Critical Gym Data: How to Get It and Grow Your Business

A graphic showing line graphs and data points.

Mike Warkentin (00:00):
Do you wanna know if gym owners paid themselves more in 2023? We sure do. We’re preparing our 2023 “State of the Industry” report for gym owners, and today on “Run a Profitable Gym” Chris Cooper is gonna tell you a few numbers that he’s watching really closely from year to year. Even better, he’s gonna give you some tips on how to change those numbers at your gym right now. Before we go, I have a huge ask from me and Coop: Please go to the show notes, click the link to the survey. We need your numbers. Fill it out. It takes about six minutes. It’s completely anonymous, but your data and your insight is gonna help us present the clearest picture of our industry. So please click that link in the show notes. The result is gonna be the “State of the Industry” guide. It’s coming out in mid-November. You’re gonna get it for free. So without further ado, Chris Cooper, welcome to “Run a Profitable Gym.”

Chris Cooper (00:45):
Thanks, Mike. Always love chatting with you about this stuff and about numbers, and especially because these are all the numbers that I really wish that I had 15 years ago, 10 years ago when I was fixing my gym and just didn’t have. So I’m glad that you and I, John and our partners can put this together.

Mike Warkentin (01:03):
It’s a huge deal. And, you know, the first time we did it, it was so neat to have this thing in our hands. And now it’s so cool that other industry groups and other companies are asking you for the data, and we’re the only ones that have it.

Chris Cooper (01:14):
It’s crazy. Like big, big lobbies, even in the States like IHRSA are asking to use it. Fitness Industry Canada. Lobby groups, like they come back to this data because it’s objective, it’s legit. Like we have an independent analyst go through it, and they’re actually kind of shocked that we make it available for free to gym owners worldwide even though like we have to invest in making it. It’s just such a powerful tool. And my favorite thing in all of last year was the guys ripping it off, right? Like you saw the YouTube videos and they’re reading it but not showing the cover. It’s amazing.

Mike Warkentin (01:50):
Just flipping the pages, and I can see the pages that we created, and they’re not saying where it’s from. Yeah. But it’s all good because I know the idea of giving it away for free is to get the information in gym owners’ hands. Because if you and I had had this when we started gyms in the middle of the two thousands, we’d be in a different spot than we are right now. So this information can help gym owners. And, guys, again, please, if you want this guide, fill out that survey link in the show notes. We’re gonna get this guide to you, and you can literally use it to just supercharge your business over the next year in 2024. So please fill that link out. So Chris, let’s dig into some of these numbers. We’ve got some areas of opportunity. We’ve got some really cool stats. I know you have five things that you were kind of keeping your eye on among the many different numbers in there, but five things that kind of stood out that we’re watching from year to year. So give me number one, what are you thinking? What are you looking at?

Chris Cooper (02:34):
Nutrition coaching? So we’ve been talking about nutrition coaching since about 2016 on this podcast. One of our first guests ever was a nutrition coach who was starting a program down in South Florida. And the interesting thing is that while everybody knows that nutrition coaching is really important to your client’s success, it doesn’t appear to drive a lot of revenue. And so there’s about 78% of the gyms in our microgym survey—and by survey, I’m, I’m actually talking about the whole data set. You know, well over 10,000 gyms last year. Sometimes 16,000 gyms participate in this. Last year, 78%, or a high number, had a nutrition program. But what’s interesting is that on average only about 5% of their revenue is coming from nutrition coaching. And that’s revenue. So when you take the coaches pay outta that, the cost of certification, the cost of maybe additional insurance, it really doesn’t leave much.

Chris Cooper (03:30):
And, and some gyms are paying for special software for the nutrition program and stuff like that, too, right? So to me, this is a signal like, “Okay, nutrition coaching is important, but let’s invest our resources somewhere else in something else that’s gonna grow our gym faster and just give our clients what we can, which is like a healthy habits checklist, andcoach them on habits. Don’t get in any kind of legal trouble. But don’t go way out of our way trying to get like the PN L2 certification or anything like that because we’re limited in what we can actually prescribe anyway.” The other option is if nutrition coaching is the cornerstone of your gym, then you just go all in and you try and double your revenue on nutrition coaching in the next year. But, you know, at 5% revenue, there’s easier paths to grow your gym it looks like.

