neurology is important for it is going to be our blood delivery systems and this is one of the most overlooked areas of fitness, I believe, is our blood pressure control. To give people a little bit of a background here, I’m going to kind of explain how blood pressure works and I’m going to talk about how the brain is responsible for making improve everything. So our normal blood pressure should be a certain level. Let’s just say 120 over 80, OK. It doesn’t matter what those numbers means, just accept that for what it is. When we lay down, our blood pressure should be lower because suddenly we do not have to push blood up into our brain and fight gravity with it. So that should be logical to everybody. Then when you stand up off the table, what should happen is that we should increase our blood pressure because now we have to push a lot up into our brain and everyone’s experienced when this system doesn’t work. When you stand up too fast and you go, whoa, it happens to everyone occasionally. Now in people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries or as we can talk about a little bit later, sub-concussive head injuries, this system can get messed up. So these are the people who every time they stand up, they’re going to get dizzy. These are the people in your gyms who when you’re doing massive amounts of burpees or you’re doing thrusters, they’ll look at you and be like, Whoa, I got dizzy after that one. Because what’s happening is they’re not able to resupply blood at an appropriate level back up to their brain. So it goes a little bit further than just blood pressure to the brain. When our blood pressure doesn’t increase or decrease appropriately, we’re also not delivering it to our muscles correctly, so we’re not clearing lactic acid correctly. Then you can actually get interferences at the kreb cycle. So we don’t generate as much ATP because our blood’s starting to get too acidic. So now our fatigue levels are faster. We’re not delivering blood and then clearing the metabolites that slow us down. So people fatigue much more quickly. You can have extremely fit, extremely strong people who get tired very quickly. And it wouldn’t makes sense to you because they’ve got great muscle tone, but their blood pressure is not being controlled appropriately by the brain.

Sean (16:27):

How do you tell the difference between an actual, physical injury and someone who might have a neurological problem?

Jonathan (16:36):

Such as?

Sean (16:38):

For example, a shoulder impingement? Is that, did I hurt my shoulder or is that because I’m just having problems communicating with it to fire it properly?

Jonathan (16:47):

Right. So yes, that’s a great, great question. So one of the things that people, especially CrossFit athletes like to complain, don’t like to but tend to complain about is chronic injuries without a real injury ever really occurring. So every single person in the gym is going to have a bad left shoulder or a bum right knee or something of the sort. Well, what happens is that when we move, we actually have to know from a neurological level what we’re moving. So if I want to move my shoulder, what I do is I open up a map in my brain of my body and this map in my brain will show me where my shoulder is.

Jonathan (17:31):

So I’ll say, OK, there’s my shoulder, now send me electricity to the shoulder and then my shoulder will move. Well, when we injure our shoulders, one of the things that will happen is this map inside of our brain will get damaged as well. So suddenly when I want to move my shoulder, I’m sending electricity the wrong spot. So instead of using my middle deltoid, I might use my posterior deltoid instead. These, this abnormal movement pattern will over time lead to increased pressure on tendon disjunctions, increase levels of inflammation. And then suddenly the patient who’s never had a shoulder injury has lots of shoulder pain. And then when they go get their MRI and their x-ray, there’s nothing wrong with their shoulder, right? And this is really, really common in a multitude of athletic injuries or non athletic injuries. So this would be called a brain-based pain, where you’re the person who every time your shoulder gets knocked out you go to the chiropractor or the physical therapist, they adjust it or they put needles in it or they rub it and it feels better for a week and then it’s all messed up again. You need to get it done every single week. Pretty sure I’m talking to almost every athlete alive, right? Well, what’s happening is that you have a problem activating the correct musculature. So you’re re-establishing injuries that should have been fixed a long time ago. And this is why when say we’re doing like jerks or we’re doing strict presses, why do I always get pain in my right shoulder? Well, if you dropped weight and you injured your right shoulder, obviously that’s a physical injury, but if that’s never really happened or if it happened a long time ago and it should have been healed by now, what’s probably happening is that you’re having an issue neurologically stimulating the correct muscles in that shoulder.

Sean (19:24):

OK, so I’m clear, if I were to hurt my shoulder, there is clearly a physical, there’s physical damage that is taking place. There may also be some neurological damage and where we fail sometimes is taking care of the neurological damage that is done and we assume that once something is physically healed that we’re OK.

Jonathan (19:44):

Absolutely. That is the problem. Right.

