The No. 1 Secret of 100 Top Gym Owners

A silver razor blade with the word "better" above it and "worse" below.

I’ve interviewed many of the best gym owners in the world and found a common trait among them. Here it is:

They take clear action to improve their businesses.

At first glance, that might not seem earth shattering.

But it is.

A head shot of writer Mike Warkentin and the column name "Pressing It Out."

A lot of us think we take action.

We rush around all day “doing stuff,” and when quitting time finally rolls around, we’re exhausted. We’ve clearly done something. Maybe even a lot of something.

But did we take clear action to improve a business or did we just run that business?

In many cases, we just ran the business. And there’s no shame in that. Gym owners have a ton of tasks. The list is endless: programming, running payroll, scheduling, ordering supplies, coaching, cleaning and so on.

This stuff is really the equivalent of spinning plates. Yes, you must keep all the important plates spinning. But that’s just “maintenance.” Your business isn’t really changing.

And that means things are probably getting worse, not better.


Mental Games for Self-Improvement


Here’s an exercise:

What’s the difference between maintaining your house and home improvement?

If you maintain something, you’re attempting to keep it as it is. If you improve something, you’re making it better than it was.

Now let’s go a step further:

Imagine the edge of a razor. On one side you have “getting worse” and on the other side you have “getting better.” You can’t exist on the edge of the razor—”maintenance” is not an option because times are changing even if you aren’t. You can’t stand still or you’ll be left behind. This is an either-or proposition.

So is your business getting better right now or getting worse?

Be honest with yourself. And if you can’t name a clear action you’re taking to improve it right now, you’re on the “worse” side of the razor.

That’s OK. It doesn’t take much to get to the other side.


Action Above All


Back to the world’s best gym owners.

Two-Brain collects huge amounts of data all the time, and every month, we create leaderboards for key metrics. Then I interview the leaders on Two-Brain Radio (subscribe!).

Without fail, the gym owners I interview have all taken clear action to improve their businesses. No one says, “I just do what I’ve always done.”

Sure, a few of our humble leaders don’t always know exactly what they did to land on the leaderboard.

Here are a few common answers owners provide as they shrug off praise:

  • “I just did what my mentor told me to.”
  • “I just followed the plan.”
  • “All I did was try to make my clients happy.”
  • “I only tried to create careers for staff members.”


But I dig deeper, and every time I find the reason the gym owner made the Top 10.

The owner changed something. Or added something. Or did something faster and better.

It always comes back to taking action to improve.


A Challenge


So here’s my challenge to you today:

Take a clear action to improve your business.

It doesn’t have to be a great leap forward. Just a step. It could be as simple as delegating the ordering of toilet paper and then adding that standard operating procedure to your staff playbook. Or maybe you finally reorganize your consultation room so a desk no longer separates you from the potential client. Maybe you walk to the business next door with a tray of coffee and figure out how you can help each other.

I bet you know what you need to do. It’s probably something you’ve been putting off. If you’re stuck, text your mentor and ask for one simple task to improve your business today. You’ll get an answer.

Whatever you do, do something. And then do something else tomorrow.

Remember, you can’t stand on the edge of a razor. You’re either getting worse or getting better.

So which side of the razor are you on today?

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