The Release Valve

The Release Valve

You’re under a lot of pressure.

Sometimes that’s good. Maybe, like me, you’re at your best when your back’s to the wall.

But you’re also a fitness professional. So you know what happens to an organism under stress. Hans Selye said it first:

“An organism under stress is in decline. Remove the stress, and the organism super-compensates. But maintain the stress and the organism continues to decline until it dies.”


Relieve Stress—Your Way


Every entrepreneur needs a release valve.

Some drink. Some cheat on a spouse. Some have other bad habits.

And some exercise.

Maybe, as a gym owner, exercise is your release valve. But more and more gym owners admit that working out in their gyms adds to their stress instead of relieves it.

I want to tell you: It’s OK to work out somewhere else.

You can go to another gym. Your members won’t quit.

You can go ride a bike. Your members won’t quit your gym to ride bikes.

You can work out in your garage. Your members won’t immediately quit your gym to build garage gyms of their own.

Last May, I walked into my gym for the noon group. I love the people in my noon group but had been forcing myself to attend for a few months.

On my way into the gym, I saw a coach’s lunch garbage spread all over the front desk. I was pissed; and then the class started two minutes late, with 10 people waiting around while one person tied their shoes.

When the workout started, I felt unmotivated. I was distracted by the work sitting in my office next door. I didn’t like the workout, and I was bored by the warmup. I started to ask myself why I was even there. That night, I dug out my bike. And I haven’t worked out in my gym since.

But membership keeps growing. None of my members said, “Screw it! I’m gonna go ride bikes with Chris!”


Self-Improvement Produces Business Improvements


If you’ve been a gym owner for a while, your gym might not be your release valve anymore. And that’s OK: It exists to be their release valve. You need a different one. As our resident psychotherapist says:

“Therapists need therapy more than anyone else because they’re carrying everyone’s shit around!”

Did my members ask where I was? Absolutely.

Did I plan to return after a short break? Definitely. But I haven’t yet.

Do I hate CrossFit? No way. I love it. I just love cycling more right now. It’s a tremendous gift to be able to choose between two things that I love.

To be a better coach, better boss and better human, you need to release the pressure. Some of that pressure comes from self-doubt; some comes from lack of clarity; some comes from guilt.

Go exercise somewhere else. You have permission. Come back happier.

Do all the right things for all the right people.

Including yourself.

Need more advice on common problems? Click here to book a free call with a certified Two-Brain Business mentor.


Two-Brain Radio: Converting More Clients With John Franklin and Mateo Lopez

Two-Brain Radio: Converting More Clients With John Franklin and Mateo Lopez

Greg: 00:00 – It’s Greg Strauch of Two-Brain Media and on this week’s episode we get to hear from John Franklin and Mateo Lopez. You guys have heard Mateo on here on Marketing Mondays, but this is talking about converting more clients. This was originally recorded at the Two-Brain Summit of 2019. They dive into topics of lifetime value of a client, true cost of getting a new client and the true secret to getting rich quick. Make sure to subscribe to Two-Brain Radio to hear the very best tips, ideas and topics to move you and your business closer to wealth. Two-Brain Radio is brought to you by Two-Brain Business. We make gyms profitable. We’re going to bring you the very best tips, tactics, interviews in the business world each week. To find out how we can help you create your Perfect Day, book a free call with a mentor at

Chris: 00:55 – One of my favorite finds has been I linked up with Matt several months ago at Forever Fierce and he had some fantastic ideas, and so he and I have put together a couple of packages that we think are really going to help CrossFit affiliates everywhere. Two-Brain mentoring clients use Matt almost exclusively. He’s got fantastic designs and he takes all the work out of it. All that time that you spend searching the internet and Pinterest and junk like that for great CrossFit T-shirts? You don’t have to do that anymore. Matt has designs for you. You can put your logo on one of his templates, which are fantastic, and your clients will never know the difference. It saves you so much time that you could be using on other things like real marketing. He’ll also go so far as to remind you when it’s time to reorder. He’ll give you suggested order sizes, he’ll help you set up pre-orders so you’re not even fronting the cash for the inventory. It’s all amazing stuff built to help affiliates and that’s why I love this guy and this company,; they do all the Catalyst shirts, all the Two-Brain shirts, all the Ignite gym shirts. They do everything for every business that I own.

Mateo: 02:02 – Today we’re gonna walk you through a few things. The first is how to take control of your growth through marketing. The next thing, a key component of that is you need to know your numbers, right? How to calculate a marketing budget, how much is it going to cost you to acquire a customer, we’re gonna walk you through how to actually do that today. So you can do that for yourselves and your business when you go home. And the last thing we’re going to talk about is, John, the one weird trick to making more money in the fitness business. But before we get into all of that, I wanted to just share with you this quote from Henry Ford. Part of me just wants to leave this up here for the next 45 minutes and just have everyone meditate on this for a second.

Mateo: 02:41 – But, “A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.” And the reason why I want to just leave it up here for 45 minutes and not say anything else is because, yeah, if you’re here, you’re looking for a way to grow your business. And we talk to gym owners every single day, we’ve talked to over 500 at this point. And when people want to learn from us and inquire about Two-Brain, it’s cause they’re in some trouble, they’ve hit a plateau, they’re looking to grow, they can’t figure out why or when finances are tight, right, they need additional revenue. And when finances are tight, usually the first thing to go when they’re cutting expenses is their advertising, is their marketing. I’ll talk to people that say, “Hey, I want to, you know, learn more about marketing. I wanna talk to you, learn more about ads, but I just lost five members. So like I gotta wait.” And it’s like, what? How are you going to get them? So, but I’ve been there, right? I understand the mindset. But hopefully today through the math and through some of the exercises, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable about all this. So what is good marketing, right? What is good marketing? Well for us, good marketing is anything that convinces your target client to make a purchase, to buy something from you. And the way the human brain works when you’re making a purchase is through this model, we call it the model, and we’re going to run through this very quickly and then I’ll share a personal story that’ll make this make more sense.

Mateo: 04:07 – First thing that has to happen before someone makes a purchase from you is awareness, right? So I can’t buy anything from you if I’m not aware that you or your business exists. So that’s the first thing is I got to know that you exist. The next step is interest, right? Once you’re aware of something or a gym or service, you have to develop some kind of interest in that service or that product. Something needs to happen to turn that interest and cultivate it into a burning desire or a need and eventually get to a point where you need it so badly that you buy it, right? You take action and you buy something.

John: 04:36 – Who was here last year? All right, cool. So the crux of our presentation last year was that you should spend your time and your effort developing a good service and delivering that service consistently, whether you’re delivering it or somebody else, and taking that service and turning it into a strong brand and taking that good service and turning it into a brand promise to your customers and not breaking that promise. And we think that’s the key to long-term business success. But the reality is figuring that out takes a really, really long time. Years. And is anybody here venture backed? No? Nobody. So we don’t have other people’s money, like years of other people’s money to figure this out. We need to make money now, and good sales and marketing buys you the runway and buys you the time to deliver effective service over and over again. Does that make sense? With me? All right, cool.

Mateo: 05:30 – So we’ll take you through what good marketing is now in more like a real-world example. This happened to me pretty recently, actually. I was talking with John and he said, “Teo, if money were no object, what would you be doing? What would you want to be doing with your free time and all the money in the world?” And I said, “John, you know what? I think we should buy some cool shirts and I think we should learn to become DJs. Let’s just travel the world playing fat beats for amazing parties and that’ll be that.” And he said, “That’s a great idea, Teo, let’s do it.”

John: 06:04 – We’re halfway there.

Mateo: 06:04 – Halfway there was the shirts. Later on, as fate would have it, I got served an ad on YouTube for this thing called MasterClass, and for those of you don’t know what it is, it’s an online course where you can learn things like crafts and cool art forms from celebrities, actors, chefs. I got served this ad on YouTube. It’s for Deadmau5, he has a class there on MasterClass, and for those of you who don’t know, he’s an electronic DJ. Said, oh this is pretty cool. And kind of timely. We were just thinking about becoming electronic DJs. So awareness; I got served the ad, I was aware that this thing called MasterClass actually exists. I opted in to learn more and I got served some emails. I was on their newsletter and my interest grew, right? Later on, I got this email, right? An automated email talking about a new course they had added from Timberland, who if you don’t know that is, all Jay Z songs, He’s amazing. I was like, I want to make hip-hop beats like him. And I bought the course. So that was a real-life example of my brain going through all of those phases.

John: 07:15 – And all this is to say that the three top parts of the funnel are necessary to get people to take action on the bottom of the funnel. So if any of you have ever gone up to a random person and asked them to sleep with you, chances are you know that sometimes the most direct way is not the most effective way. All right? There are other steps that need to be taken in order to get to the bottom of the funnel. And I’d argue if you took that approach and were successful, they probably had some interest or desire already. Somebody else did a good job of building that up.

Mateo: 07:48 – Someone was nurturing that lead.

John: 07:51 – Somebody did the groundwork for you. All right? Somebody automated that. All right. And so let’s go back to CrossFit before Chris fires us. Who affiliated before a 2012? Oh wow. How many of you were active on the forums like the CrossFit—do you guys remember Brian Strump? I remember being like, “Oh my God, that’s Brian Strump.” Two years ago at the Summit it was like, oh, that guy’s so smart. And then I found out he’s like the type of guy who has his assistant print out his email so he can like read them and write back. The mentality back then was kind of, if you build it, they will come, right? The forum was filled with these stories of people opening boxes and like they’d have a hundred members and they didn’t do any marketing. So you just kind of open up and then the members come, right? Do you guys remember that era? It was sweet. It cool. It was a good time.

Mateo: 08:56 – Affiliation was a sweet deal.

John: 08:58 – And the idea, again, the idea was if you build it they will come. But the reality, the mindset kind of like we talked about in the last slide is like if you build it and Greg Glassman does the marketing for you for 10 years and then he builds these pools of people who are interested in trying CrossFit and there’s no CrossFits in the city for them to try and then you open up a gym there, they will come, right? Like somebody did the legwork for you and present day, it’s a lot more saturated. Right? Like 10 years ago it was like try CrossFit. That was all you had to do. You had to get them to try CrossFit. And now it’s very much like try my CrossFit. In 2019, 2020 it’s even more competitive now, right? It’s no longer just like CrossFit, yoga, P90x or do nothing, right. In the U.S. alone, there’s 40,000 gyms. All right? And that doesn’t include boutique gyms, which like most of us classify as like a micro gym. And that doesn’t count single-member personal trainers. So these are guys running out of globo gyms. It doesn’t count Class Pass, it doesn’t count Peloton, it doesn’t count whatever the program Oscar uses to grow his calves on the internet. There’s just a lot more choices. And the reality is you need to speak to different people and deliver them compelling messaging if you’re going to stand out. And each part of the funnel. So each piece, the messaging is different than any other, right? So go back to the example of the action phase, asking somebody to sleep with you, again, like maybe asking them their name first is a little more appropriate.

Mateo: 10:33 – So what I want to do now is, you know, ask yourselves—I have a couple of questions I want you to ask yourselves while you’re sitting here, right? So do you plan out your marketing for the entire year? Do you have a plan mapped out or do you follow a more hit-and-miss strategy? Right? Try giving out some free trial classes here, maybe do a new year, New Year offer there. Maybe I’ll do some buy one get one, maybe I’ll do a Facebook ad over here or a Google ad over there. And then when you try all these methods, is your messaging consistent across all of them or are you speaking to your audience in a different way every single time? Are you communicating with your audience every single day? If you don’t have great answers to these questions, but you’re looking for a way forward, we want to do next is provide some context around that. Look at some other industries and how they market and maybe we’ll be able to find the way.

Mateo: 11:29 – So this is a study done, this is a CMO study done by Deloitte. And basically what they found was that across all these different industries, they will be spending anywhere between 4% to 25% of their total revenue on marketing. The lowest one is the energy system, energy industry.

John: 11:52 – You, sir. You sir. What’s your name?

Corey: 11:54 – My name is Corey.

John: 11:55 – Corey, where are you from?

Corey: 11:56 – Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

John: 11:58 – All right. Can you name for me the top five energy companies in Murfreesboro, Tennessee?

Corey: 12:03 – Yes. So starting at the bottom number—no, I have no idea.

John: 12:08 – All right, so Murfressboro, Tennessee. Can you name one? Yeah. Got it.

Mateo: 12:14 – Yeah. And so that’s the reason, right? Everyone needs power, so they don’t really need to say that message in a creative way. Everyone needs it. So there’s lots of people in the desire stage. There’s not a whole lot of options, right? There’s not a whole lot of competition.

John: 12:25 – Not a ton of options.

Mateo: 12:27 – For us in the fitness industry, we’re in the second highest spending category. Right? 15% consumer services.

John: 12:35 – You sir, what’s your name?

Andrew: 12:36 – Andrew.

John: 12:37 – And where are you from?

Andrew: 12:39 – Boston, Mass.

John: 12:40 – Boston. All right. Can you tell me four gyms in your area?

Andrew: 12:44 – Yeah. Mine.

John: 12:46 – Good start. Good start.

Andrew: 12:48 – And then three other CrossFit gyms in neighboring towns.

Mateo: 12:51 – Yeah. So there you go.

John: 12:51 – Way better than the electric.

Mateo: 12:53 – We need to spend a lot more to compete and to get our message out because, well, one, there’s just so many options and two, what we offer in a lot of cases is so undifferentiated. You got another question for them? I already said that. Expenditure on marketing and advertising is expected to rise, especially in social media. That same study found that social-media spending is expected rise over 75% over the next five years, right? The United States Small Business Administration, they recommend that for small businesses, you should be spending anywhere between 7%, 8% of your total revenue on marketing and advertising, right? And for them, a small business is any business that’s making less than $5 million in sales. So I think that’s probably most of us in this room. And if not, let’s talk some more, but I think that’s most of us in this room. So if you are making a $30,000 in revenue a month at your gym, Rob, that means that if it you should be spending somewhere around $2,400 on your ads according to just this, this metric. And why? Like that’s a lot of money. I know for a lot of us, you know, we’d rather you know, spend it on our members or maybe pay ourselves or you know, why spend all this money on ads, and if we are going to, what’s the best way to do that? Well, if you think about your business in a new way, that might help answer that question, right? If you think of your business as a subscription-based business, because that’s what it is, right? A gym membership is a subscription. If you think about it that way, then it’s going to be a little bit easier for us to walk through the numbers and explain how best use that marketing budget. So what we wanna do now is walk you through a couple examples of some of the fastest growing and some of the largest subscription-based companies in the world. And then if there’s anything we can learn and take from them.

john: 14:54 – It’s my turn, Rob. All right, so you ever hear of a company called Netflix? All right. How much does Netflix spend on marketing?

Rob: 15:04 – 98.9 per new subscriber.

John: 15:06 – Yeah, that’s a great job, Rob. So guys, Netflix does about 15 billion in revenue and of that 15 billion,

Mateo: 15:16 – It’s a B, it’s a capital B.

John: 15:16 – They do $2 billion in marketing spending. All right, so pretty substantial amount, much more than the average gym spends on marketing as a percentage of total revenue, and gross, too, for most, you know. And so we know because they’re a publicly traded company that it costs them about a hundred dollars to acquire a new customer. What does it cost for a month of Netflix? You can say it out loud. It’s fine.

Mateo: 15:46 – I think they just raised the price.

John: 15:48 – Let’s assume it’s 10 bucks, because that’s what the math I did. So you screw up the whole thing if they raise the prices, it’s not gonna work. All right, so let’s say it’s about 10 bucks. So why would Netflix spend $100 for a $10 subscription? What’s your name?

Sean: 16:12 – Sean.

John: 16:12 – Any idea? No?

Mateo: 16:17 – Seems like a silly strategy, John, why would they do that?

John: 16:18 – Chris?

Chris: 16:19 – Because their lifetime value is more than that.

John: 16:22 – Yes. All right. So Netflix in that first month, they actually lose $90 for every customer they acquire. But they know the value of a customer over the lifetime is many times that hundred dollar acquisition cost, right? So if they spend $100 and they wait a little bit and they track their metrics, they know that they’re going to get $450 back. So they’ve effectively created a cash machine, right? They put a dollar in marketing and they get $4 and 50 cents back. It’s a pretty good deal.

Mateo: 16:53 – Another great example, who has a Kindle? Anyone have a Kindle here? I don’t have one, but I think maybe they’re cool. Maybe they’re cool. I don’t know. So Amazon uses a similar strategy with their Kindle product, right? They’ll take a $500 million loss on their sales of their Kindle products, but the reason they do that is because they know they’re going to make that money back and much, much more on the back end because once you buy the Kindle, you’re going to use that an purchase ebooks. You’re going to buy movies and TV shows and you’re gonna stream music. You’re going to download some apps. Those apps will have advertisements, and so they’ll take a $500 million loss in order to make 2 billion dollars on the back end from those sales that come from the products associated with the Kindle.