Mike Warkentin (04:24):
And that’s super interesting. So you have a couple of different options, listeners, but I’ll tell you this: Clark Hibbs, Yellow Rose Fitness, he does 20% of his gross revenue that comes from his nutrition program. So if you have the interest in growing that program and the skill and the people, you can do it. Now, Clark, his wife does it in a spare bedroom in their house, 20% of their gross revenue, and they’re just using simple habits-based nutrition coaching. It’s not this super-elite weigh-and-measure, scales, macro-tracking system with a custom app. It is just a very simple program. It’s very effective and it does make money, but that doesn’t mean you have to go that route if it’s overwhelming to you and if there are other places that you can invest. So this is a really interesting stat. Chris, do you think this number’s gonna go up in 2023? Do you think we’re gonna see more than 5% of revenue? Or do you think that’s gonna stay about the same?

Chris Cooper (05:10):
It’s tricky because, and again, like this is empirical now, this is not outta the dataset, but talking to hundreds of gym owners in Two-Brain, they’re saying that the challenge is that people will sign up for nutrition coaching, but they’ll stay there for maybe two to three months. And so you’re almost better off to run challenges. You know, in a perfect world, everybody would have a nutrition-coaching program because we know that’s really at the base of the pyramid of fitness change. But the reality is like if you’ve got limited funds to invest in something that’s gonna grow your gym in the next year, nutrition coaching might not be your top priority—as much as, I hate to say it. And I don’t like selling access, but the reality—and this is why we do data instead of just “what does Chris like?”—Is that gyms selling 24-hour key-card access are making a bigger percentage of their total revenue from doing that than they are from nutrition coaching, and there’s less expenses going out. It’s like you buy this thing once and usually that’s it, you know?

Mike Warkentin (06:11):
Okay. So if gym owners wanted to try today, maybe not a full-blown nutrition program, but a challenge two or three times a year, is that something you’d recommend?

Chris Cooper (06:19):
Yeah, a hundred percent. So like three, four times a year. Even if you run a challenge, you’ll probably make as much gross revenue as you would just by selling an ongoing nutrition-coaching program. Your costs will be less, and it looks like your clients are more likely to get excited about it and sign up for it. And maybe that’s how you start building a habit with them.

Mike Warkentin (06:39):
Okay. So there’s something you can do today: just do a simple nutrition challenge that might work for you. And you don’t have to go all in. Now, Chris, gyms with kids in youth classes, is this a similar situation? What’s the stat here and what are you watching this year?

Chris Cooper (06:53):
So this is kind of the inverse. So while the gyms who run kids in youth programs do generate a good proportion of their revenue from that, like between eight and 11%, only 39% of gyms actually offer that. And what’s crazy to think about is that outside the microgym, CrossFit, HIIT, boot-camp industry, if you segregate out the afterschool industry, the programs, the gyms that are set up just for kids, they make way more money than we do in general. And it’s not like they’re more mature entrepreneurs or anything like that. You know, there are cheer gyms doing a million dollars a year. And the reason is that they understand the value of activities for kids. Most of us parents would pay three or four times as much to have our kid in an activity than we would for ourselves.

Chris Cooper (07:45):
And so that’s why these numbers start to make sense, right? So like, this is why parkour gyms are doing really well, ninja gyms are doing really wellgymnastics and dance studios. They all charge more than your typical HIIT gym does. And it’s because you’re selling to kids. And what’s really interesting here, too, is like if you look at even like jiu-jitsu, right? It’s not just that the kids are signing up and paying a monthly rate to go to do this class. And it’s not just that the parents are willing to do anything to wear the kids out. It’s that the parents also want to find something their kids love, and the parents want mementos and, the the parents want to go to the belt ceremony or the dance recital or the ninja competition, right? And then the parents want photography of those things.

