Gym Management: The Case for Part-Time Coaches

Gym Management: The Case for Part-Time Coaches

In discussions on gym management and staffing, the argument has long been made that a fitness professional must be a full-time coach.

The purported benefits:

  1. Full attention is devoted to coaching.
  2. Full-time coaches are better educated.
  3. Full-timers can serve clients 40 hours per week.
  4. All time is devoted to areas of passion.

But are those the real benefits of a full-time coach? And are they exclusive to full-timers?

In this article, I’ll share why a coach doesn’t have to work full-time to meet any of those requirements, and, most importantly, why part-time coaches might actually make your clients happier.


Less Feedback Is More

Less Feedback Is More

Occam’s razor cuts a closer shave.


It’s a philosophical principle that will help you grow your business, train your clients and avoid stress. Occam’s razor says: “simpler solutions are more likely to be correct than complex ones.”


In coaching, that means “Your clients can’t follow two commands.”


In business, that means “you can’t act on every piece of client feedback you get.”


In leadership, that means “tell them exactly what you want them to do.”


Here’s how to put Occam’s razor into practice in your gym business, help your clients progress faster, guide your team to success, and stay focused yourself.



    • Correct one thing at a time. Every client should receive 1:1 coaching from you every day. Whether in a big group, small group or personal training session, your job is to provide individual coaching to every client. But it’s tempting for novice coaches to coach TOO much. Vomiting information on a client will just paralyze them. Tell them one thing to fix; promise to teach them the next step tomorrow; and let them achieve mastery one step at a time. Avoid the temptation to show off your knowledge.


    • Tell them what you’re going to tell them. Then tell them. Then tell them what you told them. Instead of sharing several points at once, spend your entire session on one key point. Give an overview at the whiteboard. Then get really in depth with each client individually. Finally, recap the lesson for the group.


Staff Development:

    • Keep your staff evaluations short. More categories for evaluation isn’t better, because the most important points of measurement get buried. It’s critical that coaches show up early; look great; smile at everyone; keep everyone engaged; and end on time. You might add 2-3 more criteria to the list. But a 20-section coaching evaluation is almost worse than no evaluation at all, because it’s not a reflection of their true skill.


    • Evaluate your staff by each role separately. If you haven’t broken out each responsibility in your business into a separate role, you risk throwing an amazing coach out with the bathwater. If a knowledgeable, caring coach forgets to take out the garbage at night, it might be wise to hire a cleaner or change the coach’s schedule instead of firing them.
    • Give your staff a clear path forward. We use the career roadmap tool in the Incubator.



    • Have a clear vision and repeat it at every opportunity. Give your staff and clients one central point of focus: “Everything we do, we do because of THIS.”


    • Don’t survey your clients. The important feedback will get buried, and you’ll spend too much time trying to please the wrong people. Read more about Killing The Canaries here.


    • Explain everything as simply as you can. Many gym owners use pictures or videos in their staff playbooks now.
    • Follow proven paths wherever you can. Mentorship has allowed me to reach farther, in far less time, because I don’t have to figure anything out for myself, or repeat expensive, time-consuming mistakes that my mentors have already made.



Reading books about editing can make you a better leader and entrepreneur. As a coach, leader and owner, your mind must be trained to seek the simplest, straightest path. Start with these, but always ask: “How can I make this more automatic?”

Episode 168: Exercise Over Opioids

Episode 168: Exercise Over Opioids


“We have an opioid crisis. And medical practitioners have a fairly narrow scope when it comes to low back pain.”

So back pain is very common, but I mean, every profession has what I refer to as a tool box.
And ironically, the care or the treatment that you’re going to get depends not on what’s wrong with you, rather what the person that you see, what’s in their toolbox,
So if you see a guy and he’s got a hammer, well, you know what you’re going to get. If you’ve got a screwdriver, you know what you’re going to get, right?
In the toolbox of a physician, they have access to diagnostic imaging, right? So they can order things like x rays and MRIs and CAT scans. Then they basically they also have access to drugs.

The way we think about treating back pain is wrong. The way we talk about it is wrong. And that process is hurting us.

In the quest to change healthcare, there are many starting points. Today we are joined by André Riopel, a local physical therapist and entrepreneur from Canada helping chart the future of healthcare. Andre has a wealth of experience in the physiotherapy field treating all kinds of major injuries and learning what it takes to avoid them. We talk about prevention of major injuries and how CrossFit gyms can help facilitate continued health into later years. Join us as we learn from Andre’s experiences and his unique point of view on the healthcare field.


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





1:30 – Introduction to André Riopel

3:35 – Andre’s story and how he got started in physical therapy

8:28 – How should a physician treat lower back pain

12:07 – The problems with diagnostic imaging in the medical field

29:11 – The trouble with diagnosing back pain

33:21 – The mechanical diagnosis of back pain

41:23 – Back Pain caused by Derangement

48:00 – Is joint popping a good thing?

51:59 – Dysfunctional injuries as an athlete ages

59:45 – The three activities every human should be able to do

110:44 – How to reach André Riopel


Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:


To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
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How To Be “Gym-Poor”

How To Be “Gym-Poor”

Every square foot you rent should generate revenue for you.


And the amount you generate should be clear.


We’re often called by gym owners who are running out of money because they rented too much space. We’re almost never called by gym owners with the opposite problem.


The owners’ mistakes and regrets all center around using space for activities that aren’t directly tied to revenue:

  • a sitting area for clients (does it actually help retention?)
  • a coffee bar (too expensive to staff and stock)
  • some dedicated single-function space (will people want to take yoga classes at your gym forever?)
  • a whiskey/beer/whatever cool distraction is in this week.

Those are the things that make owners gym-poor.


In every case, the gym owner added things they believed would add value to the client. And that’s the problem: WE see the value of having an athlete lounge, but they don’t. Or it’s not quantifiable. So here’s my rule: if you can’t point to something in your gym and say, “That brings me X dollars each month”, get rid of it. You have too many opportunities that WILL pay you to take up space on those that won’t.


When an athlete thinks about joining or leaving your gym, they think about the coaches, not the couches.


While a clean bathroom is a necessity, a steam room isn’t.


What IS?

Group training space, if you offer group training. Flexible layout is preferred. Option to run two groups at once is best.

Semiprivate or private space for 1:1 and small-group training

Private consultation or office space for meeting with clients

1 shower for every 70 clients (more if you serve a nearby corporate staff)

1 additional bathroom for every 70 clients (minimum, more is better).


Our method of training is simple and elegant: everything you need, nothing you don’t. Your space–and your business–should focus your client’s attention on your true service instead of the distractions. And don’t forget YOUR focus: every entrepreneur needs to work on things that will increase their effective hourly rate instead of buying themselves more tasks.


You can stock the bananas, or you can sign up the clients. Which will actually add value? It’s up to you to know.



Episode 166: Protecting Yourself from Lawsuits, with Rachel Brenke

Episode 166: Protecting Yourself from Lawsuits, with Rachel Brenke

You just got THE LETTER.

You found a great picture on Google and used it on your website. And now you’re getting sued.

Or maybe you’re the one who wants to litigate: a coach left your box, she’s emailing all your members, and you want to drop the hammer.

What’s your first step? Rachel has the answers in this episode.

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





3:00 – Introduction to Rachel Brenke

7:44 – How Rachel manages life, business, and fitness

9:20 – The legal specialties that fitness professionals need help with. 

11:24 – How can business owners protect their CrossFit gym’s brand?

19:44 – Should you be trademarking everything you make?

29:22 – How to handle with other employees and clients taking photos

35:10 – Dealing with copyright transfers within your business

37:20 – Using pictures from the internet on your website and in your business

41:50 – How to handle someone pursuing legal action against you?

45:10 – What to do if a former employee steals your intellectual property?

54:40 – How to reach Rachel?

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

Announcer:                            00:26                       Debt is a tricky subject in our world. We’ve been taught by HQ to avoid debt, to accumulate cash and then when we’ve got enough money to spend it, but in the business world, the reality is that there’s good debt and there’s bad debt. Good debt creates an asset. There’s also something called opportunity cost. Meaning if you wait until you can afford something, it probably never will be able to afford it and you’ll be missing a ton of opportunity. In the meantime, let’s say for example that you were bursting at the seams and your clients couldn’t attend the 6:00 PM class anymore because there was a waiting list, so they started canceling their memberships. You’re missing an opportunity cost here. The opportunity to keep your current clients because if they’re paying for a membership and they can’t attend, they’re not going to keep that membership for law, so you’re looking to expand and so you’re going to have to take on some debt or you’re going to wait until you have the $10,000 or whatever that amount is to buy the new equipment.

Announcer:                            01:23                       You can keep turning new clients away while you wait and try and accumulate this money or you can leverage the capital through guys like Rigquipment. Rigquipment is a partner that we chose at Two-Brain business because their commitment to crossfit and their commitment to helping first has been proven over several years. I got to admit, I shy away a lot from money people. It’s intimidating to work with people who understand money and finance better than I do. I’m sure you feel the same way, but these guys have shown up time and time again. They’ve offered free help. They’ve turned down business a lot of times because they aren’t sure if the person has a good working business model and to be honest, they’ve sent people to us and let us turn them down for them because they wanted to know if this person’s plan was going to work before they expanded, before you start out.

Announcer:                            02:15                       It’s super important that you know what you’re getting into, that you have a plan to pay back the debt. You must have a plan to increase cash flow that you’re going to do based on new purchase. Rigquipment has a great tool. If you go to their site you can figure out if you can afford that expansion, should you be buying that new rig or should you be investing in something else like mentorship. These guys will even finance the Two-Brain business incubator phase if you purchase it with your equipment because they understand that the incubator makes your business more viable, it’s less of a risk for them. I love working with clay and Joe from Rigquipment because these guys understand what our service in life is and that matches their service.

Greg:                                          02:59                       All right. I’m here with Rachel Brenke. She is an IP lawyer and has many, many amazing things to talk about and I can’t wait to dig in to them. Welcome to Two-Brain radio, Rachel,

Rachel:                                      03:10                       Thanks for having me.

Greg:                                          03:12                       Happy to. So let’s kind of start from the beginning. What kind of led you into wanting, I guess, wanting to become a lawyer and an attorney and kind of what has led you into the crossfit realm or the gym realm of, of, of legal work.

Rachel:                                      03:26                       Yeah, so I always cringe when people start off calling me a lawyer because I’m afraid, you know, the audience is gonna be like, ah, boring, don’t want to listen to this. But, uh, cause I didn’t come into entrepreneurship intending to be a lawyer. In fact, it was really interesting how it’s all taken a turn. Uh, but well there is a long story that I’ll give you. The short version of it is that I kind of always knew that I didn’t fit into a box. Um, as many entrepreneurs probably look back and go, ah, make sense, how I never really enjoyed x job or this in school or not. And so when I ended up being diagnosed with cancer at the age of 28, it really revealed to me and I was in the midst of beginning entrepreneurship then, but it really was revealed to me that I didn’t want to work in, do my life to fill someone else’s pockets and fulfill somebody else’s dreams.

Rachel:                                      04:16                       And so, um, I had made some goals two major goals that came out of having the cancer. And the first one wants to be as present for my family if I survived, right. Um, to be as present for my family as much as I could. And then the other was to fulfill my own goals and dreams and not somebody else’s. And so during that time I was doing a little bit of kind of business consulting on the side, if you will. Let me give you a little context. So I came in doing a online apparel store, which is so funny cause I’m not fashionable whatsoever, but it was kind of one of these print on demand companies. I knew enough of graphic design type work and it was something I could do from home while I was recovering from the cancer and that sort of stuff.

Rachel:                                      04:59                       And, but people were asking me questions all the time about how do you set up a business? How do you do this? How do x, Y and z? Because at the time that this was occurring, it’s going to date me a little bit. I’m not even sure that my space was really even fully off the ground. Um, there was not this freemium model of information like we have these days. You know, you really, you had to pay to play, you had to pay to get information. And so as I threw myself into research, because it wasn’t readily available, people were starting to ask me questions and I thought, Huh, there’s something here that I could also help others obtain the same goals as to what I’m doing, being able to fulfill my own goals and be around for their families, you know, be as present as possible.

