Top Tips From Gym Owners With 300-700+ Clients

Top Tips From Gym Owners with 300-700+ Clients

Chris Cooper (00:00):
Which gyms have the most clients, and how did they get them? I’m Chris Cooper. This is “Run a Profitable Gym’s” monthly leaderboard show, where every month I look at one of the leaderboards that we track in Two-Brain Business and interview the people who are at the top of that leaderboard and tell you how they did it. Every month, we produce these leaderboards for different categories, including this one for most clients, and then we interview the best and see what they’re doing differently. And then we build courses for Two-Brain Business mentorship clients, and we report back to you for free on our podcast, on our YouTube channel and in our different blog posts, too, so that you get the top tips from the biggest, best gyms in the world. If you want more info and support, head to to join a group with thousands of the world’s top fitness entrepreneurs.

Chris Cooper (00:51):
Now, let’s look at the leaderboard. Which microgyms have the most clients, and then how did they get them? Now, if you’ve been following along with the leaderboard show, you’ll know that last month almost our entire leaderboard came from the States. There were a couple of outliers from Europe, and we were talking about ARM, the highest value per client—or average revenue per member. This month, I’m just talking about pure headcount, but some of the gyms are the same. So not only do they have the most clients, but their clients are also super high value. And this is what makes the most profitable gyms in the world. This month, though, just looking at the Top 10 gyms worldwide based on client headcount alone, we’re gonna start with Number 10, who has 332 clients in the States. Number 9 has 338 clients, also in the U.S.

Chris Cooper (01:44):
Number 8 has 342 clients. Number 7 has 350 clients. So obviously we’re going up here, and Number 6 has 364. Now, all of these in the lower five of the Top 10 are all in the U.S. But don’t fret: I’ve got some amazing news about gyms outside the U.S. coming up in the Top 5. So the six through 10 on the leaderboard for most clients: 332, 338, 342, 350, 364 clients. Now, I just wanna take a quick moment here before I share the Top 5. It is worth noting that a lot of gyms open up, and they build all of their models, they buy their equipment, they rent their space thinking that they’re gonna get 300 clients, but the reality is out of over 847 gyms worldwide in Two-Brain right now, the top 10 have over 300 clients, okay? Not everybody. And the reality is that it’s more important to start building your business and your systems and your staffing and your policies and your processes and your space and your equipment with the target of getting 150 really high-value clients first and then scaling up after that, okay?

Chris Cooper (02:57):
Don’t build your business on the assumption that you’re gonna get 300 clients. These Top 10 out of 850 around the world are outliers who have great businesses. You can get there, but it’s not your first target. Let’s talk about Top 5. I’m so fired up about this. Number 5 is in Denmark, and they had 419 clients in March. Number 4 has 427 clients, and they’re in the States. Number 3 has 677 members. And they are also in the States. Number 2 has 684 members, and they’re also in the States. But the Number 1 gym is not in the States. They have 748 members. Do you wanna guess who they are? You’ll never guess what country they come from. They are in Chile—748 members at their gym. They are a CrossFit gym, even though not every gym on this leaderboard is a CrossFit gym.

Chris Cooper (03:55):
They’re all microgyms. They’re all coaching businesses. And the leader this month in March 2023 has 748 members at their CrossFit gym in Chile. Congratulations to them. Congratulations to everybody on the leaderboard, and congratulations to everybody out there who is working hard to change the lives of more and more members. Now, if you’re like me, you don’t just wanna know who the best are. You wanna know how they’re doing it. And so we took the time to interview everybody on these leaderboards, and we publish some of those interviews on our podcast. We publish some of them only internally, and today I’m gonna share their top tips with you. Okay, here we go. These are all very, very important tips. Some of them might come as a surprise to you. Some might not. What I’ve found overall talking to these gym owners is that they’re all practitioners of business virtuosity.

Chris Cooper (04:47):
They do the common things uncommonly well. They start with goal reviews and they don’t ever stop doing those things. They don’t do a lot of one-and-done tactics. They take the formulas and the strategies that they learn from Two-Brain, and they just keep doing them over and over and over again. And that’s how they grew this high and built great businesses. So here are their tips. Tip Number 1: Make things really simple to join and pay. Now this sounds pretty obvious, right? But I think a lot of gym owners kind of lose sight of this. So, you know, in 2006 it was awesome that members could pay online at all. But in 2023, what really stops people from getting more members is too much complexity. They’ve got this complicated website with no clear call to action, or they’re doing Facebook ads but they’re setting up the wrong kind.

