Gym Owners Handbook: What You’ll Learn


Andrew (00:02):

It’s another episode of Two-Brain Radio. Chris Cooper’s fifth book, Gym Owners Handbook, is now available on Amazon. Your fitness business can be built according to a recipe. And this is the recipe book. Click the link in the show notes to get it. Here’s Coop with the introduction to Gym Owners Handbook.

Chris (00:19):

We know that getting clients results isn’t enough to make a great business or a great career, but it is the foundation. If you’re not getting your clients results, none of the other stuff matters. Your marketing plan, your operations plan, your retention plan, your systems, how much you care about the clients. You need to get them results. What does it take to get a client results? Long-term behavior change, short-term habit change. It means learning skills like motivational interviewing, peer-to-peer programming. It means focusing on things like adherence and retention instead of novelty. And I built with my partner, Josh Martin, to teach coaches how to do this. More than ever before it is critical to get results for your clients. You need to charge a premium fee. You need to provide high value to warrant that fee. And what is most valuable to the client? What do they care about the most? The results on the goal that they choose. has programs set up to help your clients achieve those goals. We will train you and your coaches to deliver personal training, group training, online training, nutrition coaching, and coming soon, mindset coaching, in a way that’s simple for you to adopt, it’s legal everywhere. And it’s super effective. These courses were built by experts with years of experience getting clients results. is a labor of love for me, and I know you’re going to love it too.

Chris (01:47):

Your business has two parts, your operations and your audience. Operations refers to the service you provide. Audience refers to the people who trade their money for your service. Now, each is a multiplier of the other. If your service is excellent, you will build a broader audience, and the bigger your audience, the more of your service you will sell.

Chris (02:08):

On the other hand, if your service isn’t as great as you think, your audience will shrink. And if no one’s heard about you, then you don’t have a business. In this book, I’m going to tell you how to maximize both sides of your business. First, we’re going to talk about delivering real excellence and measuring that excellence to ensure future growth. Then I’m going to tell you how to build an audience, the right kind, not just a bunch of cold leads from advertising. What’s the benefit to you? Well, most gyms have to replace their clients every seven months. That means they’re spending a lot of time marketing, chasing, cold calling and doing the hard stuff they didn’t really sign up for. And most gyms are also charging too little or selling the wrong things to the clients that they do get. So that leads them down a spiral of high churn and declining profit. I want you to have the opposite result. I want you to need less marketing over time, not more, attract better and better clients who value your service more and more over time, regularly audit your processes and pricing and earn more in less time, create meaningful career opportunities for your staff, create wealth, the freedom of time and money for yourself. But you can’t improve anything without measuring it first. So let’s talk about measuring success. This is a tactical book. I’m going to share specific actions that you must take to grow your business. I know these tactics work because I’ve measured them on thousands of gyms and you’ll need to measure how they’re working for you as you do them. I’ll dig into these metrics that matter in great depth later in the book. But for now the high level metrics that you should be tracking are called ARM and LEG. ARM is the average revenue per member per month, or what the average client pays you and a measure of how much your audience values your service. LEG is the length of engagement or how long the average client keeps paying you and a measure of how consistent your operations are.

Chris (04:10):

When you put them together, you get a third metric, lifetime value, LTV. The total value you receive from every client. It’s also a reflection of the value they receive from you. Improving both sides of your business, ARM and LEG, is great for you, but more importantly, it is great for your client. So now that you’ve created a measuring stick, let’s imagine where we want your business to take you. How to achieve any goal. The next step to making your business successful is to define what success means to you. Then we have to map the journey from your current point to that success point. Fitness coaches are great at this exercise, but few apply it to their fitness business. So let’s walk through it together. Defining success. What is the ultimate goal of entrepreneurship? In the past, I’ve used both financial and subjective definitions, but the ultimate goal is freedom.

Chris (05:05):

The opportunity to build the lifestyle we want on the timetable that we have. It’s the opposite of trading time for money, which is what most of our parents did with their careers. I define entrepreneurial success as the freedom of money and time. In the fitness industry, that means a fitness business that pays you more money than you need and requires less than all of the time that you have available. That means a gym or a studio that will run without your presence and still pay you. It’s the holy grail. While most of us got into this career because we love coaching others, we ultimately cannot be successful if our business is dependent on our constant presence. Measure your starting point. To own a gym that pays you, whether you’re coaching or not, you have to have a solid business. You’ll need your staff to follow a clear vision, to rise to the opportunities that you present to them.

Chris (05:57):

And to fall back on transparent, simple systems. You’ll need an audience that’s willing to pay you what you’re worth, stick around long enough to get results and grow over time. You’ll need a balance of stellar operations and a trusting audience. It’s hard to get a clear picture of your strengths and weaknesses in your business, however. So before we start, we need to break down that big picture into smaller snapshots of each area in your business. Some business experts call this getting into the weeds or digging into the dirt. The first step is to measure your starting point. Now we use a tool called the Two-Brain Business road test in our mentorship program. But if you want to do it yourself, simply look for opportunities to improve your business as you read this book. They won’t be hard to find. I’ve broken the big picture of success in the fitness industry, down into small, actionable steps.

Chris (06:48):

First, I broke your business into two halves, operations and audience. And then I broke those two halves into three sections each. I call these six sections the six areas of excellence. We can break down the two sides of your business into six categories of business excellence. They are under operations, teach the vision, improve your operations, upgrade your team. On the audience side of your business, we can keep clients longer, we can sell better and we can get more leads. So you can see if you’re looking at the two sides of your business, under operations, you can improve your business by upgrading your team, teaching the vision or improving your operations. You can grow your audience by keeping your clients longer by selling better, or by getting more leads into your pipeline. Here’s what those mean. Teach the vision is to give your clients and staff a clear picture of where you’re all going together.