Rachel:                                      05:38                       And so we just kind of evolved from there into working with other people, learning, you know, doing business consulting as my apparel store took off. Um, I ended up moving into owning coworking spaces and a photography studio. And just through that whole process I realized, you know, I really enjoy the business side of things. I really enjoy helping people with their businesses and I guess going to law school, it’d be a great way to add some value. And I came out the other side and that’s why I’ve created these legal niche blogs that I have now. They, I have a general podcast that talks to general entrepreneurs on legal marketing and business stuff. But I have found that there’s some very specific industries such as crossfit or just, um, fitness professionals. And gyms that really needs specific niche info help. And so that’s kind of how I have developed multiple very successful legal niche blogs in these very kind of, um, I won’t say small industries because the fitness industry is massive, but a very narrowed focus.

Rachel:                                      06:44                       So it’s not just like general legal information, it’s out there. It’s very tailored to what you guys need to know. Full disclosure, I don’t own a gym. I go to a gym and I’m an athlete myself. I also compete with team USA for triathlons and I am big into lifting weights as well. So I don’t necessarily have the perspective of the crossfit gym, but I all, I can combine my entrepreneurial approach. I know what entrepreneurs are going through. I can combine my business consulting and lawyers skills and also tell you kind of what the push backs or objections, the actions that you may take that you think are protecting your business, but kind of how they’d be perceived or how they would impact the athletes that are in your gym. And so I kind of combine all of that into a brand called fitlegally. And here we are.

Greg:                                          07:31                       Wow. I mean, I knew the end piece. I, uh, never got to dig in with you about, I mean the whole beginning. So I mean starting so many different businesses or, or owning so many different businesses and deciding that, hey, you want to go the legal route and, and start actually pursuing education side of that. What was that like? I mean, I can only imagine I’m not only dealing with, with cancer and dealing with all these businesses and business decisions on top of that, but then after getting through all of that and it doesn’t even seem like you took a break.

Rachel:                                      08:05                       No. Well, you know what’s interesting is I, it sounds very overwhelming, but you have to consider this is like 14, 15 years in the making, right? I didn’t just wake up and have all of this one day. It’s been very incremental and I really, especially if you’re one of those that are listening, you’re thinking, oh, I would love to have multiple gyms, or maybe I also want to delve into other entrepreneurship. The only way that I’ve been able to do multiple things is to really nail down efficient and good workflows and automate them as much as possible. And then recreating that again when you build the next business that you’re doing, you know, no need to start all over. And I think that is one of the things that once you kind of figure out your business style, what you need to do, um, the, the uphill climb, right? The what you’re learning, what you need to do is a shorter trip. I’m trying to think what the, what the phrase, and I’m, I’m trying to think of that. You essentially can take the same information and apply it across different types of businesses. And so learning curve, that’s where I’m looking for it. So your learning curve is relatively small and you can get new businesses and new ventures set up very quickly.

Greg:                                          09:13                       That makes sense. That makes complete sense. So it just allows you to streamline basically, like you said, with the learning curve for streamlining it. So, I mean you have so many different things going on right now in, and let’s kind of tailor this more towards the legal aspects of businesses and is there any kind of specialties that you really kind of dive into? For businesses are gym owners. from a legal point of view.

Rachel:                                      09:36                       Yeah. One of the fears that I had myself, and I still have this as an entrepreneur, what if I spend all my time and energy? Because you do take time away from yourself. You take time away from your family and just away from life to build a business. But what if I spend all this time, energy doing that only for it to be ripped out from under me. Maybe one day I wake up and I don’t have customers or somebody else comes in and they monopolize, you know, they capitalize the market and take it away from me. Or, and this is how I really determined the type of business law that I wanted to go into was what happens if someone comes in and they steal my ideas, they take my brand or they ride on my coattails. And so for me, intellectual property is the area of law that every single business owner has.

Rachel:                                      10:21                       If you have a business name, you have intellectual property, right? So if you’re sitting there thinking, Oh I don’t know what IP or intellectual property is, you got a business name, you probably have a logo, you have marketing materials, all of that is your brand that you’re putting out. That is all intellectual property. It is property in your business that you want to be yours, that you are creating connections with your potential members through other businesses through. And so protecting that is super important. Knowing the differences between copyrights, trademarks. And then we can even drill that down into things such as how do I safeguard employees or coaches taking my ideas or customer list when they leave? You know, cause it’s not necessarily if they leave, it’s when they leave. Nothing is forever. And so it’s putting all these safeguards in place. Cause again, what’s the point in building at all if you’re not even going to protect it?

Greg:                                          11:13                       Agreed. And let’s, let’s kind of go down this road a little bit with, I mean I like what you said with that, that IP is really, I mean if you have a business, if you have a logo and those kinds of things. Now with that, I mean how can people protect themselves if they do? If they do say, let’s say I have unknown element or crossfit unknown element in Clovis, New Mexico and somebody decides to open up another fitness chain, even in the same city or maybe a different city with the same name of unknown element in it. What are the things that I should probably take advantage of or take leverage on a if that happens?

Rachel:                                      11:48                       Yeah, so before I dig into that, let me just say the analogy that I’m going to use and the recommendations not taken into consideration. The license of use for the name crossfit that you guys have, right? That’s IP, right? Their licensing IP that HQ crossfit headquarters is licensing, licensing that to you guys to use, but it’s those other parts of what you’re talking about here. If you have a name that’s appended to that so you can differentiate yourself from other crossfit gyms, you know, drilling down into business names can be overwhelming and I hate when I see, and I, I use the word hate because I do have such a visceral reaction to the fear that someone may lose their brand simply because they used the wrong name. Let me give you an example. Let’s say you just pick a random name that you want to append to the end of the crossfit.

Rachel:                                      12:37                       You set up a gym, you invest all this money into marketing a logo, et cetera. Well, if you haven’t taken the proper steps or anything to check to see if someone else has a same or substantially similar name, so it’s same or substantially similar, then you’re looking at potential trademark issues. Trademarks are typically business names, logos and slogans. It’s things like, when I say the phrase, just do it. What do you think of Nike? It’s identifying a source indicator, which is why it’s really important that we check to make sure that we’re not using someone else’s name. If you’re riding on their coattails or confusing consumers or when you, like the example you gave me, if somebody moves into an area and he’s using something same or similar, you want to take the steps that you need to do, which I’ll walk through here in a second, but you want to take the steps to preserve your name that you’re using.

Rachel:                                      13:28                       So if you’re on the end where you’re looking at getting yourself set up, make sure you do the proper searches. Trademarks, that’s the key word here for a business name. These are typically done at the federal level. There is state level. I’m searching, but I always recommend that if you have a business name, you’re looking and moving into the area, you want to go do a search. I almost always recommend that you start with going to, it’s the US patent and trademark office, USPTO.Gov and searching there for anything same or similar, right? That they’re also offering the same or similar products or services as you. So if someone moves into town with a similar name but they are, they offer something completely different than you do, it’s probably not going to be an infringing issue cause it’s not causing confusion.

Rachel:                                      14:11                       Let’s take for example like United Airlines, they provide airline services. Then you have United moving vans, they provide moving services. The consumer’s typically not going to get confused by those, so they both can use the term or the name United without there being a problem. Now, like in your example, well let me get back to that in a second. I kind of want to give you guys a couple of steps. If you’re on this set up, start with the also just start googling and check social media handles because where’s the first place that we go when we think, oh, I’ve gotta have a great business name I want to use. You got to look to see if the social media handles or the URL are available. Right, right. So that’s a good place and actually maybe that should be number one here on the list.

Rachel:                                      14:55                       Go there first because if somebody has been using it, even if they don’t have a trademark, they may have rights in that which in this situation you didn’t define to me whether or not this crossfit gym has a trademark or not. The good thing is even if they haven’t taken the steps to trademark, they may still have rights to stop that other gym from using the same or similar name. So checking social media and Google, but don’t rely on Google because not every one’s search engine optimization is good. A lot of people suck at it, right? So don’t rely on that. Check the USPTO. Then also check your local business formation systems are typically through like secretary of state or something. You’re going to see like what their LLC or the corporation name is, but don’t rely upon that because those are only state specific.

Rachel:                                      15:37                       Not everyone even takes the steps, become an LLC or a corporation, but those are quick steps to make sure that you are not going to be infringing on someone else’s. Now in this case, obviously this, gym didn’t take those steps right or they just said whatever, we’re going to move into town with the same or similar name offer also crossfit, and then you’re going, ah, what do I do now you, it’s kind of like a choose your own path here. If you have a trademark, you are forced, not really forced, but you should want to do it anyways. You’re required to do what’s called policing. So you would want to send a cease and desist and take the steps that you need to stop this person. But the way I look at is even if you haven’t taken the steps to trademark, which I know a lot of businesses haven’t done, and if we want to hear in a bit, we can talk about at what point should someone consider doing that.

Rachel:                                      16:25                       But if you haven’t taken the steps to get a federal trademark, that’s okay. Don’t freak out. If you run into this problem where somebody comes into your town, you still can do a cease and desist because you may have priority rights. They are still priority common law rights that exist. You just don’t have the full backing of the trademark system behind you because you don’t have a registered trademark. So for me, now, this is where I’m probably a little different than most lawyers, is that I wouldn’t necessarily rush to all of a sudden getting a formal cease and desist. I would stop for a second, do so once called evidence gathering, you know, screenshots, take a look at what’s confusing people. What’s the deal? Right? Are they really the same or similar name? Are they really offering the same or similar products and services or people being confused?

Rachel:                                      17:09                       What is the status in the situation? That sounds like common sense, right? But I’ll have people who come to me and go, oh, I got hit. Someone said I was infringing, and then it’s an issue like what the, between United Airlines, United moving pants, they’re not actually providing the same type of products or services. And that doesn’t really, there’s no sense in even going down that path. So do that evidence gathering and then you can determine not an, if you still probably should go talk to a lawyer. The reason I’m kind of tripping over my words here is because I’m not one of those lawyers that rushes to let’s send a strong cease and desist, beat them over the head. And I think this is where my entrepreneur role comes in, is that I know there’s so many of you out there, they don’t understand this. Some of are probably listening to this going, oh my God, I don’t know anything she just said she talks really fast, which you guys can slow this down and relisten to it.

Rachel:                                      17:57                       So don’t freak out if you don’t know what to do or you don’t know. You know what we’re talking about here. And so because I have that mindset that really might make a difference on how I would approach that other businesses in town, maybe you can approach them and say, hey, didn’t you know that I’m already in town? It really would be good for you to change. So we’re not confused by consumers, blah, blah blah. Or You could just take the path of hiring a lawyer. I do think it’s always best to have a lawyer evaluate the situation and determine which is the best course of action. Because if someone comes out guns blazing, you know they’re gunning for your brand, you know, they’re gunning for your people, you’re probably gonna want to use a lawyer to be, you know, because once we get involved, people listen, right?

Rachel:                                      18:38                       Um, it’s easier for someone to brush just a local business owner off. But I also don’t want you guys to jumping and hiring a lawyer, spending all the money and sending a letter. Cause once lawyers get involved, it puts gas on the fire and maybe you’ve potentially closed off a potential business network in town. Um, maybe you could end up being a mentor to this other gym. So bottom line with that is always step back and see, okay, am I registered then yes I have to do something about this here. I definitely need to talk to a lawyer. Actually talk to a lawyer. Either path, even if you’re registered or not with your trademark and then talk to a lawyer and determine how do we want to approach this. Do we want to be total hard ass and send them a letter or do we want to take more of an education approach and that will just be a conversation needed to have with your attorney and just inwardly kind of consider what do I want to do for my business? Because also your brands on the line as well here, even when you are defending your brand, you also your brands on the line with how you interact with local business owners

Greg:                                          19:36                       and that makes sense. I mean not trying to burn bridges prior to unless it’s necessary. Basically it unless it’s, it’s something that, as you said, if your trademark now is, should I be trademarking everything? I mean I make, I mean my not only my logo, but I mean what are the things that as a gym owner, as a business owner, I should be trademarking? And what’s kind of the process? What are the costs behind it? If you know of any of those. So that people out there that are listening that are like, you know what, I’m going to trademark my logo and my name. What are the things that are the they’re going to need to know?

Rachel:                                      20:09                       So I jumped the gun a little bit here and we kind of fell down into this path of talking about trademarks before we really define intellectual property. And the two main types of intellectual property that are applicable to almost everyone that’s going to listen here are copyrights and trademarks. Copyrights protect the actual item itself. So if you guys are taking photographs to promote your gym, the blog posts and social media posts, your writing, even your logo is can protect the actual creative expression that is fixed in a fixed, tangible, medium, medium that I think, well, I’ll come back to that. That’s one type. What we’ve been talking about so far is really protection of the brand itself as a source indicator. Term of art. Don’t really need to worry about that, but kind of think of it this way. When I gave you the example of just do it, I want you to mentally imagine that I tied a string around the Nike swoosh or the just do it phrase and take the string.

