StoryBrand: Can It Help You Acquire More Clients?

StoryBrand: Can It Help You Acquire More Clients?

Mike: 00:02 – Once upon a time there was a business owner who wanted to solve a problem: a lack of clients. This owner decided to use marketing and heard about StoryBrand, but the entrepreneur didn’t know a thing about it and turned to the friendly people on Two-Brain Radio who laid out actionable steps that would help the business owner avoid bankruptcy and find great financial success. If you’re listening, you might just be that business owner. If that’s the case, I’m your guide, Mike Warkentin, here with another guide, Two-Brain mentor Jay Williams. Think of us as Yoda and Ben Kenobi to your Luke Skywalker, except we aren’t teaching you about the force. We’re talking about StoryBrand. I’m back with the rest of the show right after this. Bunch of gym owners added $5,000 a month in revenue after talking with one of our mentors. If you want to hear the story and learn the secrets to business success, you can talk to a Two-Brain Business mentor for free. Book a call at today.

Mike: 00:48 – And now we are back talking StoryBrand. It is “Building a StoryBrand” 2017 book by Donald Miller. It was a best seller. It’s still popular on Amazon, not his first bestseller. Donald wrote “Blue Like Jazz,” it was a New York Times bestseller in 2003. He generally writes on faith, God, self-discovery and things of that nature. He is now the CEO of StoryBrand. The blunt tagline on the website is “workshops to help you clarify your message.” It is a direct uppercut that tells you within five seconds exactly what is going to happen if you engage with this program and that’s on purpose. We’re going to talk about that in a sec. They now offer live workshops for about 3k and they have certifications to become a StoryBrand guide. We’re going to get into the details, but the short version is this. According to StoryBrand, your clients do not want to hear you talk about yourself. They want you to talk about them and all the awesome stuff your business can help them do. Two-Brain mentor Jay Williams attended a StoryBrand workshop so we’re going to hear his tale and talk about what he learned. Jay, how are you doing today?

Jay: 01:48 – Great. How are you Mike?

Mike: 01:49 – I’m good. Did I bore you with talking too much about myself?

Jay: 01:54 – No, I’m still in the story.

Mike: 01:55 – Good, good. The story is still working, so that’s good. We’ll get right into it. This episode of Two-Brain Radio syncs up with Chris Cooper’s work this week in the blogs, so be sure to check that out and be sure to subscribe for more stuff. So, StoryBrand. I want to know your story. How did you hear about StoryBrand? Why did you attend the workshop?

Jay: 02:15 – So, you know, I’m always looking for ways to kind of improve the marketing message and I had heard about the book and some of the processes a while back. It was floating around in our private Facebook group and for some reason I do just avoided it. I don’t know why, maybe the original person that recommend it I didn’t trust them or something. I finally got around to listening to the book and it was one of those things where I listened to it and I immediately was like, ah, right, I need to do this right away. And so usually when that happens, what I’ll do is just look for more information. I actually bought the physical copy of the book, listened to it again and wrote notes and started kind of doing the exercises in book and I went and checked out the online course. I went through the exercises in the online course and I kind of more or less created the script to talk about my business.

Mike: 03:10 – So you’re drinking from the fire hose right away.

Jay: 03:11 – Oh yeah. I mean it was one of those things where it put together a bunch of stuff that I had done research on in the past. I read a bunch of copywriting books and that kind of thing. And there was always something there about like, how do you tell a story? And they usually kind of touch on it, but this actually digs into what is a story and why the story is important. So, after going through all of that, I had already kind of redesigned my website. I started running some ads with some of the new stories and I had enough success where I thought, I wonder if there’s a deeper level. So that’s why.

Mike: 03:51 – I gotta jump in right now. Did you see success right away when you started changing your approach?

Jay: 03:56 – You know, what I saw was better conversions. It wasn’t like I had more people coming in; it wasn’t like the language was drawing more people in, but the people that did come were more in line with the message that I wanted to send. So I mean just a really simple example like you think about like a Facebook ad for example, right? If you’re trying to get the highest converting ad, you’re going to put a certain picture up there, right? Or you know, the one that gets the most clicks, you’re gonna put a certain picture on there. If you’re trying to get the one that brings you the right people, you’re going to put a different picture. And the message you’re going to send is different. So I’m not going to use you know act now and do all this kind of stuff on the ad after I went through this workshop. I’m going to start the story that I want them to be a part of. And the folks that are really interested are going to see that picture. They’re going to see the beginning of the story and they’re going to go, Oh, that’s me. I saw pretty fast results.

Mike: 05:01 – Yeah, so you’re seeing results and you decide, OK, I got to go right to the horse’s mouth, so to speak, and I’ve got to go take the take the course.

Jay: 05:09 – Yeah. Yeah. And you know, here’s the thing, like it’s not a revolution. It’s kind of like copywriting 101. I mean, it’s like you have to know your audience and you have to write for your audience, use as few words as possible and make sure that you’re resonating with them. The way that they frame it that makes it different is they talk about how to tell the story so that people feel like they are the hero of the story.

Mike: 05:38 – You know, I’ll jump in just because what you brought up is really important. Like it’s not necessarily a new idea. It’s probably just framed better than a lot of people. And the thing that’s really interesting I saw was, it’s a Lego ad from 1978 and it’s a cute kid. She’s holding a, I don’t know, it’s a dinosaur or something she made out of Lego. And the tagline here is, look what I built with Lego. And this was held up as an example of the StoryBrand concept in practice, you know, 40 years ago or whatever because instead of saying Lego is a super safe toy for children and blah, blah, blah, all the things that, you know, features and benefits talk, this was the story where this kid built this amazing thing. And so this concept is around, and I have some examples I’ll throw at you later on of the stuff in practice so people get a good idea of it. But tell me more about the conference.

Jay: 06:19 – Yeah. So, I mean the conference was great. They basically go through the same framework. I mean I would say that like you can get a lot of the information just by going through the exercises and iterating and iterating and iterating. But they go through the framework and you get some coaching and it kind of gives you a different view. You get to bounce the ideas off of other people. Nashville is a pretty cool place to visit. But really like the biggest thing I got from that is not a completely new look at my story, the thing I got from it is that you have to make a decision and ship your story, right? It’s sorta like you could go back and forth and around and around and figuring out the right story, but you have to deliver. And that’s the biggest thing that I got from showing up in person.

Mike: 07:13 – Let me ask details quickly. Is it a one day, two day course? How long is it?

Jay: 07:16 – Yeah. So it’s a two-day course. You go and the first day you basically develop your script and then the second day you figure out ways to market your script, right? So you’re basically figure out the script of your customers. I can kind of break down how that works. And then the second day is like, OK, now that you have that script, you create a one liner so that if someone asks you what you do you have an answer.

Mike: 07:40 – And that’s the tagline that I read from their website, that punch in the face as soon as you see it, right?

Jay: 07:45 – Yeah, exactly. Or you know, and then it tells you, you know, what you should have on your website and then it tells you what kind of lead magnet you should create and then what your email search.

Mike: 07:55 – And am I right, $3,000 U.S.?

Jay: 07:58 – Yes.

Mike: 08:00 – OK. Was it worth it?

Jay: 08:04 – I got a lot out of it. I think you could get what you need by researching the book and doing some things online. Ultimately, just like anything else, the big benefit of going in person is that you actually do it.

Mike: 08:18 – You’ve got some financial investment. You’re forced to do it. I know you’re an action guy, so that probably helps you out when it’s like time to go. Let’s go. So that pressure of being there in person probably helps you just fire and get it done.

Jay: 08:31 – Yeah. Yeah. I mean, there’s a lot of theory behind all this stuff. It’s important to know it, but you got to take the action.

Mike: 08:36 – OK. So talk to me about the stuff you learned. You’ve obviously implemented some of this stuff and seen some results already, but what we’re going to talk about what you learned, and then kind of give you some ideas about how gym owners and other business owners can do this stuff and make their sites and marketing better.

Jay: 08:51 – Yeah. So I think there’s a couple of things. A couple of like truths that they give you that I resonated with. One of them is that people do not buy the best products, right? They buy the ones that are the clearest. And the point is like if you clarify your message, then people will listen. So if there’s anything that in your messaging that is unclear, people just tune it out. And I mean we’ve all seen that the more you write, it’s like if you write 10,000 words, people are not going to read through all that. But if you have an amazing quote, you know, people will resonate with it.

Mike: 09:34 – And you get into huge amounts of fitness industry jargon and things that gym owners might think is important but the customer doesn’t where you’re like, you know, I’m a NSCA certified CSCS and people like that’s just a bunch of alphabets. I don’t even know what that is. I don’t care. How can you make me look better naked, right. There’s a jargon, all sorts of stuff that’s just, really like jargon in marketing is just bad. That’s always been bad. So clarifying that with StoryBrand is a really, really great thing for everyone.

Jay: 09:56 – Yeah. You know, they say something that I really resonate with is like your brain is always looking for ways to survive and thrive. And so like if what you’re seeing or reading doesn’t help you survive and thrive, it’s just going to be ignored. Because on the flip side of it is like your brain is looking to conserve calories, you know?

Jay: 10:16 – And so if you’re hungry and you look across the street and you see a restaurant that is called, you know, Joe’s Crab Shack, then you’re going to know, OK, they serve crabs. And I’m hungry so I’m gonna go eat crab. If it’s just Joe’s, you might completely ignore it, right? Unless there’s some other thing that shows you that it’s a restaurant.

Mike: 10:40 – Or it’s like Joe’s Aquatic Crustacean Emporium and you’re like, ah, yeah, I’m not really certain what’s going on here. The simple version here is a good example I’ve got here written down is the old version of features and benefits is that low in calories and this is what the soft drink does. But the actual thing that people want is I want to drink this and look better. So it’s really like the ad isn’t low in calories. The ad is, you’ll look better naked. Whether or not that’s true or not is debatable, but that’s the principle.

Jay: 11:07 – Yeah. And so given all of those truths, they basically say, what we need to do is invite the customer into a story. And so they break down a story into seven steps and so the framework goes a character, step one, with a problem, step two meets a guide, step three who gives them a plan, that’s step four and then calls them to action step five, and that results in success, step six, or avoids failure.

Mike: 11:39 – That’s the SB seven framework, I think that’s called, correct?

Jay: 11:42 – Yeah. So the idea is, the whole point is like you’re trying to figure out how you’re going to tell your business’ story in that framework.

Mike: 11:51 – And one thing I’ll chuck at you here is there are apparently seven basic plots for every story that’s ever been written, right? Have you heard this one or did they talk about that at all? I’ll just read them to you just because it’s a really fascinating thing that when people about how do I tell my business’ story? The seven basic plots, I’ll give two examples of each. There is overcoming the monster. That’s James Bond and Star Wars, something bad that needs to end, rags to riches, Cinderella and Aladdin. That’s the transformational stuff. There’s the quest. Lord of the Rings, Raiders of the Lost Arc, got to find something important, voyage and return, Alice in Wonderland and the Hobbit. Then you’ve got comedy, and this isn’t necessarily hilarious. This is a triumph over circumstances which are confusing and funny. So Bridget Jones’ Diary, the Big Lebowski, those were comedies but you get what I’m saying, tragedy, Bonnie and Clyde, Romeo and Juliet, and then you’ve got rebirth, which is Beauty and the Beast and Christmas Carol, things like that. So all stories, if you start thinking about it, just about every story that’s ever been written apparently can be rammed into one of these categories and your gym is probably going to start coming toward things like, Oh, there’s rags to riches elements, there’s transformational stuff and rebirth. There are ways to tell your story. So let’s talk more about this.

Jay: 12:57 – Yeah, it’s interesting you mentioned that because every one of those stories can actually be broken down into these seven steps as well. There’s a lot more sort of variety, some of those there’s like 15-20 steps and subplots, but they’ve tried to really boil it down to those seven things. A big part of that workshop is just, OK, we’re going to start with a character. So let’s define a character and what do they want?

Mike: 13:26 – So this is like your client avatar. Correct?

Jay: 13:29 – It’s similar. And that’s actually how I used to think about this in the past is just to go through an avatar, but it’s just like a character.

Jay: 13:41 – So in my case, I mean I’ll just kind of go through how I do it. So a character, answer to the question is what do your customers want as it relates to your product? So I was doing this for my gym and the things I thought about, were a gym or workout or fitness program. So it’s not necessarily a man or a woman, it’s just somebody looking for a gym. And then they have a problem. And so there’s like, there’s basically four different ways to think about the problem. There’s the villain, there’s the external, there’s the internal and the philosophical. So I just skip the villain part. There’s a lot of things you can do with the villain. Like you know, the villain is globo gyms, most people’s problem when they come to my gym is they don’t have time. Either they don’t have time to work out or they don’t have time to plan their workouts so they’re not making time. They’re busy. There’s some version of time. And that’s the external problem. The internal problem is because they don’t have time, they get frustrated and they feel guilty or they may feel embarrassed or scared.

Jay: 14:52 – It’s like they’re not in good shape. They haven’t been taking care of themselves because they say they don’t have time. And that makes them feel this way.

Mike: 15:00 – Yeah. Like I already see if you’re suggesting that your ideal client has a lack of time, there’s gotta be some sort of efficiency to your service and there’s gotta be some sort of promise of delivery of results within a timeframe that they can afford.

Jay: 15:13 – Well, yeah. What’s interesting about that, we’ll get back to that. It’s not great to actually address the external problem too much. You know, the other version of external problem is they don’t have enough money. Right? But this is more like the smokescreen that they put up in front of you to hide the internal problem, which is that they’re actually frustrated that they haven’t stuck to their routine or they’re feeling guilty or embarrassed.

Mike: 15:39 – OK. So we talk a lot about No-Sweat Intros, you’re actually just peeling back the layers to find out what the real problem is. Like what’s the big thing that’s stopping this person from coming to your gym?

Jay: 15:47 – Yeah, exactly.

Mike: 15:48 – It’s probably not time.

Jay: 15:50 – So you know, you haven’t made time for yourself in the last year. Like how does that make you feel? Well, you know, I used to be in shape. I just feel guilty that I let myself go. And then so that’s the external then the internal problem. And this was actually, number two, the problem part was the hardest part to kind of suss out. If you’re going to do this at home you gotta spent some time really sussing out step two, because the better you define their problem, the more successful all of your marketing is going to be. So the philosophical problem is the answer to the question of why is it just plain wrong for your customers to be burdened by this? And my answer to that is they deserve a better life.

Jay: 16:34 – And so, you know, if you think about this, it’s like you don’t have enough time. You’re looking for a gym but you don’t have a lot of time to work out. And that leaves you feeling frustrated and guilty and that’s just wrong because you deserve a better life.

Mike: 16:50 – Yeah. Maybe even physically bad too. You know, there might be some symptoms there where I just like, I feel out of shape and bad about myself.

Jay: 16:57 – Yeah, exactly. So yeah, you can see how this is starting to flow, right? So then the next part, step three, is that they need a guide. And this is another one of their kind of truths. A lot of times in our marketing, we make ourselves the hero, right? And one of the things they talk about is like if you look at Star Wars for example, who’s the hero in Star Wars?

Mike: 17:19 – Well we’ll go back to the ones I grew up with. I’ll say Luke Skywalker.

Jay: 17:22 – All right, so Luke Skywalker is the hero of Star Wars, right? Luke Skywalker isn’t actually strong. Like he’s pretty weak. He’s unsure of himself. Not until the end does he actually get some strength.

Mike: 17:35 – So ascension there for sure.

Jay: 17:36 – Yeah. So if you make yourself the hero, right? The customer is walking around thinking they’re the hero. If you make yourself the hero, then they’re just going to look at you and they’re going, well, you’re just as weak as I am. So why should I listen to you? You got to make the customer the hero. And the way you do that is by expressing empathy and authority, right? So, you know, you say something like, we understand what it’s like to feel, blah. We understand what it’s like to feel embarrassed and scared. And then you express authority by saying we’ve helped over a thousand people look better or get stronger or feel better.

Mike: 18:12 – I’m going to throw an example at you here just because it was a really great one that I found and I think it’ll give people some perspective. This is apparently an ad that’s up all over in airports from Vanderbilt University and it’s a picture of a smiling person that says “they didn’t brag about how far they could take me, they asked where I wanted to go.” So rather than saying, our MBA does this or this program does that, they actually are saying that this, you know, we are asking this person who’s coming to us, what do you want to do with your life? And there’s some authority in there where they’re kind of winking and saying, we know how to help you get what you want. That’s a really cool way to frame that. I thought that was just a brilliant demonstration of the concept.

Jay: 18:49 – Yeah. 100%. I mean, it’s really all about your customers. You know, this is one of those things where personally before I went through this, I always kind of shied away from doing like a whole lot of social media and things like that because I always felt like it was me portraying myself as some sort of like, you know, hero, and so we weren’t really good at it. We’ve gotten better at it because we’ve really just focused on like how do we make the customer the hero. If I show a coach doing a handstand walk, I’m going to tell a story about how when they walked in they couldn’t do a push-up, you know, and they’ve built themselves up to this and so can you, rather than saying, look how awesome my coach is.

Mike: 19:31 – Yeah. Now that’s a pretty important distinction there where, yeah, we got to put the lens on the client and show the client that they’re the hero. But at the same time, the guide has to have authority. And so you do have to talk about yourself at times, you do have to establish yourself as an expert and show how you can, like Yoda is a Jedi master, he is the guide, he has some authority, helps Luke, right? So that’s the whole relationship and it’s I think some gyms sometimes fall too much on putting the hero mantle on themselves or they do it all on the client and totally forget that they have to establish their own authority.

Jay: 20:01 – Yeah, yeah, exactly. If the whole movie was Yoda slashing people up it wouldn’t have been the same. So you express empathy and authority and they talk about empathy is just like, you know, we understand what it’s like, we get it, et cetera. Authority is, you know, you use numbers or you use testimonials to talk about people that you’ve helped. So that’s step three. That one’s pretty easy. Step four is giving them a plan. And this is one where like this is actually one of the things that helped me clarify things a lot. The plan has to be really, really simple, right? And they say no more than three or four steps. Right? So the three or four that customers can take that lead them to a sale or explain how they would use the product after the sale. So the plan that I came up with was first you book a free intro, a no-sweat intro, get a custom plan, show up and then be a badass. And it’s so simple. Step one, get a a custom plan. Step two, show up. Step three, be a badass. And how do you get started? Book a free intro.

Mike: 21:16 – The customer doesn’t even have to do a whole lot there. Right? You’re doing the work on the custom plan. Right? So like that’s a freebie that you just check that one off. They just pretty much have to come see you.

Jay: 21:25 – Yeah. You know, the thing is like we all know that there’s a lot more than just those three things, but the customer has to see that it’s easy. If they don’t think it’s easy, then they’re just not going to do it. Again, they’re looking to conserve energy.

Mike: 21:41 – Yeah. And you’ve got elements of authority building in there where you’re saying a custom plan that you know, in my mind I’m thinking, OK, this guy obviously can evaluate my situation and offer a plan. And that’s definitely helping to establish your authority and take some of the pressure off the customer.

Jay: 21:56 – Yeah. So, if you’re developing this, three steps. And then number five is calls them to action. So this should be very simple for Two-Brain gyms. The call to action is the same for everything, it’s book a No-Sweat Intro. And when I talk to my coaches about this at the gym, what I realized is that it’s the same call to action no matter what program we’re selling, right? So if you want to join the gym book a No-Sweat Intro. If you want to join nutrition, No-Sweat Intro. If you want to learn how to do a muscle-up, No-Sweat Intro. Like basically we always do free intro to anything that we sell, right. And so just having that, it tells people exactly what to do.

Mike: 22:40 – Yeah. As opposed to these web pages. And I’m guilty of this where you’ve got 17 different programs and click this and this add on with this price and all this stuff that no one can really figure out. I’m coming to your site and I’m like, I’m going to book an intro and that’s my one and only step.

Jay: 22:55 – Yeah. And actually I made those changes to my site in the workshop cause I was like, Oh man, it needs to be so simple.

Mike: 23:04 – I know you’re an action guy. Move right away.

Jay: 23:04 – So they do talk about having a transitional call to action because they kind of described it as like, you know, you meet a woman and you’re like, Hey, would you like to get married? And it’s like they say no like, Hey, would you like to get married? And they say now. Hey would you like to get married, they say now. The fourth time you’re like, Hey, would you like to go for a cup of coffee? Oh, OK. I’ll go for a cup of coffee. And then you go for a cup of coffee and you ask to get married.

Mike: 23:30 – Jay, that’s actually a really good spot for me to just quickly tell a quick story that might put that in perspective. Once upon a time, my hobby gym was not doing so hot and luckily I was friends with a wise wizard named Chris Cooper guy you know. He happened to run Two-Brain Business. Chris talked me down off the ledge. He pointed me to the incubator where I learned how to turn a hobby into a real business. His team could do the same for you out there if you’re listening. If you aren’t ready to talk to a mentor just yet, Chris has more than a dozen guides he’ll send you for free. These things solve a ton of problems, and they can help generate revenue and they don’t cost anything. So if you’re not ready to talk to a mentor just yet, get the whole whack of them for free at End of story. I’m not asking someone to marry me on the first date, just download our stuff. Now back to you, Jay.

Jay: 24:17 – Have a cup of coffee. So yeah, I mean the transitional call to action is like your lead magnet. So lots of different ways to approach this. But basically you create a lead magnet, which is just a free download where people give you their—you create something that solves one of their internal or external problems.

Mike: 24:43 – We’re solving retention for gym owners. We got a great one on that. That’s a great example.

Jay: 24:47 – Yeah. So yeah, for gym owners, that’s a great example. If you’re an actual gym, you know, look at the problems that people are saying that they have when they come into the gym.

Mike: 24:59 – Post-workout nutrition, bringing it on the road. You could think of hundreds of things, right?

Jay: 24:59 – 10 workouts you can do when you don’t have time. Five me your email address and I’ll email you those 10 workouts.

Mike: 25:11 – And I’ve seen some amazing guides from Two-Brain gyms, some really, really cool stuff. They don’t have to be epic necessarily, but I have seen some really actionable stuff that people can download.

Jay: 25:20 – Yeah. I mean the simpler the better. I think just get something out there and you’ll see some traction and that’s a good place to start. You know, I started with something like my transitional call to action is not that great. It’s just like, you know, 10 reasons why you are fit enough to start or something like that, and it’s just going to address the external problem.

Mike: 25:44 – It’s still a step between the big action steps. So that’s the whole point there is that it’s a transitional thing.

Jay: 25:49 – You know, the other thing about transitional calls to action is essentially social media is kind of like a transitional call to action, right? You’re providing a bunch of info along with the story, right? So like, Hey, you don’t have time to work out. Here’s an example of somebody that didn’t have time and now they have found time. You can book a free intro by going into our profile. It’s another kind of version of that. Any sort of content that you produce, any content that you produce, should have that direct call to action in it. And you can view it as a transitional call to action. So then step six is that ends in success. So you basically list all of the things that that will happen or can happen if they follow through.

Mike: 26:47 – So it’s a little bit of features and benefits, old school stuff there necessarily, but framed very differently.

Jay: 26:52 – Yeah. They talk about immediate success, long-term success, specific success, like features, and then general success. You can list as many things here as you can think of, right? So for example, immediate success might be, you know, feel better, right? You do a workout here, you’re going to feel better immediately. Long-term success is you’re going to get stronger, right? Specific success is, we have free parking, you know, or there are 50 classes a week or whatever. And then general success that you would have more confidence, better relationships, etc. So then the last step is help them avoid failure. So the negative consequences that customers will experience if they don’t use your product or service. And this one, you want to basically pick the top three and only use those. You need to highlight what will happen if they don’t take action, but you don’t need to overdo it and scare them.

Mike: 27:48 – So you’re not going to die if you don’t come to my gym. But you definitely won’t accomplish your goals.

Jay: 27:53 – Yeah. You might look back a year from now and say, you wish you would have started today.

Mike: 27:55 – Wish those pants fit.

Jay: 27:58 – Yeah, exactly. And then the last piece that they kind of have as like an underlying thing is you want somebody to transform. You want there to be a character transformation. So you know, what are they going from? And then what are they turning into? Right? So like Luke was, you know, a farm boy and then you turned into a Jedi, you know, somebody at your gym, they might go from average to athlete, you know, whatever. So, there’s sort of a transformation and I mean that’s the entire script. So if you put it all together, it’s kind of like, you know, you’re looking for a gym but you don’t have a lot of time and that leaves you feeling frustrated and guilty. But that’s just wrong because you deserve a better life. We understand what it’s like to feel embarrassed and scared. We’ve helped over 1200 people look better, get stronger and feel better. So all you need to do is book a free intro, get a custom plan, show up and be a badass. And then you will learn to lift safely. You’ll find likeminded people and will get stronger, look better, you’ll have more confidence and you’ll avoid that low energy, low confidence, avoid life being a struggle. We help you go from average to athlete.

Mike: 29:17 – Nice. So if I put that back in the framework, guys, Jay just took you through character, problem guide, action and achievement of success and avoidance of failure. That’s all in that one package. And you’ve got establishing of the authority in there as well. You’ve got that, I think you said 1200 people or there was a number in there that is establishing authority big time.

Jay: 29:37 – Yeah. Yeah. And you know, the thing is like once you have that script, it’s really just kind of a touch point for everything else you do. So all your social media posts should use language from that script. You know all the blog posts you do, all the videos should be telling stories based on that script. The idea is that you always want to touch on different aspects of it. You don’t touch on everything in every post, right? But you touch on different aspects of this so that you’re always inviting people into the story that you’re trying to tell.

Mike: 30:10 – So I have a quote from you here, and I can’t remember where I found this on the internet, but it was in an article and it says most companies waste enormous amounts of money trying to tell their story. The truth is no one cares. People want to hear about their own story, right? So from your perspective, how many gyms out there are making that mistake? There must be tons that are trying to tell the story of their gym, but they’re not getting in touch with the client, am I right?

Jay: 30:35 – Yeah. I mean most of them are.

Mike: 30:38 – I’ll give you an example. Throw an example at you here. BMW changed their tagline. Used to be the ultimate driving machine. So that’s very focused on what they do. High quality. This thing is awesome. We are the experts. This is the coolest car ever. Their new tagline is sheer driving pleasure, and they’re not having the pleasure. That’s you, right? That’s right back on you where the tagline is completely different. I’ll give you one other one. McDonald’s. They had that campaign. It was successful for different reasons, but the two all-beef patty, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame-seed bun. That says very little about the client right. Now, their tagline that’s been the same since I think, 03 or something like that is I’m loving it, which is right back on the person. So these are shifts in business that you’re seeing. And again, Lego has been doing it since 78.

Jay: 31:21 – Yeah. Yeah. I mean the best companies do this. I mean Apple is, you know, the iPod was like 10,000 songs in your pocket or something, which is completely different from talking about like, you know, it has this amount of hard drive and all this kind of stuff. It’s really just about how you’re going to use it. What kind of person it makes you. They story that they’re bringing you into.

Mike: 31:41 – Chris has talked a little bit about this in Two-Brain stuff where he’s made the analogy of, you know, no one goes to the store to buy a drill bit, right? But you go to the store and the guy is like, Oh, this diamond trip tip drill bit. It’s going to just mow down whatever you’re drilling and you don’t care because you don’t actually want the drill, but you just want the hole in the wall. And that’s the analogy Chris has always used.