Chris Cooper (08:32):
Anybody that’s listening to this, even if you own a gym, you already know that if your kid loves playing basketball and the price of basketball is $300 a month, you’re gonna find a way to pay for that. And so the interesting thing is that like 39% of gyms offer kids classes, and it does create, you know, up to 11% of their gross revenue. But that number should actually be a lot more. I think there’s a massive opportunity there just to change your pricing model and maybe value the price at at what it should be. And so we’ve got this from a big data set, but also empirically Jeff and Mikki Martin from Brand X tell me the exact same thing. Most people undercharge for their kids program. I certainly did. I charged half what I was charging for adults. I don’t know if I was pricing my program by weight or what, but there’s a massive opportunity here for gyms.

Mike Warkentin (09:25):
So if a gym has a program right now and they’re listening to this, what’s something they can do today?

Chris Cooper (09:30):
Raise the price by 15%. So, you know, most gyms are not running a membership-based youth program—that’s what the numbers say anyway. They’re running it on like six-week blocks. All you gotta do for your next six-week block is say, “Here’s the price for the next six weeks,” and raise that by 15%. I don’t think you’re gonna see a parent bat an eye. And that’s immediately gonna improve the revenue that you’re getting from a service that you’re already offering without increasing your expenses. If you’re not running a kids program, look for an amazing coach, and then look for age-group opportunities. Like, I don’t think you’ve got to roll out three different age groups three nights a week. Just look at your best clients and say, “How old are their kids? How many clients have a kid in this age bracket or that age bracket?”

Chris Cooper (10:15):
And then start with a six-week group for one age bracket with an amazing coach. And that’ll tell you whether you’ve got a viable future with kids programs. I love doing kids programs. I think it’s like part of our mission to give kids a way to find their fitness, something that they can stick with for the rest of their life. And even if they’re only with me for a year, teaching a kid how to squat properly, pick up something heavy, that it’s safe to roll around on the floor and climb a rope, you’re giving them a gift that’s gonna last them 80 years. It’s amazing the impact you can have at this age, but it’s also the amazing the impact that this age can have on your business.

Mike Warkentin (10:53):
And raising the price by 15% isn’t gouging parents. It’s just recognizing that you underpriced your service. You know, I did the same thing where, you know, my membership was 150 bucks, which was too low, and I’m like, “Oh, kids classes should be a hundred bucks,” which was also too low. It should have been at least $150 and probably well more than that, but I had no idea what I was doing when I started these programs. So, guys, it’s not about gouging. Parents have money set aside for kids’ activities, and they expect to pay for them. And you know, Chris used the example of signing your kid up for hockey—that can cost up to $7,000. So a $300 kids program? Not that much on the radar, right? Like you can definitely—the value that you have there—represent that in the price and make sure that your kids have a great program with a great coach who’s making a great living. Now, Chris, our next stat is along those lines. So talk to me about highest-earning staff members. And this is a really interesting number we gotta go over.

Chris Cooper (11:44):
Yeah. So we separate out the owner from the staff member in the data set. So this is like the highest-paid person who is not the owner in the gym.

Mike Warkentin (11:53):
Not the owner.

Chris Cooper (11:54):
And the average here is $28,709. Now that’s not high enough, right? We’re not thrilled about that stat, but it’s actually higher than the industry average. And so what this tells me is that microgyms are paying better than the big chain gyms are. So if you look on any employment, website, Glassdoor, whatever, you’re gonna find the average income for a trainer is maybe about $23,000. So microgyms are actually paying above that line, right? But one reason that the staff aren’t making more—’cause none of us are happy with that number. We want to create careers for our coaches—the main reason that the staff isn’t making more is that the owner isn’t making enough. Like we’re gonna talk about what owners make in a moment. Owners are barely making more than that, right?

Chris Cooper (12:43):
So the gyms have to become more profitable first, and then the staff will earn more. It’s not about taking the pie that’s available and cutting the staff out a bigger piece. Like that’s not sustainable. It’s about growing the entire pie for everybody. Okay? Another reason is that the owner just has too many staff, and there’s always a balancing act between like full-time, part-time staff. I do think you want to have both, right? However, as you progress with your gym and your gym becomes more successful and your profit increases, you wanna start to transition some people into full-time staff. I don’t have any full-time coaches right now. I wish I did because that that covers some gaps. But the reality is there’s a time and a place for it. Statistically though, if you’ve got a lot of part-timers, then the highest-paid person at your gym is just gonna decrease because they’re not there full time.