Rachel:                                      21:01                       What are you connecting it to? Nike, because that’s a source indicator. It’s letting consumers know when they see your logo or your business name or your slogan, and those are the typically the three types, what it’s connected to. So the difference between the copyright and trademark is that trademark is connecting the connection between your logo and your gym or Your Business Name and your gym. Whereas copyright, you’re protecting the actual design, the actual creative expression. Here’s total brain exploding. You could have copyright and trademark both on your logo. Again, it would be the protection of the actual logo design. And then the other one is the source indicators. So to answer your questions, I gave that little crash course in IP that actually, you know what, you guys know more than most lawyers that are out there because unless you really seek out intellectual property in law school, you’re not really taught it.

Rachel:                                      21:52                       Um, it’s not one of the general core legal things that we’re required to learn because it’s not on any of the state bars that I’m aware of. Um, so when should you be mindful of this? You guys should be mindful of knowing that you have all these things. Everything that I’ve listed, you have a logo, you have a business name, you have photographs, you have blog posts, you have all this stuff, right? And so what my suggestion would be on the trademark side of things, that is the source indicator that your business name and your logos, I would pursue it fairly quickly in your business, at least within the first year, if not sooner, because we want to be able to have the full protection of the law that’s available to us. Now. Trademarks themselves can be very costly. As you heard me use the terms of art throughout it’s same or substantially similar business name connected to a same or similar products or services?

Rachel:                                      22:49                       The threshold, again, like we mentioned before, is that we just want to make sure that consumers are not confused. Just like United moving vans, United Airlines, you’re not confused. I don’t think United Airlines is providing any moving services. Um, maybe, I mean I guess you could make the argument they put stuff under the plane, but they’re not going to be driving an airplane down I 95. I just know that they’re not moving my household goods that way. All right. Right now we’re going to see it on the news. But um, so, so my suggestion would be as quick as possible into your business to see about getting a trademark because you want to like in the example you gave, you gave, I kind of the second you gave me that example, I thought visually in my mind about the gym or in the box and I had a radius in my mind. I don’t want somebody within a certain radius of me competing with me when I offered the same or similar products or services, especially if consumers

Rachel:                                      23:46                       are going to get confused by the name. Why is that? I don’t want to waste my time on marketing. I don’t want them to have a bad reputation and they get imparted upon me because maybe they’re unprofessional or their gym sucks or you know, you just, you want to be you, you want to focus on you in the marketing cause then you can control the narrative. Well if you don’t have a trademark in place, it becomes a lot harder to control that narrative. So let’s take that mental image that I just gave a pin in the map. Here’s your gym right here. We have a radius. If I don’t take a step to get a federal trademark registered, I really only have, and this is a gray area in the law right now, but I really only have common law rights within maybe that city.

Rachel:                                      24:29                       So that might work for the example that you gave me. I might be able to stop somebody from use of the same name, but let’s say that they’re in New Mexico and I’m up here in Virginia. I open up a gym, I’m offering the same products or services. I have a very similar logo, I the exact same business name. What’s going to happen, let’s circle back to what we talked about before. Where’s the number one place that people go when they’re looking to set up their business, social media and Google. So let’s ask the question. Where’s the number one place that your potential numbers are going to go? Social media or a website and you just like the example that you don’t want somebody in town, their reputation being imparted on you or consumers getting confused, thinking that you’re, you’re owned by the same business and so no big deal.

Rachel:                                      25:15                       We’ll go to this other one. You don’t want the same thing from my Virginia one to your New Mexico, gym, maybe I’m up here doing some shady stuff. You don’t want it imparted upon you. So if you had a federal trademark, you can preserve your reputation, preserve your brand in New Mexico. But if you haven’t taken the steps to register it, you don’t really have much of any force in the law to stop me up in Virginia from tarnishing your reputation. And is that because I’m running around talking about you, I just may be using the same or similar name and I run a really bad business. Right? And that’s going to creep out onto the web. So that’s just one example of many that why I find it really important that taking the steps to be federally registered and doing it as soon as possible because the benefits to that, just like I showed you, you can reach all across the United States.

Rachel:                                      26:02                       You also, when you have to take the steps to stop someone from infringing, you can potentially receive damages, which could be the amount of money that I made and memberships in the time that I used your mark. Right? Cause I’m riding on your coattail. I’m benefiting from it. So why should I as the infringing party benefit monetarily benefit from that? One of the damages could be if you have a federal registered mark that I have to pay you any profits that I major in that time. You also can get injunctions to stop me. And also if it’s registered then there’s a high chance for attorney’s fees so you’re not going at it. Whereas if you don’t have a registration, you’re kind of on your own, you to pay for attorneys. And I’m going to tell you right now IP attorneys, because there’s not very many of us, we know it when you charge a pretty penny for it.

Rachel:                                      26:51                       So there’s so many benefits to federally registering that you should do it in the first year. Now I’m going to give you the numbers. I wanted to share all the benefits first before I gave the numbers on it because it can be a little bit of a sticker shock. But also I don’t want you guys to necessarily run out iandn DIY this simply because I’ve convinced you that this is a good step to take doing a federal mark. They do it by classifications. So like the example I just gave you, let’s take my business name and I want to connect it to fitness gym. That would be one classification and other classification you can even narrow that down is to like yoga specific classes, weight training classes, you know they have a whole plethora of things that you can choose from. When you go to register, you have to pay per class.

Rachel:                                      27:34                       So the government themselves, right now it’s 2019 march, just in case you guys are listening to this later, I believe it’s $225 per class, which really is a nominal investment. Be able to stop someone else from riding on your brand right now. Obviously it will cost more than that to have an attorney do it, but I definitely don’t recommend DIY and trademark applications because if you screw it up, they can reject you. They being the USPTO and you either have to start all over or you can be stopped from ever getting a registration for it in the future. And all of these benefits I just mentioned, we don’t want to lose that. You guys have put the time and energy and effort into building a reputation. So, um, bottom line on that, do it as soon as you guys can, when you get into business, even if, and this is the big objection, even if you don’t know if you’re going to make it right, because here’s the thing I’m going to tell you, I fell into that in the very beginning. I was like, oh, I don’t have a lot of money. I’d rather put that towards more marketing or Facebook ads and I just don’t know if I’m going to hack into this thing. Guys. 10 years goes by like that and then all of a sudden you have somebody’s infringing. Well, you’re back to having to enforce it without any of those federal protections, it’s not worth it. The minimal investment is well, well worth the steps to get protected.

Greg:                                          28:52                       Oh, completely. And I’ll tell you right now, that is exactly what I’m going to do now for, uh, for my business and brand because I’ve yet to a trademark. It’s so by the time this comes out here, everyone will see that mine is definitely trademarked.

Rachel:                                      29:04                       So the process takes a while. So it’s not like you just go and register and you get it today. It can take up to nine months for them to approve it depending, while I say nine months, it depends on at the time that you listen to this because it’s the government they take forever.

Greg:                                          29:18                       Very true. Very true. Now let’s say I, I’m, I’m running classes and I decide, hey, one of my members is a photographer or videographer. I have them come in and I have them take pictures. Is there any kind of legal documentation I should probably have now? Not from the member side because anyone listening that has their members sign a waiver should definitely have a photo release and video release in there and always ask for them either way, say, hey, we’re going to do this and make sure people feel comfortable with it because I do have, I have a full class that doesn’t and it’s our full program better yet that a, they just prefer not to. There’s only a few of them in it right now, but they just don’t want their pictures taken so it’s okay. But let’s say I bring somebody in. What kind of legal documentation or what, what kind of things should I hash out prior to them coming in and taking video or pictures to make sure that when I use them I’m in the free and clear.

Rachel:                                      30:09                       Yeah, so I’m glad you differentiated that. So the model release is what Greg was talking about and that’s just going to be the permission from your members giving permission to utilize their face is their publicity rights and marketing. Now Greg’s asking me about, you either hire someone to come in or it can be members that take photographs while they’re in the gym themselves. Neither of those individuals probably works for the gym on a full time or a W2 employee basis. Right? So and that’s really important. Anytime you guys had intellectual property, like we’re talking about here, Greg is getting at photographs, it can be photographs, it can be your logo created, anything like that. Any time someone creates something for your business, you have to first ask yourself or are they an independent contractor or do they work For me as an employee, and we can go down the path of talking about the differences that here in a minute, but the reason the status is important is because let’s say Greg works for me.

Rachel:                                      31:01                       You know he runs my front desk. Yeah, I have them on W2. He is my employee by default. Anything that he creates, I own. My Gym owns it so I don’t have to worry about getting in trouble for a copyright infringement, which we touched on a little bit ago. I don’t have to worry about that. But if I just hire Greg to come in, he’s a photographer down the street and he’s coming in to photograph for me. He would then be an independent contractor to my business. By default, he retains the copyright ownership to the images that he photographs. It doesn’t matter if I’m in the photograph, it doesn’t matter if it’s in my gym. He by under the law as it stands now owns the copyright to those. So what do I need as the gym owner, one of two things, you either need to buy out the copyrights, which is have a copyright transfer from Greg to you, the business, which I can talk about the benefits to that here in a minute, but I’m going to tell you now one of my niche blogs in the photography industry, and you may run into a little resistance, which I’ll explain the second document and you don’t need both of these.

Rachel:                                      32:07                       You need one or the other. So the first one is either a copyright transfer from Greg or the photographer to your gym, or the second one is a commercial license or a license of use and it’s Greg licensing to my gym how I can utilize those photographs while he retains the ownership in them. Now, photography industry commercial, commercial photography, which is what we’re talking about here because the end result is going to be used commercially. You’re going to be using on your Instagram, your Facebook, Twitter, blah, blah, blah cause you’re trying to gain new members, right? It’s in your marketing. The photography industry as a whole is relatively resistant to selling of copyright. And they’re creatives. They love their work. And remember, copyright protects the creative expression in this fixed tangible medium, right? So they really are tied into it. Commercial photography, um, it’s not unheard of that you transfer over copyright because the benefits to having Greg as the photographer transfer of the copyrights to me is that I don’t have to worry about checking the license every single time.

Rachel:                                      33:05                       How I want to use it, I don’t have to worry about, and this is the big one a lot of people don’t think about, is that if somebody else takes that image, that’s just say, all right, let’s say we set up a whole session. Greg comes in, take some killer photographs, transfers the cop, or does not transfer the copyright to me. And those images have become the prime branding images. They completely encapsulate what my gym’s about. You know, potential members can feel the sweat, they can feel everything they want to be connected, they want to be part of my, this family. They’re recognizable images. Let’s say somebody, another gym, even in another state or down the road, decides to start utilizing those images. I’m beholden to Greg if he is still the copyright owner and has not transferred it to me, I only have a license at this time.

Rachel:                                      33:53                       I have to wait and hope the Greg, will pursue that other gym for copyright infringement and if he doesn’t he could still potentially ruin my brand. Yes. If there’s any lawyers listening, I am aware we can put into the contract and documentation that Greg would be forced to to help me if there’s ever an issue like that, but the, if there’s ever a copyright infringement claim that comes up, but I can’t force Greg to file a copyright infringement suit or pursue that other third party from wrongfully using the images. And what can it do? Just like we talked about with the brand name earlier, if they’re utilizing the images and maybe it’s an unsavory sites, I’ve seen it happen if they’re utilizing it for their gym and their gym is just really crappy and how can be imparted upon my brands. So for me, you guys are probably thinking all right, bottom line, what do you recommend? It’s going to depend. I do think a full copyright transfer from photographer to the gym is the best course of action. For me personally, even it had been in my nonlegal businesses, that’s what I always negotiate and I paid for you’re going to pay more for it. But in the end I want to know that my brand is preserved and that I own my brand and not some other photographer or somebody else.

Greg:                                          35:06                       So in those terms, is there, um, is there anything out there that people, I mean maybe like a template or something like that that people would have to work off of if they were doing that copyright transfer because I know, I mean if, if I’ve had many members that are amateur photographers and they’ve asked, hey, can I come in and I say, okay, well we need actually signed something that basically states that if I’m paying for you to come in and take these photos that you are giving me like a conditions of release, basically saying I can use these for my advertising. And I can basically monetarily gain from this, from these photos. Is there anything out there that uh, like you said this, the license of, of user or how I’ve done it with a conditional release or the copyright transfer that people can actually download or, or take up to contact you or whoever so that they could actually have these documents ready if, if something like this comes to them within their business or gym.