Jay: 31:58 – Yeah. So the thing that happened after we did this is we used to have this big script that we would follow when we did intros and we basically just tossed it out and just went back to using a blank sheet of paper, right? I mean it was just like, and we used to have like kind of a tour and stuff that we took people through and now it’s like you walk into the gym and we say, Hey, you know, thanks for coming in. This is our gym. It’s mostly empty space. Come with me. We’ll sit down and talk about your goals. And that’s really what the No-Sweat Intro is about. But the thing is like, the whole point is you’re making it all about them. And Oh, by the way, we have showers and changing rooms and lots of free parking. You know? And I think with most gyms, it’s like, Oh, look at all the cool stuff that we have or all the cool stuff that we do, and sometimes that overlaps with the story the customer is telling themselves, you know, you show a buff guy doing a snatch on your website, if there’s a buff guy who wants to learn how to do a snatch, that’s great. But if it’s a, you know, a soccer mom that’s never lifted weights before, those are absolutely opposite stories and you’re not going to get through to that person.

Mike: 33:13 – So to do this, to put all this stuff in place and make it happen, you really need to take like a long hard look at your business and your clients and figure out what problems your ideal clients have and how your business can solve them.

Jay: 33:24 – Yeah. And so one of the things they talk about is just sitting down with your clients. Like we always say, you know, sit down with your best clients. Ask them what are they struggling with? You know, listen to the words that they use. Maybe record it so that you get their actual language. And that’s how you put the script together. The best part about having this is that it’s almost like a playbook for everything else you do, right? Once you have an idea of what the story is, and that idea changes, it’s not always perfect. But you have an idea of what the story is so now you can use that to produce content. And that’s one of the things that we always talk about in Two-Brain is like if you’re not producing consistent content, then people don’t know you’re the authority.

Mike: 34:08 – Yeah. And I guess it’s like going back, if you looked at the story that a lot of CrossFit affiliates were telling say back in, I don’t know, 2009, 2012, something like that you’re looking at, if you’re looking from the outside, you’re seeing, wow, this guy came in as a Navy SEAL. He trained for 18 months and he went to the CrossFit Games and he vomited a lot in between and there was a lot of blood. That was the story a lot of gyms told. Right. And like you said, that applies to like that 1% of people that are out there. We got those guys, like they all came to our gyms, but then the other 99%, that story does resonate with them. They’re not in that story right there. And by definition they’ve been excluded from your marketing, your social media. They don’t feel like they could even come. And that’s why so many gyms have had this problem. CrossFit’s dangerous, I can’t do functional fitness and that’s too hard for me. I’m not in shape to come to your gym. Like that’s probably the funniest one I’ve ever heard. I’m not in shape and I can’t come to your gym. That’s a story gone wrong there. Right?

Jay: 35:02 – Yeah. Yeah. And you know, we don’t really even talk about CrossFit. If you listen to what I said with the script, don’t really talk that much about what we do. You know, it’s more like what you, what the customer wants. Right? Right. Once they come in, they’ll kind of figure it out. But again, it’s talking about the hole, not the drill.

Mike: 35:26 – And there’s a very specific market that wants to do quote unquote CrossFit or functional fitness. But what you’re saying in your story here is that there is a market of people that want to look better, feel better, you know, lose weight, be healthier, whatever that is. And they don’t really care what the product is. They want your, you know, you provide the solution. They just want to work toward that.

Jay: 35:48 – Yeah, to be clear, I mean, there are gyms that are much more competitive and have much higher-level athletes than mine that are going to have a different version of the story. This is the story for my gym based on the people that I work with. And so once I have this, it’s like, OK, great. This is the overall story for the gym. Now I can look at, for example, our teens program and create a story for the teens. You know, it’s like you’re looking for a way to get in shape for softball but you’re not sure what to do and et cetera, et cetera. You can go through the whole thing and it’s actually really easy to do that when you have the overarching story, because then you can just plug it in. Do the same for the strength program or the CrossFit light program.

Mike: 36:39 – So if gym owner or a business owner is listening right now, do you think they need to go to the StoryBrand workshop or what do you think, what’s their step here? If they want to learn more about this?

Jay: 36:49 – I mean I would start by reading the book and just doing the exercises.

Mike: 36:56 – Yeah. That’s “Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message so Customers Will Listen.” Donald Miller, it is an Amazon best seller. I’m looking at it right now. That’s the book.

Jay: 37:06 – Yeah, I would read the book and do the exercises and then once you’ve done them and you have an idea that you’re happy with, run it by either like your mentor or somebody that you trust and just see how it sounds to them. Right. And kind of go through a couple of iterations of that and then look for somebody that can answer when you say, you know, Hey, the problem is that people don’t have enough money. They can tell you like you live in New York City. You need to make sure that the message is not completely off brand. I think if you did that, if gym owners did that, that would be just such a huge step because the ones that I’ve talked to about this kind of thing. It’s like just changing a couple of words on your website makes a difference.

Mike: 37:55 – Yeah, and I’ve talked to a lot of gym owners and the common thing with a lot of them is from media perspective is what do I say? What do I do? What do I put on social media? Is that basic thing like I have no idea what to say to my market. So if they clarify first of all who they’re talking to and what those people need to hear, then that kind of guides the conversation a little bit I think.

Jay: 38:14 – Yeah. And so, the second part of the workshop is we start talking about creating a one liner so that you can answer this stuff pretty quickly and then updating your website. And here’s the different things that make a difference with the website. And then the lead magnet and stuff like that. Ultimately it’s just ways for you to use this language. And it’s ways for you to get it in action. If you wanted to just go and do the quick and dirty version of this and you just like read the book, created the script, just start playing around on Instagram. Just use quotes from things that you wrote in your script and see how it resonates with people, you know, take pictures that represent the things that gives you real-time feedback, how much engagement, how many likes, how many intros did you get. And it will tell you whether it actually works.

Mike: 39:04 – It’s funny cause a lot of this stuff again is not, this is not a rocket science in the sense that it was just invented and these are old-school advertising principles that most people ignore. And it’s funny because when I was writing radio ads back about 10 years ago, I could tell people what I think would be a good ad, but they’d say, no, I don’t want to do that. I just want to tell people about the features of this car, and customers, how many V8 engines can you really listen to before you don’t care? It’s probably like one, you know, unless you’re a gear head. Is there anything about the program, the StoryBrand concept and the framework and everything that kind of just didn’t work for you or you were sitting there listening, you’re like, man, I don’t know if that’s going to work at my gym or I want to kind of, you know, punt that part out. Is there anything that gym owners you think might run into something where they just, you know, skip that chapter kind of thing?

Jay: 39:51 – You know, I think most of it resonated. I think really the big thing and why and why I grabbed onto it so much is like you, I’ve just read so many different things about copywriting and trying to get people through ads or through writing to do what you want them to do. Right. And this was just like a new perspective on how to do that. But if it’s the first exposure you’ve ever had to copywriting then you’re not gonna get it at the same level, right? So, you know, it may be like you go through this whole thing and you’re like, eh, whatever doesn’t work for me. The biggest thing that you gotta do is just iterate through it and make sure that it actually resonates with you personally and with your clients and then track the results. Right? This is not a magic pill at all. Like you put it together, you try it, you see what the feedback is. You can actually look at your revenue over time and see if it makes a difference. So I wouldn’t say there’s anything I’d throw out, but I would say that it’s not the end state, it’s just the beginning.

Mike: 41:09 – And a lot of the things that we’ve talked about here, like lead magnets and sales processes and all that different stuff. We’re talking about a lot of that in Two-Brain Radio right now. So, people should subscribe, check our archives. I’ve got a series going right now with Mateo Lopez where we’re talking about all this stuff, copywriting, ad creative, landing pages, all the stuff that kind of goes along with the marketing package. So there’s a ton of that in there. I’ll give you, you watch Mad Men or have you watched that?

Jay: 41:32 – I watched the first few seasons.

Mike: 41:33 – Yeah. So I’ll give you a quote from a old Don Draper here. Just relates to what you said. “Advertising is based on one thing: Happiness. You know what happiness is. Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear.” So what he’s talking about there is that desired state, right? It’s like there’s success. That’s that new-car smell that smells like success. And then there’s the freedom of fear, which is the absence of failure and the negative things you talked about trying to avoid. So it’s really addressed to see how gyms can now use this to sort of frame their offerings essentially and try and generate clients. Do you have any tests planned or anything that you’re going to try and use this for the next little bit to see what happens?

Jay: 42:14 – Yeah. I mean, so what I did after I got back from this, is I ran all the stuff by my staff, because ultimately they’re the ones that deliver the stuff. And so I ran it by the staff and said, Hey, you know, do you resonate with this message, and once we kinda got all in agreement with that, I just started changing the website. Completely redid our website based on this.

Mike: 42:40 – What’s the website if people want to go look at it?

Jay: 42:42 –

Mike: 42:42 – All right, so check that out if you want to see an example. And of course the StoryBrand website as well. Like I said, the tagline on there tells you exactly, I mean, there’s not a lot to—when I was looking through the StoryBrand website, there’s not a ton of options. They’re kind of pushing, you know, bluntly over and over again, here’s what we do and we do it well, and they’ve got the whole social proof. And if you look at the StoryBrand website and you look at a really good gym website, you’re going to see some commonalities for sure.

Jay: 43:06 – Yeah, I mean really it’s like the expectation is not the first time you go to StoryBrand that you’re going to sign up, but you’ll know what to do if you want to do it. You go and do whatever their call to action is. It’s book a free intro. And I don’t expect that you’re going to do that the first time you come in. You’re going to see my blog post. You can see our social media and then you’re going to come back around.

Mike: 43:35 – And that social media and all the stuff that you’re producing is going to be framed the way you want it to reflect that message that you’re putting out on the call to action.

Jay: 43:43 – Yeah. And you know the other part about this, like when I look at websites, and think about yourself when you look at websites, you’re just scanning stuff. And so you just want to gather the information that’s going to tell you if this is going to solve your problem, right? So the more stuff that you put on there, the less you’re going to resonate with people. And so I simplified the site tremendously. I removed almost everything, and it works. I mean I’ve been getting more free intros since we started changing the language and we tweak and change it from time to time, but it works.

Mike: 44:17 – And that’s really what everyone wants. If it works, you know, you said it, track your data. If you try something and the numbers don’t prove it out. Get rid of it. If the numbers do, prove it out, keep her going. And that’s exactly is just a common—it’s common sense, but it’s also what we teach at Two-Brain regularly, is always analyze the results and if it doesn’t get better, punt it.

Jay: 44:38 – Yeah. The other thing, the way that I test any new language is I’ll put it on my Facebook ads. So I’ll run like a bunch of different pictures and then test different language with the same picture and see which one gets the most clicks and then get rid of the bad ones.

Mike: 44:59 – Facebook is a great place to test things like that. You can AB test, like John and Mateo, the marketing team was telling me in our previous podcast, with dynamic creative, a new service, you can test like huge combinations of taglines and photos and copy and Facebook will find out which one works and start pumping that one up. Get rid of the rest. So it’s an amazing place to test your marketing.

Jay: 45:18 – So yes, but this is why the StoryBrand fit in really well. Here’s the thing, I heard this quote from Seth, the guy who writes all the books. He said if you optimize your website enough, it will turn into a porn site. And that’s true. Like it gets so far away from the message and so much in different version that it changes into something else. Right. And that’s part of what I was kind of struggling with ads cause the best performing ads were not the ones that necessarily had the language that I agreed with. Right. And so this gives you a base to start with the language and then you can tweak little things here or there and then you see what kind of clients you get in and you see if they actually resonate with your message.

Mike: 46:05 – Yeah. I can tell you right now the, you know, the five people at my gym that I can throw up and get a hundred likes on Instagram, no questions asked. But it’s not because people want to come to the gym.

Jay: 46:17 – Yeah, exactly. It’s because of other reasons.

Mike: 46:20 – Exactly. OK. So wrapping this up then, is StoryBrand the be-all-end-all? Is it the answer to your marketing problems, is the end of the story I went to the StoryBrand marketing workshop and I became a millionaire?

Jay: 46:34 – No, I wouldn’t say it’s the end all be all. I think it’s a good system that gives you a framework. But really the big picture of this is like if you’re running a business, you’re in charge of your own marketing and you need to learn sales and marketing to be able to run a successful business. It’s really the difference between success and failure. Good marketing and good sales can solve almost any problem in business. And so it’s important for you to go out and learn everything you can to make sure that your message resonates with your clients. And this is one way that you can make some progress on that.

Mike: 47:08 – And that that is why we have sales and marketing and our Incubator. It’s not enough to be a great trainer anymore. You have to be a good business owner to be successful. And you teach that to your clients as a mentor, correct?

Jay: 47:19 – Yeah, absolutely. I mean we are always trying and tweaking and testing things and really catering it towards that particular business owner.

Mike: 47:31 – All right, that is the end of the story, but it will be continued in next episodes. Be sure to subscribe toTwo-Brain Radio. Chris Cooper is here all the time with all sorts of advice. I’m talking with Mateo Lopez regularly. We’re doing marketing stuff in a series right now. And you’ve got Sean Woodland who’s talking to the top people from the fitness world. Thanks for listening. I’m Mike Warkentin for Jay Williams and this is Two-Brain Radio. Please remember to subscribe. If you’re a gym owner and 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.

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Dogging It in Every WOD: Alex Castiglione and Bully Breeds

Dogging It in Every WOD: Alex Castiglione and Bully Breeds

Sean: 00:05 – Hi everybody. Welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. On today’s episode, I speak with the founder of the charitable organization, Barbells for Bullies, Alex Castiglione. First: Over the last months, I’ve interviewed some really great guests like Stacie Tovar, Tanya Wagner, Boz, Adrian Bozman, Chris Hinshaw, Rory Mckernan, Julie Foucher and more. If you’ve missed out on any of those interviews, you can check out our archives for the best stories from the fitness community, and to avoid FOMO, please subscribe to Two-Brain Radio. I’ve got a great guest coming every single week. Alex Castiglione is an everyday CrossFitter who wanted to do something to help dogs, so he started Barbells for Bullies back in 2016. Barbells for Bullies is a nonprofit organization that hosts fitness competitions all around the United States to raise money and awareness for animal rescues all across the country, with a specific emphasis on bully breeds. Alex and I talk about what motivated him to start his organization, the various misconceptions that are out there regarding bully breeds and what people can do in their own communities if they want to help local shelters or rescues. Thanks for listening everybody. Alex, thanks so much for doing this, man, how are you?

Alex: 01:24 – I’m doing well, Sean. Thanks for having me. How are you doing?

Sean: 01:27 – I’m doing great, thank you. It’s my pleasure. Before we get into what Barbells for Bullies is, let’s get into you and how you got into CrossFit. How did you find CrossFit?

Alex: 01:39 – I can thank my sister and my brother-in-law, in Feb 2012, so eight years coming up on it, OG, they just brought me to the gym once, I boxed in high school, kind of fell off in college and I was partying and drinking beer and they just brought me to a gym and it was so bad. I threw up three times my first workout. And I fell in love with it. It was wall balls, kettlebell swings and box jumps. And I was not prepared. I was not prepared.

Sean: 02:06 – When people haven’t experienced like that, they usually then don’t repeat it. What kept you coming back?

Alex: 02:13 – That’s my personality. I’m a chronic challenge seeker. I’m a glutton for punishment I think. But yeah, I enjoyed it. I loved the community aspect of it and we could chat about that a little later. But yeah, the community was great. It didn’t matter if you were dead lifting 315 or 95 pounds, everybody there was just so welcoming and just respectful and engaging. And that’s what made me fall in love with just the culture.

Sean: 02:34 – Where did your love for dogs and especially bully breeds come from?

Alex: 02:40 – That’s kind of a long story. So really, I’ve always been around dogs. My mom used to breed Pomeranians and like I would always go to dog shows. So it’s kind of funny that now I’m associated with like pitbulls and these big bully breeds. But I got my first bully 15 years ago. His name was Chops, one of the best dogs ever, man, he was just sweet, 115 pounds, snuggle monster and he was just a great dog. He got me through a lot, like my father had three or four heart surgeries and I just had him sit in with me on the couch and stuff like that. And then suddenly he passed in August the 20th, perforated the small intestine had to have surgery. So my wife and I spent thousands we didn’t have to try and save him, and he didn’t make it.

Sean: 03:28 – Sorry you dropped off really fast there, I’m gonna have to edit that out. There was—you just dropped off. Can we just start again on that? Here we go. So three, two, one. Where did your love for dogs and especially bully breeds come from?

Alex: 03:43 – Okay, so that’s kind of a long story. First and foremost, I always had dogs around my mom, bred Pomeranians. I was always in dog shows when I was a kid. And my first bully, I got about 15 years ago, his name was Chops, he’s a rescue, obviously best dog ever, 115 pounds of snuggle, just all around awesome dog. And that’s really when I started to learn about the bully breeds and just how they were vilified and people would pick up their kids and run across the street when they saw him and when he wanted to do was snuggle. And unfortunately we lost him in August of 2014 which was kind of the catalyst for Barbells for Bullies. And we can talk about that later, but he’s the one that really made me fall in love with the breed overall. And it’s not even really a breed and we can discuss that.

Sean: 04:28 – Yeah. What about that there is a stigma behind bully breeds. First off, where does that come from?

Alex: 04:36 – I think it’s media based and it’s also socially based. So the media, they need a villain. I think it was Cesar Millan that said that, you know, in the 70s it was Dobermans, in the 80s it was German shepherds and the 90s it was rottweilers. Now it’s bully breeds. And the reason that we like to say bully breeds and not pit bull is because there’s no such thing as a pit bull. That is a blanket term used to describe a dog that has certain characteristics that looks a certain way, has a certain build, a certain type of head. Bully breeds are Bulldogs, great Danes. Pugs are a bully breed. And then of course your American pitbull terrier amstaffs, things like that. So it’s really—it’s the media and it’s a bunch and I hate saying like, ph the media did it. But there’s a lot of stigma out there, and I’ve even talked to journalists where they’ve said it’s a very “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality where if it’s, you know, a pug will bite somebody, oh, don’t worry about it. Oh, pit bull attacks somebody, let’s put that in the headlines. And they make sure the breed is always there. But I mean we could discuss this, breed specific legislation which was put on the books to combat, you know, dangerous breeds, has never worked. It’s never stopped a dog bite. And frankly it’s the equivalent of racism where we’re discriminating against dogs for looking a certain way through not blaming their behavior. We’re just kind of saying you look a certain way, therefore you’re bad, and that’s obviously problematic.

Sean: 05:55 – What then motivated you to start Barbells for Bullies?

Alex: 05:58 – So initially I wanted to do something cause we went to a shelter two months after we lost Chops. All I did for those two months was just 90-minute sessions in the gym. The three-hour beat downs just cause going home and not having him greet me, it was tough. I mean you have dogs, you know, it’s tough. But eventually I worked up the courage to go to the shelter and adopt, and I noticed every single room, every single one was full of pit-bull type dogs. Every one of them. And then the one that was like a shepherd had an adopted stand by it. So I was like, I need to do something. I thought about it and this is in October of 2014, thought about it, said something and my wife, kicked the idea around. I had the idea, well we do all these CrossFit competitions where we pay, you know, a hundred bucks for an entry fee.

Alex: 06:43 – Where’s that going? Why don’t we do a charity event and see what we can do to raise the money. So we held our first event in June of 2016, but was really the catalyst is going to the shelter in Atlanta and seeing this is a problem and evidently it’s a problem everywhere and we can discuss that more in depth.

Sean: 06:58 – When you give people your elevator pitch for not only what you do but for Barbells for Bullies, what surprises in the most about the stats and facts that you give them about that breed?

Alex: 07:11 – I think the most shocking number is 1.2 million, I’ll say 1.2 million dogs every year in the U.S. are euthanized in shelters. That’s the population of Dallas, Texas, every single year. And then you could give them more stats, like pitbull-type dogs score higher on AKC temperament scale than every other dog, except for Labradors, they’re fantastic family pets.

Alex: 07:37 – I mean they’re misidentified over 60% of the time, where they’re just like oh, it looks like a pit bull. Meanwhile we do a DNA test and it has nothing to do with it. One of our dogs, for instance, Moxie, she’s a black bully mix, we swore she was amstaff and Labrador. We did her DNA, bloodhound border Collie and like 22% amstaff, like barely even Pitbull type dog. So it’s just proof that looks are deceiving. But those are the stats, when I bring those up, people are very much like 1.2 million, really? I’m like, yeah, and over half of them are pit bull type dogs. That’s not representative.

Sean: 08:09 – Why did you think that the CrossFit world and then the world of dog rescue were a good match for each other?

Alex: 08:18 – I honestly didn’t. I really didn’t. I took a shot. I saw that there were a bunch of competitions going on. We did some charity events. I didn’t think that there would be this correlation or just it would be that accepted. But it really was, and I’ve had people make the point to me when we’re discussing where CrossFitters and bully breeds kind of have something in common where they can come across as too intense or be intimidating in the way they look. But in reality, they’re just incredibly nice people, incredibly nice dogs. So I think there’s something there that we can kind of tease out a little bit, but I think that’s, to put a fine point on it, that, and people just, they love their animals, they’re emotionally attached and if they can do something that’s in aligned with their lifestyles that makes a difference in the world, they’ll do it. And that’s kind of where we’re garnering some traction at.

Sean: 09:05 – When you first started this, where did your initial efforts look like?

Alex: 09:11 – So me being again, a chronic challenge seeker, our first ever event was in June, 2016. It took six months of planning. We had 80 competitors, which was huge for our first event. And then about three months later, four months later, we did another one. So we did two events our first year.

Alex: 09:28 – There’s unknown unknowns. Like we went into it, I was all buttoned up but of course we had some things go off the rails or timing was off or we had to reevaluate our standards. I mean I remember now in our standards we have to put your heels must cross the plane of the box cause we had people Miami Vice rolling over for burpee box jump overs and I’m just like, I didn’t say you couldn’t. They’re getting from one side of the box to the other. So that I think it—those were our initial efforts, doing those two events. But we grew exceptionally quick and that was something we had to manage. Where in 2017 we did six events or seven events in six cities and big markets. So Atlanta, LA, Denver, New York and Danbury, Connecticut. And then in 2018 we did 12 events in 10 cities. So we had some twofers in some cities. So in 2019 we scaled back a little bit and concentrated on refining everything and really trying to figure out how we can turn this into a force for good, cause we were garnering some more momentum in the space thanks to you and people like you in sport.

Sean: 10:29 – What were the challenges that you face early on as you tried to gain traction with Barbells for Bullies?

Alex: 10:36 – I think it was really, it was more scalability than anything else, cause I work full time in addition to this, I’m also a grad student, so my expertise is in advertising and marketing space, so that kind of came easy. But other people I talked to in other gyms, they say that’s their challenge. For us it was scalability and not taking on too much too quickly and just growing organically because we would get a ton of inquiries and people that wanted to get involved. But frankly there’s only so many hours in a day. So scalability was the real touch point for us, that was something that we really had to learn about going into it.

Sean: 11:10 – How then did you apply what you learned and then take care of the problem?

Alex: 11:15 – I think it was really coming down to checking our ego at the door and not getting too emotionally invested and knowing that we’re going to make mistakes, we’re going to have to optimize. With most of our events, we do a post-event recaps and surveys and I read every single response. I want to know what people are saying. And by and large, we do a great job. I mean obviously there’s always incremental places to improve, but every now and then you’ll read that one person that’s like the BPM of the music in WOD 3 was way too slow, it’s like, yes, of all the things that went into this event, that was what I talking about, not how it was registration. How was the staff? How was the judging, how was the rescue on site? Yes. I was talking about the iPod that was running while we were counting your reps. But overall, I mean, I think it’s honestly just taking stock of it and avoiding mission creep and remembering we’re doing this to affect positive change in our community and just creating a community that can rally around fitness and rescue.

Sean: 12:09 – You talked about this a little bit, but when did things really start to take off for your organization?

Alex: 12:19 – I’ll give you different answers at different times for that. At least twice a year I say to my wife like, Oh, this is our tipping point, but I don’t know if I want to say take off. I mean, I’m 100% aware that we would be nowhere without the support of the community of athletes everywhere. People like yourself and just of the population at large, and I would, I’m not concerned with the notoriety or anything like that. I’m doing this to kind of move the needle. Again, I think I mentioned this, we’re volunteer based. I don’t pay myself. I’m not going to pay myself until we hit a certain number of revenue every year just because that’s taking away from what we’re trying to do. Right? Like, I want to donate as much money as possible, help as many rescues as possible. But I’d love it if five years from now we have to rebrand because bully breeds weren’t vilified in the media or they were getting adopted at alarming speed or they were the new it dog or whatever. But we’re not there yet. And ultimately I just want to get people active, get them engaged and get them to have some skin in the game in the rescue community.

Sean: 13:17 – What are some of the things that you’ve been able to accomplish? Not from an event standpoint, but really helping organizations or dogs that you’re the most proud of?

Alex: 13:26 – I mean that’s a loaded question, Sean, it really is. I mean we just had a milestone this past year as of you know, fourth quarter 19 we’ve donated over $100,000 as an organization. I’m extremely proud of that. But more than the money, cause you know, anybody can throw numbers out there. It’s having the conversations and changing minds. We did one event in Denver in 2018 where I was chatting with somebody and they’re just like, Hey, you know, I don’t have a pit bull but I have a dog. What’s this all about? And we’re just talking to them. And I was like, Hey, did you know that there’s breed-specific legislation in Denver where if I’m driving from Arvada to Aurora driving across the city and I have a pit bull in my car and a cop happens to know the law and wants to enforce it, he could legally take the dog.

Alex: 14:08 – And they’re like, really? I’m like, yeah, didn’t get out of the car, didn’t do anything, didn’t growl, tail wagging, whatever. They can take the dog, and just little aha moments like that where they’re like, Oh. And I’m like, yeah, it’s up for a vote and vote it down. If you can volunteer or shelter advocate, that’s the thing. And whenever we do events that we personally run, always do a little spiel at the end and talk about it. And just when I tell people, you know, it’s just random acts of kindness, you all can can make a difference. Like I’m not special. I just had an idea and I ran with it and I don’t know how to give up, but there’s not much else I can do that you can’t. You can do it. You can do what I do, basically.

Sean: 14:44 – Hey guys, before we go any further with Alex Castiglione, I wanted to ask you a question. Remember when pictures of bloody hands and vomit attracted clients to your gym? Well that stopped working in about 2011 or so. It’s also not enough to be a great coach or programmer. The key to success in 2020 is building a personal relationship with each client, then helping that client’s friends and family. Total ad spend on that? $0. The average gym owner can also add $45,000 a year in revenue just by keeping each client a few months longer. Two-Brain’s new Affinity Marketing and Retention guides will give you everything you need to know. You can get both and 13 other guides and books for free. Visit And now more with Alex Castiglione.

Sean: 15:43 – There’s that saying where it’s there are not bad dogs, there are bad owners. How much responsibility do owners bear in sort of perpetuating this perception that bullies are dangerous?

Alex: 15:59 – I think there’s a lot of onus on the owner and I get really upset when I see people either A walking around with unaltered pit bull type dogs, which aside from the fact that we’re full, like we’re all full, we have plenty of typical type dogs in shelters. Neutering your dog reduces a whole bunch of behavioral issues, they’re less likely to run away, a whole bunch of stuff like that. But then moreover, I hate when I see people that have like the chain collars on their dog, you know, like I don’t even know, it’s like actual chain and they made into a collar to make them look mean or they cropped their ears. But ultimately it’s the owner’s responsibility to make sure that dog is safely handled. And a lot of these things you read about in the news about somebody being attacked or any dog-related issue, you can almost invariably point to the owner and be like, well the owner didn’t secure it, it wasn’t on a leash, what have you.

