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

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

Andrew (00:00:02):

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

Chris (00:00:25):

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

Chris (00:01:13):

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

Chris (00:02:09):

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

Chris (00:03:09):

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

Chris (00:04:00):

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

Chris (00:04:47):

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

Chris (00:05:32):

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

Chris (00:06:25):

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

Chris (00:07:27):

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

Chris (00:08:21):

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

Chris (00:09:14):

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

Chris (00:10:09):

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

Chris (00:11:11):

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

Chris (00:12:04):

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

Chris (00:12:53):

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

Chris (00:14:08):

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

Chris (00:15:02):

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

Chris (00:15:51):

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

Chris (00:16:43):

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

Chris (00:17:38):

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

Chris (00:18:24):

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

Chris (00:19:10):

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

Chris (00:19:57):

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

Chris (00:20:43):

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

Chris (00:21:27):

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

Chris (00:22:17):

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

Chris (00:23:08):

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

Chris (00:23:59):

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

Chris (00:24:58):

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

Chris (00:25:53):

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

Chris (00:26:41):

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

Chris (00:27:26):

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

Chris (00:28:14):

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

Chris (00:29:05):

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

Chris (00:29:55):

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

Chris (00:30:39):

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

Chris (00:31:20):

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

Chris (00:32:07):

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

Chris (00:32:53):

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

Chris (00:33:53):

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

Chris (00:34:47):

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

Chris (00:35:38):

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

Chris (00:36:24):

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

Chris (00:37:18):

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

Chris (00:38:02):

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

Chris (00:38:56):

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

Chris (00:39:49):

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

Chris (00:40:37):

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

Chris (00:41:34):

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

Chris (00:42:23):

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

Chris (00:43:17):

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

Chris (00:44:10):

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

Chris (00:44:48):

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

Chris (00:45:37):

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

Chris (00:46:19):

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

Chris (00:47:07):

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

Chris (00:48:37):

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

Chris (00:49:15):

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

Chris (00:50:28):

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

Chris (00:51:00):

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

Chris (00:51:44):

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

Chris (00:52:36):

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

Chris (00:53:27):

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

Chris (00:54:16):

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

Chris (00:55:14):

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

Chris (00:56:11):

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

Chris (00:56:59):

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

Chris (00:57:46):

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

Chris (00:58:40):

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

Chris (00:59:28):

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

Chris (01:00:22):

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

Chris (01:01:20):

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

Chris (01:02:13):

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

Chris (01:03:10):

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

Chris (01:03:59):

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

Chris (01:04:45):

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

Chris (01:05:33):

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

Chris (01:06:28):

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

Chris (01:07:19):

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

Chris (01:08:19):

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

Chris (01:09:07):

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

Chris (01:09:59):

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

Chris (01:10:53):

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

Chris (01:11:43):

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

Andrew (01:12:23):

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


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

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

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From Good Athlete to Great With Jonathan Arkin

From Good Athlete to Great With Jonathan Arkin

Sean (00:00):

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

Jonathan (01:06):

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

Sean (01:13):

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

Jonathan (01:29):

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

Jonathan (02:29):

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

Jonathan (03:23):

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

Jonathan (04:28):

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

Sean (05:20):

What exactly then is a brain injury?

Jonathan (05:23):

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

Sean (06:25):

What was it that initially drew you to this field?

Jonathan (06:28):

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

Jonathan (07:14):

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

Sean (07:42):

And along those lines, what drew you to CrossFit?

Jonathan (07:46):

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

Jonathan (08:06):

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

Sean (08:39):

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

Jonathan (08:46):

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

Sean (08:56):

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

Jonathan (09:23):

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

Sean (10:46):

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

Jonathan (10:52):

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

Sean (12:01):

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

Jonathan (12:06):

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

Sean (12:18):

I meant to leave that very open-ended.

Jonathan (12:19):

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

Jonathan (12:55):

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

Jonathan (13:55):

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

Sean (16:27):

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

Jonathan (16:36):

Such as?

Sean (16:38):

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

Jonathan (16:47):

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

Jonathan (17:31):

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

Sean (19:24):

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

Jonathan (19:44):

Absolutely. That is the problem. Right.

Sean (19:47):

  1. Just making sure that I fully understood that.

Sean (19:49):

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

Jonathan (20:53):

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

Jonathan (23:11):

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

Jonathan (24:07):

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

Sean (24:23):

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

Jonathan (24:36):

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

Jonathan (25:53):

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

Jonathan (26:36):

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

Jonathan (27:38):

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

Sean (28:30):

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

Jonathan (28:46):

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

Sean (29:43):

How are other sports incorporating this?

Jonathan (29:46):

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

Jonathan (30:46):

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

Jonathan (31:50):

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

Jonathan (32:46):

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

Sean (33:30):

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

Jonathan (33:45):

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

Jonathan (34:34):

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

Sean (36:03):

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

Jonathan (36:07):

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

Jonathan (36:53):

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

Sean (37:28):

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

Jonathan (37:43):

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

Jonathan (38:39):

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

Sean (39:11):

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

Jonathan (39:22):

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

Jonathan (40:23):

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

Jonathan (41:03):

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

Sean (41:56):

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

Jonathan (42:06):

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

Sean (42:09):

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


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

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Save Your Gym: Selling During Social Distancing

Save Your Gym: Selling During Social Distancing

Mike (00:02):

Gyms around the world are shutting down in the coronavirus crisis, forcing owners to quickly implement new strategies. I’m Mike Warkentin and in this episode of Two-Brain Radio, sales expert Jeff Burlingame is here to talk to us about sales. Should you sell right now? If so, what and how? We’re back right after this message from Two-Brain Business. The coronavirus crisis is hitting everyone hard and Two-Brain Business would like to invite gym owners to join the private Facebook group, Gym Owners United. It’s a positive place where people can share ideas and help each other get through this period. We want interaction among actual people, not business accounts. So use your personal account and be sure to answer all the intake questions because you won’t get access if you don’t agree to play nice with everyone else. I’m actually a moderator there and I can tell you that many people are waiting for access because they have not answered the questions. Again, that is Gym Owners United on Facebook. We want to hear real positive comments and help. All right, we’re back Two-Brain Radio. I’m here with certified mentor Jeff Burlingame. We’re going to talk sales during an emergency situation. How are you doing Jeff? How are the clients?

Jeff (01:04):

Doing good, Mike doing good. Clients are hanging in there. They’ve transitioned online. Things are going pretty smoothly right now. So we’re just trying to keep things rolling, keep it novel, keep it fun, keep it engaging most of all and try to mitigate that risk.

Mike (01:18):

Yeah, I mean, I’ve been gym owner for 10 years and this is the craziest period I’ve ever seen. Is it the same thing for you?

Jeff (01:25):

Oh yeah, definitely. I had the conversation with a few mentor clients, you know, well more than a few mentor clients at this point. But overall like the overarching theme seems to be nobody has experienced anything like this in their life, like living on this earth right now, unless they’re over the age of 90, I guess, you know, go back to something like World War II or other crazy things. But you know, I mean, what H1N1 was a couple of years ago, really, it affected more people, but it didn’t have this level of impact, which is crazy to think about.

Mike (02:01):

And without, you know, I’m not going to go off topic too far, but like, I almost wonder sometimes if it’s just social media has really stirred this thing up or what, but panic is sure easier to spread now. You know, before you’d have to read it on a newspaper, hear it on the radio or something like that. Panic now is like 24/7 in your newsfeed. We’ve been trying really hard at Two-Brain here to stop the panic by giving you tactical stuff to do things, actual data, tested things, all the stuff that you can do to do your best in this situation. It is a tough time, but we’re going to help you and we’re going to give you some stuff you can do today. So right off the bat, Jeff, I’m gonna ask you the hard question. I know there are some people out there, I’ve seen them on ads. People posting, people get a little upset here and there. They’re saying, Oh, you shouldn’t be selling right now. It’s a crisis. So here’s what I’ll ask you right now, is there something wrong with selling a service right now?

Jeff (02:45):

If you are not gouging the industry and you are not selling with malevolent intent, then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with selling because the world still has to run, and the world runs, you know, maybe unfortunately in your eyes, but it runs on money. So, we need to sell because we really have to do something with this economy. It’s going to tank if we don’t sell something, that’s, you know, you’re perpetuating the issue if you’re saying stop selling, and if you are looking at people right now giving away stuff for free and you think that they’re not actually selling, then you’re blind because they are. Like anybody giving anything away right now for free is 100% getting lead information and they’re going to sell to you. So nothing right now is going out the door just for free and like no strings attached. So don’t be surprised when you start getting sales emails from those companies.

Mike (03:44):

The reality of the, like you said is, is the world, the economy is a thing, right? And if the airline industry goes down, all of a sudden there’s fuel costs, there’s baggage handlers, there is the people at the airplane and there’s the guy at the fast food restaurant. The guy who tells you not to stop your car in front of the airplane or the airport. It’s this trickle down effect. And that all goes down to like luxury spending, spending on services, spending on goods spending and then that’s manufacturing, so it’s this whole intertwined thing. And the reality is that in the fitness industry, I mean five years ago, something like that, people would be surprised to think that we could push a fitness business online perhaps. And I know maybe in Los Angeles and some of the trendy places, that stuff was happening sooner, but online training’s now a thing, right? Like it’s starting to happen more and more. Chris Cooper on Two-Brain Radio a little while ago, interviewed author Allison Schrager and she works with a personal trainer she’s never met. They just work online. And you started as personal trainer, correct. Just face to face grinding?

Jeff (04:39):

Yeah, absolutely.

Mike (04:40):

Did you ever think that service could be, could be put online?

Jeff (04:45):

Probably not at the time. I mean, I started training in 2007, was like when I had my first PT clients, so probably no clue. Like the internet wasn’t at, you know, where it is today. It wasn’t something that was really reasonable, but now it’s a thing like now, us moving this thing online. It’s not like we are, you know, exploring brand new territory and trying to like figure this thing out. We’re not groundbreaking. This is just something that we’ve had access to and there are plenty of apps that have existed for long enough now that they’re vetted out, that they’ve gone through transitions, that they’ve grown and that they work really well. Not to really name any cause there’s so many out there and it’s kind of up to you which one you decide to go with.

Jeff (05:32):

But they’ve existed for a while now. I mean, they’ve existed since I opened my affiliate in 2014 and I tried using them. We just never like really went after it because we were brick and mortar businesses, right? So we focused on the physical location to our detriment we now find out, but it’s cool to be exploring this territory now and moving into it. And it’s something that what most people I think are missing right now is that it’s highly valuable. You know, just because you’re moving your coaching online doesn’t mean that it’s worth less. It’s probably actually worth more because it’s more convenient, it’s more accessible, and you can still apply a very good personal touch to it. And I think a lot of people miss that too. They’re just saying like, you know, just making it rain workouts. Like here’s 57 workouts you can do at home with just your body weight.

Jeff (06:27):

Check it out. If you think anybody’s going to like be accountable to doing all 57 of those workouts, that’s absurd. If you want them to do the workouts and get results, you put out one workout a day and then you follow up with them personally and you apply the same coaching tactics you did in person in your gym. You modify their workout, call them, talk to them for two to five minutes and ask them how they’re doing, what they’re eating, if they’re doing the workout today and if they need to modify any movements and help them do that via coach and hold them accountable. That’s really like where that value is at and that’s a huge value add that people can apply to this program and keep people happy.

Mike (07:06):

Well that’s really what it comes down to is there, you know, and I’m talking as a gym owner here, there are people right now who really badly want to work out and they don’t have gyms. Their gym has been shut down either voluntarily or mandatorily and they want to train. And we, our gym is not open to at present at the date of recording here. But our clients really want something to do. I know that some of the larger chain gyms are just shut down completely and they don’t have personal contact really with their clients other than like, you know, they swipe their way in or whatever. There’s just, they have nothing to do. So people are, there are people out there who know that health is a buffer against disease, it’s your best chance to survive anything from a car accident to a disease.

Mike (07:45):

They want to work out, they want to train, they want to build a momentum. They want to accomplish their goals, not because they, you know, cause they know they’re hoping the end of the world isn’t coming and it probably isn’t. But like, they still want a PR deadlift. They still want to run that marathon. They still want to do stuff. They still want to play with their grandkids. You know, my contention for someone who says selling is a bad thing right now, I think you’re still helping. We’ve talked about this before on this podcast. You are helping people accomplish the things they want to and if someone has the budget and wants to train right now, I think you’re doing them disservice by saying, I’m not going to figure out how to do it. What do you think of that?

Jeff (08:15):

Yeah, I mean, 100%. There’s enough spewed free workouts out there right now that they could grab on and try and do, but then they’re back to square one. I mean, that existed before this whole crisis dropped. I mean, it’s not like there’s ever been an absence of free workouts on the internet. The problem is there’s no accountability to keep you doing those workouts and they are figuring it out on their own so they don’t know what they’re doing. They’re not moving well, they get injured and then what do they do? They just say, Oh, exercise isn’t for me. So, yeah, you’re not helping if you’re just throwing free workouts out there. You need to apply that level of care to modify the movements for them, to monitor their movements. Maybe get them on video like we’re doing right now on Zoom for example. And work through that with them.

Jeff (09:04):

Maybe apply that one-on-one touch to it. You can absolutely do personal training on Zoom. It’s a thing that’s existed for a little while now and people pay a lot of money for it too, so it’s highly valuable. But yeah, there’s nothing wrong with selling that because at this point, people need guidance. They need some reassurance. These are scary times, you know, and you can lead them in more ways than one. I mean, you can lead your communities right now if you’re a gym owner, by, you know, giving them some guidance on this, like, this is something you can do. They’re bored, they’re lost, they’re at home. And what do you do when you’re bored, lost and stressed? You’re going to eat like crap. You’re not going to work out. You’re going to drink alcohol and you’re just going to get out of shape for two to four weeks or some indefinite timeframe, whatever this is that this takes, that we don’t, unfortunately, we don’t know how long this is going to take. So really, yeah, you are solving a big problem for them. You are providing that guidance and there’s a lot of value to that. And there’s no way that you have the capacity to give that away for free for a week or two weeks or four weeks or however long this takes. And there’s nothing wrong with, you know, knowing that the service you’re providing is valuable and charging for it.

Mike (10:24):

Well, and you make an interesting point too, when you mentioned accountability. There are a lot of people that are working from home right now and you know, I’ve worked from home for a decade. You’re working from home right now. We don’t, there’s no pants on this podcast right now. I can tell you that, the whole, but like it’s something that we’ve, you know, it takes a certain mentality to work from home because literally all your toys are here, you know, your recliner’s over there, your TV’s there, you’ve got the video game console, you can go shred on guitar, whatever you want. It takes a certain mentality to work from home and to start doing things. And one of the things that a gym provides is that accountability. If I signed into class, someone is checking in on me, if I don’t show up, they’re still going to charge me, they’re going to contact me.

Mike (11:02):

The good gyms will at least. That accountability and that personal relationship is huge. So you’ve got clients at home right now and they’re like, they don’t know what to do and they’re just drinking their faces off and eating the Doritos, you can actually help these people not fall off track, not become more susceptible to, you know, anything that’s going to come at them by just giving them accountability. That’s a huge aspect and I think a lot of people miss, is like it’s not the programming like you said, like has what like almost 20 years of workouts now. Like I don’t know what the math of 20 times 365 is, but then multiply that by 13,000 gyms that are cranking out a workout a day. Like the programming is not the secret, that’s out there. It’s the accountability and the relationships and that’s honestly why Two-Brain is talking in this crisis, not about throwing workouts at people and not even about running Zoom classes but getting your trainers to connect with your clients.

Mike (11:52):

Like you just said. This workout, Tom, is designed for you and I know you don’t have a ton of heavy stuff at home right now but we’re going to lift really slowly the heaviest thing you can for, you know, five or seven reps, try to build strength cause I know you have a powerlifting meet that you want to do in the next year, right? That is going to be more important than some of the other stuff that’s going on. So the answer here that we’re discovering is, you know, selling not wrong right now and we’ve touched on what they can sell. But you know, Jeff, what is obviously in this situation here, we can’t open gyms, we can’t go to gyms. What are our sales options? What can we do? What can we sell people?

Jeff (12:29):

Yes. I mean at this point you’re talking about selling purely your online service. So we don’t recommend that you price it the same way as you would, you know, your normal in-person classes at the physical location. But it’s not cheaper either. Let me just clarify that point. There should be a tiered approach to this and it’s something that we lay out for our growth clients. Something that was amazingly put together by Josh Grinnell, who’s on our team and did an awesome job with it. So if it’s something you want to learn about, you know, join us, come check us out, do the Incubator, which we are still offering and selling right now.

Mike (13:06):

People are signing up because they need help.

Jeff (13:08):

Same as same as your members. You want some guidance, you want some reassurance in this uncertain time. I get it. And I’ve been on enough calls with people dealing with just talking about how to survive coronavirus right now that it’s kind of ingrained in me and I’ve shed some tears and tried to pull some people out of some holes, man. And it’s been, it’s been crazy. But yeah, for online training we price a little bit differently. You should have a couple of tiers to approach to this where you have like a bottom tier approach which probably matches price wise close to what you’re charging for your normal membership. But it is going to involve, you know, far less engagement, far less one to one approach to it. And then you might have a top tier option that’s all one-to-one. It’s just you and this person, custom programming, nutrition plan, all of that. And you communicate via Zoom.

Jeff (14:03):

So basically you come up with a few of those options, you price them accordingly and then you would be selling that right now with the option to transition to your physical location when you open back up or to stay on the online route. I just got off the phone with a another gym owner who’s actually in Michigan with me, she owns Spartan CrossFit and we were talking about going to people that had not joined her gym before because they were too busy. And it was like, this is actually the best time to go talk to them because this is a service you never offered that you’re now going to offer because you’ve been forced to do so. Your hand has been dealt. But now that you’ve got it, go talk to them and get them signed up on this. So talk about that online program and she’s going to go give them a call.

Mike (14:48):

I had a client say the same thing. We’ve started doing some online stuff, and he’s like, dude, you should continue doing this after the fact so I can get one more workout in a week and it’s like, Hey, wow, I should’ve thought of that before. And he saw it right away, I should’ve put that guy on the payroll. And then the other thing of course is, gyms that are running online stuff already, like nutrition programs and things like that that don’t necessarily have, you know, you could easily move a nutrition consultation to the phone or online. I mean, you can’t do an InBody scan, but you can still have a client report weight and things like that. So I would guess if a gym is set up to run nutrition programs or things that don’t involve on site stuff, that’s probably going to be an option too, correct?

Jeff (15:25):

Yeah. So a lot of those services are no change. Like nutrition for us was no change. The only difference is we’re not physically right in front of each other. We’re just talking on Zoom. Personal training. Also the same. Kind of weird to get used to, but it’s literally the same thing. So I’ve had a few of my mentees like send me videos of them doing it right now, but like, they’re on Zoom, clients like in frame doing some box step-ups and like you see the picture of their face going like, yeah. And you know, then you obviously apply your personal touch as a coach and you’re going to modify movements. You’re not just a cheerleader, you’re still going to give them a great experience. The only difference is there’s a screen between the two of you. That’s it. So again, like this isn’t a devalued service.

Jeff (16:10):

This is a highly valued service and you’re still accomplishing the same results. There’s no reason to charge less for it or to just give it away for free indefinitely. Like I get right now what we talk about with a lot of people in Two-Brain is like, roll this into their normal fees that they’re paying on a monthly basis, the part of supporting your local small businesses and keeping your doors open. But you’re going to give them a service that’s valued at say $299 for what they’re already paying if that’s say, $150, with the understanding that the moment your physical doors open again, if they want to continue that service, they pay the additional fees.

Mike (16:50):

So if you’re wondering how you can do this stuff, we have a free guide for you and it’s called How to Add Online Training in 24 Hours. We put this together to help gym owners do this because we know a lot of people are struggling and you can sell online training, you can pivot clients to that service. We’ll tell you how to do this in 24 hours and you can find this thing in Gym Owners United. Again, you have to sign up for that group and you have to answer the intake questions. Once you’re in there, you’ll go to the left side, you’re gonna go to files and you’ll find it in there. It is again, How to Add Online Training in 24 Hours. Gym Owners United on Facebook. Jeff, the next question, this is for aggressive people out there. You know, people see stocks plummeting and they’re like, man, maybe I should buy, would you run an ad right now?

Jeff (17:37):

Actually I would, and I’m not quite a marketing expert here, so we’ll take this at face value, but my good buddy Callum has told me that engagement ads are kicking butt right now.

Mike (17:52):

What’s an engagement ad for people who don’t know what that is?

Jeff (17:54):

Yeah. So if we run an ad with the intent of just engaging people with your brand, what we’re looking to do is we’re looking to increase your visibility, and I’ll give you this from a perspective of like a social media channel. You want to get more fans right now. You have potential leads if you run an engagement ad for your local area or you drop a pin or you do specific zip codes, you’re getting the attention you need right now. They might not be in a buying mode and we understand that, we’re still going to sell, but they might not be ready to buy.

Jeff (18:26):

And that’s OK. What would be good right now, what would be worth your marketing dollars is getting them to get their eyes on you and then the moment this clears up, you’re ready to open rapidly and you can go right back to a conversion based ad and start getting them to come in and buy. But we’re gaining the fans, we’re getting the leads right now. If you guys aren’t pumping out content right this second, you need to also do that. Like organically I would be creating more videos or writing more blogs, doing more things. I mean what else are you going to do? Really, you’re not coaching classes, let’s do this guys, but create some content, get in front of people, gain some fans, gain some subscribers, some likes and followers, whatever, and then we can start throwing in a call to action, which would be where the selling part comes in, to lead them to your new online service offering via like a no sweat intro or however you want to do that.

Jeff (19:21):

We recommend a no sweat intro via Zoom at this point, social distancing and all, but it’s literally the same process. Like, I wouldn’t change a single thing on my no sweat intro except for, you know, Mike and I were talking about this before we got on, not having inappropriate backgrounds, right. And not having—remember that newscaster, there was like a BBC interview and like his kid comes running into the room, picks up some stuff and screams and runs around. Yeah. You don’t want that either. So you just want like a clear quiet space. Like I soundproofed this office I’m in right now. So this is where I take all my mentor calls, doors locked, nobody bothers me. And I have this beautiful brick backdrop, right? So just put like a nice clean, clear area. Ideally good lighting. I have like a desk lamp with some good lighting so you can see my face and I’m not like in shadows or something creepy.

Jeff (20:12):

So you can take some approaches like that. You don’t need an insanely fancy mic like either of us have. You don’t need special headphones or anything like that. You can just use your computer with regular input output, audio hardware, just preferably clean, clear space, quiet, better lighting, do the NSI the exact same way you normally would.