Mateo: 17:37 – Other examples of this, Dollar Shave Club, they’ll take a loss on their handles and the kits, their blades, on the front end because they know that every month you’re needing to subscribe and purchase more new fresh blades. Cell phone companies. You see this all the time, right? You’ll see ads for a free iPhone or super discounted Galaxy new phone because they know they’re going to lock you into a long-term contract for years and years and years. Even milk and eggs, grocery stores—I didn’t know this, I didn’t know this until I researched this for this presentation. Milk and eggs are often sold at a loss at grocery stores, but they’re positioned at the back of a store, right? So you have to actually walk through the isles through more expensive packaged goods and literally adding things to your cart as you go to get the milk and eggs.

Mateo: 18:21 – So what these all are, are examples of what we call loss leaders, right? This is where a business is OK losing some money on the front end of the sale because they know they’re gonna make that money back and much, much more in profits on the back end. So much more. The lifetime value of my gyms is actually pretty high. You can ask Ashley and he’s in the room somewhere. Ryan and Jay and then Ashkan, they’re over here. So I’m perfectly comfortable breaking even on the front end of my introductory offers, like a six-week program or a 12-week program, I’m even okay losing money because I know those members are going to stay and stay and stay and we’ll make all that money back. But here’s the deal. We’re actually living in the golden age of digital advertising where you can actually acquire customers at a price that’s so low that more often than not, you can make a profit on the front end. And that’s amazing. Yeah, it’s amazing. And it’s a lesson that, you know, some of the clients we work with, it takes a little bit of time to learn, right? Who you got there, John?

John: 19:27 – What’s your name sir?

Jay: 19:27 – My name’s Jay.

John: 19:30 – Jay, you won an award yesterday. What’d you win?

Jay: 19:32 – I’m going to the CrossFit Games.

John: 19:35 – What’d you do?

Jay: 19:36 – Courtesy of HSN and Nicole back there, I made a sweet little testimonial video.

John: 19:40 – The presentation is sponsored by UpLaunch, so you’re not allowed—so for those of you that don’t know, Jay was one of the first clients through our program. And like I remember like it’d be like six, 7:00 PM and I would get like a call or like a text message, a panic thing from Jay being like, Oh shit man. The Facebook stuff’s not working. It’s not working. And I’d be like, Jay, Jay, how much did you spend?

Mateo: 20:12 – $400

John: 20:13 – And how much did you make?

Mateo: 20:15 – $3,000.

John: 20:17 – So why is it not working?

Mateo: 20:20 – I don’t know, it just doesn’t seem like it.

John: 20:22 – Just stick with it, Jay, a little bit, it’s gonna be OK.

Mateo: 20:27 – So we’ll talk about an example that’s a little bit closer to home, I think. John’ll walk you through. You guys heard of this company, Orange Theory Fitness? Anyone heard of it? Raise your hand if you—

John: 20:40 – Are they in like Europe in Australia and stuff now? No? All right. Well, they do like a boot-campy type class. And we know for a fact that they spent pretty close to $20 million last year getting people to take a free class. So $20 million giving something away for free. And again, we’re beating a dead horse here, but it’s an important concept to get in your head because a lot of people exhibit the same kind of panic and anxiety that my good friend Jay does, where like he will be having a very, very successful campaign. But because it’s not making him like $50,000 every month, like feel a little panicked. So let’s look at why Orange Theory would spend $20 million to give something away for free. So we know that they’re probably getting leads for about 10 bucks a pop. And from that we know that for every 10 leads they get, maybe one will come in and try a free trial class.

John: 21:34 – So it cost them 100 bucks to get somebody to just come in and take a free class. And once they take a free class, we’re guessing about one in every five sign up for a membership. With me so far? So it cost them about 500 bucks to get a new member. And Orange Theory pricing’s about a buck 50. Their retention isn’t as good as most like high-level CrossFit gyms because it’s like the same workout over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. And so their lifetime value is about 900 bucks. And so for them, they know they can spend $20 million giving away something for free because it costs them 500 bucks to get a new customer but they know over the long term their business is going to get $900 of revenue for that customer. So again, just a winning funnel, like a dollar in almost $2 out.

John: 22:19 – And I want to take a minute. How many of you guys know what a ClassPass is? Okay, so yeah, ClassPass is something where like, they’ll bring people into your gym, like you pay a third of what you would normally pay. How many people know what like Groupon is? Okay, cool. And so I want to take a minute because like technically Groupon and ClassPass, those are forms of marketing, right? They bring people into your gym and you probably hope to sell them into long term memberships. Right? But like Teo said earlier—I’m not there yet, you’re spoiling it.

Mateo: 22:55 – I was excited. Sorry.

John: 22:56 – It’s okay. We’re not used to doing presentations with air conditioning. That’s why. So he said good marketing is anything that persuades your target audience. So these are like your Pumpkin-Planned best customer type people to take a desire to action within your business. All right. And we’ve worked with, I don’t know, a lot more now, probably like 500-ish gyms through the marketing program. And we ask every single one of them like, Hey, who’s your target client? Like, who do you want to work with? 30 to 40 years old? Dual-income families. What about you?

Mateo: 23:39 – The whole family.

John: 23:41 – That’s why you guys are dressed so sharp, you’re smart. Okay. So nobody has ever said to us like, hey, the type of people I want in my gym are like gym hoppers, like really transient people that just love chasing novelty. Like something opens up, they got to try it. And not only that, like they want to pay 50% of the actual price. That would be amazing if I could just get those people in hordes to come to my gym. That would be awesome. Like they would ask for the moon, pay for sand and leave a one-star review if the towels aren’t right. Like that’s it. Those are my people. And so like we kind of developed and evolved this idea about marketing kind of playing off of a quote that Charlie Munger said, does anybody know who Charlie Munger is? Who’s Charlie Munger? Yeah, Warren Buffet’s investment partner. And so they created this idea, at the time, like Warren Buffet would buy like failing companies and at like a really cheap price. Right? And then they started investing in better stuff. And the quote is “A great business at a fair price is superior to a fair business at a great price,” and that kind of like echoes, like I have a similar sentiment about marketing. Like a great customer at a fair price is a lot better than a fair customer at a great price. And that’s kinda how I feel about Groupon and ClassPass, right? You’re getting bad people at a good price where I’d much rather pay a higher premium through honest advertising on Facebook or whatever method, you know, works for you guys, nd get the people that work for my gym, my target people. And so all of this to say like, I know we kind of beat a dead horse a little bit with this—.

Mateo: 25:20 – We beat the dead horse.

John: 25:24 – -Get rich by losing money. And it’s a counter-intuitive idea, right? You go back, when I say get rich by losing money, think of Netflix, right? Spend a hundred dollars to get that $10. As long as you know you’re getting the 450 on the back end, right? It takes discipline. But if you know your numbers, you can be resilient throughout this process and develop a huge competitive advantage because I’m here to tell you ads are only going to get more expensive and acquisition cost is only going to get more expensive, and if you’re sophisticated about the way you go about your advertising, like you are going to clean up. All right? But it takes two pieces of data to kind of do this well.

Chris: 26:04  Hello my friends. It is Chris Cooper here. Since 2009 I have been writing daily blog posts, producing podcasts, videos, all kinds of stuff on social media with one mission in mind: to make gyms profitable. I came to that mission because I was an unprofitable gym owner. It almost ruined my finances and almost ruined my career, my marriage, everything. And since that day, since I made my recovery, I have wanted to help other gym owners become profitable, too. It’s part of my mission to the world because if you’re profitable, you’ll be here changing lives of thousands of your clients for the next 30 years. I think together we can have a tremendous impact. When we started mentorship, I did every single call myself. I was doing up to a thousand free calls a year and I was doing 10 calls with people who signed up for our early mentorship program, but the Incubator has been updated and improved a dozen times since then. Now the Incubator is really the sum of all of our experiences with over 800 gyms worldwide. In the Two-Brain mentorship program, we can now learn from everybody. We can collate data, we can see what’s working where and when and what the new gold standards are as they emerge. When somebody has a great idea, we can test it objectively and say, “Will this work for everyone or will it work for people on the West Coast or on the East Coast?” We can do that with little things like Facebook ads. We can also do that with operations and opening times and playbooks. All the questions that you have about the gym, we can answer them with data and with proof now. That’s the Incubator. It’s more than what I wrote about. It’s more than my experience. It is the best standard in the fitness industry, period. And I hope to see you in there.

John: 27:46 – The first piece is just lifetime value. So what is a customer worth to you, and your target acquisition cost. So what can you pay to get a new customer? And every example we just went through like that was all we were talking about is like, cost them this much, they got that much back, right? Simple enough when I’m on here, like onstage saying it, much harder when you’re in your gym trying to actually like figure it out. So we’re going to go through some examples to show you how to do this for yourself.

Mateo: 28:13 – So you guys get a little notebook in your little baggy? Or something to take notes with? Pen and paper? Get those out right now we’re gonna do a little bit of math. So bring those out. We’re gonna do it together.

John: 28:25 – You may get called on.

Mateo: 28:25 – You may get called on, so have the pen and paper. So let’s say that you wanted to add 10 new members to your gym next month. Let’s find someone, John.

John: 28:38 – What table do you want?

Mateo: 28:38 – That table. Orange shirt. I like the orange shirt. I saw it. Yeah. Do you know how much money you would need to spend and allocate for your marketing budget in order to get 10 new members?

Orange shirt: 28:51 – No idea.

Mateo: 28:52 – Okay. That’s all right. Maybe mustache?

John: 28:55 – Wow. Those guys best dressed, best mustache over here. Two-Brain Marketing awards.

Mateo: 29:06 – 10 members next month. What’s your marketing budget?

Mustache: 29:08 – No idea.

Mateo: 29:08 – Okay, cool. We’ll try one more time. And don’t ask Jason. He probably knows by now. That table. That right there.

John: 29:19 – Let’s go the back here. Coming right at ya. 10 new members, what does it cost?

Guest: 29:25 – 1500 to 2000.

Mateo: 29:27 – How did you get that number?

Guest: 29:29 – It was fed to me by the gym owner.

John: 29:29 – Oh, Amal.

Mateo: 29:35 – So here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re actually gonna calculate it out right now. We’ll walk you through it. As John said, you’re gonna need a couple of numbers here. The thing that we really need to figure out is your target acquisition costs for your client, right? Once you have that number, how much it cost you to get just one new member, just multiply that number by the amount of members you want, and then you have your marketing budget for the month, right? Pretty simple math. So you’re gonna need these three numbers here. First one’s gonna be lifetime value of your clients. Once you have that number, you’re going to subtract it from the amount of profit you want to make. And the last thing you’ve got to subtract out is the expenses, right?

Mateo: 30:09 – So whatever’s left over, that’s your target acquisition costs for new members. So lifetime value was the first one we need to figure it out, right? So how do we do that? This man right here with the glasses.

Ashley: 30:22 – Hello, my name is Ashley.

John: 30:22 – And how do you figure out lifetime value of a customer?

Ashley: 30:31 – Figure out your lifetime value of the customer by getting your average length of engagement. And you multiply it by its average costs. In essence, you get that average lifetime value.

Mateo: 30:41 – Oh, it’s really close.

John: 30:42 – Very close. Very close.

Mateo: 30:44 – He said length of engagement. So we get the LEG. What’s the other thing we need? So you multiply your ARM by your LEG, right? So, let’s not ask Ashley because—actually Brian, what’s the LEG at Bowery CrossFit. Nine months. Okay. And then let’s ask that person right next to you. What’s your ARM? If you don’t want to say it’s fine, but.

Jess: 31:16 – Hi, my name is Jess.

Mateo: 31:17 – Hi Jess. What’s the ARM at your gym?

Jess: 31:21 – $163 and 57 cents.

Mateo: 31:24 – Perfect. That’s the exact math—

John: 31:29 – We actually used $166.

Mateo: 31:32 – Everyone right now write down $166. That’s the ARM. And then nine months is the leg. That was amazing. I’m so happy. All right, so the math on that, if you can’t do the multiplication, it’s going to be approximately, we’re going to round up. Should be, and someone can check me. It should be close to 1500 bucks, right? $1,500.

John: 31:53 – So this is nine months, 166 a month total lifetime value.

Mateo: 31:57 – Next thing we need is target profit, right? How do we figure that out at Two-Brain? What model do we use for that? John Briggs? What model do we use to figure out our profit margins? Oh, what’s his name?

John: 32:11 – I hear some spoilers.

Mateo: 32:12 – -I heard it. 4/9ths. The 4/9ths Model, right? So 4/9ths Model, working from that, that means we like to take home 33—we like to operate at 33% profitability, right? So again, want to make the numbers a little easier. We’re gonna round down 30% so to figure out your target profit, you’re going to take your lifetime value—.

John: 32:31  – Which is what?

Mateo: 32:32 – 1500 bucks, right? And then you’re going to multiply that by 0.3 right? That the math?

John: 32:41 – Yeah. That’s your target profit. So 30%.

Mateo: 32:44 – You should get close to something like—

John: 32:48 – Anybody got it?

Mateo: 32:51 – 450? Someone said it. 450, all right. The last one is expenses. This one’s going to be a little trickier. There’s a lot of different ways you can do this. This is really just to give you a rough estimation here. So for expenses, right? What it costs to fulfill this one client, not your total expenses, right? You’re just one client. So what you’re going to do is you take your overhead for their length of engagement. So what does it cost to operate your gym for those nine months? Right? So let’s say that’s your overhead and your CAM, your rent, your repairs, all that good stuff. Let’s just say to operate your gym for nine months, it’s going to cost you $72,000. You got to divide that by the amount of members you have. So let’s say you have a hundred members at your gym, Ashley, someone, some easy math, right? That means that you’re over—it’s going to be 720. So write that down on your little sheet there. And then you’re going to add in some additional staff expenses. Like if you pay out a fee for on-ramp, let’s say it’s 100 bucks, that means your expenses are 820.

John: 33:51 – When he says like the fee he means like if you do like one-on-one on-ramp, right. So that’s like an incremental cost for a new member. So whatever the 4/9ths of your on-ramp costs, like we just assumed it was a 100 bucks.

Mateo: 34:04 – So we have all our variables, right? We can figure our target acquisition costs, lifetime values, 1500, subtract the profit, subtract your expenses and you’re left with $230. That’s the amount that you can spend to acquire one new member. Let that sink in for a second. $230. That’s a lot. That’s a lot of money.

John: 34:26 – So if you needed 10 members, you have also a very good mustache. A very nice mustache. So if you needed 10 members, what would your marketing budget for that month B.

Guest: 34:38 – I didn’t do all the math yet.

Mateo: 34:40 – That’s okay. The target acquisition cost is 230, we need 10 of those people. What’s the budget?

John: 34:49 – It’s all right. It’s all right. Anybody, someone else. There we go.

Mateo: 34:54 – $2,300. That’s your marketing budget for the month. Amazing. So we got it.

John: 35:00 – And as you get better at acquiring customers and as you do more marketing, this creates a virtuous cycle. All right? So we’re going to do another example that shows by how keeping cost consistent, but having more members or charging more per member creates an even further moat in your marketing. Let’s go ahead. All right. Where are you from? North of Seattle. Okay, perfect. So let’s assume you and I both have a gym in Seattle and our costs are identical. All right? And we both charge the same amount of money, but maybe you’re like a better marketer, a better operator. You have 200 members. I only have a hundred members. All things consistent. Who’s making more money? Me? You. Okay? Yes, that is the correct answer. And as a result of that, who can spend more money to acquire new customers? Yeah, you’re a smart man, smart man. And same thing. Let’s assume that we have the exact same costs and the exact same amount of members, but I charge $100 and maybe your service is a little more refined. You charge $200 again, who’s making more money? Yeah, you’re the rich guy. And so this graph just shows target acquisition cost and over the x axis is your number of members or your cost per member. And we’re just assuming that costs remain constant. And it just shows that as you grow, you can spend more money to market. And again, if you’re able to outspend your competition, you have a huge competitive advantage as ad costs grow.

Mateo: 36:44 – So we’ve been talking a lot about marketing. We talked about how you don’t want to, you know, cripple your mechanism for growth. So maybe you’re—now you know how to calculate your marketing budget. Now you know how much you need to spend, but what’s the best way to deploy and use that budget, right? What’s the best marketing strategy moving forward? And a key component to our overall marketing campaign and our acquisition strategy is digital advertising. We really like digital advertising for a couple of reasons. One, it’s still really, really cost effective for small business owners like us, right? It’s still really, really, amazing how you can get a cheap lead costs through digital advertising no matter if it’s channels like Facebook or Google, Instagram. The other thing we really like about it is it’s easy to track your ROI. So before let’s say, all right, I know that I have a $2,300 set aside for marketing, before your only options really were print ads, maybe a newspaper ad or radio ad. And you’d have to wait a really long time to reap the benefits, if at all, from those marketing efforts. But with digital advertising, you can see the results in real time. You know how much it costs to get your message out, to get someone to come through your door and to sell them.