Alex: 16:48 – And then in a lot of cases, right, quote unquote “pitbulls” involved, if you read up on it, it’ll be like, Oh, pit bull mauls Chihuahua. And then if you read the story, that Chihuahua was off leash, ran up to the dog and the dog just reacted. So I just like to tell people, you know, it all starts with responsible pet ownership, we’re responsible for these dogs and we need to keep them safe and keep our community safe. But it’s definitely the owner. There’s no such thing as bad dogs, just bad owners. And all of these behaviors are learned. Dogs are inherently good.

Sean: 17:16 – What are some of the events or partnerships that you have executed recently?

Alex: 17:21 – Well we’ve been super busy in fourth quarter, fourth quarter, 2019, we had two events back to back that were proofs of concept, but very successful. So we had Ruck Your Balls Off co-branded with GORUCK. Yeah, I love the name, you can thank my wife for that. So what that was was a co-branded initiative with GORUCK where essentially people would sign up and they would ruck, you know, walk with a weighted pack to raise money and awareness for spay-neuter initiatives around the country. Now we’re Barbells for Bullies. Our focus is bully breeds but we help all dogs. So with Ruck Your Balls Off, we managed to donate over $12,000 to various spay-neuter initiatives around the country like Chicago animal, care and control, snip bus, which is actually a mobile spay neuter clinic that’s in California, in your neck of the woods, lifeline in Atlanta.

Alex: 18:06 – And then the Pitty project in New Jersey who provides free spay neuter for any pit bull type dog. So that was a huge win for us. And then also we did something co-branded with our friends at vetwod benefiting operation side kick. What they do is they train primarily pitbull type dogs but shelter dogs to be therapy or PTSD dogs for veterans at no cost to the veteran, which there’s tons of research for that and obviously in the CrossFit community we do these hero WODs to honor our servicemen that paid the ultimate sacrifice, it makes sense for that synergy. And in that initiative, again proof of concept, we donated 7,500 bucks to them and we have a little more on the way cause we had a peer to peer fundraising element that was up. As far as the partnerships, we had a brand partnership with Hylete where half the profits from their Barbells for Bullies T-shirts go directly back to us.

Alex: 18:53 – We also just announced a partnership with 2Pood where we’re going to have two different bells, a underdog bells, and also Barbells for Bullies bells and then we have some other ones that are in the works that I don’t want to release yet. But suffice it to say that they’re big names in the CrossFit space and it’s just amazing to have all these brands that are willing to affect positive change in their community across all metrics, whether it’s animal rescue with us or just other things, like GORUCK has a Travis Mannion foundation, Green Beret foundation, Navy SEAL foundation. So it’s amazing that we’re seeing all these big fitness corporations and organizations really get behind charitable giving.

Sean: 19:28 – What is the underdog fund?

Alex: 19:30 – All right, so the underdog fund, the best way I can describe it is a discretionary fund that we have to alleviate some of the issues that we’ve seen in our lives. So what it is is it’s a discretionary fund where we pay for emergency surgeries, adoption fees, rescue pull fees. So for instance, a lot of rescues, they won’t be able to pull a dog from a high kill shelter unless they have the funding. And we consistently got tagged for the last three and a half years on all these social media posts that were asking us, you know, just tagging us like, Hey, anything you can do to help. Well, if 200 bucks gets a dog off death row and provides the incentive for a vetted and licensed rescue to pull that dog, I’ll do that all day long. So we created it out of a need and to date or just this year alone, we’ve spent over $3,000 providing emergency veterinary services, sponsoring dogs for rescue. And we even paid for the bulk of the TPLO surgery and knee surgery for a dog that was in the shelter walking around with two broken legs.

Alex: 20:33 – So that’s really the underdog fund. It just arose from a need where we saw people tagging us. And while we do donate all of our net proceeds to a local rescue in that community, again, we don’t take this money and run. If we do an event in Buffalo, it goes to a rescue in Buffalo, you know, San Jose, same thing, you know, Denver, same thing. With the underdog fund though, we needed to do more and we were in a position to do that. It’s a fundraising and awareness raising organization. So that’s what we’re doing with the underdog fund.

Sean: 20:59 – What do you guys have on the horizon now?

Alex: 21:02 – Well the sun. Dad jokes aside, we have a bunch of events coming up. So in 2019 we branched out outside of the CrossFit space. While that’s still our meat and potatoes, we did a USAW sanctioned and local weightlifting competition, which was awesome.

Alex: 21:19 – So a lot of crazy strong athletes there. Shout out to Hampton Morris, 16-year-old kid, guarantee you this kid will be in the Olympics. He snatched at 61 kilo body weight, a hundred kilo at 15 years old. Kid’s savage. So if you’re listening, shout out to him, he will be going to the Olympics most likely. We have other partnerships that we’re working on. So I just got off the phone with a GORUCK actually, we’re going to do another Ruck Your Balls Off initiative in the spring or summer, just doing our satellite events. And then also in 2020 I wanted to make it more accessible cause a lot of gyms they want to get involved but they don’t have the square footage or the know how, the logistics and we do that, if you reach out to us to host a competition, we handle everything.

Alex: 22:03 – Excess boots on the ground. All you need to do is have warm bodies and people that can count reps. We take care of everything else. I mean we do the marketing and we take care of prize fulfillment, shirts, you know, score sheets, you name it. Cause you’ve done 30 of these, we kind of came up with a system. But that’s a lot and people still want to get involved. So what we started to do is if you want to do a charity workout, if you want to have your gym be like a preferred partner for our online competition series that we’re launching in a few weeks. Again, we could talk about that, if you want to be a preferred gym, kind of like a Festivus Games or the Granite Games where people can drop into your gym and do the WOD there, awesome. So we’re just trying to think of more ways to get people involved in this community.

Alex: 22:43 – Cause again, if it’s about community and fitness that rallies around rescue, we’re a part of it. So we’re just kind of optimizing and creating more opportunities for gyms. Either CrossFit, weightlifting, power lifting or RUCK clubs or anything like that to get involved. The only thing we’re kind of staying away from is, you know your 5ks and things like that because a lot of shelters already do that and we’re not trying to step on that. Whenever people are like, Oh I want to donate to you. I’m like donate to your shelter. Just sign up for a comp. Like we want to give you an experience. I don’t want your money.

Sean: 23:12 – You had Dave Castro on Instagram doing some of the workouts that I think you guys posted. How did that help you sort of get the word out about this online competition?

Alex: 23:21 – Yeah, that was a huge and completely accidental. We didn’t reach out to him, so that was awesome. I think a operation sidekick might’ve, but our website traffic went insane and we got another like I think a hundred signups within a couple of days. We extended the deadline for that. But yeah, that was for Sitruck and we got 250 athletes involved and Miranda and Julian at Street Parking programmed it. So community is great. I mean I’m preaching to the choir, you know how supportive and amazing this community is. And I’m so floored every day whenever we open up our Instagram or I open up our email and people are like, Hey, I want to get involved, how can I help? And I’m like, faith in humanity restored.

Sean: 24:01 – What’s the reaction you get from the CrossFit community or even the strength community when they take part in one of your events?

Alex: 24:10 – Very extremely thankful and that’s sort of surprising to me and I’m so humbled by it and I just tell them like, no, like thank you. Like really? Like this would be nothing without you coming here and dedicating your time, sweat and effort and money to register for these events. They’ve been nothing but supportive and a lot of people have actually gotten more involved in rescue because of us. And that’s, I said, exceptionally humbling. Like I didn’t imagine it was going to be like this when I started it in 2016, it was supposed to just be a one off in Atlanta. Like where we just did an annual comp in Atlanta, it turned out problem everywhere and we have work to do everywhere and we’re going to continue to rise to that call.

Sean: 24:48 – You mentioned that people will contact, you said they want to get involved. What is the best thing people can do locally in their own communities to help dogs in need?

Alex: 25:00 – Just care. That’s the bottom line. And not everybody has to, you know, host an event or raise a bunch of money or donate thousands of dollars, like adopt, really just adopt a dog from a shelter. If you can’t do that, foster, we’ve personally fostered four dogs here at Barbells for Bullies HQ, our house. And that’s immensely rewarding. Is it tough? Yeah. But every dog we fostered has been on the urgent list and would have been euthanized and it turns out I still get texts from their owners now where they’re amazing dogs. So foster please everybody. If you have the space and you don’t really want to adopt or you’re not sure, just foster, I guarantee you you’re going to have at least one foster fail. Advocate, educate. If somebody says something ignorant, you know, check them on it. I admittedly have to disengage when people say ignorant stuff about pitbulls where I just have to be like, you know what?

Alex: 25:49 – We’re not getting into this right now. Here’s my website. Read some more information. But really it would just be just care. Go to your local shelter, walk dogs. There’s plenty of research and if people want to see this, email me, I’ll send it to you, that scientifically quantifies that dogs that get out and go for walks or do like a dog for the day program are less prone to cage rage. They’re not going to break down. They’re going to be more easily adopted, more easily acclimated. There’s a whole bunch of research in that regard. Just really get involved in any capacity, even if it’s donating blankets or newspapers, whatever you can do. Any random act of kindness is step in the right direction in my book. And that’s really what I tell people is you don’t have to participate with us. Just go to your local shelter and volunteer. They’re happy to have the help.

Sean: 26:33 – What’s the reaction you get from the organizations that you help?

Alex: 26:39 – Usually they’re floored. Cause a lot of them have come to an event and they’re just like, Oh, okay, cool. You know, we’re going to get a couple hundred bucks and then we’ll hit them with a $5,000 check. And they’re like, are you serious? This is amazing. And we love that reaction. Admittedly, we want to help smaller rescues, local rescues that are doing great work in the community rather than, you know, a large state-run ASPCA or humane society because they have the budget, they’re going to get government grants, they have the manpower, they have the resources. But we want to help these small organizations that are boots on the ground, pulling dogs from high-kill shelters, really out there in the community and advocating. But the reaction from them is obviously very thankful, but a lot of times I think they’re floored cause they don’t realize that we can really generate a lot of revenue and a lot of awareness from, you know, something like a fitness event where if you had a CrossFitter, a lot of these people that are in the rescue world, you know, they’re not involved in it and you just see their eyes bugging out of their head. Like, did that woman just dead lift 225? Yes. Yes she did. Yes she did.

Sean: 27:40 – We talked about how people can get involved locally. If there are people who say, Hey, I’m really into this Barbells for Bullies thing. I either want to host an event or I want to get involved with them, how can they go about doing that?

Alex: 27:50 – Just email us emails. The emails go to either and my wife or I, so If you want to host an event, we’ll send you some information ranging, like I said, from community events to competitions, online events to being a preferred partner to a full blown official comp where like myself and a small contingent of my team will go out there, we’ll run the entire event soup to nuts and make it like a whole event experience. But really we’re down to collaborate with anybody as long as they have a awesome rescue involved, people that are dedicated to fitness and wellness and being active. We want to be involved with you. So just hit us with an email, go to our website and you can email me directly. It’s

Sean: 28:32 – The work that you do and that rescues do is not easy whatsoever. What keeps you motivated day to day and coming back for more?

Alex: 28:44 – That’s a great question and it’s a tough one. My wife and I were talking about this the other day when we went to a fundraiser event for Friends of the Forlorn Pitbull rescue in Georgia, the guy that runs it, Jason Flatt, is just amazing. I mean, he’ll get up at three in the morning and drive to Florida to rescue dogs from like a dog fighting ring. He’s fantastic. And we were talking, I couldn’t do that side of rescue. It’s just so emotionally taxing and my heart goes out to you if you’re a rescue worker. Thank you for the work you do. It’s amazing. But I physically, I personally couldn’t do that. So what we can do is we can raise funds and we can raise awareness to keep that needle moving forward. Now what keeps me motivated is when I can hand that check to that small rescue and see their eyes light up and knowing that they could go pull 10, 12, dogs from a shelter.

Alex: 29:35 – But really it’s seeing the minds being changed, seeing the incremental steps, having these conversations people and like I alluded to, I work full time and I’m a grad student so this takes up maybe 30 hours of my week working on Barbells for Bullies and sometimes I think I need my head examined, but then when I can DM that rescue like, Hey that surgery bill you put up for 500 bucks, it’s covered. Hit me with your PayPal info. That makes it worthwhile. You know? Or just knowing that I can get people to have a buddy like Chops was to me in their life. Cause when I see these stats, like 1 in 600 pitbulls makes it out of the shelter alive, I think about the 599 that could be somebody’s best friend that won’t have that chance because of all these issues we’re talking about. Spay neuter is enforced as it should be. It should be the vilification of pitbulls, just that, all of that. But what keeps me motivated are probably those three things and it’s again, and rescue people power to you.

Sean: 30:33 – Yeah. Alex, listen man, thank you so much for doing this and honestly thank you for everything that you’re doing and just, you know, it’s like you said, faith in humanity restored when I’m able to talk to people like yourself and if there’s any ever anything I can do to help, please let me know.

Alex: 30:49 – I appreciate that Sean and again, thank you for the time and thank you for rescuing and doing everything you do and yeah, thanks. I really appreciate this

Sean: 30:57 – Big thanks to Alex Castiglione for taking the time to talk with me and for all the great work he does through his organization. If you want to follow Barbells for Bullies on social media, they are on Instagram and you can find them at @barbellsforbullies, and their website is Thank you for listening to Two-Brain Radio. Please remember to subscribe and leave us a review. I’m Sean Woodland and I’ll be back with more great stories from the fitness community each and every week. Be sure to check out our archives for interviews with your favorite athletes, coaches, and personalities. Thanks 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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Using Organic Content to Support Advertising

Using Organic Content to Support Advertising

Mike: 00:03 – Oh. This is delicious. Mateo, this stuff is amazing. You gotta try this. You gotta try this stuff.

Mateo: 00:03 – Mike, we’re on the air, dude. What are you eating?

Mike: 00:13 – I’m eating organic social media. It is so healthy. You would not believe it. It’s totally free of ad dollars and sales funnels. It’s the most delicious stuff you’re ever going to taste.

Mateo: 00:21 – Ah, well, I mean it may say USDA Organic on it, but actually dude, if you’re talking about social media posts, organic posts, you know, those are actually boosted. They’re only sort of organic.

Mike: 00:36 – What? I’ve got the bag right here. I got the bag right here. It’s–oh, it says contents might be boosted. This is nonsense. False advertising. I’m upset. I think what we need to do is probably devote the next 30 minutes or so, to figuring out, you know, organic, boosted how this stuff works and figure out how we can use those organic posts that are actually organic to grow your business. What do you say?

Mateo: 00:58 – I mean, it sounds like a plan.

Mike: 01:01 – All right, let’s do it. This is Two-Brain Radio. We are looking at organic media today and how it supports the things that you do to grow your business.

Mike: 01:10 – Want to add $5,000 in monthly revenue to your gym? It can be done. If you want to know how, you can talk to a Two-Brain Business mentor for free. Book a call at today. All right, we are back and I am just brushing the crumbs of a falsely labeled organic social-media off my chest. I’m here with Mateo Lopez marketing expert from Two-Brain Marketing. We’re talking organic content material. Mateo, your expertise is in paid and boosted content, correct?

Mateo: 01:37 – That’s correct.

Mike: 01:38 – But there is some overlap between these things, correct?

Mateo: 01:41 – Yes.

Mike: 01:41 – All right. We’re going to go over that. We’re going to talk to you guys about how this whole thing works. First of all, I’m going to talk to you about organic content. Organic content is defined as content you see on social media or websites that is free from paid advertising dollars or boosting behind it, so it’s just the stuff you put up. Pictures of dog, pictures of your cat. If you’re a person, or just pictures of your members, things like that. If you’re a business, paid content is obviously when you’re putting advertising dollars behind something. So the first thing we’re going to talk about, Mateo, is organic reach and how it is dying. Correct?

Mateo: 02:20 – Yeah, we could talk about that. I also want to make just quick note here for those who are just listening and aren’t able to watch this recording here, Mike’s got, for the Iron Maiden fans out there, Mike’s got some crazy visuals going on behind his green screen here, he’s got a little bit, Eddie, what is the name? Eddie the—

Mike: 02:42 – Ed the head is the official name, from Somewhere in Time.

Mateo: 02:49 – For the metal heads out there, the old-school metal heads out there, I gotta say mad props to you, Mike, I’m loving it so far.

Mike: 03:00 – It’s not bad. Right? And the interesting part about this is a Iron Maiden is like an expert class in branding. If you actually go through, and I wrote an article about this on, check that out. These guys have been branding this thing for 40 years and it is one of the most iconic things that you can ever, you can ever follow. And so like if you want to look at a masterclass and how to grow a brand and how to create an icon, Iron Maiden and heavy metal is the way to do it. Even if you don’t like the music, check it out just for the branding.

Mateo: 03:28 – If you don’t like the music though, stop listening these podcasts because I don’t want to be friends with you,

Mike: 03:32 – Right? Cause it’s pretty awesome. All right, we’ll talk about organic stuff here. I’m going to read this to you. You tell me if you agree. This is from HootSuite: “Organic reach on social media is how well your posts perform without any money behind them. And with algorithm changes at Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, it is in decline. Mark Zuckerberg 2018 said: ‘You’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands and media.'” So organic reach. What do you think? How is that working for us these days?

Mateo: 04:04 – I hadn’t heard that before, so you’re springing in this on me. I hadn’t heard that quote, but I can say that that probably makes sense. And here’s why. If you’re posting organically on your feed or for your business or a page, or whatever it is, there’s only so much room. There’s only so much space on the Facebook feed for branded content, for paid content, for posts. Especially coming from business pages and things like that. There’s a limited amount of real estate. It doesn’t seem like it, but there’s only so much room, as you’re scrolling and let’s say they want to put an ad in front of you every five times, right? Every five, when you’re scrolling, every five posts is going to be some kind of either organic post or a paid ad, right?

Mateo: 05:03 There’s only so much room there for you to be able to do that. That was a horn. There’s only so much room there for you to be able to do that. There’s limited real estate on the Facebook ad feed. So if Mark Zuckerberg is looking to make more money in 2020, which all signs point to, he probably does, I imagine the algorithm is going to prioritize posts that are paid and put those on your feed versus the ones that are organic because they want people to keep doing paid ones. So that, I guess, makes sense to me.

Mike: 05:44 – And I’ll give you an example. And I think a lot of people have just noticed this in their own feeds. When you go through it, back say three years ago, I just looked at some posts that I put up three years ago, I’ve got about 2000 friends on Facebook, not to brag, but it’s not even a big number, but there’s a decent number of people. Like, that’s more than a hundred. I’d put up a post in 2016, I looked through my feed this morning from 2016, I put up a link to a blog I wrote and I’d get like 26 likes or something like that. The ones that I put up now, I’ll get like six or 10. And consistently.

Mike: 06:16 – The numbers are consistently lower now. I think I’m probably at least the same quality of writer as I was back then. I have at least the same number of friends, if not more, but yet the numbers are like six likes, 10 likes, things like that. There are times when I’ll put something up and again, I’m not a big roller on Facebook, but if I put something up, I will get like no likes, no comments, two people maybe. And you’re thinking like two out of a thousand or 2000. That’s kind of incredible. Like you’d think I’d get a couple of pity ones just from like my mom, my dad, and like a brother and maybe four people who actually like me. You know, that’s not happening anymore. So when you see that plummet too on pages or across the 204 page Facebook, our organic reach there plummeted dramatically where stuff doesn’t happen there. Have you seen that on the Facebook accounts that that you interact with or manage?

Mateo: 06:59 – Yeah, I would say, you know, for sure, I know for people who, some of my friends who I talk to used to get a lot of reach on some of their, you know, eBooks and things like that they would post and then I don’t think you’re seeing the same kind of engagement with those versus if you put some money behind it.

Mike: 07:20 – Right. And that’s where your expertise comes in, is figuring out how to put the smart dollars in the right place to get the results that you want. We’ve devoted a lot of shows for that. We’re going to do more about that in next week’s. What we’ll talk about here is organic. So if we’re not getting a lot of reach with it, what’s the point of it? And I’ll throw something at you first of all and you tell me if you agree. I think organic content is you’re building an audience and you’re building authority. I think those two things, regardless of the reach of this stuff, I think that those are the two things that you’re doing with organic stuff. Do you agree or disagree?

Mateo: 07:51 – Yeah, I mean, I would also say too, like you need to have that kind of activity going on in your feed, especially if you’re just starting out with your business. And especially if you’re just starting out with trying to do some paid ads. While that content might not be shown as much to people on the feed, Facebook still is going to prioritize accounts that have a lot of content on them, right? If there are Facebook pages that are mostly blank, and then you start and then you start blasting ads on behalf of that page, you’re not gonna get the results you would get if there was a lot of content on there. Because you know, Facebook starting to think, Oh, is this some kind of scammy page? Is this some kind of like Russian bot? Although, I don’t know, maybe that’s allowed now, who knows? But yeah, you still need to have those kinds of content pieces on your page because that’ll help your page rank better when it comes to actually putting out paid ads.

Mike: 09:05 – If you’re like me, when I see an ad even, you know, I rarely click on stuff, but when I do, I never buy things right away or I never register for things right away. I want to see more. So what I do is like if I’m on Instagram and I see an ad, I’ll go and stalk that person’s account or that business’ account and I’m looking for stuff to see what else are up to. The ad might hook me, right? But then I’ve got to go and I’ve got to have more breadcrumbs that are leading me to stuff that I want. And that for me, I don’t think that’s uncommon. Some people are impulsive and they’ll just hammer an ad right away if you hit the jackpot. But for other people, they’re going to do some research, right? So they’re going to look at other stuff. And if you don’t have that organic content to back it up, I think you’re probably in trouble. And have you seen that with ads where people maybe not, you know, they click or maybe they don’t, but they’re going to do some research before they make that actual commitment to purchase?

Mateo: 09:49 – Yeah. Everyone, I mean, I think we talked about on this page before, like—on this podcast before. I think you and I have talked about this before. You know, people typically interact with the business, you know, seven times before they take an action with them, right? So, you know, if they see your ad and then they’re going to go check out your website or they’re going to go check out the Facebook page, or if they saw the ad on Instagram, they’re going to check your Instagram, right? And they’re going to check back and then they’re going to maybe see a post that you posted recently and then they’re going to look at that. So yeah, there’s definitely going to be some more investigation that goes on because someone needs to know, like, and trust you. Right? And someone needs to establish some trust with you before they take an action. So if you don’t have that content there waiting for them, then yeah, you’re going to have a tougher time converting them for sure.

Mike: 10:42 – And we’ve seen that, you know, from the insight here at Two-Brain Business with Chris Cooper where he’s been creating content for like over a decade, just cranking out huge amounts of stuff. So he’s a business expert and there are no shortage of business experts out there. So when someone says, Hey, is this a shenanigan, is this guy a shyster? They click on the stuff and they see this wealth of amazing stuff that Chris has created and given away for free, which you can get on the Two-Brain site, Free Tools is what you’re looking for, but there’s tons of stuff and it’s high-quality stuff and it helps people say, OK, this is not a scam. This guy is not a shyster. We are, you know, legitimate. And they’ve got this organic backbone where—and even if you don’t want to purchase, you can still benefit from all this free content that’s constantly coming out.

Mike: 11:24 – Eventually, maybe when you want to purchase, you’re then going to say, ah, that’s the best stuff I’ve seen, that’s gonna influence my decision. When I was at the Two-Brain Summit, I asked a number of people why they started working with Two-Brain. And the answer almost across the board was, I saw something, Chris posted, I read something Chris wrote and when I decided to choose a mentor, that’s who I wanted to work with. So there is that whole establishing authority thing that’s definitely happening. I’m going to throw something else at you. This is a cool experiment that I asked all your partner John at the marketing team, about this. And we ran a campaign just a little while ago and it had some paid stuff behind it and had some organic stuff behind it and fully more than 99% of the conversions with that campaign came from organic. The numbers were staggering. And again, John asked me to qualify, this was a campaign that was directed more at warmer leads. So the results aren’t going to be typical, right? I’m not saying that’s going to happen all the time, but the evidence there is that we used organic channels and posts to promote something and we got huge numbers of conversions that outweighed the paid campaign just through organic. So there is still organic reach, but that’s because we built that audience. What do you think of that?

Mateo: 12:34 – Yeah, for sure. It’s the same as if, you know, if you had an offer, right, and you sent that offer to cold traffic and then you sent it to your newsletter list that you’ve been nurturing for years, you’re going to see a lot more people from your newsletter list take you up on that because you’ve been emailing them and conversing with them for for a long time. And that’s the difference between the two audiences and how you build those. I can understand how that happened.

Mike: 13:04 – Yeah. So you know, content on, kind of looks at it to me like, you know, a series of dates leading up to a marriage proposal potentially, something like that. And you know, if the dates keep going better and better, that marriage proposal is going to have a higher likelihood of success, I think.

Mateo: 13:18 – Yeah, 100% and then that that paid ad, it’s the one thing that pushes them over the edge right after you’ve seen things and seen things and when that paid ad comes up and pings you and reminds you, Oh, you know what, I’ve been thinking about this. Yeah. Let me take action here.

Mike: 13:35 – Yeah. And I saw like a really cool example of this was Doritos is running a campaign right now, at least where I’m at, where they’ve got rid of their logo and they’re not even saying their name—

Mateo: 13:43 – I saw that. That was very interesting.

Mike: 13:47 – Pretty bold. Right? So it’s almost scary where you’re like, my God, you’re not saying your name, what’s going to happen? But you know, I’m talking about it. I checked it out. So I went to their social media and they had this whole campaign associated with it where they’re basically using crowd sourcing to have people create like triangle-shaped things that kind of look like Doritos and using that to promote the product. And so now all of a sudden they’ve created this whole, you know, obviously I saw a paid ad, but I was checking out their feed. I’m talking about it now. And they’ve got all these people trying to be featured by creating like I saw like a tent, triangle tent that like look like a Dorito chip and that’s what they put up on their feed. So they’ve created this whole organic monster that’s now churning around this paid campaign that has no name in it. That’s amazing.

Mateo: 14:32 – Yeah, I think that’s awesome. And I think that’s the difference between, you know, I may have talked about this also last week or on one of these, but that’s the difference between, you know, what I would call branding or branded marketing and then direct response. Right? Which is more what I think John and I like to do with when it comes to the paid ads, right? When you have branding or branded materials, those kinds of ads or marketing efforts are meant to have evoked some kind of feeling or emotion with the company. Right? And so with something like this, you don’t have people necessarily buying Doritos bags, right? But you have people who see this campaign that’s going on, they’re like, Oh, I’m associating now this kind of like playfulness attitude with this, with this company or this kind of irreverent kind of an attitude towards advertising.

Mateo: 15:28 – Say, hey, we’re so bold that we don’t even need to market to you guys. Like we’ll just have a blank logo and then you do it for us. Like, and then you’re having this kind of people interacting with the brand, right? Which, so that’s one thing. And it’s harder to tie direct sales to that. Right. They’ll probably see after the quarter ends, Oh, we had a boost in sales. It looks like that campaign worked. But you’re not able to track that right away versus something like, you know, the lap shop or the ShamWow on the late night TV commercials, buy now, buy now, that kind of a campaign is different. It is advertising, but it’s a different type of marketing, right?