Mike (20:35):

The thing that I’ll add to that is I think what you can do is don’t assume that clients understand what a Zoom call is or they understand how an online meeting goes right now. You’re going to want to be able to walk them through the simplest possible way. If someone books a No-Sweat Intro you want to make it as easy as possible for them to get to that thing, quote unquote, whether they’re traveling or coming to your online meeting room. Be prepared to tell them exactly in the simplest steps that you can, exactly how it’s going to work. And I’ve walked some of our clients through this already because we are going to try running some Zoom classes and seeing what happens. And a lot of them are saying, OK, how do I do this? What do I do? Where do I download this app? Some are very tech savvy and they’ve already got the thing wired into a, you know, 80 inch TV and they’re good to go with surround sound. But then some of the other guys are like, I’m not super sure about apps and stuff. And you’re like, OK, we can absolutely walk you through it, but you should be prepared for that because the more, I mean, Amazon isn’t 16-click advertising, right? It’s like you don’t want to put all these different steps behind people. So the easier you can make it go, get them on there. So if someone’s like, if you’re on problem Zoom, I’m guessing face to face is better, but if you’re going to fumble with technology and download an app and stuff, maybe just get ’em on the phone. Jeff, what do you think?

Jeff (21:44):

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, selling over the phone is something that’s existed for a very, very long time. So, I mean it’s nothing new, but we would follow the same kind of like lead funneling process that we normally would and we’ll just say like, you know, try to shoot for the Zoom because here’s the main difference that I’ve had to explain to a few mentees this week is there are, in person, there are some I guess imperceptible differences than over the Zoom versus over the phone. So if we layer this three different ways, like, you know, socially in person, I can see all of you and I can perceive signals that you send to me. Like right now you can see only part of me, so you can’t get the whole image in your head. And then like this big mic is like in the way of half the screen so you don’t get, you know, the same body language delivery or even the same or like voice inflection, different things like that.

Jeff (22:53):

And these are things that actually work in your favor if you do it properly. When it comes to sales psychology, you can build trust with better body language, with things like eye contact, with voice inflection, with, you know, just maintaining people’s attention. And you sort of lose those things when you hop on Zoom. But at least you have the face to face. So you still see some of me, audio quality is going to be a little better. We have voice inflection. I can look you in the eyes if I look at the camera, you get the idea, but then you move to the phone. It’s just not as ideal. Now all we have working for us is our voice. So you are going to have to be, I’ve been telling people, it’s like being an 11 out of 10, as if you’re coaching on the floor.

Jeff (23:34):

Even on Zoom. So on Zoom, any content you guys make, it’s all the same things. Zoom call’s the same way. You need to be an 11 out of 10. You need to be animated. You need to be active. Don’t be, you know, overly active. If you have a slug on the other end of the line and they’re very, very non-energetic or you know, an Eeyore or something like that, kind of match them. But you need to be energetic and that’s important. And when you go to the phone now your voice is working for you. You need to be as engaging as possible. You need to use voice inflection. So you need to sort of change the pace that you’re talking. And sometimes you increase your octaves a little bit and you know, you just kinda keep moving. So it’s like, it’s like vocal gymnastics. But you know, keep changing things up to keep them engaged and make sure as always with any format of performing a no sweat intro, you need to ask a lot of questions. So do not control the conversation just by making statements, ask questions and follow up with more questions and keep driving down to those very important pieces. Like what do they want, why do they want it? And then we can figure out how online training’s going to achieve that for them.

Mike (24:46):

Let me ask you the last question I’ll ask you here is for people who have never sold online training, have never, never, maybe never taken a call about it. This is the first time they’re offering it. Someone, calls and says, tell me about this online training thing or whatever. How does a gym owner start to build that value and explain what this thing is and why it would benefit someone? And we’re talking to someone who doesn’t have a gym, kind of feels screwed over it, doesn’t have, maybe equipment knows he or she needs to workout and has just called the gym and said, online training. Is that a thing? How do we start this conversation and build value?

Jeff (25:20):

Yeah, absolutely. So, in the gym owner’s mind, your mindset has to be that this is the exact same thing as what you sell in your gym. It’s the exact same thing because all we’re doing is selling results. So the big difference, how you make the big difference in people’s lives right now is you determine what their problem is and then you provide your solution. Your solution moving online doesn’t change that, right? That’s it. It’s the same thing. But what we’re doing is we’re providing them not only like, here’s this program, right? Because we already discussed that’s not the thing that’s changing them. It’s here’s this accountability. Now, normally they would have to travel to the brick and mortar location to get that accountability from the coach, to get the coaching from the coach, in person. They’re just now going to get it over the phone, text, video, Zoom call, whatever.

Jeff (26:15):

We’re telling a lot of affiliate owners right now, communicate 10 X what you normally do, right? If you feel like you’re over-communicating, you’re probably just barely communicating enough right now. So there’s, you know, in person, if they’re there for an hour, you’re talking to them for 60 straight minutes. I doubt that you’re doing that every day with every person from your gym. It’s just not happening. There’s not enough hours in the day. So to communicate them through as many platforms and provide them as much attention as humanly possible. Creating videos on YouTube, Facebook lives, sending them a text checking in, emails checking in, calling them personally, messaging them, whatever other channels you possibly can. That’s ideal. So, you know, when we moved to selling online training, I just want you to focus on the results you’re going to get them. Like anything else, if I was doing a no sweat intro in my gym, I don’t do a gym tour, I’m not talking about this is CrossFit.

Jeff (27:11):

This is why it’s so great, I’m not talking about it. This is the program we do. This is why it’s so awesome. You know, it’s not about that. Basically I just want to understand their why. This is why they’re here. This is this problem they’re trying to solve and this is why it’s so important to them. And then we’re going to develop trust through our conversation and then I’m going to more or less show them, not tell them what I’m going to do for them. Right. So when it comes to online training, say, here’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to, you know, wake up. When do you want to work out? I want to work at 8:00 AM. OK, great. You’re going to have a program ready for you in your email inbox. You’re going to open that up. You’re going to check it out, I’m going to call you, and then you’re going to have personalized guidance on how you’re going to do that workout.

Jeff (27:57):

I’m going to help you modify the movements so you can do it. We’re going to work with whatever equipment you have in your household so that you can not have to worry about that. I’m going to take your mind off this thing. I’ve got you covered, right? And you’re going to perform the workout. You’re going to send me your results. We’re going to adjust and modify as we go along to make sure that these workouts are intense. They’re working for you. You’re gonna send me measurements. And then we’re also going to be talking about nutrition. What are you eating, right? And you’re at home. Send me a picture of your pantry, right? Show me the meals you’re doing or that you’re eating and then we can go over that as well. So you’re getting me as your coach at all times. Like that’s what you pay for with online training is that high level of accountability that we can’t provide in a physical location.

Mike (28:42):

When you lay it all like that, and I’m listening here and kind of checking off this stuff you’re offering, it sounds like a more expensive service than coaching someone through a class where they show up, that person shows up and you’re going to give them three touch points in the class, high five at the end and some coaching. I’m not saying that’s not valuable because in that location you providing a lot of stuff and you are providing motivation and atmosphere and facilities and all this equipment, but when you’re talking about the approach that you’re giving, like how many, I guess the example is how many CrossFit coaches or functional fitness coaches are texting each client who’s in the class after the class? Probably not that many, but in online training that is like the heart and soul, I’m guessing.

Jeff (29:22):

Yeah, that’s 100% that. You’re right, it is. If you hear it that way, if you just lay it out yourself that way and go through what this person’s actually getting, of course it’s highly valuable. Of course it’s more valuable, like you should be charging more than you do for your normal membership because that person’s attention is divided by how many participants are in the class. Right. They will not get the same level of attention. And as I just said, like unless they buy a, you know, nutrition service and then it’s kinda dependent on how often the nutrition coach communicates with them, like it’s just not going to get as personal as online can get just because now, which I mean you guys are on social media, you’re on your phones. Like if you’re not on your phone, good for you. I’d be surprised. But like we’re all kind of listening to this on their phone with the podcast.

Jeff (30:12):

Right, exactly. So it’s like everybody’s on their phone all the time. What if you did something productive with that time every day? And what if that productive thing you did changed somebody’s life?

Mike (30:23):

Trade, you know, you’re just looking at your phone playing Candy Crush or whatever, you get a text that says hey dude, stop playing Candy Crush and do the workout that I just sent you. And you’re like, I actually, you know, you’d probably do it right? But if nobody sends you that text, you’re like, ah, I got a good game going here. I’m just not going to go to the gym right now. High score man, nobody stops when they’re on a heater.

Jeff (30:45):

We all know Candy Crush saves. You can just get off and go back to it later.

Mike (30:50):

Oh, you ruined it. All right. Gym owners, it is a tough time. We know it. We are trying to provide some information to help you navigate this situation. So there is actionable stuff in this podcast you can do to generate some revenue. Again, we believe it’s not wrong to sell right now if you are helping people. It is wrong to gouge people out of toilet paper at $60 a roll or something like that. But it is not wrong if someone wants to stay fit over the internet and you have the means to do that, you should help that person out. There is nothing wrong with that in our opinion. Thanks for listening. I’m Mike Warkentin with Jeff Burlingame. He is a certified certified Two-Brain business mentor and this is Two-Brain Radio. Please remember to join Gym Owners United on Facebook. Use a personal account, answer the intake questions, and then enjoy some peer support for gym owners just like you. We’re all stronger together. Thanks for tuning in to Two-Brain Radio.


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Coronavirus Town Hall for Gym Owners With Chris Cooper

Coronavirus Town Hall for Gym Owners With Chris Cooper

Andrew (00:00:02):

Welcome to a special edition of Two-Brain Radio. With the coronavirus pandemic threatening gym owners around the world, Two-Brain business founder Chris Cooper hosted an emergency webinar on March 13th to help fitness entrepreneurs manage the chaos and create plans to serve their clients throughout the crisis. What follows is the audio from that live webinar. For more info that can help you and your business in this tough time, visit the blog on And now here’s Chris Cooper.

Chris (00:00:29):

Hey everybody, it’s Chris here from Two-Brain business. I know that several of you will just be joining in the next few minutes. So, I’m not going to jump into anything too quickly, but we do have a lot to cover today. And so first off, you know, thanks to everybody who sent me any questions before this event. That’s going to help a lot. If you have other questions though, during the event, what I’d suggest that you do is just click on the chat button at the bottom of this screen and post them in chat that, that way I’ll see them fastest and I’ll respond to them in turn. What I’m going to do is go through the questions that you submitted through email first. I’ll also be posting some helpful links to things in that chat as we go. And so if you see me glancing like this, it means that I’m referring to my notes and basically the questions that people emailed to me this morning.

Chris (00:01:18):

Obviously this is a crisis that we don’t take lightly at Two-Brain Business. We do have the advantage of having some gyms who’ve been in affected areas for the last 72 hours, they’ve been shut down. So we have Two-Brain gyms in China. We have Two-Brain gyms in Italy. Their government’s forced their closure a few days ago. And now we’re starting to see gyms get forced into closure in the UK and the US, especially the Eastern seaboard. But it’s moving West quickly, so. Hey, Debra, I’m Chris Cooper. Sorry. I just assumed that you would pick that up. We’re going to get right into it here guys. So, I can certainly send you my books or my bio later, Deborah, if that’s what you want. Happy to do that. The thing is guys, like if you’re in an unaffected area or if you’re in a place where gyms haven’t been forced to close yet, it’s probably safest to bet that that’s going to happen.

Chris (00:02:18):

48 hours ago, somebody said, you know, will you move the meet-up for your tinker group? And I said, no, we’d never have to do that. Yesterday we did that. And it’s just because you know, the disease and the government authorities especially they go from like saying nothing saying nothing, saying nothing, to everything’s closed. You know, I live in Ontario, Canada. That happened here yesterday and it’s going to happen even more today. So yesterday out of the blue, they announced the schools were just closed for three weeks. And today it looks like government offices. And then probably banks will follow too. Whether you believe that the disease is just the flu and this is all just the tail wagging the dog or whatever you want to believe, the thing is what really matters here is your clients’ perception. And because your clients’ perception is primary, that means that they are responding to this crisis emotionally, not logically as you probably are.

Chris (00:03:11):

And that means that in situations like this, you need to lead. And so what we’re really talking about here today is leadership and how you can lead your gym through this crisis. OK. Let’s see. Will this be available as a recording? Yes. We’re going to share this later. We’re setting up some other support networks for you too so that you can share information as it happens too. The way that Two-Brain Business has been set up, guys, is that what’s working in one gym in one area of the world can be tested. We can look at its data and say, tell all of the other gyms you should do this too or not. This cycle has just been sped up with this crisis. So we look at like what’s happening in China, what’s happening in Italy, what’s now starting to happen in the UK?

Chris (00:04:01):

And we can say, all right, well here’s the strategies that they’ve implemented. It’s working for them or it’s not working for them instead of just, Oh, I don’t know, here’s a bunch of ideas. Let’s throw them at the wall and see what sticks. So what I’m going to be talking about here today guys is things that have been filtered, are proven by data to work, are being used by actual gym owners in the world instead of just random ideas. OK. Thanks Esther. We are definitely going to get to that question. So we’re going to start at the top. We’re going to start with Fox news. The big media right now is reporting like don’t go to the gym. So even if you’re in an unaffected area, your clients are going to be getting all kinds of pressure through popular media to not go to the gym.

Chris (00:04:48):

Unfortunately, Fox news is using pictures of something that’s obviously a CrossFit gym. The irony is that most, you know, microgyms are going to be a lot cleaner than the big globo gyms, right? Because we see what every client does and what they touch and what they’re doing, and so we can clean up after them. And so that’s going to be one of our first points here. The big globo gyms, absolutely. They should close. I mean, those are virus and germ havens at the best of times, right. But in a microgym that shouldn’t happen. But I want you to be aware of like what your clients are being told and why you’re taking these actions. First off, there is an opportunity buried in this crisis. The opportunity is that we’re gonna speed up the cycle of gym ownership.

Chris (00:05:39):

Gym ownership for many of us who weren’t entrepreneurs before we open up a gym, it’s a battle of attrition, means that if you can survive three years or five years, you’ll have a huge advantage because most of the other people around you won’t survive three to five years, right. The disease, you know, the virus like this speeds up the cycle and not because members are dying, you know, heaven forbid, it’s because some gyms cannot survive a crisis like this. Like they’re living so close to the edge, that one little thing will actually put them out of business. And so today I want to make sure that I’m keeping you in business. My mission is to make a million gym owners wealthy. Sometimes though we have to address the things that are making the gym owners bankrupt. And so I’d say that’s what we’re going to be talking about.

Chris (00:06:25):

All right. So the first thing is your job is to coach people. Your job is not to maintain, you know, a facility and it’s not to own 70 sets of dumbbells. It’s not to run the CrossFit Open every year. The great news is that you do not need a bricks and mortar facility to coach people anymore. People still need to eat right? They still need help being accountable with their diet. They still need to exercise. They just can’t leave their house or they just can’t do it in a group anymore. But you can still coach them. And so what you’re going to do is offer people the opportunity to be coached one-on-one in their home. So first off, let’s start with the worst-case scenarios. The gyms that are forced to absolutely close, and then we’ll work backward to gyms who are starting to hear individual client concerns.

Chris (00:07:17):

The gyms that are being forced to close are actually doing this a couple of different ways. First, they’re offering their clients the ability to be trained one-on-one online. So what they’re doing is they’re sending each client individually one by one, a workout that day, and they’re actually coaching the client, which means they’re saying, dear Chris, this is why I chose this workout for you. Your goal is weight loss, and if you do this workout, here’s how this will help you. Please send me a picture of your workout or your time after it’s completed. OK? That’s how you coach someone online. What you don’t do is post 30 workouts for the month on your blog and call it coaching. What you don’t do is send one mass email to everybody and say, here’s your workout for the day. OK? What you don’t do is say, log into SugarWOD and do whatever the workout of the day is.

Chris (00:08:08):

OK? They are not going to attach value to that. You need to coach. Coaching means a lot of communication and it means communicating one on one with people. Now what is the price? What’s the value of this online coaching? So at Two-Brain we have this entire masterclass on how to start doing online coaching. And I can’t share all those details publicly because it’s crazy valuable. It’s worth easily like $10,000 to people in their first couple of months. What I will share are the fundamentals. It doesn’t matter how you deliver this programming. I honestly think like you could use True Coach, but you don’t have time to set all that stuff up. Just text it to people, you know, send them a text every single day. Here’s your workout. Here’s why I’m giving you you this workout. Here’s how it’s going to help you.

Chris (00:08:57):

Then if you want to set up like online training options for people, we suggest you sell in about three tiers depending not on the technical nature or the equipment that they have, but on the level of accountability. And so the three tiers that we have at Catalyst, my gym, our base, which is 149, core, which is 225 and max, which is 399. The difference between those levels is only accountability. And the crazy thing is that just before this outbreak happened, I put our GM and one of our coaches through that program on the Two-Brain platform, they learned on their own without my help how to set up online coaching. They launched the program and had a client within 48 hours who had previously quit the gym because he couldn’t make it in anymore. So now what we’re doing is we’re saying to clients, if you’re nervous about being in a group environment, you have this option, we will extend our valuable service to you.

Chris (00:09:58):

At the core level, the 225 value, but you don’t have to pay more than you’re currently paying for your gym membership. So you’re gonna get one on one coaching. You’re not going to have to risk your house. You’re not leave your house, you’re not going to have to like risk contact with anybody if you don’t want to. We’ll still coach you and you know, you can have it for the same price for this month. This actually does set you up with a huge opportunity going forward. And that opportunity is to launch this as an ongoing service after the crisis ends. The amazing thing about a crisis guys, is it forces you to think beyond your normal bubble. It forces you maybe to get a little bit desperate or a little bit more creative, and when the crisis is over, you’re still going to have this additional revenue stream or this broader thought concept.

Chris (00:10:44):

And so the key is that you need to anchor this by establishing its value with a high price point right now, you can’t just start, you know, handing out workouts for free and expect your clients to stay. OK. That’s how you start doing an online coaching program. If you can build nutrition into that, you know, I really recommend that you do. You’re going to have to look at your state laws around nutrition, and you’re gonna have to talk to your insurance company about offering online programming. So that’s the worst case scenario is your gym is shut down. We have a gym in China who are doing some workouts in the park. They’re also recording the workouts and sending them to all the clients on video. They’re also doing demos for the day on video. You know, here’s how this workout is going to go.

Chris (00:11:34):

And they’re texting their clients one-on-one. In Italy it’s slightly different. They’re delivering the workout to the client in their homes one-on-one. They’re answering questions through text. Now you might think like, Oh man, I don’t have time to do all this. But the bottom line is that this extra time is probably gonna save you clients and getting these clients back after they’ve canceled their membership or suspended their membership is going to be really, really hard after this crisis is over. Next, people who are in unaffected areas. So like the West coast of the US for example, people are nervous about it. They think it’s coming, but nobody’s forcing you to close your gym yet. The primary concern you have right now is messaging. And so you want to send an email to all of your clients today saying, look, here’s how we’re taking care of you.

Chris (00:12:23):

We know that you’re worried. We understand. First of all, we are concerned with building you up a margin for health. You are healthier than more most people. And that means that your immune system is system is stronger than most people. You have that, congratulations. We don’t want you to lose it. We don’t want you to stop training. If you’re nervous about going into public places, we’re coming into the gym, we understand and we’d love to offer the option to train at home with customized programming until you’re comfortable coming back for the same price you’re currently paying. OK. The next thing you want to do if you’re in an unaffected area and nobody’s really showing concern yet, which is where the situation that we’re in right now, is be really, really obvious about cleaning. So you know, I’m in a lot of Facebook groups with clients who belong to gyms.

Chris (00:13:16):

So that’d be like nutrition coaching groups. And this question is coming up a lot. Are you quitting your gym? The best response that I’ve seen so far is no way my gym is cleaner than my house. And I love that because while all of us probably have clean gyms, we usually don’t take the time to show our clients how much we’re actually cleaning the gym. We don’t let them see us wiping down their barbell every time they use it or cleaning off every single piece of equipment or like fogging equipment after it’s done. Joe Venuti at CrossFit Mass posted a great video to his Facebook page last night showing them fogging down the gym with like a spray cleaner disinfectant, you know, at the end of the day. But he was also obvious about like wiping down equipment after every single client used it. So in many cases people should see like way above and beyond that you are taking greater care than you even have to.

Chris (00:14:15):

And again, guys, I said at the beginning of this call, like this is we’re dealing with emotional responses here, not logical responses here. And so you have to over communicate, you have to tell a story that’s stickier then whatever’s in their head that the media has been telling them. OK. So the way that we get ahead of this, to summarize the last two points is be like way more obvious about cleaning things than you think you need to be. And also to identify and the clients who might want to back out, create the opportunity to have them be coached online and have that system set up too. The other option is like, can you coach them in city parks? Obviously in my climate, that’s not going to happen today. For other people. If that’s what you plan to do, then you can try it certainly.

Chris (00:15:04):

But, if municipalities close public areas and stuff, then you’re back to square one. OK. How can you get, OK, so let’s talk about coaches. This was a really common question in my email box this morning. There’s a couple of things that you want to tell your coach. Number one, you need to tell your coaches, here’s what you need to be communicating to clients. You need to be wiping down equipment in front of them. You need to be talking about safety and how you’re protecting them and how they’re building up a margin of health. OK. It’s really easy to assume that our coaches will know to do these things, but we can’t afford to assume, you know, every single time a client looks at a mat that’s all sweaty and just kind of put away after class, that client is thinking that their life is at stake.

Chris (00:15:57):

And so at this point, it’s really important that your coaches are repeating the message that you want them to say. So you better tell them what that message is. You also need to tell them to be really overt about cleaning and you know, do this in front of people. Make sure that they see you do it. Take a video of you doing it, post pictures to our Facebook group that you’re doing this stuff. Because if anybody has any doubts at all, like they’re gone. OK? So when I said at the beginning that I really want to talk about leadership today I am talking about leading your clients. I’m also talking about leading your staff. The beauty of leadership is when you’re willing to make things black or white instead of waiting for people to try and figure it out on their own. And that’s what we need you to do.

Chris (00:16:45):

Here you are leading a worldwide health movement. It is an important movement. You are on the front lines against longterm disease. If this short term disease takes you off the board, then the longterm ramifications of gyms going down, it’s too horrible to contemplate. So it’s really important that you guys can survive this, that you can stay open and that you can grow out of the chaos that ensues. If you have part time coaches and you know, you’re worried about how can I compensate them? Typically we would say, look, we’re going to be doing online training with our clients. We can pay you per client using the 4/9ths model. If you have full time coaches who are depending on you for their livelihood, then you’ve made the commitment to bear these extreme risks and you have to pay them. I mean, that’s why you’re in business.

Chris (00:17:42):

That’s why they’re not in business, right? You are that thin black line between the responsibility for owning the business and the responsibility for being an employee. You know, gyms who are, who are doing this right, they’ve got a buffer. They can afford to let their coaches work from home for a few months and you can give them tasks. I mean, you can sign them up for coaching courses. You can have them writing your programming in advance. You can have them doing one-on-one, online time with your clients to make sure your clients stay engaged. You can have them writing blog posts, whatever, but you’ve committed to paying them. Your clients have not committed to paying you. So you can not force people to come into your gym. If somebody says, I need to cancel this, then you have to give them an alternative, which is online coaching or you know, meet us in the park.