Mateo: 37:55 – And what’s better is you can also track and quantify how much you spend on leads. We just talked about how much you can spend to acquire a new customer. Now that you’re, let’s say you’re using digital ads, you have all these leads coming through. How much should we spending on leads? Right? Well, there’s a simple formula for that. If you want to figure out your maximum cost per lead, maximum allowable cost for your business, for your leads, you just take your target acquisition costs and you multiply it by your conversion rate. So for our gym Ashley Mak, we won’t put you on the spot. We’ll just talk about you. You don’t have to talk about yourself. At our gym from paid advertising strategies, leads that come in through those pipelines, our sales conversion rate’s about 20% so John, if we get a hundred leads, how many are we selling? 20. Great, awesome. Thank you John. And so you have your 20% conversion rate. We plug in our target acquisition cost that we just did from before with all that math that everyone here was doing, that was 230. So we multiply that by 20%. That means that maximum cost per lead is $46.

John: 38:57 – Anybody here get leads for less than $46?

Mateo: 39:01 – Yeah. It’s amazing. It’s amazing, especially when most of the, like I said before, most of these platforms will allow you to do that. And it’s amazing when you consider lead costs across other industries, right? You know, in the finance sector, in the tech and computer sector, leads are on average 45, $47, right? Marketing and media, $24. And what’s amazing is a lot of the Two-Brain clients that we work with, they’re generating leads for around 20 bucks, even in the most competitive markets like Florida and Colorado.

John: 39:32 – Now the good part. t wouldn’t be a sales and marketing presentation if I did not do at least one section on getting rich quick. Okay? So what we’re going to do is we’re going to teach you, it’s Teo’s, actually, one weird trick for making more money. Who here would like a raise today? Who here would like to make some more money? All right, this is perfect. Should we tell them?

Mateo: 39:54 – Banks hate this guy.

John: 39:55 – Oh they hate—if you ever want like a good time, Google the one weird trick meme. Not now. All right, so let’s get to it. It is pick up the phone. All right? And this is probably pretty upsetting for a lot of you.

Mateo: 40:11 – I’m sorry Rob. I’m sorry dude. I wanted to impress you, but this is—

John: 40:15 – This is the best thing we could come up with. No, guys, a lot of feedback that we get from people within the course is like, oh, lead quality is bad. Or how do I improve my leads? Or how do I change my pictures or my text in order to get my leads down $3. And if there’s one thing we want you guys to take away today is that excellent lead nurture matters so much more than excellent Facebook ads. And as the marketing people, it is tough for us to say that. But the last portion of this presentation, the last exercise, we’re going to prove to you that most people in this room are leaving between five to six figures of annual revenue on the table by doing improper lead nurture. All right. Let’s ask some people some questions. Let’s ask Rob. No, Rob knows the right answers. All right. Hi, what’s your name?

Mason: 41:13 – Mason.

John: 41:14 – Mason. How do you get leads? Do you do any paid advertising? No. Okay. So how do you get a lead? Okay, social media, word of mouth, and they’ll fill out like a form on your website and say, hey, I want to sign up? Okay. And then what do you do?

Mason: 41:34 – And then we talk to them.

John: 41:37 – Like you give them a call? So you don’t—you never call them. Okay.

Mateo: 41:43 – Moving right along.

John: 41:51 – Let’s see. I’m looking right at you. All right. Do you do any paid advertising? You do not. How do you get leads? Okay. And they fill out a form on your website or the—okay. They email you and then what do you do? It’s like you call him and have him schedule a No-Sweat Intro. No. Okay. Email. Got it. And what about you? Okay, so just all organic and then email them. Okay, cool. Cool. All right, we’re ready now.

Mateo: 42:31 – So yeah. I mean the point of this story is, you know, this is going to be important for you, right? Regardless if you do paid ads or not, right.

John: 42:41 – We should preface this, this is not just for paid advertising. Everybody gets leads. If you need to sell memberships to keep your gym open, you need to do lead nurture. You have leads.

Mateo: 42:51 – So this was a study done, Harvard business review. They surveyed over 2,000 businesses and they found that, well I guess before we do that, if someone does inquire right, raise your hand if you call them at least one time?

John: 43:08 – You gave them the answer.

Mateo: 43:09 – Oh, I did?

John: 43:10 – It’s okay.

Mateo: 43:12 – What about two times? Three times? Four times? Okay. Got It. Okay. So here’s the situation, right? A lot of businesses do the same things, like don’t feel bad. But they found that most sales reps give up way too soon, right? If you have a one-call or two-call system, the chances of you making contact with a lead is actually only 35 to 40%. 30 to 30 to 35%. Right? But by the sixth call attempt, by the sixth time you reach out to your prospect or your lead, the chances of you making contact with that person, they jump up to 90%. Right? So if you’re not reaching out to your leads multiple times, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.

John: 44:01 – Just think about that. Like a hundred people fill out the form, and if you contact them six times, you’re going to talk to 90 of them. If you do it once, there’s 55 people you never got in contact with. Just gone.

Mateo: 44:16 – On top of that, right? It’s not just the amount of outreach attempts. The other thing that’s really critical is speed response, right? So in that same study, they found that over 74% of companies take more than five minutes to respond to a new lead. Now I know that’s tough for a lot of us, right? We’re one-man bands or two-man shops. You know, you’re coaching class, you’re meeting with members, but this is a huge deal, right? If you can crack this code, if you can respond to your leads in less than five minutes, you’re going to have an advantage over 75% of your competition.

John: 44:51 – You’ll feast. All right. So the odds of qualifying a lead become 21 times greater if you respond in less than five minutes. Versus if you respond 30 minutes, and that’s like a Netflix show, like that’s an inconsequential amount of time. And if you’re responding to leads with a phone call in less than 30 minutes, you’re doing a damn good job like you’re top 1% of the industry. But if you want to feast, if you want to be better than 99.9% of gym owners and you want to set yourself up for the highest likelihood of success, if you want to give yourself a raise, you call them in less than five minutes because think of that, Teo and I have a gym. He calls in 30 minutes. I call in five minutes. He has to spend $21 in ads just to keep up with every dollar I spend because I do a better job of nurturing the leads than he does. So he might have the best freaking pictures and the best freaking copy, but I’m going to be able to make it up on the back end because I have such an advantage in qualifying leads quickly. One hour versus two hours. So lead comes in. Lacey’s really busy. She has to go coach a class. Maybe she’ll come back, call them later, somebody else calls him right then, seven times more likely. You can go to the next one. Saturday I get a lead. I want to wait cause I’m tired. Somebody else, Teo is on the phone, hounding them down, trying to get them to come in for a No-Sweat Intro. He’s 60 times more likely to qualify that lead. So that’s a one to 60 spread. And I would guess most gym owners in the micro, like in the CrossFit space take more than a day to contact leads.

John: 46:21 – All right. And I can tell you that a lot of the big box franchises do not. They call their leads and they call their leads quickly. And a lot of affiliates, a lot of smaller gyms like to hate on that model. But the reason they do that, the reason they invest in front desk people, the reason they invest in call people is because it’s effective. All right? Say what you will about their programming. Say what you will about the results. Like those franchises, those models work because they are good at getting people to come in the door and sign up. And again, like we said last year, if you believe that what you are doing is important, it is your job to call people quickly to give yourself a 60 x advantage over the CrossFit down the street.

John: 47:00 – To further the points, 50% of sales just go to the person who responds first. So it doesn’t—like I’m looking to lose weight. I’m going to fill out a couple contact forums. Again, everybody around you. Raise your hand if you have a CrossFit less than five miles away? Keep them up if there’s more than two, keep them up more than three, more than four like, yeah. So it sounds like most are in the two to three range and chances are I’m a prospective member, I’m going to fill out all of those and if there’s CrossFitty-type things, or even if you’re a yoga studio, I’m going to do multiple, right? And you have a 50% chance of just getting that sale regardless of your business, regardless of your price, if you just get them on the phone and talk to them.

Mateo: 47:45 – What we want to do now is do a little exercise and see if we can try and improve ourselves and our businesses today.

Christophe: 47:56 – Christophe Kettleman

John: 47:56 – Where you from?

Christophe: 47:57 – Boise, Idaho.

John: 47:57 – All right. Solve everybody’s problems. All right, let’s hear what you got to say.

Christophe: 48:02 – So I use the service center of Idaho. They’re a digital call center. There’s a lot of different digital call centers out there. I just use one that’s local to me. But you train them. You can either do it like a Zoom meeting and teach them and that kind of stuff. Do it in person, whatever the case may be. The place I use charges me by the minute, so 70 cents a minute, if they spend three minutes on the phone and I get it a No-Sweat Intro, I call it a win. Additionally, I can talk to them if I have problems like say they’re scheduling and they’re just, the verbiage is not right or whatever the problem is, I can immediately address it and retrain the same way I would if it was my own staff. But because it defers to them, they’re 24, seven. So if at Sunday night at 3:00 AM I get somebody calling or somebody goes onto my Facebook ad ata 10 o’clock and says, you know what, I’m really interested in this, UpLaunch sends them an email, immediately sends them a text message, it defers to my service center who gets the notification and then they call them at 10 o’clock at night or 3:00 AM on a Sunday. So that person who’s interested doesn’t have to wait till the next morning til the next hour to the next minute.

John: 49:02 – Thank you Chris. So I know there are a lot of, yeah, round of applause. I know there are a lot of services that deal with inbound calls and that is a great solution. Use them for outbound too. I know outbound’s a little trickier and some states have like rules and regulations around outbound. I mean, the best solution is either you do it or somebody else does it within your gym. This sounds like, you know, we’ve never done that so we can’t advise. But maybe we’ll look into it. Any, any other questions? I hope that helped a little bit. But yeah, like, if you’re doing paid advertising, like, and it’s taking you a day to get, you said, Ryan, you said it takes you about an hour?10 to 30 minutes. Right. So if you can get somebody to coach your classes, and you know, most leads come through at pretty predictable times, right? It’s like pretty early in the morning, pretty late at night and on weekends. And so, again, if you’re running paid advertising, you should have a pretty decent idea. Like, if I spent $100 a day, my leads are 10 bucks, I know I’m gonna get 10 leads a day. Like, you know they’re coming, right. And some of the math we showed you, it was like you could 21 x your qualifying rate by doing better lead nurture. Like does it make sense for you to pay somebody 20, 30 bucks to coach a class so you can be available like to do phone nurture or somebody15 bucks an hour to be by the phone even if they don’t use it? My answer is yes.

John: 50:32 – Especially like no brainer, Saturday, Sunday nights like right. And not everybody, you know, everybody’s going to be at a different part of the journey. Everybody’s going to get a different amount of leads. And again, like if you’re not doing it in less than five minutes, that’s not optimal. Right? But again, like under 30 is great, right? Like most of the people aren’t calling at all. Like most of the people in this room don’t call. So they get a call from you in under 30, give yourself a pat on the back for that. Like that’s a huge advantage, right? But you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. And so that should be your goal. Like your goal should be to get in a position where you’re down to five minutes. But like, you know, don’t cry about 30; 30 is pretty good. Any other questions? Any other questions? If your target acquisition cost is negative, do you recommend doing paid advertising? And the answer was no. I do not recommend doing paid advertising if you can only afford negative dollars to get a new member. There’s differing opinions about this. I would defer to my good friend Teo.

Mateo: 51:35 – There’s different schools of thought. I mean, for us personally it’s a double dial and then a text and then we repeat that process throughout the day.

John: 51:48 – Like a three by two is pretty good. So like two, one of the morning, one immediately, one at night, one in the morning, one at night after and then a text after.

Mateo: 51:55 – And then our automated like email stuff through whatever, you know, whether it’s UpLaunch or whatever automated system you have that on top of all that.

John: 52:04 – Video text is amazing.

Mateo: 52:05 – The caveat with video text is like, you got to be charismatic on camera. If you are not, it will do the opposite effect.

John: 52:14 – Yeah. So if you’re like a total weirdo, don’t do video text, like.

Mateo: 52:17 – But you don’t know until you sent out a couple couple of video texts.

John: 52:22 – Test the waters. Yes. In the back. What was your name? Miles.

Mateo: 52:29 – Yes. Always confirm appointments. Oh, his question was, let’s say someone’s just super gung ho and they go all the way through all of your roadblocks and opts-in and finds a scheduling page and then actually books the intro all on their lonesome. Do you still call them? And I just said, yes, I highly encourage you to confirm your appointments. And it’s also great—like all of that’s part of the client journey, right? That your opportunity to now nurture that. Like your nurture doesn’t stop, right? They still have to make the sale. And even when they are clients, like every month when that renewal comes up, that’s a sales opportunity, right? So you’re never not nurturing. And so to call and confirm, you can use that opportunity to start building those relationships and talking to those people. And you can do that with a video text. Say, hey, like, you know, I saw you booked. I’m super excited. This is my face of the person that you’re going to see when you come in. This is the door of the gym, you know, it’s by the hot pot restaurant underneath in the basement, if you can’t find it, that’s why. And then I’m excited to see you. You know, that those are just some things that you can do to make that experience a little bit more unique and make you stand out.

John: 53:34 – If you’ve ever been to like a super nice restaurant, like they’re going to call you ahead of time and be like, we’re really excited for your appointment to serve you. And like, do you have any dietary restrictions? And like that’s to like reinforce the appointment. You get really excited and you get that extra level of touch point and service. And like, unless your show rate is like 100% and your close rate is pretty close to a hundred percent, in which case you should raise your prices, yeah. Like that’s still bad cause you should raise your prices, you don’t need to do it. I said that wrong. You absolutely need to do it.

Mateo: 54:07 – Unless you’re that person, you need to do it.

Mateo: 54:08 – Thank you Teo.

Mateo: 54:09 – You’re welcome. All right.

John: 54:13 – Any other questions? All right. Thank you.

Greg: 54:24 – Thank you for listening to Two-Brain Radio. Make sure to subscribe to receive the most up-to-date episodes wherever you get your podcasts from. To find out how we can help create your Perfect Day, book a free call with a mentor at

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

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

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

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Two-Brain Radio: Converting More Clients With John Franklin and Mateo Lopez

Two-Brain Radio: Your Duty to Succeed With Jeff Jucha

Greg: 00:00 – It’s Greg Strauch of Two-Brain Media and on this week’s episode we’re hearing from Jeff Jucha. Now, this was originally recorded in the Two-Brain Summit of 2019 and he talks about the topic of your duty to succeed. He touches on things of how to affect the world that you want around you and the option of failure. As always, subscribe to Two-Brain Radio to hear the very best ideas, tips, and topics to move you and your business closer to wealth. Two-Brain Radio is brought to you by Two-Brain business. We make gyms profitable. We’re going to bring you the very best tips, tactics, interviews in the business world each week. To find out how we can help you create your Perfect Day, book a free call with a mentor at

Greg: 00:48 – We’d like to thank one of our amazing partners, Driven Nutrition. Have you ever been asked by your members or your staff what supplements to take, when to take them and where you should get them? How about the time it takes to put in the orders and making sure you have the right amount of supplements on hand? What about your profit margins on your supplements? Do you know what they are? Are they good, even? Your time is worth something, and ordering supplements isn’t worth your time. Driven Nutrition has solved this for you. They allow you to step aside and use preorders to send to your members for all supplement orders. That way you don’t have to have extra inventory on hand and it allows your members to order the supplements when needed. They’ve created an amazing on-boarding process for new businesses to allow for quick and easy understanding of what they have to offer and true profit margins that most other supplement companies promise but never deliver. This is why I personally use Driven Nutrition within my gym. Go to to become a Driven affiliate today.

Jeff: 01:47 – My name is Jeff Jucha. Like Oscar said, I own two gyms in Little Rock, Arkansas, which I promise is a real place. And I am basically going to be looking at my notes a little bit today because I’m a little bit nervous up here, so bear with me some. But, before I go any further forward, I have had some experience speaking to the military before and they’re a very vocal crowd and it’s a very different environment. So I’m not used to people raising hands when I ask a question, I like to do something else. You may have seen it before or even been to a place where we do it. But say like a yes or no question instead of raise your hand, I’m gonna have you say “aye.” So there’s a couple motivational speakers that actually do that as well. So you guys have been hearing from amazing presenters so far. Chris Cooper came and talked to you, Oscars’s come and talk to you. Jay Rhodes, one of my favorite people, has come and talk to you. If you guys have gotten something beneficial for you to take back home today, go ahead and give me an aye.

Audience: 02:47 – Aye!