Mateo: 16:16 – So there’s those two kind of camps that we’ve talked about on here before and that’s what this campaign is doing. And that’s I think where the organic stuff really helps you, right? It helps you connect an emotion, a feeling with your company so that when you say, Hey, it’s time to buy, now you have that trust built in. This email came in last night and I wanted to read it to you now actually we’re talking about trust and authority. It was from someone out in Bakersfield. They say, Hey Mateo. Just want to say thank you to you and to Chris and the Two-Brain crew for the recent marketing materials and the course that you put out and resource you put out for free and all of the other resources that you provide for free.

Mateo: 16:57 – I’ve learned so much this past year and after two rounds have gone wrong with two different types of agencies that say, I’m your hero. We’ve got the answer, we’ll get you thousands of leads, marketing agencies, what you’ve been teaching solidified what I was doing, and my own do-it-yourself process has been so valuable. People are charging thousands and thousands of dollars for the expertise that you and Chris are putting out, but you’re just so much better. I followed a lot of the big names out here to get all the different perspectives, but your brand is definitely smart and full of integrity and it’s not hard to spot the difference with Two-Brain and that’s how I want to be as a brand as well. And that was from someone who’s not even signed up. They just saw some of the stuff we were putting out and wanting to say, Hey, thanks. And give a shout out.

Mike: 17:54 – That’s cool. That’s someone that’s following the stuff and interacting with it.

Mateo: 17:57 – And you know, and obviously what you’re writing about and what you and Chris have been writing about is working, right. The brand message is coming through. And that’s with, you know, the organic stuff that we’ve been putting out. And so then next time she sees a paid ad, when she’s ready, hopefully then she’ll be ready to pull the trigger. And so I think that’s where branding, organic posts, building authority, that’s the one piece. And that’s where, you know, we’ve obviously made an impact on this person. And then you also need the strong arm to come in at the end and say, Hey, all right, it’s time to take action. Book a call now, buy now, download now, whatever it is.

Mike: 18:42 – And that is a huge, you know, the flip side of that is that it has a huge effect on either you call it retention or call it repeat purchases. So for people who are thinking about re-upping or, you know, continuing a subscription to a service, staying at your gym, buying a new membership, or even just being satisfied and adding value throughout the addition of value, that free content has a huge, huge effect. So there’s people at our gym that look at our Instagram and like, man, uh, there’s tons of cool recipes in here. There’s movement tips, there’s all this different stuff, that to them is value added. It’s also entertainment. It’s interaction with the brand and when it’s time to renew a membership, they’re going to be more likely to do so just because they have that confidence and authority built into the brand.

Mike: 19:24 – I’ll ask you the next idea with this, organic content as a testing ground for paid stuff. So we’re looking at like as an example, our social media people at Two-Brain can tell you without doubt which posts will get more interaction. And we know which interaction. Like if we want a website click or if we want to share or if we want to save or if we want comments, things like that, we know. And like you can check your own analytics there and take a look. But we know what we want to do and this is based on data and research. We can see when posts get traction. So if we wanted to potentially boost a post, we would probably have a large data set to decide what would be a wise investment. Like how do you decide how you boost things? What’s your process there?

Mateo: 20:10 – Well, I don’t really boost things. What I would do though is if I do see something like a video or maybe you did a recipe ebook, right? And it got a lot of shares or got a lot of likes or people seem to enjoy it. You can use that as your ad if you’re building out a campaign in the ads manager. Right. So I won’t really boost it, but if I see something that’s working, I’ll just use that as the ad creative itself when I go and build out a campaign in the ads manager.

Mike: 20:42 – And I’m just going to ask like, the reason you wouldn’t boost it is probably because you’re a bit more sophisticated and you want to create a tailored ad that does exactly what you want rather than just a random post?

Mateo: 20:51 – Yeah. And I want to see how it performs against, if I have an objective and this post lends itself to that objective, right. Whether it’s converged, like getting leads or website visits or whatever it is, I want to see how that performs with the other kind of ideas I have swinging in my head for the ad creative. So if I have an ad image or ad copy that I already know I was going to use, but I see that this post we did earlier in the week is getting some engagement, I’ll just throw that in there as a part of the A B C D test.

Mike: 21:26 – Yeah. And again, you’re at a very high level with this stuff. So for people who are just like, let’s say someone has never advertised, has never experimented with any of this stuff, I’m going to suggest—you jump in and correct me if I’m wrong—that if someone is looking to just start something, they should definitely look at their organic social numbers to get some ideas for campaigns or some ideas for how they want to create an ad or to just experiment with a boost to just see what happens. And I’m not saying put $10,000 behind something, but you can just experiment with the stuff that you’ve got to see what happens. What do you think about that?

Mateo: 22:01 – I liked the first one. I still would try and go and into the ads manager and build it from there. I just think boosted posts are a bit—you’re not going to be able to target and track the results the way you want to. And I think the boosted posts are just a sneaky way for Zuckerberg to steal your money from you.

Mike: 22:24 – OK. So there you go. From Mateo, do not boost your posts. Use the data from the organic stuff to create and tailor your stuff in the ads manager. All right. I like it. I’m quickly going to hit you with this. This podcast is all about actionable steps. That’s exactly what we just told you. Do not boost posts. We always want to give you stuff to do. That’s why Chris Cooper created the new roadmap to wealth. This app is incredible. I have to tell you, it will literally tell you step by step how to create an amazing business. The best part? It is based on data. The things the top gyms in the world are doing. There’s no guesswork. Just action and results. Step one is complete the Two-Brain Incubator 12-week sprint to build the foundation of your business.

Mike: 23:04 – Step two, work with a mentor and use the roadmap to grow your business. For more info, visit to book a free call with a mentor. Now, more actionable stuff that you can do with regards to marketing. I’m going to throw this one at you Mateo. The idea of congruity and cognitive dissonance. These are some larger words, but the idea here is congruity. You want things to kind of look the same when you’re talking about branding. So if you’re running an ad campaign, uh, and again we’ll talk about this end of things, cause I know we can go against the grain at times, but in standard stuff you generally kind of want things to all kind of look and feel the same, whether it’s organic or paid. Correct.

Mateo: 23:45 – Yeah, I think, that’s true.

Mike: 23:46 – So again, we’ll go back to the Doritos thing. Even though their logo was not in the ads that they’re running right now, they’ve got the blue and red bags.

Mateo: 23:55 – The colors were still front and center there.

Mike: 23:58 – Very much so. They’ve got the triangular shape that’s becoming very iconic or they’re trying to make iconic. Most ad campaigns will use a logo or they’ll use a similar tone and voice and they kind of feel the same. So we’ve talked a little bit about this. You know, Chris Cooper wrote an article called “The Clogs in Your Funnel and How to Kill Them,” and he’s talking about exactly this. One of the things that he said is if people are, say, clicking on your ad but not signing up for your service, there is a problem somewhere in your funnel. One of the things he suggested was that people are looking at your ad, they like it, they click, then they look at your other stuff and there’s no congruity and something’s weird meaning like, I clicked on this ad of this person that looks like I want to look and does what I want to do. And now I’m looking at this Instagram feed and all I see is like Navy SEALs vomiting and sweat angels and bloody hands and you know, people snatching 300 pounds. I don’t want to buy the service cause I’m terrified, you know? Have you seen that kind of thing in the marketing world where it’s like an ad that just does not match the organic stuff that a business puts out?

Mateo: 24:59 – Yeah, definitely, definitely. I’ve seen that.

Mike: 25:03 – What happens?

Mateo: 25:03 – Well, I still think for some of the paid ads, like I think, I think we’re, we’re dealing with audience sizes and groups of people that are so small that, you know, relatively speaking that it’s not going to make a huge impact on, you know, on your results. Having said that, yeah. Like if you’re in a video, you know, on the landing page and then it goes to a thank you page and then it’s someone else from a different gym on that thank you page, yeah. There’s probably going to be some confusion there on behalf of the user. And they may think, OK, wait, this is weird and then stop taking action. So I definitely think that you want to make sure there’s a consistent narrative, whether it’s who’s speaking, whether it’s how it looks when you’re speaking, the images. Yeah. I think you want to be consistent. But having said that, I do think there are probably some bigger fish that you need to fry before you—especially if you’re first starting out, before you’re stressing about making sure all the colors match.

Mike: 26:23 – Sure. There’s that old marketing phrase, the famous one, people like us do things like this. Seth Godin talking about that one. The idea, you know, when we talk about this is you want people to, you want to show people—if you’re showing people an ad that shows a certain thing, you want to see at least similar stuff when they start looking at other places, right? So there’s just this idea that your organic content should at least probably inform your ad. Now that’s not to say you can’t put up, you know, a shocking, striking, amazing converting ad that’s very much outside what you do because you know, there are instances you’ve talked about where going against the grain will sometimes work. But just saying in general, you know, let’s, let’s put it this way. If I was going to run an ad for 55-plus people at my gym that want to work out, I would probably put some content, some free content around that, like blogging about how, you know, working out, getting strength after 55, pictures of some people, 55-plus. I would surround that campaign, not exclusively, but with some stuff that would definitely give these people some resources. So if they don’t buy right away, they’re going to look at my stuff and find some stuff.

Mateo: 27:33 – Yeah. 100%. If you have an ad that’s advertising a legends program or 55 and older program and then they land on your website and there’s not a single person of someone over the age of 40, yeah. They’re going to think, well, this doesn’t seem like the place for me actually. I mean, this ad said this program, but I don’t see a ton of people who go here that look like me. So 100%, you want to make sure you pad, or at least restrict what that person is seeing. So that you know, that they feel like, Hey, yeah, this is going to work for me.

Mike: 28:08 – Yeah. And I do that when I run ads according to the formula that you guys taught me, I will just create organic content, instructional stuff that appeals to that market. So again, using the example of seniors, how to gain strength, can I lose weight after 50, you know, can I improve my flexibility after 50, all sorts of stuff. And then pictures of people often put up on social media. We’ll put up pictures of people that look 50 plus that are having a great time doing stuff. Again, the idea people like us do things like this, and that’s just using organic content to hopefully get a better result from my ad, using that as a kind of like unofficial lead nurture, if you will. We talked a little bit, the last thing we’ll cover here is just branding in general. We talked a little bit about this with Doritos and so forth. In previous shows we’ve talked about branding campaigns as often the playground of the big boys and big girls, right. So if you’re a small business just starting out, running a branding ad, meaning like, it’s just designed to raise the status of your business, probably not the right way to go. Am I correct? Talk about this.

Mateo: 29:10 – So yeah, definitely if you’re first starting out and I would argue, you don’t need to worry about, you know, making the ad of your gym with like Matthew McConaughey talking in the voice, like really deep talking about esoterical kind of philosophical topics of life and meaning. So yeah, you definitely don’t need do that kind of marketing, you want to focus more on direct response kind of ads when you’re doing paid ads. Having said that, yeah. Cause you need results, you want results. But yeah, having said that, especially after everything we’ve talked about today so far, you still—like blogging is the easiest first way, first step, to be able to build kind of the organic—build an audience organically. Build an audience where you can convert, have a conversation with them where you’re talking about your expertise and they start to know, like, and trust you.

Mike: 30:19 – Yeah. If someone hasn’t said it, I need to trademark this, but blogging is branding, right? Like if you’re not running a paid campaign for branding because you’re not Coke or you’re not Doritos, you’re not one of the big players in the industry, if you’re running a direct response campaign, your brand campaign is essentially your organic social media. That’s my contention. And your blogging and the things that you do for free that people can find. You agree?

Mateo: 30:41 – 100%.

Mike: 30:42 – Yeah. And that’s something that you can do. Again, there is a cost to it. It’s your time. And maybe you hire a photographer here and there or whatever, but you don’t have to, our belief at Two-Brain is that you should produce content regularly and that is your branding. And that is going back to the very first thing we talk about, that is authority building.

Mike: 30:59 – That is audience building. And when it’s time then for that ad to kick in, you already have an audience that at least knows who you are, has seen some of your stuff might know what you do hopefully, and then will be more inclined to check things up. Do you see that when you’re working with Two-Brain Marketing and so forth and running campaigns for Two-Brain, you must see connections between the organic stuff that Chris creates daily and you can sign up on our site for his newsletter, all this content. Do you see connections between that and, you know, the sales and marketing aspects and clicks and conversions?

Mateo: 31:33 – Yeah, 100%. I mean, when Chris first started doing paid ads last year, like there was a massive boost in sales because there were just so many people kind of waiting in the wings who had been looking at his free stuff for so long that it was just that one little reminder when that paid ad came up that it pushed them over the edge. Kind of going back to the gym owner side of things, I think blogging and emailing people on your list, no matter how big or small that list is, is really important in a way that you can kind of communicate your message and your mission to the prospects that you’re trying to nurture and get to come in. But yeah, you mentioned the time is the cost there and it’s tough when you’re trying to do everything, right.

Mateo: 32:25 – It’s tough when you’re trying to coach, when you’re trying to clean. It’s tough when you’re trying to make some sales to also program all the workouts for your gym and then you have to think about writing a blog post. Yeah. It’s tough, so you have to, you know, that’s why you have to pick the triage it, triage your business and pick what’s kind of most pressing to you right now. And I think the easiest way to buy back some of your time is to figure out how to, well, there’s a lot of ways I guess, but you know, for me, my focus is always going to be like, you know, sales, front-end sales, right? How can I, you know, increase that average revenue per member or whatever it is, so I can get a little bit of extra revenue where I can then free myself up to then have that time to blog and to build that content database, right? Yeah, it’s tough. It’s tough to find the balance there.

Mike: 33:20 – Interesting enough, Chris at his gym does not run ads, right? So he’s just surviving there on established authority that he’s built through organic stuff. So, you know, it can be done obviously, but it requires a constant output. What I’ll leave you with is this, here’s your actionable thing. People ask me all the time, you know, how do I start generating more media? And I’ll tell you the quick answer and the secret, pick the thing that you are most comfortable with, whatever that is. The thing that you can do the fastest. Start with that and hit it regularly. Meaning like if you don’t like podcasting, do not commit to starting a podcast. Don’t start something you can’t sustain, right? So like preparing for podcast takes time. If you can’t do that every week, do not commit to that time.

Mike: 34:02 – If you can blog, do that. If you like video, do that. If you like any other thing, do it, but do it consistently. So pick the platform that appeals. If it’s video, you’re going to be on YouTube. If it’s podcast, you’re going to be on iTunes and everything else, all wherever podcasts are served, blogging on your website. But pick the thing, do it relentlessly. And if you do like writing a check out to we have 229 blog ideas plus a blog template, a business blog template. You could just download and it’s a basic idea of how to create a blog that people are gonna read. And we’ve got this idea of the power of 10 where we’ll tell you how to use the things that your best clients want to know and then create a hundred pieces of like the 10 best questions, use that to create a hundred pieces of content around it. So we have mountains of ideas that you can use for organic content. Anything you want to add to that, Mateo?

Mateo: 34:53 – Yeah, if you don’t know where to start, talk to a Two-Brain mentor today.

Mike: 34:57 – That’s the way to do it.

Mike: 34:58 – This is Two-Brain Radio. Thank you so much for listening. I’m Mike Warkentin with Mateo Lopez. Please remember, subscribe for more. We’ve got tons of great stuff in the archives and more great stuff coming up. We have Sean Woodland, Chris Cooper, also putting tons of episodes and if you’re a gym owner and need some help growing your business, Two-Brain mentors can show you the exact steps to add 5,000 dollars in monthly recurring revenue. Book a free call on to find out more. Thanks guys. We’ll see you next time on Two-Brain Radio.


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The $1 Million Gym Built by Two Guys Who Once Rationed Paper Towels

The $1 Million Gym Built by Two Guys Who Once Rationed Paper Towels

A portrait headshot of smiling gym owner Peter Brasovan in a blue shirt.

Peter Brasovan

Chris: 00:02 – Welcome to Two-Brain Radio. I’m your host, Chris Cooper, here every week with the best of the fitness industry. Got a sec? We would love to hear from you. I write emails to my mailing list every day, and it’s a highlight when somebody takes the time to respond. If you’ve got feedback on my show or a guest you’d like to hear on Two-Brain Radio, email and don’t forget to subscribe to Two-Brain Radio wherever you get your podcasts. What does it really take to build a $1 million gym? Peter and Jared from NapTown Fitness are here today to talk about owning an actual million-dollar gym. As business owners, we’re bombarded all the time with Facebook ads highlighting gyms that do a million in ARR. And I’m really skeptical when I see those ads because since I’ve owned a gym for, you know, 15 years, I’ve been bombarded with similar ads, talking about people who have a million in projected revenue, or maybe they did 80,000 time and so now they are a quote unquote million dollar gym because of course they’re going to do that forever and ever now, and there are even some cases where people talk about having a eight-figure gym where they must be talking about the decimal points because they’re nowhere near having $1 million in gross revenue.

Chris: 01:16 – Also, having a million in gross revenue isn’t rainbows and lollipops. It comes with a lot of responsibility. And so today we’re going to talk with Jared and Peter about what that responsibility means and how having $1 million in gross revenue doesn’t make you a millionaire. And also how having a gross revenue of a million might mean nothing because you don’t have any profit. These are smart, experienced gym owners who have made mistakes. They’re very transparent about it and I think that you’re also gonna learn what it takes to become $1 million gym the right way. They’re great role models for gym owners everywhere. They’re very humble. They’re very quick to share mistakes and lessons learned and I think you’re going to really enjoy the next 45 minutes.

Chris: 01:58 – Jared and Peter, welcome to Two-Brain Radio.

Peter: 01:59 – Thank you for having us. Very excited.

Chris: 02:03 – Yeah, I’m really pumped to have you guys. We’re going to have a lot of great insights here, but let’s start off with the NapTown story.

Peter: 02:09 – We have to give you the fastest version we’ve ever given somebody and I usually have the gym timer behind me while I’m going. Jared and I are very fortunate, many would say at least. We’ve known each other since we were five years old. We are actually currently neighbors. We have dogs that we found together that are brothers and it goes that far in between and our whole life we’ve been able to push each other’s buttons in the right way to accelerate the other one’s thirst for knowledge and fitness and everything throughout life. And through our first jobs out of school, we both went to the corporate world and tried some things in there. And I think that’s a really important part of knowing who we are now. But then through that we stayed with fitness and like many people’s cool stories about how they found CrossFit, we lived in Chicago at the time where I was and I met one of the original CrossFit guys. I think you know him a little bit, Rudy Tapalla, and he was one of the first 500 gyms and he really helped shape and mold us into our first like CrossFit mentor. And I beat Jared in the first workout I ever showed him. And that was a no go. And that’s the quickest version I can say about like how we found CrossFit. It was just living in Chicago and finding Ruby. Jared could fill in a lot of those gaps here.

Jared: 03:30 – Yeah. So it was early 2011 I was actually kind of a reverse retirement living in St. Croix at the time. Just decided to move out there with a friend who was living out there. And then Peter, as he had mentioned, and I had been training for some triathlons and then Peter told me about this CrossFit thing, got really into it, came out to St. Croix and crushed me in a bunch of different workouts. I finally a couple of months later moved back to Chicago and that’s when the idea of like, OK, this CrossFit thing’s really cool. We both started kind of coaching at CrossFit Chicago and then like, let’s open up our own gym. And that’s when the kind of story started. We started looking, you know, in the Carolinas, we started looking in the South, we started looking all over the country of where this could work and there was potential of us opening in Chicago and the cost of square footage, cost of living just didn’t make sense.

Jared: 04:16 – And finally we were like, why don’t we go to where we, you know, grew up playing soccer in Indianapolis, you know, during our college days and utilize those networks. And so we actually started taking the Mega Bus from Chicago down to Indianapolis. And that way we can answer emails and do work on the bus and started looking for spaces and found out there’s not a single CrossFit gym downtown. There wasn’t then and there still isn’t now. And we’ve kind of secured that market thus far in that sense and worked hard finding spaces, finding a space and two or three of the original letter of intents we had fell through and finally found a space on a shotgun lease that really kind of, you know, kind of catapulted us to where we were. And it was literally an FBI building and they told us, you have six months at $500 a month, and after six months we’ll find out whether we’re going to renegotiate with you or if we’re going to kick you guys out. Don’t touch anything, don’t break anything, see what can happen. And that’s the story.

Chris: 05:16 – That’s crazy. But part of what makes your story so interesting is a lot of us took partners just because we were scared. You became partners as a strategic move, but that also meant that going into this you, you knew that you’d have to make more money than like an owner/operator gym, right?

Peter: 05:32 – Yeah. That’s a huge part of it. And I do all the money side. So current day as we restructure, Peter, I talk as the CFO and COO of the business and Jared focuses more on the marketing side and we gave him more of the CEO role because he cares a lot more about what shade of red we’re using, our logo and things like that. And I care a lot more of does the bottom line makes sense to rebrand or whatever it is. So I look at the financial side, but that started with our first business plan and Rudy I think gave us, what’s the first entrepreneurial book?

Jared: 06:03 – Oh, “The E-Myth.”

Peter: 06:05 – “The E-Myth.” Yeah. And he’s like, read this before you do anything, which I know is one that you’ve also recommended multiple times, Chris. And we took that old org chart, you know, everything from who’s cleaning the toilets and whose responsibility is that and filled in Jared and Peter’s name all the way through. So yeah, we were splitting the money, but we also were able to split the roles from day one and be very clear with that.

Chris: 06:24 – That is a crazy good piece of advice if you’re listening now and thinking about starting a business, starting by defining the roles in your partnership first. You know, that’s a huge mistake that I made and it took me years and thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix that. But I guess that probably shaped your vision for how big this gym would have to get to be able to support the two of you. So like what was that picture of success in your mind as you were coming close to opening up?

Jared: 06:51 – Yeah, for me, it’s funny, when we first opened up, I was the person that was like, we’re going to have a North location, we’re going to have a South location, we’re going to have an East location, a West location. And then we’re going to go somewhere else and build out more gyms. And then Peter was the one like, yeah, let’s pump the brakes on that a little bit and let’s focus on this first spot and see what we can do. And I think one of the biggest pieces of advice we learned early from a real estate mentor of ours here in the city, was every single time you open up a new location, you open up new problems. So if the toilet breaks on the North side, who’s going to fix that toilet? You. So now you have to drive up there and spend the time, 40 minutes and drive up there 40 minutes back and same thing goes with all the other problems that happen with different locations. So those are the things that kind of allowed us to pump the brakes because it made us realize, well, maybe we shouldn’t be doing this so quickly. And you know, again, focusing on our core product of our one space, which is what we did originally,

Peter: 07:46 – One of the things we didn’t have early on that is very common now, at least in Two-Brain gyms, is using profit first. And if I would’ve had that, it would made a lot of decisions earlier easier, because we did have to make a certain amount of money and we both agreed, we gave each other a handshake, hey man, for six months, we’re investing everything back into this place. And we both said before we open, do we have enough reserves? And fortunately at that time I had a girlfriend, now my wife, had a really nice job, uh, and she supported me and she actually was the first catapult. Her and Jared were like, let’s go be entrepreneurs. Let’s get out of Chicago. Her name’s Shannon and Lululemon was just opening a new store in Indianapolis and they moved her down as a manager. It was their first Indiana store. And for me, that was a very fortunate situation. And Jared was actually able to live on one of our friends’ couches. So he’s like, I’m going to move to Indianapolis and live on a couch. So I have no expenses. And so the first six months were really important to us because we did have a $500 a month lease. Like there was no—we couldn’t fail. We’re going to lose what, $3,000? Like it didn’t matter. And then our overhead was, there’s a quote in the local newspaper from me, I just read it other day. It says, we’re going to keep the lights off and the heat low for the first few months as often as we can. And we even have a picture of a sign on our bathroom and says, no more than two paper towels, please.

Chris: 09:03 – That’s amazing. That’s Chris Cooper 2008. I can see the left-brain sign shining through there. Peter. That’s amazing. And all that to $1 million gym. Now is that kind of like the vision that you guys had right when you started?

Jared: 09:25 – Yeah, you know, obviously when you start some sort of project or start some sort of, you have like the end in mind. Right? And you know, for us, I think $1 million just always sounds like that sweet, sexy number. So yeah, I mean, I think early on we talked about it and I know certainly a couple of years in, we definitely talked about it and once we started seeing, you know, hitting 100,000, hitting 200,000, I’m like, man, could we ever make a million in a year with revenue? And then once we, you know, a couple of five years in or so, we were like, Oh yeah, we’re totally gonna do this. So I think it evolved over time. So the answer to that is yes, like we thought about it. And now being there, it’s just like, OK, it doesn’t really mean anything, to be perfectly honest. So.

Chris: 10:06 – That’s funny because I was, my next question was, are you millionaires?

Peter: 10:10 – Not even close, not even close. What spurred this whole conversation with Chris today was I wrote a blog post, a Facebook post and said, one of my first thoughts is, could I ever spend $1 million in the year? And spoiler alert, it was like, absolutely. So yeah, we’re making that money. But anyone that’s listening that has any knowledge to finances, we all know like profit margin is king. And if we don’t have a profit margin, then we could have made $2 and spent $1 and still only had a dollar. Or you could spend $999,000 after a million. So profit margin is king.

Chris: 10:46 – I think a lot of people are really gifted at spending money and they might not realize it until they have some money that there are lots of really fun ways to spend it and some not so fun ones too. So we’re going to talk first about how you guys got to a million in revenue. Then we’re going to talk about the responsibility that comes with a $1 million gym. So the first question is, you know, did you get to the million in revenue by having a whole bunch of different ideas or were there really two or three core ideas that you just kept?

Jared: 11:16 – Yeah, CrossFit was it. CrossFit was king for us on the front end, you know, back in 2011, 2012, even 2013, like solely focused on CrossFit classes. Growing, I mean we’re the typical story you hear of, you know, we started off on one side of 2,500, 3000 square feet, started doing 30 people in a class. We were able to renegotiate the lease and the space when the space next to us was open, so we knocked a hole in the wall. Were able to build out into that space. Now we could run either two classes at the same time or two big classes and just separate on what side people are using. So it started off super small with focusing CrossFit first as a product. And then once that was successful, that’s when we started dipping our toes into Peter’s wife, Shannon, was a yoga teacher, yoga instructor. And she’s like, well, let’s try some yoga classes. So that started off, you know, yoga class on a Wednesday night, one yoga class. That was it. And then it turned into two yoga classes and then three yoga classes. Then she had her, and this was just in our general CrossFit space on ugly black matting floors. Then finally we built out a small little space. We had a small room within our space that they actually started on carpet, which was this gross, nasty carpet, probably for 30 years. And then finally we built a, you know, a nice cheap floating, pergolo or whatever, Pergo floor, and started running actual classes there. And that’s when we started coming up with the ideas like, well, yoga is super successful because Shannon’s the champion of it.

Jared: 12:46 – She’s the leader of it. She’s taking it, you know, as an intrapreneur essentially. And then that’s when we’re like, well, let’s start looking for spaces for yoga space. And then that’s where I think for us, I think that was for me at least, and I’m sure Peter would agree, that’s been the highlight, the change that’s propelled us where we are because that allowed us to start looking for other buildings that we were going to rent and come to find out, we ended up finding a building on auction that we ended up purchasing. And that’s what’s changed kind of our thought process as entrepreneurs of how important it is to own the building. Being an owner/occupied building or a tenant I guess you’d say, has been a game changer for us. And that’s what we ended up doing. And buying 11,000 square foot building in 2014. And then moved our yoga studio practice into yoga, into that space. But then at that same time we did that, you know, yoga only needs 2,000 square feet. We have 11,000-square-foot building. What do you do? So that’s where we created our boot camp class. It’s called Sweat With Indiy For Time, SWIFT. And grew that product out of that kind of almost out of a necessity essentially that we had this space, what do we do? And that was a hit for us. So rather than doing like a CrossFit light or something of that nature, we went straight to this boot camp concept, which was super important for us. So yeah, these core products, core ideas were, were definitely important.