Rachel:                                      36:00                       Yeah, I know a really fabulous business attorney who has contract templates on her website. Um, so I do have these at Um, I also, if you want to peruse on there’s some similar documents. They’re not fitness specific. I recommend. So here, here’s, here’s why I am in a very peculiar position is that there’s not many lawyers out there. There’s good IP lawyers, but there’s not many lawyers out there that truly understand the needs of entrepreneurs and like push back. So you guys might get, so that’s kind of where I come in and help to bridge the gap. So my, I have these templates, you can use them as is. I always recommend though they’re taken to a local lawyer too at least. And then to make sure it’s good for within your state, which is very important, but it’s good because it can save you time because then they don’t have to draft from scratch. And also many of these lawyers don’t know these nuances of what we’re talking about. And so I’m gona help fill the gap there for them. And you guys now, since you are fricking IP rockstars from listening to this can go in and school, you’re a lawyer a little bit too. Exactly.

Greg:                                          37:09                       Perfect. And we’ll make sure that we link fitlegally in the show notes along with um, your, uh, your services and stuff like that. If people want to jump on your website, we’ll make sure we link all of that in there. Now let’s look at it from the other point of view. So, not only are we saying, hey, if you’re having somebody else come in, you’re using them for years, or if you’re a photographer and then somebody’s taking those same photos or, or whatever, that is what happens when I jump onto Google and, or better yet one of my coaches decide to jump onto Google, pull a photo. Uh, and then we use that on social media. What, what are the legal, I guess, uh, worries behind that and a, how can a lot of people out there protect them from that? I remember when I first originally talked with you, I, uh, contacted one of my coaches that does a lot of our social media. I said, make sure you pull all photos that you’ve ever taken. That we’re not having written, actual written consent from them from any reason. But anyone out there that is listening, that has not done that, um, or don’t know if they’re coaches are doing it or not, what should they be looking out for?

Rachel:                                      38:09                       Yeah. So my heart starts beating really fast when you start talking about pulling from Google because you don’t know. That’s, that’s the fundamental thing. You don’t know who owns that image in the fundamental question, you have to ask yourself whether your coach has photographed it, whether a photographer has come in or you’ve pulled it off of Google or you’re buying a stock image. You have to ask yourself, do I really have permission to utilize this image? And this is huge. Copyright infringement is the number one thing that we do at the law firm because it’s so rampant for reasons that you’re talking about. People will just go and they’ll pull it off the Instagram and they’ll use it. They will just go to Google and will not get permission. They’ll use it and they’ll think, oh well if I credit the person that got it from, that’s enough and it’s not, and there are defenses to copyright infringement, but I just want you guys to understand bottom line and relatively does not matter.

Rachel:                                      39:03                       You can still be liable and it’s strict liability. So if a coach gives it to you, you can still be on the hook. Yeah. Maybe you could go after that coach later to help. You have to pay off the damages to the person that you infringed upon, the person you stole the image from, but you’re still going to be on the hook. Even if a coach is the one that gave it to you or your assistant just snagged it off of Google. And here’s another thing, I’m just gonna throw out some numbers. Even if, let’s say that you think you’re in the right, this is where our justice system kind of sucks a little bit. You still have to show up in court to say you’re, I didn’t do anything wrong, but in order to do that, you have to spend a lot of money in intellectual property cases.

Rachel:                                      39:42                       Copyright, specifically our federal, you’re looking at 40 to $50,000 just on attorney’s fees to be able to stand up in court and say, I’m not actually liable for that. And then if you are, you’re looking at damages, you are looking at maybe how much money you made off it, maybe how much you damage the other party or even their statutory damages amounts. And this is, this is the numbers that I want you guys to remember. Ask yourself is this image that I’m pulling from Google without knowing where it’s coming from? Is it worth $150,000 that I could pay to the other side plus my attorney’s fees 45 to 50 so we’re up to let’s say 200,000 plus their attorney’s fees. So let’s just round it up to say 250,000, is this image that amazing that it’s worth 250,000 the answer is no. A, because if you pull it off of Google, other people probably have to see you’re not having anything unique on your website, and again, $250,000 for one image, that’s probably only going to hit your website a few times, run through social media and be gone. Not Worth it. So no, stay away from Google. Stay away from these free stock photography websites because what’s happening is they’re sourcing, right? They’re saying, hey, photographers come up, load your images, we’ll give a creative Commons license and these businesses can use it. Sounds great, but here’s what happens. You’re having people steal images, upload them, saying that they are their images when they’re not, you’re infringing. And what did I say earlier? It doesn’t really matter. I mean it does. I mean in the grand scheme of things, I don’t want to get any hate mail after this episode, but you’re still gonna be on the hook initially. Okay? So just think, ask yourself, and I want you guys to hear it in my voice every single time. Is this image worth $250,000? No. Then go get an image. You do have permission and you know what? Take it a step further. Invest in a local photographer. We’ve already given you guys the steps on what you need to do, whether you do a copyright buyout or a license, own your brand. Make your brand specific to you. Don’t use in something everyone else has, especially with the potential price tag of 250,000

Greg:                                          41:47                       Oh, agreed. Agreed. 100% on that. And what happens now in that same case, if somebody says, I put, I put this photo up there, I get a, um, a letter from somebody basically saying that they’re going to pursue legal action and I remove that so that it’s, it’s not on the site. I mean, it’s not on anything. What kind of happens next? I mean, I’m guessing the lawsuit doesn’t go away usually.

Rachel:                                      42:10                       Nope. You call me. Um, so this kind of goes back around to what we talked about before, like with the trademark infringement stuff, and they depend on that intellectual property owner’s perspective. Maybe they just want to educate you, right? Maybe they just send you a notice on Facebook and say, Hey, I see you’re using my image. Please take it down. And it can all go away. They may send you a letter and say, will you pay for use of the image? And you may pay it and it all goes away. I don’t remember. I don’t recommend taking any steps until you at least have a lawyer look it over for you. Obviously that’s the big thing here. And I’m not saying that to fill lawyers pockets. I’m saying that to make sure that you don’t do something wrong, you don’t make an admission in a message, right?

Rachel:                                      42:49                       You want to really kind of protect yourself and let them walk you through the steps. Um, I do recommend no backing up the train a little bit here. If I get a notice that says that’s my photograph, take it down, take it down. Right. Um, and then, well, backup. Okay. Screenshot evidence gathered like we talked about before. Make sure we have all that documentation, take it down and then reach out to a local attorney. You can try to resolve it with others, but I just don’t want you to guys, like I said, make it an admission or something and up like put throwing gas on the fire. So always have it evaluated because yes, you want to stop the infringing use because the longer it’s up, potentially the more damages you’d have to pay out. And so if you get a notice, take it down.

Greg:                                          43:32                       Okay. And then like you said, if, if, let’s say they decided to still pursue legal action for, for this, um, that’s where calling you right away. Or a lawyer that, that they use already have is definitely the next step from there.

Rachel:                                      43:46                       Yeah. And here’s the thing, like you guys don’t want to ignore it because like the numbers I gave you before, you may think I’m inflating, I’m really not. I’m, one of the big things that I’ve seen that happens with copyright infringement is you’ll get these letters, you ignore ’em then all of a sudden you get a copyright lawsuit filed against you. You call around to some lawyers and you’re like, well, I can’t afford to pay the retainer for them, so I’m just not gonna do anything. Will you get what’s called a default against you? And so you’re still looking at the same numbers even though you didn’t do anything and you had no fight and chance and you just don’t want that against you. It’s just not worth it. And here’s the good news. I’ll tell you the majority of cases when it comes to this federal federal copyright stuff, we hardly actually ever get into court.

Rachel:                                      44:29                       So even though it’s filed, don’t out reach out to me. We’ll talk through it all. Bear the burden. But majority of them actually settle, right? Because everyone does the cost benefit analysis of whether or not it’s really worth going through with it. That’s both sides and so you could relatively get it wrapped up fairly quickly. I do this, he would think this would go with him saying, don’t go start blasting someone who has your legal future in their hands on the Internet. I’ve seen it. Defendants get pissed and they start posting about the other business that sent them the cease and desist. Just don’t just remove the infringing material after you’ve documented it, reach out to a lawyer, get it taken care of because it won’t just go away.

Greg:                                          45:10                       So anybody out there that is, that is facing that, make sure you do that without a doubt. Now let’s, let’s kind of talk about it from another point of view. I have employees, I have contractors and they decided to leave and let’s say they now we can always debate the difference. We, I mean a 1099 and a W2 or a completely separate, but let’s say even if the contractor, I mean in either case they decided to go a mile down the road, open up their own gym and they’re using my same forms and documents and everything like that that I’ve created a, that would be my IP. Is there anything that we can do depending on whether if there were a contractor or in a 10 99 or I’m sorry, a W2 employee, is there any differential between those?

Rachel:                                      45:53                       Yeah. My recommendation is anytime someone’s going to work for you, I don’t care if they fill in for one class, if they are going to fulltime coach for you, if they’re just doing your social media, I don’t care if you’re going, oh they’re just a contractor. Oh they’re just an employee any time. And yes, this may be be overbearing me coming out, but you’ll see why here in a second. Anytime anyone’s going to create or do anything for me in my business, I am going to have them sign a couple of documents. Let’s use the example of coaches cause that’s one of the most common ones here, right? You bring a coach in, whether they’re or W2 or a, 1099 contractor. And like we said earlier, it’s not if they leave, it’s going to be when they leave cause nothing is forever unless you happen to have one.

Rachel:                                      46:38                       Great, good for you. But we can’t put the cat back in the bag, the genie, the lamp, whatever. So anytime anyone comes in, we want them to sign a couple of things. You’re going to have the core document that’s going to control the actual relationships. So let’s um, she didn’t want to use employee here. Sure. Let’s make them an employee. For this example, they’re an employee where they’re going to sign an employment contract. You know, run their things. Like when you’re going to pay them, how many hours do they have to work? Do they have to wear anything specific? What are the responsibilities, what are your responsibilities to them as the employer, blah, blah, blah. That contracts great, but it’s not really what we’re going to talk about right here. There are three other main documents that I want you guys have in play and there’s a reason they’re broken out, which I’ll talk about in a little while now.

Rachel:                                      47:21                       I mentioned it now I don’t want them all folded into one because if one is ever rendered invalid or terminated and there’s not proper language, all of that can be terminated and that’ll make more sense here when I’m talking it through. So the other three main documents that we want to have in play are a non solicitation agreement, an intellectual property acknowledgement and then a noncompete document. Keeping in mind if this example was an independent contractor a noncompete would probably not apply. Okay, so since we’re talking about employees, we’re going to have employment contract, non solicitation, the IPA, which I always think of beer when I say that intellectual property acknowledgement and then the noncompete. The reason we want to have these documents in play is this. Let’s start with the intellectual property acknowledgement. Since we were just talking about IP, that is going to be the acknowledgement that anything that they create in the course of their employment with you is owned by you.


Rachel:                                      48:15                       Now recognizing I said earlier, if they’re an employee, it’s probably going to be owned by your gym anyways. So, uh, but I still always have an employee and contractor sign this IPA document because status can change. Maybe your coach starts phasing out and they quit being such an employee and just start doing one or two classes a week. As they phase themselves out, they can maybe be considered a contractor or vice versa can also work both ways. So IPA, intellectual property acknowledgement, anything that they create in the course of the business is owned by you, your company. All right. The second document, and this is probably one of the most important ones is, well before I prep, let me preface this before I get into this, cause we kind of talked about this with the Facebook live is the end goal is probably to keep your coaches from stealing your members, right?

Rachel:                                      49:08                       Or, and not even that they’re nefarious. This one of my favorite words. Even if they’re not nefarious and taking your members, members just may end up leaving or they just may tell the members, hey, I’m opening up a new gym. Do you want to come with me? And they may not even think about the repercussions of that. Typically many entrepreneurs think, oh, I just need to do a noncompete agreement and coaches can’t take my clients. That’s not actually true. Noncompetes are actually tied to the actual competition which can include your clients, your well in this case your members and also any potential members, anybody in the local community that they may be soliciting to. I’ll talk about it. I’m going to in a second. The non solicitation is actually what is most important here because you’re wanting to preserve your member list, right? You’re wanting to keep your members from being solicited by any coach that may lead to open up their new gym.