Jeff: 02:47 – All right, so not too bad there. Now say like you’re going to go home and actually use that to improve your life or someone else’s life and go change some more lives, give me an aye.

Audience: 02:56 – Aye!

Jeff: 02:56 – That’s how I like it. Awesome. I feel better now. OK. So this is also my first time speaking at this summit and just like he told you I’m a new mentor as well and following some amazing acts. So I have to close the entire day down. So not like there’s any, you know, pressure there or anything. So that’s where a lot of my nervousness comes from. But you know, being nervous is really just a state of attention that we get when we get into a position or a place where we’re uncertain of an outcome or we don’t have control of an outcome and it can almost be viewed as the same thing, which is just kind of like a state of fear. So what I actually ended up doing when I was booked for this talk was Googling and researching some things to do to relieve tension. And we know what this is like, there’s tension in a classroom with a new person that comes to our class and we tell like a silly joke or something at 5:15 in the morning just to ease some of that. Like we’ve all been there, we’ve all done it for somebody at someplace, some point and we just want them to relax. Like, and you’ve probably told some like bomber jokes that are just terrible. Like one of the one I used before I came out here was what do you call a fish with no eye? Yeah, some of us even know, you are CrossFit coaches cause you Google this stuff, right? This is our life. I’ve also been at coach for a long time as well. I am still a coach. I don’t ever see me ever stopping being a coach. I love it. I love it so much.

Jeff: 04:30 – Something I do want you to actually do for me though, go ahead and take a look behind you. Check out the door in this room, the actual door right here behind us. That door when you walk out it today, what you do, some of us are already—we very much believe this. Some of us do not. Some of us haven’t thought about it much. Some are kind of skeptical. What you do is gonna change the world. What you do changes a lot of people’s lives. It’s not a question of are you going to, it’s a question of how are you going to do that? It’s a question of are we going to actually be able to change the world in a way that we would like to see? So whether you go out and you do something extremely beneficial to humanity or you go and do something that has negative consequences you never saw coming or never intended to have, or you get into a routine and a rut because we get like that in life. We’re creatures, we’re biological, we don’t work off ones and zeroes. Things happen and we get demotivated and depressed and we rob the world of our gift and we dull ourselves. We could have been a much bigger version of ourselves and giving something back bigger, or we just give up on things that matter to us all. We’re going to change the world. It’s just a matter of how is it going to happen. So you could say we have a duty when we walk out that door today. So originally I didn’t want to write about duty. Funny how that works. When I was booked, I was booked as the motivational speaker. And again, it’s my first time talking. They’re like, “Hey, you gotta come close it down, deliver the motivational, send everyone out. No pressure, Jeff.” And I thought about it and of course I accepted. I would love nothing more to be more involved with Two-Brain and be up here and be able to share something beneficial.

Jeff: 06:18 – But, I said, yeah, I’ll do the motivational talk, but I’m not talking to you guys about motivation today cause I don’t buy into it very much. And here’s the reason why: I feel like motivation is a shower. We take a shower every day. You should probably do that. It’s a good idea. You lose friends if you don’t. But you’re going to get dirty again. Life happens. Relationships break up. Children grow up and move off to college. We lose jobs, we get a new job we don’t like. We take risks and they don’t pay out for us. We’re gonna keep getting dirty. So you don’t need something like a shower. You don’t need motivation from an external source very much; that’s always available to you. What we need is something that’s deeper and connects to us at a deeper inner sense of purpose that’s going to make us want to keep taking showers. It’s going to make us want to go get dirty again, to be OK with the process of going out, putting in work, failing, getting dirty over and over and over and over again. Cause that’s what it takes to be successful at things, right? So we want to have a tool that is something deep at our core that will help us do that. And I hope today to share that with you and to give you that tool so that when you walk out the door today, you’re able to affect the world in a way that you want to see it affected, not just in a way that you can watch walk by or watch other people do, and we don’t have to always succumb to those bouts of those heights and those valleys that we go through in life. We can remember something inner inside of us and use that as a tool that we can call upon at any time. So that’s most of what my talk is for you today.

Jeff: 08:00 – In getting to that inner sense of purpose, that’s always been something I was a little bit obsessed about even when I was much younger, and I was always wanting to know—I was the guy who wanted to know more of why, not how, right? Why are we here? Why are we doing these things? What’s it all even mean anyway as opposed to how can I do this next thing? And yes, if anyone has not heard it yet, I am like the sky, you know, high, head up in the cloud is hippy dippy mentor. That’s me. So I want to know like the why’s behind things and I want to know why I was making decisions, why I was making patterns that I didn’t see back then that I do now. And after 33.33, three, three, three repeating percent of my life on this planet, hopefully, I’ve gone back through a lot of those memories, lots of them, lots of scenarios that I’ve been in and I’ve connected some dots I couldn’t see back then. And I’ve connected a large overarching why to the patterns in the decisions that I making that I can see now that I could not see then. And I’m going to share with you a process on how to use that and also parts of my life as well I also I have not spoken about much to not only give you an example and to give you context, but to give you proof. If we all have stories, and I reflect mostly on my own story because it’s the one I know the best, and with all things considered, I shouldn’t be up here talking, I shouldn’t be up here. I shouldn’t be talking. Like not talking to you, but like literally can’t talk because I’m not around. We all have stories that have meant a lot to us and I decided to go back, see what I could pull out of this thing and build a tool so that you can take what you’ve learned this weekend, walk out the door and affect the world in a way you want.

Jeff: 09:47 – After all that, you know, I always understood the idea of duty when it came to—I asked all these questions about my own life and my own patterns. I was making my own stories and the answers all pointed me to what the definition of duty looks the most like. So duty was always the answer and that’s why I’m talking about it today. And knowing that we have a sense of duty given to us as a definition from society, duty to our parents, duty to our school, duty to our job, duty to the military if you’re in the military. I wanted to know more about a sense of duty to yourself and a sense of duty to the world around us. So after waiting for those memories, connecting the dots and bringing in the why across all of them and beyond a refutable doubt, it was even an answer I didn’t want, but I still got anyway and that’s how I knew it probably was a legit answer. I think I have a great definition of duty that everyone can take here and go do something with and how you can tap into it like an energy source, just to move your life in the direction you want, to affect the people around you, to create the dreams being realized in your life that you want. Just like carbohydrates and the ATPs and Krebs cycle use our tissues for to move seemingly immovable objects. And that’s where I have my last time I talk about the Krebs cycle joke. There’s at least like two, like bio majors here or at least a couple of Phys Ed majors here. Yeah, one back there. Thanks. Yeah, we’re very rare.

Jeff: 11:27 – So before you start listening to me about, you know, why you should talk to me about duty any further, let’s get to a couple of things. What is not duty? Duty is not dreams. Dreams are visualizations in your head that create a response from your hormone system, that create feel-good emotions, that are going to make that visualization feel good. So you’re going want to go back and think about that dream. You’re going to want to ruminate on it. You’re going to want to visualize it more and just stay within it and just like, hmm, how nice would it be if that came true? We got dreams. But the flip side of that is we don’t have to do anything about it to make that dream come true. We can just go back to the visualization. We can daydream. So I can be like, hmm, how nice would it be to like move this chair? Well, I could just sit here and be like, that would be nice. Or I could do like the real thing and be like, well that was lackluster. So we don’t have to do anything. We can stay within our dreams. We don’t need to prompt any action happening. Right. You can always get feel-good emotions from something.

Jeff: 12:39 – Drive. Duty is not drive. I have a drive right now to go back to State Street downtown Chicago and get Lou Malnati’s pizza, because I had it on the way up here and it’s delicious and I’m going back. But I’m not going to be able to hang out with anybody after the Summit so I’m not going to do that. I had to rule out something and I prioritized. And when you think about it, all of us, somewhere between the ages of like late teens to early twenties did some questionable things because of drives. Yeah. A few of us have. I have never felt a duty to shotgun a natty light and then go find every pretty girl with all of my friends from college and try every cheesy pick-up line that we could come up with and convince me to go try on them. At least not in my thirties. And I’ve been 30 for like two months now, so far so good. Follow me on Instagram. I’ll keep you updated.

Jeff: 13:42 – Dreams are not callings. All of us at some point more than likely found ourselves in a big social situation, like a theme park or a festival or a parade. And we were with our parents, and at some point we got separated from our parents. It was that dreaded moment. A lot of us can even remember the first time it happened. For me it was Busch Gardens. I don’t even know if that’s still around, but that’s where we were. And I got separated from my family and we hit this point where we’re looking around and we just go, well, shit. And we’re lost. And if you’re anything like me, panic is a bit of an understatement. And we’re looking around and there are hundreds, if not thousands of people all calling out to someone else. Children calling out to their parents, parents calling out to their children, people calling out to their friends, their drunk friends calling out to nobody in particular, but they’re having a blast. God bless them. Right? But then you hear it and your rescued, and you hear one call and it’s your mom or your dad. It’s unmistakable. It’s unignorable. No matter how much softer and quieter it is than all the rest. You shouldn’t have been able to have heard it. Decimal volume, there’s no way you should have been able to. Thousands of people. But you did and you were attuned to it. You knew which call to respond to. Duty is like that. Duty is not a dream. It’s not a visualization. It’s something we feel. It’s not something we can see like a dream or visualize like a dream. It’s not something that we hear like a calling. It’s not a drive, it’s a direction. It’s something that lets us know which of these things to respond to. Which of these things to actually pursue. That is where a lot of our inner sense of duty comes into play in our lives. And if you can get into touch with what it is and where it comes from, you can leverage it like a tool. Like jet fuel on top of the regular fuel you use to get through daily tasks.

Jeff: 16:02 – So we know what duty isn’t. Let’s talk about something that duty feels like. So you’re coaching your class and you’ve got 10, 15 athletes in your gym at that time and a bunch of them are very fit. They’re throwing barbells down, they’re PRing their torpedo bell, like clean and snatch by a bazillion pounds and it’s really impressive and the music’s raging. It’s an awesome atmosphere. Like I love that atmosphere. I love a big group, but there’s a 105-pound girl in the back of the class way back there and she’s on the ground on her back and she smiling ear to ear and she’s laughing, but it’s not quite a laugh. It’s kind of more like a seagull squawking. AW! That’s my seagull. I didn’t practice that for this. But that’s only because she doesn’t know what a laugh sounds like because she’s always been unable to go to a place where she’d feel uncomfortable, because she’s deaf, and she’s been deaf her whole life. And it’s a little different for her. She’s been afraid to leave her house to go do things socially outside of her work where she works with other deaf people and where she teaches and learns with other deaf people in a school for deaf. But here she is, making friends outside of her home and actually establishing more of a social circle and having fun and laughing because you’re there. Duty feels something like that. Duty isn’t telling what’s a fish without an eye sound like joke to your five 15 class. It can be actually, but it’s not protecting your ego by not telling that joke. But duty is when someone comes up to you or another coach because you are that gym. And they say, “Hey, I know like this might not mean a lot to other people or just in general, but your gym saved my life.” And then being able to go and actually have a long really heartfelt conversation with them where they feel comfortable talking about it and you learn a world you had no clue about, duty feels like that.

Jeff: 18:25 – Duty is the voice inside of our head, but it doesn’t speak in words. It speaks in the language of enthusiasm. It speaks in emotion and even biology. It lets us know this is worthy. Yes, this is worth my time. Yes, this is worth the struggles, yes, it’s worth the failures and mistakes I’ve made. Yes, it’s worth going to the seminars and learning these things and sitting through some like real things I don’t really quite get and like being overwhelmed and then actually getting that one good thing. Yes, this is worth all of the hours I spent in college studying the damn Krebs cycle. It’s finally happened. I hope that my kinesiology professor sees this one day. Try to flunk me now.

Jeff: 19:25 – So, we know what it’s not. We know what it feels like. So let’s use a definition on it. And this is just my definition. Duty is a responsibility that we feel at the core to actualize on our potential to affect the world around us. It’s something we feel deep with inside of us to actually affect what’s going on outside of us. It’s not visualized like a dream. It’s not heard like a calling. It’s the direction. So when you think about how could I foolproof test this, if you think about somebody, two people with the same dreams, I’m going to do XYZ, one could wake up and have a healthy breakfast, get up early, go work out, go help a whole bunch of people that day. The other person can wake up, sleep in a little bit. Stay on snaptstagram all day. See what the Kardashians are up to, whatever it is. Yeah. Now you’ve got the same dream going on, but people are just expressing that potential that’s within them a different way. So you’re going to do things, you’re going to express energy, your genes are going to express further down the line on your genetic path that you go. But it’s just how you’re going to do it. And duty lets ups know it was worthwhile and how we want to do it. Or you can just Google laughter exercises before you go talk to people.

Jeff: 21:00 – So where our duty comes from, where does our inner sense of duty come from? This is part experience-induced. So based on your past successes and failures, you’ve determined what’s important to you. You know how great a kid can turn out if they have a great role model, so you want to be that. You know how sad a life can turn out or how unhappy a life can turn out without a good role model and you want to stop that so you want to go become that. You don’t want to work a job that you hate because you watch someone do it for 18 years. You’ve experienced something in the past or something that wasn’t there for you and you want to have that there for other people. You went through an experience you want other people to never have to go through. This is things that we’ve prioritized. These are contracts we’ve written with ourselves based on how we’ve lived in our experiences and what we did to get through them.

Jeff: 22:03 – Your sense of duty is part chemical induced. This is just as important, if not more important, in my opinion, than actually the experience-induced one. This is—let’s think of it this way. Who here has been in love before? It could be like a high-school—it could be your high-school sweetheart. It could be your partner, it could be your wife, your husband, a spouse, a lover, a best friend. For those of you that got friend-zoned. But it can be someone, anyone you’ve been in love before. Think of that feeling. Give me aye if you’ve been in love before. OK, so like everyone who’s been just like kind of in love, don’t say it this time. I mean like laying up at night. Your cheeks are sore cause you’re grinning ear to ear. You’re thinking of things to say tomorrow that will make them smile and you’re thinking of doing really dumb things you would never do in order to make them laugh.

Jeff: 23:07 – And you are just smitten and you cannot believe it can feel this good to be alive. You’ve had that kind of love before. Give me an aye. Yeah. Yeah. That guy’s been in love before. All right, cool. Vulnerable things to talk about. So you’re on a grassy field. Close your eyes with me for a minute and just envision, visualize this. You’re in a grassy field and it’s a sunny day and you’re having a picnic and there’s a hole in the ground about a foot away from you, and your partner’s walking by and they’re getting close to it and they’re on that stride, it’s not the stride where they go step in that hole but it’s the one where they’re about to. Surely they’re gonna at least twist their ankle if they step in it. What do you do? What do you do? Go ahead. Open your eyes. What do you do?

Jeff: 23:54 – Anybody, just say it loud. Tackle him? What? All right everyone who’s not from Power Athlete, who’s got a kid here? Who’s a parent? You can raise your hand for this, that’s cool, you don’t gotta yell aya at me. All right, you’ve got a kid. What do you do? You protect them, right? Is it even a question that you protect them? Right? So it’s not like, and you know, like some people really laissez faire about parenting and they’re like, well, he’s got to learn to watch where he’s walking one day. Thanks, Dad. All right, so we got the right mentality here. It’s not a question. It’s your what? To protect them? Your duty, right? Is there anything else we could really fill in there? It’s not a dream. It wouldn’t be nice to protect my child. It’s something that we feel with inside of us to affect the world outside of us. And there’s a purpose and there’s a reason for that. So it’s part chemical induced. We know duty’s not just a dream that we want to come true, but a tool that we can use to make dreams come true. This is something that’s obviously part experience induced from our history. It is written from the past into the grain of our bones. It’s also part chemical induced in a way that we don’t have a lot of control over at times. Who here’s ever heard the term “you can’t choose who you love.” You can say aye on this one. Say aye. OK, cool. So it’s a really amazing thing and also a really annoying thing sometimes, right? Can’t choose who you love. Whoa. Wish I hadn’t made that mistake back a while ago. So we know what that’s like. Your body’s gonna tell you things that you don’t know you prioritize yet, things that are very important to you.

Chris: 25:46 – Hello my friends. It is Chris Cooper here. Since 2009 I have been writing daily blog posts, producing podcasts, videos, all kinds of stuff on social media with one mission in mind: to make gyms profitable. I came to that mission because I was an unprofitable gym owner. It almost ruined my finances and almost ruined my career, my marriage, everything. And since that day, since I made my recovery, I have wanted to help other gym owners become profitable, too. It’s part of my mission to the world because if you’re profitable, you’ll be here changing lives of thousands of your clients for the next 30 years. I think together we can have a tremendous impact. When we started mentorship, I did every single call myself. I was doing up to a thousand free calls a year and I was doing 10 calls with people who signed up for our early mentorship program, but the Incubator has been updated and improved a dozen times since then. Now the Incubator is really the sum of all of our experiences with over 800 gyms worldwide. In the Two-Brain mentorship program, we can now learn from everybody. We can collate data, we can see what’s working where and when and what the new gold standards are as they emerge. When somebody has a great idea, we can test it objectively and say, “Will this work for everyone or will it work for people on the West Coast or on the East Coast?” We can do that with little things like Facebook ads. We can also do that with operations and opening times and playbooks. All the questions that you have about the gym, we can answer them with data and with proof now. That’s the Incubator. It’s more than what I wrote about. It’s more than my experience. It is the best standard in the fitness industry, period. And I hope to see you in there.