Chris: 14:17 – So what are your core products now then guys? Like let’s go down that list.

Peter: 14:21 – So now we have core products and then we have kind of branched out core products from that and we really believe in the intrapreneur opportunity for our staff. So our main four there probably more than four products. Like we definitely have CrossFit, group fitness is still huge. And then we have SWIFT, which is again a 45-minute smaller version of CrossFit. And then we have a yoga program that’s super successful that has its own building. We have a nutrition program that’s having a phenomenal year, our kids program, we have one of the best leaders we could possibly have running that right now. And she has proven some concepts with kids programs going into schools that have been phenomenal. So really those are it, CrossFit group class, SWIFT group class, yoga, nutrition and kids. And then we have a bunch of smaller auxiliary things that are doing, that have great futures. Our longevity program for 50 and older is doing really well right now, but it’s still in its infant stage. Olympic lifting has taken another form. Our third or fourth forms since we’ve had the gym open, but still doing very well and attracting different clients. We do a lot of personal training as well still. But for us, personal training kind of came in later, which if it would’ve came in earlier, I think we’d be in a better spot for some of our employees. But it’s still there too. So really there’s the five main ones and three of them we’re still working on. From a structural standpoint.

Jared: 15:45 – Yeah. And one thing I want to throw out there was, you know, it’s all about starting super, super small and growing from that perspective because I mean something, we recently created a class called Move, it’s a move class. The concept behind it is just like a boot camp class where are you using a lot of the cardio equipment and using a lot of body weight stuff, so you can think of it as your Orangetheory, you can think of it as your F45, whatever it is, and people love this class. But it started off literally as a Sunday morning, I went in with my wife and kind of little hung over, probably a little hungover, probably started and we did this workout and I was like, OK, well let’s invite a couple more people, invited a couple more people and then before you knew it it turned into an actual class, and then this actual class turned into two classes. Now this actual class is turning all days on Sundays and now we can see this becoming a core product or a bigger product for us in the future with this class. But it all started super, super small. And that’s one thing I always give advice to people who are starting different programs.

Chris: 16:45 – So another piece of advice that I think that you guys could maybe, or some wisdom you could share is it’s really tempting for a lot of entrepreneurs to start up and start diversifying maybe too quickly. You know, and I’ll take some blame here. You know, I wrote in “Two-Brain Business,” here are 30 classes that we’ve run at Catalyst and so a lot of people interpreted that as to be successful, I need to have 30 things going on. What’s your experience been with, you know, starting these new programs and diversifying?

Peter: 17:16 – Yeah, for us that proving our concept. Like we’re not afraid to fail, but I’d rather fail if I had four classes and close those back down as opposed to having 30 classes of a new program. And the number one piece of advice I could definitely give Chris is you have to have a champion of a program. We cannot—we are idea people, but we also can’t have an idea and then go create it as the owners, especially at the level that we’re at. So our yoga program’s a great example, right? My wife, Shannon, she was the absolute champion and she was like, as long as I have 10 people in the class, like she defined success early for that program. 10 people in a class means success, I can start looking at a second class. 10 people in that class, I can start looking at another class.

Peter: 18:00 – Same with our SWIFT program. Same with our kids programs. It’s like she won’t start a new class or a new option on a Tuesday night until her Monday night is at eight people, and for me I’d run all the numbers. I could tell you our break even for almost every class based on the revenue that we’re running. Like yoga, yoga, because it’s a little bit of a lower price point, we need to have at least eight to nine people in a class for it to be a break even class. Whereas our CrossFit classes only need six people in a class and it’s considered a breakeven class. And so we start small and I have break evens for every class size before I let the coach say I want to have three classes every day and it’s going to be a big class and out of control.

Chris: 18:41 – So how do you identify these champions and then what tools do you give them to succeed when they have an intrapreneurial idea?

Jared: 18:49 – A lot of that starts with trying to build careers or staff members, you know, giving them an opportunity to bring in revenue on their own. You know, for us at NapTown, the core areas where people can make money are group classes. So coaching, you know, fitness classes, it’s personal training, it’s doing our foundations program, which is our onboarding system. And then the fourth one, the key one there is intrapreneurialism. And so those are the four pillars that we have of building careers for people. And so we tell them from the get-go like your earning potential is unlimited depending on what kind of program you can build. So that’s how our kids started, it’s how longevity started, it’s how NapTown Nutrition started. And it’s how all these programs started. We’d reach a point where we would ask our staff members like what do you enjoy?

Jared: 19:37 – What brings you joy? Doing an energy audit. Like what are the things that light you up and make you excited and let’s build a business from that. And then that’s what Peter and I have been able to do, been fortunate last couple of years is to then mentor those individuals and guide those individuals and help them figure out the obstacles that we have to figure out in order to make these actual businesses. And that’s where, you know, we sit now in our roles is essentially meeting with our staff members to help guide them. I think one of the issues, personally I’ve been running into a little bit more, is now that we have a lot of these different programs and offerings available, new staff members coming on are like, well, I’m actually interested in this, but it’s already taken by this person. Like, you know, I’m interested in nutrition. It’s like, well, you might not be able to be the owner of nutrition program, but you can definitely be a nutrition coach and make plenty of money doing that. So there’s still opportunities available for even new staff members to help build their careers, which ultimately for us, like the thing that keeps me up at night is making sure that our staff is happy and making sure our staff is making the money they want to make.

Chris: 20:41 – That’s great guys. And I think you’ve, you know, you’ve said a few times now that you’re successful because your staff is successful. That also means that your gym generates more revenue. So you know, what problems does having $1 million in revenue solve that maybe the average gym owner has, you know, if I’m making $30,000 a month instead of $85,000 a month, what am I worried about that you’re really not anymore?

Chris: 21:07 – One of the biggest things I would say is like new members or new clients. We are fortunate that we could keep working on our average revenue per member or our ARM and making sure that we’re taking care of the people in our doors. And if we don’t see any No-Sweat Intros for a week, yeah, still want to push that, but I don’t have to stress about it. And the people that we do get in the doors, we can be very specific about making sure that they’re right people for our gym. So, I do read a lot about people like, Oh, what about these clients, and that’s a big worry we don’t have anymore. It’s like, yeah, I would still love to have another 50 members, but at what cost? I think that’s the biggest thing we don’t have anymore.

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Jared: 22:51 – I would say some of the lower responsibilities and I don’t know if that’s the right word I should be using, but you know, like I don’t worry about cleaning the floors anymore. Which I know I used to worry about 2011, 2012. I don’t worry about equipment anymore because we have people who are staffed to be in charge of those. We have a facilities manager who is in charge of running our cleaning crew, which we hire out and contract out. He’s also in charge of another staff member who in charge of fixing our equipment when our equipment breaks. So those are the things that like me personally, I haven’t touched anything facilities related in three years now because we have people who are in charge of those. But yes, when we first started, he and I were in charge of those and then we’ve worked ourselves out of those roles and then filled those roles with other individuals to take those on.

Jared: 23:38 – And that’s essentially, I mean, one of the things I do in life, and I just did it recently was you know, my little loves and loathes and as soon as I start to find out that there’s something that just I cringe at and I start sweating at and I just hate doing, I’m going to find a staff member who might enjoy doing that and pass that task off to them and then they’ll get paid doing that and now I can go do something else that I enjoy doing or that brings in more money to the business. And that’s essentially what’s helped us solve that problem that I think in the beginning, some gym owners can’t do because the money’s not there.

Chris: 24:10 – But turning that around on you, Jared, I mean, could you guys have reached this level of success without moving those lower-value tasks onto other people like cleaning?

Jared: 24:18 – Absolutely not. I don’t think. No, no, no way in my mind could that have happened. And I think I actually, and I don’t know if he’ll agree with this, but I think I actually had to kind of twist Peter’s arm a little bit on that. Because he was stuck in a mindset couple of years ago where it’s like, I need to personal train, I need to personal train, I need to personal train to make more money. And I’m like, stop doing that. Let our staff do that because we’re also making money when our staff does that and now you go out and get us a corporate client and now you go out and get us something else and do more for us in a different way. And I don’t know if you’ll agree that kind of like clicked for you one day, but I feel like it did.

Peter: 24:55 – I think when you talk about money and you talk about owners’ responsibilities, what are the more important things is we do need to replace ourselves in lower value roles, but you have to do it strategically. And that’s where my left brain, my financial side of the brain comes into play. It’s like, Hey, I will keep cleaning these floors until I know I need to go take on something bigger. But I will replace myself at a $15 an hour cleaning floor job with a $30 an hour new personal-training client. And I will keep that personal-training client now and not 30, like $85, 4/9ths model and things like that. I will keep that client as long as I need to until I can have two staff members having personal-training clients because now they’re bringing in and I can go in and find a corporate client. And so that’s where I was slow to adapt to some of the philosophies is I like to make sure that the lower-value roles were replaced correctly and not just off the whim. And as I leveled up where the jobs I was taking on, the task I was taking on, bringing in more value and also challenging me as an owner.

Chris: 25:59 – There’s a lot of discipline that has to be developed there too, I think. But just so that I’ve got this clear, so you started off by replacing yourselves in low-value roles financially. So the cleaners first and then Jared mentioned doing the love and loathe exercise, which we sometimes call the energy audit. Did that happen later as, as you worked yourself into more of a CEO role, you started handing off things that you didn’t enjoy as much anymore?

Peter: 26:26 – Yeah, one thing we haven’t talked about at all, this is CrossFit after all, we actually went to the CrossFit Games in 2014 as a team, and for the first three or four years, you better bet we spent 15 hours a day at the gym, but five hours a day we were working out, and we had an amazing team around us and we went to CrossFit Regionals every year for the first few years. And it was an amazing personal experience. But one day, after we got back from the Games, we kind of stared at each other. We’re like, that was cool. Was it worth it? And that’s when we actually found Two-Brain Business for the first time, I think we read Two-Brain 1.0 and then 2.0 and read some of those books on our own. And that’s when Jared was like, we need to find a mentor and we need to right our ship, because it was a cool hobby still for the first three years, but we were just lucky. And finally it was like, we need these systems and processes in place to replace ourselves in some of these lower-value roles that I was still holding onto so that we can act as CEOs and CFOs. And that’s when things really started to change. So I would say we were five years into our gym and now we’re in year nine. We were about four, definitely four to five years in enjoying the personal side before we were like, wow, we have something special, we can really start taking it. So in 2015 we were 700,000, and then this year we were 1.25 million. So, and that was all through strategy. And that was after we went to the CrossFit Games, after we gave up that hope as an athlete and just enjoyed that part of it, that’s when the revenue really started to change direction.

Chris: 28:04 – That’s amazing. And when you think back on what going to the Games cost you, it was more than more than the bus tickets, right. So to kind of go 180 on that question, I said, you know, what problems does money solve, but what kind of pressures do you face that smaller-scale gym owners probably don’t?

Peter: 28:23 – I do all the money.

Jared: 28:26 – I spend all the money.

Peter: 28:29 – And that for me it’s a whole—I love numbers, but I’d never went to any specialty schooling for it. I did go to a business school, but it was more for marketing and operations. So for me, knowing that we need to make 80, I think it’s just under $83,000 a month just to keep everybody paid and the doors open is a very stressful thing. And also it’s amazing that we have all these revenue streams, but now I have managers or entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs in roles that require money for their programs to grow. So I might sit in four meetings back to back to back meeting one be with Jared about future visions of the gym, meeting two will be with Shannon, my wife, about yoga and their needs, nutrition and they’re needing to buy new paper for the InBody and then talk about the kids program who needs new kids barbells. So I can sit in four meetings in a row, leave with an ask list of $10,000 worth of equipment. Well, we don’t have 10,000 extra dollars, so now a thing that I never knew I’d be in charge of is how do I prioritize who needs money? Who needs the budget now?

Peter: 29:41 – Did yoga bring us in a ton of money last month so do they deserve more money now ,or is it more of a balance game where we have to just share the funds and not worry about it because we are NapTown Fitness overall, and this is my stress and this is what’s turned me and more gray hairs than ever is like, how do I go through four meetings and then to have to tell two of those four people I can’t give you anything right now. Can you guys make it another month? Here’s what we have for the other two programs. We don’t have $10,000, we have $6,000.

Jared: 30:09 – Yeah, it’s been an interesting battle because NapTown as a whole, as a business, I kind of equate it to like we’re a venture firm and we’re funding a lot of these different projects and some of these projects, to be honest, aren’t profitable yet. They’re on their way to becoming profitable. But like, you know, we had to invest essentially an entire year, almost a year and a half of partial salaries as well as equipment for our NapTown Nutrition business to get to where it’s at right now. And it’s, you know, it’s getting its legs underneath it and it’s doing well now and we’re really excited about 2020, but like technically hasn’t been profitable yet. And those are the things that people don’t really see or understand or don’t know. But we’re so pro on what it can do for, you know, NapTown as a whole, but also our community and the change it can provide Indianapolis. So like that’s why we’re pushing it and excited for it.

Chris: 31:05 – So obviously you guys have a really clear mission because you brought that up a few times about saving the community, but how do you manage that stress? You know what, I’m specifically looking at Peter here because if it really kind of falls under your purview of make $83,000 a month, you know, how do you deal with that? How do you sleep?

Peter: 31:26 – I sleep at night by pure exhaustion still. So that’s not a hard part. And I have two kids too. I have two young kids, a four-year-old and a one-and-a-half-year-old and Jared has a nine-month-old as well. So there’s that whole side of personal life. I manage the stress by continuing to focus on a schedule. My wife is a tremendous goal-setter vision board person and schedule person and she will bring us back together at least once or twice a year and say we need to set goals. And this is personal, this is for our family, but we also work together so it blends. We tried to split it up, we can’t. We blend it all together a lot. And by having a clear personal mission and vision allows me to keep level headed at the gym. And also I think I’m a really good communicator with our staff and I’m pretty vulnerable and I’ll tell them. And vulnerability for me is something that I’ve been kind of raised with. My parents were good about making me understand emotions and so I could tell a staff member like, Hey, I really care about you. This is what you’re asking me. Is that clear? And kind of restating the questions and then making them understand where we’re moving. So Jared and I do a lot of internal mentorship with our staff, which actually makes me less stressed because our staff knows where we’re trying to go and they don’t overwhelm me with a lot of problems.

Jared: 32:47 – Yeah, we’re pretty open with everyone, like this is the first time we’re here, you know, like this is the first time I’ve ran a business that makes $1 million in revenue. So like to our staff specifically, like help us learn as well. And if you learn something, teach us, because we’re doing this all together and this is we, we’re a team. We’re trying to figure this out together. It’s not Peter and I like sitting at top and like making, you know, throwing money around. Like that’s not happening right now. Like, what we want to do is make sure we’re working together and having open conversations to achieve success.

Peter: 33:19 – And I still work out, I do a lot of yoga now. I do an OK amount of meditation. I want to do more. And I still work out pretty regularly so that can maintain my stress there.

Jared: 33:32 – Yeah. Chris, this is, I give you props on this, but I actually played tennis for the first time in seven years yesterday and a lot of it comes to reading some of your stuff about, you know, getting on a bike and not being stressed out if I don’t do CrossFit today or I don’t do, you know, a boot camp class today, it’s like I can do fitness in other ways. So I enjoyed it thoroughly yesterday.

Chris: 33:51 – Oh that’s great. And you know, I think that it’s a common characteristic of great leaders that they are vulnerable like that. And in one of my first in-person interactions with Greg Glassman, we were at this Mexican Cantina style bar and there was nowhere to sit. So I got to sit beside him and his head legal counsel at the time, Dale Saran, and Dale was, you know, complaining about this unforeseen problem that they were dealing with in this massive company. And Greg says, he turns to him and he says, Hey, Dale, next time I start a $1 billion worldwide movement in my garage, remind me not to fuck up. It was, yeah. So guys, I really want to turn to, you know, shining a spotlight on some numbers here because in the fitness world, I think we’re all bombarded by these ads for like million-dollar gyms or we create a, you know, a six figure, eight figure if you count the decimal points, gym every 40 seconds. And I kind of roll my eyes because it’s like, who cares? If they’re not actually paying themselves, it doesn’t matter. You know? And I know, Peter especially, you really focus on this. So let’s talk about some of your breakdowns here if you don’t mind. Like, you know, what are your expense and profit ratios like?

Peter: 35:08 – Yeah, that’s something that we worked on very thoroughly. And just again, talking about surrounding yourself with the right team.

Jared: 35:16 – Yeah, this is huge.

Peter: 35:16 – So we’ve been open for nine years and we are actually on our fifth accountant or, kind of outside CFO consultant or financial consultant, because as we’ve grown, this has been a very difficult thing for us to manage. And so we just this year, 2019, came back locally to Indianapolis with a person that we can meet with. And she has helped us really turn it around because with all of these layers, we knew we needed a budget. Talk about stress, I needed a budget so I can tell nutrition, this is exactly what you’re allowed to spend and this is what it’s gonna look like and this is what yoga is gonna look like. And one of the other problems I’ve dealt with that caused me stress is, and you know, cause Two-Brain’s covered this thoroughly, is there’s no perfect CRM out there. And we use a software right now that we made work for us and we really like it a lot. I wouldn’t change. There’s no way I would change in the world at this point. But when yoga brings in money, it just tells me that, and yoga, nutrition and CrossFit all bring in money, to separate those out is very difficult.

Peter: 36:18 – So I need to do a lot of work in Microsoft Excel. We found a new CFO or a financial consultant that’s helped us really break down those numbers this year to show us where we’re at. And so this year we were running, and I’m scrolling through over here because we’re running an 18% profit margin, which I think is pretty reasonable for where we’re at. And ideally we’re just aiming for more of a 30% profit margin and I do too much reading. So I don’t remember where I read this, but what I read recently was between 25 and 35 is like the gold standard, or 28 to 35 is an absolute gold standard in our type of industry. 15 to 25 means you’re doing fairly well. Anything below 15 means you better start fixing things because you’re getting too close to zero. And that’s kind of the philosophy I’m running. So an 18% profit margin is where we’re at right now. And if I take into just payroll, take it out of there, we’re actually running closer to 51%. So the payroll is taking up a huge majority of what we’re doing because we do actually have a staff of 44 people. When you take all of our yoga instructors, all of our CrossFit coaches that are part time and then all of our middle, the full-time people. So our staff breaks down like this. We have eight to nine that we consider like very full time, three to five that are full time, but they need to work their tails off. Probably could take a second job to really make ends meet, but they don’t yet. And then everybody else is completely part time. So there’s about 15 or 16 of us that require, require NapTown Fitness to pay us, and then everyone else of the 44 just do it part time.

Chris: 38:02 – OK. That’s really interesting. And I want to be clear like that 18% is after you guys have paid your own salaries too. Right?

Peter: 38:09 – Absolutely.

Chris: 38:09 – So if we were, you know, most of the time when we talk about profit margin is net owner benefit, which would include like an owner salary. So 18% is actually pretty remarkable after owner salary in the service industry where your labor cost is high. In fact, I think Michalowicz was saying in the original “Profit First” that 15% was the goal after wages and taxes, including your own. So that’s really, really great. All right, so how do you guys control expenses? Other than putting up signs that says, you know, two paper towel limit, you know, what do you do to make sure that your expenses stay in line and you stay profitable?

Jared: 38:50 – You get screamed at by Peter when you ask for money and that solves the problem. No, I’m just kidding.

Peter: 38:57 – In all seriousness, I mean it’s become just a difficult internal brain process right now. There is no perfect way of how we handle the expenses. This year, 2020 we have a budget for the first time, like an actual budget to control all of this. So that’s going to be our biggest focus and we’re sitting down with our nutrition director and our yoga director in the next week or two weeks to show them what the budget looks like. Cause essentially one of the ways in order to handle the money that we needed to do was because it’s an intrepreneur and Jared talked about us being venture capitalists, we needed to create a program of which basically nutrition is going to pay rent to NapTown, and yoga is going to pay rent to NapTown. This is what we’ve come up with right now and we’ve talked to a lot of professionals on this. We think it’s going to work. So, and we had to use some numbers that we just decided on. But that’s one of the big ways we’re going to manage it this year is just we came up with a number that nutrition owes us this much money a month for being their investor.

Jared: 39:52 – Yeah. And also, I mean we’ve gone through the “Profit First” steps and strategies. We’ve cut up our credit cards, we don’t have credit cards, we have debit cards only. There’s only a couple of maybe one or two of us actually get use of those credit card or those debit cards we’ve gone through and scrubbed our entire QuickBooks of reoccurring payments that don’t necessarily need to be or don’t need to be on there and scrubbed that clean. So we’re only paying for things that we need to pay for, cutting off those extra Spotify accounts and Pandora accounts and those things that we don’t need to be in there. So those are definitely, I mean I guess I consider those as simple ways of cutting expenses, but we’ve gone through those processes as well.

Chris: 40:33 – How often do you review your expenses? Like do an audit?

Peter: 40:36 – Actually review them like an in depth review? I’d only say once a year, but I still am looking at our numbers at least once a week. But again, that’s the way we’re structured right now. I am acting as a CFO. So at least once a week I’m looking at things and then twice a month, I love profit first calculations, I’m doing it twice a month, like deep look. Cause we did cut up our credit cards, but we still have to pay off a credit card that we have from various things.

Jared: 41:02 – And that’s another thing. I mean, being vulnerable here on this podcast. I mean we’re floating $20,000 on credit card for the last, I don’t know, many a years just because it just kept happening. It just kept happening. We just, oh we need to buy this, we need to buy that. Like we need this certification and we’ll put it on a credit card, put it on a credit card. So like, yeah, $1 million, but we’re still trying to work ourselves out of some debt. You know what I mean?

Peter: 41:26 – Well Chris, to your point too, about us leveling ourselves up over the years. I didn’t act as the CFO until about two years ago, and that was the first time we hit $1 million. I did the financial work, but it was just cause that was on the org chart and someone was supposed to do it and my name landed in the box. As we grew, we understood the necessity of making sure that we handle these expenses because we own a building. We actually just bought another building in 2019 that won’t be open until later 2020. And the strategy of finances has become so interesting to me about buying a building and paying rent to ourselves. And then we can take some dividends from that building and invest them into different ways. And then we refinance the building we own so we can get extra capital out of it so we could buy the newest building we bought. We strategically went into a partnership with our newest building with a local high profile construction gentleman who owns a construction company. So we basically, we think, at least, we hope we bought ourselves a long-term insurance plan of if the building has issues, he owns a construction company, we could fix it. So we’re really strategizing our money for the long term. And it’s hard for our employees to see this, but like once we can clean this up in 2021, I think there’s huge opportunities for our employees to see a big increase in their salaries or in their payroll calculators for the future. But right now we need to really solidify the future of NapTown with diversified like huge diversified money streams.

Chris: 42:55 – It’s interesting, like you say diversify, but it sounds like you’re solidifying a lot of them too. If you’re locking in the profit margin that you need to make on these programs like nutrition and yoga, then you’re really moving the responsibility for success onto the champions of those programs more. So that’s cool guys, I kind of see an evolution of thought here. What do you—what’s next for you? What’s the next stage?

Jared: 43:20 – I think it’s continually to surround ourselves with people who are better than us in specific areas. One thing that’s happening literally right now, I just had a really big meeting on it yesterday and we almost have finalized is we’ve hired an HR consultant to come in and help us just blow up our organization and build us an org chart that makes sense for where we’re currently at. Because right now there’s no clarity on who people report to and whose responsibilities are whose cause over time we just kind of like, Hey, like you can make a couple extra bucks by doing this. Go ahead and do our social media and post on Facebook and you can make a certain dollar amount doing that. And so now it’s like, OK, here’s our org chart. We actually even joked yesterday about firing every single staff member and then posting those and rehiring for those positions.

Peter: 44:09 – Well rehiring those staff members in their newest roles.

Jared: 44:11 – So I’m really excited about this org chart, which we’re working on. We’re working on potential rebranding and creating a message, not only for Peter and I to be able to share with our staff, but then for our staff to be able to share with our members who then our members can share with the rest of the Indianapolis community. And that way we’re all clear on what the message of NapTown is as a whole as well. And then as Peter already mentioned, we bought this building that’s overall 17,000 square feet, 8,600 on the main floor, 9,000 in the basement. And the original idea was buy it, throw down rubber flooring and open up another NapTown location. But the more we thought about it is it’s becoming a mixed tenant use property.

Jared: 44:52 – So I’m now serving as a leasing agent. We have seven to eight tenants of this building and we have five letter of intents signed already. So we’re working towards the leasing process and actually having leases executed. So we’re really pumped to, you know, have that available as well of you know, our future wealth and future success being built off of this new building. So that’s keeping us super, super busy. And then obviously our NapTown business will have about 4,500 to 5,000 square feet in that building. So hopefully that can help grow that part of the business as well.

Peter: 45:26 – When you asked the question, what’s next to me right now, because again, I’m such a financially focused person is really solidifying the staff. When I made this blog post that spurred this whole thing, I said like something still feels like it’s missing, something still feels empty even though we have this much revenue, and Jared will agree on this, like we still want to make our staff, especially the eight to 12 people, they should be making that very livable wage. And I know you’ve talked about this in some of your stuff in the past, like each city has their own livable wage and happiness index. Yeah, our staff can be there. Jared and I still need to lead a couple of things to get them there and then they need to start believing in themselves to maintain that.

Chris: 46:09 – It’s so funny, like you guys are just such classic Tinker Phase. You’re creating cash-flow investments that will secure your financial independence. You’re mentoring your staff more than you’re in the trenches and doing your own work and stuff. But you’re never, never bored and you’re never running out of work. Well congrats guys. You know, I’m really proud of you. I hope that you take some time to get some distance and actually see what you’ve built here and the platform for the future is just amazing. So congratulations to both of you guys and thanks for sharing this journey and this insight with other box owners.

Jared: 46:45 – Awesome. Thank you for having us and thank you for all you do as well as team of Two-Brain. I mean we wouldn’t be where we’re at today without a lot of that guidance. So very, very appreciative.

Peter: 46:54 – I have one quick closing remark. You know, we hit $1 million last year in 2018 and we are kind of asked a little bit to be on the podcast and we were very nervous to do so and so we just didn’t feel like we had proven anything yet. Happened to do it again in 2019 and show an increase in revenue in 2019, kind of Jared and I looked at each other and took at least a 30-second moment of congratulations like, you know what? We’ve proven ourselves two years over now. When you asked us to be on it again this year, we were like, we felt more confident to talk about this because we really believe our staff, we believe in the people around us, we believe in the city of, Indianapolis, and we want to invest in all of those things to make the future here as best as possible.

Chris: 47:33 – It’s not a fluke. Well, hopefully next year when you hit 2 million, you will take five minutes of intensive like eye contact, reward each other with that. Congrats a lot guys. You deserve it all.

Andrew: 47:54 – Thanks for listening to Two-Brain Radio. Be sure to subscribe for more great episodes, and if you’d like to learn how a mentor can help you build a successful business, book a free call Chris Cooper’s team will show you exactly how you can add $5,000 a month in revenue and move closer to your Perfect Day. Visit Two-Brain today.