Chris (00:18:34):

But if they say, no, I want to cancel, then you have to cancel them. I know that you’re scared. I know that you’re worried about money. I understand that. But the bottom line is that if you don’t let them cancel, you will turn this short term crisis into a longterm death toll because that word is going to get out. My gym wouldn’t let me hold my membership for a month because I felt unsafe. Next, what is the best emergency plan? This is such a great question and I sent an email out to our entire list from Affiliate Guard the other day. Basically, Affiliate Guard and the RRG has actually been in touch too. So both of them have asked me to make it really clear about what you’re covered on. So in many cases, in some cases, and you should check, if a client gets sick in your gym with coronavirus and sues you because they got sick, you would probably be covered.

Chris (00:19:33):

And again, you know, don’t take my word for it, check with them. However, if your business is forced to close because you get sick or your clients get sick or the government tightens things down, you definitely do not have loss of business coverage. So, you know, I hope that you’ve got some cash on hand. If not, I’m going to tell you how to mitigate your expenses here a little bit. But you know, you’re not going to recover that through insurance so that that can’t be your plan. The rest of the emergency plan goes like this. First off, build your operations up as high as to be as excellent as you possibly can. Like, the best emergency plan is to not have emergencies. And that means having like written staff playbooks. It means having achieved like a high level of operational excellence where you’re not required to be the face of the business anymore where your staff will actually jump in and take care of things for you.

Chris (00:20:28):

You want to have an emergency procedures guide all written out so there are no mistakes and no mishandling, you want to have like an incident report, so if somebody is sick or injured in your gym, that report immediately goes to your insurance company so that you’re covered. That’s the left brain side of an emergency plan. The right brain side of an emergency plan is this: As soon as you hear a member is sick, you call that member and say, are you OK? How can I help? If you hear that a member is sick, you turn to your staff and you say, we have a sick member. You don’t name them. We’re not sure how they got sick. As a precaution, as the responsible leader of this gym community, I am choosing to close the gym for two days, bring in a cleaning crew and clean top to bottom even though we probably don’t have to because my members’ health and wellbeing takes priority over everything else.

Chris (00:21:23):

And then you repeat that message to your clients too. So it’s really, really important again from a leadership perspective here that you demonstrate that you are willing to do the hard things to protect your community. And in some of the best communities that I know in Two-Brain, that message has been rewarded with pledges of support. You know, Rich Brogatti had a member pull them aside last night and offer—no, this is Bill Schiffler. A member pulls him aside after class and says, hey Bill, I got $35,000 in a bank account if you need it now. That is because Bill’s an amazing leader, that’s not because bill gave this guy a discount 10 years ago. Right? It’s because Bill has shown that he is willing to do the hard things for this member, for that member’s family and for the rest of the gym community. That’s what leadership looks like and that’s how it’s repaid.

Chris (00:22:13):

So if a member’s infected, yeah, you’ve got gotta close the gym, you make sure that you tell people, we don’t know if they were infected here, but we’re willing to take this hard measure to make sure that you’re protected because you are the priority. OK. Next: mitigating your expenses. So in some cases where cities have actually forced closures of gyms or cities have gone out and said you shouldn’t go to the gym, people have turned to their landlord and said, what is your plan for rent or lease easement if this happens? And it’s actually a good idea to start this conversation with your landlord. Now, for example, I’m a landlord. I own a building that I’m standing in, the building next door and a couple of others. If this were a big risk in my city, I would definitely anticipate that my tenants would come to me and say, we can’t operate.

Chris (00:23:05):

How can you help? Now maybe they’re not going to give you a month for free. Right? I probably wouldn’t do that. But what they might do is agree to space this month’s rent over the next several months to, you know, basically loan you the money for this month’s rent. They might give you an easement, you know, one of our gyms in Europe, the landlord said, yeah, I can do 50% off until the government lifts their recommendation. So one to three months probably. You can also do this. You can say, Hey, you know, I’ve had to go get a permit from the city to do workouts in the park. That permit costs me $300 because I can’t use your building. Will you take that off my rent? Now guys, most landlords are just going to say, no, pay your rent. This is not my problem.

Chris (00:23:51):

You should have loss of business or business interruption insurance. And you can argue that that doesn’t really exist in the gym industry, whatever. They’re not going to give you a discount, but it does not hurt to ask. And that’s one good precautionary step that you can take. We’re going to talk later about your mindset through this and your public persona versus how you’re feeling inside. But I’ll tell you right now, the more proactive steps that you can take today, the less you’re going to panic, the less sleep you’re going to lose tonight because you’ll feel like I’m doing something instead of just worrying about it. OK. The last step here, I’ve got a whole bunch of more questions coming guys that I’ll get to and I do see your questions and comments. I will get to those too. I’d like you to work through an emergency situation with your coaches.

Chris (00:24:40):

So I want you to say coaches, please come in for a meeting tomorrow. We’re gonna work through some scenarios. Scenario one, a client is infected and it’s because of our gym. Scenario two: a client is infected, but it’s not because of our gym, but they’re still our client and they’re sick. Scenario three, somebody who’s probably infected, an ER nurse wants to come to the gym and what you’re going to do is role play these conversations with your coaches, right? Like a warm, receptive, caring audience so that when it comes time to have these conversations with your clients, you’re more comfortable doing them. It’s going to be very tempting, I’ll promise you this, it’s going to be very tempting to not have that conversation. If you’ve got a coach who’s part time and they also work in the ER or a client who’s working in the ER and they want to come to the gym and you have to tell them, please don’t.

Chris (00:25:36):

That’s going to be an awkward conversation. If you’re like me and you don’t like that stuff, then you’re going to procrastinate and then you’re going to wind up waiting too long and something worse going to happen. You know, just like having kids running wild while a CrossFit class is going on. What you have to imagine is the worst case scenario and how you’re going to feel, how much worse your life is going to be if somebody actually gets sick than if you lose a few thousand dollars on by closing this month. That’s what we’re reduced to here. A few specific questions that I thought were really, really good from this morning’s emails. First from Ethan, we have a small internal competition. Tomorrow, Saturday, we expect 80 to a hundred people to be there. Would you cancel it? I would not unless I was in a high-risk area where the Center for Disease Control has already issued an alert saying no public gatherings.

Chris (00:26:30):

If that’s happened guys, then like don’t buck the government because you’re doing a lot to expose yourself to risk and your family to risk beyond the business. Right. But if that hasn’t happened yet, I would say, it’s too short notice to cancel. If you’ve got a competition, that’s supposed to be next week or next month. I would definitely postpone it because this is going to get worse before it gets better. But if it’s like tomorrow, if it’s before Monday, then I would absolutely go ahead and run it. From Jess, at what point should I temporarily close down, for how long? My gut is telling me that when our school’s closed, I should follow suit. So Jess, I gotta tell ya, our schools are officially closed now and they’re going to be closed for at least three weeks in Ontario. We are not closing down the gym.

Chris (00:27:17):

The leadership in the gym is so strong that I don’t want to deprive my clients of that leadership. For many of them, the gym is kind of like the rock that they look to for leadership in their life. It’s a really powerful anchor, and I don’t want to take that away from them until I’m absolutely forced to do that. What will force me to do that? The feeling that I’m putting my clients at risk by opening. So, for example, if, you know, it’s everywhere, everybody’s getting it and the only the only solution is isolation, then you know, and like, you know, 30% of the population in the city has it or something like that, then I would absolutely make the hard choice to close the gym down and deal with the consequences later. But you know, until then, I would basically look at my gym as kind of like the place where I coach people right now.

Chris (00:28:12):

And go back to what we talked about at the start of this call, which is coaching does not necessarily mean providing access to equipment or providing access to this particular space. Right. Another question I got this morning was, as things are now, would you change anything about class times, class sizes immediately? If I were in an affected area? Yeah, absolutely. But I don’t think class time or class size matters, right? Like, if you’ve got a class of two people and one of them is infected, then they’re going to infect everybody, if you’ve got a class of 30 people and one person’s infected, they’re going to infect everybody. Class size doesn’t matter. Class time probably doesn’t matter because like, people are still working, right? Their schedule isn’t changing. So I don’t see how changing class time or schedule or size or anything is really going to make that much difference.

Chris (00:29:00):

Another great question that I got not too long ago though was Hey, the kids are off school. Should we allow the kids to come into the gym? And there’s two concerns there. The first is that kids are little germ bags, right? My kids are, so they carry more viruses, they carry germs and all that kind of stuff. But the thing is like this virus is predominantly transmitted from adult to adult. You don’t have to worry that kids are more likely to carry the virus. However, kids are more susceptible to the virus. And while, you know, the death toll among kids is not high, thank goodness, they are more likely to catch it when exposed to it from the research that I’ve seen. So what you would want to say to your parents is this, guys, if you don’t have a choice, if you need to come to the gym and you know, you want to bring your kids, then do.

Chris (00:29:57):

So we will be restricting them to this gated area as determined by our insurance. They will not be allowed onto the floor. They will not be interacting with other members. They will not be playing with equipment or swinging from the bars. If you feel it’s safe for them to do that and you have no other option, then that’s OK. They have to stay in this area, behind this gate or in this, you know, behind this door. But dear client, you need to be aware that by bringing your child to any public place, you are exposing them to higher risk. And that’s a decision that I can’t make for you. OK. So guys, there are a billion questions here and I’m eager to answer them. We’re going to start going through them. There’s also a lot of Q and A stuff.

Chris (00:30:44):

So guys, we’re 30 minutes in. I am going to stay here until all questions have been answered. OK. I promise I’m not going to leave you in the dark. My pledge today was to give you support because I think there’s a vacuum of leadership. We have a bigger dataset, we have a broader reach and so we are exposed to this virus faster than almost anybody else. We’re going to share what’s working with you guys. We’re not going to ditch you. We have taken an extra measure here and that is, we’ve quickly put together a private Facebook group. You can request access to it. I’ll post it in comments. You’re welcome to join that group. And we’ll do our best to support and help you in there. This is not the same as our private clients’ group. This will be a public group, but it will be moderated.

Chris (00:31:36):

We have hired people to stay in there and keep the conversation positive. We’ll keep doing these live events to help you out. But as new situations occur, we’ll be posting them in the group. We’ll also post the video from this talk. So, let’s go. Jonathan, you mentioned gyms closing in the UK where? All over man. I can’t give you a specific town. And actually yesterday when I was having this conversation, I referred to Ireland as being in the UK and I got blasted for it. So, yeah, I can’t tell you where. Will this webinar be available later as a recording to share with my gym’s other owners? Yes, it will. We’re going to put this in the private Facebook group that I just mentioned and you can certainly watch it there. Esther, do we charge people if they want to suspend their membership during this time?

Chris (00:32:25):

No. Even if you’ve got a contract with them guys, like this is an exceptional circumstance. I don’t know from a legal perspective how you could possibly charge somebody for a gym membership if they wanted to cancel because of infection. Especially, you know, from a legal perspective too, if like the CDC is saying don’t go to the gym and local authorities are saying stay away from public places, you’re going to have a hell of a time enforcing that contract. From a PR standpoint, you’re going to have a really tough time with that later when they start telling their friends. And from just the standard of care standpoint, I know you’re really going to struggle with that. The reason that people might enforce these contracts and they might charge their clients anyway is they’re scared and they’re worried that, look, if we don’t bill people this month, we’re going out of business.

Chris (00:33:20):

I’ve been there. I get that you have to give them an alternative instead. And that’s why I liked the at-home coaching option. Christie Neighbors, where are these questions being posted? So the email that went out yesterday invited people to send me questions in advance and about 30 people did this morning. And so those are the first ones that I addressed. Caleb, is it reasonable to survey our members to see what actions they’re feeling most comfortable with. No. You’re the leader. You tell them what you’re going to do. Don’t wait for them to tell you what action they should take. OK? So the value here of them turning to you is that you know what to do and that’s the image that you have to project. You have to make things simple and black and white. You have to go above and beyond and say we are doing this thing.

Chris (00:34:09):

It’s more than we have to do because we care about you. OK. I don’t think you’re going to have to close. Are you able to expand on what your core level package? Yes, sure thing Joe. So, core level package is just basically like ad-home workouts and we just did a coaching call on this for about 40 minutes in the private Facebook group. Rob Connors was expanding on how he does this. The best point that he made is you are providing personal training using the internet as a tool. You are not selling remote programming, you are not selling online programming. You are not selling online coaching. You’re selling personal training. You’re just doing it through the internet. And so that core level of service at I think I said it was 150 at our gym, that’s what they’re getting. They’re getting one-on-one, personal training through the internet.

Chris (00:34:58):

I almost blew it there and said one-on-one programming. The higher levels would include a lot more accountability and a lot more nutrition coaching too. OK. Aaron, the way we structure our pricing model is we add nutrition and offline workouts via our app to the overall program. Based on this, what are your thoughts on scaling value higher that will keep clients level of efficacy elevated. Also, how do you position online training when it’s part of the program yourself? Our programs are high ticket items. Yeah, man. So there’s a couple of options here, Aaron. And without seeing like your whole pricing table, it’s hard for me to say, but what you might have to do is just say like, we are not going to be delivering this one part of our service. Right? The in-person part. I think that’s what you meant by offline.

Chris (00:35:43):

We can’t do that because the gym is closed. The great news is that we can deliver more of this thing. And so as your coach one-on-one, again, what I recommend we do to get through this crisis is that we ramp up your offline programming that you can do by yourself. I’ve got some new exercises, some new workouts. We can really ramp that up while we’re cutting back on the offline stuff. Does that sound OK to you? And because your clients are already doing that combination, you’re going to have a much easier time than anybody else, Aaron, so congratulations. You’ve got a pretty antifragile business there. Gabrielle Ranchiero, what if a coach is doing nothing to grow in this period? I mean, honestly, you’re their boss, right? Lead them to growth. You have to tell people what you want them to do.

Chris (00:36:30):

They’re not just going to go out there and do it. Chris, if we have full time staff on career roadmap type model with hourly task prices, how do we compensate them based on tasks they’re no longer doing? So Chris, I’ll tell you man, like the fair thing, right? And I’m a pretty left brain guy. I’m all about data and analysis. The fair thing would be don’t pay them for work they’re not doing. The compassionate thing, the thing that’s going to keep them loyal to you forever, the thing that probably doesn’t come natural to you and it definitely doesn’t come natural to me is to pay them anyway. You can tell them guys, look, I know you can’t afford to be without money. Honestly, I can’t afford to pay you if we don’t have memberships coming in. That’s why I’m asking you to do these extra things to keep revenue coming in.

Chris (00:37:19):

But I can’t let you starve either. You’re my top priority after our clients. I’m going to pay you either way. OK. And I would, I’d probably say something Chris, like, I’m going to pay you for this month either way. And then that’s it, you know, and then 30 days from now, hopefully everything’s all over. I am watching data closely on like, you know, infection rates and then peaks and it seems to be 45 to 60 days. Things start declining. The problem is that what we’re all really suffering from here is not the infection rate. Not yet. It’s the hype cycle. And so it’s hard to see like when that hype cycle will die down again. But for I think the first month, if you can do it, do it.

Chris (00:38:01):

Best practice for handling membership freezes. I see gyms who are not allowing freezes, only cancellations. I mean, Sebastian, this is way outside the bounds of normal best practices, right? Normally. Yeah. I mean you, you make your rules and you stick to them no matter what. However, people are terrified and what they’re going to remember at the end of this is how you treated them when they were terrified. So give people the opportunity to switch, you know, to switch if they’re scared, if they’re infected, definitely like you don’t want them anywhere near your gym, but you can’t punish people. Right. That’s not our job here. You don’t need to win to win. What you need to do is get the clients back at the end of this. And so you have to stop looking at this as an argument or a debate with your clients and instead say like, how can I continue to coach you?

Chris (00:38:57):

Gyms that aren’t allowing freezes, they are going to really struggle at the end of this. And I understand why they’re doing it. They’re terrified. They can’t afford to do it. I don’t know what I would do in their position. Probably the exact same thing. But you know, when word gets out about that, it’s going to be hard for them to overcome that. Absolutely. Thoughts on freezes. You also offer them a better alternative that’s worth more money, that will still help them maintain their buffer of health and fitness and peak immunity. And if they don’t want to take that, then what you do is you make sure they’re coming back. So you say, OK, I understand we’re going to freeze your membership for 30 days. Can we schedule an appointment for 30 days from now to review your goals? See how much of your fitness you’ve lost and chart a path to get you back on course.

Chris (00:39:45):

And when you start doing goal reviews like that, the value of the client tends to increase. So you’ll earn your money back in the long tail. You just have to survive that first 30 days. I hope that helps. Sick with covid or sick in general, DP, that’s a great question that I haven’t thought of before. The bottom line is like, we’re telling people if you are scared, we’re going to take care of you. That’s what leadership is. If they say I’m sick while this, you know, coronavirus crisis is going on, I’m just going to give them the benefit of the doubt. The problem seems to be that there’s such a lon, gestation period that you might think you’ve just got the flu or you might think like, Oh, I’ve just got a sore throat. And then two weeks later it blossoms into something big.

Chris (00:40:32):

And that’s why like CDC and other health authorities can’t even tell us how many infected cases there are right now because it just takes so long to actually, you know, manifest. So if somebody says they feel sick right now, I would probably relax my normal rules, and trust me guys, I’m the original stick to your rules no matter what guy. OK. I mean, I’ve lost clients because we were strict with our rules in the past. I’m OK with that. I have never ever said relax your rules for any reason ever before. At this point though, we’re not dealing with logic anymore. We are 100% dealing with emotion and people will forget what you said. They will forget what something costs. They will never forget the way that you treated them when they needed you the most. OK. Nancy, Oh, I’m sorry.

Chris (00:41:27):

Gabriel. Should we cancel all social functions? Yeah. I had to cancel our little hockey team’s hockey banquet last night. It sucked. But Hockey Canada told me I had to. So yes. Cancel your social functions. Nancy, you only have part time employees and they get paid per class in the event of closure, what is a good way to compensate them? Not at all. I mean they’re part time employees getting paid per class. You don’t have classes, you don’t need to compensate them. If you feel like they will starve without you, then you could offer to pay them in advance for future classes that they’re going to coach. If you have a big buffer like I do and you can afford to pay them anyway, then maybe you do take that risk on yourself, but you’re not legally or morally, I don’t think obligated to do that.

Chris (00:42:12):

Nathan, we don’t have direct debit payments. People will just not update memberships. Any different advice? Man. Yeah, go back in time 30 days and get everybody on direct debit. I’m sorry this is a problem Nathan. But honestly in this day and age you have to be doing that stuff. Michael Crespo. Should we ask our nurses to stay home? Yeah, man, I would. And that’s going to be a hard conversation, but I think they’ll understand. And I think that if you offer them a higher value service to stay home, that it’s going to be worth it. Right? I mean like let’s say that you went into your dentist’s office. OK. And the person that’s like, you know, working on your mouth mentioned that she just came from her other job at the emergency room. How are you gonna feel about that person’s hand in your mouth?

Chris (00:43:00):

I would probably immediately like clamp up and bite her poor fingers off. This is another example of like, you’re going to have to do hard things for your community, but your community is worth it. And that’s what leadership means. Debra, do you have a good idea of what to say to a longterm member who is due to renew but is afraid, they want to wait and see what happens? Yeah, Deborah, I mean there’s a couple things you can do here. You can say, do you want to give it a month? But I would probably take the higher value, ad-home option with them and say, here’s a higher value program. Do you want to try it for a month? Something like that. A monthly open house, local events have been canceled through no government mandate your thoughts. Yeah, I wouldn’t do it.

Chris (00:43:44):

I dunno, I hope that you’ve been tracking data on like the efficacy of doing these open houses. Our data shows that they’re not very effective anyway. But you know, the bottom line is like, unless you’re counting on these to bring in new members, it’s probably not going to help you and it might hurt you. So I would, yeah, probably cancel it for the month. Christine, can you give me an example of what the conversation would be with the coaches around ER nurses wanting to come to the studio? Yeah, sure. So, Christine, we’ve actually had this come up in the Two-Brain groups. So I, you know, I am cheating here because I’ve seen what other people have done. What I would do is call the nurses one-on-one. I would take the highest level of communication that I possibly could.

Chris (00:44:28):

  1. I would not send out a mass email. I would not ask my coaches to have these conversations for me. I would call them and I would say, look, people are scared, this sucks. Would you like to take this higher value membership? Would you, you know, I don’t want you to lose your fitness. I don’t want to penalize you for the service that you’re giving our community. I want to help you more. I just can’t have you in the gym. And I’ve never heard a case where a nurse or a doctor got upset about that. In fact, in Ontario, the Ontario government just told every single doctor do not leave the country. So yeah, you know, they understand this is not the biggest stress point in their life if you have that conversation. Esther, we have a lot of health care professionals in our gym.

Chris (00:45:14):

Should we send a mass email out? No. You should have a one on one conversation. Whenever you’re having a tough conversation with people, you need to do that face to face if you can, over the phone if you can’t, you don’t do that through a text message. You don’t do that through an email because it’s like having a conversation with a loved one. You know, they need to feel like you care about them and so you care enough to do it in person. Brad, Hey Brad, we don’t have anybody infected in our city yet, but I do have some members of return from Maui yesterday. Do I ask them to wait two weeks. I think a week is probably good man. Like I know Canada, there’s no mandatory, what do you call it? Like seclusion or anything. But maybe there should be and I would just say to them like, Hey guys, we’re so glad to have you back safe.

Chris (00:46:05):

I don’t know if you’ve been asked to do this at work, but you know, we’re asking you to stay home and honestly, between me and you and the 500 people on this call, in a lot of these cases, if I’m not comfortable having that conversation, I’ll say that it’s an insurance concern. That doesn’t mean like, Oh, my insurance company is keeping you out of the gym, bro. I’m not gonna lie about that. I will say it’s an insurance concern and leave it at that. OK. Zach Reyes, the gym name is gym owners only, I just pasted the link above. I think the actual name on Facebook is like Gym Owners United or something. How do you gain access? You request access, fill out the questions and then the moderators will allow you, Maggie. Yeah, I just pasted the link above the private Facebook group.

Chris (00:46:57):

So guys, there’s a lot of private Facebook group questions here. I posted the link. I’m going to do it again. It’s, forward slash groups forward slash gym owners only. I’m glad that you’re eager to jump in there. And you have to request access. I will tell you guys that, like if you’re used to being in Facebook groups of gym owners that are not moderated by Two-Brain, this is going to be a different experience. We don’t put up with any, you know, BS. It’s not a place to put memes. You’re not going to rant about CrossFit or you’re not going to complain about your clients in there. You’re going to get real answers and that’s it. And we’re all about filtering and focus. So if that’s not for you, then that’s OK. Let’s see here. At home coaching, do you mean literally at their house or more of a FaceTime?

Chris (00:47:44):

FaceTime. Yeah. If you’re limiting contact, then limit contact. You don’t have to, if you don’t want to see people one on one, then seeing them in their home versus the gym, there’s not much difference there. Right? I used to do in home coaching when I was, around 2000 2001, I took the leap, quit my job at the treadmill store and I said I’m going to go all in on this. And the first three clients that I had, I didn’t have a gym or anywhere to train them. So I train them at home. You can do it. You should charge at least twice as much because the travel time to and from the home is different. Also you’re going to have to be a lot more creative also. It is kind of awkward training somebody in their home. And finally, it’s really, really easy for a client to ghost you.