Jeff: 27:28 – It’s my favorite slide. So we can’t cover everything with science. We can’t cover everything with psychology. We don’t as a race, we don’t know what’s at the bottom of our own oceans. I don’t even know what’s at the bottom of my pool, right? It only takes us so far, but we do know that someone, something, some force, saw a massive amount of value in us and decided that we were necessary and we’re here. This is where the spiritual origin and where our sense of duty comes from. So no matter what your belief structure is, God, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammad, whatever it is, the universe, if you just want to say that, it decided that you are necessary and that you are worthy of something called a compass or something called duty, which acts like a compass. That compass, by the way, is—another likening I thought of right before I walked up here is it’s not our voyage. Our duty is our compass that guides us and points our way through it. So I’m not here to give you dreams. You got plenty of them. They’re all over the place. I’m not here to give you motivation. There’s plenty of that, but you can have a compass to point your way through and only you can get in touch with it and define it and know it. Then you can walk out of here and put it to use. So I want to give you a couple short stories from my life. All of these were happening from the time I was 15 turning 16.

Jeff: 29:01 – Can you hear me? How about that? Better. OK. Mic’s happy now. So these happened when I was much younger, but this is a place where my duty was put to a test. I was faced with a decision and I had to utilize it. It is now my favorite part because I don’t have any more notes to go over. I can just freely talk the rest of the speech. I have big ears, guys, this is like hard to do. Better? All right. So we talked about like that person that you’re love with say aye if you’ve ever been in it and then it was like, OK everyone who’d been in it say eye. I’m 15 years old. It is a beautiful sunny day in Arkansas, which there’s only about 14 of those every year, which you won’t burst into flames and it is wonderful. It’s 70-something degrees. There’s a light breeze blowing. There’s light cloud cover once in a while. Stuff is green. It’s towards the end of the summer where it’s about to be fall and the leaves are about to change, but not quite yet. I can remember it so vividly and I had my first girlfriend, her name was Ricky, and I was smitten. I could not stop smiling. I was so happy and I was just, you know, at 15 years old I’m like, I don’t want this to be like all the relationships that came before it: imaginary.

Jeff: 30:27 – So I was really excited. I was like doing all the things I could do, you know, to make her love me. And we went swimming. It was that kind of day where your mom or someone else’s mom was like, well, let’s take the kids out and we’ll drive 40 miles into the middle of nowhere where we can swim in an above ground pool. And that’s what we did. We were out in Velonia and we were driving back. It was a great day. I remember we stopped at Sonic. I had a cherry limeade made because, I don’t know, I thought it was like a fancy thing to order and I just got that, and we start driving back from Jacksonville and we go onto the highway and it’s this thing called the bean field and the sun starts setting over the bean field and my friend Tiffany’s up in front of me and I’m in the middle row of this minivan. My friend Tiffany’s up in front of me right here in the passenger seat. Her mom’s driving and my friends Pinder and Eric are behind us and Ricky’s right here. That was great. I was so happy, and I even know the song that was playing. I would be amazed if someone here knew it was called slow, it was like move it slow motion for me. It was like the most radio hip-hop song ever heard. I’m not going to repeat it. But I remember the song that was playing. And in that moment, I hear some vibration noise, like a humming. And I start feeling some of the humming, I can feel it my foot first. I can feel it in my hip a little bit too. And it’s nothing to worry about, which is weird. Maybe she was like hitting those things on the side of the road that you know like wake you up if you, you know, started drifting off to sleep cause you’re listening to another like nonfiction audio book. And I turn and I look up the front, no major sense of concern going on. But Tiffany’s mom is obviously noticing something too. And in the course of about three seconds, the time that it took for me to look back just to make sure of something, that vibration has now grown to a rumble, and it is almost deafening and it is vibrating the entire car.

Jeff: 32:39 – And by the time I start feeling that, I look to the front one more time, see Tiffany’s mom and it’s no longer a sense of concern. It is a face of imminent doom and there is struggle to even hold onto the wheel and keep it from turning. It’s amazing how fast time moves and how slow it can move at the same time. And at that point it hits me. We’re not getting out of something, so I might as well do my best, whatever happens. And I’ll look over to see Ricky’s seatbelt and it’s not buckled. My seatbelt’s not buckled. And I think. I don’t act. I think first. I’ve got a decision to make. I can reach over and I can get that buckle on her. I can do my best and help. There’s no chance, there’s no guarantee, but I can reach across and I can do my best and then get mine on. Or I’m closer to mine. I can get mine on really quick and then try to help her. But guys, if I put it right here, it’s going to be real tough to reach across and help someone else out. So what do I do? And I remember the thought in my head. Dear ,anyone up there listening or watching if you are, I hope you can hear me. I need you now. It was worth it. You bet I got that belt on Ricky first.

Jeff: 34:21 – After a bit of recovery, I was at home. I was still on crutches. I still had lots of things put into my leg here, in my arm here. I was like, you know, my sense of humor I had crutches and I had external fixators and casts and stuff. And my way of getting through stressful situations is humor. So of course I was like, look mom, like the bionic man, I’m an android. I was into “Terminator.” And as well as I was trying to keep my hopes up and get to a nice recovery, my mom had gone through a divorce with my dad. And I didn’t have a relationship with my dad at that point because of it, kind of adopted my mom’s view of it via my dad. And she’s a wonderful woman and I love her to death and I love her today. But at the time she was vulnerable and a manipulator had worked his way into our home. And with a guy who’s just even a little bit self-aware and has just had a huge life-changing event that reminded him of how ephemeral things really can be, we don’t really mesh well. Because I sensed it.

Jeff: 35:39 – So that ended up with a good bit of fighting and not like arguing, but knock down, drag out. The fight ends pretty much when the other one can’t fight any further. And I knew that if I survived that wreck, I wanted to do something with my life. I would not waste it. I would not squander my blessing. But I should probably survive to graduate high school before I did that. And I would probably have to do that. I’d probably need to survive and graduate, and move on to better things. But I need to actually make it to that point. And I decided that’s it. I’ve got to go. And he drove home one night after I had my report cards mailed to my mom, who would imagine they’re not wonderful, and I knew what was coming that night. And so I got everything ready. I had my room cleaned up as best as I can, I guess cause I thought maybe it was some cordial way of doing it. And I had a laundry hamper with some clothes in it and a few bare necessities. And I had layered up clothing because I couldn’t fit everything in there. I was going to look like the kid from a “Christmas Story’ everyone seen that? Except I was on crutches. So it’d been like—I legit looked like that. And had everything ready to go. And I sat by my window and I had my 79 tan and turd-brown El Camino in the drive or in the street ready to go. It had no mufflers on it, so it was the loudest thing in the United States at the time. And I heard him pull into the driveway, half onto the grass and slam the door, slammed the door for his car and it hit me at the worst time possible. I don’t have anywhere to go. I literally have nowhere to go. What do I do?

Jeff: 37:36 – And the door from his car slammed and then the door of my house opened. And I never really would consider me ever saying the statement that duty looked like a kid on crutches, hobbling through some grass, towing a hamper to a beat-up El Camino with a white tailgate with no mufflers to try to sneak away and then also not be spotted by local authorities for the next long while in that thing. But that’s what it was. I wouldn’t have a home again for a long time and I thought I was doing pretty well to not have house, to not live at home with people, but I did miss my sense of home. I remember a lot of places I’d stay and I’m forever grateful for the families and the friends that let me crash their couch. I spent a long time and not having a home. And I got to where I missed the sense of it so badly that I knew it was something I needed. I needed to have some safe structure. I missed being able to actually go somewhere after school. I missed actually going home to a smile and not just an empty car. I missed having family who are proud of me. I missed actually talking to family. And I really missed not having to freak the hell out whenever I’d heard a noise or a twig snap outside of my El Camino that I was sleeping in, I really missed not having to worry about that.

Jeff: 39:08 – I didn’t have this relationship with my dad, though. It was the only place I had to go. That I could go, and that was if he would even listen to me if I called him. It had been a long time since I talked to my dad. And I felt like if I did, I’d have to admit I was wrong all this time. I’d have to put it behind me and just be wrong. This is actually Burns Park, about 500 yards down from here right down that way. I would park my car and the cops would never see me there cause it was just small enough as you saw an El Camino to hide behind a hill near the boat ramp. And it was the best place to go cause the druggies wouldn’t go there. They’d always go to the playgrounds. Nobody would bother me. But this was my view and it was kind of a cool view sometimes, but I was tired of that view and I was tired of my, you know, three jobs that I worked, one of which was North Rock Athletic Club, where I actually got that job so I could use their showers, but turned out to change my life a good bit. I’m glad I did. I had to do something because if I made it to graduate, if I made it into being an adult, I was going to be a pretty messed up adult if I lived as a hobo most of my life, I felt. So I called my dad, not the next day, maybe a little bit later, maybe it was some time in December. But this is him at our Christmas party last year. He’s our chef. He’s actually a chef. He runs the whole kitchen for a university. And he’s just someone who’s loved by my gym just as much as I love him.

Jeff: 40:43 – So ABC’s of duty. When I went through these times of my life and I was asking questions, there are a lot of hard questions, but the two that meant the most, the two that you could apply to a lot of situations in your life is what do I want? That’s pretty simple. You don’t need to ask, what do I need to do? Cause most of us will figure out what we need to do in order to make something happen. But it’s do I really want that thing? What do I really want? What am I missing here? And not what do I need to—you’ll know what you need to do to get it, but not what do you need to take on? You don’t need more stuff to do, but what do you need to leave behind that’s preventing you from actually having it now? So if you could have that thing now, what’s preventing you? It’s so much faster for us to drop off loads of weight to feel lighter than it is to actually go work out a whole bunch for like six, seven months and lose a few pounds a week of body fat. Like if, but if we’re carrying kettlebells and I just want to be lighter, I’ll just put them down and now I can actually have my hands free to go do things, so I had to put things down and leave them behind. More on being a gazelle later. I had to get rid of my sense of certainty and my control in order to get that belt on Ricky. By the way, I did actually get mine on too, which is interesting because my seatbelt failed in that accident so I’m really, really fucking glad I put that seatbelt on her and I didn’t put mine on first. It wouldn’t have mattered. I had to give that up. I had to get rid of my sense of fear and my sense of balance. I had to go do something I never thought of before, I didn’t know how I was going to make it out of in order to leave that situation that was crippling me. I didn’t leave a home. I left a house for my fear, and I went out and I became unbalanced, but that’s what it was going to take for me to actually make it. And finally to actually get back to home. I had to get rid of my ego, had to get rid of this “I don’t want to damage the little inner me from being wrong this whole time about someone” and believing, you know another story that was written by a court and two people who were fighting with each other and they’re just humans. I had to let go of those.

Jeff: 42:54 – Does anyone else ever think of any times where a sense of certainty or control we may lose or fear of losing our sense of balance or our ego got in the way of a decision, right? Aye, yeah, we are awake. Yeah. A lot of things. Could almost say if you’re a human being, no matter how enlightened you get, I’m very big into Zen, I’m very big into Buddhism, I don’t care how enlightened you get or if you’re the Buddha yourself, you’re still going to have to experience what it’s like to be a human, and we have these. Eight slides later—that’s why my presentation was so long. It was like 10 slides of the same thing. Gazelles. One of my favorite things to talk about. If you’re like me, you watch the Discovery Channel. Who has watched the Discovery Channel and could probably guesstimate how this is about to end? Give me an aye. All right. How confident do we really feel for that gazelle right now, now give me an aye. Right. OK, so the aye for the cheetah was a lot bigger than I for the gazelle. But let’s think about something for a minute. What’s really going on here is it is a struggle of focus. It’s a struggle of want. This guy needs to want to live more than he wants to eat. And that is all that needs to happen for him to win. You cannot determine the terrain. It’s already predetermined. You can’t take control of the weather, it’s already predetermined. You can’t control how much food is in your belly when a cheetah starts to chase you, it’s already predetermined. All you have left to do is to want it bad enough and to focus on what’s in front of you when that cheetah starts to chase you.

Jeff: 44:44 – Fun facts. Let’s look at a cheetah. It’s got razor-sharp claws. It’s got razor-sharp teeth. It has this tail nearly as long as its body that actually is a weighted and bobbed at the end to help it like weave and make the same types of turns as best as it can to actually mimic the gazelle. It is a supreme predator. It is built to hunt. It is built to kill so it can eat. If it does not, it’s gonna die. Kill or die. Woo. What an animal. Let’s look at the actual attributes of the gazelle. It’s a gazelle. It has feet, it eats grass. Fun fact, over 90% of the time, cheetahs are outmaneuvered, outwitted, outrun, outlasted, and made to look like idiots from gazelles. Data is there. Gazelles win nine out of 10 times. National Geographic Discovery Channel, of course we’re going to dramatize things we’re humans, we love that stuff. We want to show what’s going to happen with the cheetah when he catches him. And like, alright, kids go back in your room. This is the fun part, right? But that’s not truth. The truth is nine times out of 10 that gazelle wins. So why is this important? Hyper focus on one thing in front of you. One thing produces progression and that produces momentum, which leads to more progression and more momentum. And that’s how things get done. The great saying, how do you eat a whale? One bite at a time, you focus on what’s in front of you. You focus on what’s important at that time. So if you have the focus of that gazelle, whatever it is that you are wanting, you really think about that type of focus and you adopt it, you’re gonna win. I don’t gamble, but if I wagered money, I wouldn’t wager, I wager in my head sometimes that my friends who actually bet money on games in the night just like, here’s what I would do. I wouldn’t gamble on the one who’s the most well equipped for the mission. I would gamble on the one who can use what they have equipped already like a badass, and my money’s going on that gazelle every time. If you have that focus, you’re going to win. At least nine times out of 10, which is a nice ratio.

Jeff: 47:12 – Two things you can leave behind, and this is from me being a coach to other coaches. That is the option of failure. This is going to expand further out than your careers, but you’re going to take what you learned here today and use those things. When you do, you can’t accept the option of failure. It doesn’t end well for the gazelle. Looks about like that. The reason I want you to think about getting rid of the option of failure is not even so much for yourself. It doesn’t end well for the gazelle, but it doesn’t end well for the people around us because when you—it’s OK to feel like a failure once in a while. It’s OK to lose battles, you’re going to, it’s the nature of it, but when you resign yourself and you actually accept failure or you accept that you’re going to walk away from something, like I have seen sadly happen many times talking to people, when you do that, you don’t just fail yourself. You fail that 105-pound girl in the back of your class, you fail those people who could have their life changed in a positive way or even saved by you by just doing what you cared about and what mattered to you. You fail in that sense, so you can’t ever resign to that.

Jeff: 48:29 – One more thing to leave behind, and this is limiting beliefs. And this was originally actually my entire speech; the next 30, 40 seconds of this with my whole speech, but I had to fill an hour. Josh made me. With that type of knowledge and vision and focus, if you have that type of focus, the only thing that’s going to stop you is yourself through limiting beliefs. I love how so many gurus will talk about the only thing in front of you is yourself. You’ve got to get out of your own way. I’m like well how? It’s limiting beliefs. These are things that we do regardless of how successful we become, we’re going to do it because we’re humans. This is just an experience we’ll forget about it, and we’ll go back and we’ll tell ourselves things that are not true. One that’s real and is actually a real example is I feel like a fraud as a coach because after losing 80 pounds, I can’t lose the last 20. I don’t even look like a coach. I don’t even have abs, right? That’s a real one. Who knows somebody who’s suffering from limiting beliefs or has or has suffered from a limiting belief in their own? Give me an aye. Every one of us. We’re all human beings. So if you’re going to do that from time to time, the thing is what do you do when that happens? Now go back to our coach who is having imposter syndrome. I feel like a fraud because I don’t look like it. No, you blazed a trail and you know what struggle is and you know what strength also is to overcome that struggle and you can empathize with our clients and my clients in a way that the always-had-abs crowd can never do. I’m unfortunately in that crowd. There are things that someone can come up who has lived that life and walked in those shoes can do that I can never do. I can never empathize like that. So give me an aye if you believe this statement: Getting abs is harder than losing 80 to a hundred pounds.