Chris Cooper (05:39):
Like they’re not doing lead ads, or they’re doing something really complicated, or their targeting is way off and they get lost in the weeds. They’re not doing any good social posts. Or, worse, they’re doing really negative social posts themselves and they’re wondering why people don’t join. Look, keep things simple. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Don’t try and be an artist, be a scientist. Reduce your marketing and your sales to the most effective process ever. Amazon is the biggest retailer in the history of the Earth, and they got that way because they made things simple for the buyer, not artistic or complicated. Second tip from our Top 10 gyms for client headcount: Teach that staff “the why” behind the tasks. This box really emphasized how important culture is in their box, but when we asked them to get more specific, they said that whenever they make a change, they have to tell their staff why they’re making that change. Because if the staff isn’t on board with the change, they won’t be able to hide their feelings. Some of them might kind of gossip a little bit or like spill the tea with their clients and say, “Ah, you know, I wasn’t behind that,” or whatever. Your staff can represent your energy and your passion, or they can represent their own personal feelings, but whatever that is, you have to get them on board with the changes that you’re making. Even if you’re not making changes and you’re just gonna continue going forward with your current plan, you need to let them know what that plan is so that they can get on board and excited about it. For example, when my gym decided that we were going to cap membership at 125 members, I had a couple of coaches who were super-duper excited about that, and a couple of coaches who were like, “Why? Why don’t we want 500?”

Chris Cooper (07:17):
Mostly it was the coaches who understood that we want to give clients enormous value and receive value in return from those clients instead of the coaches who are always thinking like, “Ah, you should drop your rates so that you can sell more memberships,” right? So we had to teach them why, and that meant a little bit of business coaching. It meant a little bit of education on our mission and our vision, but also how we can impact our community by working really, really well with 125 members instead of having a really high churn rate and trying to maintain 300 members, which just doesn’t work in my gym. The next thing that these leaders said: You have to be clean, okay? I think this is a really easy one for a lot of us to overlook.

Chris Cooper (08:04):
We walk into our gym every day, you know, we know why there’s a stack of shoes in the corner because that’s the tiniest we can make it, right? Like we just become acclimated to everything that’s going on, and we don’t see it with new eyes. When a new person walks in your gym, they have to notice how clean it is—not just get by, not be “clean enough” or “tidy,” right? It has to be clean, and it has to be clean enough that they notice it. This is actually a big favor that the lockdowns in Canada did for me was it forced us to clean everything every time. And last week when I was back in a group, I left without wiping down a barbell, and the coach called me back like, “Where are you going?” And I said, “Oh, it’s been great. Thanks everybody. I’m out.” “No, no, get back here and clean.” And when you walk into my gym now for the first time in the 20 years that I’ve owned it, the first thing that you smell is how clean it is. It’s amazing. You also have to have clean systems. That means that your gym operates the same way every day for every single client. That no matter what group I show up to, no matter what trainer is working with me today, I know that I’m gonna receive the same excellent service. That no matter who I ask in the gym, I know they’re gonna be paying the same price as me. That no matter who you are, how close you are with the owner, you’re not getting a special deal. You’re not getting leeway on when you show up or when you pay or when you get a discount or any of that stuff, right?

Chris Cooper (09:29):
The systems are “clean,” they’re black and white, they’re easy to understand, and that builds trust. Another tip from one of these top gyms was that they improved their conversion process when they started working with Two-Brain. So that means that leads weren’t their problem. People were coming to their website, they wanted to find out more about the gym and its service, but they were leaving, and they weren’t coming in to do a free trial because they didn’t wanna do free trials. And so now after working with Two-Brain, this gym has a great funnel and an amazing conversion process where they’re signing up more of the people who are interested instead of either blocking them or pushing them away or turning them off or talking them out of it. So that means they can help more people, and that has grown their headcount.

Chris Cooper (10:12):
Another one said that when they added goal reviews after starting working with Two-Brain, they immediately increase their client count by 30 people. So if you’re maybe the last gym on this list in the Top 10, 30 new clients still means that you’re increasing your total client head pound by like 10%. And the best part is that when you get new clients through goal reviews and referrals, they’re already warmed up. They already know you, like you and trust you. You have to do very little to convert them into paying clients, and they’ve already got a social web when they get into your gyms. So this leads me to my last point. There are a lot of marketing programs and systems out there that can promise 30 new leads, but we all know that doesn’t mean 30 new clients. Some of them can actually get you new clients, but the reality is if your systems are not set up to onboard people efficiently and properly, they will wash out quickly.

Chris Cooper (11:08):
And when you bring in 30 new clients at one time, not only do they leave quickly, but they pull a lot of your really good members with them because your attention is just spread too thin trying to keep the new kids. And the OGs think, “Well, boy, he’s not really paying attention to us anymore.” Or, “he’s distracted.” Or, “I don’t get coaching as much.” Or, “There’s all these new kids, I’m outta here.” So when you dump a lot of new clients into your gym at one time, it can actually have a net negative effect on your membership. That’s why I’m so fired up about this leaderboard because not only are these gym owners working with over 300 clients and building some of the biggest, most effective gyms in the world, they’re doing it without losing people. They’re not gonna have to get 30 new clients next month to replace the 30 who left this month, right?

Chris Cooper (11:58):
They’re not gonna always be marketing because I know that they can consistently keep these members. Remember, it’s not who you can bring in. It’s who you can keep. And that’s what got these gyms on the leaderboard. Congratulations to our Top 10. This is “Run a Profitable Gym.” Thanks for watching or listening. Join our Gym Owners United group today. That’s where I answer questions, run free webinars and give away all kinds of great resources to help you grow your dream. It’s free. I’d love to help you in the group, and just have to go to Gym Owners United on Facebook, or, even easier, go to to join. Do it today, and I will see you in there. Let’s get your business and your impact!

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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.