Chris (00:48:30):

So, you know, you pull up their house. This happened to me. The blinds are drawn cars in the driveway. Everything’s dark, nobody’s coming to the door. The dogs are in there, you can hear them going crazy and they owe you $300. That is about the most frustrated you can get. So yeah, they pay in advance. They pay double. And online training now is available where it wasn’t for me back then. Phillippe, would you recommend continuing a one on one training setup when you have cleaning control of your own facilities? Absolutely. Like I’m not saying guys shut down, right. Don’t shut down until you have to, just have this option available because it’s looking like eventually somebody’s gonna at least try to shut you down over this. What is your pricing structure? I think you can scroll up there, Teddy. It was like 150, 225, 350, something like that.

Chris (00:49:26):

Level with your clients by letting them know that if everyone panics and cancels the gym might not be around in one, two, three months. Is it a good idea to do something like that? No, I wouldn’t say so. I mean, you’re trying to control consumer confidence. You know, if there, so there’s a balance there, Caleb. If things truly are dire and you’re at your wit’s end and it’s like, yeah, I’m going out of business here, then you got nothing to lose, you know, play the emotional card. Absolutely. If you’re scared, then I would play the support your small business card. But if you don’t absolutely have to do that then don’t. Because you know what people are really buying from you here is like leadership and trust. And if suddenly they find out that like, you know, your business isn’t profitable, then that’s going to erode that trust or you’re desperate, that’s going to erode that trust.

Chris (00:50:21):

You know, if you’re willing to do anything to make a couple of bucks, that’s going to erode that trust. And longterm you need consumer confidence. But if things are so dire in the short term that you have to make a desperate move, then do it. Let’s see here. Michael, we’re hosting a community day tomorrow and a couple of clinics the next few weekends in Wisconsin. Man, it hasn’t really hit us yet, has it? So, what I would be wary of here, Michael, is like keep the community day tomorrow, but I’d probably postpone the clinics. I’d move them later in the year because it is moving West. You know, and like you don’t want to expose people to this. You don’t want to be the reason that they’re all coming together and potentially risking anything. Kis, if our box needs to close, we’re going to do live work codes via Zoom.

Chris (00:51:09):

That’s great. If some members want to take a break on the membership. Yeah man. So again, like you are not a group fitness instructor, you are a coach. So they can go online, they can get bootcamp workouts led by people who can’t see their audience. They get download videos all day for free. That’s not what you’re selling. You need to be in constant contact with every single member every single day or you know, as often as their membership warrants and you need to coach them. Now if they, that could be one option that you do, but that’s not enough. Like having an online video workout. That’s cool. That might be kind of fun. Maybe you do that three times over the course of the day, but you still have to talk to every single member one-on-one. I posted an open gym option for commercial gym folks who wanted to reduce their risk of exposure. Should we keep pursuing that? I honestly think that open gym increases risk of exposure because you have less control and you’re not really sure about like what people are touching. There’s less accountability for cleaning up after yourselves. I commented on this in our private Facebook group last night. I really don’t think that open gym is a safer option than a coached class.

Chris (00:52:27):

Caleb, if you’re not forced to close, but you notice 25, 50 or 75% of clients opting to stay home, would you cut back the amount of classes? Yeah, absolutely. So I would cut back the classes. I would say like, Hey, we’re on emergency, you know, schedule, we’re going to run our most popular classes three a day, but we’re going to give you the opportunity to train any time. So guys, what do you really have to do here is you have to position your solution to this problem as like an upgrade or a new opportunity for them. OK. Like, we’re going to actually give you something better than what you’re currently getting. And I’m sure you can deliver on that for at least a month. That was a temporary option. Anita, what is your thought on asking members that have traveled out of the country to stay on for 14 days?

Chris (00:53:14):

Yeah, I think it’s great. I would do it. Again, Anita. It’s not going to be an easy conversation, but I think it’s a necessary one that a real leader would have. Kis, can’t we say to members to pay, but after the crisis has gone, give them an alternative for their paid revenues. I mean that’s not what they signed up for, right? That’s kind of bait and switch to me it’s like, Hey, I know you, I know that like we took your car away for a month and we still took your money, but we’re going to give you like a roof rack, something that you didn’t really want. You know, I honestly think, I honestly think that you need to go back to the client and say, what do you want? How can we solve this? So maybe Kis, I need to go deeper there.

Chris (00:53:57):

So if you’re at this point where if five clients cancel, we are done. We’re out of business. What I would do is I would call every single client. I’d look them in the eye or talk to them right on the phone and say, here’s our situation. We can’t afford to close. If you cancel, we’re going to, you know, go bankrupt. Is there anything else that we can do instead? Here’s what we propose. Like, don’t ask them for the solution. Tell them your solution. Gino got to run. You’re certainly welcome, sir. Lou. I had scheduled an AB challenge in the beginning of April. I was going to begin advertising and now should I move forward with that or no? We’re recommending that gym owners focus more on affinity marketing through the crisis. However, if you’ve already started advertising this or you have ads running, don’t shut them off.

Chris (00:54:42):

Like, don’t hurt yourself by killing any momentum that you have online. Don’t turn this 30 day or 60 day crisis into a four month crisis because you’ve completely shut your ads off. So, you know, cut them back to a dollar a day if you feel like you have to, but the bottom line is all you have to do is offer people the opportunity to do a no sweat intro through video with you. So when they book their consultation, you say, Hey, thanks for booking this. Some clients recently have said that they’d be more comfortable doing this from home. Would you prefer to do this from the comfort of your own home and then you do their no sweat intro that way. Would you allow drop-ins? Michael, that’s a great question. And I didn’t think of this until yesterday, but no, I would not. Would you still allow new members?

Chris (00:55:26):

Absolutely. I present them with the at home option or whatever option that all my other clients have. But a new member isn’t riskier than your current members. Your current members are not like washed clean or less likely to carry the disease. So as long as the gym is opening any service that you’re offering to your current members, you should be offering to new members. Drop-ins from out of town, from other gyms? No, I wouldn’t. I would protect my community. You know, even if it’s overkill. Yup. Ask nurses to stay home even if no cases have been found. When cases have been found and they will be, that’s when you have that conversation. Then yeah, you can go back through the video. We did say healthcare providers should expect to probably stay home if there are cases in your city.

Chris (00:56:15):

We should keep allowing drop-ins or limit classes to just current members. No, no drop-ins Lexi, should we tell nurses even if we’re in an uninfected area, no. Is it only ER nurses? No. Can we offer open gym for nurses? No. Again, like, I don’t know how many nurses you know, but they’re not necessarily cleaner than anyone else. You know, I have a really hard time with open gym in general and during this crisis in particular. Is it too extreme to also have the conversation with spouses of healthcare professionals? That’s a great question, Erin. And it’s going to be tough either way. Like, you’re not going to have easy conversations, but when you’re having it with the healthcare professional, like you should know that all these healthcare professionals see this coming. This is not, you know, an unexpected out of the blue revelation, they’ve had this conversation and probably when they’ve had this conversation at the hospital, people have said like, your spouse should also be careful.

Chris (00:57:15):

So. Bill, getting word that our town slash county is shutting down for next week or for two weeks or so. So I don’t know what that means. We heard the same thing about Ontario this morning and I said the same thing. Bill, what does shutting down the county mean? Like, does that mean they’re erecting barricades at the town line? Like in the Stand by Stephen King? Or does that mean that government services will not be available or does that mean a government offices are closing? Right. Should you get in front of your clients? Yeah, there’s no such thing as too much communication here. You should be talking to your clients more often than you think that you need to talking to them until you think like they’re sick of hearing from me. You’ll get sick of hearing from yourself long before they’ll get sick of hearing from you.

Chris (00:58:04):

Let’s see, Brianna. There’s no black and white answer to that. Her question is if we asked nurses not to come in, where do you draw the line between them and all the people they come into contact with during their daily life? We have a close knit community of people who spend time together. They’re obviously going to infect each other, but how do you account for that? There’s no black and white answer there. Brianna, I’m sorry. All I’m saying is take every possible precaution that you can. Alan, should you allow drop-ins? I wouldn’t. OK. What about family members of a nurse? Patrick, I think we just went through that. What does the conversation look like for providing at-home training for clients that don’t have any equipment available? That’s not hard. Dan, if you go to Two-Brain and you go on the blog, this is a different site than Two-Brain

Chris (00:58:50):

If you go on that blog, you’ll see that I posted a blog post there a couple of days ago, 31 sample workouts. I mean, yeah, it’s going to force you to be creative, but the bottom line is like, you can get results without a barbell. You know, you can do it. Anybody can do it. The most popular fitness coaches in history did not have a brick and mortar facility. They didn’t have a gym. Most of them didn’t have a barbell. Right? You might make fun of these people like Richard Simmons, but the bottom line is they got the job done. Richard Simmons made a lot of people, especially women, lose weight, right? And a lot of people tuned into Suzanne Summers and a lot of people tune into these celebrity trainers who are not defined by the equipment they own. And I think this will ultimately make you a better coach.

Chris (00:59:35):

  1. Sergio can’t see the link to the Facebook group you mentioned. What are your thoughts on drop-ins, class pass athletes? No way. Any suggestions about conducting intros or on-ramp sessions with online training? Yeah, I mean I think you could probably do the same thing. I think if it was on-ramp I would probably do it through video because there is a lot more one on one instruction, right? It’s not like correction, it’s instruction and then coaching and so I would try to do that through video. If you currently offer online coaching as an add on, how do you handle letting members who want to stay home keep their current price point. If you’re charging other members hundreds of dollars more? You just, you have an option for online only and you charge for that. Let’s see here. David, in Quebec, they now have implemented a two-week self quarantine for anyone arriving from anywhere infected yesterday. You just returned from Miami and you’re respecting that quarantine. That’s great. I mean the thing is guys, like when you talk to your members about self quarantine, it’s not going to be the first time they’ve heard it probably. Right. It might be the first time that anybody said you should do this, but it’s not going to be a complete surprise.

Chris (01:00:48):

  1. You know what guys? I just realized that I’ve been posting the link to only panelist. So here we go. If you scroll to the bottom, there’s the link. Fantastic. Do you have any recommendations for gym cleaning protocol? Yeah, so, there’s a couple of different ones. You want to get an antiseptic, you know, specifically ask for an antiviral. If you’re using something like, you know, one of those floor scrubbers, there’s a different mix of stuff that you can use. In general, like I said, you want to be over the top with your cleaning. So you want your clients to see you cleaning. You want to post videos and pictures of you cleaning. You want the gym to smell like an antiseptic when they walk in. You really do. If they smelled that, you know, it’s going to infuse trust. So the question is really, the recommendation is over-clean every single thing. You know, if you’re not a great cleaner and I am not a great cleaner, then you need to bring in somebody else that’s going to do it for you.

Chris (01:01:56):

Should you loan equipment out to your members? There is a bit of liability that might be attached to that. So, for example, when I was working at a ski hill, we had about 200 pairs of skis that were just used. So we got new skis and we wanted to donate them to a local kids charity and the insurance company said, you can’t do that. You got to burn them because if somebody gets hurt on one of those skis, liable. I don’t know what the case is. I would be really wary about lending out equipment if I don’t have enough for everyone. I’d also be wary about lending out equipment if, you know, there’s a chance we might open up next week, but like we might not get all the equipment back. That said, if a client has borrowed a dumbbell from me, that does create a firm lifeline to that client.

Chris (01:02:49):

Right. If they try to cancel their membership, like they automatically feel like they’re in debt to you or you’ve got a reason to show up at their house. So, 95% of the boxes in our country, Portugal, are now closed. Oh, I’m sorry, Gabriel. Worst case scenario, what are the repercussions of an LLC no longer being able to make rent payments? Well, it’s more tragic than if you were an S Corp, that’s for sure. You know, the landlord might sue through the LLC and come after you personally. You’re going to have to talk to your attorney. The other thing I would look at in your lease is like, did you sign a personal guarantee? Because if you signed a personal guarantee, then the LLC really doesn’t matter. They’re gonna walk right around the LLC and come after you if the LLC goes out of business.

Chris (01:03:36):

And I sure hope that’s not the case, man. I would say, you know, they’re gonna try to come through the LLC to you anyway. Hopefully that’s not going to be an option, but you should probably talk to your lawyer if you’re that close. 95% of the boxes in Portugal are now closed. We don’t want to follow as sheep, but it’s inevitable the government will close us. The social following is that people are championing the closures. I think that’s due to a lack of leadership and guidance on remaining open, but really appreciate your opinion. You know, honestly, man, like I feel the same way you do. I think that it’s a little bit overblown, that it’s the tail wagging the dog. But it doesn’t matter what I think, all that matters is what my clients think. And if my clients are scared, I’m going to do every single thing that I can to make them not feel scared.

Chris (01:04:28):

That means education, but it also means protecting them in the short term. Joe, looking to give clients a care package with at-home programming, care package that includes dumbbells, skipping rope and pull up bar. They pay a $60 deposit to use the equipment, which is refundable when they return it and come back to my class. Sure. That’s a great idea. I mean, you could also give everybody a skipping rope, right? Like you’re making this seven or $8 investment in them because it increases your chances of charging them $200 a month afterward. Would you have an example of the email? I would, but we give that to Two-Brain clients. Hi. We joined late and we’d love to know what online training software you use. Do you have any samples of that home online training? We just bought an existing gym two months ago and are in a very dire situation.

Chris (01:05:12):

Yeah. So, you know what, there’s a podcast on our channel with Jonathan Goodman and he walks through how to set up online training there for free. He says, it doesn’t matter what software you use, like use a spreadsheet if you want to, and then you can actually get 31 free like at home workouts from the website. I posted a blog post there. You can get free workouts anywhere, guys. It doesn’t actually matter what the programming is. What matters is how you’re talking to the clients about the programming. You know, they don’t even care if you made it up as long as you chose it for them. I chose this program for you because is the most popular thing that you can say with online programming or the most powerful. So we have limited hours and limited coach in a day. How can we strategize online personal training with a client?

Chris (01:06:10):

Well, I mean, you’re not on Skype with them. OK? You’re saying, here is the program that I made for you. Send me your results when you’re done. If you have to give them a demo, then fill in the demo and send that demo to them. But keep doing it one-on-one. You’re not doing an online exercise class here. As a new gym owner in the midst of a lot of marketing, should I hold off, cancel marketing efforts as the ROI might be in question, is joining a new gym the absolute last thing on someone’s mind? How can I change that? I’m not sure that it is. I mean, I’m not sure that it isn’t. There’s no data either way, unfortunately, but I do know about marketing is this, it’s a game of momentum, meaning that once you start, you can’t stop.

Chris (01:06:53):

You can dial it back, but if you stop marketing, you will be starting from scratch again and you’ll lose whatever time and money you’ve already invested. OK.Sso don’t change that. But switch to affinity marketing, which is referral based because the only people who are going to refer to you right now are people who already know you, like you and trust you. And that means your best clients. You should probably switch your intake up to include a done by video option. But I wouldn’t stop marketing, no. Ken. Hey Ken. Only ER doctors and nurses or any doctor or nurse, I mean I would do any doctor or nurse. Yeah.

Chris (01:07:35):

We’re doing a comp March 28th in house. Should we cancel it? My husband’s worried people will quit or suspend. I would postpone it and probably you’ll find out that people don’t even ask for a refund. Should he be worried that people will quit and suspend? Absolutely. But again, you can’t force them. Right. You can’t fight them into staying. The best thing that you can do is offer them an alternative. CPR class and one of the attendees will be a new mom and her infant. My inclination is to tell her don’t bring them. Yeah. I mean, I don’t think you should have to tell her not to bring the infant. I think you should say like, Hey, if you’re uncomfortable having your infant in a public place while this crisis is going on, don’t come, right. I understand where you’re coming from.

Chris (01:08:28):

And I think that people take risks. And at the end of the day, it’s not your job to parent for them. You know, but if you feel weird about it and I would, then I would say, yeah, Hey, you know, if you want to back out of this, you can. What are the long term opportunities, Steve? There’s a few, right? There’s two tangible financial opportunities. The first one is it pays to be the last one standing, like it or not. And I don’t really like it, gyms are going to go out of business from this. So if you’re in a town with three micro gyms, one of them can’t afford to, you know, float the for 30 days, they’re gone. And then at that point, the best thing that you can do is give their clients and coaches and good home and help them transition out of ownership.

Chris (01:09:15):

That will happen. And you know, while I don’t want to champion that happening, if it’s going to happen, the second opportunity is to look at the online training option. When we started publishing stuff about online training in the last couple of months, people were saying like, Oh, that sounds good, but you know, as well as I do that we don’t take action on things that are important. We take action on things that are urgent. And so now when they say like, OK, online training, this is really my best chance out of this crisis or through it, I got to put this together fast. And so they started going through our free resources. They start piecing it together. If you’re in the Two-Brain family, you go through the course and it’s all built for you. And then you know, the crisis is over and what you find is that you’ve actually added a new leg on your chair.

Chris (01:10:04):

So now instead of selling group classes and nutrition or group classes and personal training, you’ve actually got this new thing that allows you to scale, with less time, less space, less equipment, less risk, and a slightly better lifestyle. You know, our podcast next week will be Rob Connors. Rob is in an a thousand square foot gym, 1000. He’s got about 800 square feet of usable space, including 300 square feet of office space. So 500 square feet of like gym floor space. And about two months ago, he really started scaling his business online. And what he’s found is that he’s pretty anti-fragile. You know, like if Baltimore gets shut down, he’s going to be fine. So long term, I don’t know if anybody’s a fan in here, maybe not, but longterm, this will actually strengthen the gyms that survive it. You’ll become stronger because of it.

Chris (01:11:08):

John. What about other first responders such as firefighters and paramedics that are attending medical calls, man, that’s a judgment call. I’m sorry. You’re going to have to make that decision yourself. Where would I draw the line? I would actually call the EMTs or the paramedics and say, listen, here’s what we’re doing with nurses and doctors. Do you feel like this should apply to you? OK. And I’ve never met a paramedic who wasn’t a stand-up, honest person that didn’t do the right thing. Never. Maggie, Mandy, implemented a freeze last month at $10 a month. Anyone had an experience with that? I mean, Mark, maybe that’ll work, brother. I hope things are great down in El Paso. Lease negotiations if classes get shut down or attendance drops. I wouldn’t, I don’t think you can negotiate the lease based on that. The lease negotiation would happen based on loss of revenue and closure.

Chris (01:12:02):

How you operate your business is not your landlord’s problem. Lou, what about holding the challenge all online? You have True Coach for the workouts. You can build your online nutrition support and have myself, my coaches check in frequently. I think that’s great. Absolutely. Report back. I don’t have data on whether that will work because nobody has been able to do it. And that’s kind of the nature of this crisis, right? Is that it’s all unfolding so fast that it’s hard to say this works that doesn’t, that might work. You know, it sounds to me like it might, give it a shot and let us know. Aida, hi. We just bought a fogger for 99 bucks, usually used for pest control. You can put any type of chemical disinfectant in it. This adds another layer of member care.

Chris (01:12:49):

I think that’s great. 99 bucks and I will guarantee you, you will save a member for using that because they will see you doing it. It’s a very visual thing. You know, guys, I worked in the bush a lot, you know, I paid for college by being on a logging crew and I’ve also worked in parks and so they have these fogger machines for insects. And every time I would talk to a park ranger or the maintenance crew about these machines, I’d say, do those work? Like, do they actually kill mosquitoes or you know, do the mosquitoes just go away? And they would laugh. No, they don’t work, they’re for the humans. They’re not for the mosquitoes. If there was anything in this thing powerful enough to actually kill mosquitoes, we couldn’t use it because it would kill everything. So the beauty here guys is like, yeah, your clients are reacting emotionally because they’re surrounded by these negative messages.

Chris (01:13:41):

We are a bunch of critical, skeptical, crotchety old coaches who maybe don’t believe that the diseases is bad as as the media says it is. But our clients do. How do you fight that misperception? You tell a stickier story and a fogger machine that you hold in your hand tells one hell of a sticky story. Good for you, Aida. Nathan Reed, man, if you are an eight year old who plays goalie, thank you for playing goalie against our team. The other day, we had a Nate Reed in net and he did awesome. Justin, you have two events happening today and tomorrow. Women WOD and wine tonight and gymnastics clinic tomorrow. Should you cancel them? No man, you’re in Carson. I don’t think that the real panic has reached the West coast yet. I think that you’re probably fine to run both of those. I just wouldn’t do anything like after this weekend. Yeah. All right.

Chris (01:14:35):

I literally just got a call from my kid’s school saying, reminder, don’t send them back for three weeks. Erica. Yeah, I’m going to post it in this private Facebook group. Rich. Your gym is next to a hospital and you have 10 plus doctors and nurses as members, thank them for their service. You know, buy them coffee, buy them lunch for the next month. Absolutely. Rob, we’re going to do the reopen and April should we continue? I’d hold off honestly. The thing is guys, like the problem with the crisis is you just don’t see it coming. It goes from zero to a 90 in like 24 hours. And so you’re better off to take precautions now, push the reopen back. As much as I hate to say that, and just reschedule it, you know. Postponing your in house competition next Saturday. I mean, it’s just in house. Right? And so, yeah, I’d probably postpone it. Thoughts on offering bodyweight live virtual group classes via zoom or Google Hangouts for members and still create that community feel.

Chris (01:15:38):

And thanks for saying Mirror and Peloton. Yeah. So I do Swift, which is like at home, but with friends. I do get some value with that. I mean, there’s some funny chat that goes on while you’re cycling on Swift. But I don’t do it for that reason. If people are in your group classes right now, they might miss that. So yeah, I mean, try it out. It might be a lot of fun. Longterm, is that a viable product to sell that will stand on its own? I don’t think so. But yeah, I mean it’s certainly one thing that you could offer. This is what’s actually being done in Italy right now. Roberto Mansi and Georgia Donato are offering that through their gym right now on top of the one-on-one option. So Leon, you’re welcome, Steve. What do you see as the main objective for the gyms you work with?

Chris (01:16:26):

There’s a broad spectrum. So we do have some people who are struggling to survive. Absolutely. And I commend them for seeking a mentor. I was not smart enough to do that until I was like, you know, clinging to the edge. But more and more we’re gyms who are making 30, $40,000 a month and about 20% of the gyms coming into Two-Brain are profiting on nearly that much, 20, 30, 30 grand a month. So yeah, all across the spectrum. And that’s why I wrote “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief,” because the type of mentorship and guidance that you need at each stage of the entrepreneurial journey is different. OK. Cody, what do you say if a member asked to put their pass on hold, you say, I understand. I don’t want you to lose the buffer of health and fitness that you’ve worked so hard to build up.

Chris (01:17:16):

I want you to maintain your peak immunity. And so I prefer to keep coaching you. Here’s our option. If they say no thanks Cody, I’m out. You say, I totally understand. Can we book an appointment for 30 days from now to talk about how we’re going to ramp your fitness back up to your current level? That’s all. Joey. Stay in Vegas. And I think the ultimate irony would be if the coronavirus struck every city except Vegas. So maybe you’re safe then. Well, would you discount memberships for members who go on vacation and then stay home for a couple of weeks? No, I mean I definitely would not expect them to pay. If you’re telling them to stay home, I would give them the online training option. You know, if you want to cut their membership in half, that’s fine.