Audience: 50:30 – (silence)

Jeff: 50:31 – Right. OK. Now, if you think that coach or that person who’s lost 80, 100, 125 pounds, whatever that is, and they’ve upheaved their life and they have upheaved their diet and their sense of balance and their family and their time and failing and relearning again how to do it right and failing at that and doing it again over months and years and years. Do you think that person’s had a harder struggle and can actually do a whole lot of good? Is that harder than getting abs? Give me an aye. Right. Strength’s in the mind, but so is weakness, and limiting beliefs is a start of much of that weakness and that fear that we have. I don’t believe we are here to suffer from limiting beliefs that we put in front of ourselves. I believe we’re a lot more than that. I believe you are a lot more than that. I believe you are what the entire universe is doing at the place you call here and now. You are and what you do is everything that the entire universe is doing at the place we call here and now. Just like I believe that a single wave is something the entire ocean is doing.

Jeff: 51:42 – You’re a lot bigger than something that just wakes up and suffers from limiting beliefs. Because when you do limiting beliefs, you are a villain looking into a mirror at a victim. And that is not what you’re here for. But we do it and we’re gonna do it. So we have to be able to recalibrate our value and recalibrate what’s important to us so that we can tap into that as an energy source. When we’re felling trees and we send them downstream, which is how lumberjacks will do, we’ll get all the trees into a river and send them down the river and they get jammed up and stopped. You can walk out and you can push some of those logs and get ’em out of the way, can kick them out of the way. But when there’s a huge stop-up of them what will happen is the lumberjack will take a stick of dynamite and throw it into the center and blast the logs free and let the river rage. That’s how you do that. So you’ve got to have a tool or something you can use to remind yourself of those things. And I’ll give you mine.

Jeff: 52:38 – So for the rest of this presentation, for the very brief amount of his presentation left, take two fingers and find your pulse for me. Keep it there for rest of it and take a minute. Really find it, close your eyes. Find that pulse and feel it. When I was living in my car and I was sleeping in Burns Park, which is very much wilderness, it was loud from all of the animals that were there. But on cold nights, one by one, those species would start to be quiet and they would calm down and go to sleep and they’d stop. And it’d start with the birds and then the frogs would go next and then cicadas, and then it was crickets and then there was nothing, and it would be so quiet. I could hear my heartbeat and didn’t need two fingers. I could hear it, I could feel it in the steel walls of that car and that was the only thing that would calm me enough so that I could get to sleep.

Jeff: 53:44 – Since then I’ve learned a few things about the heart. I can share some fun facts about it. That heart that you’re feeling right now, that was put there when you were developing in your mother before you had a brain. The heart develops first. The brain comes next after it. And that heart beats, when you’re standing it beats faster. When you do CrossFit. It beats when you sleep. It beats even if you don’t tell it to. Something found immense value in you and decided that you are necessary and that it was time for this world to have you. And it did all of that and it put it inside of you and it did all of it before you were even born and took a breath or even had your first thought. That heart’s an amazing thing. Hearts, we believe, almost have their own intelligence and we’re testing for it now. Just like we tested and found out that gut has its own intelligence, it’s own brain. It produces a peptide, A and P, that’s used to shrink down tumors so that they can be extracted from body when there is no other way to save that patient.

Jeff: 54:58 – It can be used to actually help destroy cancers. The heart produces hormones that won’t allow it to be destroyed and you got one. Something found massive amounts of value in you, and decided you are worth duty and you are worth a compass and it was time for you to be here. Your duty is not to believe limiting things about yourself. Your duty is to succeed in what you do when you walk out that door. Your duty is to take everything you learned from here this weekend, everything you learn tomorrow and the next day and all of your struggles so that you can not just be successful to be successful, but so that all the things that can come from you being successful actually get to happen. It’s your duty to succeed. No go out and do it. Thank you.

Greg: 55:54 – Thank you for listening to Two-Brain Radio. Make sure to subscribe to receive the most up-to-date episodes wherever you get your podcasts from. To find out how we can help create your Perfect Day, book a free call with a mentor at

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

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

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

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How to Say Goodbye (For Now)

How to Say Goodbye (For Now)

“It’s not you; it’s me.”

Cancellations in your gym are hard to take. When you build a career around caring for 150 clients, you form tight emotional bonds. As Greg Glassman wrote in 2006:

“You’ll find me at my clients’ parties, weddings and family gatherings. Indeed, I am a personal friend to nearly every one of my clients.”

As much as we try to stay objective, it still hurts when a client says goodbye.

Here’s how to respond to that “Dear John” letter saying “I want to cancel my membership.”


1. Express Your Concern With Specific Details

“Oh Sally, I’m sorry to hear that—especially right after your recent weight loss! We’re just getting momentum!”

And leave it at that. Don’t include a “but I understand” or easy way out of the conversation.


2. Remind Them What They’re Losing

The fear of losing something you have is far greater than the promise of getting something good. That’s why you see all those “don’t miss out!” deals on Facebook: You don’t want to have things taken away from you.

For example:

When you cancel your membership, you’ll lose access to our:
– 1:1 coaches
– Nutrition accountability program
– Goal-setting meetings
– Workout-tracking app
– Private members’ Facebook group

And so on. Fill out your own list, starting with the most valuable part of your service.

Surprisingly, I’ve had clients say, “Oh, I’ll be back in a month and don’t want to lose my data on SugarWOD. Just keep the membership going.”

There’s far more value to your program than the classes you teach. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how much.

So remind them.


3. Make It Easy for Them to Come Back

Asking the question “when do you think you’ll be back?” can help the client create a clear picture in his or her mind.

If you can book a goal-setting appointment with the person in the future, that’s a huge win.

For example: “OK, Robin! I know you love spending time at your cottage in the summer! I want to make sure you don’t lose too much of your hard-earned fitness while you’re away. What will you do for exercise while you’re away? Can we schedule an appointment for September 7 to restart your fitness progress?”

Even if you can’t, make sure the client knows he or she will be welcomed back. Fear of an awkward “what are YOU doing here?” actually stops many people from trying new things.


4. Keep the Conversation Alive

We want a record of a client’s cancellation. We want to remind him or her of our cancellation policies. But more than anything else, we want the client back!

In the Incubator and Growth programs, we teach gym owners how to build a cancellation page.

Clients fill out the form on our site to cancel.

The form reminds the client of our policies. Then it adds him or to our email “recapture” list: a slow drip series of emails designed to bring the client back.

(Two-Brain Clients get the form design and email sequence in Growth Stage.)

Every quarter, we’ll also send the client something personal, like a text or video. We follow a 10-word email format (and also provide it to our clients in Growth Stage).

Exit interviews would be great: You’d learn how to improve your service and possibly talk a client into staying. But very few clients will do an exit interview. Honestly: If your hairdresser asked you to make a trip across town to have a heavy talk about your feelings, would you do it?

And while we want to keep every client forever, it’s likely that a departing member will only remember the last interaction with you. If it was awkward or painful, he or she won’t be back.

Most importantly, try to remember: The client probably isn’t gone forever. Just gone for now.

Treat your separation as temporary and you’ll sleep easier.

Which stage of entrepreneurship are you in? Take our 20-question quiz to find out and get the exact steps you need to take your business to the next level.

The 7 Best Fitness Coaching Software Platforms: Our Unbiased Review for 2019

The 7 Best Fitness Coaching Software Platforms: Our Unbiased Review for 2019

What is the best software for coaching your clients?

A few months ago, we published an objective review of gym management software. We invested $35,000 and many hours to evaluate and rank the six best software platforms for running a gym business.

We received a lot of great feedback on the article from gym owners, and several companies contacted us to let us know they were working on improvements that would bring their products closer to our standards.

But gym owner and coach are different jobs that require different tools, so a separate review of coaching software is more than warranted.


Software That Solves Problems


The largest problems facing gym owners: attracting clients and retaining them.

We’ve got marketing and intake systems that help solve the first problem, and we’re constantly helping gym owners hire staff and implement processes to increase length of engagement.

In essence, retention comes down to helping your clients get results and then showing them those results over and over again. Retention is less affected by having fun, making friends, following the best programming or having the best community. Results are what really matter.

As a microgym owner, if you can show that you’re providing results for your clients, you’ll stand out from the “experience” gyms like Orangetheory Fitness and SoulCycle.

Unfortunately, results haven’t always been the focus of the fitness industry or the software companies that build our online tools.

We hope this review will help change that. To start the process, we evaluated seven platforms in detail: CrossFit btwb,, SugarWOD, Trainerize, TrainHeroic, TrueCoach and Wodify.

In the meantime, we’ll keep supporting the community with mountains of free content, advice and data people can use to grow their business and create their perfect day.

For a package of our best resources, enter your email address below.


Now, on to the software.


Key Elements of Coaching Software


To help the microgym owner, coaching software should be designed to produce and track results.

To determine the best software tools for coaches, we need to know two things:

1. What results our clients care about. Clients come to gyms to solve problems. So what are those problems?

2. The best way to measure and show off results. Once we know what problems clients have, we need to know how we can prove that our businesses are solving those problems. We need to measure progress and then illustrate that progress for each client.


A woman in a white tank top and grey sweats measures her waist with a yellow tape.


What Do Gym Clients Care About?


Gym clients care about exactly three things: They want to look better, feel better and perform better.

Each client has a different combination of goals, and not all clients care about all three.

For example, a client who wants to look better might want to lose weight, gain weight, tone up or get a six pack.

A client who wants to feel better might want to have more energy or notice improvements in mood.

A client who wants to perform better might want to improve at a specific sport or be able to lift his or her kids.

Most coaching software in the microgym space focuses solely on performance. A few focus on looking better (by measuring weight or body fat). Almost none focus on feeling better.

Software needs to be able to track and report improvements in all three areas if it’s going to help a gym serve all clients.


The Best Way to Measure and Show Results



 Once you’ve figured out a client’s goals, you need to figure out the best way to accomplish them.

Successful fitness programs have three key elements: training, nutrition and recovery. Coaching software must be able to track all three.

That said, the number one thing that determines a client’s success at the gym is compliance. The program, coach and equipment don’t matter if the client doesn’t show up.

How many times did the client show up and complete a workout?

How many days did he or she follow a nutrition plan?

How many days did the client get the recommended amount of sleep?

In order to get the client to continue showing up and sticking to the plan—compliance—you must keep him or her motivated.

We know motivation follows success, so we need to show the client that the program is producing results: quick wins that produce the motivation to keep going.

That means we need to track a second thing in addition to basic compliance: bright spots.


Bright Spots

How many days in a row did the client show up?

Has he or she earned a PR? Bright spots can include a new load lifted, the first successful performance of a movement, the first successful completion of a benchmark test, and so on.

Has the client lost or gained weight or body fat?

Has the client’s mood improved over time?

How does the client compare against himself or herself six months ago or a year ago?

Does the data reveal other positive things the client is doing well?

Highlighting bright spots will keep clients motivated, making progress and showing up. Trainers need software that tracks bright spots and makes it very easy for clients to see progress. Also important: the ability for the coach to note the bright spots and offer congratulations, high fives and fist bumps right on the platform.


Several lines of white stars below a larger line of 5 gold stars next to the words "gold standard" from Two-Brain Business.


Coaching Software Evaluation Criteria


Our coaching software evaluation is broken down into five different categories.

Function—Does the software fulfill the needs described above? Will it track data that shows how people look, feel and perform? Does it track training, nutrition and recovery data?

Reporting—Are the reports useful? How easy is it to find the data you need? Can you create and run your own reports? Does the software highlight bright spots for you and your clients? Can clients see progress through the software even if they can’t see it in the mirror?

Usability—Is the software easy to use by the owner and the trainers? How about by the clients? Is there an app? What about the user interface (UI)? Does it make you feel warm and fuzzy when you open it or does it give you a headache? The product’s look and feel also factor into its usability.

Communication—Can coaches and clients communicate easily? Does the software allow emailing and texting? Are you forced to use the app for all communications?

Integrations/Bonuses—Does the software platform play nice with others? Does the program integrate with other tools a gym owner or coach would use? Does it have an open API so you can add things as you see fit? Does it have any bonus features that make it stand out?

Need more advice on common problems? Click here to book a free call with a certified Two-Brain Business mentor.


The Seven Coaching Software Platforms


We evaluated seven platforms in detail:

  1. CrossFit btwb
  3. SugarWOD
  4. Trainerize
  5. TrainHeroic
  6. TrueCoach
  7. Wodify

We chose not to review several other platforms.

Strava—This is the top exercise-tracking app in the world. It provides an amazing experience for athletes both during and after exercise. Most tracking apps only provide feedback after a workout; Strava makes the workout feel like a game. But there’s no coaching platform on Strava yet.

TrainingPeaks—This solid coaching software is primarily focused on distance athletes—cyclists, specifically.

Zen Planner—This gym-management software offers workout tracking, but its parent company recently acquired SugarWOD, which we reviewed in detail.


The Platforms


CrossFit btwb

The orange on white logo for the coaching software company btwb.

Courtesy of btwb

One of the most-established workout-tracking platforms, btwb has evolved over the years and is now the official CrossFit app.

Function: 8

This platform does a ton of stuff. You can create group workouts and individual workouts and track lifestyle markers such as sleep, hydration, mobility work and even fish-oil intake. Workout tracking is thorough and detailed.

Reporting: 8

CrossFit btwb offers tons of reports: You can track overall gym performance, individual PRs and performance, weaknesses, imbalances, etc. You can also see how fit you are based on an overall ranking and use the leaderboards.

Usability: 5

This is where the system struggles. CrossFit btwb has lots of clicks and confusing screens on the website, and entering workouts is not super easy. The company acknowledges this and offers a service that will enter workouts for you based on a spreadsheet. The app is a lot better, but the number of options feels overwhelming.

Communication: 6

Limited options here. You can push workouts to your clients and comment on their scores, but that’s about it. You can’t send individual messages to clients, and the social feed can only send emojis. For some reason, you can only communicate with your friends if you create a squad rather than communicate with the whole gym.

Integrations/Bonuses: 6

You can automatically add programming to your gym from lots of different vendors, and CrossFit btwb integrates with WordPress. You can easily export data, but it would be nice if the platform had an open API or Zapier integration.

Cost: $80-$250 per month.

Overall: 33/50

CrossFit btwb is a solid system with tons of features and options. With a UI refresh and greater clarity on some of the options, this platform could easily be the winner.

Chris Cooper’s notes: The founders of CrossFit btwb are very smart and strongly plugged in to CrossFit HQ. It might be a wise bet to track on this platform as the CrossFit Health initiative gains ground. It’s not clear how that program will benefit affiliates yet, but with a greater focus on nutrition at HQ and doctors working to make blood tests simple and affordable in CrossFit gyms, btwb will most likely be the first to integrate those features. They’re also most likely to offer coaches a “health” dashboard for clients in the future.

A photo of a mobile phone and desktop showing user screens for the coaching app

Courtesy of

Originally a system for logging individual programs, has recently expanded as a business-management software.

Function: 8

Now an all-in-one solution for coaching and business management, allows coaches to create programs and workouts for 1:1 clients and groups. You can easily add your own exercises, videos and movements. The platform integrates with MyFitnessPal, and you can track recovery metrics using assessment questions, measurements and progress photos.

Reporting: 7

Users can generate reports based on attendance, measurements and workout performance. The platform has a handy “snapshot” mode in the client profile so users can see all completed workouts and stats for each client.

Usability: 6’s online interface is functional but basic. It can be hard to navigate, but you are able to add workouts and create programs fairly easily. The robust nature of this software means it’s tough to use/navigate until it’s tailored specifically for you, and a customer-service team will set up a custom app with just the options you want after a discovery call.

Communication: 6

Limited to email and in-app alerts. We would love to see a text notification and a client communication dashboard.

Integrations/Bonuses: 7 does not offer an open API, but users can connect to Mailchimp and ConvertKit to send broadcast and autoresponder emails, Stripe for payments, MyFitnessPal for nutrition, and Zapier for just about everything else.

Cost: $199-$499 per month (pricing is for the entire system, including gym management).

Overall: 34/50

This is a solid system overall, and there’s a lot more under the hood than you can see at first glance. Though started as coaching software, the new additions (charging clients, scheduling, etc.) make it a solid choice for managing the entire gym.



Shayna and Drew Larsen of the coaching software company SugarWOD pose in blue T-shirts.

Courtesy of SugarWOD

SugarWOD started as a way to post programs for group classes and interact with members on a social platform. In May 2019, SugarWOD was acquired by Daxko, parent company to Zen Planner.

Function: 5

With regard to workout tracking for gyms, SugarWOD is a solid 8. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer 1:1 programming or nutrition tracking. For a gym that only offers group fitness coaching, this is a great solution. But we’ve seen many gyms move toward more personal fitness and nutrition coaching, and we need software that works in these applications as well.