Mike Warkentin (13:35):
And we have a tool for Two-Brain clients, the Career Roadmap, that allows you to sit down and actually piece together with that coach exactly how they can make what they need to make by putting jobs together. So sometimes in some situations, you’ve laid out some things where you’ve got all these different jobs, and they could be coaching, admin, specialty programs, whatever it is. You can actually put them together and maybe that eliminates some part-time stuff, but it does create a full-time career, right? Like you can do these things. And on the other side of it, there are some times, like for me it was super-passionate, super-talented firefighters who wanted to do some coaching on their days off. And those people were really valuable to me. So this number, do you think this is gonna go up this year?

Chris Cooper (14:11):
I hope so, because what we’re seeing, you know, if you look at kind of like the bell curve of Two-Brain gyms—and Two-Brain is big enough, by the way, to like influence these stats—so if we’re getting statistics and data from 11, 000, 12,000 gyms worldwide, you know, thanks to our partners, you know, there’s 900 gyms in Two-Brain. And so as the Two-Brain gyms grow and actually make more profit, they’re actually pulling the curve up with them. So one thing that I’d love to see is every gym across the board increase their rates by 10%. If all you did was that this year, that would increase what you take home by 10%, and it would increase what your staff takes home by that same 10%. And so that alone would bump this number of $28,709 up over 30 grand for the first time in the history of the industry. That to me is kind of the threshold where now we’re a serious career and nobody’s just getting into personal training and fitness for two or three years while they’re going to college for their real job.

Mike Warkentin (15:10):
So, guys, if you wanna change this number at your gym, something you could look at doing today is a rate increase. But know that there is an exact plan and a step-by-step process to doing this that’s been proven to work and retain clients. Two-Brain has it, and we just give it to our clients. So don’t just do it; talk to us first because we can help you do that. Now, Chris, related to staff, staff are great, but you have to care for yourself first as the owner. Talk to me about what owners are taking home and what we think is gonna happen this year.

Chris Cooper (15:37):
So last year gym owners took home on average $3,787 in net owner benefit every month. So net owner benefit is like your wage from the gym plus your profit distributions, plus, if your gym is paying for your cell phone or whatever. I break it all down in the “State of the Industry” guide. So $3,787 is okay. It’s technically higher than the industry average, but it’s not survivable. Like you can’t make that little money and expect to have a gym that lasts you 10, 20, 30 years. Anything under $48,000 is too low. And especially, you know, considering that a lot of this data comes from urban areas where you really need a hundred thousand a year to survive, it’s not enough. So what that means is like, “Okay, I’m making $3,787 a month that’s contributing to my family’s income, but that can’t be my primary family income. So either I have to have another job or my spouse does.” And any little challenge could kill the gym. So, you know, the price of groceries just went up 30%, price of gas goes up 30%. Now I’m asking myself these questions driving home of like, “Can I actually afford to own this gym anymore and should I go get that job at the call center or that that real-estate job working with my uncle?” And unfortunately that’s usually what kills the gym. It’s not that the gym can’t get any clients, you know. That’s usually survivable. And it’s not that the gym is signed into this massive lease. You know, often you can get outta that. What kills the gym is when the gym owner is not making enough money and they basically have to take a job somewhere else, and that kills the gym.

Chris Cooper (17:20):
So what I’d love to see is this number of net owner benefit rise to at least $4,000 per month. Just make some incremental gains. What that’s gonna do is it’s gonna attract more people to the fitness industry. And that’s actually going to help all of us because as we all get better at being the CEO and the entrepreneur, we all grow, and the pie grows, and we attract more people to exercise for the first time. So, you know, these are all like a balancing act, right? It’s a paradox—like the gym owner makes more, the gym does bette. The gym does better, the gym owner makes more. But the reality is if I can keep a gym owner in the game for another five years, they’re gonna serve more people, save more lives, make more money, create more careers. And so, you know, we do focus on improving net owner benefit a lot.