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Kari Pearce: The Fittest Woman in the United States

Kari Pearce: The Fittest Woman in the United States

Sean: 00:05 – Hi everybody. Welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. On today’s episode, I talk with five-time individual CrossFit Games athlete, Emily Bridgers. First, over the last month, I’ve interviewed some truly amazing guests like Stacie Tovar, Tanya Wagner, Adrian Bozman, Chris Hinshaw, Rory Mckernan, Julie Foucher and more, so if you’ve missed out on this stuff, check out our archives for the best stories from the fitness community and to avoid FOMO, please subscribe to Two-Brain Radio. I’ve got a great guest coming every single week. Emily Bridgers has competed at the Games five times as an individual and once on a team. She made her individual debut in 2014 when she finished a career-best sixth overall in Carson. Her final year competing was in 2018. Emily and I talk about her gymnastics career, how that led her to CrossFit and what fitness looks like now for her now that she’s the mother of a three-month-old girl. Thanks for listening, everybody. Emily, thank you so much for being here. How you doing today?

Emily: 01:14 – Doing well, thanks for having me.

Sean: 01:16 – You started gymnastics at three years old. What do you remember about being involved in that sport at that young age?

Emily: 01:27 – I remember a good bit. I remember starting in this little mommy and me class at a rec center nearby. I have a few memories of it. I remember quite a bit from when I was four and I was put in a class with two other girls that I ended up like growing up in the gym with.

Sean: 01:50 – You said your competitive career, I read this, started at seven years old. How did that experience influence your early career as an athlete?

Emily: 02:03 – I mean I remember being seven years old and like nervous to compete but like nervous in a good way that, you know, fuels adrenaline and like I already cared about what I was doing. I wasn’t just like flopping around like some little kids are, I like wanted to do well. And I mean I think a lot of what you do under age 12 determines a lot of just like athletic development and mental toughness and things like that.

Sean: 02:34 – Gymnastics is such a unique sport because of how grueling it can be at such a young age. How did you deal with that as a kid?

Emily: 02:42 – Yeah, I mean the hours tend to ramp up really quick as you start going, you know, three times a week and then that goes to five times a week and then sometimes that goes to six times a week. So yeah, the demand is high. I never even went to the elite level, which is, you know, what you do to compete internationally and try to qualify the Olympics, but I still trained 25 hours a week. So yeah, the training age on your body adds up pretty quickly by the time you’re 18 years old or you know, if you go to college with it, it takes a big toll on your body. I remember one year in college, I think 11 of my teammates got surgery during the summer. So I mean it says a lot to what you have to deal with in order to be really good.

Sean: 03:31 – You mentioned the physical toll it can take. What kind of mental toll does that sort of regimen take on you?

Emily: 03:38 – I mean, honestly, gymnastics takes an enormous amount of discipline and you know, growing up you have to make a lot of sacrifices with friends and I mean your best friends end up being your friends in the gym. But honestly I would say CrossFit takes much more of a mental toll because it’s so much more suffering. Whereas gymnastics was more like fun. Like learning new skills was thrilling. The competition aspect was, you know, high pressure, you only get one chance if you fall, that kind of ruins your entire meet. But mentally I think I was still pretty sane.

Sean: 04:17 – You were obviously pretty good. You got to go to the university of Georgia and be part of their gymnastics team. But what ended your career?

Emily: 04:25 – Yeah, so, basically I was recruited. I had a few options and I ended up walking on at Georgia to be close to home and just, I really meshed with the team the most there. I went through my freshman year, we were undefeated that season. I didn’t get to compete a whole lot because I was on the team with like a bunch of former Olympians and only six people compete on every event. So oftentimes I would be that seventh person that was trying to make their way in. But I was also dealing with a lot of back pain that I hadn’t identified exactly what it was at the time. Doctors told me I had degenerative discs, but I sort of dismissed that as like, oh, well that’s going to get worse whether I stay in gymnastics or not. So I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to that. But I ended up retiring after my freshman year and then found out I had a compression fracture. So I dealt with that after the fact.

Sean: 05:29 – What did that then do to your competitive fire?

Emily: 05:36 – So when I was done with gymnastics, I had been doing it for about 16 years or essentially most of my life. And I went through a phase where I did not want to be inside of a gym at all. I was kind of just like turned off by the idea of being inside and like kind of like I wasted my whole life being inside these four walls. But so I took up running and you know, just started running a whole lot. That’s actually when I noticed my back was getting worse and determined the compression fracture. So during the time of dealing with the fracture, I went into a pool and like did all my workouts as swimming workouts. So this is all kind of like leading up to helping my CrossFit career, which I had no idea what was going to happen.

Emily: 06:24 – But eventually I, you know, went back to just regular gym workouts. And one of my former teammate’s brothers introduced us to CrossFit. And so we started following I had really had no idea what I was doing cause we were doing it on our own, but we would pick the body-weight workouts and do those and post our score. And then after I left Athens, which was the college town, was when I officially was like, oh, well maybe I should go to a CrossFit gym and figure out what I’m doing.

Sean: 06:56 – What was it about CrossFit that hooked you?

Emily: 07:01 – Well, I think I had a little bit of like anger and resentment about my gymnastics career being done not on my own terms, so when I found it, I mean I had gained a little bit of weight from college. I, you know, I had still been working out throughout those, I guess four years that I had off. But I started just to get back in shape. But then I realized like I was able to like let out that anger and when I started being the best one in class, that kind of fueled me as like, oh, I’m the best at something again. And then I just wanted to be better and better and better. And we had like somewhat of an older gym population. So I didn’t know if I was actually good at CrossFit in comparison to others my age. So that the first year of the Open rolled around in 2011 and that was kind of like the first competitive thing that I did. I think I got about 50th in the world that year, so I determined that I might actually be decent at CrossFit.

Sean: 08:05 – What was it like then? Not only finding out that, OK, I’m good at this, but then setting the goal of getting to the CrossFit Games and actually achieving it?

Emily: 08:16 – Yeah, so I guess 2011 was when I found out that there was a CrossFit Games and I remember a group of us from our gym sitting down and watching the live stream. I had competed at Regionals, so I knew what it was. Yeah. That was 2011. But I didn’t necessarily set a goal of making the Games until the next year. So I got ninth at Regionals in 2011 and like, essentially that was my first competition. I didn’t have weightlifting shoes. I didn’t have a belt. I didn’t really even have like the same clothes that everybody else had. So I was like, OK, I should probably get serious about this. Like at that point, I wasn’t even ever going into the gym on the weekends. So I decided to start going to the gym on Saturdays, which was a big deal. And then going into 2011 I was like, well maybe I should do some stuff outside of class. And then I really wanted to make the Games in 2012. Cause I was like, if I can get ninth in my first competition, I can for sure get top three the next year, which didn’t happen.

Sean: 09:26 – How did what you have been through with gymnastics and the way that is regimented, how did that help you amp your training up for CrossFit?

Emily: 09:35 – Well I guess it sort of felt like the same, you know, going to gymnastics practice every day was like a routine. You would go to school, you would go to practice four or five, six days a week. So that’s kinda what CrossFit training felt like for me. Just with the opposite schedule. So I’d go in every morning, get my training in, and then at that time I was coaching gymnastics in the afternoons. So it just kind of became my daily routine. Wake up, workout, do the class workout, maybe do a little bit of extra and then eat and then go coach the little kids I was coaching.

Sean: 10:12 – You finally make it to the Games in 2014. What was it like showing up to Carson, California, for your very first CrossFit Games?

Emily: 10:21 – It was awesome. I mean, so 2012, I missed it by one spot and I ended up going as a spectator. Seeing that in person really fueled the fire. The next year I got fifth at Regionals and I was able to go on a team in 2013. I didn’t have a whole lot of fun, but I did get to compete in the tennis stadium. After I competed as a team, every day I would just sit up in the stands and watch the individuals and, you know, kind of take notes and see what there was to do. Cause I kind of knew in the back of my head like this is where I’m going to be next year. Even though I had already missed it twice. So yeah, 2014, I was prepared. I, you know, I was used to the crowd because of gymnastics. So it wasn’t one of those moments where I was like necessarily like star struck or like feared the crowd or anything like that. I definitely was fueled by it. The first event in the tennis stadium was the one-rep-max overhead squat. And I just remember like feeling the nerves, but knowing that the nerves were a good thing.

Sean: 11:34 – You take sixth overall that year and you finished second in Midline March. I mean, that’s a heck of a performance. What stands out to you about those four days that you had as your first individual competition at the CrossFit Games?

Emily: 11:47 – So I had a really good first day. I was proud of myself for swimming in the ocean for the first time and I did pretty well. I think I left the first day, like in 10th or 11, so I was like really excited. Like, oh cool. Like I’m in there with the rest of the girls. And then I remember Friday and Saturday being kind of just like very frustrating for me because you know, at Regionals you can take a lot of first place or top three finishes. And then at the Games I would get mad when I would get 10th place. But as the years went on, I realized that like 10th place at the Games, like you should probably be excited about that. But I was pissed. It’s like I remember Saturday I was like crying to Ben and he’s like, you don’t have to do this. And then I went into Sunday and had like an amazing Sunday and was like, OK, never mind, forget about what happened on Saturday. That was me being dramatic. So yeah, I would say that I definitely wanted to win. And I think that’s, you know, almost good being naive as a rookie. And I mean, you see that happen. We’ve seen that happen quite a few times in CrossFit where a rookie goes in and almost has like too high of expectations, but it helps them.

Sean: 13:06 – How did that performance motivate you then moving forward?

Emily: 13:14 – It opened up a lot of opportunities. That’s kind of when I started signing sponsorships and things that, I mean I hadn’t made a dollar in four years of doing CrossFit. I had only spent a lot of money trying to get to competitions and things. So it made it easier in that aspect. And then it was just like I wanted to continue to compete. I think two or three weeks after the Games I went to Granite Games that year and then it was just like one of those where you keep getting invited to things and I kept wanting to say yes to every opportunity. And then, you know, you get to train with people who are the same or better than you, which just, it made it a really enjoyable process. So I continued to get better and better those next few years.

Sean: 14:02 – The 2015 Games started off pretty well for you. You finished eighth in Murph, but not everything was well with you at that point. What happened after that event?

Emily: 14:16 – Yeah, so the 2015 to 2016 Games are probably like my biggest disappointments of my entire career. Because I was no doubt the fittest that I’ve ever been. But I, you know, hindsight’s 20/20, but you know, leading into the Games at that point we didn’t know many of the events, but what we did know is that we had that sandbag over the wall event that was really not good as a short athlete. But you know, I made it through, I think I got 30th place out of 40, so I was pretty happy with that. And then the only other thing we knew at that point was that there was a snatch ladder and a max clean and jerk. And so going into Murph, I was like, well I guess I gotta you know, give it my all in Murph cause I mean my goal was to win the Games that year.

Emily: 15:03 – So I’m like, all right, if I’m going to start out with a 30th place finish, like I’ve got a bust ass in the ones that I know I can do well. So Murph, I took eighth place, I was really happy, I felt fine. But I didn’t realize the toll that it was going to take that night in Heavy DT. I realized something might be wrong with my arms, like jerks are one of my best movements. And I was like failing to lock them out. And then the next day I woke up and was just completely wrecked and it just continued to get worse and worse as the weekend went on. So honestly that year, I think it was an accomplishment to even finish the Games. But I was pretty mad. I got 24th place that year and it just, I felt like it didn’t represent where I was at, but it also exposed a big weakness, which was recovering between days of competition. So I worked on that in the coming years. But 2016 didn’t prove to be much better.

Sean: 16:09 – That event, you know, Murph and that Games in particular, you know, wrecked a lot of people after that point, why did you decide, even though you knew you weren’t 100%, why did you decide to keep competing?

Emily: 16:24 – Because I’m a competitor and I mean, I felt like it was like giving up to back out at that point. I mean it was tough. Like I think Saturday it started out with like, maybe like sprints on the field. So I was like, well, I don’t need my arms for that one. Oh yeah, it was like the hurdle event. So I kind of was like, OK, well at least do that. And then the next one was like the Pig and legless rope climbs and handstand walks and I was able to do that in the warm-up area. So, you know, it was basically like I took it one at a time and then, I mean the hardest part was going into the final and realizing that it could have been a really good event for me. That was the first year we saw the pegboard, but at that point I had very little function of my arms.

Emily: 17:14 – So just like, I don’t know, knowing that I was going to go out there and give it my best shot. And obviously at that point I think like two or three people even made the pegboard once. So it wasn’t like I stood out that much. But in the warm-up area, it was the first time in my life that it was questionable whether I could even do a handstand or not. So you know, I went out and it was, we had parallette handstand push-ups. I think I got five total. But honestly that was a victory at that point. Versus just going home and saying I didn’t make it through.

Sean: 17:51 – Hey guys, before we go any further with Emily Bridgers, I wanted to ask you a question. Remember when pictures of bloody hands and vomit attracted clients to your gym? Well that stopped working in about 2011 or so. It’s also not enough to be a great coach or programmer. The key to success in 2020 is building a personal relationship with each client, then helping that client’s friends and family. Total ad spend on that? $0. The average gym owner can also add $45,000 a year in revenue just by keeping each client a few months longer. Two-Brain’s new Affinity Marketing and Retention guides will give you everything you need to know. You can get both and 13 other guides and books for free. Visit And now more with Emily Bridgers. You have this experience in 2014 where you leave the Games and you’re really happy with what happened and then you fast forward a year and now you’re disappointed. How did you deal with the off season then in 2015 that was so much different than what you had just been through?

Emily: 19:01 – Yeah. I mean, I did a lot of—like in the month after that, it was a lot of recovery and I dwelled a lot on the leaderboard. I went back and, you know, I would look at who placed better than me in certain events and like was pretty bitter just cause I knew that I was better than some of these people. But you know, you can say that all that all day long but it’s kind of like when you compete against them in other events and the Open was always really good for me. So anyway, I had to let that go and just move on to the next year and just have fun with it again. Like things like the team series and the liftoff really kind of like, were very fun times for me. Getting to travel around, make friends, go different places with different sponsors, like it fuels you to keep wanting to do the sport. So I guess just learning like it wasn’t just about that one event every year. There’s a whole season that you start making a lifestyle out of it. And I mean that’s what kept me going.

Sean: 20:13 – Your final appearance as an individual at the Games was in 2018 and I know it ended earlier and much differently than you wanted it to. So first off, what happened to you that year in Madison?

Emily: 20:24 – Yeah, so going into the 2018 Games, well really 2017, I was debating on that being my last Games just because I had just turned 30. We knew we wanted to have kids. I was kind of over winning the CrossFit Games, but at that point I was still making a career out of it. I was able to, you know, manage owning a gym and still competing. But I had a pretty good year in 2017. We had a lot of fun going to Madison the first time. So Ben and I kind of looked at each other on the last day of the Games and we’re like, all right, we’re going to do this one more time. So I committed to doing it one more time that day. And there was a lot of times that fall trying, I just, I was kinda just tired of suffering all the time, like knowing what it took to get continue to get better at that point after like seven years of training and you know, it just, it hurt.

Emily: 21:21 – But you know, you would still have days where you’re like, dang, I’m still getting better. Like, guess I got to keep going. So I got through that year of training and we had a few different things happen during the open. Our dog died who was 17. My grandpa died, Ben got in a car accident. So it was just like a rough series of few weeks getting through the 2018 open. So Regionals, I just tried to like take the expectations down a little bit. I even bet Ben going into Regionals that if I won I could get a puppy.

Sean: 21:58 – I remember that, that was great.

Emily: 21:58 – And I came pretty close. But that was like, that was the most fun Regionals I’ve ever had. Like the people that came from Terminus, we got to hang out at the hotel every night. Like they were all there cheering me on.

Emily: 22:10 – I set a couple of records for the first time. So yeah, it was just a really fun year leading into the Games. And to answer your question, we get to the 2018 Games and I mean, I knew it was my last one. I was kinda sad about it, but kind of excited. You know, I had been preparing all year that this was it. You know, a lot of competitors I think stay quiet because they don’t know whether it’s going to be their last year. We’re all pretty psycho, so you never know if you’re gonna like get the urge to just do it again. Like Sam Briggs I think has retired about seven times, but I was certain so I wanted to make it known. You know, I didn’t care if like sponsors chose to keep me around or not due to that decision.

Emily: 23:03 – So I made it through the first day or two. I made it through the marathon row and then the next day was, what was that? It was called Battlefield. First event on Friday. That was when I went over the wall and I landed and my ankle was facing the wrong way and I immediately knew, I mean I pretty much immediately knew that my Games were over. Medical came running over and I was like, is my foot facing the wrong way? Is my foot facing the wrong way? And they’re like, yes, it’s going to be OK. We’re going to get you a brace. And you know, they laid me down on my back, taking my pulse because I guess dislocations can be a big deal. But at that moment my foot popped back into place. So I like stood up and was like, is it OK if I keep going?

Emily: 23:57 – Like the huge cargo net was next. So in the back of my head. I’m like, there’s no way I’m making it up that cargo net. So anyway, that ended my Games because there was a certain time cap I was going to have to put back on my shoe and I went to medical and my foot dislocated again. So that actually like was terrible, but it gave me peace of mind that like, OK, this is actually really bad and I needed to come off the field. So yeah, that was disappointing, especially because I missed all the fun events that year. I missed the first handstand obstacle course. I don’t remember the other events, but I mean I had a good time watching and still trying to be as much of a part of it as I could. The ankle was just, you know, at that point everybody’s like one more year. I’m like, no, no, no.

Sean: 24:47 – Well, so why wasn’t there one more year?

Emily: 24:52 – I mean, I was already mentally prepared to be done. So in my head I was going to be done in two days anyway. So the commitment to do a whole other year is like a huge commitment. And then that was at the time where there was all those changes to the season. And honestly, it took a long time, I mean, my ankle is still not recovered, so it ended up being actually worse than I thought it was. I mean, granted, I probably would have rehabbed a little better knowing that I was still competing, but yeah, we were ready to have kids, I guess. I mean, I wanted a little bit, I wanted about, you know, I wanted a little bit of time to just relax and enjoy life. So we didn’t like leave the Games like, oh, we’re going to have a kid tomorrow. But I mean, it did happen pretty quickly. So by January I found out I was pregnant and there was no turning back after that. But like at that point, you know, people would ask like, are you ever going to compete again? And I was like, no, I’ve competed for however many years now since I was seven years old. I think I’m done competing. But now I’m like, you know, I don’t want to say never, but like there’s definitely no thought of competing in the immediate future.

Sean: 26:16 – You mentioned that you became a mother late last year. What is life like now for you as a parent?

Emily: 26:25 – Yes. So it’s just really like balancing everything. I mean number-one priority is taking care of Riley, and then, you know, managing the gym. But then I realized pretty quickly, you know, in pregnancy I worked out the whole time, but those workouts were different and I missed doing lot of things and you know, things that you hated for a long time. For instance, like running for me, I’m like, man, I would do anything to go for a run right now. So, you know, as soon as I was able to work out again, I’m like, all right, I want to take advantage of every day, no matter what, I’m going to get something done. So just figuring that out. Also during pregnancy we moved a little further away from the gym, so we used to live one mile away from Terminus, which is easy and convenient, but we decided to move closer to my parents and Ben’s parents and our babysitters, that is.

Emily: 27:22 – So now we’re about 25 minutes on a good day, 45 minutes on a bad day away from the gym, which, you know, makes a big difference when you have a baby. So I actually, I kind of keep this on the down low to our Terminus members, but I joined another CrossFit gym. So that’s like, you know, three minutes away so I can just go in, get it done, get in, get out and I have no responsibility. So I try to do that gym about two days a week and I get to Terminus about three to four days a week. An, luckily we developed a good staff while I was pregnant, so they kind of hold down the fort on the times where I’m not able to be there.

Sean: 28:02 – What does your training look like now?

Emily: 28:07 – It just looks like an hour of class workouts a day. And you know, I went to like a postpartum PT and I tried to do the homework that she gave me. I told her my ankle was still bothering me, so she gave me some PT for that. So basically I just try to get there a few minutes early to warm up, do some PT exercises, do the class and then, I don’t know, the last few days I’m like, well maybe I should play around with a few other things. I tried muscle-ups for the first time. But yeah, just, I don’t know, not putting any pressure on it and just getting something in. Whether it’s, you know, hopping on a rower for 20 minutes or taking a class just, it doesn’t look anything like it looked before, put it that way.

Sean: 28:51 – Do you find that you are enjoying yourself more in the gym now?

Emily: 28:57 – Yeah, I mean I’ve always loved working out and like, I’ll always love the suffering aspect, but like there’s a difference between pushing yourself through one 10-minute workout as hard as you can and doing that four times a day, you know, seven days, six days a week or whatever it was. And just like planning your whole day around training versus like, all right, I just have to plan this one hour we’re getting in, we’re getting out. So I mean like there’s some days where I would like to do more than I’m doing right now, but I definitely am loving it again. I think anytime you have a setback where you can’t work out, it kind of just, I dunno, it makes you appreciate it lot more in the future. So like anytime I do something new or lift a heavy weight again, it’s kind of like a new accomplishment again.

Sean: 29:52 – One day your daughter is going to be old enough to understand what you did as a competitor during your career. What do you want her to take from knowing about that?

Emily: 30:05 – I mean really I want her to develop like the mental toughness side more than anything. And kind of like that never-quit mentality. Like always following through with a task and obviously just living a healthy lifestyle. I mean, I loved growing up in a gym. I feel like it helped shaped me to the person that I am. So I think, you know, in the next few years we’ll start her in gymnastics. If she likes it, I’ll let her keep going. If she hates it, she doesn’t have to do it. But, I mean, hopefully we can ingrain the fact that fitness is a lifelong thing that’s not something to dread. It’s not punishment; it’s what makes you a better person.

Sean: 30:52 – How do you turn off the competitive side of yourself when you do walk into the gym?

Emily: 31:00 – It’s really difficult. Right now in my gym, we have a couple people that are pretty good, pretty good. One girl I coached as a gymnast starting when she was 16 and she actually ended up going to University of Michigan and became a college rower. So she has like the gymnastics background, the endurance background, and now she’s going on about two years of CrossFit. Right before I got pregnant, we were going head to head in like every workout. So I was still like being kind of competitive with her. And throughout my pregnancy she got really strong and really fit. And the idea of me beating her again is pretty like pretty far off. And it actually bothers me a lot. So we still text about our workouts quite often and you know, I still, for whatever reason, I still want to get better or like, you know, I know that I might never get as good as I was before, but there’s always that I want to get better than I was the day before mentality.

Emily: 32:04 – So I don’t know if you can shut it off. In order for me to watch the Games this year or in 2019, I like set up a betting pool on it and like, so I dunno, it kept it interesting. I was like, I don’t want to have any like personal biases. It was fun, but yeah, I don’t think you ever turn off the competitive mentality. I don’t want to be like the crazy gym mom with Riley if she does end up being good at something. But I can see how it does happen because at some point you got to turn off that the competitive mentality a little bit if you don’t want to focus on yourself all the time.

Sean: 32:47 – You mentioned that never say never about maybe coming back to the competitive side of things, what would it take to get you back into the competition side of CrossFit?

Emily: 32:55 – Yeah, so like, one of the most fun things that I did in my CrossFit career was the three years, the team series with Scott and Stacie. One of those years with Paul Tremblay. And so there was always a team at CrossFit Terminus that like wanted me to go team. But you know, this sounds bad, but I was like, I don’t want to go team unless I know that we can have a chance of winning the CrossFit Games. And so I was like, if we ever were able to form super teams, I would go team because it was just so fun. It was part, you know, I was part of a team in college. I would do it again, you know, but that wasn’t an option until like probably three weeks after I retired, they announced there was going to be super teams and I’m like, dang, of course they did this now. So I guess if I did it again, it might be in that aspect. But I don’t know.

Sean: 33:53 – So you’re saying there’s a chance.

Emily: 33:53 – It would take me having to get much stronger than I am right now.

Sean: 34:01 – Final question. What’s your message now for the new generation of CrossFit athletes who are starting to take over the spotlight at this point?

Emily: 34:12 – Oh, that’s tough. I think I said the other day, like if you’re a coach, fall in love with the people first. Like if you can’t relate to people, do not even try to make a living off of being a coach because you can love fitness all day long, but if you don’t love helping people, it’s just not going to work out. And kind of the same thing goes for competition. Like you know, people are inspired by watching it and motivated by seeing their progress. But there’s something, a little psycho about all the people that continue to make the Games year after year and it’s that they really love the pain and the suffering and all the like brutal stuff that goes behind it. You know, it’s not just doing a 20-minute workout, it’s doing a 20-minute workout to the point where you feel like you are going to pass out and that happens every single day.

Emily: 35:01 – So, I guess just like making sure that you truly love it. Like you love it when you work out with your best training partners, you love it when you’re doing it in your garage gym alone. You love it if you have music blasting, you love it if you’re doing it in silence. You know, like make sure that you can’t go a few days without it. And then like as things have gone on, social media has become so big. The gym was always like my sacred place where like I could put my phone away and you know, I think that’s part of why I don’t have as many training videos as other people, but now it’s even escalated to like a whole new level where there’s like, you got to have a vlog, you gotta have like a media team. And I guess I would just like say that you know that’s great and like you can make a living by doing that, but like don’t feel like you have to do that because the main thing is like, are you getting better? Are you getting stronger? Are you getting faster? It’s not like, did you make sure to post that workout on your Instagram today? Because there’s a lot of things that I’ve done that never made the Instagram highlight reel.

Sean: 36:11 – I know. Did a CrossFit workout happen if you don’t post it on Instagram?

Emily: 36:14 – Right. No, I still like to use that platform and like it’s been so helpful in some ways, but like it’s still—if working out is your happy place, like put your phone away sometimes because it’s only getting worse. Like that’s the only time of the day where I can get away from it. So I guess those are my two takeaways for the upcoming generation.

Sean: 36:40 – Emily, listen, thank you so much for taking the time to do this. Best of luck with your family and, you know, fingers crossed that maybe we see you back out there on the competition floor again sometime.

Emily: 36:50 – Thank you. I appreciate it. Thanks for being in touch.

Sean: 36:53 – Big thanks to Emily Bridgers for taking the time to talk with me today. If you want to follow her on Instagram, you can find her @EmilyBridgers, all one word. Thanks for listening to Two-Brain Radio. Please remember to subscribe and leave us a review. I’m Sean Woodland and I’ll be back with more great stories from the fitness community every week. Be sure to check out our archives for interviews with your favorite athletes, coaches, and personalities. Thanks again for listening everybody, and we’ll see you next time.


Sean: 00:00 – Hi everybody. Welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. On this episode I talk with six-time CrossFit Games, athlete and fittest woman in the United States, Kari Pearce. Over the years, I’ve covered dozens of fitness events all around the world and I’ve 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. Kari Pearce debut to the CrossFit Games in 2015 after having done CrossFit–get this—for just eight months. She has returned to the Games every year since then and she has never finished outside the top 10. Kari will be returning to the CrossFit Games in August for the sixth time in her career. We talk about her time competing in gymnastics and how it led her to the University of Michigan, how she found CrossFit and why she thinks she can become the first American woman to stand on the Games podium since 2014. Thanks for listening everyone. Kari, thanks so much for doing this. How are you doing?

Kari: 01:13 – I’m doing very well. How are you Sean?