Rachel:                                      50:02                       So you want to have them sign a non solicitation agreement. This can be a blanket. You can never solicit any of my members or you guys can narrow it down to say any members that you brought here on your own that that coach can take with them or you can do it on a time that you know you can’t solicit any members for six months. Non Solicitations allow you to be very broad. Noncompetes, they’re, very narrow and I’ll mention that here in a second but so non solicitations are probably getting fast ways that you’re going to be able to protect your gym, I remember last right now I realize I forgot something in this list. Confidentiality, which is really going actually what you were talking about before. We can also put confidentiality and the non solicitation it’s probably most appropriate in like that core employment contract or that core independent contractor contract and that makes sure that they don’t divulge any of the information or use documents like things that had been created, whether it was created by the coach or somebody else in your gym.

Rachel:                                      51:03                       Um, so confidentiality does need to be in here. So people, sometimes we’ll have them sign a full NDA. You can do that too. If you want to do a nondisclosure agreement, you can do that. I don’t know. I feel like sometimes NDAs are a bit open, like this type of relationship that we’re talking about here. It’s all going to be circumstance specific, you know, um, it’s going to depend how long is the, that coach with you? What did you guys develop together? What were they? Those sorts of things. So an NDA can be appropriate. I just don’t necessarily make it one of the standard first documents. Um, I really just do more of like a confidentiality and I guess we’re kind of tit for tat here. It really matters what’s included within that document. And I just typically put the confidentiality with the employment document.

Rachel:                                      51:50                       So Employment Document IPA, we talked about the non solicitation and then the last document is going to be like the noncompete. I’m going to tell you straight up courts don’t like noncompetes. They don’t like anything that’s going to infringe or cramp the style. They want. Free Flow of commerce. And what does noncompete do? It stops competition. And so in order for a noncompete, and this is all going to vary by state, so you guys need to check in your specific state and he’s narrowed in focus. So like a non solicitation agreement we talked about, you could say you can never solicited any of our members for the next 50 years. Then I’d probably be maybe watch now I’m going to get an email from someone who like in most big that’s not in and out, but for the most part that’s okay and noncompete that would mirror that and say you can’t work in a gym for the next 20 years.

Rachel:                                      52:43                       Anywhere in the u s that ain’t going to hold up. I don’t know. In any state it’s so over broad. It has to be very specific. If things like zip code, the radius, how long it’s going to be. So you would want to do something like John Smith will not compete in a zip code two two four oh six for six months after specific to x, Y, Z services. Right? You want to be very specific in order for it to be enforceable. And the reason we want to have all these documents in place, I don’t want to sit back and while something feels wrong, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong under the law. Right? In our mind we’re thinking, oh coach is taking our stuff instead of their own gym on their own, including members. Feels wrong. The points to something in the law, right? You know there are conspiracy business conspiracy acts out there and there is, there’s a whole bunch of things but you don’t want to rely on any existing laws to be applied with us having these documents in place.

Rachel:                                      53:41                       You’re going to set the expectations and you’re also going to be able to have a breach of contract claim against a party that may break the contracts and give you some recourse and stop their behavior there. So I know that was probably a bit more than what you were asking then your initial question, but I felt like giving the full view of that one. An Nda alone is not enough. And IPA, which is the transfer of the intellectual property rights is not enough. They all have their own place and they all need to be used.

Greg:                                          54:11                       No, and honestly that was perfect because we wanted to have enough information out there so that you wouldn’t know exactly what they were getting themselves into and kind of what they needed to protect themselves. So that was perfect and I think we could go on and on about everything. I’m pretty sure I could ask you about a hundred different questions about legal advice and then eventually you’d probably just send me a bill instead.

Rachel:                                      54:35                       You guys have my permission

Greg:                                          54:39                       so if um, if somebody is trying to reach out, like if they’re listening this podcast and go, you know what I really, I really liked the way Rachel does business. I think I want to get some legal advice from her. What’s the best way they can contract?

Rachel:                                      54:52                       Yeah, you guys can reach out to me at will take you to all of my websites. So fitlegally is the law firm and if tou want to bypass that Connorsand I think we’ll link all of this with the episode as well. But if anything else, just Google, Rachel Brenke. I’m the only one. It’s not hard to get ahold of it.

Greg:                                          55:12                       Yes, for sure. We’ll definitely make sure that we put everything in the show notes, all the links so that anybody out there can can easily access the link in and get to you. So Rachel, thank you for giving us all this. We really appreciate it and uh, I hope in the future I can definitely get you back on here for a whole other series of questions. I’m sure I can come up with to kind of help our viewers there’s and help anybody in this industry.

Rachel:                                      55:38                       Sounds good. I look forward to it.

Speaker 6:                               55:40                       Hey everyone. Chris Cooper here on really thrilled to see you this year in June in Chicago at the 2019 Two-Brain summit. Every year we have two separate speaking tracks is one for you, the business owner and there’s one for coaches that will help them make better, longer, more meaningful careers under the umbrella of your business. This year we’ve got some pretty amazing topics like the client success manager, how to change your life organizational culture or the business owner’s life cycle, how to have breaks, how to have vacations, how to help your marriage survive. Owning a business and motivation and leadership. How to convert more clients, how to create a GM position that runs your gym for you and leaves you free to grow your business. How to start a business owner’s group, your community and more point here is to do the right thing that will help gym owners create better businesses that will last them for the long term.

Speaker 6:                               56:31                       Get them to tinker phase, help them be more successful, create meaningful careers of their coaches and give their clients a meaningful path to longterm health. We only do one big seminar every year and that’s the Two-Brain summit and the reason that we do that is because a big part of the benefit is getting the Two-Brain community together and and welcoming strangers into our midst and showing them how amazing gym ownership really can be. We’ll have a link to the Two-Brain summit, including a full list of all speakers and topics on both the owners and the coaches side in the show notes. I really hope to see you there.

Speaker 7:                               57:09                       As always, thank you so much for listening to this podcast. We greatly appreciate you and everyone that has subscribed to us. If you haven’t done that, please make sure you do drop a light to that episode. Share with a friend, and if you haven’t already, please write us a review and rate us on how what you think. If you hated it, let us know if you loved it even better.



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Episode 165: The Level Method

Episode 165: The Level Method

In business, the best storyteller wins.

One of the first things every entrepreneur does in the Incubator is to map their clients’ journey. That foundation helps us plan for better intake and retention. The client is the hero of their story; their coaches are the guides. 

The Level Method is based in science and math, but it’s powerful because it tells a story. As your client moves from Yellow to Red in the Front Squat, they know they’ve achieved something. Take the best elements of gaming, badging, and martial arts grading, and you have The Level Method.

At Two-Brain, we advocate services and products that can measurably improve your gym. We’re not interested in dumping more ideas on you; we want to share things that WORK.

The immediate benefit that most gym owners see from adding Level Method is an increase in 1:1 training revenue. But long-term, we’re tracking LEG and adherence too, because we know that a sticky story draws people back to the campfire.

We’ve been sharing Nate’s story since the start, and we’re big believers. 

 In 2016 Nathan developed what has become known as the Level Method. This is a completely unique, data-driven system that offers clients unparalleled insight into their fitness and progression. After implementing this tool at his own gym, Nathan has shared this powerful tool with many other gyms now providing unimaginably results for their members. Join us as we discuss the Level Method and Nathan’s experience in the CrossFit industry!


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


Contact Nathan:



Getting Things Done –

Pomodoro Technique –



1:35 – Introduction to Nathan Holiday

4:46 – Developing a unique tool for clients and CrossFit owners, the Level Method

8:51 – How does the CrossFit Level Method work?

11:25 – The importance of highlighting a moment for a client’s experience

16:09 – The structure of the Level Method, Where does a beginner rank?

18:16 – The process of leveling up in the Level Method, Performing an Assessment

22:11 – Building a roadmap for your clients to reach their goal and stay engaged

28:15 – The difference between Objective and Relevance Testing

29:36 – The Level Method Phone App

30:57 – What are the next steps for the Level Method going forward

34:08 – Programming that goes along with the Level Method

37:54 – Testing the Level Method at the Level Method Gym

41:56 – Staying focused and putting a timer to your work

46:05 – How to contact Nathan

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

Announcer:                            00:26                       This episode is brought to you by Incite Tax. Incite tax is founded by John Briggs, a crossfitter, great big tall guy with a fantastic sense of humor and John is like a coach for your books. These guys are not just pencil pushing number crunchers. These guys will actually help you get towards your perfect day. If you’re a member of our Growth stage, part of the mentoring program, you’re familiar with John’s videos on 10-99 versus W2 contractors. See John used to work for the IRS. He’s seen the other side of labor law and he knows exactly where the line is drawn. Don’t believe everything you read, but on the tax side, John can actually help you plan to take home more money every year and save more money on taxes because John is a certified profit first accountant. If you’ve listened to this podcast before, you know that I’m a big fan of Mike Michalowicz’ Profit First system and John at Incite tax and his staff can help you plan backwards from profit to get to where you need to go. It’s helped members of the Two-Brain family buy houses in the first year that they’ve implemented profit first. It’s helped people save more money, take home more money and make the business do what it’s supposed to do, which is pay you.

Greg:                                          01:34                       All right. I’m here with Nathan Holiday on another episode of Two-Brain radio. Welcome to the show, Nathan.

Nate:                                          01:40                       Thanks for having me, man.

Greg:                                          01:41                       Happy to. So we’re going to get into Level Method. We’re going to dig into every, all the bits and pieces of what level method is, but before we do that, let’s kind of jump back a little bit. Let’s jump back to a little bit of your past and what kind of led you up to the point of building such an amazing product and service for gym owners. But what kind of led you up to that point?

Nate:                                          02:03                       Sure.

Nate:                                          02:03                       So I was in the army. I straight out of high school, went in for five years, learned a lot, definitely an awesome learning experience. And as soon as I got out of that, I started coaching. This was back in 2008 just at a gym in California, Monrovia under Eric LeClair at Team CrossFit academy and one of the early gyms in the world, like I think of the 10th or something like that. And I dove in headfirst into the, both the coaching and the athlete role. So I was like totally obsessed with training, obsessed with program design, sort of coming up the ranks. I think it was a lot of people do, you know, you get into fitness and then you kind of become a, a coach and then you get into coaching and then you move up. And so after a few years, uh, I ended up opening a gym in Lake Forest, which is in California too.

Nate:                                          02:52                       And this was 2012 so I spent like four years sort of coaching and then opening the gym. Went through this of natural evolution of ownership where you, you kind of think that it’s going to be a lot different than it is. I think all owners, gym owners realize, you know, like the idea of it is much different in life is like that in many ways. And so I spent sort of three or four years really struggling with problems that I didn’t, I hadn’t foreseen. I didn’t realize what the real job was. I didn’t, I was coaching and much on, uh, a much more sort of program oriented, training oriented. You know, I’m, I’m sort of technical by nature, so I love that. All the energy systems stuff. So I really lived in that world and I, it took me a long time to realize that a lot of, I mean, most people, normal people don’t really care about that.

Nate:                                          03:40                       So I had to figure out like, what is it that people care about and what is it that’s going to increase buy in and sort of this, how can I get more people to be on their path wanting to get better? And so I was, uh, I was, I was in this big location with like a ton of rent and I was sort of like at this turning point of figuring out if I wanted to keep going or what I wanted to do and my business partner Sean, he brought up this idea of a level system. And so that’s kind of where the original idea started from that point is really what I started working on this thing fully. But all the way up to that point was this sort of like learning time and trying to figure things out. And that’s sort of, that’s like in a nutshell, the history.

Greg:                                          04:25                       So you not only, I mean you were in the military, you get out and you start coaching. I mean, like you said, one of the, one of the first 10 I, you said the name and I haven’t heard that name in, I mean a few years now at least. So you, you were being able to coach under a, under a gym. From there you opened your own gym now to actually developing, I mean you thought very methodical, very systemized. What really led to you saying, okay, I need to develop something for other gym owners that is going to help them understand what they’re doing with their clientele and meeting the goals that they want to with their clientele.