Mike Warkentin (18:11):
And I’ll tell you this, the results of that are in our last year’s stats: The average Two-Brain gym owner makes more than a thousand dollars per month more than that $3,787. So that’s stats for Two-Brain clients. They make a thousand dollars more per month just by being Two-Brain clients and following what we’re giving out. That’s super interesting. And then you gave me another stat the other day about how long it can take someone to start with Two-Brain and get to a hundred thousand dollars in annual income, which is way more than $4,000 a month. So what is—how long does it take the average client to do that now?

Chris Cooper (18:42):
Average client is two years, one month, nine days. And it’s really interesting because when people start with Two-Brain, there’s a very broad spectrum. Some people are doing pretty well when they start. The majority of people are not doing that well. And some people are like at their wit’s end, like I was right? Like, “Here’s my last $500 check and it’s probably gonna bounce.” I don’t recommend starting with a mentor when you’re gonna bounce the first payment. Like we’re gonna give you enough free stuff that you can use that to build up a little bit. But the reality is like we know how to get owners to a hundred thousand dollars a year net owner benefit better than anybody else. We’ve done it hundreds of times. And what we’re studying now is how to do it faster. And we call this “virtuosity,” which is basically like, “If I can get people there in an average of two years, one month, nine days, how do I do that in less than two years? How do I do it in 16 months?” And so that’s really the focus of our internal study right now.

Mike Warkentin (19:37):
So that net owner benefit number, the gym owner wage is changing for our clients, and we’re watching them as they move through the program add money month by month to their wages, what they take home to their families. It’s super cool to watch. If you’re interested in just seeing what stuff is all about, head to Gym Owners United and jump into that group. We give away tons and tons of free stuff. Chris has seminars in there, all sorts of great resources, including guides that tell you literally how to get to a hundred thousand dollars per year in income. You can get those guides in that group, and of course, if you want even more help and more speed, work with us and we’ll help you do that. Now Chris, going on, this is a really interesting one for me. The median price for group training. And the reason why this is super interesting for me is it’s almost exactly what I charged at my gym, which was too low. Let’s go over this one.

Chris Cooper (20:21):
Yeah, so we took a median here because if you have a data set that has a lot of gyms, like in New York City, for example, their average is gonna pull everybody up and give you a misleading figure. So $160 is the median price for group training. That’s your unlimited option, right? So if you’re a CrossFit gym or a bootcamp or a HIIT gym or whatever, that’s like what the average gym is charging for their unlimited class option. Okay? that’s too low. You need to get to an average revenue per member of about $205. Now you can do that a few ways. You can raise the rates. You can add personal training or add another service. Like we talked about nutrition coaching is one option. Kids is maybe better. Even access is on the table to bring that ARM up above $205.

Chris Cooper (21:13):
If you can get your ARM at $205, you can make a hundred thousand dollars a year with like 150 clients. And if you’re in a big urban setting like Atlanta, New York City, San Francisco, you should be charging way more than that anyway because the cost of living is higher and your price should go up proportionally with that. Unfortunately, the opposite kind of happens. You know, years ago somebody in Atlanta told me “you can’t charge more than 79 bucks a month for CrossFit.” And that’s how they were thinking. And of course, you know, people like Miles Davis, Ric Thompson, Andy McCann, they charged 200 bucks a month for CrossFit and made it worth it. And that’s how they brought their ARM up. So this median rate for group training, it’s too low.

Chris Cooper (21:58):
There’s another perspective here, too, which is that if a client comes into your gym and they want general group programming, the same programming that like everybody else is getting, the same workout, the same level of coaching, it’s, you know, corrective—I wouldn’t call it an “industrial model,” but it’s not like you’re getting your own personalized program, your own personalized appointment time, your own one-on-one attention from a coach when you’re in a group setting. When you frame it that way, the group setting actually becomes like your lowest-priced option. And so the way that a lot of gyms approach this now is a client comes in and they’ll say, “What’s your goal?” And then they’ll measure the client and then they’ll say, “Okay, well based on your goals, if you wanna get to your goals as fastest, I recommend one-on-one training with us.”