Sean (19:47):

  1. Just making sure that I fully understood that.

Sean (19:49):

Hey guys, we’ll have more with Dr. Arkin in just a second. But first, let’s take a pop quiz. Which is better for business: Getting new clients or retaining old ones? Both are good, but the longer clients stay, the less you have to spend acquiring new ones and the more money you’ll make. In fact, the average gym owner can add $45,000 a year in revenue just by keeping each client a few months longer. Want to learn how? Well you can with Two-Brain’s free guides to affinity marketing and retention. They’ll tell you exactly what to do with step-by-step actionable advice. Get them both plus 13 other guides for free at Two-Brain And now more with Dr. Jonathan Arkin. I’ve talked to you before and you mentioned something really fascinating, I wanted to ask you about it again. And that is why can handstand push-ups have a neurological effect on someone’s workout?

Jonathan (20:53):

Yeah, so this is one of the really hot subjects that I’m into right now. So this is called a sub-concussive head injury. Sub-concussive head injuries is what it sounds like. It’s when you whack your head, but you don’t get an injury per se. So this happens to all of us in life where like you know it’s late at night, you wake up and you have to use the restroom and whack your head on the mirror in front of the toilet or something like that. I’m sure it’s happened to all of us. Well, there was a very, very fascinating study that was run, I think it was in January of 2020 it might’ve been December, 2019, but it’s exceptionally recent where we took a large amount of soccer players in the United States and what we did is that we wanted to see the effect of sub-concussive head hits on how they function. So we had all the players take a test called a King-Devick test and many of you may be familiar with this test, but if you’re not, I’ll quickly describe it. The King-Devick test is a series of numbers and all you do is that you have your athlete read the numbers in a certain order and there’s little spaces in between the numbers and then the athlete the next time they read it, they should be faster at it because they learned and they should be faster. Well, what we did is we took a control group of these male soccer players and we took and then an experimental group and all the soccer players did 10 headers. So they took the ball was falling from the sky, they hit it with their head. Only ten of them. Then we took this King-Devick test directly after the headers at two hours following the headers and then at 24 hours following the headers and in the experimental group, the athletes did not get better at performing the test. Whereas the control groups got much better just as commonly expected. So what this means for us in CrossFit specifically is if we are going to be receiving repeated head hits, whether it’s traumatic or not, then we absolutely have to program that differently. So this applies for CrossFit, especially in the handstand push-up, which I’m very passionate about.

Jonathan (23:11):

If we’re doing high-volume handstand push-ups, the last thing we would want to do after that is to train a new skill. Because at this point you have lost your brain’s or decreased your brain’s ability to learn new motor functions. So if you’re the person who’s always doing handstand push-ups and then you go and practice your snatch, you’re doing it wrong, you’re not going to improve your motor ability to perform that snatch anymore. And this is stuff that we can take from neurology that we can actually improve the way that we train from a modern scientific standpoint. Because now obviously we have to do handstand push-ups, at least at the high level of CrossFit we do, because we have to train that skill. But we want to be very cautious with how we do it. For now in my brain, the way we need to do this is handstand push-ups always come last and they always come controlled in practice.

Jonathan (24:07):

We never want to bang the head. If it’s competition, all bets are off. The point is to go as fast as you possibly can. But in training, we need to keep these types of activities really controlled due to that learning factor. If we’re trying to improve ourselves as athletes.

Sean (24:23):

If a CrossFit athlete came to you and said that, you know, Hey, I want to improve my overall performance, how would you determine what kind of treatment or help that athlete needed?

Jonathan (24:36):

Yeah, so the first thing I would do is I would actually watch footage of them. I would just see how they move. And the second thing I would do is I would do a complete examination. And this is stuff that most people have seen before. So they see you, the doctor hits you with like the little hammer on your knees to see if your knee pops out. So they take the blood pressure. I do all of those things, but I interpret it in a little bit of a different way. So I’ll tell you a fun little story. I had a marathon runner who I was treating before we got shut down in our office a few weeks ago and this person has had really crippling hamstring pain for the last eight years. And I was like, OK, so I’m gonna have to think differently about this. It’s not going to be as simple as I rub it or I put a needle in it. She’s done that many, many times. I don’t have a magic adjustment or a magic rubbing that’s going to fix a leg. So what I looked at it was I looked at her deep tendon reflexes, and when you look at her, she would have a clonus when I did a patellar reflex, meaning that her leg would kick out and then it wouldn’t come back down.

