The 2019 TwoBrain Summit

The 2019 TwoBrain Summit

The 2019 TwoBrain Summit is coming soon! This year, we’ll be bigger and better than ever!

As always, we’ll have two separate speaking tracks in two separate rooms: one for owners, and one for coaches!


Our 2019 Venue is the Crowne Plaza Conference Center in Chicago, IL!

BOOK YOUR ROOMS HERE – tell them you’re with the TwoBrain Business group!


Topics on the Owners’ side will include:

The Client Success Manager: The Most Important Role In Your Business – Stories and Processes, with Brian Strump and Jeff Burlingame

How To Change Your Life – Jay Williams

Organizational Culture – How to Retain Your BEST Employees, with Eden Watson and Greg Strauch

The Business Owner’s Lifecycle: Breaks, Vacation, Marriage and More, with Sherman Merricks

Motivation and Leadership, with Anastasia Bennett

Converting More Clients: Why You Need To Call Them NOW!, with John Franklin and Mateo Lopez

The “Golden Goose”: Leaving a Farmer Behind When You Reach Tinker Phase, with Jeff Burlingame

How To Start a Business Owners’ Group In Your Community, with Tammy Friedt

Making Decisions: The 3-Question Process for Deciding What to Do, and When to Do It, with Josh Price

How To Tell Compelling Stories About The Three Most Important Client Avatars, with Josh Martin

The Apple Story, FFTT, Where Relationships Should Be Focused, and How, with Josh Martin


Topics on the Coaches’ Side Will Include:

How To Make a Career In Fitness, with Brian Alexander

…and plenty more to come!

The TwoBrain Tinker Group will meet Friday, with topics like these:

The Multiple-Location Model: Are You Ready? Should You Do It? With Jeff Larsh


We’re adding speakers and topics every week! Stay tuned here for more!


The TwoBrain Summit is the preeminent annual meeting for gym owners. Attendees come from around the world, and coaches focus on building their careers while owners focus on building their business. This year, over 350 participants will dive in, do work, and take ACTION prompted by the TwoBrain mentoring team. This is NOT a “sit-and-listen” weekend, and we anticipate an early sellout!









Why I Bought Bikes For My Gym

CrossFit is more than cycling a barbell. A LOT more.


I first heard the word “CrossFit” in the pit area of a local triathlon. I was a bike marshal (aka tire-pumper) and one of the kids asked if I’d heard of CrossFit while he was putting his shoes on.

I said, “What?”

He made a little cross sign in front of his face.

“You know–like a cross. Plus ‘Fit’. You might run a mile carrying a rope, then tie the rope to a tree and climb up ten times, and then run back.”

I said–and I’ll never forget this–“That sounds like bullshit.”

He ran away, laughing. That was 2006.


Ten years into being a CrossFit affiliate, I can now afford to broaden the definition of “fitness” for my clients. But even when I couldn’t buy more equipment, I was always drawn back to the bike. I used to ride MTB (and ride a roadie to train for the trails). On my first visit to HQ, Greg and Sevan showed up on bicycles. And Greg’s first speeches compared gymnasts, weightlifters and cyclists. The bike has ALWAYS been part of CrossFit.


For the last year, I’ve been thinking, “How do I get people outside more, and still keep them as members?”


When I visited HQ last fall, I asked some of Greg’s original clients about doing bike workouts. Sevan and Bruce shared a couple of them, and I asked Greg himself when I visited him at home in Portland. He described one workout something like this:


“I took a bunch of bikes and stashed them at the bottom of a big hill. Then I drive my dumbbells to the top in my truck. I told people to ride the bikes up the hill, do 50 thrusters or something, and then ride back down. I’m surprised no one crashed.”


We laughed, but really–you probably wouldn’t do that in 2018.


I asked Greg if I should buy some bikes for the gym. He said it would be “really cool.”


In the summer, almost every gym sees a slight decline in adherence (that’s attendance, not necessarily drop-offs in membership.) That’s fine, as long as our clients are continuing to exercise. One of the ways to best keep them engaged is to sign groups of members up for events: Spartan Races, Tough Mudders, long runs, triathlons and bikes. Having a goal keeps them engaged–and needing a coach. So when a local 100km ride fundraiser was announced, that was my final push: I ordered 5 Cannondales from my friend Jan, worked out a package for maintenance, and bought some bike racks.


Here are the details:


Bike model: Cannondale CAADX (commonly used in rental shops. They’re bulletproof) with a MTB headset instead of a cyclocross headset (if that’s Greek to you, it means the handlebars look like mountain bike handlebars instead of road bike handlebars)

I bought 2 Medium-sized frames; 2 Large-size; and 1 Small-size.

Features: Disc brakes, rapid-fire shifters, very low profile road tire and 27 gears. Basically, it’s higher-end mountain bike gearing with medium-level road wheel kit. They’re very comfortable, but it’s not hard to stay in the big ring. Just don’t touch soft gravel with them.


Maintenance: Jan provided the gym with a free seminar on bike maintenance and emergency repair.