Reporting: 6

The reports are minimal, but—refreshingly—SugarWOD does focus on bright-spot metrics such as attendance and PRs without excessive emphasis on technical details. The reports for on-ramp athletes, benchmark improvement, PRs and so on are all useful for coaches.

Usability: 8

Ease of logging is the number one issue with coaching software, and SugarWOD does a great job with a simple app and straightforward interface. Entering workouts is very simple as well. We’d love to be able to easily fist-bump or direct comments to people on a list (as in a Facebook feed) instead of using extra clicks for each task.

Communication: 6

It’s straightforward: Everything goes through the app. People can get notifications, but SugarWOD does not provide text/email options or messaging.

Integrations/Bonuses: 6

SugarWOD has an open API, so it will send data to a variety of systems if you know how to code. It also has a workout marketplace so other programs can be delivered directly through the system. Native integration is limited to Zen Planner, PushPress and a couple of other systems.

Cost: $19-$119 per month.

Overall score: 31/50

SugarWOD is a good app for group-class management, and it’s very strong on usability when logging workouts.

Chris Cooper’s notes: We’ve been using SugarWOD at Catalyst for years, and I look forward to chatting with its founders every year at the Games. They’re great people, and they provide a constant reminder that software companies should focus on doing one thing really, really well instead of trying to be everything to everyone. I hope SugarWOD’s founders (Drew and Shayna Larsen) can help Zen Planner raise its game. They’re amazing people and very smart.

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A woman in tights and a sports bra sits on a gym bench and enters workout details using Trainerize on a mobile device.

Courtesy of Trainerize

Pure coaching software, Trainerize is mostly focused on personal trainers in a 1:1 setting. Chris Cooper uses this at his gym, Catalyst.

Function: 7

Trainerize offers lots of great functions. You can create custom programs, custom exercises, nutrition recommendations, goals and groups. The platform features a coaching app and a member app, and you can assign programs and charge for them using Stripe. One big drawback is that a person with a group program can’t receive individual programs, which prevents customization of programs for individuals who are part of a bigger group.

Reporting: 8

Reports are available for workouts, nutrition, weight and sessions, and Trainerize allows you to send automated messages based on the reports.

Usability: 6

Smooth, for the most part. Nothing is super confusing, but the volume of options makes it tough to know where to begin. The overview videos really help when you’re getting started.

Communication: 7

Trainerize really focuses on communication with in-app alerts and the ability to call or email a client directly from the app. The program even integrates with other systems to allow video calls.

Integrations/Bonuses: 7   

You can integrate Trainerize with MyFitnessPal to track calories/macros, Fitbit to track steps, YouTube or a video drive to store your exercise videos, and Zapier for everything else.

Cost: 0 to $270 per month.

Overall: 35/50

Trainerize Overview (Updated: April 2019) from Trainerize on Vimeo.

Trainerize is a good app for 1:1 training, with tons of reports and great communication options. It’s also one of the only products that integrates MyFitnessPal.


A tablet surrounded by athletes shows a screen from the coaching platform TrainHeroic.

Courtesy of TrainHeroic

Developed by coaches for coaches, TrainHeroic started as a training marketplace and was built into a full training system.

Function: 7

TrainHeroic offers lots of fun stuff. You can enter workouts or entire programs for a group or individuals, and you can define as many groups as you want for different purposes. It also asks questions about readiness and mood before each session, but unfortunately it doesn’t track anything related to nutrition.

Reporting: 6

The reports are pretty basic but focus on the things we care about, including compliance, readiness, history and performance.

Usability: 8

TrainHeroic offers a simple, straightforward interface. It’s easy to create a workout and a program, and it’s easy and even fun to log workouts as an athlete. When athletes start a session, the platform asks them several questions to assess readiness, then starts a timer for the entire session. Users log the scores, then TrainHeroic asks them how it went to provide feedback that can be shared with other athletes or coaches. The UI is well thought out, and set-up was easy, too. We were able to go in and add individual workouts for people on the fly by clicking on them. TrainHeroic also has a leaderboard you can post on a screen.

Communication: 7

The platform mainly offers email and app alerts. The notes were simple and clear, and it was easy to see what’s going on.

Integrations/Bonuses: 6

TrainHeroic has the ability to use programs from lots of different coaches through the marketplace. The platform seems to integrate only with Pike13, and it doesn’t have an open API. 

Cost: $45-$150 per month.

Overall: 34/50

TrainHeroic is a really solid system with a simple interface and great features. We got excited because we could actually see this platform in use at our gyms. The only thing missing is the nutrition element, a problem that might be solved through integration with a platform such as MyFitnessPal.



The staff of the coaching software company TrueCoach posing on a loading dock with an overhead door.

Courtesy of TrueCoach


Formerly known as Fitbot, this software is focused primarily on the coach, which helps users manage personal-training clients and small groups.

Function: 7

Users can easily add workouts for groups or individuals, and the platform features lots of sections for notes on equipment, nutrition, limitations, planning, etc. TrueCoach offers your clients a good app with messaging and other features, but we would have liked more of a social component to group-training work. As it stands, it seems like communication is only possible between client and coach.

Reporting: 6

Reports seem to be limited to compliance, which is the most critical factor. Clients and coaches can pick a metric to track over time, such as body fat or back-squat weight. This data must be entered separately and isn’t tracked with workouts, but a nice graph can be created over time.

Usability: 7

TrueCoach is pretty simple and easy to use, without a lot of “extras” in the way. The UI is friendly and makes you want to make entries. Users also have the ability to link to their own demo videos, which is handy.

Communication: 8

We liked the messaging app and how the coach can see a feed of all client workouts and messages on one page, like a Facebook feed.

Integrations/Bonuses: 3

TrueCoach does not appear to integrate with anything, help with programming or provide an open API. However, it’s easy to use, so you might not need integrations.

Cost:$19-$99 per month.

Overall: 31/50

If you’re a 1:1 trainer, this is a great app to start with. It’s not as solid for groups because the group members can’t interact with each other.



A blond woman in a tank top stands in front of two flat screens displaying the coaching software Wodify.

Courtesy of Wodify

Wodify is a true “do it all” type of system, with member management, billing and workout tracking all in one. It was also included in our member-management comparison, which you can find here.

Function: 6

Wodify is primarily a gym-management app, with workout tracking built in. At the time, it was a revolution, but more useful workout-tracking apps have appeared. The Wodify system is still solid, and it lets you create and publish benchmark workouts to clients and have them log into the system itself. This creates some unique capabilities in terms of tracking attendance and flagging clients you haven’t seen in a while. The platform does not offer any mood/energy tracking, but Wodify does feature a nutrition journal, and a coach can review the client’s log.

Reporting: 6

Wodify offers basic reports that show benchmark scores, weightlifting numbers, gymnastics performance, etc. It also has a variety of attendance-tracking reports.

Usability: 6

Entering workouts wasn’t as straightforward as we’d like, and the system has tons of options. However, it’s trying to serve two purposes, so we won’t ding it much for the lack of focus. The app is pretty straightforward as well.

Communication: 6

You can email and SMS clients, but they have to opt in. This functionality is somewhat buried in the system rather than at your fingertips.

Integrations/Bonuses: 7

Wodify integrates with a few different systems, it has online programming on offer, and it manages your members. Lots of bonuses!

Cost: $79-299 per month.

Overall: 31/50

The “all in one” solution is the biggest draw here. Wodify is not the best coaching software, but it is the best platform if you want a single solution for coaching, billing, client relationship management and member management. Wodify’s goals are ambitious, and we’d all be using this system if the company nailed every aspect of its offering.

Chris Cooper’s notes: We’ve done a lot of work with Wodify this year, and its people are always amazing. Wodify has done much for the workout-tracking industry: It was the first to set a high price for service, the first to use screens in gyms, and so on. It’s tough to be the biggest player in a niche, but Wodify is on top for a reason.


Overall Results

1. Trainerize—35
2. TrainHeroic—34
4. CrossFit btwb—33
5. SugarWOD—31
5. TrueCoach—31
5. Wodify—31


Conclusion by Chris Cooper


We spent over $30,000 in time and testing to produce this objective guide.

We also don’t accept partnerships from software companies in this space because we want to remain objective.

Our purposes in publishing are twofold:

1. Help gym owners find the best tools—Your key differentiator, as a microgym, is coaching. Big chains, like Orangetheory and the various bootcamps, sell an experience. They have scoreboards and apps. But they can’t plot client arcs from current spots to goals. They can’t provide nutrition coaching or accountability or bright spots. Their systems aren’t built to accommodate 1:1 relationships.

At Two-Brain, we teach gym owners to build their systems around 1:1 relationships. The tools we use must strengthen those relationships. If they don’t, they’re superfluous.

2. Give software companies a target—This is a new one, but our last objective review of gym-management software yielded some pretty amazing results: “The Six Best Gym Management Software Platforms: Our Unbiased Review for 2019.”

As soon as it was published, both Wodify and Arbox made heavy investments to hit our targets. I was really impressed with both. Each said, “We want to win next year.”

The result of that investment will be improved products for gym owners.

I hope that happens here, too.


Stay Tuned


Software companies are product companies. They respond to consumer demand.

The best ones respond quickly; the weak ones die.

Which will evolve with microgyms to provide the best tools?

I have my opinion, but we’ll see.

This review will become even more important every time we do it.

CORRECTION—Sept. 4, 2019: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Wodify does not have a nutrition-tracking feature. Wodify does offer a nutrition journal athletes can fill out for review by their coaches. 
Which stage of entrepreneurship are you in? Take our 20-question quiz to find out and get the exact steps you need to take your business to the next level.

Two-Brain Radio: Converting More Clients With John Franklin and Mateo Lopez

Two-Brain Radio: The Kolbe Index With Brian Alexander

Greg: 00:02 – Hey everyone. It’s Greg Strauch of Two-Brain Media, and on this week’s episode we talked to Brian Alexander. You may know him as a Two-Brain mentor and also the owner of CrossFit Illumine in Chicago where we’ve had a few of our past summits. Now we dive into the Kolbe test. Really, what is the Kolbe test? How was it created, and why you should care about the Kolbe test and bring it onboard with your coaches and staff. Subscribe to Two-Brain Radio to hear the very best ideas, tips, and topics to move you and your business closer to wealth. Two-Brain Radio is brought to you by Two-Brain Business. We make gyms profitable. We’re going to bring you the very best tips, tactics interviews in the business world each week. To find out how we can help you create your Perfect Day, book a free call with a mentor at

Greg: 00:58 – We’d like to thank one of our amazing partners, Driven Nutrition. Have you ever been asked by your members or your staff what supplements to take, when to take them and where you should get them? How about the time it takes to put in the orders and making sure you have the right amount of supplements on hand? What about your profit margins on your supplements? Do you know what they are? Are they good, even? Your time is worth something, and ordering supplements isn’t worth your time. Driven Nutrition has solved this for you. They allow you to step aside and use preorders to send to your members for all supplement orders. That way you don’t have to have extra inventory on hand and it allows your members to order the supplements when needed. They’ve created an amazing on-boarding process for new businesses to allow for quick and easy understanding of what they have to offer and true profit margins that most other supplement companies promise but never deliver. This is why I personally use Driven Nutrition within my gym. Go to to become a Driven affiliate today.

Greg: 02:00 – All right, I’m here with Brian Alexander. He is not only a gym owner, he is a mentor on the Two-Brain staff. But he’s also as I like to call, loves to be in the clouds, thinking-wise, compared to the dirt, it’s just his specialty. And I love being able to talk to you and, especially today’s topic, which is the Kolbe or the Kolbe Index. So welcome, Brian. How are you?

Brian: 02:24 – I’m great. I’m great. Thanks for having me on, Greg.

Greg: 02:26 – Happy to, like I said, I always love talking to you because it takes me out of my normal realm of thinking. I wouldn’t say I’m in between clouds and dirt, but I like both sides of it and sometimes I get, I mean, I would say I’m just like any other gym owner or business owner where I get too methodical with the systems, building system after system after system. And it’s like, OK, where’s this going? And I love being able to talk to you and kind of go, OK, let me think big picture again. And you kind of bring me up to that higher level of seeking out that, what am I doing here and the purpose behind it. So, let’s kind of jump into the Kolbe. So what is the Kolbe Index? What is it for people that out there that have never heard of this? And why should they care about the Kolbe?

Brian: 03:13 – Yeah. So, the easiest way to explain the concept or the Kolbe wisdom is there’s three parts of the mind. We’re familiar with the two parts of the mind. So one being the affective with an A, and that covers your emotions, feelings, behaviors, needs, drives, et cetera. And then there’s the cognitive, which covers your learned behaviors. It covers habits, it covers your knowledge, it covers training, certifications and all of that. So IQ’s lumped into there, but also general cognitive ability. So those are the two parts of the mind. And then there’s a little-known third part of the mind that Kolbe measures, actually it goes back to ancient, ancient times and ancient wisdom with the Greek philosophers, but they had a much more, I’ll call it a much more complicated model. And there was 16 different kind of quadrants. And Kolbe measures, it’s called the conativ, so c o, n a, t, i v. And the conativ part of the mind is actually our instinct. It’s how somebody uniquely initiates their problem solving when free to be themselves, right? So if you take away all of your emotions, feelings, needs, behaviors, drives, you take away all of your life experience, everything you’ve learned, there’s this underlying kind of machine that’s constantly moving. And that’s the conativ, right? So if I dropped five people on an island and they had different conativ MOs or Kolbe Index MOs, and that’s known as modus operandi, and they were trying to solve the problem of survival, they would all begin or initiate their problem-solving very differently. And it’s predictable, which is pretty cool.

Greg: 05:08 – So basically, the modes or the action modes, this isn’t what you are great at and then what you suck at. It is more of just really how you work efficiently or how your mind actually basically digests problems, is that fair to say?

Brian: 05:29 – Yeah. How you would digest it and then also where your initiation of that problem-solving begins. And there’s a sequence based on if you initiate in one mode and you counteract in another mode and there’s four different bars. So that all means something. But typically all of us initiate in one action mode or another.

Greg: 05:52 – OK. Why do we call it the Kolbe test, who created it?

Brian: 05:57 – So Kathy Kolbe, about 40 or 45 years ago, began working on this from—she’s older now. She actually grew up in the household of Wonderlic cognitive testing. So her father founded the Wonderlic cognitive test, and they’re famously known in the business world, but also famously known for working in the NFL or with the NFL. And so she grew up in that family. So you can imagine her dinner conversations with her family as she was a teenager and young adult growing up were all centered around, you know, that type of stuff. Right? So she had a tremendous insight into psychology and these behavioral/cognitive tests, but she was also dyslexic, so she had a big contention with her father, you know, making decisions based on data solely based on cognitive ability. When she herself, you know, would score pretty poorly on that test because of her dyslexia. Right? So she had a learning disability. Now, she always knew that she had this, you know, incredible kind of like genius within. And she always thought that about other people as well, but they just weren’t measuring it properly. So she would always bring it up to her dad and say, “Dad, I don’t think this is right.” And her dad basically said, “Look, this is my life’s work. Don’t mess around with this. This is what I’m doing. If you want to solve that problem, you go off and do it on your own.” Right? So that’s what she did. She actually had a life-threatening car accident, which was kind of like her wake-up moment to say, you know what, I’m going to go all in on this and really figure this out. So that was over 40 years ago. They’ve been working on this concept for 40 years, so it’s 40 years deep of research.

Brian: 07:46 – The really interesting thing is there’s a 25-year ongoing study with the same participants and those participants across that 25-year span are retested and the results are 95% consistent. So that just means that we are born with these innate strengths. And they don’t, you know, they don’t leave us. So if we’re 15 years old or 95, we have this like natural mode of operation and it’s unique to us. And when we’re out of alignment with that or if we’ve, you know, we’re in a role or a job that doesn’t allow us to express that, there is a cost of conativ stress that they’ve actually measured on an EKG machine when you’re working on tasks or things that are well outside of your conativ strengths. I’ll actually give you a link so I can show you the EKG graph. And it’s really interesting. So, that’s kind of her story. It’s this, you know, amazing hidden kind of treasure that shows you the under workings of why people do what they do and how they do it.

Greg: 08:53 – So, just to kind of go back just a little bit to what you said, you said that there is a 25-year ongoing study and you basically said that the people, when they took this test originally and got the results, you’re saying that 25 years later they’re taking the same tests, and it’s only fluctuating possibly 5% at the very most across all of these people?