Jonathan (25:53):

And then when you looked at the other part of her brain, or the other leg, she didn’t know where it was. So if I touched a point on her left leg and I asked her to touch exactly where I touched with her eyes closed, she would miss it by five to six inches. She had no idea where it was. So what she was doing was she was tightening her right leg to give her stability because she wasn’t able to correctly activate the muscles in the left leg. So every time anyone ever did fascile release or needles or anything on her right leg, then it would just retighten because her body felt unsafe and unstable cause she didn’t know where her left leg was. So I did some therapies to improve her ability of knowing where that left leg is. And this is knowing without her visually looking at it.

Jonathan (26:36):

Obviously she would know where it was if she looked at it. And then suddenly the spasm in her right leg disappeared and she has no hamstring pain. So I would do things in my exam to give me clues as to what’s going on. So I would combine the full complete history with the examination and then I would approach it from a neurological standpoint of how to improve what’s going on with them. And I have many athletes see me and they see me for various reasons. So some athletes see me because they cannot sleep at night. Some athletes see me cause they have horrible mood disorders, some have crippling migraines and we’ll treat them based off of what they’re coming in for. Sometimes people have them all and we can’t get to them all in one week, because the way I treat most of these athletes is I treat them for a week. Generally they’ll fly in, normally they’ll bring their coach with them because it’s always better to treat the athlete when you have a coach who knows their movement patterns. I know when we talked last, I had a pretty good example of using Rich Froning as the example. Rich Froning has an early snatch pull.

Jonathan (27:38):

Everyone in CrossFit who’s ever seen it knows it and everyone’s like, why do you have an early snatch pull? Well that’s an example of an adaptation that you wouldn’t want to fix on an athlete because he’s got a fantastic snatch. He does that for a reason. He actually screwed himself up, gave himself bad form on something in order to improve his performance. So I would never want to fix it on him cause I’d screw him up. So I really like working with coaches with the athletes so that we can together learn how do we improve this athlete’s performance, because someone might have a turned out left foot on a squat. And I might need to let that left foot stay turned out. On another athlete. I may want to fix it so it’s going straight. But that’s why it’s really important. It’s always a team effort when I’m working with these athletes. But yeah, everyone gets a full complete examination and the complete history and then we go from there.

Sean (28:30):

Stuff that you’re talking about, for example, some of the things you’ve listed I certainly have dealt with. If someone is listening to this and saying, you know, maybe I should have my neurological pathways checked, for lack of a better term, what does that person need to do?

Jonathan (28:46):

So when they should do is they need to find what’s called a board certified chiropractic neurologist or functional neurologist. There’s a couple of different boards. The people that I generally go to are people who are trained by the Carrick Institute. So this is the postgraduate education corporation that was created by, excuse me, by professor Frederick Carrick, and they are the leaders in postgraduate neurology education in the world. So if you’re looking for a local provider or if you are say a coach and you’re wondering how do you train your athletes based off of a neurological perspective, which is really where the future of the sport has to go if we’re going to continue improving past where we’ve already gotten, then they teach fantastic courses in how to train people neurologically. But they also can put you up with local practitioners who can be good for meeting your needs. So that’s the and they’re the ones who you contact for that.

Sean (29:43):

How are other sports incorporating this?

Jonathan (29:46):

So this is being incorporated in many, many sports around the world actually. So in collegiate football right now, there is a man named Dr. Joseph Clark who is working with a football team up in Ohio and they have the lowest head injury rate of anyone in the entire league for the last three years. So it’s being utilized preventatively because when you improve someone’s brain function, you improve their spinal stability. Suddenly they’re not as at risk for brain injuries. And when you improve the way the neurology functions, they heal faster from brain injuries. This is being used in other professional sports such as the NHL, the NFL, and the MLB to enhance people’s reaction times. So you have to think if you have a batter in the MLB and a pitcher’s throwing a fast ball at them, they have like one 10th of a second to recognize the ball and another 10th of a second to pull the trigger before they start swinging.

Jonathan (30:46):

Their reaction times must be amazing. And by improving your neurological control in your brain, reaction times go up incredibly high. This is important for people in CrossFit who, how do I learn how to transition from exercise to exercise faster? How do I learn to breathe differently in my thrusters than I was breathing in my pull-ups a moment ago? So this reaction time, this ability to respond to new stimulus is critically important and that’s being utilized in all in all sorts of functions. This is even being utilized in a lot of patients with mood disorders because our brain is responsible for controlling thoughts and controlling our emotions. So we’ve done some absolutely amazing studies and this was a really fantastic one. This was actually one of Professor Carrick’s who did this one with a couple different people at Harvard. And what they found is that there was a one to one correlation with people who have had brain injuries and people who have depression.