Sean: 01:15 – I’m doing great. Your athletic career started at three years old with gymnastics. What, if anything, do you remember about starting that sport at that young age?

Kari: 01:26 – Yeah, I don’t remember a whole lot, but I do remember like a few days, like just rolling around basically with my sister in the class. It was basically in a school gymnasium and that’s where we kind of started like the very basics of gymnastics. Just, you know, walking around on a little beam, doing some rolls, kind of cartwheels, but more or less just having fun with my sister when I was three and she was five. Little that I know I would be doing it for 18 years after that. And then, I mean continuing to do some parts of it even till I was 30 years old.

Sean: 01:55 – When did it become something that you took seriously?

Kari: 02:00 – So actually right around the age of five, you’re still pretty young. But I remember my mom saying that I started doing 20 hours a week of gymnastics at five years old.

Sean: 02:09 – Wow.

Kari: 02:09 – Yeah. They introduced me to some other sports, like swimming, I did some T-ball, IO did a little bit of soccer, but every time I was just like gymnastics, gymnastics, and then I did a little bit of dance with it as well. But yeah, it was 20 hours a week from age of five. So I’d say that was pretty serious.

Sean: 02:27 – And that illustrates that gymnastics is notorious for being extremely difficult and grueling from a very young age. How did you deal with that as a kid?

Kari: 02:36 – I just loved it so much that I guess I didn’t really think too much about it. Like, I remember coaches sitting on us so that we could get all the way into splits. And I remember crying, but it wasn’t something I ever liked second guessed, it just kind of like, this is what I want to do and this is part of the process. And I just put all my belief in my coaches that they were doing what was best even though, you know, sometimes it created tears and there were a lot of days where it was hard. And I remember getting kicked out of practice sometimes for having a bad day. They kick you out and I mean you go home crying to your parents and I mean they’re like, well you know it’s part of life and then send you back the next day. So it was just part of what I thought the sport was.

Sean: 03:16 – What kind of work ethic did that instill in you as a child?

Kari: 03:21 – Oh, it just, I mean perfection for everything. And I mean, when I was in school, I was work, work, work. When I would go to gymnastics, it was work, work, work. And I feel like I’m still similar. Whereas whenever I’m not working, like sometimes I’ll even go on vacation, I’ve had friends be like, just relax. It’s hard to relax though. Like cause I’ve just been at it like my whole life and I enjoy working and especially when I’m like gymnastics you just have to perfect everything. So it’s just repetition after repetition, you spend hours and hours and hours doing the same things over just to make them perfect. Not once, not twice, but so you can basically just do it in your sleep, do it whenever you have to. So obviously a lot of work comes with all that.

Sean: 04:02 – Being from Ann Arbor, what was it like for you to be able to go on and be part of the University of Michigan gymnastics team?

Kari: 04:08 – Oh, it was incredible. At the age of eight, a lot of girls, you know, want to go the Olympics and I did have a little bit of an Olympic dream, but I did a little training for it and I was like, that’s not for me. That’s even more extreme than what I just did, which was, I mean 25 hours a week, for many years. But they took that to another level. But for University of Michigan, when I was eight years old, my coach asked me what I wanted to do with my career and I said go to the University of Michigan cause my parents had taken me to a lot of the gymnastics meets and so I got to see all of the girls in action and it just looked like so much fun and they were all enjoying each other and they were just phenomenal gymnasts and I was like, yep, that’s what I want to do.

Sean: 04:50 – You were a three-time academic, All Big 10 selection. How did you manage competing at that high a level with your studies?

Kari: 05:00 – Yeah, so three times. Cause my first year, my freshman year I slacked a little bit. I didn’t realize like that it was such a going to be such a difficult jump. I mean, University of Michigan is very tough academically and in high school I was one of those kids, like I did a lot of studying and I did my homework and everything, but I still didn’t study nearly as much as I needed to in college. So I remember the first semester was just such an eye opener to the difference between college and high school and especially like a, you know, institution that’s very academically successful. But it was just like, I mean, in training when I was in high school, I trained 20 to 25 hours a week and I drove an hour each way to and from practice. So I had to be very efficient with my time.

Kari: 05:43 – And I feel like, honestly when I went to college, I didn’t have that extra two hours in my day that I was commuting. And then, I mean, we were training anywhere from 15 to 20 hours a week so like in gymnastics you actually scale back a little bit going to college just because your body is so beat up from the years prior to it. Most gymnasts peak around 16 to 17 years old, so by the time you get to college you’re basically just trying to keep what you have and your building a little bit on it, but for the most part it’s just maintaining. So the time that I had freed up a little bit, I just used my studies and like I said, I was very, I’m a very hard worker and a perfectionist so I just spent a lot of time studying and all the other girls on the team were very into their studies as well. So I think that made it a lot easier when you have teammates that are studying a lot and you end up just studying together and not goofing around a whole lot.

Sean: 06:36 – What are your best memories from being a college athlete?

Kari: 06:41 – The things that stick out the most, I mean my team was a four-time Big 10 championship or we are four-time Big 10 champions and each one of them was just special in a different way. But especially my senior year one just because that’s the last thing that you’re going to go through before you’re done with this sport that you’ve done for so long. And then my senior year we also finished the best. We ended up making it to the super six, which in gymnastics is kind of like the national championship. There’s 12 teams that go and then the top six make it to the final day. So that was the only year when I was in college that my team made it to the super six was my senior year. So that was definitely a highlight and I got to end my career on a strong note.

Sean: 07:25 – What did you turn to after gymnastics was behind you?

Kari: 07:31 – So after I graduated college, I knew my gymnastics career was over cause it was kinda like, OK now you’re done with college. And that’s when a lot of girls stop. Like you don’t continue to train just because your body is so beat up. So after that I actually approached our strength-and-conditioning coach and I was like, I don’t know what to do workout wise. I still want to work out because I loved gymnastics, but I loved the fitness aspect of it. I loved doing the pull-ups and the press-to-handstands and handstand push-ups and all that kind of stuff. But I was like, I don’t know. I don’t know what to do now. Like I don’t know how to write a program or anything. So he actually suggested that I do weightlifting cause he’s like, you know, you have very short levers.

Kari: 08:12 – You’re perfectly built for weightlifting. And I had been to the strength-and-conditioning room a little bit and started, I actually started back squats between my junior and senior year of college was the first time that I did back squats. And now I see kids like doing them, I don’t know when they’re like 12 years old and maybe even younger. It’s insane. But so after college I asked him and I’m like, what do I do? And so he got me started into some weightlifting and he’s like, well, you might as well do an internship with Michigan working with a bunch of the different athletic teams. I worked with some softball, some baseball, lacrosse, swimming, diving. So a lot of just different sports while I was doing weightlifting. So it was a cool way to learn it myself and then also help others learn it as well.

Sean: 08:57 – How did that lead you to CrossFit?

Kari: 09:00 – So I did that, and so I had a teammate, actually her name was, well Lindsey Borden in college. Now it’s Lindsey Monterey cause she has since got married and had some kids, and she’s been to the Games. She went three or four years on a team. And when I finished gymnastics, she’s like, Kari, you should try CrossFit. And I had heard about it a little bit, but I knew that had gymnastic elements. And I’m like, no gymnastics. I’m over gymnastics. I did 18 years, I don’t want anything to do with it. And she’s like, Kari, it’s not the gymnastics that you use. So it’s like handstands—I was like, no. And so right after I did the weightlifting, I actually found out I had bulged disc in my back, I had a little carpal tunnel. So then I did a little bit of physique competing.

Kari: 09:42 – And with that I just didn’t like somebody to tell me how I should look. I liked the performance aspect of gymnastics and so I was kinda still searching for that. So after I did physique, I ended up doing a powerlifting competition just because I lifted weights and one of the trainers in the gym was like, have you ever thought about doing powerlifting? You’re pretty strong. And I was like, no, I haven’t. This was about three years after I stopped gymnastics and Lindsey was still just this little birdie in my ear, Kari, CrossFit, Kari, CrossFit. And I was like, no, no, no. Then finally one day at the gym that I was training at, I saw the Games on ESPN. And so after I finished my training session, I laid a yoga mat down on the ground and I just started watching it and then I was like, this is actually really cool.

Kari: 10:26 – And I was like, I do think I could be really good at this. Lindsey might be on to something. So the owner of the gym that I currently coach at reached out to me just via email, gymnastics coach. And I was like, no, I don’t want to coach gymnastics. He goes, it’s not like kids gymnastics. And he’s like, just meet with me. I promise I can offer you something good. And I was like, OK fine. So I met with him and then he started talking about CrossFit and me coaching like the gymnastics part of CrossFit. So I had signed up for that powerlifting meet in November, 2014, I was like, OK, after the powerlifting meet is over, I’ll start coaching for you and I’ll start CrossFit. So it’s kinda like this little like little birdie in my ear kept saying CrossFit, CrossFit, and then finally when the owner of the gym of the CrossFit that I currently coach at reached out, and I’d seen the Games on ESPN and it all just kind of came together. I was like, OK, I should give this a try.

Sean: 11:20 – When did you think that you were pretty good at it?

Kari: 11:25 – So I started to realize I was pretty good at it in my first Open in 2015. I just signed up for the Open, you know, cause it’s what everybody does that does CrossFit. And I had no expectations. I was like, well this will be fun. Cause we had a competition team that I kind of trained with and a lot of the other athletes had been doing it two, three, four years. And they’re like, Oh, you have a gymnastics background? Like yeah, you’ll be pretty good at this. I was like, OK cool. Let’s do the Open. And the first went by, I did. OK. The second week was where I kind of like all of the other athletes, it was the chest-to-bar and overhead squat workout and all the other athletes were just like, where did you learn to do that?

Kari: 12:07 – And I’m like, I don’t know. I just kept going. And they’re like OK. And then that’s when I was like, OK, maybe I am better at this thing than I thought I would be. But then the third week came and that had double-unders and I could not do double-unders to save my life. So it was a bunch of wall or muscle-ups, wall balls and double-unders. Muscle-ups, fine, wall balls, yeah, they suck. But the double-unders, I forget if it was like a hundred or 150 and I would do like 10 and then trip and have to stop and then maybe 10 and I redid that workout the day after or like two days in a row just because I was like, well, it didn’t make me tired. I just couldn’t do my. And my judge was like, I just felt so bad for you. So after that one I was like, well I dunno, maybe I’m not as good as I thought.

Kari: 12:54 – And then the next week came and it was cleans and handstand push-ups. And then I remember the first time I did it I was just like, I think two reps behind Annie Thorisdottir and I was like, that’s amazing. And then like for the fifth week I was around 16th place in my region and basically everyone on my team was like, if you do well this final week, you’re going to make it to Regionals, and I was like, OK, cool. I kind of knew what it meant but really like not really. I was like, well that sounds cool. Like sure, why not? And they’re like, you’re not nearly as excited as we are. I was like, no, cause I didn’t realize what it meant. It was the second year that I actually realized how cool that it—well, a little bit past that, but basically the second year that I realized how cool it was and just how rare it was to make Regionals when you didn’t know you were going to be that good and it was your first Open.

Sean: 13:44 – Then you end up in the Games with less than a year’s experience. What were your expectations going into 2015?

Kari: 13:51 – I honestly had no expectations like going into Regionals I was like, Whoa, this is really cool. I get to compete with some other athletes and I was just like looking around and I saw like Dani Horan and I was like, Oh, I remember she’s like the best one in our region and Michelle Letendre. And I was like, Oh, like I saw them in the warm-up area and I was like fan-girling and me and my coach were like, Oh wait, we know her and we see her. Like it was really cool just getting to compete side-by-side with them. And I mean there was two handstand workouts at Regionals and I knew I had to do well and I ended up winning both of those. The snatch workout was not so good and there was like some OK workouts in there, but at least like the gymnastics stuff is what really excelled me and allowed me to qualify for the Games. I was good enough at other things and I think just, you know, the mental aspect of it, just from all the years of gymnastics and competing, I think I’m just mentally tough. So at my first Regional I was game and just did my best when I went out there and it was enough to make the Games the first that I was doing CrossFit, which was even more unheard of than just making Regionals.

Sean: 14:55 – What’d you think when you got the Carson that year?

Kari: 14:58 – I was just so overwhelmed with everything. I mean you get there and I was watching all the athletes on TV and I remember walking into the warm-up area and I see like Sam Briggs and I see Camille and then I see Margaux and Margaux actually like came over and introduced herself. She was like such a sweetheart cause I was just like probably looked like a kid like in a candy shop just like staring all around and I’m like to be a hundred percent fair, I like was almost intimidated to work out cause I’m like do I really belong here with all these other like phenomenal athletes and after I talked to Margaux I like went over to the corner and like kinda like tried to get myself like back in the corner so that nobody could see me. Cause like I said it was like I was still rather new to CrossFit and just trying to show people that I belonged. But in my head I still questioned if I actually belonged there or not.

Kari: 15:48 – If you’re enjoying my conversation with Kari Pearce, you should know that Two-Brain Radio is full of amazing interviews. We’ve posted more than 300 episodes and we air three shows a week. On Wednesday, I interview top athletes, great coaches and colorful characters to get the best stories from the fitness world. On Thursdays, Two-Brain founder Chris Cooper is on the air with actionable advice as well as business experts who can solve your problems. On Mondays, we talk about marketing and share our client success stories to inspire you to grow your business. To make sure you don’t miss a thing, please subscribe Two-Brain Radio, and we’d love to hear your feedback at Now back to Kari Pearce. What did you learn from your rookie year?

Kari: 16:35 – Well I learned first of all that I definitely did belong there and that it was just like, I feel like CrossFit was a sport that was just kind of meant for me. I mean, you know, there’s a lot of phenomenal athletes, but especially after the gymnastics background and I just found that I really loved it and that it was something that I would do long term just cause it sparked a fire. I got 21st place my first year and from there everyone was like, Oh that’s great. And I’m like 21st is not great. I mean, OK. Yeah, like it was my first year, whatever. But it just like you want to do better, you want more. And then I also just learned how hard and stressful and like tough on your body and mind and everything that the Games are like you see the athletes competing on TV and you’re like, OK, you did a workout.

Kari: 17:21 – Then you go and you rest and then you do another workout. And it is not that way at all. Like you start off, you have briefings all day long, you have to sit around in the sun. Like it’s not as glamorous as it looks on TV, but obviously all the girls go back year after year for a reason just because it’s such an incredible experience and it doesn’t match anything that I’ve done before in my life. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. And then I think each year you just learn a little bit more about what is in store, like, how to recover from the workouts and like how important nutrition and hydration and just, I mean, once you’re done competing, you go home and you rest and you take it easy. Like I remember my first year, I like would go to vendor village and just want to see everybody there. And see all the stands and the sponsors and everything. And then the second year I was kind of like, Oh, let’s stop by there once. And now I’m like, you won’t see me there, just because you’re there to compete. But the first year everything is just so new and so exciting that you just try and soak it all in. Now this’ll be my sixth time. So it’s like, OK well each year like, I mean it’s just as special every year, but you just know what to expect each time.

Sean: 18:29 – You go back to the Games in 2016 and you take fifth. How were you able to get so much better in just one year?

Kari: 18:38 – Personally I think a lot of it was just knowing the sport. Like I said in 2015 it was kinda like I was walking in to the Games just, I mean we had done, you know, a lot of hard training, but I hadn’t touched a yoke, I hadn’t touched a sandbag. I hadn’t done a lot of the like odd things like I had done like, like parallette handstand push-ups and more muscle-ups. And just, I mean things that maybe you won’t see at Regionals, but me and my coach, it was both of our first year in 2015 so it was just a big, big learning experience of how different the events and the workouts and everything are from, I mean the Open or Regional, just the higher skills. So I was able to just practice a lot of like the odd objects and I was able to just get a lot stronger, too, which was something that coming from the gymnastic background still that I struggle with is the leg strength.

Kari: 19:28 – So it was something like I just worked on my weightlifting and snatches because those were two things that were just so unfamiliar. I’m still working on them. I mean I feel like every athlete is, but those were just a few things that I was able to pick up rather quickly. And then also just working on a lot more endurance stuff. Going from 2015 to 2016 a lot more running, a lot more swimming. I think just smarter about my training from the get-go and I had a full year to train for it unlike 2015, you know I started CrossFit in November and then the Games were the end of July, so it wasn’t even a year full year of training under my belt, so I had basically like doubled the amount of training going from my first year to the second and just like I said, just learning what I was actually in for.

Sean: 20:14 – Since your rookie year, you’ve never finished lower than 10th at the Games. What has been the key to that sustained success?

Kari: 20:22 – I think it’s just consistent, hard work all year round. I take a little bit of time off after the Games, but then after that I get back into it and just every day when I’m in the gym I just focus on doing my best and just take it day by day and focus on a lot of the little things that I know I need to improve and keeping the gymnastics strong. Just I know the gymnastic stuff, the handstand push-ups, the muscle-ups, me my coach agree that those are the things that I have to keep—I have to stay on top of my game because you win an event, you get a hundred points, like you have to win events if you’re going to do well and be in that top 10 and eventually get to the podium. Obviously you have to bring your weaknesses up as well.

Kari: 21:03 – You can’t have 30th whatever place finishes and still expect to do well. So trying to balance all of it, but I think it’s just, you know, being smart about the training. And I love my coach. He does a lot of that for me. And then like I said, just day-to-day hard work, grinding, you know, there’s little aches and pains and stuff here and there, but just training consistently. And I mean I love what I do and I think that’s part of it as well, just because I enjoy going to the gym and I enjoy what I’m doing. So that makes it a lot easier than it being like a chore and something that you just dread. I get excited to go to the gym 90, 95% of the time. Obviously there’s those days where you’re just like, Oh, I don’t want to go, but you show up and then you see everyone at the gym and it puts you in a better mood and makes you want to work hard.

Sean: 21:53 – The next step has for you, it has to be getting yourself onto the podium. What needs to happen for you to make that a reality?

Kari: 21:59 – So I actually just started working with a new weightlifting coach because that’s the biggest weakness that I have right now is squat cleans and more or less just my leg strength just needs to go up and by legs, I mainly mean quads. My hamstrings are pretty strong, but it’s just my quads that are just so stubborn from, I don’t know if it’s because of the years of gymnastics and the upper body. Then my upper body, like we strict press once a week and I just PR’d my strict press, and we squat three, sometimes four times a week. And my legs just like, might get a pound here and there. So it’s just the weightlifting that is the biggest thing right now. The cleans more than snatches obviously like if you could improve both, perfect. But like at the Games when I couldn’t hit the 215-pound clean, my coach is like, soon that’s going to be 225. Like you have to be able to hit 225 at a minimum whenever you’re called on, like that’s going to be at the Games.

Kari: 22:57 – And so we’ve been doing a lot of cleans, like I said, just started working with a weightlifting coach and he kind of switched around my technique and my positioning. So cause he said from all the gymnastics, my ankle mobility isn’t where it should be. And he’s like, how many times have you sprained your ankles in gymnastics? So I was like, well if it’s any correlation, I had basically a walking cast on my ankles when I was a senior in high school, like my athletic trainer actually called the ankle tape that I had the stretch limousines because it went from the bottom of my toe to three quarters of the way up my shin. Just because you were needed on a team, just tape up your ankles together and you’re out on the floor. So it was, it’s definitely something that I’ve been working on and now I realize like how bad it is and that it is really affecting my cleans from getting better. So it’s five, six, seven times a day, I’m stretching out these angles just to try and get them looser cause that’s the main culprit of what he thinks is the problem in my front squats and cleans and stuff. So project clean.

Sean: 24:00 – You had one of the more memorable and I think one of the more impressive performances at the Games last year in Mary. What stands out to you about how you handled that event?

Kari: 24:10 – Yeah, so right when it was announced, obviously I got really excited. It’s well, handstand push-ups are one of my favorite moments along with handstand walking. And I know I’m good at pull-ups, I’m good at pistols as well. But when it came out and my coach is like, yeah, let’s do a couple of rounds strict and then we can go to kipping. And I was like, are you sure we shouldn’t like kip? And he’s like, let’s just do a few strict to get ahead or to like start out fast. You’d like might not be ahead but you’ll at least be like, you know a little bit faster than whoever decides to go kipping in the beginning. And I was like, OK, I think that’s a good idea. So I started to go strict the first three or four rounds and then I think it was the fifth round that I did a kipping handstand push-up and the judge no-repped me and she’s like, your hips didn’t extend.

Kari: 24:50 – I was like, this just seems like a lot more work than doing strict. I was like, I’m going back to strict and I was like, I’m going to try and stick with this the whole way through. And I was like, well if they start to get hard, I can always switch to kipping. It’s not like that big of a change. And then the pull-ups, I actually was getting a little bit nervous on because my calf, I think it was from the rough run, my calf was starting to cramp. So the first couple rounds I did them unbroken. Then I started breaking them up a little bit, but every time I would jump up to the bar, my calf would cramp. So I was like, well I guess I should just try and go unbroken here cause it reduces one time that I have to jump up and like in my head it just like made sense.

Kari: 25:25 – And then now I go back and I think about it. I’m like, yeah, you’re just like, you know, you just don’t break it up. It makes it so much easier. You’re like, OK Kari. But yeah, I just had so much fun in that whole workout just because I don’t want to say that it wasn’t hard. It was just like more of a muscle-failure hard than like a breathing heavy hard. And it was near the end of the workout. I mean even like the last five minutes, it was kinda just like smooth and steady. Like I knew Tia and Kristin and Jamie were all like pretty close to me, but I felt like I’m like, I have some extra reps in my bag if I need to like speed it up at the end. So kind of like the last five minutes I was just more or less like soaking up every minute and like listening to the crowd.

Kari: 26:05 – And it was just amazing just being in the Coliseum. And then I remember like finish my pull-ups, and I’m like, well, I don’t need to go do the handstand push-ups. But everybody was screaming. There was so much energy that I was like, well, I might as well run back and get a few more reps just because I can. And then I realized that I’d beaten the guys after I did that. So I’m like, well, good thing. So that will definitely always stick out in my mind, it seems like yesterday, I can remember like the whole setup and then even moving after the 15 rounds. It was just such a cool experience.

Sean: 26:35 – It was awesome to watch. It was really, really incredible. The Games last year, they were a completely kind of new experience for everyone given the new structure. What did you learn about what it takes to be successful in this new format?

Kari: 26:47 – You just have to go hard in every workout. You can’t take anything for granted. And I know like some people are like, well this workout won’t be my best, so maybe I won’t give 100%. Whereas now like it doesn’t matter if it’s gonna be your best workout, if it’s gonna be your worst workout, you have to give your absolute best because every single point is going to make a difference. And I think we saw that, especially when they cut from 20 to 10. It’s like there’s a lot of phenomenal athletes that were kind of left out of that top 10, but you know, everybody can’t make it. And if you had one bad event, chances are you’re not going to make that top 10. So it’s just with every workout that you have just going out there and giving it your best because you never know. It might end up being your last workout or it could be what costs you from being in that top 20 and going to that top 10.

Sean: 27:38 – You’re coming off an open performance that saw you take six in the world. Once again, you’re fittest in the US, where is your fitness at this point of the season?

Kari: 27:47 – I feel pretty good about my fitness. Like I said, we took two weeks. Oh, I took two weeks off after the Games and then kind of slowly got back into it just because the Open was, you know, right around the corner from the Games. Usually my coach would be like, you get a month off, but this year he’s like two weeks. If you need a little bit longer, let me know. And, you know, we can, I can give you a little bit longer, but I would rather let’s just get started and be ready for the open when it comes because we don’t want to have to go through the Open and then you don’t qualify and then like stress yourself out about Sanctionals and everything. Obviously I’m still going to do some Sanctionals for fun, but it’s nice like having like the Games qualified everything check.

Kari: 28:29 – But unfortunately I did have, I did get a little Achilles injury from 20.4, from the rebounding box jumps, so I haven’t been able to actually just start running two weeks ago I had my third running session today, just because it’s just, it’s not torn, it’s just like aggravated. And the doctor was like, well, if you run on it, you’re just gonna make it worse. Cause I was gonna compete in Dubai, but they always have running and a lot of times it’s in the sand. And my doctor’s like, OK, that’s probably not a good idea if you’re going to do that or you’re going to go to Wodapalooza. He’s like, you go to Dubai, you mess it up enough, then you got to let it get well or you let it get well and then go to Wodapalooza.

Kari: 29:10 – I was like, let’s do that. So I am battling a little Achilles thing. But the good thing about it is it’s forced me to do a lot more squats and work on my weightlifting and get my legs stronger because I basically just had to take out running, double-unders and rebounding box jumps, everything else he’s like, it’s fine for the most part. So, and he’s like just when you come down off the rope, like be careful and don’t do anything stupid. But so that’s given me a reason to squat and I’ve been on the Assault bike a lot more, which is also, yeah, I know, it’s three times a week. I was like, I’d rather run. But my coach is like, well you need to work on the Assault bike. So it’s, you know, there’s other things you can do even if you do have a little injury. And we’ve just been swimming twice a week as well. So just working on a few things that you know, can always use work and stay away from your Achilles. But I feel good, and I mean, Wodapalooza in just about a month. So that’ll be a fun test to go and compete against some other girls.

Sean: 30:08 – Other than that sanction event, what are your competitive plans between now and when you get to Madison for the Games?

Kari: 30:15 – Yeah. So I’m going to do that. And then I also plan on doing the West Coast classic, which is in California in March, and then the Rogue Invitational and then the Games. So end of February, end-ish of March. And then middle of May and then August.

Sean: 30:31 – How do you make sure under this new format that you are peaking at the right time?

Kari: 30:37 – Ah, so I actually leave that to my coach. And that’s why he’s great just because he has been in the sport like 10 plus years. His name is Justin Cotler, and he’s in charge of all of that. He basically like does my programming and obviously like if there’s things that feel off or if I’m like I’m just exhausted, like it’s too much, not enough kind of thing, like he’ll adjust it. But for the most part he’s in charge of that and he’s like, we’re going to kind of like, we’ll take a little bit of time off after Wodapalooza and after all the competitions, but he’s like, it’s not going to be anything nearly like the Games. And so the Games are the primary peak, even if we’re doing the other competitions, we’re not peaking for any of those. He’s like, we’re kind of just training right through it. Yeah, we’ll take like a little bit of time off right before and right after, but we’re not doing any sort of major peak for any of those competitions. It’s saving it up for the Games, which is, you know, the big one.

Sean: 31:32 – You obviously have plenty of your competitive career left, but what are you most proud of so far in your CrossFit Games career?

Kari: 31:41 – So the main thing that sticks out is winning Murph. That’s definitely like a highlight that I’ll never forget. Just that also just feels like yesterday when I was like racing Katrin for that final lap and then also running down the stairs and running across the field. And I’m like getting goose bumps talking about it. That and then also so far just being the fittest American three out of the last four years, just because it’s such a, you know, highly competitive country and just being the top American like I remember at the Games the first year that I did it when I saw my coach and I just like started crying. So I was like, I like looked up at the leaderboard and I was like the American flag, like the top one had my name and I got goose bumps again. My name is just right next to it and I was like, is this real?

Kari: 32:29 – I was like, is that the final results? And I was like that’s just so cool. And then do it again the second year. And then I think, and then this year was also just really special, just coming, I think I was in eighth place going into the final and then I was able to pop up into the top American just like the way the point system and everything worked out. Like Haley, I had to be her by like two events and same with like Amanda and then Bethany couldn’t beat me or just something about the way the points were and everything. Like I think I ended up beating Haley by like, I mean the place was like perfect, like maybe three points and each separation was like 10 points. So if there had been anything different than I wouldn’t have been. So it’s definitely just cool to be able to say that I’m the fittest American woman.