Brian: 09:20 – Yeah. In that ongoing study. So unlike many of the personality trait assessments—so fun fact here is there’s 800-plus assessments on the market. And out of all of those assessments, there’s really only a handful of scientifically validated assessments, so less than 10 that are scientifically validated to be used for pre-hire and selection. Kolbe is one of them. The predictive index is another and there’s a few other ones, but out of all 800, there’s only a few of them that are really measurable and repeatable that you could actually use as solid data to make informed business decisions for hiring. So yeah, it’s one of those things, you know, there’s a lot of other ones out there, Meyers Briggs, StrengthsFinder. There’s some, you know, very valuable things that you can take from them. But those could also change from time to time. Every time you take the test, based on your mood, based on if you’re hungry, if you’re tired, if you’re interrupted, because that’s all based on the affective part of the mind, right? But the conativ part of the mind, it’s 36 questions. If you don’t answer those similar questions consistently, you’re going to get a non-result. So they ask you the same question slightly differently just to make sure that you’re answering with consistency. And out of those 36 questions, you get your MO and that MO is good literally for life. And you can retake it if you want to. I’ve taken it three times. Mine didn’t change at all. Now, some people over 20 years, maybe they’ve changed a little bit, but that change or rate of change is very minimal. So if you’re going to use any data to kind of use as a starting point for one, self-awareness of your own innate strengths, but then two, it also helps you build tremendous empathy and compassion and it gives you a lens into everybody operates very differently. And just because something worked for me and I did it this way, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best advice for that other person unless you know who they are and how they operate.

Greg: 11:34 – So, I’ve taken the Kolbe as well. Just so everyone out there that’s listening. And I do love it. I’ve actually had my GM, I’ve had my head coach, I’ve had my future GM that’s actually working through, she’s gonna take over GM here September 1, because my current GM, her husband unfortunately got orders and they’re going to be heading to Germany. It’s a little hard to run the gym from a foreign country so that it’d be a little hard to do that. But, I had them all go through this as well. And it was amazing to see the different results compare to, as you brought up earlier, like a personality test and the different causes that could affect how a personality test can change. I mean, like you said, from eating to being stressed to not sleeping enough to all these variables. But I love the Kolbe test so far from what I’ve seen because I mean it’s like CrossFit, it’s measurable. I can see—but the really nice thing is it lets me see from what I can tell so far going through the data, what my strengths are and really kind of more knowing that higher level of Maslow’s pyramid of self-actualization. Would you say I’m correct on that?

Brian: 12:47 – Absolutely.

Greg: 12:49 – What kind of made you stumble upon the Kolbe and start implementing it not only in your life, but within your business and even getting to the point now, I believe you said you are able to train other organizations how to read the Kolbe, cause it is not, I wouldn’t say it’s simplistic. It doesn’t just say this is what you’re good at and this is what you need to keep doing. It has a lot of different things in there so that you can really kind of dive into it. So what made you stumble upon it, and then start actually implementing it?

Brian: 13:21 – Yeah. So over three years ago, I kind of came to a point where, you know, in my mind it was, it was completely the wrong lens, but I was wondering like, how do things keep not working out with things, opportunities that I would give people, right within our organization at Illumine. We’d have, you know, great SOPs and systems to follow and we’d have a great human being, you know, amazing culture fit and you know, you’d give them both, you’d give a little coaching and some people would just take it and thrive and other people would not do well and they would they would stumble and fall and fail. And you know, too many opportunities that were given to good people with good systems and processes ended up failing. So for me, I wanted to figure this out. There has to be a small missing link here. And so I took it for myself, and then I had my wife take it and I’m like, well, this is me for sure. I’ve never taken anything that really articulated what I did well, uniquely well, better than that, almost to a point where I just wanted people to just listen to that audio result because it explains me better than I can explain myself. And what I really, really liked about it was it was this objective measurement, right? So it wasn’t me telling an employee, hey man, I feel like you’re doing this or I feel like your strengths are like this. It was this objective like, hey man, here’s who I am and here’s what I do well and how I can make the biggest impact. Here’s what you do well and who you are and how you can make the biggest impact. Let’s try and work within those kind of lanes as much as possible and make sure that we’re aligned with, you know, doing the right things that fall within our innate strengths. Now, it doesn’t tell you you can or cannot do anything. We could all do anything, right? It’s literally we can do anything. The question is how long can we do it for and how good of a job can we do it? You know, when we’re under pressure, right? And this was a tool that enabled me to say, OK, like if we have an InBody scanner and somebody’s overweight, I’m not telling them they’re 50 pounds overweight, like that little machine is telling them, telling us, me and the client versus the problem. Right. And it was kinda like the InBody of, you know, of strength.

Brian: 16:01 – And then once we began to really understand this, I understood why things didn’t quite work out and why opportunities weren’t, you know, fully, I guess realized in terms of giving maybe an intrapreneurship program to one coach, maybe a management program to another coach. I was able to pick them apart in retrospect, you know, beginning three years ago, I ended up giving my entire team the Kolbe and one by one, you know, really began to fill out the picture of, ah, OK, there is a layer underneath it all and we do all operate from, like, my happiness and my fulfillment and success to me is the freedom, ultimately, the freedom to be myself every day, or at least you know, as much as I humanly can. Cause that’s where I feel the best and do my best work. If I do that for myself, I also have to do that for my entire team. I can’t just pass off stuff that is not within their realm of strength just because it’s not in my realm of strengths and then make them miserable. I have to really take a step back and strategically set people up to thrive and succeed because a lot of people aren’t self-aware and they don’t quite know what they’re good at, what they’re not good at, what their strengths are, what makes them happy. And I think a lot of people, for the sake of opportunity or maybe not letting me down, basically just, you know, they’re like, yeah, I can do that. I’ll figure it out. Or yeah, we’ll see what happens. Let’s try it out. And you know, we want a little more objectivity behind that. A little more strategy behind that.

Chris: 17:40 – Hey guys, it’s Chris Cooper. If you’ve ever run out of money, you know that it affects every single corner of your life, all of your relationships, your business, even your self-worth. And so when I found a mentor in 2009, I said, I want to share this gift with everyone. Since then, I’ve been building and refining and improving a mentorship practice that we now call Two-Brain Business. We break our mentorship into several stages. The first stage is the Incubator, which is a 12-week sprint to get your foundation built, to get you started on retention and employee programs and finding the best staff, putting them in the best roles, training them up to be successful, and then recruiting more clients. It’s an amazing program. It is the culmination of over a decade of work. It’s also the sum of best practices from over 800 gyms around the world. These aren’t just my ideas anymore. What we do is track with data what’s working for whom and when, and we test new ideas against that data to say, is this actually better? Then when ideas have proven themselves conclusively, then we put it in our Incubator or Growth or Tinker programs. I just wrote “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” to define who should be doing what in what stage of entrepreneurship. But no matter where you are, the Incubator is your first 12-week sprint to get as far as possible in your business. We’re a mentorship practice for one reason: Mentorship is what works. We work with gym owners for one reason: Because you have the potential to change the world with us, and I hope you do.

Brian: 19:11 – So three years ago, I dug in. It’s been a long journey since, over a year ago I became a Kolbe-certified consultant. So for the past years I’ve actually been working with larger companies, with bigger teams and helping leaders, you know, CEOs, directors of sales really begin to create archetypes with these assessments to say, OK, well here’s what we need to hire against. I have a outside sales role that requires somebody to have this constant drive to continue to build and grow. There’s an MO that fits that perfectly. Now that role could crush somebody else and make them feel miserable and make them feel super ineffective unless they put on that mask. But putting on that mask, you can only do that for so long before you’re like, hey look, I can’t do this anymore. This is not me. So if we can avoid more of those situations and make people happier by aligning them with their strengths, they’re going to do their best work. Right?

Greg: 20:08 – Agreed. And what I really, I’d say that my biggest, or better yet, my favorite thing about the Kolbe test is the fact that it doesn’t tell you weaknesses. It just tells you what your strengths are and almost like Bright Spots to figure out, hey, this is what you’re really good at. Do things in these ways. Don’t do things in these ways cause it’s going to cause you to have stress or cause you to not finish or cause you to just really not be 100% you. Right? And I really liked that, the do’s and don’ts that they gave me. So the action modes that we kind of talked about earlier, what are those four big pillars, that they call action modes?

Brian: 20:51 – So action modes. They’re iconic red, blue, green, yellow bars. The action modes are, red is fact finder. That’s how we, gather and share information. So there’s a continuum high to low, lower numbers mean we need less and give less information, less history, less context, the higher numbers need that, they need a lot more. They don’t like to be, you know, put under the gun under a timeline, they need a lot of time to prepare. So the higher-end fact finders, right? So anywhere from like seven to 10. The blue is how we organize information and that’s going to be high to low continuum. The higher on that continuum, those people naturally create systems. They create order out of chaos and they’re able to uphold the integrity of these systems much more naturally than people who are lower on the continuum, who seek to adapt. They’re looking to make things more efficient all the time. And these are things that like you can’t shut off. You can try to shut them off, but it’s always going to bubble back up to the surface. So the next column is green and that’s quick start. That’s how we deal with risk and uncertainty. The higher the number on the green, the easier it is for us to take risks. The more ideas we have, the more innovation we have. People like that learn through experiencing. So they’re experiential learners. People lower on the continuum seek to stabilize. They seek to find solutions that work and not change things for the sake of changing them. So you could see how there could be like different, you know, relationships between how two people might view the world and work together. The last yellow column is implementer, and this is a little confusing of a word, but implementer doesn’t mean can you implement solutions or systems or not. It’s literally how we deal with tangibles, the quality of the here and now. Higher on the continuum, they begin their problem solving by building physical models like literally with their hands. These types of people are the people that literally like love building Ikea furniture. It’s just second nature for them. Now the people lower on that continuum, they solve their problems in their minds. So they visualize solutions. They don’t ever have to touch and feel the end product. They can take the context of what they’ve experienced in life. They can say, OK, well, you know, conceptually this should work. Of course, you know, that continuum of how accurate that is is depending on how much work that person’s done and what they’ve experienced. But they begin their problem solving by visualizing solutions in that implementer category. And that’s the lower number, right? So four different kind of quadrants, the lower numbers are one through three in each quadrant and that means that we counter at, four or five and six means we react and then the seven, eight, nine, and even 10 means we initiate in those modes.

Greg: 24:06 – Gotcha. OK. So we have those four different action modes, which again are just telling you where are you super strong? But a one doesn’t mean you’re not good at it, it’s just not as high on the one out of 10 as where it would place you, I guess, because one doesn’t mean bad, 10 doesn’t mean good. It just kind of puts you in a kind of zones of operation, I believe it’s called.

Brian: 24:36 – Exactly. So for example, your one in implementer might mean that you can visualize solutions really well without ever having to touch and feel, and maybe you’re a theorist and you draw things out on a whiteboard and then you pass them off to the people who actually put the rubber to the road. But that could be your superpower, because you can do that so well in your head and you’re constantly doing that. Now, your 10 in quickstart way up there, that is, you know, your strength and superpower. However, if you don’t have people to execute your ideas and you know, put the river to the road again, then it could become somewhat of a hindrance and or weakness, right? So your superpower or your kryptonite can always be your superpower and vice versa. So you have to understand how you work, but also how to fill your gaps to bring, you know, things into the world where you collaborate with people who fill your gaps to, you know, work on the quality of the here and now, to work on the systems, the processes. What I find beautiful is even if you’re an entrepreneur, you know, we have a lot of data on entrepreneurs, there is no one type of entrepreneur with the Kolbe MO. They’re all across the board. So it’s not can you be an entrepreneur, it’s how you uniquely entrepreneur.

Greg: 26:02 – OK. That definitely makes a lot more sense, especially looking at results from myself. But then on top of that, even my staff of knowing—which is really, really funny because for me, like my biggest category or my highest number I guess if you want to call it that, was my follow through, which is systemize. One of my coaches who I know is not good at building systems or building a plan, they’re much lower in that follow-through category. Now again, it doesn’t mean that they can’t systemize, it’s just that’s not their strength. They have strengths in other categories such as like fact-finder. They’re much higher up there, which, would just change how they actually act on things.

Brian: 26:51 – Right, right. So you’re not going to give that person or that coach the responsibility of creating order out of chaos and creating SOPs from scratch because that’s not their strength, their natural mode of operation. But also because you have this objective data, you’re not going to, you know, wrongly give them that and you’re not going to just say, hey man, you’re not trying hard enough. And if they ask you questions like, how do I do this? You know, a lot of times it’s like, I dunno, just do it the way I do it. And it could be right or it could be wrong. If you understand that person uniquely, you can say, here’s what you do well, let’s focus here. You do the research, you look up the historical data, the context, all of that and give me that. I’ll create a system from that. Now we can really start to work synergistically together rather than against each other.

Greg: 27:45 – OK. I like that. I like that, especially on a team. I mean, we need to be able to work together and kinda flow off of each other’s strengths to build a team that can do what it needs to do depending on what business you’re in or kind of what team, whether that’s in the military to being on a team and making sure that everything gets accomplished correctly. So within the categories, if somebody’s thinking about adding the Kolbe test, or better yet taking the Kolbe test, we’ll make sure that we share a link for this. But what is, if you could say to anyone out there that’s thinking about doing this, what do you feel like is the most important thing for them to understand about the Kolbe test? Of why they should be implementing it yesterday, last week, I mean last year, even, into themselves and then also into their business with their employees or their staff?

Brian: 28:39 – So what I believe is you can’t lead anybody until you can effectively lead yourself. And that’s just a belief that I have. And I’ve tried leading people before I understood who I was. I made a lot of concessions for who I was for who I thought I could and should be. So understanding that if you’re going to lead people, you have to first understand yourself, your strengths, how you operate. You have to really have this drive for self-awareness. And by doing that, by diving inward and kind of looking at a lot of this stuff, you can’t help but build this tremendous empathy, compassion, understanding and appreciation for how different people view the world and the contributions that they have. So that’s number one. If you’re leading a team, and I’d say we’re all leaders regardless, right, whether you’re a CEO of your gym or you’re a parent or you know, you’re just a human being and you have friends, we’re all leading people. So understanding like self-awareness is kind of this “start here” point on the map, and then you can go out and kind of build your reality from there. I’d say that’s the number one reason why you should do it. And then helping other people understand what their strengths are. Really celebrating their unique contributions and strengths. It builds this culture of self-awareness that, you know, just celebrates how much we need each other. Everybody.

Greg: 30:23 – Wow. Yeah. I could definitely not say that any better myself. I totally agree that it’s helped me with my team. I would say the next company retreat I’m going to make sure that everyone has their Kolbe test and I feel like this is something that we are going to kind of break down a little bit more into those action modes if—and I think that it’s going to be phenomenal and of course I will make sure that I relay this back to the podcast so everyone can hear my results from it and possibly use it or not use it. It’s up to them of course. But I think the Kolbe test has been super big within my organization. I know Brian, you have gone full depth into it to become a certified consultant, even, to work with teams and businesses to implement this correctly and understand their strengths, each person’s strengths. If somebody is like, hey, you know what, I really like this and I want to kinda pick Brian’s brain on this Kolbe test and how can I implement this within my organization to get better results and better action from maybe my staff or my coaches, I know if it was me and I didn’t know—if I’ve got a Kolbe test for one of my coaches and realized, yeah, they are not good with systemizing things and I just can’t understand why. And I mean, I’m to the point of firing them, but kind of realizing now why, what’s the best way for people to contact you so they can learn a little bit more about the Kolbe test or possibly implementing it within their business?

Brian: 31:54 – Yeah, so, we’re working on getting this added as a specialist. So we’re running the internal pilot with all the Two-Brain mentors and you know, working this out within their own gyms. We always have to do our research, gather the data and you know, really prove the concept before we offer it up to the entire Two-Brain community. So that would be, you know, we’re working on it. That’s our first step. is where you can reach me. And you know, if we’re able to get something up and running with, you know, with that concept sooner rather than later, I’d be more than happy to help you out. At a minimum you’re able to go to and just take the test on your own. It gives you an amazing report, audio along with a 16-page visual video kind of breakdown of it. That’s kind of like your first step into it. Very valuable information. And then of course there’s more to it, right? So how do two people work together? How do teams work together? What happens if you replace one person in the team with another person on the team? How does that change the synergy and the dynamic? And it does. So it gets pretty interesting and in depth. But the first step is always, you know, just take your Kolbe at the website.

Greg: 33:09 – Awesome. Brian, thank you so much for your time being able to jump on and dive into the Kolbe test. Like I said, I hope everybody out there listens to this clicks on the link that we have there so that they can hurry up and get the Kolbe test. Just to get closer to that, like I said, the top of that pyramid of self-actualization, excuse me, self-actualization, and really get to know themselves, but then also get to know their staff and kinda what makes them tick and be able to motivate them possibly in a different way to get a better result than maybe they are getting right now. So thank you so much for your time.

Brian: 33:42 – Thanks for having me on.

Greg: 33:44 – Thank you for listening to Two-Brain Radio. Make sure to subscribe to receive the most up-to-date episodes wherever you get your podcasts from. To find out how we can help create your Perfect Day, book a free call with a mentor at


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

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

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