Jonathan (31:50):

So there’s an area of our brain without getting too in depth called our dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. And its job is to help regulate emotion. It does other things too, but that’s the big one. Every single patient studied with a brain injury had damage there. We can definitively say that every person who suffered a brain injury is depressed. Obviously there’s a sliding scale of depression. There’s some people who are much better than others. I mean I suffered brain injuries. Technically, yes I am depressed, but I’m a happy vibrant person still, right. So there is a sliding scale there. But we have absolutely fantastic research showing that when you improve someone’s brain function that we can improve their mood regulation. In the fields of PTSD, for example, post traumatic stress disorder, the main treatments now are what’s called EMDR and BCT, which is called behavioral cognitive therapy.

Jonathan (32:46):

And they work quite well for helping people with these horrible disorders. But it doesn’t work as well as something called head-eye vestibular therapy, which would be the blanket term of what we do in functional neurology and chiropractic neurology to help treat patients. There’s other things we do, but that’s the general terminology and actually it has a much higher success rate at treating symptoms of PTSD that even BCT, which is the current gold standard. So this is being utilized by multiple sports around the country and around the world. There’s at least one team in every single major league that’s utilizing and they’re seeing fantastic benefits of partnering themselves with someone who practices this functional neurology.

Sean (33:30):

Can you give me an example of how an athlete who comes to you, and it doesn’t matter what sport, but let’s say this person is not inhibited in any way, but things are working well, things you do to help improve neurological pathways?

Jonathan (33:45):

Yes, absolutely. So this is a really, I’ll give you a great example. So I’m lucky enough that I was able to go and hang out during the Norwegian Throwdown a little at the Sanctional a little while ago and that’s where I started getting introduced to you and I got to talk to some of the athletes up there. And so I’m working with a few of them now. And one of the really common themes for these guys is that they have really poor blood pressure control. So these super, super fit looking men and women who are absolutely majestic athletes, they don’t have the normal ability to increase their blood pressure when they stand up. And this is something that’ll strike home for a lot of people where they go, I have a great back squat, I can run fantastic. I have an awesome shoulder press.

Jonathan (34:34):

But you put me under thrusters and I die. And I die. And here’s why this happens for a lot of people, other people, there might be other reasons, but if you think about a thruster or even a burpee, they are extremely challenging on our nervous system. So what we have to do to do a thruster is we get a weight on our chest and we have to increase our blood pressure so that we can maintain that weight on our chest. We have to decrease our blood pressure so that we can get to the bottom of a squat. Then we have to dramatically increase our blood pressure so that we can catch the weight there and reverse the momentum. And we have to dramatically increase your blood pressure yet again to get all the way up and then increase it one more time to get blood up to our brain and then we have to decrease our blood pressure so that the weight can come down, increase it when the weight hits us. So you start following me. This is a crazy complicated maneuver. And when patients are not able to improve their blood pressure, increase and decrease their blood pressure that rapidly, what happens? Well, suddenly they’ve failed to deliver oxygen and blood and other incredibly important nutrients to their muscles. So their legs, which can do a 500-pound squat, die when they do 20 reps of a 95-pound thruster because they don’t deliver oxygen because their blood pressure and their blood delivery systems, which are neurologically controlled, failed to operate normally. So I would fix that on them.

Sean (36:03):

So give me an example of some things that maybe you would do with an athlete who had that specific problem.

Jonathan (36:07):

Sure, absolutely. There’s lots of different options. Depending on the person in front of me, I might use unilateral isometric exercises. So I could use an isometric exercise only on the left side of the body. Because if I did that, that would increase the blood pressure on the right side of the body or vice versa. I could use, if say the blood pressure’s too high, what I could do is I could use a complex movement where I move their body through very complex movements, which has the effect of decreasing our blood pressure. Or I can do things where I put patients in a chair and I have them look at a target while I rotate them in a chair cause that’ll stimulate something called your vestibular system and your vestibular system can send information down to help improve your blood delivery. There’s so many options.

Jonathan (36:53):

I can shine lights in people’s eyes. For some patients I actually might adjust your neck, maybe give it a little neck crack. There’s so many different ways that we can absolutely stimulate these pathways. The trick is knowing what’s correct for the person in front of me because you can have 10 athletes in front of you, all have had brain injuries. All of them might want me to fix the exact same thing on them and I might have to do 10 completely different things. And if I did do the same thing on some of them, I could screw them up because no two nervous systems are the same.