Sean: 33:12 – Along those lines. No American woman has been on the podium since 2014. Why can you be the one who breaks that streak?

Kari: 33:22 – I can be the one that breaks that streak just because, like you said, the last three out of four years I’ve been the top American and this year me and my coach, we know that the clean is what needs work and that’s just what we’re working on and I need some work on running as well. And that’s, you know, gonna be there. And just my coach, I’ve seen a lot of improvement. I actually just switched coaches a little bit over a year ago and I’ve seen a lot of big improvements over the last year and I think we’re moving in the right direction. I’m feeling better and better, fitter than ever. So it’s just continuing to put in the hard work and knowing exactly what it takes to get on the podium. And last year I made a couple mistakes, which happened, but you know, you live and you learn, and I feel really good about this year.

Sean: 34:07 – Well, Kari, thank you so much for joining me. Really look forward to watching you compete at the Games again and as an American, I hope to see you on the podium soon.

Kari: 34:14 – Yes, thank you so much, Sean. I appreciate it.

Sean: 34:16 – Big thanks to Kari Pearce for taking the time to speak with me. If you want to, you can follow her on Instagram. She is @karipearcecrossfit and that’s Kari spelled K A R I. 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 now on to find out more. Thanks for listening, everyone. I’m Sean Woodland and I’ll see you next time.


Creating Truly Irresistible Bribes for Online Marketing

Creating Truly Irresistible Bribes for Online Marketing

Mike: 00:02 – Hey Mateo. If I had the ultimate guide to uninterrupted sleep for eight hours every night, guaranteed, would you give me your email address to get it?

Mateo: 00:10 – I would give you my email address. I gave you my phone number, I gave you my credit card number, I would give you my social-security number. I would give you passport number. I would give you pretty much every number that I could give you for that information. For that guide.

Mike: 00:23 – It’s like, OK, so I’ve come up with what would probably be perfect lead magnet to get you to stop scrolling and exchange some information to get in conversation with me. And potentially I’m probably gonna end up making a sale and probably getting most of your bank account and maybe, you know, your firstborn children.

Mateo: 00:38 – You would be yes, well positioned to do all of that.

Mike: 00:43 – Well positioned. I’d have all the tools in my arsenal. We’re going to talk—lead magnets are a big deal. That’s what a lot of people are trading their information for in the marketing world these days. So a lot of advertisers selling goods and services are really trying to get your info and they’re going to give you something for free in exchange. That is a lead magnet, correct?

Mateo: 01:00 – Yes. We’re going to get into it. I’ll give you my definition in a second.

Mike: 01:06 – All right, we’ll get to that. We’re going to talk more about lead magnets, how to get more leads with them, and how to make more sales as a result. Want to add $5,000 in monthly revenue to your gym? It can be done. If you want to know how you can talk to a Two-Brain Business mentor for free. Book a call All right. I am back with Mateo Lopez of Two-Brain Marketing. We are on Two-Brain Radio. My name is Mike Warkentin and please remember to subscribe and check back in our archives. We have tons of marketing stuff going on and lots of good shows with Sean Woodland and the man himself, Chris Cooper, regularly. So please subscribe. We are talking lead magnets. Mateo. First question. You said in the intro, you’re going to tell me your definition. What is a lead magnet?

Mateo: 01:48 – So it’s essentially just a bribe, right? It’s a bribe. You are giving away something of value to your prospect. And then in exchange they’re going to give you their contact info. That’s really what it is. It’s an irresistible bribe for being—that’s a really good lead magnet. The more irresistible you can make it, you know, the more effective your lead magnet is going to be. And it’s a called magnet because, you know exactly what it sounds like. You’re attracting leads to you with this thing.

Mike: 02:23 – So you’ve got the big picture of the big U-shape magnet, like the horseshoe that’s just pulling people in.

Mateo: 02:27 – Exactly, pulling phone numbers and emails right to you.

Mike: 02:32 – And we’ve talked, guys, in earlier shows about what to do with those phone numbers and emails once you get them. So if you’re getting lots of leads, we can tell you more about that in those shows so check the archives. So tell me Mateo, how are lead magnets commonly used in digital marketing? What’s the most common way these bribes are served to people? And what do people want in result?

Mateo: 02:53 – Well, so no matter your traffic source, right? Whether you get most of your traffic from search engine optimization or from Facebook ads or from content marketing or from Instagram or from whatever platform you get the most traffic, could even be referrals in person, your lead magnet is that thing that’s going to take the people that you’re offering to that traffic source, right? You’re offering it to that traffic source and getting people to opt in and give you their information. Was that your question? What was your question?

Mike: 03:35 – Yeah. No. Yeah. I’m asking like how, cause again, you touched on a cool thing where you could have it. Cause you could use a lead magnet if you had a booth at a trade show and you know, sign up— I’ll give you a free InBody scan if you give me your email address, that’s a lead magnet. That’s not necessarily a thing that you get, but it’s a

Mateo: 03:58 – If we’re talking about trade shows, you know, every time you see a conference, not a conference, a contest or the spinning the wheel thing or the free pens or the, you know, win this little teddy bear if you answer this survey or whatever, T-shirts, whatever it is, those are the lead magnets. 100%. It doesn’t have to be online per se. But yeah, it’s that thing that you’re giving away for free in exchange for some contact info. Win this free car just give me your email or whatever.

Mike: 04:27 – Yeah. Even a free pen, like people do anything for free. The best example I saw this ever was at the Arnold Sports Festival and I was walking around checking it out there and there’s just this carnage of like celebrities and booths and all these different supplement companies and there’s this huge line and I’m walking by and this guy says, what are we standing in line for? And the guy in front of him says, I have no idea, but the line is huge, so it must be something free and awesome. Right? And that’s kind of the idea. There was a lead magnet somewhere. So essentially we want to do that. We want to get those huge lines leading to your stuff online.

Mateo: 05:01 – So yeah. So, and what people use it for, right? If you’re using them correctly, it’s that intro point into your sales funnel, right? It’s getting that lead, because then once you own that information, that contact info, you can push it further and further down your sales funnel, right? You can then offer that person, once you offer them the free thing, you can then offer them a low-ticket item. Maybe it’s a consultation, maybe it’s one personal-training session for 50% off. Maybe it’s your six-week program, maybe it’s whatever it is. And then the person buys that thing and then once they buy that thing, you can offer them your recurring membership program. You can offer them a personal-training package, you can offer them your supplements, you can offer them new T-shirts. And then once you offer them that thing, you can offer more PT or more, you know, you just pushing them further and further down.

Mateo: 05:53 – And then once they’re all the way through your funnel and they’re a client, you can restart the whole process. You can offer them another lead magnet for your nutrition program. And maybe it’s a cookbook that they can use for free after they’ve been at your gym for six months. And then once they get that cookbook, then you can say, Hey, I saw you did the cookbook, are you interested in our nutrition program? We can do a nutrition assessment for free or for 20 bucks. And then do the assessment like, well, based on this assessment, you’re fat and unhealthy, you want to do our six-week nutrition challenge and then again you’ve started the whole thing over and over and over again. Right.

Mike: 06:27 – So it’s not lead magnet so much as lead magnets, plural, where you’ve got—once you get these people in this funnel, you can use all sorts of different lead magnets to get people to do the things that you want them to do and ultimately the things that they want to do to change their lives. Or do you get the benefits of your product or service. They’ve opted in for a reason.

Mateo: 06:43 – Yeah. I mean, especially if—the more stuff you’re able to give away, I mean you’re, you’re really positioning yourself as an authority figure in the space, right? And you’re getting people to consume a lot of your content, they’re really going to trust you and like what you say, so that when it comes time to offer them something to buy, they’re going to be more receptive to that.

Mike: 07:08 – A professional-looking lead magnet, like it really sets you apart. Right? Like, if there are three ads and all three of them are asking you to join a gym, but one of them is just yelling at you. The second one is doing something else and the third one says, Hey, I’m going to give you this free 25-page full color guide to personal training or to squatting, whatever. That guide is probably going to stand out and at least if nothing else, make that one gym look more professional than the other gym.

Mateo: 07:35 – Yeah. I have a whole list of tips for making good lead magnets and one number—I don’t know which number it is, I can’t find it, but one of them is definitely like presentation is everything. Presentation can make or break your lead magnet. Not make or break, but it plays a big part for exactly the reason you just said.

Mike: 08:02 – OK. We’re going to get to that in just a sec, but I want to touch on one thing that you brought up there is that you’re getting—people are opting in and they’re giving you their contact information. So this is like an excellent way—there are some pretty shady ways to get email addresses and I don’t know how many times I’ve got nonsense spam stuff coming from all manner of people. Everyone from like, you know, the Prince who needs me to give him my credit-card number and he’ll pay me back to like legitimate products and services from people in the fitness market that I’ve clearly not signed up for, like I would know if, you know, company X, I had signed up for. And we’ve got all these new spam laws and all this other stuff going on. So when someone gives you their email address, fair game, correct?

Mateo: 08:43 – Yes. It’s tip number five, by the way. I found it. It’s number five on my list.

Mike: 08:48 – Well, I won’t hold our listeners hostage. Let’s get right into it. Let’s talk about some of the tips for lead magnets. What do we want to do in these things? And again, before you get going, I’m going to tell you that if you want to get just a ton of them, there’s more than 13 on We’ll put that link in the show notes. And again, this is a shameless plug. But the same time we’ve created a ton of stuff. Cooper, Chris Cooper has given away 90% of the stuff that he thinks about and talks about he gives away for free. You can get it all and see a ton of great lead magnets there. Now Mateo, tell us what the tips are.

Mateo: 09:21 – Well. Yeah. So I mean, the other great thing about lead magnets, too, before we get into that is you know, especially if you’re struggling to get people to opt in and book an appointment with whatever you’re advertising, if it’s a six week, a 12 week or whatever, putting in that intermediary step, which is the kind of step before that lead magnet step will really help you. It makes your sales funnel a little bit longer. It makes the process a bit longer. You may need to invest a little bit more in pumping that info out there, putting those ads out there for your lead magnets, but it will help you get better conversions into whatever program you want them to eventually buy. Right? I mean, that’s where people I see struggle the most is, you know, people will try to advertise online and they’ll go straight with their core service, right?

Mateo: 10:17 – They’ll try and present a stranger, basically on the internet, present them with their core service and their core offer. And the reality is these people don’t know you well enough and don’t trust you enough to want to give you, you know, even if just a month of your memberships is 150 month, that’s too high of a barrier. Right? So that’s why a lead magnet, what’s great is that it removes the risk, right? It removes the risk from the prospect. Like, all right, I’ll engage with this business now. There’s not a whole ton of risk. Like this is a transaction, right? You are giving something in exchange for their contact info, but this transaction has a lot less risk for the prospect. Because you know, no money, they’re not putting any money up for it. Right?

Mike: 11:10 – It’s like, I’m not gonna kiss a stranger, but I might shake his hand.

Mateo: 11:15 – Exactly. Right, exactly. You know, the reason why certain people have been successful with skipping this step is, you know, with something like, you know, we talked about this last episode or we’ve talked about it a lot, but you know why you’ve seen the successful six-week challenge thing going on is because that is, you know, in a kind of a roundabout way, selling them on your front-end offer or a core service offering that you have that is pretty expensive, but you’re giving it away for free. I’m putting that in quotation marks. So that has removed the risk from the prospect. So yes, you’re going to see a lot more people opt in for that. Right? So I don’t know if I’m explaining that correctly, but you see where I’m going with it is you’re kind of combining the two. You’re combining the two.

Mateo: 12:00 – You’ve kind of turned your six-week program, your flagship product, into a lead magnet almost, because you know, in theory giving it away for free. You know, I don’t think that’s actually what ends up happening, but we don’t need to go into that. And another reason too why we don’t lead with this in our course, right? We still tell people, hey, you know, advertise your six-week program, try and get people to opt in for this, is because, you know, we want to give gym owners the opportunity to get some phone numbers and start making appointments and start earning money now. Right? That’s the only reason why we do it that way. But if you’ve got the resources and a little bit more time, having a lead magnet is going to make the whole process a lot easier for you, for your prospects and really level up our sales funnel, if that makes sense.

Mike: 13:00 – It’s fun. Like I’ve used some of these at my gym and we send them sometimes just to our current members just as free gifts too. So we create this thing. We do use it as a lead magnet. Like I’ve got one, my wife wrote a top-five high-protein baking recipes or something like that. We have on the website as lead magnet for people who pop in and we use it on Facebook and so forth. And then we just send it to our members as a gift and they’re like, this is kinda cool. And it’s just a value added service for them. So they can use them in a number of ways.

Mateo: 13:25 – And that’s a retention tool for you, right? Keeps people engaging with what you’re having to say. And if you’re, you know, you can then go to that person, like we talked about earlier and you know, hey, I saw you downloaded the cookbook. You know, what had you interested? I’m trying to eat better. Oh really? Well have you thought about our nutrition program? And then boom, you’re off to the races there.

Mike: 13:47 – Forward it to a friend, print it out, give it to your friend. There’s a lot of different ways of thinking. It has legs. It’ll go for a bit. So let’s talk about how to make them, let’s do some tips and teach people what to do with these things.

Mateo: 13:58 – There’s a ton of things you can do, right? It almost might be overwhelming trying to get started cause there’s so many different ways you can do this, right? There’s checklists, there’s ebooks. You can do a case studies on your current clients, right? Hey, you know, Joe, father of two, you know, had a double bypass surgery last year. Now he’s got a six pack. Like learn how he did it. You know, you can do it tons of different ways. You can do videos, you can do quizzes, you can do cheat sheets, you can turn a blog post that you’ve written into a lead magnet. I mean, that’s essentially what we’ve done at Two-Brain with Chris. We’ve essentially taken, you know, he’s written blogs for years and years. We’ve kind of taken some of those, repurposed them, turned them into an ebook or a guide or a PDF.

Mateo: 14:50 – And now it’s a lead magnet, right? So there’s tons of ways you can do it, right? Lead magnets can be educational, they can be like a tutorial. You mentioned the squat one, like that’s another way you can kind of frame it. They can be, you know, you could use them to build community, right? You can create a Facebook group and invite people to join that Facebook group and in that group you’re going to give away value for free and then you keep nurturing that group and then you can turn them into prospects and to lead them into clients. There’s tons of ways you can kind of do this.

Mike: 15:32 – So it’s just some sort of bribe something that people want.

Mateo: 15:34 – Yeah, I mean the most common ones are your ebook, a PDF or some kind of like video series, like, you know, a week of at-home workouts, you know, something like that where you demo the movements, right? Those are kind of the most common ones. And eBooks are cool because you know, you can add to them, right? You can combine ones, you know, there’s tons of ways. And again, like you said, the more professional you can make it look, it’ll kind of make you seem like an authority figure, right?

Mike: 16:09 – Was that tip number five?

Mateo: 16:11 – I don’t know. I don’t know what tips we’re at just yet, but those are kind of the formats, right? The different formats and lenses and approaches, I guess you could go with these things. The tip, now we’re going into the tips, right? You want this to be irresistible, right? So the more of a value you can give away for free, and the more specific you can be, too, you know, that’ll really help you—the better results you’re gonna have, right? So, you know, the ultimate guide to becoming a top salesman, that sounds kind of general, right? The ultimate guide to selling more at trade shows. Now it’s a little bit more specific. Right? Now you’re tapping into a more specific kind of an audience. So that might resonate a little bit more. That might be a little bit more attractive or irresistible. Does that make sense?

Mike: 17:07 – If nothing else it’ll set you out from the crowd, probably, cause a lot of people probably say top salespeople—you probably won’t, you know. Yeah, you’ve definitely just, you’ve taken it to a different spot where it’s going to stand out a little bit.

Mateo: 17:18 – How to generate more leads with online marketing. Like, OK, how generate more leads with Facebook lead ads with Facebook’s new dynamic creative or with, you know, Instagram, you know, posts or whatever it is. Now you’re drilling down a little bit more, right?

Mike: 17:36 – Getting some descriptive words in the title.

Mateo: 17:39 – Right. So I guess the number one tip is you need to solve a problem, right? Like everything else we’ve been talking about, the key to having an effective offer, effective ad creative, is you need to identify a problem that your niche is having and then you need to provide them with some kind of solution. You know, if your lead magnet doesn’t do that, it’s most likely going to be a dud.

Mike: 18:03 – You’ve got lots. I mean, every gym owner knows thousands of problems that people are trying to solve. So, you know, if you’re struggling for an idea on that one, start talking to five of your clients or even five people who aren’t your clients and ask them what problems they’re trying to solve. And you’ve got probably got 500 lead magnets from those conversations.

Mateo: 18:20 – Oh, exactly right. Yeah. There’s tons from, you know, how to squat better to like how to eat clean on vacation. I mean, there’s tons you can go down. If you can, promise a quick win, right? So, you know, if your lead magnet can help them achieve a small goal or succeed in some way quickly, that’s going to be, you know, even better, right? That’s going to make your lead magnet really, really pop and really shine and make you shine in turn because they’re already getting results from you, right? So by the time you go and ask them to buy something, they’re going to say, yeah, I mean, I already lost 10 pounds following your workout video series, I’m gonna sign up for this personal-training thing or whatever it is. Right.

Mike: 19:06 – That’s trust and authority, right. Results based on after establishing trust and authority.

Mateo: 19:11 – Yeah. And yeah, so you want to get them to a point where they’re succeeding with your lead magnet. We talked about this already, but you want to be specific, right? We just covered that one. So that was tip number three. I guess I skipped around.

Mike: 19:25 – I’ll tack something on just because I know it’s something that Two-Brain is kind of based around, is that specific and also actionable, maybe if that’s lower down the list, I’ll apologize, but it’s gotta be actionable where—it’s frustrating when you get something and it’s just critical and it just is, you know, ranting or raving. It’s gotta be something that tells people to do something and something that will give them that win. Right? So that’s why like in this show, we’re telling you if you’re going to make a lead magnet, do these things that are going to make that lead magnet work for you. So we’re trying to give you some wins here. We’re doing exactly what number three tip is, but specific actionable stuff. And that is, you know, a Two-Brain principle that we’re always going to follow.

Mateo: 20:09 – So this is one that we don’t always follow the rule on with our lead magnets at Two-Brain, but it should be quick to digest. We tend to give a lot of value away. We tend to write a bunch of stuff and want to make sure you guys have all the information that you need to succeed as an entrepreneur or if you’re talking about your clients in your gym as an athlete. So while you do want to provide value, you know, you want to also make sure that this is something that they can consume relatively quickly or relatively easily, right? Like it shouldn’t be like a 20-hour video series on how to become a better squatter. Although of course you could probably create one, you might not want to use that as your lead magnet.

Mike: 20:57 – Yeah. So you can, I mean, I’ve looked at some of the ones on some of the popular sites and some of them are like 20 or 30 pages long, but there’s not a ton of stuff in there. Like it’s great big graphics and things like that. So it’s kind of fun to go through. It’s not like 70,000 pages of text. It’s like, you know, big tip, cool picture, big tip, infographic. Like it feels like there’s some stuff there, but it’s kinda fun to scroll through it. It’s kind of like a video game. You’re just plowing through. On the other side of it though, like you said, Chris has a ton of knowledge and a ton of content. We’ve kind of put together some super magnets for lack of a better term, where some of these things have never been produced anywhere. Like our ultimate business plan for gym owners like is one of the more definitive things. We did that on purpose and that one is very text heavy, but it’s solving a huge problem for a person. So I think what you’re saying there is, know what your audience wants and needs and then kind of tailor it to that, but you always want them to be able to consume it. The 20-hour video series is not going to work for everybody, that’s for sure.

Mateo: 21:55 – Yeah. I mean, most entrepreneurs like to read a lot of books, like to read business books, like to consume that kind of content. So yeah, having our super lead magnet, like you just said, that kind of works for us. Yes, so it definitely depends on the audience for sure.

Mike: 22:11 – There is a cost of production on these things so you, not that I’m saying you want to hit the minimum, but if a 30-page magnet gets you the email address, you don’t need a 70-page one necessarily. So you can kind of balance your cost of production versus what you want to achieve. And if you’re getting leads with a 20-page magnet, go with it.

Mateo: 22:30 – Hundred percent, a hundred percent. And again, that’s why we don’t lead with this right away in our course because like you said, there is a cost of production, especially if you want it to work well. Last couple of things are pretty simple. It should be easily accessible, instantly accessible, right? So if you say, click here to download now, we’re going to send it right to your inbox. You should actually send it to their inbox.

Mike: 22:54 – Nothing is more annoying.

Mateo: 22:54 – There’s actually a couple, internet gurus out there or gym marketing people, I’m not gonna name names, where I’ve opted into their stuff and like there’s no thing, like they, they tell you they’ll show you the top five things or the new hybrid model for this and that. And you opt in and there’s like nothing there, it’s just a bunch of testimonies and telling you to book a call with their sales team.

Mike: 23:24 – That’s a kick in the crotch.

Mateo: 23:24 – So, yeah, you want to give them the thing and it should be instant. And you can automate that. It’s really simple, especially if you got like mail—even MailChimp or things like that can help you do that. And then we already kinda talked about this sporadically throughout this episode, but yeah, demonstrate expertise, right? You know, you want to hint at your service’s unique value proposition and you want to basically make sure that you’re giving away stuff that is relevant to what you are going to eventually sell them. Whatever your core services and relevant to the people who are consuming this content.

Mike: 24:07 – That’s big, exactly. Goes back to that establishing authority. You know, there are certain things, like I’ve heard you talk about it, I think it was a DJing something or other that I think you downloaded. I’ve downloaded some things that I’m interested in. The more of these things that you see and refer to, you start to really, the status of the provider goes up in your mind. It just does, right? Like HootSuite sends me all these different, you know, PDFs of cool stuff with social media. I read them all the time. By definition, just start to rank them up in my mind. So, it’s constant and the larger these things get, and that’s again where we talked a little bit about the cost production, and so forth. But, when you look at, again, if you go to the free tools on the Two-Brain site and you down—I think there’s like, there’s gotta be like six to 800 pages of free stuff here. Like it is literally gym-saving stuff. And if you’re not impressed by that, you’re probably not gonna be impressed by anything. Right? So you’re exactly right. Establishing authority. And there’s so many people, when I’ve asked Two-Brain people, how did you get into the company? How’d you get associated? They said, I read something that Chris wrote. And it could have been a blog or whatever. And it’s just that it’s a whole big giant mesh of authority-building stuff. And a lead magnet is one part of it for sure.

Mateo: 25:15 – And I realized I skipped number five again, even though we already tied back to number five. But yes. And this ties back to exactly what you’re saying. You know, it’s gotta be valuable, right? Both an actual value, like it should do the thing that you’re promising that it will do. Like, you know, if you’re giving away a productivity checklist, it should, you know, help them do that if they follow the checklist type of a thing. Right. But also perceived value. And this is kind of what you’re saying right now with the super lead magnets we’ve created, with the books that Chris has written, you know, in a lot of ways those are lead magnets, right? But it should have some high perceived value and that’s where cost for production, like it should look clean.

Mateo: 26:00 – It should look nice. It should be well designed. It should—you can use stock photos, right? But make sure it doesn’t look like stock or scammy or whatever. Right? You know, there’s ways to do that where it doesn’t feel, you know, I guess, yeah, scammy or not professional. And that’s again where it ties back to presentation is everything, especially with lead magnets, especially because this is going to be in a lot of ways people’s first point of contact with you, the first time they’re going to see or ever hear about you. And they’re going to be cold, right? So you want to make a good first impression.

Mike: 26:37 – Yeah. It’s like a modern business card. You don’t want typos on there and, I can’t take grammatical errors and typos. That’s my career is hunting those things down. So, you know, the tip that I’ll give you guys from a production standpoint is proofread the things. Or if you don’t have someone who’s good at—if you’re not good at doing it, get someone to proofread it for you. Someone who was good at English in school that can do it for you. Make sure you—write them. You don’t have to be a pro. And you know, Chris has talked about this a lot of times with people, just you need to generate content. You need to get it out. You shouldn’t sit on something until it’s perfect. At the same time, if there’s a big red line in your word document underneath a word, just do a little check on that to see if you spelled it right and then fix it.

Mike: 27:20 – And then the second thing is what you said about photos and stuff. Whatever you’re using, make sure you have the rights to use it. Don’t steal photos. You can get some huge, huge monetary problems with stolen photos, so if you’re using stock images, licensed them appropriately. This is advertising, right? So it’s a commercial use of something. Make sure you’re licensing this stuff properly. Do not steal a picture of a celebrity and put it on your lead magnet, even if it was on the internet for free. Do not do that. You will get in trouble eventually, if not now later. And it can be huge. We heard of a one lawsuit, it was for one usage of a photo of a celebrity on a website and it was, and the demand from the lawyer was a hundred grand, which is insane. This was something that was viewed like something like 400 times or something on a website that was not super high traffic. A hundred grand. So yeah, it’s insane. So take your own photos, license your photos. There’s tons of ways that you can do that. But do read the fine print on that stuff. Use things appropriately and then make them look good. And then, you know, from there you’re going to use this lead magnet, you’re gonna put it on something, you’re going to get it to people somehow. And that’s going to be part of your ad funnel.

Mateo: 28:28 – Yeah, we talked about this or I mentioned this at the beginning, right? Whatever your traffic source is, right? You’re going to take this and offer it to the people in that traffic source. Right? And one more quick, quick thing. So many tips. But yeah, like we’ve talked about in the ad copy episodes we’ve done and the episodes we’ve done talking about Facebook ads, right? Check the archives. If you can create some kind of scarcity and urgency, even better, right? So, hey, I’m giving away my bestselling book, “Facebook Ads for Dummies,” but I only printed out a hundred copies. So get yours now. Right? Obviously it’s a lie, probably has infinite amounts she wants to give away or he wants to give away or whoever, but, right. That’s a bad example. But you get the idea, right? This one weird trick, download this guide, but I’m only going to keep it up for 24 hours cause if everyone gets it, I’m going to be out of business. So download now, that kind of a thing.

Mike: 29:34 – And you can certainly define ways to make that honest, right? Where you rotate your guides. Like I’m only offering this for the next week. Take it down and put up another one, whatever. But that scarcity definitely, definitely works. I feel it when someone, you know, when if I’m hemming and hawing on something and there’s only three left, I’m like, I kind of wanted it, now I really want it.

Mateo: 29:51 – Yep it happens to me all the time.

Mike: 29:56 – OK. All right, so lead magnets. We covered a lot of stuff in this show. And a lot of it relates back to the ads that get people to click on lead magnets. It relates on what you do with contact information once you get it. All of this stuff we’ve covered in previous shows. So if you have questions about some of the stuff we’ve covered, scroll back through Two-Brain Radio, and do subscribe. We’ve got more stuff coming out. Mateo and I are going to talk about a whole bunch of marketing topics in the next weeks. More stuff to come. So please subscribe to Two-Brain Radio. And if you want to get mentorship to help your gym right now, you want to add $5,000 a month in recurring revenue to your gym, we can tell you how to do it. Chris Cooper has created a road map. No one else the industry has it or can show you how to navigate through it. Our mentors can. You can book a free call with a mentor at and we’ll talk about if mentorship is right for you. Mateo, it’s been a pleasure. I’m Mike Warkentin, this is Two-Brain Radio and we’ll talk to you next time.

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