Nate:                                          05:03                       That’s a, that’s a great question. It was not a, an original idea like that. It wasn’t it. The idea was never to do that. The idea was I wanted, I wanted a tool that would work that would help engage my clients. I help them sort of get on the path of fitness. I say this all the time because like when we look at like the beginners, when I came into fitness and like a lot of owners, especially in coaches, when they get introduced to this concept of fitness, it’s like we’re in like day one. We’re like, well, what do I have to do? How do I learn what I like? We were on the journals. We’re learning, we’re learning. It’s like consistent and I found that most people, like regular people, they’re not necessarily like that. They’re, you know, they’re so it, I was trying to figure out this way to get somebody to get like plugged into like understanding the world and wanting to get better.

Nate:                                          05:53                       And so it was this tool for me to solve that problem. And as I went, as it was developing and I was seeing that it was actually working because I mean levels in general, the idea of levels and a level system is not a new idea. It’s been around since like 2000 or back in the Seattle, the level four and all those sorts of things. And I had played with all, I’ve, I tried to implement all of those and none of them really stuck. Right? So I, I, I knew that if I could do the same way as like martial arts belts, if I could somehow quantify these things and give people concrete goals and be able to object to like make it objective that that would have, the likelihood would be high, that someone would be able to get plugged in. And so as I was going and I was working on this problem in my own gym, I saw that it was actually working and it was like I was so surprised and you know, cause you how many times do we have ideas where like this is a great idea but then it fails miserably, right?

Nate:                                          06:47                       Like this is like the story of an entrepreneur’s life. Like okay. So as it was working then, you know, I reached out and it was a very organic, the growth was extremely organic. I have being in the, in in southern California for so many years and like the sort of bed of of fitness in the early days, I have a lot of people that I know and so I reached out to a handful of gym owners. But where I started, Eric LeClair, one of the very first ones, he was actually the second gym, Jill Baker, who used to own a crossfit fly. She’s now moved on. But she was the very first and so I went there and we did like this really low key sort of integration where I just explained what this was. But at the time it was basically completely built around the training and this technical side of like this is, these are the energies that, and even when I went on, I went on Two-Brain the podcast last year, I was still really obsessed with that idea, like training, training and energy systems and all this sort of stuff.

Nate:                                          07:46                       So like the, the answer is that originally was just to solve the problems I had and as it, as it went, as I saw it working for me, I reached out and then it sort of started to grow. And then as we started seeing it working successfully, so it wasn’t like a star problem. It wasn’t like me as this, like I’m super obsessed with this idea and I’m like pushing it, pushing it, pushing it. When we saw it working in other communities with other gyms, we knew that it was, you know, it could be, it could be scaled. And so, and that’s really when we started looking at like, okay, well what are the, what are the real problems and what are we really trying to solve with this? It’s not necessarily just a this ranking system, but what does the ranking system allow us to do very well. Right? And that’s sort of like where the, the business has evolved and developed into over the past, over the past year and a half early.

Greg:                                          08:36                       And I mean, and if anyone doesn’t know level method, please make sure that you guys, uh, and we’ll share the, the, the in the show notes, the links and everything like that. Make sure you jump on so that when I ask this next question, you kind of understand what I mean. And you have some context, but basically with the level method, you guys, I mean there’s different levels, almost like a, a different colors for

Greg:                                          08:56                       each, each thing. And then there’s criteria for each one of those. And to me, I mean, in my childhood I took karate lessons. I think it was probably for maybe a month, don’t really remember how long I was interested in it. And I’m pretty sure it was very few sessions. But I remember have friends that were in it for long periods of time. And there was a method, uh, each belt was a different color until you got, of course the black belt and then they have like those third degree black belts and all this other stuff. But that’s like if I, if I break this down to a very simple level, I mean that’s kind of what level method has done, right?

Nate:                                          09:27                       It is exactly like that. So I did Jujitsu, Brazilian Jujitsu for a years. I mean I’m not like that great. So don’t think that I’m that good. But I love Brazilian Jujitsu and the belts, the colors are actually based off of that belt system and it’s like, in my mind, sort of calibrated in the same way what blue is like, it’s okay, purple now you’re getting pretty good and brown, you were very good. And it’s so it’s, it’s sort of in that same, but it’s exactly that, right? It’s exactly this, this quantification to help people move up. Right? And there are 15 categories in case somebody is just wondering, there are 15 categories and these, each of these categories progress independently. And so then you, what you end up with is like a chart of visual chart of like this visual representation of someone’s fitness and their weaknesses, which gives me as a coach a ton of information.

Nate:                                          10:18                       I mean from a training standpoint, but also from like a goal setting. A system’s a powerful moment to like really as people you know, get promoted. It’s like a huge celebration. And this is a just a side note, it’s like a very interesting idea is that like we’ve attached this color or we’ve attached this label to all of these different weights. So use front squat. Just as a quick example, you have like I front squat. If I went from to 62 to 75 like high five that’s great. But if it’s attached to a meet, like there’s actual a meaning a label and I’ve gone from whatever, I’m not looking at the map right now, but you say blue two blue one this now is a massive, it’s an opportunity for this really powerful experience versus I’ve gone up 15 pounds. Also a powerful experience. Also a PR but not as meaningful, right? We’ve created this language and this framework to make things more meaningful and to leverage this whole idea of powerful moments and rewarding and all this sort of stuff. Now

Greg:                                          11:20                       I’m going to ask a question and, and I know the answer, but I definitely want people to understand this too, is why do you want to hit on the power of those moments so much?

Nate:                                          11:31                       I mean, the, the quick answer is that like it does not happen in regular life, right? So like this idea, if we’re going to compete with so many distractions in life and so many things that are happening all the time, we want to be able to, to make people feel just really, really good about what they’re doing and what they’re accomplishing and what they’re doing in life. And so we are able to produce these really powerful moments. Not only is there like this addictive element, but it also makes people feel just really good about their accomplishments. And we also clarify what the things are that they need to be working on. So we can set up this game plan and then continue to produce these powerful moments.

Greg:                                          12:10                       Now with this, it’s, I mean, I, I 100% agree with you on having those moments. I think, I mean the book The Power of Moments by chip and Dan Heath, which is amazing. We’ll make sure we add that in the show notes as well. Is the fact that it’s necessary to keep these members long term, like you said, it doesn’t happen in day to day life. Uh, it’s, it’s allowing people to be recognized for their accomplishments. I mean, we do that to kids all the time, right? We take a picture when they graduate high school or college or they get a perfect score on a test and they have a certificate and the teacher recognizes them. We don’t, I mean, that ends after basically college, right? Maybe you get a promotion, but it’s not like you post that on Facebook with a certificate that says, Hey, I got a promotion today.

Nate:                                          12:52                       Exactly.

Nate:                                          12:52                       Yeah. And, and that book, The Power of Moments. Like, so as we were going, you know, we’re building level method and it’s, it’s growing and growing. Uh, and we, like I read this book, this is in the very early days and in chapter eight of that book is multiply milestones. And so multiplying milestones, we were creating milestones for people. Right? And if you just read that, if you’re not going to do anything else, but we that one chapter, chapter eight and powerful moment, oh, in the power of moments and just take that idea to what you’re doing in the gym. I mean that alone is super, you can do it in many, many ways. You can like people have PR bells, you have class attendance boards, you have all sorts of different ways of doing it. But the idea is that you should be doing it and once you should be doing it, the next step is to systemize. So it happens every single time regardless. And this is very important. Otherwise what are we doing? Right?

Greg:                                          13:45                       Yeah, exactly. I 100% agree with you. I think that’s too many to many. And not only gyms, but businesses in general, uh, don’t do this enough. And I think we need to think about that, of how often we got recognized when we were younger and how we don’t do that now. And how you could have that, that business that does recognize these people, that’s they’ve, they’ve been a member for the, for three years or five years. I mean, I have gym owners that have members that have been there for seven years and this is a crossfit gym. So this is somebody that’s been around for like 10 years. I mean, imagine having somebody, a client there for seven years and you haven’t recognized them at all and now you have the opportunity to do so, uh, in some way. So I agree with you, like you said, find a way to recognize them and then systemize it. And that’s, I mean, you guys have done an amazing job of doing that because it’s, it’s hard to say. How do you, I mean, how do you systemize people working out? And it’s hard to quantify that besides him in crossfit, we quantify the, the, if you’ve gotten fitter, but then how are you making sure that you track these kinds of things? And then recognize it.

Nate:                                          14:47                       It’s such a hard question, right? Like when you, when you look at fitness overall, it’s like you have a billion different things, right? Like am I better like you, you see relative to other people, a lot of it’s relative or it’s like you have, you know, a workout that you did last year and it’s like you’re a fitter, you’re definitely getting fitter. But by how much, and in the world of fitness, where am I? Right? So like, am I good? I, well, you’re not really going to know until you go compete or you are now going to the game. You know, like as you’re, as you’re climbing up, it’s like difficult to really find your place. And, and that’s like the thing that, one of the things I love most is like I can look at somebody levels, I can, once I know their overall level, it gives me this, just the immediate Snapshot in my brain of where they are in the world.

Nate:                                          15:37                       Right? So someone comes to my gym and they say, Oh yeah, I’ve been, I’ve been working out for five years. Okay. I mean, what does that mean? And that’s like, that could be, I’ve seen five year people still not be able to get below parallel, prolonged squatting or like any of these basic things versus someone that comes to me and says, I am this level right away in my head. I have an exact idea of where they are in this world. Right. So it’s just a very cool thing. I just love that part.

Greg:                                          16:05                       No, and, and that’s, that’s, now let’s start taking actually into that a little bit. You have these different levels. I think a white is the very basic and it goes up to black. Is that correct?

Nate:                                          16:14                       Yeah. So it’s like very beginner. I mean, Level method is beginner oriented. It, it doesn’t mean that it’s not for those higher levels, but yeah, white, it starts in white and it moves up to black.

Greg:                                          16:25                       And I, I remember at last year’s summit, it was the first time I actually saw your chart and everything laid out. And I remember, of course when I see this big chart of level method, I want to know where I rank. And I remember looking at it and the, I think too many people would say like, oh, this is good for beginners. Like I’m, I’ve done crossfit for five years or seven years or whatever it is. I should be, I should have no problem getting through this though. The ones that you have on, on that black like ranking system, those are, I mean those are ridiculous. I won’t lie. Like some of them are, I mean games level competitors that that would be able to rank on the scoring.

Nate:                                          17:03                       Yeah. And so like if everything’s based basically on percentiles, I don’t want to get too technical, but like we’re looking at about 90th percentile. So like the, the scores are definitely high but doable and each one, right. So there are a lot of people that will have many black individual black levels. So there’s 15 categories. So they might have like three or four things that are in the black, but we still have nobody that’s black, completely black overall because it’s, I mean, we have some brown twos, Brown three’s even, but nobody has had that has made that leap into overall black.

Greg:                                          17:37                       And I, I can believe it cause I remember seeing those numbers and I was like this person probably doesn’t exist unless it’s rich Froning and that’s probably the only person that could, maybe it would make all of these, the games. I would say that the majority of games guys these days would all be black. Yeah. Yeah.

Greg:                                          17:53                       But the really, and that’s what the, the thing I want to get to is like it is, it’s not easy to get to that point. So going through these, these systems, these color systems, I mean you, you really have to put the time and effort into it and continually do that to get better and better. But it gives them a visualization of where they are and then also giving them the things that they need to do to get to the next level from what I can see. So with that digging into a little bit of how that works, what exactly when gym owners are saying, okay, I’m going to implement level method, talk to me about how somebody, one of their members gets from one level to the next. Like what is, what is those that process look like?

Nate:                                          18:30                       So that that would, um, I mean we call it testing or assessing and that happens in a, in a variety of ways. So like we have initial rollout when someone, when someone gets the level method, there’s an initial like assessment phase where people are doing their testing and they’re doing, their tests are getting their levels up and then they will get their overall level. And in the first, if you have a really like veteran sort of population, then you know, people are going to be into the blues, into the purples. And just to give everyone an idea of blue and purple is really like the goal. Blue I would say is the goal for the vast majority of, of regular, you know, gym goers is like I’m trying to get the blue and as people are, if they’re brand new then we kind of hold them back a little bit and keep it nice and like, so they’re not trying to crush themselves.