Chris (01:18:04):

I just, I would not call it a discount. I’d, you know, pay for the half month or something like that. Dan, you are more than welcome, sir. I hope it helps. Colin, your gym offers workout programming, nutrition, coaching with face to face. You have your own, you have your own mobile app, that’s splendid. But if our members want to cancel or stop coaching, how do we offer online coaching with weekly? I’m not sure what your question is. I think the answer is like, just offer it. So what you do is you say, so you call and you already have a working system, right? Like you have a huge head start here, you have a huge advantage. You say, here’s what other clients in your position have done. The real key to marketing Seth Godin says is people like us do things like this. So social proof is crazy, crazy important.

Chris (01:18:49):

And if you can wrap that into a story, it’s even stickier. So what you’d say, Colin is, you know, a couple of clients have come to me with this same concern and I understand what those Chuck clients chose to do is switch to our online personal training program, which has a proven track record of stellar results. I think we should try you on it for a month because I’d hate to see you lose the buffer of fitness and health that you’ve worked so hard to build up. Yeah, Joe, it definitely will. It’s going to be posted in this private Facebook group. You can see the link below. All right, you’re welcome, Colin, and I hope that helps man, and thank you for waiting patiently for an hour 20 to hear an answer to your question. We’re gonna move over to the Q and A. Jen Weingarten asked this over an hour ago and Jen, I’m sorry.

Chris (01:19:32):

You know, we work through emailed questions first and then questions in the text and now I’m getting to the Q and A. Do you think that saying if you’re nervous going out in public will scare people who are currently not worried about it? It’s a great question. Human behavior’s really funny thing and we’re all really open to the power of suggestion, aren’t we? I think that for now, if you say something like if you are concerned, then you’ll target the people that you want to target without causing panic in the others. All right. John, in regards to offering customized programming at home for no price increase, if we already have paying extra for this service, how do we proceed? Well then you offer and uncustomized programming at home for no price increase. That’s a great question, John. But you don’t sacrifice like your top paying clients for everybody else who are taking kind of like the budget option, right?

Chris (01:20:27):

Sorry. Gabriel. Did you cancel all social functions? We have a social plan for tomorrow, but I fear canceling will create more stress on them. I don’t think so man. I think your members probably have a life outside the social events that you create for them. Kudos to you if they do get stressed because there you are their social convener. But honestly, man, like their safety trumps that. Right? I have clients who see themselves as high risks and they do not want to come to the gym. How do we keep them as members without putting them at risk? You move to online training. I understand that and this is a great question and you know, I’m surprised that it’s actually not been brought up before. Now, if you have clients who are at risk, meaning they’re over 60 years old or they’ve had a health problem before, or their immune system is already compromised, then take care of them, you know, do the right thing for them.

Chris (01:21:19):

Don’t wait for them to make the decision. You contact them and you say, as your coach, here’s what I recommend for you. You are my concern. I want to make sure that you’re safe. I’m going to train you from home. Are you most comfortable using Facebook or text or Skype? You know, can I call you in the morning and tell you the workout? Mike Warkentin, my good friend and former editor of the CrossFit Journal, he used to have to get submissions from everybody you know, old lifters even. And this one guy, I think it was Bill Starr, maybe he had like a fax machine that would send, but it wouldn’t receive. So he’d have to send Mike in his article through fax and then you’d have to wait for Mike to like write him a letter and mail it back to him.

Chris (01:22:02):

But the bottom line is like if you care about somebody, you will do what it takes to communicate with them and get them through this crisis. You know, people will forget what you say, they’ll forget what you do, but they will never forget how you made them feel. And that is the key here guys. It’s not what kind of workouts do I program? It’s not, do I use True Coach or one of the other ones? It’s how do you make people feel and if you make them feel cared for, supported like you’re just right next door to them, they will stay with you. Mark, what’s up man? Is it wise or is it too opportunistic to use this situation as an opportunity to attract new members, EG, open gym hours extended to drop ins for a fee. Again, I’m not sure that open gym or drop ins are a great idea right now.

Chris (01:22:45):

This is an opportunity to attract new members. And I don’t want you to feel guilty about that though because the bottom line is that your business saves lives, your business changes lives. You are helping people and there’s no such thing about being too opportunistic about serving other people or helping them, right? So if the YMCA down the road has to close, because let’s face it, they’re full of germs and viruses, but your gym is not closing because you are clean, then the best thing that you can do to save their clients’ life is to tell them, come to my gym and I’ll take care of you. And you should never be embarrassed about that. Dorian. Yes. Connor? Yes. Jen. Not changing times, but adding more time between classes to eliminate social interaction. So I don’t know what the difference there would be, Jen, between like, you know, you’ve got a group of 12 and you’ve got 15 minutes and then you’ve got another group of 12.

Chris (01:23:44):

Right? Like you’re still exposing to people through social interaction. It doesn’t seem to be like the scope of the social interaction that matters. It’s like a yes social interaction or none at all. So, and especially when you’ve got clients who might come to this class today and that class tomorrow and stuff, I’m not sure that’s going to make much of a difference. You don’t have to worry about that. Andy. OK, great man. Yeah, we answered that one. Stephanie, we did that one too. Esther great. Matt Steel. So I actually just just posted this. Key, thank you sir. We got your message. Dorian, my mistake. Thoughts on closing the weekend to two classes only and do a deep clean to show. Yeah man, it doesn’t show fear. It shows care. And you know, again, like we might be skeptical of this but our clients are not. And that’s the key is we are not our clients. We have to be aware of what they want. That’s like what the right brain of business is. And so do that. Clean a hundred percent Leif, and tell them all about it. Tell them about it on your Facebook page, email them pictures, post videos, look how clean this place is. I’m like, you’re licking the ball and then cleaning it again. You know, Kate, yes, it’s in the comments.

Chris (01:25:04):

Yes. Tiffany. Some places are renting out equipment. How do you value that? I really don’t. I mean, if somebody perceives that they can rent your equipment and that’s a substitute for your coaching, then they perceive that you’re an equipment business and that what you’re selling is access to equipment that is not your business. You’re a coaching business. Give them the equipment for free and sell them the coaching or get in the equipment and access business. Have you seen mass cancellation of boxes, David? Honestly, I haven’t. Now keep in mind that as of 24 hours ago when I went live first to talk about this, the only places that boxes were being forced to close were China and Italy. Since then it’s happened in the UK and it’s starting to happen along the Eastern seaboard. Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maryland, before I went to bed at midnight last night.

Chris (01:25:56):

Have I seen mass cancellations? No. Now keep in mind though that my data comes from Two-Brain gyms and they are ready for this. They have operations in place, they have a framework to build online coaching really, really fast. They have emails that they’re using to send to their clients. They know how to talk to the coaches and they’re more profitable than the average gym, so they can afford to lose a bit of money. They’re not panicking. So how have I seen mass cancellations? No, I haven’t. In fact, you know, in many cases. And I brought up a couple of them here, members actually reached out to the box owner and said, how can I support you? And that is incredibly moving and I think it’s super valuable and maybe it’s a silver lining to these crises is that your clients don’t often tell you just what a difference you’re actually making in their lives and how important you are to them until something like this happens.

Chris (01:26:51):

And they stand up and say, I have $35,000 if you need it. You know, last night on the way home, my wife stopped at a restaurant to pick up some takeout for my kids and I, and my kids are busy. So she went into the restaurant and it was a ghost town and she said to the proprietress, wow, is it ever empty? The kids are off school for three weeks, you’re going to be seeing a lot more from us. And the woman hugged her and you know, people are scared, people are desperate and we want to help gym owners get through this. But the bottom line guys is like, if you can add an alternative, that’s probably your best hedge. So I kind of went off on a rant there, David. I’m sorry, Cody. The best thing that you can do with your landlord is frame that conversation now by asking how are they prepared to handle loss of business or business interruption.

Chris (01:27:45):

We mentioned a couple of alternatives. The first is like, will you waive next month’s rent for free as a landlord? I would say no. But then if you said, would you take next month’s landlord or next month’s rent and spread out over the next six months for me to give me a leg up, as the landlord, I would definitely do that. Right. OK. Dan, what’s up brother? Are some gyms running track or outdoor workouts? Not in Sioux St. Marie sir, but maybe in the GTA they are. Yu could definitely do that too. You know, in the summertime, when I bought the building next door a few years ago, there was a problem with the city coming in and approving our plumbing. And so we couldn’t get the gym open on labor day, which is what we were supposed to do. So what we did was we said clients, super special, extra bonus.

Chris (01:28:31):

We’re going to go to this neighborhood park called Fort Creek and we’re going to do this extra super fun WOD. We will meet you there. We’ll bring the equipment, don’t worry about it. You’re going to love it. And we pose it as a bonus, as a surprise instead of, oh shit. Sorry. You know. Jen? Yeah, we love you. Kim, you’re so welcome. I hope this helps. Daniel, how are you, sir? Thoughts on canceling CrossFit Kids? So, I said earlier, Daniel, that this disease is not more likely to be carried by kids just from the data that I’ve seen so far. However, kids are more susceptible to catching the disease and suffering longer from the disease than healthy adults are. However, I will say this, as a parent of a kid who does CrossFit to kids who do CrossFit, I know that fitness is their primary buffer from disease.

Chris (01:29:27):

I know that their immune systems are heightened because they are so fit. And if you asked me to stay home, let them become less fit, I would not want to do it, man. I would be doing, you know, I’m doing everything that I can to keep myself healthy. But I am doing everything to keep my kids healthy cause I don’t want them to suffer. All right. I sure hope that that helps. Yeah. OK, we’re going to start going back to the chat now. Graham, you are so welcome sir. Chris, thank you for doing this with all the great free info that you provide through Two-Brain emails, YouTube, you’re a big fan. I certainly appreciate you. Have your new one twoo but haven’t had the chance to dive in yet. Well, a little gallows humor here. You’ll probably get a couple of days off in the next few weeks to read my book.

Chris (01:30:17):

Mel is the owner and 61 years old. I have at least 15 members age 50 to 61. They begged you last night to not close the gym. I’ll offer them the at-home training they’ll stay for now. I get it. I would not want to leave the gym either. What we’re talking about with the at-home training is when you start to get the sense that closing is unavoidable or that people are getting nervous about being in the gym. I think what a lot of you will find is that you’ll offer this option and 70 to 80% of your members will be like, hell no, I’m staying. And then you can breathe a big collective sigh of relief and say thank goodness when the worst case happens and you are forced to close. You can have this fallback position for them that we’ve been talking about here.

Chris (01:30:58):

Workouts in the park, online videos, one-on-one training. But I think that, I doubt that any of your members want to leave. Let’s put it that way. Would you let coaches have access to the gym out of business hours for personal WOD and comp WODs? Hell no, I would not. Because I wanna make sure that gym is sparkling clean for the people that it exists to serve. And that is my clients.Sso guys, let’s be clear here. Your gym exists first to serve your family, right? That’s why you have a business. You do not have a job serving your business. Your business exists to serve you. Second, your business exists to serve your clients. So, it has to serve your cliets because the clients pay you. And that’s why you have this business. Third, it exists to help your coaches have meaningful careers, but only after the first two have been satisfied.

Chris (01:31:51):

So if your coaches having meaningful careers infringe on the gym’s benefit to your family or the gym’s benefit to your members, then no. It’s a hard no, I wouldn’t even consider it in this case, if there’s a risk that your coaches will even give the impression that they are affecting the cleanliness of your gym, that they are undoing your hard cleaning work. I would not let them do it. If it’s crazy important to you that they do their competitive WODs or whatever, then you go in there with them and you clean up after them and you take pictures of yourself doing it. But I would not let anybody just walk into my gym, do their own thing and leave because I just don’t trust anybody to have the care or the discipline about this that I do. Heath, you are welcome sir. Heath says, I appreciate you taking the time to guide us in creating opportunities during these stressful times.

Chris (01:32:42):

You’re new to the Two-Brain family. You have a no sweat intro at one 30. Well good luck Keith. All the best to you. A Brendan. Yes, we’ll share it. You are all welcome. Ah, OK. Debra is Jonathan Goodman blog about how to set up online training? Yeah, it’s actually a podcast. So if you, even if you Google Two-Brain business, Jonathan Goodman, you’ll find it. It’s a podcast interview. If you go to Apple podcasts or Stitcher or wherever you consume your podcasts and you look for Two-Brain business, Jonathan Goodman, you’ll find it. He also has something that’s called like online PT or something like that. Where he shares this kind of stuff. Like he actually has a PT online business and it is really good. Like he has something that’s called it’s like a free client challenge and you can sign up free client three clients and not pay.

Chris (01:33:36):

I can’t remember. But yeah, I mean he’s been doing it since 2013. He still uses Google Excel spreadsheets, whatever. Online trainer Academy. Yeah. Thanks a lot. And thank you Brittney. Dave Green. Great to see you brother. Ashley Lau. Going through the incubator right now. You’re so welcome. Your question is in terms of messaging, do you think it’s a good idea to tell clients that you’re part of a gym or bigger gym network and then our processes and responses are based on data? I would, so that is Two-Brain Business, Ashley. First you have access to data. Second, you have a personal relationship with them. So I would say guys, here’s what we’re doing. We are part of a big network. We are part of a mentorship practice that has access to data from thousands of gyms around the world. We are doing everything that we can to stay on top of this crisis and we will do everything that we can to continue to serve you.

Chris (01:34:28):

Here’s our plan. First off, we are cleaner than your house. Second, as the virus becomes, more information becomes available, we will have it before anybody else. Third, we do have a plan if we have to close the building so that we know that we can keep coaching you and keep guiding you and keep growing that margin between sickness, wellness and disease. Holly, you are starting the incubator soon despite of all this. Thank you Holly. But hope you start the incubator soon because of all this. Pat, you are more than welcome of course. UDebra, thank you. Thank you for saying that. Definitely. You know, guys, it’s not easy for me to stand up here and do this. Like it’s not expensive and I actually enjoy doing it, but I’m not naturally prone to it. Right? Like, I don’t seek out these opportunities.

Chris (01:35:22):

Let’s put it that way. What I want to do though, and this overrides my self-consciousness or feelings like, Oh God, this is going to be stressful. What overrides that is that I care more about what happens to your gym than I care about my own, you know, self-indulgence. If we’re going to make a difference here and this movement is going to maintain its forward traction of changing the world’s health, it is really important that all of us continue to act as leaders in the face of a crisis. You guys all know that every year, tens of millions of books about leadership get sold and thousands of people are out there saying, I’m a leadership expert. I will tell you how to lead. But when it comes down to it and it’s time to lead, very few people will ever stand up and just take charge. That’s what I want to provide to you as a model.

Chris (01:36:18):

And so what I’m really willing to stand up here and do for you guys is more than just be a clearing house of information or a database of best practices. I want to be a model for you guys of how you should work with your clients by getting out in front of this, you know, and showing them how much you care. It’s our mission to make gym owners wealthy. We’re going to continue to support you in this quest. We know it’s not an easy one. Thank you for doing it. Thank you for being the tip of the spear. Um, and we will be doing this again as more information becomes available in the meantime. What I would suggest honestly, is you can join this new Facebook group that we’ve created for you. We’re going to be providing information in there and some guidance. You can talk about general business in there, of course, and we’ll help you with free resources as much as we can. But you know, we all succeed if we all succeed. So thank you.

Andrew (01:37:10):

This has been a special edition of Two-Brain Radio. Two-Brain Business serves a global network of gyms and we’ll be collecting and sharing the best strategies for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. For tactics that can help you and your business get through this tough time, visit


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

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

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Behind the Games Broadcasts With Mike Roth

Behind the Games Broadcasts With Mike Roth

Sean (00:00):

Hi everybody and welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. On today’s episode, I speak with the man who was the television director for the CrossFit Games from 2011 through 2018, Mike Roth. Over the years I’ve covered dozens of fitness events all around the world and I have seen the best of the best work with coaches to find success. Yet many business owners don’t think coaches can help them. If you want to hit a revenue PR, visit to book a free call and find out how a business coach can help you. Mike Roth, or as we call him, Rothy, has been working in sports television since 1984, and nobody has directed more broadcasts of CrossFit events than he has. We talk about how he first got roped into directing the CrossFit Games way back in 2011, how many times things almost went completely off the rails during a broadcast and what needs to happen for the CrossFit Games season to get back to where it was in 2018. Thanks for listening everyone. Rothy, thanks for doing this, man. How are you today?

Mike (01:13):

I’m well, thank you. I’m well, I was at the gym this morning feeling like an old guy, but I’m recovering slowly.

Sean (01:19):

You’re looking good man.

Mike (01:20):

I appreciate you saying so, I’m working hard enough.

Sean (01:24):

Yes. Hey, you know, just keep moving forward. Before we get into the whole TV side of things, there are people who don’t know a lot about television and may not know what a television director does. So what does a sports television director do?

Mike (01:38):

So the easiest way to explain it is when you’re watching a television show at home, you’re seeing the shots change, right? And that’s different cameras and you’re seeing graphics go in and out or you’re seeing a replay happen. And my job is to paint a picture with cameras, right? So my job is to pick the right shot during action, right? Whether it’s a hockey game or a CrossFit event or a basketball game, so that you at home are seeing the very best angle in real time. Then my job at the same time is to be listening to a producer who is sitting next to me and listening to announcers who are talking to make sure that if a whistle blows or there’s a break in the action or using the CrossFit example, it’s a long event and you know Sean and you and Tommy want to talk about somebody in lane five that I’m listening to you and I’m listening to my producers so I can get us to lane five. Once I do, right, what’s the best shot?

Mike (02:38):

And then, OK, now we have a graphic with that athlete’s name. Put that in. Let people read it, take it out. So I’m really painting this picture with cameras and I’m talking to the cameramen the entire time, the camera operators, telling them what to shoot, shoot tighter, shoot looser, shoot the guy in lane five, shoot the guy in lane seven you know, we’re watching the finish line. So all of that’s in real time. And hopefully if you’re sitting at home, it doesn’t feel like all of that’s happening, it’s just one seamless, you know, coverage.

Sean (03:06):

How did you get roped into the production side of things of the CrossFit Games?

Mike (03:13):

So I was working in Phoenix, Arizona at the time, and I got a call from an old pal of mine, Eric Thomas, who I’d worked with for years on car racing all over the world. And ET called me and he said, I’ve got this crazy event and we need a director and I think you’d be the right guy to work with these people. And I said, what is it? He said, you know what CrossFit is? And this was 2011 and I said, no, I don’t. What is it? And he said, it’s world’s strongest man meets Olympic gymnastics. I said, OK, all right. Yeah, sounds good enough. And he said, it’s a week in LA. And what you have to understand about this group of people is they’re the most dysfunctional people you’ll ever meet.

Sean (03:57):

That was an understatement.

Mike (03:59):

They are. They are unable to focus on anything for more than two minutes before some sort of athletic endeavor breaks out.

Mike (04:09):

He says, all of a sudden they’re running stairs. They’re doing push-ups or there’s some competition at all times. He said they speak their own language, but it doesn’t matter because they won’t tell you what any of the events are until an hour before the events. I said, well, how do I cover an event if I don’t know what it is until an hour before? He said, well, that’s the good part. They’ll put cameras whereever you want. As many cameras as you want. I said, really? So I said, all right, they’re dysfunctional, they speak their own language. They can’t focus on anything. Sounds perfect, man. A week in LA, I’m good. So I agreed to fly to LA and meet Tony Budding, Rory Mckernan and a merry band of misfits. And I remember ET rented a van and he picked us all up at LAX.

Mike (04:57):

We’re all at different terminals and we had everybody in the car. And the first thing Tony Budding said was, “We’ve got to go eat.” And ET said, I forgot to tell you, everything’s about eating. Like we’re going to go eat breakfast for an hour. And as soon as we’re done eating breakfast, we’ll be talking about lunch. I said, wow, we only have a few hours guys. And they said, no, we’ll talk over breakfast. So we went right to breakfast. I realized quickly, Tony and I were brothers from different mothers and I went through the weirdest site survey I’ve ever been through and I realized, these guys have no idea what they’re talking about, but it sounds like it could be a fun ride. So I signed up and I directed my first CrossFit Games in July of 2011.

Sean (05:40):

The CrossFit production department was pretty much in its infancy at that point. What did you think about what they had built so far when you first saw it?

Mike (05:50):

They hadn’t built much. I mean, they had the website and there were videos on the website and I was impressed with the volume of videos on the website. You know, it seemed like every day there were new videos and that was impressive. From a live standpoint, they hadn’t really done anything live. They sort of did the 2010 Games in LA to a big screen. I don’t think you could see it anywhere except if you were there, but I was told they bought three pro zoomer cameras and they pulled some CrossFitters out of the crowd and said, you’re running camera. So in 2011, we added our first TV truck and we were a crew of about 30, and we parked in the bowels of the StubHub center.

Mike (06:38):

And you know, all of a sudden here we go. And you know, like literally I got there, this will tell you how little I knew. I got to LA on Monday and was told, Oh, we’ve added an event on Wednesday in Hermosa Beach. On the beach, on the pier and you have to go set it up tomorrow and then you’ll be live Wednesday at like 6:00 AM. And I said, Oh, can I put cameras on the pier? No, no, because we don’t have a permit. Really. We kind of have a permit. We don’t really have a permit. And interestingly, I said, well, what are they going to do? And they said, well, they’re gonna run, they’re going to do kettlebell swings on the beach. And then they’re gonna swim around the pier. I said, Oh, well I’m going to need a helicopter if they’re going to be out there in the water, you know, they said, OK.

Mike (07:34):

I thought, wow, that didn’t take very much. So Tuesday comes and we go out to Hermosa Beach and I said, who’s the camera guy who’s going to be on the helicopter? I want to call him and talk to him. And they said, what camera? And I said well, we need to have a camera on the helicopter. They said, no, we got you a helicopter. Because as soon as you’re done here, you have to get on a helicopter and fly back to site because you have to direct the team stuff that afternoon. And I said, wow. So they got me a helicopter and Heber Canon was on that helicopter, Heber and I, and there was one other person, they drove us to a helipad and they helicoptered us to the the StubHub center. And I remember landing and looking down and there were all these different boxes were represented and they all have their different colored T-shirts on. And that’s the first time I said it looks like the Woodstock of fitness. And it was absolutely wild. But yeah, so we had helicopters, just we didn’t have any cameras on it.

Sean (08:35):

Other than not knowing events, maybe minutes before they took place, and you know, dealing with equipment shortages, what were some of the challenges that you faced in 2011 getting that competition on air?

Mike (08:50):

Dave Castro. And I will preface this by saying Dave and I have come a long way to finding middle ground. And I think we’re in a fairly good place now. But Dave certainly wasn’t used to having to run things on a schedule other than his own. And I was used to TV time, which is if you’re not five minutes early, you’re late. If we say we’re going at 12:01, then at 12:01 we go. And we definitely struggled with that. I was not used to a sport in which the rules change mid-heat, which is, you know, a CrossFit standard, time caps changing and rules changing and those sorts of things. So I, you know, I had to learn that. And then the other thing that I had to learn that I didn’t expect was I didn’t know anything about CrossFit.