Chris Cooper (22:48):
You know, and they’ll call that their “high-ticket option” or whatever. And then if the client says like, “I can’t really afford it,” then the next best option for that client is semi-private. And if the client is like, “I can’t really afford that,” “No problem. You’re still gonna get there with our group training. It might take a little bit longer, but some people actually like group training because it’s a lot of fun. How’s that sound?” And, Mike, I did my first NSI in like five years yesterday, and she’s like, “Sounds great. Sign me up for group training.” And it was like a higher price point than I’ve sold in the last 20 years, but she was eager to sign up for it because it’s what she could afford. It will get her to her goals, but it’s not as personalized, not as flexible on, you know, in scheduling time. And it might not get her to her goals as fast as one-on-one coaching and nutrition coaching would, that’s all.

Mike Warkentin (23:40):
But still an unlimited group membership, which is what I had for $157.5 or whatever it was. And I think that included taxes. So I took home less than that. I think if I broke it down by the average number of classes attended per member, I think I was making like $6 tp $7.50 per person per class or something like that. And we can all agree that that’s not that great because your group classes, while they are your discount option, they’re not worth $75 or $80 for personal training, but they are worth more than $6. And I didn’t understand this until you had me do the math, divide that up, figure it out, and like, “Whoa, I am delivering way more value than six bucks.” And I think a lot of gyms are doing the same thing.

Chris Cooper (24:18):
Especially when you look at some other stats from here, which is like average group size. And when you multiply that, the average membership price times the average number of people in a typical group, like most gyms are running way too many groups for what they’re charging. And sometimes they’re underwater. Like they’re paying the coach 25 bucks and they’ve got two to three people showing up for the 6 a.m. Class. Those people on average are paying six bucks per class. Like you’re losing $7. You’re losing money by opening the gym that early and forcing that coach to get outta bed, right? So it doesn’t make sense. And a lot of gyms are chasing this losing model unfortunately. And now they’re realizing more and more like, “Oh my goodness, time is not on my side. The longer I follow this model, the worse things are going to get.” And so that’s where they come to Two-Brain for mentorship and turning the ship around.

Mike Warkentin (25:11):
Gym owners, that’s a prime example of why you need this guide. You can take a look at our stats and you’ll find out when are the most popular class times, what is the average attendance in classes, should I run giant classes of 20 people? Answer is no. Should you focus on smaller groups? Yeah, because retention’s better. All this stuff is in there. And then you can use that and say “if I’m only getting two people to my morning class and no one’s showing up and I’m only charging an average of six bucks a head, I’m losing money and I’m paying my coach $25.” That’s the average—also in the guide. All these stats are in this guide. You could literally use them to compare your numbers to and say, “Do I need to change something? How can I get to this great number? What do I need to do?” You can make smart business decisions. None of this was available when Chris and I started our gyms. It was basically Chris and me talking to people in the bleachers at fitness events and saying “what are you doing?” and trying to figure it out. That’s literally what happened. Now you can get this guide for free, all the info in it, and you can use it to make great decisions in your gym. And then in the Gym Owners United group, you could talk to 7,700 other gym owners including Two-Brain mentors and get some real help to grow your business. And then on the other end of that is mentorship, working with Two-Brain. But take the first step. Go to the link in the show notes, and please fill out that survey. Six minutes, seven minutes maybe at the max. Chris has got the guide there. You’re gonna get that guide for free in mid-November, and it’s going to help you grow your business. So please, with our thanks, please go and fill out that survey for us. It would really help us. Chris, how fired up are you to see the numbers that come in from that survey?

Chris Cooper (26:41):
So fired up, man. You know, and I used to get really excited about seeing you twice a year at regionals and the Games and stuff even though we were working because the great thing about conversations with you is I knew you were telling the truth and neither of us had anything to gain by inflating our numbers. “Well, Mike, I’m at 400 members,” right? Like neither of us had anything to gain from that.

Mike Warkentin (27:02):
“I Have 109.”

Chris Cooper (27:04):
But even back then, like you and I would go to seminars or we’d meet other gym owners where they would inflate that stuff, and the CrossFit message board for example, people are like, “We’re doing great,” and meanwhile they’ve got three part-time jobs and they can’t pay the rent. You see that online. People actually think they are doing great, and they’re not doing that great. It’s kind of impossible to filter out what’s actually great. What does “great” even mean? And now, I mean, you can do that on your toilet. You don’t have to find Mike and Chris and somebody that you trust to be honest and transparent with you. I mean, honestly if you got this guide and you put it on the back of your toilet, you’ve got five minutes every day to make your gym better.