Nate:                                          19:19                       We get their overall level. And then from that point we’re working on game plans, we’re working on working on weaknesses. There’s like specialty programs or accessory programs like in a goal setting situation, what we sit down and we kind of map it out and then every quarter or so we’ll have cycles where we’ll do another sort of testing where it’s layered into the programming so people can come in and they can do it if they haven’t done it for awhile and we also have some times on Saturdays or Fridays or something, people will come in and they’ll want to test stuff. They’ll be like, I’ve been, I mean I can’t tell you the why this. The level method is really for this white, yellow, orange, blue, that group of people, because I have, I have normal members, I have a a client, a Janice, she’s still with me.

Nate:                                          20:06                       She’s, she was with me for probably three years before I had the level method and she was one of those clients that just was not engaged like her. Her daughter did a taekwondo like in the place down the road and so she was looking for something to like take up the hour. She starts coming. She’s just kind of checking the box and doing all of these things. We, I introduced the level method and then immediately she’s like, she goes through her tests and then now she’s coming before class to work on her rings and she’s like doing jump to stabilize and she’s been, she’s working in working in like until she gets her blue overall it’s a big celebration. Right. And it’s like this is a, this is an example of who previously there was no engagement and now suddenly she’s on there, she sees she’s working towards a very specific goal and then achieving that goal and being able to celebrate it with everybody.

Nate:                                          20:58                       And the thing that got her to her goal was, I think it was like either one or three ring dips. So she was like highly incentivized to work on this one to three ring dip thing where in any other environment there is not a, there’s no reason unless she was about to do like a competition that had ring dips and it was like crunch time and she had like three weeks to get a ring dip or she was going to be embarrassed in front of, you know, like that sort of thing. It’s the only other time that somebody would be highly incentivized to work on a, on a weakness and sorry I kind of went off there, but to go back to the testing, you know there’s, there’s a lot of ways that people work towards moving up or getting their levels, you know, doing accessory programs or you know, in the normal cycle of the year just coming in and everybody gets fitter.

Nate:                                          21:47                       Right? It’s like if they’re working out and they’re doing good stuff, they’re going to get fitter is this is just a matter of fact until they reach to a certain point and then start things start to plateau a little bit. And at that point we have to now take like specific action, right? So now we’re looking at weaknesses specifically and we’re, we’re mapping out a game plan specifically but up to a certain point we can just kind of, people are just going to be getting better and better. And that’s, I mean that’s the goal, right? I mean I always, and if anybody’s listening to this, I’ll make sure that I, I bridged this of why, uh, level Method such an amazing service for you to institute and products for your institute is what you said earlier is, is engagement. And on top of that, if you’re sitting down and going through with your clients, you’re doing no sweat. Intro is finding out what their goals are, finding out why they’re here and they fit everything within what your, gym can offer them. This, I feel like is a perfect bridge to keep them motivated and going and to get to those goals. I mean you were the, the whole theory of having a smart goal of, I mean specific and measurable and, and all of these things, you are literally doing this by showing them on this big poster that goes up on their wall when they start level method of you’re here, you need to get to here and these are the things that you need to do to get there and you’re building a roadmap for their goals. Yeah. And it’s like to take a quick little side track. So I was, this is early days level method now. Very fog. We have like probably, I don’t know, four or five gyms.

Nate:                                          23:14                       I’m not even sure. I don’t remember. But Josh Price. So he, you know, Josh training the trainers and so he’s like Two-Brain, he calls me up and he’s just like asking me about this thing, this, this must have been actually before we had any gyms. This was very early. He saw it somewhere, saw it on a forum and started calling me and asking me, hey, can we do this? So eventually I go to his place in Virginia and he introduces me to, Two-Brain the concept. I didn’t, I didn’t know about, I, I didn’t even like, and so I enter into his world. He introduces me to Chris and then I’m on Chris’s podcast about six months later, but it was like, at the time I didn’t even know like the, um, I was thinking totally about this technical side, not about systems and the prescriptive model and all of these really core ideas from a business standpoint that I was totally missing out on.

Nate:                                          24:11                       And so, so once I got exposed, I went through the incubator, I get it, I get all of these ideas and I’m like, Oh damn, we’re missing out here. We got to like set up some systems to be able to sit down with people to be able to show them. Exactly. It just, it magnifies everything. And just recently, probably maybe three, two or three months ago, we were in Sweden and at coaches Congress and Chris was there presenting and he, he uses two tools for quantification. The tools are the inbody, right? Because you need to be able to quantify body fat and the best way to to manipulate that variable is mostly through nutrition, right? So you have nutrition coaching attached to this inbody and then you, he uses the level method because of this is the modulator. This is the thing that controls the the goal setting.

Nate:                                          24:57                       I can sit down and I can get people on either one on ones or a a specialty program like an excursion or an accessory program and I can do all of these things in a much less like sort of weird way. Like people are coming to me to ask them how they can get better, right? So when I sit down on it in a goal setting session, I can like pull up inbody, hey here are all, here’s all of these numbers and I can pull up someone’s fitness and I have up, here’s all these numbers, let’s map out a perfect plan for you. These are the options. You can do the more expensive stuff, right? Like ten one on one sessions. We could do a six week specialty program if that’s too much or if that’s too much, we could do an accessory program and so on down the line we can even do free options, right?

Nate:                                          25:43                       Where we’re just like, hey, come in before class and do these things. So it’s, it’s just the, the, the, the model. Before I was really introduced these core ideas, I was going down these, this wrong zone. I was, I was running down the wrong path thinking that this is what people were interested in as opposed to how do we get people to stay longer? How do we get them to be more engaged into their process? How do we make sure that, uh, the gym owner isn’t overwhelmed with systemizing these things? How do we show differentiation? Like, because I mean from all the other gyms, how do we make ourselves different and how do we make ourselves a better, you know, so all of these ideas sort of have, have evolved

Greg:                                          26:25                       and I mean, and they’ve evolved in an amazing direction. I mean exactly what you said with what Chris mentioned at that the coaches congress, if, if you are, I mean the two things that you can use to get to your client’s goals are going to be nutrition and he’s right, 100% something like level method that can show your clients where they’re at and then where they’re trying to go, which is in the direction of their goals. Because I think you could use level method by itself and it would be great. You could use nutrition by itself and it would be great, but I feel like when you pair the two up together, like HSN putting HSN and level method together, it’s, it’s basically a home run. I mean you, you do less work, you build out, you were literally had the systems systemized so that you can build it, hey, you’re going to do this, then this, then this, then this and this gets to your goal.

Greg:                                          27:13                       So it makes a gym owner not have to work as hard. But the other part of that is what you said, like they can now schedule goal review sessions to get to their next goal. And they’re in, they’re, they’re enthusiastic about it and they want to in there they’re keeping motivated with it cause you’re showing them success. And then on top of that, and now you’re also bringing new revenue in the gym because they want to get to this goal. One of their things may be, and I’m just using this as as a placeholder, I’m not saying that this is in the method a level method, but they want to get double unders. Now you have a way of showing them like, hey did you get to your next ranking? You’d have to get double unders. Now we have a way of doing that or x amount of double unders. So it brings more revenue into, you, brings more revenue to your coaches and allows for the gym to sustain growth and sustain moving in the direction that the gym chooses. So it sounds like, I mean if you’re running both these programs, your coaches are making more money. The gym’s making more money, which is what gym owners of course they’re looking for. But then on top of that, it’s also keeping your clients longer and you’re retaining them. The, the length of engagement is there, which is amazing to me.

Nate:                                          28:15                       Yeah, it really is. It’s one of those. So sort of piggy backing off of that idea, there are several tests in the map or on the map on in level method that are like relative strength tests. So they’re, they’re percentage based, they’re like body weight based. So there’s objective tests that are like their objective way do you got to pick up this amount of weight? And then there’s like pull up these other ones, ring dips there that have percentages. And so when somebody, when I, when we look at some of these levels, their dashboards, I get aggregate scores of will bear, I don’t want to get to relative and objective strength levels, right? So if their relative strength is low, most likely, like 90% of the time it’s because they’re carrying too much, what we call nonfunctional master, just they have too much fat. Right? So as soon as we start to drop that fat immediately, some of these relative strength numbers go up. So it’s like we further incentivize them working on nutrition and working on those things because not only are they going to look better, feel better, but now also their levels are going to go up. So it’s just like, there’s a lot of cool little things like that.

Greg:                                          29:21                       It’s a, it sounds like it’s, I mean it’s a, it’s a perfect marriage between not only nutrition and the program, but then when the gym basically, which is facilitating both of these things, it’s doing what, what all gyms sell, which is an experience. So it sounds like it’s, it’s, it’s doing that perfectly. So now with that, I mean, I know you guys have some other stuff in the pipeline or have already it from my understanding, from what I’ve seen is you actually, you guys have an APP that people would have their own profile through. Is that correct?

Nate:                                          29:47                       Yeah. So the, the APP and we’re like always in development, right? Always. So sort of improving. But this APP is a way to, for someone to see this visual snapshot of their fitness. So I get also to these technical, I live near Irvine, California. It’s like sort of a UN for engineery sort of people. We have software engineers and also so we get these highly technical kind of people. They’re all over the place, right? But the end, they’ll come in and they’ll just be obsessing about their levels. So have their charts and their things and everybody has a little snapshot, a little visual screen of their levels. And the coach also has access to everybody’s levels so they can pull up and easily see everybody. And it’s just a way to track overall track where people are.

Greg:                                          30:28                       And that’s, I mean, and that’s what we talked about earlier to what you said was being able to track those numbers, having hard numbers of objective measurements, which is what crossfit has always been about. How do we objectives, we measure our fitness level. Cause nobody else was willing to defy it. And we were, which is awesome. And I love when Greg and Greg Glassman talked about that. I mean he’s, I’m sure he’s talked about it and many, many videos, but I always remember seeing that when I would pull up youtube and start watching videos is we were the ones that were willing to measure it. So let’s talk about what’s kind of, what’s in the pipeline, what’s going forward. I mean, like you said, you’re always innovating, which is awesome. If you’re always trying to make systems better, that’s the goal, to give that experience to be better. What’s, what’s the next things going on with level method that, uh, that you guys are going to be doing?

Nate:                                          31:12                       I mean, I think like the biggest thing, the biggest, like what I consider the biggest revolution within, within what we do is this levels based programming. This is like a fairly new project, maybe six or eight months. And so this is programming based on people’s levels so that we create these very extensive coaching notes and digital displays that go on TVS, right? So it’s just basically like a slide that goes up and then there are levels for each of the war. The workout is broken down into five either white, yellow, orange, blue, and then purple plus. So the same workout now is broken down and it’s pre scaled. And this like originally, you know we, I never really, I didn’t get in the to doing this stuff to do programming like it. It’s an extremely extensive, I spend a ton of time on this stuff but the truth is it really does systemize and make things really easy for the gym owner.

Nate:                                          32:10                       So as we’ve been going, my whole focus and with with everything in level method really is to make things as easy as possible for the gym owner. So like how do we make it so simple that all you have to do is put up a thing on your screen and then everything’s pre scaled. You can hand your coaching notes to somebody to a a new way kind of coach and they can read the coaching notes, get all the briefing, get all the stuff and then they can coach a really high quality class. So we were like sort of systemizing that side of it. Obviously it’s, it’s, we’re continuing to refine, continuing to make it better. But that idea is, I’m just, I love that idea is that we can, cause, I mean, think about from a, from a gym owner, one of the most dangerous, sort of precarious elements of what we do with, I mean in any business is the people, right?

Nate:                                          33:00                       So when we have coaches, we have coaches in, in our midst and they move or they have, and now suddenly your, it’s like you, you’re covering everything and now you have to do all the work and you’re not prepared for that. And then now we have to train somebody up and you have to get them going. So if we can figure out a way to make, to make that whole thing better, more seamless, I just had a coach that’s coming up the ranks, you know, that in, in past years, like I would feel nervous, you know, but because I have these coaching notes and I can review them with her and I can go over and she can read everything. It’s like, man, it solves so many, so many problems. And I think that’s, that’s one of the big, the big sort of revolutionary ideas that we’re doing a further development in the APP obviously. And then we have a ton of ideas around like more systems stuff. How do we make this more, so the goal setting is better at dialed in, you know, all of those things are, are better dialed in.

Greg:                                          33:51                       Okay. So and I think I’ve heard, I’ve actually heard from this from one of my clients, uh, that uses level method. You guys, so anybody out there listening, cause it’s definitely a question that popped in my head and hopefully, um, I’m asking it now when everyone else is like, oh I wish you would ask this is you have developed programming for this level method because I think too many gyms out there are probably going well I would love to have that. Like it sounds amazing, but my programming, I would, that would be so much more work to do, to have my programming be within these levels. So you guys actually created your own, your own programming for level methods so that people could do this.