Mike (09:47):

And the biggest thing to me was a guy would finish clean and jerk and he would drop the barbell and then he would walk to a box to do box jumps. So I would cut to somebody else and I kept hearing the transition matters, the transition matters. And I thought, well, what? It’s just a guy walking from a barbell to a box. What I learned later on in my CrossFit life, cause at this point I was not CrossFitting, was that that transition tells you a lot about where an athlete is. Right. Is his chest high? Is he breathing normally? Is he grabbing his shorts? Is he limping? Is he crawling, you know, those sort of things. So there was a lot of that. And Tony Budding who is a dear, dear brother of mine, stood behind me the entire week and just screamed in my ear what he wanted to see cause he was, as he said, helping loudly.

Sean (10:40):

That’s another understatement. When you finish this whole competition up, you’ve been there now for the whole weekend and it’s all said and done, what’s going through your head?

Mike (10:47):

Never again. Never again. I honestly left there thinking, there is no way I can work with these people again. Like this is madness, and I was one of the only TV professionals on the production side. Heber Canon, who’s a friend of the show, he will tell you his one and only live TV producing experience was that week. They made Heber the producer, and he swore never again as well and went on to a phenomenal career doing other things. But yeah, I walked away and I was like, there is no way I could put myself through that again.

Sean (11:26):

So why did you decide to come back the next year?

Mike (11:31):

So, I got a call from Tony in March of 2012 and he didn’t ask so much as tell me that we are doing the Central East Regional as a test broadcast for the CrossFit Games, and here were the dates and I should be there. And I said, OK, hang on. I said, the only way I’m coming back is if I can bring a producer. And he said, great, great. Get a guy. And I said, all right, all right, this will be better if I have a producer. So our friend EB, Eric Barnhart, I dragged him into the fray. I didn’t tell him much, admittedly, I can’t believe we’re still friends. And I said it’d be fun. It’s different, you know. And Tony had this plan where we were going to be live for 12 hours a day with a set and competition and 20 announcers and it was madness. But it was sort of the point at which I said, all right, as long as I’ve got somebody who knows TV riding with me, I can do that. That was the first time we met.

Sean (12:41):

Yeah. And one of my favorite stories from that was, I don’t know who asked whom, but someone was in the room and said, if you’re an announcer, raise your hand. Where were you during that whole incident?

Mike (12:56):

I was the one who said that. And then 20 hands went up and I looked at EB and I said, and that is your problem. So the producer typically deals with the announcers a lot more than the director. So I felt like I was getting off easy on that one.

Sean (13:14):

From a broadcast standpoint, obviously things are starting to grow, but what did you think that CrossFit as a sport needed to really get to the next level?

Mike (13:25):

It needed to be easier to follow. Well it needed to start on time and that was what I tried to explain to Dave and Tony was, you know, if you’re looking at networks, you know, in 2011 we ended up on ESPN3, which you know, timing doesn’t really matter, but I said if you’re looking at networks, you can’t tell ESPN, hey, we’re going to start at noon and then you know, at 10 after noon and be like, yeah, we’re thinking about it. But the other thing was it had to be easier to follow and back then things were not at all linear. There was a lot of, you know, you had athletes moving in both directions or sometimes all four directions and so as a spectator or as a viewer on television, it was very hard to tell what was going on. And that was the next thing that needed to be addressed was just who’s actually winning this thing when I tune in.

Sean (14:15):

The 2012 Games was, fast forward now, we’re back in Los Angeles, presented one of the most unique challenges from a production standpoint because we had to go cover those events at Pendleton. What stands out to you about that day at that location?

Mike (14:30):

The two biggest things from Pendleton, I will give you two. The first is that we had a full set-up day because we had to take all of our cables and bury them in the sand all the way out to the cameras. So you’re talking about hundreds of yards for some of these cameras. And we had a map with a start line and a finish line on it. And we had a camera plan and all that had been signed off on and we did this and we trenched the beach and we buried the cables and we did all of those things. And the next morning, Tony and Dave Castro came out and said, we didn’t realize it was going to be low tide so the athletes can actually enter the beach here and exit the beach where we had told you, we have to move everything a hundred or 200 yards down the beach.

Mike (15:21):

And I said, well, we can’t move all the cameras in an hour. So what do you want to do? And they said, well then it’ll just be whatever it is. And I said, OK. So that was the first thing I remember just thinking, I had this beautiful jib with a 35-foot arm in the middle of nowhere, like literally not shooting them entering the water, leaving the water or anything. And then the other thing, and this is madness, and in my entire career I’ve never experienced anything like this. The plan was that we were going to cover the athletes. They were going to run down the beach, they were going to jump in the water, they were going to swim back, they were going to run across the beach, they were going to get on bicycles. And they were going to head off into the hills.

Mike (15:59):

We were going to cover all of that until the last bike headed up in the hills and was out of sight. We were then going to pack up the entire television truck. Now mind you, this normally takes between two and three hours when you’re not dealing with the beach. We were going to pack up the entire television truck, drive it around the mountain, park it, pull everything back out, reset it in time to cover the athletes coming down the mountain. And then the obstacle course race that was going to be on the other side of the mountain. And somehow, we got one camera up and running as the first man crested the hill and we actually had video of this. Whoever won the event, I don’t remember, coming down the hill and I remember Tony Budding looking at me and saying, see, you thought it couldn’t be done.

Sean (16:56):

Along those lines, there have been plenty of times throughout your career directing the CrossFit Games where things almost went completely off the rails during a broadcast. What are some of your more memorable incidents where things almost totally crashed and burned?

Mike (17:11):

There are so many. I mean the beauty of what we do and you know, the magic of it is if you’re at home, you don’t know that everybody’s pants are on fire, we’re doing our job right. And literally there were times where things were on fire. But there were moments, and this happened a lot with offsites, where all of a sudden they changed where they were running or the direction they were running or where they were going to enter and leave the stadium. And I would find this out an hour, maybe two before coverage started and now we had to move all our gear. And so there were definitely times where not was moved when they were starting the event. And so, you know, with one side of your brain, you’re watching to see when cameras started coming up and the truck where I can, OK, now I can see that camera, I can use it, now I can see that camera.

Mike (18:01):

And at the same time, you’re directing the show with the cameras that are working. Those happened, you know, more times than I care to admit. But you know, we got really good at dealing in the mayhem and chaos. And a big part of that is we put together a great group of people, people who were more than just a crew, you know, they were family and they were invested. And you know, so my last Games was 2018. So in 16, 17 and 18, we were nine television trucks and 350 people on the broadcast crew. That’s as big as the Super Bowl. And we, that group of people, you know, we would get everybody in the meal tent for a mandatory crew meeting on Wednesday morning or Tuesday morning. And everybody there was there because they were handpicked and because they wanted to come back.

Mike (18:59):

And we had, you know, technicians who had worked all eight years that I was there with me and they were committed to making this a success and we would never have been able to pull off what we pulled off, never, without guys who were that—not just good at what they did, but able to evolve. You know, we realized early on like bitching about it wasn’t going to change. You know what I mean? Yeah. It’s frustrating. It was, you know, my first couple of years, it really like my head was blown a lot that things would change, like remember the runoff? All of a sudden we see guys putting their sneakers back on in the stadium and you were on the air calling it and it’s like,

Sean (19:43):

I have no idea what’s going on, we’ll let you know when we find out.

Mike (19:47):

Exactly. And we have no idea what’s happening and, you know, and things like that. And then also because it became so big, there were times where things that we had no control over, like there’s no audio in the beer garden. OK. I’m sitting here in a TV, I don’t even know what that is, but you’re all losing your minds and I’m still, I have to direct this. So can you lose your minds outside, you know, or at one point I remember hearing Dave Castro doesn’t like what’s on the big screen. Again, OK. But that’s not our department, you know, so we’re just going to keep making pictures until we can’t. But so there were a lot of occasions where you kind of went, oh man, I don’t know if we’re going to pull this off. We probably will. The last year, in 2018, they had the parade of nations for the first time and we were supposed to do it in the Coliseum in Madison.

Mike (20:43):

And an hour before I get a call, they said, what if we to move this to the North park? Cause we have all these people waiting outside and we’re afraid we have too many fans and we’re going to have people who aren’t going to be able to get in. And I said, well, you could move it to the North Park. You have no cameras there or no cameramen. Now you can move it anywhere you want. And I was asked, are you sure? I said, no, I’m sure that you cannot be covered there. We don’t have equipment there. Nothing is ready to go. But that was, you know, that was CrossFit. And I learned that it was important to tell them the truth and not try to be a hero when we couldn’t and then be a hero when we could.

Sean (21:22):

We will continue our chat with Mike Roth and just a moment. But first I want to tell you about 500-pound deadlifts. To get a big deadlift, you need to follow all the steps in order. It’s a journey. You can’t just step up to a heavy barbell every day and pull. It’s the same deal with business. So Chris Cooper has mapped out the exact steps a gym owner must take to level up and eventually reach wealth. All these steps are based on research and data. There’s no guesswork anymore. A Two-Brain mentor can help you analyze your business, figure out where you’re at, then tell you the exact things you need to do to grow. It’s all in the new Two-Brain Roadmap available to clients. To find out if working with a mentor is right for you, book a free call at Now more with Mike Roth.

Sean (22:15):

At what point did the synergy between the live event side of things and the TV production side really start to build?

Mike (22:26):

I think in 2013. So I did 11 and 12 and it was kind of a shit show.

Mike (22:37):

And in 2013 now we were live on ESPN for the championship. You know the final hour that we’re going to crown our champions on ESPN and I think that was where everybody said, oh we really need to—this has to go on time. Like we have a one-hour time slot, we’ve got a men’s event, we’ve got a women’s event, we want to crown our champions, like we need to do this right. And I think, you know, here’s the thing about Dave Castro, he’s an incredibly intelligent guy, and the guy make can make anything happen, but he had to have the desire to make it happen. And I think 13 was sort of that year, and you know, Dave started to understand what we did a lot better. We started to understand what he did a lot better. You know, it took a while. It’s science and art and magic all sort of rolled into one on both sides. And so I think like by the time we got to 14 we were starting to really make sense of it and I will say like from 14 to 18, what we did coverage-wise, like I would hang my hat on that. I’m as proud of that as I am of anything I’ve done.

Sean (23:46):

Yeah. Along those lines, what are your proudest moments from directing the CrossFit Games?

Mike (23:54):

Rich’s first win in 11, just cause it was my first Games and that was sort of my entree into this is CrossFit. And that was where I was like, I am definitely never going to CrossFit. Look at these guys. Like there’s no way. Rich’s fourth win in 14, I still go back and look at that and think we really, like the way he won and the dominance in his win and our ability to cover it, I felt like a lot of things clicked that year for us as a TV crew. Saturday night in the tennis stadium from 14 through 18, like nothing like it. The push-pull event for me in tennis is still one of the great things I’ve ever directed. It’s hard to replicate Saturday night in the tennis stadium. It really is. I think what CrossFit’s done in Madison is great.

Mike (24:51):

It’s really neat. It’s got that festival feel and they did a great job with the Coliseum turning it into this beautiful hall of CrossFit, but nothing will ever be Saturday night at tennis stadium. That said, I was really proud of our first year in Madison cause that was an incredible challenge to take this system that we had, you know, kind of banged our head against the wall until we came up with this system that worked great in LA and then to try to move that into a new venue with new challenges, that could have really gone a lot of different ways. And I will say like 2017 in Madison, I really think we did a great job. CrossFit did a great job. Dave programmed a great event. Just a lot of things came together. I was always really proud of that.

Sean (25:40):

As far as a broadcast world goes right now, it’s kind of the Wild West with the CrossFit Games season and the Sanctioned events and they’re all trying to do it kind of on their own and in a different way. But what are the things that they absolutely have to have if they’re going to have a successful broadcast?

Mike (25:58):

So I’m going to say this and I think that many of them don’t have these things. And that’s why I think the quality of broadcast is vastly different than what we were doing. Obviously not just the Games but Invitationals, even Open announcements, you know, there’s a certain quality and it starts with your producer and director. You have to have people who understand not just television and not just CrossFit, but both, you know, broadcast and CrossFit, because where they meet is a very, it’s a very special place, but it’s also a very, very thin line where those two things come together. And if you don’t know both sides of that, that’s an issue. I have always maintained that the camera guys you have on the field of play really have to know what’s going on. Like we’ve got a cadre of guys we trust, the athletes trust, the judges trust.

Mike (26:48):

Dave trusts. When you put other people down there, anything can go wrong. And you know, my guys know, like you never get in the way of an athlete. You never get in the way of a judge no matter what. And it’s also dangerous. Like there’s barbells flying around, there’s dumbbells flying. It’s dangerous. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can get hurt down there. And that’s my biggest fear where I see some of these events, people just running around and then you can tell they don’t know what they’re doing and that could end badly. I think you have to have announcers that understand, again, not just CrossFit, but broadcast like the theory that anybody can just talk about CrossFit cause they CrossFit, it sounds great, but television, any kind of broadcast is a synergy between words and pictures and graphics. And if we’re not all headed in the same direction, if you’re talking about, you know, the guy in lane five and I’m staring at the guy in lane nine and there’s a graphic about the guy in lane six, that doesn’t help anybody.

Mike (27:47):

And I think those are the things you really need. Like you could talk all day about how much equipment and what equipment and where and how. And do you need a truck or can you do it in a van or can you do it in a room and bring equipment and build it? And there was a lot of different theories and a lot of different philosophies and then a lot of ways to do it. But if you don’t want to have the right people in the right positions like that, then you know, then really you’re doing more harm than good in some cases.

Sean (28:14):

I always get the sense that people think it’s easier than it is. Why do you think people underestimate the difficulty of pulling off a live broadcast?

Mike (28:26):

If you ever go into a bar on a Sunday, football, and you watch football with people in a bar and you say to them, how many people does it take to put that broadcast on television? And they say, well, there is three announcers, there’s a producer. They always talk about the producer on the air. So there’s a producer and then they always talk about their stats guy. So that’s five. And there must be a camera guy. So six, seven? And you say 60 or 70, and they say no, what do they all do? It’s supposed to be magic to people at home. Like they’re not supposed to understand what it takes. And when you talk about what it takes for us, how many cameras and how many utilities working with those cameras and how many engineers that have to make sure that stuff works.

Mike (29:16):

And video operators to make sure that the pictures look the way they’re supposed to. And audio, the team of audio guys and the team of replay guys and the team of graphics people and all of the announcers and all the producers and directors and associate producers and associate directors, like it takes a lot. And the goal is that they never see it. Like it’s always our goal, and you know, you’ve heard me say it a lot, is seamless television, right? It shouldn’t ever make anybody go, huh, what happened there? It should just roll over them. And we educate and we entertain. We do both in every broadcast and the next day, these people know more than they did the day before and they were entertained and they’re talking about the game they watched. That’s when we’ve done our job right. And it does take more people than anybody thinks about. But you know, if you bring somebody to watch in the truck, right, they come into the spaceship. They can never watch television the same way again because they now understand how it all gets to that one picture that’s on your screen.

Sean (30:15):

I get asked this a lot. In fact, I got asked this the other day and I wanted to get your take on this question. People ask me, what is it going to take for the sport of CrossFit to get back to where it was at its peak in 2018?

Mike (30:30):

Money. You know, I mean now that we’ve got the Sanctional season and we’ve got, you know, I think it’s 26 or 27 events this year and they’re autonomous. They can do whatever they want. Right? Great. So they can have a stream, they can not have a stream. They could have a good stream of media, a medium stream, a bad stream, they can have a guy running around with a cell phone, whatever they want. I think the big shock for all of the event people was what broadcast costs. And I think there was this theory that, you know, I’ll put 20 grand in my budget for broadcast, social media, all that and I should be more than covered. And one of the things that they’ve learned is you get what you pay for and there are efficiencies of scale which aren’t being used when you have 27 autonomous events.

Mike (31:24):

Nobody’s really working here, you know, the Loud and Live guys have five, and you know, it’d be interesting to see what they do going forward. I know they’ve got a deal with Flow Elite, so that’s sort of off the table. But everybody needs to start to work together. And when I talk to people, I explain that, you know there are efficiencies of scale and I can help you do your broadcast for less than it would be as a one off if we’re working with five or six or seven other events because now I can hire people and offer them eight events instead of one. I can pay them a little less. I can work with my vendors, my truck companies, my equipment companies and say, Hey, I have eight shows for you. Not one. There are efficiencies there. But I think until people start working together and until people start to value what it costs to do broadcast like we did, and it doesn’t have to be the CrossFit Games. Like when I talk to the folks who run events, I sort of start with an Open announcement. OK. It was a nice small show, five or six cameras, which means a smaller crew, a little truck or a van and even that, you know, but that costs money. You know, it all costs money. A day to set it all up. Cause you can’t try to set it up when competition starts at nine in the morning, you need to set it up the day before. And then all of these competitions are three days long, right? So now you’re talking about four days, and long days, right? Really long days, in a lot of cases. Everything costs money. And that’s one thing that’s got to change, right?

Mike (32:55):

People have to figure out how to afford what a good broadcast looks like. The second part, like I talked about before, is you have to have the right people. And it is the Wild West right now. And because it is, everybody’s running around saying, I can do that for you. And in some cases you’ve got, you know, Sanctional’s who, they put together a broadcast and they hire a buddy, you know, because he knows CrossFit. So he’ll produce or he’ll direct or he’ll announce, and this is a professional game. You know, I do what I do for a living, right? I don’t do it as a hobby and I’ve got more decades into it than I care to admit. And that’s because, you know, this is my art form, right? This is what I’ve chosen to dedicate my life to professionally.

Mike (33:45):

And so you can’t just grab a guy out of the stands and expect that he’ll have the same knowledge that I have based on the tens of thousands of events over all these years. And even just from a CrossFit standpoint, like there’s nobody out there that’s called more CrossFit events than you, right? You’ve called more events than anybody else. So if I’m looking for a guy who’s got that sort of experience and I look past you, I’m immediately not getting the best guy in the business. And sometimes that’s happening. And then the third part of that, honestly is the community. Like if the community is accepting what’s out there and they’re watching it, then all right, great. Then that’s where we’re at. If the community says, you know, we expect a higher standard, then they can kind of start to push the issue a little bit.

Mike (34:36):

You know, I think it’s going to take all three of those things.

Sean (34:38):

Your involvement with the broadcast side of things also required you to get into a gym. What was it like for you the first time you were introduced to CrossFit the fitness methodology?

Mike (34:51):

May of 2012. I was told that it was time to get started. I was told by Tony Budding I needed to CrossFit in order to continue to direct CrossFit events. And I said, but I direct, you know, college football games and I never played college football. And he said, you need to understand the suffering. And he was right. So, I left the Central East on Sunday night. On Monday I went to my local box, CrossFit local here in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. And I said, what do I need to do to start? And they said, come back tomorrow for your baseline WOD. And I was like, OK. And I did my baseline WOD in seven minutes and 43 seconds and couldn’t walk for three days. Like my wife and kids laughed at me. I was going up and down the stairs on my butt. Like I was just destroyed and I couldn’t wait to get back in the gym. Like I could not wait. And I’ve been doing it ever since. It works. There’s no way around it.

Sean (35:58):

How has it changed your life?

Mike (36:02):

One, it’s introduced me to a community of likeminded people that are so wonderful and so accepting. And even from my first class, people were just nice and kind and wanted you to succeed. And that was amazing. That was, you know, cause you’re nervous the first time you go to a class, you don’t know what the hell you’re doing. And you could see where people might get frustrated having this newbie there. But no, everybody comes up and introduces himself and that community has expanded and expanded and expanded for me. Cause I’m lucky, I travel for work, I drop in all over the world. Like, I have worked it out in some incredible gyms all over the world. And everywhere I go, even if they don’t speak English, they’re kind and welcoming and they write the WOD on the board in English, which is ironic in so many ways.

Mike (36:52):

You know, the second thing for me is physically, you know, I’m 53 years old. I’m in the best shape my life. Really, truly am. I feel better. Things that used to bother me all the time, like my low back used to bother me when I traveled, I was always sore. It’s not like that, you know, I feel better. I feel like I look better. I feel like I don’t look, you know, as old as I probably should. You know, I always say I’m leading a zero-sum life. If I’m not getting worse, I’m getting better. So it certainly helped with that. You know, and then through the broadcast side, like the family I have, you know, I mean, from you and Tommy and Ro all the way up and down.

Mike (37:32):

And, you know, I’m so blessed to have all those people in my life. You know, the Justin Berghs and the Tony Buddings and the Joe Novellos, you know, the guys that worked at HQ and the fact that anywhere I go now, you guys are there and it’s amazing to be able to see your family out there and get a WOD in in Sean’s garage, you know, and feel old. But it’s been so positive for me and it really brought discipline back into my life. Like it’s crazy, wherever I go, no matter what time I get there, I’m in a class the next morning. Like I get up and I go to class and it doesn’t matter how I feel and it doesn’t matter what I was doing the night before, I was at a double-bill concert a couple of weeks ago.

Mike (38:22):

I was out until two o’clock in the morning drinking beers and dancing and got home at three and I was at the 9:00 AM like, it’s that discipline has been really, really good for me.

Sean (38:31):

I want to give you credit for a PR that you hit recently. You I know had been chasing the 400 pound-mark on your deadlift for quite some time and I know you hit that, there’s a great video of you doing it on Instagram. What was it like for you to finally pull that weight?

Mike (38:45):

I’ll tell you what I’ve wanted to pull, you know, 405 is the goal. Like I keep saying, I’ll quit CrossFit at, you know, at four wheels. But I weigh 130 pounds. So 400 pounds is more than three times body weight. And I always thought I could get there, but to actually do it, and I did it on a day when I wasn’t trying to do it.

Mike (39:10):

It wasn’t the plan. I didn’t even know I was going to deadlift. I was going in the gym to work out with this group of guys. They are all way younger and stronger and smarter than me. And when I got there, somebody said, well let’s deadlift first. And I said, we’ll see where it goes. And I hit 385 and it felt really good. And I said, what do I do now? Like do I jump to 405, do I go to 395 which is my PR and then see how that feels? And somebody said, screw it man, we’re putting 400 pounds on the bar. Just just give yourself, they said, give yourself five minutes. Just really give your body five minutes and give it a shot. And the whole gym was stopped and was watching and it just felt like it was going to happen.

Mike (39:56):

You know? I had gotten it to my knees a couple of times before and failed. Then I was just like, there’s no way I’m going to fail. And it was a really neat moment for me, man. Like to accomplish a goal. You know, as you get older, like you check a lot of stuff up, a lot of those boxes get checked and there aren’t necessarily that many more goals. This has been a goal of mine and I will tell you it was one of those times that CrossFit brought me a pure joy. You know, usually it kind of kicks me in the nuts and sends me on my way. But it was really an amazing moment for me. I was really proud of it. But now I really haven’t deadlifted in two months since. So it’s time to get back.

Sean (40:37):

Why would you?

Mike (40:37):

Right. Exactly.

Sean (40:39):

Final question. You have directed a ton of events, a bunch of different sports and all different locations around the world, but I know CrossFit obviously has a special place in your heart. Why is it so special to you?

