Sipping on Systems With Jersey’s Gym-Owning Whiskey Distiller

A close-up image of a glass of whiskey and ice on top of an oak barrel.

If business systems bore you, click out of this post.

You can fix your gym another time.

But if you’re interested in improving your business today, read on.

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

I talk to the top gym owners in the world every month on the podcast “Run a Profitable Gym”—you should subscribe.

In May, I spoke to Tommy Alfinito. He runs Hygge Fitness in New Jersey, and he joined me on the show to talk about how his business grossed about US$57,000 in April 2023 and made Two-Brain’s Top 10 leaderboard. (You can view it here.)

Before the show, I chatted with Tommy about whiskey and spirits. Tommy had actually made time to talk to me even though he was cutting the ribbon at his new business, Wildfether Distilling, later that day.

Tommy’s been working hard to get his new business off the ground, and it was hard not to spend 30 minutes digging into all the challenges of developing a property and setting up a distillery. But we turned our attention back to the gym business anyway.

During the show—listen to it here—Tommy told me he works about four hours every month at Hygge Fitness. He’s not there all the time. He just has weekly one-hour meetings to ensure everything is on track at his microgym, and then he moves on to his other projects.  

The gym, operated by trusted staff members, just keeps serving high-value clients and cranking out profit for Tommy in the background.

How is this possible?

Business systems.

Tommy systemizes everything—so much so that his coaches know exactly how many times they must check in with each member during a “perfectly coached class.”

Maybe that stuff is boring.

Or maybe it’s the foundation that allows an entrepreneur to serve high-value fitness clients, create careers, generate stable income and then pursue passions—like cooking up some small-batch bourbon to pour in a tasting room built into a renovated character building from 1857.

Systemize Something Today

Tommy is just the latest top gym owner to tell me that business systems are one of the main keys to his success. Every month, a Top 10 gym owner says something similar. It’s actually a relentless drumbeat from successful fitness entrepreneurs: “Systems, systems, systems.”

No one is winging it or making it up as they go at the world’s top gyms. Everyone is operating from playbooks and manuals. This is without exception.

So if you’d like to move into the top echelon of gym owners, you can take a step in that direction today. Here’s what to do:

Systemize something at your business today. 

Start small. You don’t have to write your entire staff playbook today. Just get one system in place—“how to clean the gym to an A+ standard” is an easy one to hit first. But you could also create standard operating procedures for a few other things in an hour or two:

  • How to open the gym and greet clients (operations).
  • How to run the “absent clients report” and reconnect with missing members (retention).
  • How to manage the quarterly retail presale process (revenue generation).

I’m sure you can think of other simple tasks you can systemize with an SOP.

My point: Pick one task and document everything, then put that page in your staff playbook. Repeat until every task in your business is documented, then start assigning these tasks to others and “climb the value ladder.”

If you don’t, your business will putter along at a C+ level and you’ll eventually burn out.

If you do, you’ll be well on your way to the A+ level, where you’ll have the income and freedom of time to expand your entrepreneurial vision.

And if you’d like to level up but feel overwhelmed by the task of systemizing your gym business, a mentor can help.

Yes, systems are boring. But Two-Brain will provide focus, accountability and a host of done-for-you resources that make the process smooth, simple and pain-free. To find out more, book a call here.


One more thing!

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.