Chris (07:41):

Improving operations means delivering excellence with consistency. Upgrading your team means creating career opportunities and keeping your coaches coaching. Keeping your clients longer means retain people long enough to change their lives and build a stable revenue base for yourself. Sell better means show people the best path with confidence and earn enough from a few clients instead of chasing an infinite number forever. Get more leads means save more lives, replace the clients you lose and scale up. So which one of these six areas of excellence should you work on first? How do you prioritize? When a problem seems too big, it helps to break it down even further. We can take the six areas of excellence and divide them into the tasks that will form your business Growth ToolKit. What to do first? The gym business Growth ToolKit. Now we can further break down each of the six areas of excellence into specific actions that a gym owner must take to be successful. Each strategy that you employ to improve any of the six areas of excellence has multiple steps.

Chris (08:48):

Chris Cooper here, have you got a website designer, a marketer, a landing page software, a calendar, a CRM, and a form builder, communication platform and connecting software? You can get rid of all of it by switching to Gym Lead Machine. I use this platform along with 60% of the Two-Brain mentorship team. The average gym owner saves over 300 bucks a month with Gym Lead Machine and they’ll waive the thousand dollars set-up fee for Two-Brain Radio listeners. Switching is easy and you can go live in a week, visit to watch a demo and book a sales call. .

Chris (09:22):

So in this book, I’ve separated each of the six areas into their own sections with specific tactics to help you. Our team of mentors at Two-Brain Business uses a tool called the Two-Brain Growth ToolKit to identify and prescribe the exact actions a gym owner must take at the best time for them. Without a Growth ToolKit, the work can be overwhelming. For example, to upgrade your team, you must clearly define the roles and the jobs they perform in those roles have clear agreements with one another about expectations and duties, create opportunities for your staff to grow on your platform, pay them more as they create more value.

Chris (09:59):

And you have to do all of these things. Many books and courses and speeches and podcasts exist to help you. These are requirements, but they’re still not actionable directives. How do you do them? My job as a fitness business mentor is to say, do exactly this thing by next Tuesday. So we have to go further and break each of these actions down into steps and at Two-Brain Business we do that in our Growth ToolKit. I’m going to do it for you in this book. For example, if you want to upgrade your team and create opportunities for them to grow on your platform, there are 10 specific steps that you can follow. Number one, identify opportunities for your staff to create more value for your clients. Second, choose one of these intrapreneurial opportunities by identifying the best fit for your business and your clients. Third, hold quarterly career Growth ToolKit meetings with your staff to put the best person in their best seat.

Chris (10:55):

Fourth, launch one intrapreneurial opportunity and measure the outcome. Fifth, decide whether to continue that same opportunity or choose another. Sixth, build an annual plan for each staff person that includes these opportunities and the education required to build them. Seven, revisit your staff’s career goals each time they level up. Eight, allow your staff to launch their own opportunities without your oversight. Nine, create enough value to sustain the staff person full time if they want to be full-time and 10, appoint one successful staff member to manage the rest and help them achieve their goals. Now, those steps are all big ones. And that’s only one tiny part of the six areas of excellence. Each of the six areas of excellence contains a few requirements and each of those requirements has at least 10 steps. That’s over 450 specific things to do to build a successful gym, pretty overwhelming.

Chris (11:49):

So I mapped the process into a visual called the Two-Brain Growth ToolKit. And you can see a few pictures if you go to The Two-Brain Growth ToolKit exists to break all of that work down into specific actions at the right time. In our mentorship program, we can use the Growth ToolKit to tell you which actions take priority and where you should focus. That’s the purpose of mentorship. The Growth ToolKit answers all of the how questions. When: the phases of entrepreneurship. Imagine we drew a timeline of an entrepreneur’s growth and maturation process. On the left end, we’d write the date they started their business and on the right end would be the day they achieve wealth. The freedom of finances and time. As they move from left to right along the timeline, every successful entrepreneur passes through four distinct phases, but most entrepreneurs get stuck somewhere in the middle.

Chris (12:45):

And that’s why they’re not successful. I wrote my book, Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief, to break the journey to wealth into those four phases. The first phase is called Founder phase. You’re a sole proprietor coaching clients yourself. You might be working at another gym as a subcontractor, or you might own a private studio, but you’re delivering most of your service. Next comes the Farmer phase. You have staff delivering some or all of your service, freeing you up to grow your audience. You’re managing people and money and delivery and marketing. Most gym owners are in this stage and many never get out of it. The third phase is tinker phase. You have staff running all of the six areas of excellence for you, and you’re focused on building your wealth. You’re diversifying your income, duplicating your business and buying cashflow assets. And the fourth phase is called the thief phase.

Chris (13:36):

You’re leveraging your platform to create a legacy for your family and your community. I like to think about Robin Hood when I think about thief phase. But your entrepreneurial priorities will change over time. Some strategies will work when you’re just starting out, founder phase. But now when you’re successful. Conversely, as my mentor told me, entrepreneurs in the founder phase shouldn’t waste money on advertising until they have the systems in place to scale their business. Of course, these changing needs add another layer of complexity. But at the beginning of this book, I promised simplicity. So far, I’ve delivered anything but simplicity. Instead, I’ve told you that there are over 400 specific things you need to do to grow your gym. I said that you couldn’t do them all at once. And that you could take a test to figure out what to do first. However, I’m going to tell you how to do each of them now. I’m going to walk you through each step in order. If you do the work consistently, you will grow your gym, but if you fail to execute, you’ll shrink. Because after all knowledge doesn’t make you successful. Action does.

Andrew (14:38):

That was Chris Cooper on Two-Brain Radio. To get Gym Owners Handbook and start growing your business today, click the link in the show notes.


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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.