In case of a problem (like a flat tire), clients are told to take problems to Jan’s bike shop. He keeps a tab and invoices me every month.


In case of a major issue, clients are told to replace the bike. At around $800 Canadian, that makes some think twice about borrowing them. But it also makes them think twice about backing over the bike with their car.


Safety: Bikes are equipped with LED flashers and basic pedals. I don’t use toe-clips because some aren’t familiar with them, and those who are will probably have compatibility issues. If a client wanted to sign out a bike for an event and wanted to use clip-in pedals, they could have the pedals swapped out at Jan’s bike shop.


Usage: So far, we haven’t run out of bikes. I was happy to see two of our bikes parked at the gym yesterday when I arrived for noon group. But if we put a lot of miles on them, I’ll double the fleet next year.


We haven’t used them in a WOD, but we’ve launched a cycling group to train for the 100km ride around St. Joseph Island. Since our gym location is close to downtown (and there’s a stoplight on every corner) I haven’t figured out how to put them into shorter workouts. But it’s fine with me to have more “long” and less “hard” in our programming during the summer.


Download: Bike Check-Out Sheet



Unexpected bonus: Many of my members are now joining Strava, which is–in my opinion–the best workout tracking app out there. CrossFitty-tracking apps could learn a lot from Strava. And the app has also put me in daily contact with dozens of athletic runners and cyclists that I never see on Facebook or Instagram.



270 people, all headed in one direction. That was the 2018 TwoBrain Summit for me.


For the first time, thanks to Mike and Joyce, I didn’t have to organize very much at all. Despite my frequent badgering (“A thousand bucks for PENS?!”) they carried off an amazing weekend that was 10x better than anything I’ve done before. That meant I got to watch, talk with and hug hundreds of people.


Dozens of great stories are percolating in my head right now. But these ones have stayed on top:


Oskar once wrote me an email titled “Thank You For 2012”. It was intensely personal, so I won’t share it verbatim, but he told me the story of moving to Zambia to adopt his daughter, Emma. He downloaded most of the Journal for his trip, and in the big stack was something I wrote about a client with MS. Oskar and his wife planned to stay in Zambia for 4 months; instead, they had to stay for 11. During that time, he decided that CrossFit would be his path to helping the world. I was intensely moved by his long email and think of it every time I see him.


But on Friday night, I met Emma. This beautiful kid came bouncing into the Wildwood Tavern with her mom, carrying stuff from the Disney store, and I immediately knew who she was:

I was so excited to meet her that I forgot she doesn’t speak English (her parents are amazingly fluent). She said “My name is Emma” but then politely nodded while I jabbered on. The next morning, Oskar showed me a picture of his hotel bathroom: Emma, wearing her Flash cape, had tried to do a few pull-ups on the towel rack and ripped it out of the wall. How could I like this girl any more?!?


And she wasn’t the only kid at the Summit. Carl and Phoebe Balentyne won the 2018 Owner Lifestyle Award AND had their baby with them all weekend! In fact, there were 3 babies circulating around this year, and we never heard a peep from any of them. Josh Price borrowed Coach Jess’ baby for a half hour to soak up some calming vibes before his presentation too.


I would have been the first to say, “Leave your kids at home if you want to get the most from the Summit”, but I would have been wrong. It was an excellent reminder of who we’re REALLY serving here, and I’m thrilled to know these kids will grow up in homes full of health, disposable income and an entrepreneurial mindset.


We also ate 250 pounds of meat. In an hour. This might seem like a big topic shift, but it’s not.


Garner arrived at 4 on Friday, lit the barbecues, and stayed up all night with his buddy Lowell to cook for the TwoBrain Family. The food was incredible. But even better, Garner stood up on Sunday and delivered his “Love and Logic” presentation. The presentation before his was also about finding balance between family and work. I sat in the crowd and marveled that “This is where we are now.” Even last year, most of our topics revolved around finding and keeping clients. There was plenty of that in 2018, but my feeling was that we had collectively leveled up: that our “WHY” was more clear than ever, and that we’d found our anchor: family. #tipofthetip


During Jay’s speech, I got to sit with a box owner who said her biggest problem was putting people in the right roles. She wanted her staff to LOVE their jobs, and was worried that some didn’t. One of her “staff” is her life partner, and who wouldn’t want their wife to be happy?

Across the room, her partner was saying the same thing to someone else, and when we connected the dots later, it felt like a miracle. Family > Fear of tough conversations.


Finally, this was Hayley’s first seminar as full-on CEO of Ignite. Hay has been working at Ignite for a couple of years, but when my former partner left, she stepped up and has already doubled its local reach. I put her on the Summit schedule without asking her, knowing it would be out of her zone of familiarity, and she stepped UP. It was great.

While she was away, a local 14-year-old tried to kill himself. In the hospital recovery area, he said, “I need to go to the gym.” Another Ignite coach jumped in and led him through a workout while Hay was with us in Chicago. Hayley flew home Monday, went straight to the gym and helped out a few clients, and then sent me this picture when she got home:

That’s Laney, who will have an amazing female role model for a mom. I texted her back: “Time to buy me out of Ignite.”  She’s ready.