Mike (40:55):

It’s the community. It’s one of the rare things that I do where I feel like I’m serving the community. I remember when we did Murph the first time that we had Murph at the Games and there was a lot of talk about, you know, it’s a pain in the ass to cover cause they’re running a mile outside the stadium and then they’re coming back in and there’s going to be, you know, of course 40 men on the field at the same time. And then 40 women. And I got the crew together the night before and I said, listen, this is an honor and a privilege for us to be able to cover something as important to the community as Murph. We’re going to give the community Murph the first time they’ve done it at the CrossFit Games. And that’s special.

Mike (41:38):

And we need to see it like that. We need to stop complaining about the logistics, we need to cover it for what it is, which is a really, really important part of our community. And I feel like I’ve had a lot of moments like that where I know the community cares. They come out, you know, they do care. And that makes me work that much harder. And that’s the most special part of it for me is just knowing that. And then, you know, secondarily, like again, the family I’ve met, the athletes I get to deal with. They are a pleasure in so many ways. You know, some of the athletes we deal with in professional sports are less of a pleasure. These folks are amazing. They’re amazing at what they do. It’s the most compelling thing I direct every year, is the CrossFit stuff I do. And so it makes me feel good to know that we’re out there doing the best job we can and that it matters to the folks at home. It matters to the community.

Sean (42:31):

Well, Rothy, listen man, I appreciate you taking the time to do this. I appreciate everything you have done for me professionally and can’t wait to work with you again.

Mike (42:37):

Well, I appreciate it, man. You do great work. I’m really proud that we’ve been able to do some great things together and your podcasts are awesome. So keep it up and I’ll keep listening.

Sean (42:48):

All right. Thanks, brother. Appreciate it.

Mike (42:49):

Take care, man. Peace.

Sean (42:50):

Big thanks to Mike Roth for taking the time to talk with me today. If you want to follow his adventures, you can find him on Instagram. He is at @rothy99. If you’re a gym owner and you need some help growing your business, Two-Brain mentors can show you the exact steps to add $5,000 in monthly recurring revenue. Book a free call on to find out more. Thanks for listening to Two-Brain Radio. I’m Sean Woodland and I’ll see you next time.


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

Two-Brain Radio presents marketing tips and success stories every Monday, and Chris Cooper delivers the best of the business world every Thursday.

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The Essential Automations You Need to Drive Sales and Retain Clients

The Essential Automations You Need to Drive Sales and Retain Clients

Mike (00:02):

Hey Mateo, how’s it going?

Mateo (00:02):

It’s going well, Mike. How are you?

Mateo (00:05):

I’m good. Oh, you’re texting me. What are your goals for next year? We’re talking right here, right now. You know, you could just ask me, but just so you know, I’m looking to increase my—I just got an email from you. Dude. Hey man, it’s Mateo. Did you enjoy my free marketing course? Have you cloned yourself Mateo or what’s going on here?

Mateo (00:29):

No, actually Mike, those are automated messages. Those are marketing automated messages and I’m actually not doing anything right now. I’m sitting here talking to you on this podcast. Those are me, but not me.

Mike (00:43):

So you’re basically Siri, you basically have a Siri unit that’s like a Mateo unit that just does this stuff in your spare time.

Mateo (00:50):

Yes, yes, I have. I’ve cloned myself.

Mike (00:53):

I bet that saves you a ton of time to do podcasts and other interesting things that you like to do.

Mateo (00:58):

Yes, it saves me tons of time.

Mike (01:00):

  1. And I’m going to guess the gym owners could probably use some automations to save themselves a ton of time and make some money. Have you seen that in your experiences?

Mateo (01:08):

In my worldly travels, yes I have.

Mike (01:13):

And you have time for these travels because you’re using automation.

Mateo (01:15):

Exactly. It’s messaging that goes out while I sleep. It’s amazing.

Mike (01:19):

Well, let’s discuss it. That’s the topic of Two-Brain Radio. I’m Mike Warkentin here with Mateo Lopez, our marketing expert. We’re gonna talk about automations that can save you time, we’ll tell you how to do it, what you need to know, what you need and where you can get them. We’ll be back right after this. To add $5,000 in monthly revenue to your gym, just book a call at You can talk to one of our certified mentors and he or she will tell you how to add 5k in recurring monthly revenue. All right, we are back with Mateo Lopez. We’re going to save you a ton of time so you can use your phone for Candy Crush, Fortnite, whatever you enjoy as opposed to constantly texting leads, messaging, leads, emailing, doing all that other stuff. So the first question, I’ll just toss it right at you Mateo. For those who don’t know, what are marketing automations, how do they work? What’s the deal?

Mateo (02:09):

Well, you know, this can get really complicated in terms of the scale at which you’re automating your communications to clients, to your staff, to yourself. But you know, basically, let’s say every time someone inquires for more info on your website, ideally you’re messaging that person, responding very quickly and say, Hey, I saw that you were interested. How can I help you learn more, solve this problem that you’re trying to solve? Marketing automation is just all that messaging is happening automatically. Without you having to actually message every single person who is inquiring about you, your program or your service.

Mike (02:53):

Now we’ve talked before on the show about response time is a huge deal. People don’t want to wait a day. They don’t want to wait 24 hours. They don’t even want to wait 24 minutes. They want responses almost instantaneously. And with the modern consumer, you can make a huge impact just by responding immediately with a text message that pops up right away. As you and I both know, if you’re doing that yourself, it sucks because you’re getting text messages middle of the night, it’s brutal. You’re getting them weird times, you’re just about to go do something important and bing you get a lead and you might drop the ball or you might miss what you were going to do. So marketing automations can then step in and solve a lot of problems for you.

Mateo (03:29):

Yeah, and the other thing too is like not everyone who inquires is, you know, gonna respond right away or is actually, you know, maybe they’re just tire kickers. So you’re also saving yourself some time by not communicating with them personally. To those who aren’t interested, those are just tire kickers. Right? Let the robots do it for you and let them filter out the qualified leads for you. I mean, that’ another huge way that you can save yourself time and more money.

Mike (04:01):

So you mentioned one of the things that these automations do. They filter people out so they, they qualify leads so to speak. Some of the other stuff I’ve got here, in sequences that you can set up, you can nurture leads, you can have people book appointments off of confirmations, and if they cancel, help them rebook or you can use these sequences also to build value and educate. So we’re talking for existing clients. You can use that to sell new services to existing clients or to clients that are on a mailing list that might not know about these services. You could also use them to alert staff of cancellations. So someone’s cancelled a membership. You might have a chance to reach out and save that. So there’s a retention aspect. And then you’ve also got ways to reengage old clients. So I just read a ton of cool stuff that these automations can do. And I’m going to ask you, like when I read that list to you, does it make your eyes light up? Like maybe there’s some ways that you can make some money with all that.

Mateo (04:53):

I mean, yeah, all of that is, if it’s on the prospect side, you know, all, all of those things where you’re giving away value, sending messages out, you know, giving your prospects little nuggets or information that can help them. All that’s gonna work to help you build that know, like, and trust factor. And keep your prospects engaged and eventually if you nurture them enough, they’ll take the next step and buy from you. So that’s huge. And yeah, with your current client base, you’re gonna do a lot of your—a lot of that relationship-building in person, in classes or you know, in their personal training sessions, you’re going to do a lot of that when they’re in the gym. But they’re only in the gym one hour out of the day. Right. So with some of the automated messaging that you can build out and these client nurture campaigns, you can continue to engage with them and offer them feedback, support, info about the gym, info about fitness, info about nutrition automatically, you know, at various intervals, during the week, during the month to keep them engaged and to show that you’re still giving them value even if they’re not in the gym.

Mike (06:19):

Our communication system at the gym, CrossFit 204, was very sophisticated, it was scrawling a note on the upper right hand corner of the whiteboard so that people, when they were looking at the workout and crapping their pants, they would hopefully see that and know that there was wine and WOD going on and we should come and bring a friend. It never worked. We started using email newsletter stuff, email communications. Literally every time we send something to the mailing list, we make money because people actually know, they see the stuff that they didn’t know about and they want to do it. It wasn’t that they didn’t want to come to the wine and WOD before, they just didn’t know about it. So that’s just one personal experience that we’ve had with, and that’s not automated, but at the same time, that is the value of communication where you can automate stuff and keep telling people, for example, Hey, we have nutrition services. A current client might not know that you have nutrition services and you think that, of course everyone knows that, but some don’t. Simply telling your mailing list that you have nutrition services and they’ll help you accomplish your goals will get new clients. So, and that can all be automated.

Mateo (07:18):

Yeah. Or like you sign up a new member, you tell them about nutrition in the beginning and they, they’re not interested in that, they just want to do personal training to start and that’s fine. But then you can send them information periodically about your nutrition program. You can share client stories and success stories with them. Give them some nutrition tips, and you can do that and you can automate that. And over time, you know, you’re just reminding them that this is out there and when they’re ready, they’ll pull the trigger on it, but you’re keeping it front of mind for them, right? So, I mean, yeah, there’s infinite ways in which you can build out nurture campaigns and communication pipelines for your clients. I mean, you can segment it and get as complicated as you want or keep it as simple as you want, right?

Mateo (08:07):

You can segment your lists into new clients, clients in the gym from post 90 days to the year mark. Long-term clients or clients who have bought PT, clients who haven’t bought PT, clients who bought nutrition, clients who haven’t bought nutrition. And then you can do the same thing for your prospects. People who are interested in your front end offer, your six week program. People are interested in personal training. People are interested in your ebook that you gave out on your Instagram a month ago. You know, you can segment this as much as you want and therefore tailor your communication and customize it to these groups as much as you want or you can, you can keep it simple, right? Just a list of people who haven’t bought and who are my prospects and then a list of people have bought and just talk to those two groups of people, you know, according to the information that they need. And that’s fine too. But the more the point there is, you can build this out and make it as big as you want or keep it as simple as you want, but at its core, you do want to communicate with your prospects and your clients regularly. And automation can help you do that.

Mike (09:18):

In the second half of this show coming up in about 10 minutes, we’re going to tell you what we think are the essential sequences that you need to have. So we’ll go through them. We’ll give you some tips for what you want to put in those sequences. We’ll list that out in just a little bit. The first thing, you know, the first thing we’ll talk about is quick refresher. How are we getting leads on onto these lists, right? Give me the quick details of how we’re actually going to get this contact information that’s going to fill out these lists and how we’re going to keep track of how it comes in?

Mateo (09:48):

I guess let’s say you just opened your gym, right? You just opened your gym. Yeah, you probably don’t have to have a very sophisticated automated communication platform, right? But let’s say you open your gym, you’ve got someone who inquires, they’re either finding out about you by Googling local fitness facility in your area. Maybe they saw a post on Facebook, maybe they saw a sponsored post on Facebook, something you put a little bit of money behind. They heard about you somehow they found your website or a landing page of some sort and they’re going to inquire for more info, right? So they’re opting in. And there’s tons of ways you can get people to opt in. You can say, Hey, book an intro. You can say, Hey, download this free guide on, you know, six pack abs in six weeks. Download this coupon for a free InBody scan. There’s tons of ways you can get people to inquire and give and have them give you their contact info, right? But at some point they will, there’s going to be a transaction there. You’re going to offer up something to them. They’re going to want it. So they’ll give you their contact info.

Mike (11:06):

So you need a call to action or a secondary call to action as it’s known. You need something on your site or on a landing page that says, Hey, click this. And when they click that, they have to give you their contact information potentially to get to the next phase where you give away either an ebook or you maybe reveal your prices or they whatever. So they’re trading something for something or they’re giving you their contact information to get to the next step.

Mateo (11:32):

Here’s a cool thing. You want it, give me your info, I’ll send it to you or I’ll send you the details or send you even more the next step.

Mike (11:40):

Yeah. And that can be done in one of those landing page builders that are out there, third party kind of thing. Or you can, if you have the skills and knowledge, you can do it on your own site. But the whole point is that whatever you use, you need to get this contact info from where it comes in into your automated mailing list manager. Correct?

Mateo (11:59):

Right. You need a form. All right. It can be a pop up, it can be on the site, but you need a form where someone can fill out their info, their contact details and then submit it to you right.

Mike (12:10):

Now the system that you use, cause you talked about all these different mailing lists that you can segment and create and so forth, you should be able to see where these contacts, like how they came in, right? Your system needs to be able to tell you what happened?

Mateo (12:21):

So after someone submits the form, that needs to go somewhere, ideally somewhere where you can see it, right? You don’t want it to, and I’ve done this, I’ve built out landing pages or website forums and forgot to connect them to something. And that means that the lead just submitted their info and it went into outer space basically. So you want to make sure that that info is being captured and stored somewhere that you can see it and use it. Right? There are a lot of different CRM out there that can help you do this. We’ll talk about my favorite at the end of the show. But there’s plenty of form builders or CRMs that will take that info, store it somewhere. And yeah, if you’re just starting off, we’re going back to that example.

Mateo (13:18):

If you’re just starting out, you know, if you just opened up your gym, yeah, you could just have a simple Google form on your website, someone puts in their info, it gets sent to your Gmail and then you can email that person, or text them or call them up. If you want to automate it, which is what we’ve been talking about today, you can definitely do that as well, right? So it’s not so manual. You’re not like having to search, OK, someone submitted the form, I have to go find where it’s stored and then I got to pull it up and then I got to call them or message them or text them or email them and hopefully they reply. Right? There’s systems out there, platforms out there that will take that information store for you and then send them the messages that you want to send to them automatically.

Mike (14:05):

Yeah. And there are different systems, like I use, you can trigger some automations just with gym management software, some of them have that ability. And you can even—I’m gonna confess it. I don’t know that it works perfectly, but the software that we use for gym management is supposedly communicating with MailChimp or one of the other platforms that you can use. I think it works, but I’m not a hundred percent confident in that. Then we’ve also got, I use the system that you taught me how to do in your marketing course where I’m using an outside landing page builder. I’m funneling that with Zapier and I’m using Google sheets to keep track of things and so forth and whatnot, and also Acuity. All of that, it totally works. However, I just listed four or five different steps in programs and there’s a cost attached to each one. So when I add them all up, I’m probably looking at, I don’t know, 300, 400 or something like that. And they don’t always play nice.

Mateo (14:54):

Yeah, no, for sure. You can build something yourself from scratch. And I actually have a on a couple of marketing courses I teach people how to do that. You know, you can duct tape something together where you’ll capture info from your site or a landing page, it’ll one, notify you and your staff two, it’ll store it somewhere so you can reference it later when you want to manually follow up and then three it’ll push it into whatever piece of software you’re using to automatically send a newsletter or lead nurture email campaigns or whatever it is. Right? Like you said, MailChimp or whatever it is. Yeah, you can duct tape this stuff together. There’s also all in one solutions, but again, some of those like, you know, some of them are very expensive and complex and maybe they have a lot of capabilities, but maybe you don’t need all those features. You know, something like infusion soft for example, something that’s a really robust and it can do a lot of things for you, but you need to take a separate course or hire someone just to teach you how to use it. There’s costs associated with just the material, you know, software, the tools and there’s costs associated with the time spent to actually learn how to connect them all and put them all together and make it all work and talk to each other.

Mike (16:16):

The end of the show, we’ll give you an idea of something that you can use to make all this happen. But let’s just assume that our listeners have everything figured out. They’ve got the systems in place. We’ll talk about the actual mechanics. We’ll talk about the mailing or the sequences that we want to do, the essentials and we’ll talk about what should go in each one. We’ll do that right after this. Two-Brain Business has created the Roadmap to wealth. Chris Cooper developed this thing. It is based on data. It is literally the stuff the best gyms in the world are doing. No guesswork, just action, results. Your first step is to complete a 12-week sprint where we’re going to build the foundation of your business. Your second step is to work with a mentor to use the Roadmap to build your business and generate tons of momentum.

Mike (16:57):

For more info on that visit to book a free call with a mentor. Now I’m back with Mateo Lopez marketing expert. We are going to talk about the essential sequences that you need to have for marketing and communication and this stuff. We’ll go through them point by point here. We’ll kind of give you a few tips for each one. These are the ones that we recommend gym owners use because they’re going to warm leads, communicate with clients and they’re going to generate interest and also revenue if you do it right. So the first one I’ll give you is just the simplest one. The goal we have every time someone’s on our website is have them book an appointment. So the first sequence is you need to have something that comes up that encourages people to book an appointment, a call to action button or whatever, they click it. Then you want their contact information and something that your partner John told me is that you want them to have to submit contact before they get to the scheduling page because if they get cold feet and don’t schedule, you might be left empty handed. So to get to that page, they have to enter contact information. When they do book an appointment or when they enter that contact info, what should happen in this appointment booking sequence?

Mateo (18:05):

Yes. So yeah, a lot of people will just have like book an intro and then go straight to the scheduling page or software. I like to gate that stuff. I like to, like you said, have them submit their contact info first and then pick the time afterwards. And the reason is just, yeah, as you said, some people might get cold feet, some people might say, yeah, I’m interested. They get halfway and they’re like, you know what, now I actually have to pick a time. I actually have to pick a day, it’s a big commitment. And then they jump ship. But now at least you have their contact info so you can follow up with them manually or with automations. Right. But let’s say they take the big action step here and they book an appointment.

Mateo (18:50):

You should have appointment reminders. You should have some kind of automated messaging that reminds the person that—or first confirms it. Hey, we got your time booked here. We’ll see you at the gym. This is the address. If you get lost, here’s our phone number, give us a call. And then, you should have messages that follow up with them, basically until they walk into the gym, say, hey, see it’s coming up tomorrow. Really excited to see you. My name is Mike, this is me and my dog. We’ll be waiting for you at the gym. And then, Hey, your appointment’s coming up in a few hours, don’t forget about us cause we haven’t forgotten about you. Things like that, right? It doesn’t have to be massive.

Mateo (19:36):

But, yeah, if you use any kind of appointment booking, scheduling piece of software, most of these have those kinds of reminder things built in. But you want to make sure that you have those reminders going out and it’s a really, yeah, if you’re booking like five appointments and you’re doing it on, you know, your Google calendar and and then you’re having to remind all five of these people manually or without any kind of automation, that can get pretty tedious. So that’s an easy first simple way. Like, let’s automate that. Let’s at least just automate the appointment reminders.

Mike (20:14):

And that’s a short campaign. Generally. Like, we often would try to prevent people from booking an appointment three weeks in advance because they’re probably not going to come. So you would like, you’d want them to book that appointment in the next, you know, even that day would be best. But then three or four days, whatever, send them two or three reminders, confirmation. It’s a short, blunt campaign, just saying, we are just thrilled that you’re coming. Here’s where we’re at, here’s how you contact us. And then just reminder, reminder done. What happens if this person has booked an appointment to the next sequence here is they either cancel or they don’t show up?

Mateo (20:48):

So you want to make sure you note that down. Obviously if you’re sitting there waiting for them and you’re looking at your watch and it’s been five minutes, 10 minutes, yeah, don’t be afraid to call them up. That’s where you do want to take some actual action there and manually message them or call them. But let’s say they don’t show, it’s been 15 minutes. You should be able to notate that somewhere in whatever platform you’re using.

Mateo (21:19):

You should be able to notate that in whatever platform you’re using. And that should trigger some kind of a sequence. It’s like, Hey, sorry we missed you. Sorry you had to take a rain check. Don’t worry. Like you haven’t hurt our feelings that bad. Just like rebook. All you have to do is click here, something like that, and that you can use that same sequence. It only needs to be a couple emails or a couple of text messages long. You can use that same one for if they no-show you right, it’s essentially the same. Or if they cancel, if they cancel or if they no show. It’s a very similar sequence. Like, Hey, yeah, sorry I missed you. Sorry. You can’t make it in today. I’ve got more time tomorrow. Click here to rebook or call me at this number right now and I’ll get you set or whatever it is.

Mike (22:05):

Yeah. This is short, abrupt stuff where like the iron is still hot, so you’re trying to strike pretty fast and hopefully get this person to book because he or she did book and just didn’t come or canceled. So we’re going to try and just poke them, you know, Hey, come, come. We’re still here. We’re still interested. We’re still interested. And then eventually that is going to get shuffled off into another sequence, which we’ll talk about later on because you can’t keep nagging them for that appointment forever, but for two or three days when that iron is still hot, you might want to keep pushing out them and then see what happens and see if you can get that person back. And what you said is great. Like don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and actually call the person yourself if you’ve got, cause you’re sitting there, they missed the appointment anyway.

Mateo (22:43):

Yeah, no, 100%. So let’s say they actually do show up and they’re sitting down in front of you and ideally you’re going to close them, right? Ideally you’re going to sell a membership or sell a package. In rare cases they’ll turn you down, which is fine. We’re trying to get a yes or no at that point. The worst one is a maybe or I got to think about it, right? Ideally you’re getting an answer yes or no, but let’s say they sneak out of there saying, all right, I just gotta check a couple things. I gotta find my credit card or I need to talk with my dog and make sure that he’s OK with it. You know, whatever it is. You should have some kind of post-appointment follow-up.

Mateo (23:36):

That can also be manual, right? You can just say, you know, you can assign this to one of your staff members, you can do it yourself if you’re doing the sale and maybe it’s a cold messages that are going to deal with the most common objections or maybe the most common fears that people have. Something we did was, you know, we’d send a followup email that said, you know, is it worth it? Is it worth the price or something like that. It’s like, we know this is more expensive than your normal gym membership and this is why. And then we kind of, we’d lay down our justification for and explain the value, right. Or it can be like, is CrossFit really scary?

Mateo (24:17):

No, don’t worry. It’s not, it’s safe. Look at all these grandpas doing it and then you use all the photos of old people going to the Games. But yeah, you should have some kind of post-appointment nurture to try and make sure that you get them to actually give you an answer. Either way, whether it’s a yes or no.

Mike (24:36):

And this is again, this is probably, at least early on in the sequences this is more abrupt where you’re just saying, you know, Hey, we talked, you know, do you have questions? Contact me. Can we go over something else? Like what can we do to solve any problems? And then if it trails off a little bit, you get a little bit more detail later on. That’s cool. But again, this sequence isn’t going to go forever, correct?

Mateo (24:58):

No, correct. This is one or two messages just to say, Hey, so what’d you think? You’re ready to make the next step. And so you can do this yourself, but again, it makes life easier if you can click a box on your calendar or their appointment schedule or fill out a post appointment form and then it sends, you have a system that automatically sends those follow-up messages for you.

Mike (25:29):

Alexa, nag my lead. Right. Just make it happen. Let’s talk about another one, let’s talk about an active lead sequence. What is that? Who qualifies as active lead and what do we want to tell this person?

Mateo (25:40):

Yeah, so you kinda, I would say new leads. Or warm leads or hot leads or new leads.

Mateo (25:49):

So these are people who have opted in, who have inquired but who didn’t actually book an appointment. Right? So, that’s the sequence. Yeah, we’re close. And that’s the sequence. Basically the goal of that sequence, the goal of the messaging there, going back to the guy who just opened his gym who doesn’t have any members. Let’s say he’s got someone who opts in or fills out a form on his website. The job of that person is to call, message, text, email that lead as many times as possible in order to get them, make contact with them and then talk to them and get them to actually book an intro. Right? Now if you can automate that, it’s great because you can send as many messages as you as you need to.