Nate:                                          34:28                       No. So that’s a very common misconception. The programming, like it’s, it’s broadened inclusive fitness programming. Like it’s all we’ve done is we’ve just basically prescale did for every level. So it’s not like we’re not training for the level of methods specifically. We’re not like, okay, we’re going to do the programming, we’re going to like plug it in and you’re going to get all of your members really good at the level method. It’s very, very broad and inclusive and it’s not even a mandatory part. So if anybody’s listening, thinking about like if you do love method, you have to do the programming. It’s optional. You like, we just did it because the demand was high. People just wanted us to be able to do everything for them. But yeah, it’s, it’s a, a broad and inclusive fitness program. Not Specific to Level method. We just have like layered in similar, sometimes the movements, you know, there’s Kettlebell swings it at the same, I mean it’s just fitness.

Greg:                                          35:19                       Exactly. And, but what you guys have done is, like I said, showing those to the members and allow them to bridge that gap to their goals of what they’re trying to achieve. But you guys have done it in for the gym owner side of it allowed them to take away from that programming so that they, if they are doing, and if you’re, if you’re a gym owner out there for your gym, please reach out and try to outsource that because you’re wasting time on that when you’re could be bettering the experience and this is the perfect time or perfect opportunity to do something like that. If they’re jumping on a level method style service, you could, they would have the program and which is, which I think is amazing. I mean they don’t have to, you don’t, nobody has to waste the time on, on developing programming when they could just institute that through through you guys’s, I think it’s additional service. Correct?

Nate:                                          36:04                       Yeah, exactly. It’s just an add on if you, if you so desire. But that’s a huge, that’s a very important point is this, I mean the amount of time that we spend on refining this programming and doing it and thinking it through, it’s like so many, so many hours when we used to do every gym, right? So like there’s a, there’s thousands of gyms. Each person is putting these 10 or 20 or 30 hours into this program where they could, they can outsource it and saves so much time, you know? But again, if people use other services they can, they can maintain that. And then level method is sort of this like framework plug and play framework that lays on top

Greg:                                          36:41                       that makes complete sense to be able to do that and keep them moving forward. But like I said, if, if people are out there programming, I always tell anybody that I mentor, like try to look into outsourcing it because it’s not what is keeping your gym around. Nobody’s, nobody’s googling in your area. Best programming in my area, they don’t care. They don’t give them a great experience and they will tell all of their friends.

Nate:                                          37:04                       Yeah. It’s funny you say that because for before I had, you know, create a level method I like I have, I am of that mind. I’m that sort of guide. It’s like I want to do the best training. And so for like two years we had, as our tag, I cringe to think about it now, but our tagline was we train smarter that Wa and like, dude, not one person ever came. It’d be like, Hey, I saw your thing about you training smarter. Like, no, no. It has nothing to do with that. It’s, it’s all about how you make people feel, you know? It’s like when you come to a gym and you feel really good and you’re feeling these powerful experiences and you’re making friends and your, that’s really what the whole thing is about. And it’s like if, if someone’s not focusing on those things, you’re missing out. Yeah,

Greg:                                          37:51                       agreed. Agreed. 100% so now I’ve got to ask, I mean I didn’t ask this question in the beginning and we talked about it. Do you still own a gym?

Nate:                                          37:59                       I do. Yeah. I have my gym. So when I, I moved to a smaller location and as I was developing the level method, like there are so many things that I test and I go through with my people first. All of the programming is tested through my location. Everything. It, like, all of the ideas are sort of vetted through my, through my gym. And I look at it like a, a test kitchen. But I also love, I love what I do and I have a great team of people that are smart, hardworking, dedicated, and it’s like, there’s, there’s so many little things to be working on it. Like as an entrepreneur, a business owner as like a human being, there’s always so many tweaks and refinements, you know? And with my gym, it’s that, it’s like this very, very fun project that continues to refine and it’s like, I will, I’ll need to keep it, you know?

Greg:                                          38:49                       Yeah, no. And, and, and to me it also builds up that authenticity and authority of like, Hey, it’s not like you’re just creating this programming and saying hey, it’s great or, or level method as a whole and hey yeah it works but not being able to to test it and you guys are testing it. I mean you are going through it these steps in making sure that when it gets to the end user, which would be a gym owner, it’s working correctly and then their members, if they’re doing the programming with that, I mean you’re running a gym, you’re building this organization and I mean and and I don’t even know what, what amount of staff you have for both, both now, but what is it like being the CEO of both of these? Like what, what does that entail? What is, what is the processes? Is there, is there anything out there that if people are, they have a gym at super successful theirs, they’re starting this new opportunity, what do you feel like has been successful for you to be able to juggle both?

Nate:                                          39:39                       I think the, the number one thing is to think in systems, right? To think in ways to lower the amount of stuff that’s going on when it comes to like just a very pragmatic things like living by a calendar, right? So making sure that you have time blocked out to work on big projects things. And then working to a timer. This is also very important. So when you have a project and you’re working on a project that you, you set a timer and you work on it, you’re not getting distracted by a billion things. And these are, this is sort of my obsession is how do I get more done? How do I live a more like stress free life? Because as a gym owner, if you own multiple businesses, it’s like your brain does not shut off, right? And so it’s this ongoing thing and you know, sometimes you’ll wake up and you’ll, you’ll like be thinking about some meaningless detail in the middle of the night and it feels like the worst thing.

Nate:                                          40:35                       And then in the daytime you’re like, why was I so, it’s just like getting these systems. So I think the number one thing for me is to be thinking about systems as a priority and within that world, being able to delegate, create teams, make sure that you get good people and you work with them so that they can, you know, you give them encouragement so that they can come up and they can start to understand things. Um, and then if, if somebody, if you haven’t looked into VA’s virtual assistants to work on little things like the little mundane tasks that you find yourself constantly doing, that would be easily like given to somebody if they just knew the steps that needed to be done. Like the, the raw steps, what’s step one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 if I could and then map that out and hand it off to somebody think like that. And that’s the, that’s like my, my best advice. No,

Greg:                                          41:25                       I think, uh, honestly, I mean I always, I never, never say that I know everything that has never my goal of the intentive of any of these episodes or anything.

Nate:                                          41:34                       I always try to ask questions that I know that I have personally or what I think somebody else would. But I also take away stuff from every single one of these episodes and that whole timer thing. I, I’ve heard it so many times and I don’t think I’ve actually instituted, so I want you to know and you can hold me accountable. I, uh, I need to go get a timer. You something that I can use, probably I’ll probably get something that I can keep on my desk that kind of looks nice too. But I’m gonna start doing that. I’m gonna start up putting a timer on that work so that I actually stay focused in on it. I’m not also looking at my phone or my iPad or whatever while I’m doing it. Think about fitness, right? So like what, what increases fitness like, and you go back, there are many arguments to this, like many sides to the argument, right?

Nate:                                          42:14                       There’s no, but intensity in general is really like hormonally, you don’t want to do it all the time, but when you put things to a timer, you’re going to work faster. You know, and when you, when you slot things in and if you’re interested in really going down in anybody listening, there are, there are two frameworks. I’m just going to give them broadly because they’re are very, they’re kind of, they’re deep. You can go down these worlds, one of them, the framework of general overall organization of your entire life of ways of thinking. It’s called Gtd. It’s called getting things done by a guy named David Alvin. This book and this way of thinking will absolutely change your entire life as, as how you bring things into your life. So when someone randomly is like, Hey, can you do this thing? And you’re like, yeah, sure.

Nate:                                          42:59                       And then you forget five minutes later, that will never happen again. If you can actually implement a GTD system, that’s number one. That’s the framework. The second framework, and this comes down to time to work, is pomodoros. Pomodoros is a, it’s Italian for tomato and it’s a, it’s a system of using a timer and going through blocks of work followed by rest 25 minutes of work followed by five minutes of rest. You do that four times and you’d get along rest of 30 minutes. And this is just an oscillation of work to rest in your arrest. You must rest. You can’t go on. You got to go and look at plants and like go outside and look completely disconnect. And this oscillation of doing deep work followed by little periods of rest is the, and it took me, it took me about two years to really see the benefit of the rest.

Nate:                                          43:51                       I would, the beginner doesn’t rest. And at the same thing happens in fitness. The beginner and intermediate person does not like to rest. Even the events or advanced people that do not like to rest because what do they think? I’m wasting my time. I don’t need a rest. I need another day of training, right? But when it comes and it’s the same thing and work, the beginner person who was getting into really deep focused work wants to burn through the whole day. And what ends up happening is they burn themselves out and then they’re low productive for like weeks. And then they come back and then they do it again. Right? So you have to get this idea of working deep work followed by little bits of rest and now you can do this. All you could do, you could go all day long, these little mini breaks you get, you know, eight, 10 hours of solid chunks of work and it’s sustainable.

Nate:                                          44:36                       That’s a secret, right? So you have these two ideas. GTD and Pomodoro. So anybody, the reason I know this stuff is because I needed, I needed it very, very badly because it was, I was continuously overwhelmed like how am I going to get, I felt to the maximum stretch to the maximum and I knew I wanted to do more, but how was I going to do it? You need systems, you need systems in place and it has to do with life and also business and the the number one system in my life, the one, the two things that I do that I am so thankful for his Gtd, which is a just a way of thinking about things and then Pomodoro, which is a very pragmatic timer based productivity way of getting things done. Like actually getting things done right. Distraction free, phone off, nothing. All you’re doing is working and that’s it. And you get so much done and it’s like you’re like, can’t believe what you can get done in 30 minutes. Yeah,

Greg:                                          45:32                       I think that’s, that’s a perfect place to wrap this episode up because I think anyone that’s listening and it’s like, okay, I need to go download those books, which we’re going to put in the show notes. We’ll definitely make sure, uh, that getting things done is definitely in there as well as the power of moments and people can start utilizing that. But Nathan, if somebody is trying to figure out, hey, you know what, I listen to podcast, I want to get Leffel method, I need to get this done right away. Cause I feel like there’s a lot of people out there that, that need this. And, and, and should be utilizing this along with, of course nutrition. Where should they reach out to a,

Nate:                                          46:04                       to get ahold of you? So number one thing is to schedule a call. So we call it our discovery session or discovery call. We are doing a a um, a special, so it’s 20% off of the, the initial fee up until May 15th. So if you go to level and then schedule your discovery, Brian who Brian Bender who does our uh, sales stuff, we’ll chat with you and then he’ll let you know say that you, you’re, you heard on the podcast and you’ll get 20% off.

Greg:                                          46:31                       Awesome. Awesome. Well Nathan, we’ll make sure we put that in the show notes too so people can book that discovery call. Thank you so much for being able to jump on here. Not only sharing your background, starting level method, but then also making sure that entrepreneurs and business owners are becoming more productive. Thank you for the time. Thank you for being able to jump on here. Thanks for, I appreciate it man.

Announcer:                            46:50                       Everyone. Chris Cooper here on really thrilled to see you this year in June in Chicago at the 2019 two brains summit. Every year we have two separate speaking tracks is one for you, the business owner and there’s one for coaches that will help them make better, longer, more meaningful careers under the umbrella of your business. This year we’ve got some pretty amazing topics like the client success manager, how to change your life organizational culture or the business owner’s life cycle, how to have breaks, how to have vacations, how to help your marriage survive. Owning a business and motivation and leadership. How to convert more clients, how to create a GM position that runs your gym for you and leaves you free to grow your business. How to start a business owner’s group in your community and more point here is to do the right thing that will help gym owners create better businesses that will last them for the long term.

Announcer:                            47:41                       Get them to tinker phase, help them be more successful, create meaningful careers that their coaches and give their clients a meaningful path to longterm health. We only do one big seminar every year and that’s the two brain summit and the reason that we do that is because a big part of the benefit is getting the two brain community together and and welcoming strangers into our midst and showing them how amazing Jim ownership really can be. We’ll have a link to the two brain summit, including a full list of all speakers and topics on both the owners and the coaches side in the show notes. I really hope to see you there.

Speaker 5:                               48:18                       As always, thank you so much for listening to this podcast. We greatly appreciate you and everyone that has subscribed to us. If you haven’t done that, please make sure you do drop a light to that episode. Share with a friend, and if you haven’t already, please write us a review and rate us on how what you think. If you hated it, let us know if you loved it, even better. See you guys later.


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