Sean (37:28):

So final question here, after listening to you speak, when I think of an athlete like Mat Fraser, I say that guy’s just wired differently. Why is that true or why is that not true?

Jonathan (37:43):

You know what, I would love to get to examine Mat Fraser, like, Mat, if you’re listening to this, hit me up. Love to take a look, brother. But my personal theory and this is that, why do certain athletes just dominate? Generally speaking, when we get to this high level CrossFit, go to the Games, everyone’s pretty much the same fitness level. Everyone’s going to run a five-minute mile. Everyone’s going to be, all the men are going to be able to do a clean and jerk at 350, 360 pounds. All of them can do it. All of them can do crazy amounts of burpees and then do rowing and all these things. The things that really absolutely make people different is how do they recover in between exercises. And I am highly confident that that is going to be their nervous system’s ability to get blood delivery.

Jonathan (38:39):

But not only get blood delivery but to facilitate what’s called your vestibular system. So your sense of balance in between exercises. So the things that really destroy people is when you’re doing 30 muscle-ups and then you do a handstand walk and then you do a prowler push. That’s where you see massive, massive differences in people’s performance. And this is because your brain has to change its facilitation to meet the demands of these crazy different types of exercises. And some of these men and women do it better than others and that is a neurological difference, not a muscle difference.

Sean (39:11):

Yeah. Well Dr. Arkin, I love talking to you, man. It’s always a great time just learning about all this stuff and I appreciate you taking the time to do this. And once again, if people want to find out more about chiropractic neurology, where can they go?

Jonathan (39:22):

So what they should do is they should go to the that’s C a R R I C K They do a great job of publishing information and they can connect you with local physicians who are close to you, who can help you. Everyone’s also very welcome to contact me and very easy to find,, I respond to people’s emails. I love talking to people. Most, a lot of us who treat, we’ll do treatments in two different ways just because there’s not many of us in the world. There’s maybe 3,000 people in the world who are practicing this way and it’s growing very rapidly. So what we’ll do is we offer things called intensives and this is the, one of the ways that I practice with patients who are from out of the country who are from six hours away. What they’ll do is they’ll fly in and they’ll stay with me for a full week and I can like treat you for six, seven hours a day for a full week.

Jonathan (40:23):

And it’s very intensive and it can be very exhausting, but we can make dramatic changes in people’s performance in these days because the brain is very different than muscles. So muscles, the half life of a protein in your muscle is like three weeks. And what this means is basically that’s why you can skip three weeks in the gym and you’re not any weaker. You might be a little winded because you ate too many burgers, had a few too many beers, but you’re not any weaker. The brain is different though. OK? The brain has a half life of nanoseconds in some cases and what this means is that you can heal brain tissue so much more quickly than you can muscle tissue. So if someone has biceps tendonitis, I might rub that muscle but then I have to let them rest for two days.

Jonathan (41:03):

Cause if I keep rubbing it, I can injure them. With brain injuries though I can treat you for 20 minutes, have you go rest for 20 minutes and you’ve already created new neurons in your brain. So we can make amazingly dramatic differences within a week when you cycle this rest, treatment, rest, treatment, cycling. This is how we get patients who haven’t walked in years walking in a matter of days because you give the brain the appropriate stimulation and then you let them rest to heal. But you have to do it very specifically. So people are welcome to contact the Carrick Institute about more information. They’re welcome to get up with me. I’m also on Instagram. I’m not the most active, I’m trying to get better. I’m trying to get better, I promise. But that would be the resources I think that people have available to them. So don’t despair if there’s no one really close to you. There’s lots of options for treatment.

Sean (41:56):

Well, I really appreciate the time, Dr. Arkin and best of luck over there in Norway and I hope you stay safe and enjoy this this time staying indoors for a while.

Jonathan (42:06):

Yeah. Well I appreciate you having me on, this has been fun.

Sean (42:09):

Big thanks to Dr. Arkin for taking the time to speak with me today. In addition to the ways that he mentioned to get ahold of him, he is on Instagram. His handle is @d.r.jonathanarkin. Thank you for listening to Two-Brain Radio. Make sure you subscribe and join me every Wednesday for inspiring stories from the fitness community and interviews with your favorite athletes and coaches. Miss an episode? Don’t worry about it. You can find them all in our archives at Thanks so much for listening everybody. We’ll see you next time.


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

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