Mateo (26:37):

You don’t have to worry about following up manually. I mean you should still follow up manually yourself. I still think I’m getting people on the phone is the best way to build a relationship, get leads to know, like, and trust you. And build rapport. It makes the sale easier. So you should always try and get someone on the phone, and we can talk about how you can automate some of those tasks. But let’s say you’re coaching class cause you just opened your gym and you’re just starting out. If you can have some kind of automation that will send out messages to these new leads right away via email or text, that’s gonna help you a ton because it’s gonna ensure that you’re not letting your leads fall through the cracks.

Mike (27:25):

So this is something like thanks for your interest in our gym. Just want to make sure that, you know you can get ahold of me at any time. We are all about building relationships with people and you can contact me at this email address anytime. I will respond to any email, if you prefer phone or text, I am here. And if you’re a face to face person like me, book an appointment here right now, click this link. You know, we’re talking stuff like that.

Mateo (27:46):

Yeah. Or the messaging can be tailored to the pipeline, right? If they inquired because they opted in for keto cookbook that you had posted on your Instagram, say, Hey, saw you’re interested in the keto cookbook, here it is delivered to your inbox. By the way, what had you interested? And they’re like, Oh, I was interested cause I’m trying to lose weight. Oh really? And then boom, you’ve got the conversation started. Well, OK, what have you tried in the past to lose some weight? How much weight are you trying to lose? Oh, you’ve tried, like all these things, they haven’t worked. Why don’t you come and book an appointment? Talk to me, bet we can solve that problem for you. Right. So that’s kinda how it works. So you can tailor the messaging, you know, to the pipeline to the way in which the lead came into your CRM or however they opted in, whatever their point of entry was, you can customize the messaging to that point of entry. But if they’re just opting in on your site, yeah, the goal there is to get them to book an appointment. So you should say, Hey, saw you’re interested in our gym. This is my phone number is my email. If you’re ready to chat, book an appointment right now. What had you interested? Talk to me about it, what’s going on in your life?

Mike (29:10):

And this thing can go like this active lead campaign, again, these people are close. This thing can go up to like, you know, three weeks kind of thing, right? Like you’re probably going to front load this thing where, you know, they were close, so you want to hit them as, you know, maybe even twice a day for the first couple of days or something like that. But then this thing can go for, you know, 16, 20 days and you start to get into some longer emails at that point where maybe you’re telling them a little bit more about your gym or just trying to build, you know, you’re trying to find something that interests them. So this thing can go for a while, right?

Mateo (29:36):

Yeah, definitely. 100% so yeah, the messaging is going to be a little bit more intense in the beginning cause you’re really trying to get them to book right away. Like you said, strike while the iron is hot. Your chances of qualifying a lead basically decrease exponentially as time goes on past the point of opt in. So yeah, you’re really trying to get them to book as soon as possible. And then yeah, you can continue to message them periodically but then you’re moving to more of like a once a week and then a once a month type of deal.

Mike (30:08):

So let’s talk about that. So that that becomes when they’re, after your active lead thing runs its course, you’re going to dump them in into a long-term nurture sequence and that thing is going to go for, you know, quite some time. It’s probably have a bunch of emails in it. What would you want to put in a longterm nurture sequence?

Mateo (30:23):

Yeah. So you have your new lead sequence, which is what we’ve been talking about. Trying to get them to book. It’s a lot of messages in the first few days there. And then moving to once a week and then after the 30-day mark, you’re really moving them into long term nurture and that’s going to be a message once or twice a month. This can go for a year. I know you’ve written out, for Two-Brain clients, you’ve written out a year’s worth of emails and text messages that go out to these leads. You’re a better copywriter than me, but you definitely want to know things like, hey, been thinking about ya.

Mateo (31:07):

Hey, I miss ya. Here’s a little tip I got for ya about fitness.

Mike (31:11):

I like that idea of that tip. And I like, cause like in the long term nurture thing, I think what you’re kind of trying to do is you’re trying to educate because something stopped this person from coming to see you and you don’t know what it is. You’re kind of just shooting in the dark. But as a gym owner, you probably know some of the stuff and it’s like price, so you haven’t established value. Fear, I’m not fit enough to do functional fitness or CrossFit or it’s, you know, they just don’t understand. It’s like, they think if I walked into a CrossFit gym, I’m automatically going to get massive traps and I don’t want them, will I get bulky all the old school stuff so you can get exactly these different things, right?

Mateo (31:44):

If I weight train, will I get bulky? Is CrossFit dangerous? And you kind of just address the most common objections and fears. But in some kind of like educational bloggy type of email, right type of post. And then if you can engage them with like a quick question for you, you know, what do you think of this idea I’m throwing out at you?

Mike (32:08):

And a big win here is a response. Right? Like if someone reads this, first win is if someone sees your name in the inbox. I think the second win is when someone actually opens it. A third win is a click to anything you’ve linked to a and a fourth win is like a response to you, like saying Hey, thanks for the email. I have another question. And then the fifth big win I think is like if they book an appointment.

Mateo (32:28):

Exactly. Yeah. Like Hey, are you more of a strength trainer or do you like more endurance stuff? Oh, I’ve like been a runner my whole life. Oh really? Did you know that strength training is the best way to make sure you stay injury free when you’re training for a marathon.

Mike (32:45):

Any response here is a huge deal. And like you might not get one for a while but eventually, who knows? Maybe that 270-day email get someone to come to your gym and you know what’s the old adage is that you need like seven or 11 different marketing contacts before people take action. I mean, what you’re doing is adding up those contacts, right?

Mateo (33:08):

Yeah. Consistency is key. Something that I just thought of, my buddy Jack Wheeler over at 360 fitness, he does a lot of lead magnets, a lot of eBooks. And so he’ll deliver those, he’ll do a couple of nurture things and then like a week or two later he’ll be like, Hey, what’d you think of the book? And it gives them time to actually read it or engage with it. Obviously not everyone’s going to engage with those pieces of those little infoproducts, but yeah, the, Oh, like I actually really liked it, or Oh, I didn’t like it. At least they’re responding. Right. And if they’re responding, that gives you a window to start that conversation.

Mike (33:40):

If you didn’t like the keto cookbook, maybe you’ll like the paleo cookbook. I got that too. So let’s talk about this. So those are your long term things, and like that those chickens may come home to roost at some point. You’re not sure. Talk about, let’s go to a new client. So someone, let’s say you close them out.

Mateo (33:59):

Yeah. Let’s say they show up for that appointment. They listened to your reminder, your appointment reminder emails and texts, and they showed up and then you sold them, right? So, those first, really the first two weeks, well, first 90 days, but really the first two weeks, you know, is critical, right? You want to make sure that that person is enjoying their experience at your gym. Joining a new gym can be scary and intimidating. So you wanna make sure they’re enjoying their experience. And you want to make sure that you’re keeping the lines of communication open and you’re engaging them. Like we talked about before, you’re only gonna see them for an hour in class. If they’re first starting out, maybe they’re doing three times a week. So, you know, it’s not a ton of opportunity for you—

Mateo (34:43):

There’s opportunity but not like a ton for you to communicate with them and strengthen that relationship and nurture that new client. So a way to do that is with automated messaging, texting and email saying, Hey, you know, you can do this manually, right? You can have a person on staff, just keep track of where everyone’s at. OK, it’s this person’s first week. I’ll send them a first week, you know, congratulatory email. Oh, it’s this person’s, they’re at the two-week mark. I should ask if they have any questions or if they’re feeling sore or whatever. Like you could do that manually, but it would be way easier and better, but you could automate this and let the robots do it for you.

Mike (35:24):

And then they launch the nuclear missiles and the matrix happens. But we won’t get to that part just yet. We’re saving time now, so forget about that.

Mateo (35:32):

I was on the plane yesterday. I just watched the newest Terminator movie. And it was OK. I understand why it got like, I think like a 62 on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s like, all right, no one hated it, but it was like, yeah, it’s one of those things where it was, you had all the right ingredients. I think you just waited too long to make this reunion thing happen.

Mike (35:56):

And it all started though with Arnold just doing some automated text messaging for a gym and then he became a sentient being and took over the whole thing.

Mateo (36:04):

It did look like he hit the gym for this movie, but the reason I bring this up is they renamed Skynet in this movie. They renamed it, it’s a new timeline. So it’s not Skynet anymore. Sarah Connor’s is talking about it and the person in the future’s like, ah, I don’t know what Skynet is. They call it Legion, where I’m from. And I was just like why rename this to Legion? Why? It doesn’t make any sense. But yeah, before Skynet, you can still automate your text messages. I don’t think we’ll get there in our lifetime. Yeah, I am a little worried about Tik Tok. That stuff I’m pretty sure is just spyware. I’m almost a hundred percent sure it’s spyware. But if you’re scared of Skynet, or Legion, you could manually keep track of all of your new clients and track where their progress and then send them a little love letters and congratulatory emails based on like, you made it through your first class or your seventh class or your 10th class.

Mateo (37:05):

If you’re not scared of Skynet, you could automate it and let the robots do it for you.

Mike (37:10):

Yeah, I embrace the robot overlords wholeheartedly. But like you said, this thing can go for let’s say like 90 days, a hundred days. This is like the prime habit forming time. So we want this person to feel welcome. You want this person to understand, you want to educate and brand, show your mission, your vision, let them know how you can, how they can find help if they need it. You want to solve problems. Like if someone’s going to quit in the first 30 days, you need to find a way to find those problems ahead of time and then fix them. Right? Can’t figure out how to book in for a class. Oh, handy-dandy automation says book in here.

Mateo (37:44):

You use the app to book the class or whatever.

Mike (37:46):

All of it. Workout tracking, bright spots. Classic Two-Brain stuff. Booking goal review sessions. You’re nagging these people to come and see us. Celebrate your bright spots. Let’s book some new goals. Talk about new services that’ll help you get to your goals. So this thing is really like kind of the first indoctrination. It’s almost like a boot camp where it’s like we’re telling you everything you need to know and we’re telling you how much we love you every five days or so for about a hundred days. And we’re making sure you know where everything is, what we’re all about.

Mateo (38:14):

Yeah. 100%. And that’s the other thing too, it’s like, yeah, you can automate, if you know you want people to book an athlete check in every 90 days, you know, you can have that set in the automated timer, because yeah, like I’ve said this a couple of times on here, every month when they get that auto pay email coming up, you know, that’s a point of sale. Like you have to resell them every month. You don’t have to do it in person necessarily. You don’t have to sit them down and do a no sweat every month. But you have to be in some way checking in and making sure people are making progress. And you have to—they’re a flight risk every single one of those months. So you have to always be making sure that you’re delivering an awesome service to them and helping them get results consistently every month.

Mateo (39:07):

But after that first, you know, 90 day period or so where the communication frequency is going to be a little bit higher. It’s gonna be a little bit more intense. You can transition them to a longer term client nurture for the more established clients because they’ve been around, they know, like and trust you a little bit more at this point. You probably don’t need to blow up their inbox every week or so. So you can reduce the frequency, send them a message once or twice a month, but do that for years because hopefully they’re gonna stay for years.

Mike (39:40):

And this stuff, with the established client, this is really where, I mean you have to write this stuff only one time, but it goes out to all your clients and it does establish value where they’re getting communication with you, they are getting things from you information. When I wrote some established clients stuff, I would get into more like topics that people would have an interest in after about three, six, eight months of CrossFit or whatever. So it’s like when they come in, they just need to know where the bathroom is and where they put their bag. Right. After three or six months, they’ve probably got supplement questions, nutrition questions, knee sleeves questions, wrist wraps, Oh, should I do a squat program? All the more technical stuff.

Mateo (40:17):

Yeah. Or like I’ve been doing three times a week. Should I start doing four or five? And like, you know, you can start talking about those things and talking about them so that when they do book that athlete check in with you, they’re already starting to think about it. They already know a little bit of the context that they need to start making those decisions with you.

Mike (40:33):

Yeah, new services can could definitely go in there. If someone just signs up for a group, maybe they want some personal training in addition, nutrition services. You can start educating someone when they come in and let’s say they just came in to you know, to work out, now you start telling them how nutrition is the second half of that equation, they’re going to get better results because if they do this, Hey we have a nutrition service and so on and so forth. When they come to that goal review session, which you are asking them to book every 90 days or so, they know about your services, they at least understand that you do offer nutrition and then you have a chance, you’re essentially warming leads for resale essentially.

Mateo (41:10):

100% exactly right.

Mike (41:12):

Yeah, and this thing can go on for, you know, I think the one that I wrote was, I don’t know, 500 or 600 days or something like that. Like it goes on for quite some time. And the goal of course is retention forever, after probably, you know, two years, you probably don’t need to write, you know, your 10-year email. There’s probably a small investment on that. You’re probably looking at more personal contact after that. But an established client sequence can go for about two years, something like that. And you’re talking like every 30 days or something like that. So they’re always getting contact from you, but not to the point of spam and annoyance. Let’s talk about this one. Despite all your best efforts, you’ve done all this cool stuff. You’ve said all these things, someone cancels. What automation do we want there? How do we want that one to roll?

Mateo (41:55):

Yeah. So, like you said, ideally we want everyone to stay forever, but not everyone will, right? Some people are gonna cancel for whatever reason. So what we like to do as a best practice is we want them to fill out a cancellation form first. Especially if you’re a business is a little bit larger. Maybe you have an admin or a customer service rep or a CSM. You know, maybe you’re not reading every email that comes in your inbox anymore for the gym. So, someone requests like, Hey, I think I want to cancel my membership. It goes to your admin. The admin can then send them a cancellation form, right? And the cancellation form will then prompt the member to provide a little bit more about info about like, you know, the reason for canceling, if they were satisfied with the service or not or whatever it was.

Mateo (42:52):

Now ideally you have some kind of automation that then pings you, the gym owner or your coach or your one of your senior coaches, says, Hey, this person just filled out the cancellation form. That gives you an opportunity to intercept them. Schedule an exit interview if possible. And then you know, you have an opportunity there to see if you can get them to stay or if not, make sure that you two are leaving amicably and satisfied and say, Hey, look, I know you’re leaving. I know you’re moving. Would you mind still leaving us a good review or whatever it is, right. You have an opportunity there to get some closure. So make sure that they’re leaving satisfied, right?

Mike (43:33):

Yeah. So this is like a very short sequence. It involves like a notification to staff and probably email the client that asks them to either come in or reminds them of the different things that they’re missing, but very warm and friendly. Obviously leaving the door open for a re-engagement, which is the next and the last thing that we’re going to talk about here, let’s talk about this person has now canceled. You’ve tried your best to save him or her. Couldn’t, but now you still have contact information and a long term established relationship. So now how do we try to get this person back with automation?

Mateo (44:05):

Yeah. This is another one where you want to keep the information or the communication constant but you don’t want to blow up their inbox. Right? But you want to keep it constant. And this is one where yeah, you should have something that lasts years for this thing. You know, you should have I guess whatever 12 times five is you want to have as at least that many emails set up and on timers and ready to go out to these people.

Mike (44:37):

  1. So, in this reactivation sequence, there is an email that we use that has probably drawn in more old clients than any other and Two-Brain gyms across the world have used this thing and it almost always brings back old clients. It is a 10 word email, super simple. We’ll give it to you right here in Mateo. What is the 10 word email that brings clients back in?

Mateo (45:00):

I think it’s, Hey Mike, would you still like to get fit this year? Something like that. I think that might be nine words. That’s it. But would you still like to get fit this year? I think that’s only nine, but I think there’s a 10th one somewhere floating around there.

Mike (45:18):

Yeah. Well we’ll call it the nine or 10 word email. But either way, the point behind this is that people send this thing out and it often goes out in January when people are kind of more prone to start a fitness program. But we’ve seen gym owners send this thing out and it works. And it’s super simple. It doesn’t have to be this lengthy, endless thing. That email generally gets clients to respond. Sometimes they come back, sometimes they just start talking and you can then find out what they need. But that email has 100% been effective across the Two-Brain communities. So if you want to try that with your clients, I’d highly encourage it.

Mateo (45:55):

But that’s the idea. You’re messaging them periodically post cancellation and then you insert that question right a few months after. And then you nurture them some more. Give them some more tips or just info about what’s going on at the gym. Cool events that you may have put on, cool programs you may have added. And then again, you ask another question. It’s a spin on that 10 word email. You know, would you like to get fit this year? You know, how’s it going with your fitness or how’s it going with this goal or that goal? It’s a spin off that question, but that’s the same basic idea. It’s like, Hey, since you left, how’s it been going over there?

Mike (46:44):

The thing I like about it is that it sounds so legitimate. Like it sounds like it was written by a person. You open it up, you have two options. You either respond or you ignore it. Those are the only two things you can do. There’s no like endless reading or different, you know, confusion. It’s like a pointed direct question that sounds like it was asked by a real person. And I think that’s why it gets a good response. Like you said, some of the other stuff that you can do and some of the sequences that I’ve written, I’ve sent people workouts and said, Hey, you know, I know you’re not the gym right now, but I want to make sure that you’re still, you know, doing stuff. Here’s our link to our travel workouts page. Here are five workouts and if you want a personal one, email me back and I’ll give you a personal one, you know, on whatever you need to do today.

Mike (47:24):

I’ve done things where I’ll send them, you know, cool videos or interesting things. Hey, have you seen this cool video on YouTube about this fitness thing? Just try to do anything to get them to, you know, remember that you’re around, remember that you’re kind of fun and interesting and maybe get them to respond. So that’s kind of the goal there. And again, you’re looking at, you have an established relationship with these people, so you can definitely run the sequence, but I’d advise you, you know, reach out with some personal details from time to time. There’s no reason you can’t, you know, shut down Skynet for a little bit and just call these people and say, Hey, I was just thinking about you the other day I was looking at our PR log and I saw you had a 400-pound deadlift in March of 2019.

Mike (48:07):

What’s your deadlift at right now? Just checking in. Something like that. Maybe it works. I don’t know.

Mateo (48:11):

I think that’s awesome. I think that’s great, Mike. I’m going to do that. Yeah, that was amazing.

Mike (48:20):

So that’s the whole thing there is we’ve got lots of different sequences and so you’re collecting contact info from either leads or clients. You’re going to use your sequences, you only have build them once. They can be, I’m not going to lie to you. It’s a lot of work. I think some of the ones that I wrote recently topped out at I think what, 90 pages of writing and about 23,000 words for all this stuff that we’re doing that filled all these different categories. It was ton of work. And then on top of that you have to build all the different, you know, triggers and automations and all the systems connect, everything test to make sure it works. It can be done, but it could also be tiresome. Mateo, tell me about the solution that exists if people don’t feel like building all this stuff themselves.

Mateo (49:00):

Yeah. If you don’t want to buy a bunch of different logins for, you know, editing your website, editing the forms on your website, your landing page builder, some kind of thing that can connect your landing pages or your forms or your site to your Facebook ads or rather your CRM, right, your newsletter software. And then also a different login for your appointment scheduling. If you don’t want to do all of that, deal with all the logins and the deal with setting up all those different platforms and make sure they talk together and paying for all those subscriptions, my favorite platform and solution for marketing automation is Gym Lead Machine. That’s my favorite one.

Mike (49:48):

So tell me, Mateo, what is Gym Lead Machine?

Mateo (49:55):

Since you asked, now that we’ve brought it up, so Gym Lead Machine is actually a company that I am a part of and we’re a website and EMR, marketing automation all in one solution basically, geared towards Two-Brain clients. So not only will we host and design and build your website, but also we’ll make sure that the forms on your website are connected and talk to and seamlessly capture client inquiries and booked appointments and push them to a dashboard where you can track all of your leads and send all of your messaging from all in one place. It comes prebuilt with all the automated sequences that we just talked about. And includes in those sequences, like the actual emails and the texts, the messaging, all that stuff, we worked with you to create, isn’t that right Mike?

Mike (50:54):

Yeah, I did write, like I said, it was 90 pages or 23,000 words of stuff there. So all the sequences that we just mentioned, I did write those things and they are going into the Gym Lead Machine sequences to be triggered. And let’s be honest, the real reason here is like you, you worked in gyms for a long time. I worked in gyms for a long time. We’ve dealt with all these different systems and things that it’s a ton of work. Like I can write this stuff cause I’m a writer and you can build this stuff cause you’re a marketing guy. But for the gym owner who maybe doesn’t want to do that stuff, there needs to be a solution. And the other thing is that your product is going to be cost saving. Am I right? I mean we’re looking at, all the different platforms that I need to buy to connect all this stuff, what is the average client gonna save at Gym Lead Machine?

Mateo (51:41):

Yeah, I mean, typically if you pay someone to build a website, you know, it’s going to be at least, you know, could be as expensive as two grand, right? Just to build the thing. Or if you’re doing like a payment plan, right? You have a monthly payment over the course of five years to pay that down. Maybe it’s like 200 bucks a month just to host your site and pay down the developer who designed it for you and set it up right? And then you’ve got whatever your CRM is, let’s say, even if it’s MailChimp, right? That’s still expensive. A lot of those are more expensive. Other ones out there, some of them are more, have more of a niche solution for gym owners are even more expensive for automated nurturing and messaging for leads and for clients. And then on top of that, you got to pay for your scheduler.

Mateo (52:24):

And a lot of times it’s either Acuity schedule, once, whatever it is, and then you’ve got to pay for way connect everything. And if you’re paying for a separate landing page builder, like lead pages or Instapage or click funnels, you know, that that can, that can add up.

Mike (52:39):

It’s $100 just for the landing pages usually.

Mateo (52:41):

Yeah, exactly. Some of those landing page builders are just a hundred bucks by itself. So yeah, this is something where we wanted to have a solution where all of these problems are solved and we can save people, you know, in some cases close to five grand a year in just software and services, fees and subscriptions for all these different pieces of software that you need just to market to your clients.

Mike (53:11):

Now that said, we did give away all the secrets already. So if you are so inclined, you can listen to this podcast and write all that stuff.

Mateo (53:17):

You could write it out, you can build it out. You can go in and add each email template to a sequence and set the timer. You can definitely do it yourself, but this will save you, you know, hundreds of hours of work there.

Mike (53:30):

The secret sauce is left on the table for you. But if you’d prefer to have it served to you and automated with our version of Gym Lead Machine Skynet, we can make that happen for you. Where can people check out more about this if they are so inclined?

Mateo (53:45):

Yeah, go to Check out the demo video. I’m in there. You’ll see my face popping around and then book a time to talk to us and you can learn more and we’ll show you what it’s all about.

Mike (53:57):

Excellent. This is Two-Brain Radio. Please remember to subscribe. If you have a comment or rating, that would be awesome if you guys would leave that for us. We would love to hear that. I’m Mike Warkentin, I’m you’re media expert with Mateo Lopez, he’s your marketing expert. Two-Brain Radio publishes three times a week. Chris Cooper is around on Thursdays with the best of the business world. Sean Woodland is around on Wednesdays with the best of the fitness community. If you’re a gym owner who needs some help growing your business, Two-Brain mentors can show you the exact steps to add 5k in monthly recurring revenue. Book a call on to find out more. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next time on Two-Brain Radio.


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