…and then, as I’m writing this and avoiding all the Facebook posts about what an HQ staffer might have said, Jared and Peter from NapTown step up and show us all what care looks like in action. They welcomed 50 new CrossFit athletes to their gym this weekend because they’re open, tolerant and truly care about people. They’re an example to us all, and I’m glad they chose to share their story with the TwoBrain family, where they knew it would be welcomed and nurtured.


Talking to the mentoring team on Monday, I asked if anyone had noticed that more and more entrepreneurs with families are joining our own. Everyone agreed that most attendees–and most of our mentorship clients–had partners or families. And if they didn’t, we’ve got one here waiting for them. This is what “tip of the spear” really means: leadership through actions and support.


More to come, family.


Full 2018 Summit Schedule

250 are registered for the 2018 TwoBrain Summit!


Two years ago, 50 of us gathered in Sault Ste. Marie.

Last year, 150 met at Illumine.

This year, over 250 have registered, with MORE signing up every day!


EVERY talk includes an action component: role-playing, exercises to work through, scenarios to solve, and hot seats to grill.


EVERY topic is brand new for 2018.


EVERY speaker is a pro.


Pack an extra brain if you can find one…because yours is gonna be FULL.


Here’s the final agenda for the 2018 Summit, including both the Owners’ and Coaches’ Tracks:

I LOVE seeing you all, and the top value from the weekend is the in-person connection with other gym owners!

You can absolutely still register (we just can’t guarantee you a t-shirt, but we can send you one later.)


Click here for last-minute registration!

The 2018 Summit: Why You Should Be There

The 2018 Summit: Why You Should Be There

The TwoBrain Summit is the only live event we host for gym owners. While our Level 5 Group meets a few times every year, the Summit is where the entire TwoBrain Family comes together to strengthen our bonds and get some outside perspective.


This year, the Summit will be more interactive than EVER before. Every session will have an ACTION! component–maybe role-playing, content development, a hot seat, or group discussion. You’ll get work DONE here.


We have two curriculum tracks: OWNERS AND COACHES. Both have separate themes.


The Owners’ Track theme is “Founder | Farmer | Tinker | Thief”. We’re going to identify which phase of entrepreneurship you’re in, and tailor your weekend’s work to help you reach the next phase.


The Coaches’ Track theme is “How To Make a Living In The Fitness Business.” We want to tell your coaches all the stuff they need to build a solid foundation under your entrepreneurial umbrella.


Listen to speakers from the TwoBrain Mentoring team on all new topics like:

Affinity Marketing – Chris Cooper – Step by step guided process through Affinity Loops, and finding your NEXT great clients

The Sales Process – Jeff Burlingame – Building your new offerings, presenting options to clients. Then role-playing between gym owners and situational practice sessions.

Staffing – Brian Alexander – How to place the right people in the right seats, based on their personality types, habits and values.

Increasing ARM – Josh Price – How to make a solid career by focusing on high-ARM clients instead of high-volume, fast-turnover clients.

Member Retention – Anastasia Bennett – Using Peak Moments to keep members engaged long-term; firing the “wrong” clients and smashing cliques.

Funnel Marketing – John Franklin – a review of current best practices, what’s working, and what’s NOT

Paying Myself – Brian Alexander and John Briggs on “The Road To 33%” – bring your Big Sheets!

Family/Work Balance – Jeff Smith – The story of how Jeff survived the Houston flooding, kept his family safe, rebuilt his gym and home while helping other gym owners in need

Starting a Nutrition Program – Nicole Aucoin of Healthy Steps – building a corporate challenge, engaging clients in a long-term nutrition strategy.

“The Two-Brain Workshop: What is it and How Can I Get One?” – Eden Watson


The Roadmap to Success – Brian Alexander – Using his new career-planning tool, Brian will walk coaches through the opportunity to make a great career in fitness. Then we’ll give them examples of how to sell more PT, how to pursue their special interests, and how to build their brand under your umbrella!

Nutrition Add-ons – Lindsay MacDonald – how to find clients, run challenges, and build an accountability program for long-term revenue

Selling PT without Feeling like a salesman – Jeff Burlingame – Building a book of business using the Help First mindset, Goal Reviews, and the Prescriptive Model. Jeff will teach your coaches how to sell their services.

RPR – JL Holdsworth – an amazing new system that allows you to make instant improvements in your performance by creating change through your nervous system. We have implemented it with many nfl teams, Jets, Bengals, Vikings, 49ers, Jaguars, Dolphins & a few more

How to Start and run a Kids program – Gretchen Bredemeier – the coordinator of Loco Kids, Gretchen talks about building, filling and programming for a Kids program. She was a huge hit on TwoBrain Radio.

Start and run an Ignite program – Hayley Campbell

The TwoBrain Summit is now the LARGEST SUMMIT EVENT FOR AFFILIATE OWNERS IN THE WORLD! And since over 80% of attendees are TwoBrain gyms, you know you’ll be working with the tip of the spear!







Register here