Chris Cooper (27:50):
And so what you do is you look at “okay, geez, the cost of gym space average. Okay, well I’m overpaying for gym space. Maybe that’s something I should think about.” Or you flip it here and it’s like, “Okay, well the average revenue is $15,900 a month. The average Two-Brain revenue is $21,309 a month. You know, group training price is 160 bucks. Hey, what would happen if I went up five bucks for the hundred members at my gym? Well that’s another $500 to drop straight to my bottom line.” I mean, you’ve just had like the best poop of your life. You’ve made $500 on the toilet, right? It’s great.

Mike Warkentin (28:26):
I remember vividly those conversations where you’re talking to another gym owner and it was almost like you’re trying to like figure out “okay, how can I ask this?” And you’d kind of, you know, build up some rapport and you’re like, “So are you making any money at your gym?” You know, and you’re asking for those delicate financial numbers, and sometimes you would get honest people who would tell you and you’d be like, “Oh, okay.” And you’d put your whole life in perspective, and then you could get some ideas, and you could make some changes. Again, those conversations were super awkward. They were hard to get because you had to find people. This guide gives you all of that stuff. So please hit the link in the show notes, fill out that survey. We will send you this guide and it will help you improve your business group. Thanks so much for being here today. Yeah

Chris Cooper (29:06):
Man. So happy to do this. Listen, years ago I was sitting at a kitchen table with Greg Glassman, who founded CrossFit, and I asked him the question point blank: “Why should I continue to pay the affiliation fee?” And he said, “If I were doing CrossFit at my gym, I would feel it. It’s my duty to pay the founder.” And I said, “Good enough. I’m in.” I think honestly, all of us gym owners, we’ve been too separate for too long. We’re a bunch of islands out there. I think we owe it to ourselves and to one another to participate in global movements like this. Gymownersunited.Com is a great example. You know, you go to, you join a free Facebook group, there’s like 7,600 gym owners in there, transparency, support. Nobody is making fun of other people.

Chris Cooper (29:59):
There’s no like Michael Jackson-eating-the-popcorn memes ’cause there’s no battles. It’s just people helping people. And this is the kind of movement that we need to create if we want to elevate the entire industry. The second thing the industry actually needs is data. And I think really all of us are responsible to share what’s actually happening. Now, I don’t need you to go out and be likeUh we lost 50 members last year.” It’s anonymous, but we still need your input because we have to know where we’re starting from and we have to see what the greatest opportunities are. You know, you can count on Two-Brain to publish 95% of the stuff that you and I build for free. We’re gonna publish stuff to help you as long as we know where people actually need help. And for way too long we’ve heard from these organizations, right? Like our franchisor: “This gym has 800 members.” Or from CrossFit: “This gym must be successful. They have 400 members.” We hear that. But the reality is that’s not helpful information, and it can even be misleading. And so I think it’s up to gym owners, especially independents, to come together outside of our parent companies and say like, “What is actually working here?” Right? We need people who have no bias, no dog in that fight to say “here’s what the actual data says.” And data doesn’t lie. It’s proof. We do this in a way to be as objective as possible. You know, while I did give you some personal opinions on this stuff, the reality is we hire an independent analyst so that my biases can’t even enter into that. And then we produce it free because I think this is how we improve the entire movement.

Mike Warkentin (31:36):
Get the guide, click the link in the show notes with our thanks. We appreciate it. This has been “Run a Profitable Gym.” And that was Chris Cooper. See you next time.

Chris Cooper (31:44):
We created the Gym Owners United Facebook group to help you run a profitable gym. Thousands of gym owners just like you have already joined in the group. We share sound advice about the business of fitness every day. I answer questions, I run free webinars, and I give away all kinds of great resources to help you grow your gym. I’d love to have you in the group. It’s Gym Owners United on Facebook, or go to to join. Do it today!

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Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.