Online Coaching: Pro Tips for Excellence and Efficiency


Mike (00:02):

Online coaching was a thing before COVID-19 but it’s a much bigger thing now even as gyms in some locations reopen. But expert Josh Grenell says many people don’t understand what online coaching actually is, which means they’re going to struggle to provide it or sell it. In this episode of Two-Brain Radio, Josh will get into the finer points of online coaching, including service creation, delivery, and finding an audience. Want daily tips from Chris Cooper? You’ll find them there in the Facebook group Gym Owners United. If you’re looking to rebuild your gy,m, you need to be in this group. Chris provides daily actionable advice and it’s a great place to talk to other gym owners who are dealing with the exact same problems you are. That group is Gym Owners United on Facebook. For access, be sure to answer all the intake questions. This is Two-Brain Radio. I’m Mike Warkentin.

Mike (00:43):

Our guest is Josh Grenell. Josh is the co-founder and program director at Progression Fitness in Rochester, Minnesota, just South of Minneapolis. Go Vikings. He’s also the Two-Brain Business specialist for online coaching. Josh helped us build resources on online training before the coronavirus hit and when gyms were shut down around the world, he added to that pile fast. Two-Brain gyms were equipped to move online with great speed and Josh had a huge hand in that. Now he’s online in our private Facebook group with office hours three times a week and we’ll serve up his wisdom here for all of you. Josh, welcome. How are you today?

Josh (01:14):

I’m doing great Mike. Nice to talk to you.

Mike (01:17):

Yeah, my pleasure. A couple of Northern guys without tans sitting here on the internet. I have my finger hovering over the end meeting button right now and I got to ask you a question. Are you a Minnesota Vikings fan?

Josh (01:27):

When they’re doing well, I am. Just going to be honest.

Mike (01:31):

I’ll accept that; this podcast can continue. A very quick update. So I want to know, you’re in Rochester, Minnesota. Tell me just a quick update. Where’s progression at? Are you open or you’re not open? What’s the government telling you and where are we at with this whole crisis?

Josh (01:45):

So we are currently closed. Gyms are closed. Yhey are allowing some personal services and restaurants to do service outside starting June 1st, but gyms are not included in that.

Mike (01:57):

Yeah. And it’s tough up here. We’re allowed to do outside classes, but as you know from the area mosquitoes and rain and unpredictable weather and all sorts of stuff is going to make that not super fun very quickly. So we’re kind of waiting for some updates too. So it sounds like you’re in about the same boat.

Josh (02:11):

Yeah, pretty much. Exactly the same boat.

Mike (02:12):

All right, little to update as we wait on the government, we’ll get right into online coaching. So COVID hits, suddenly coaches everywhere forced online. Some coaches have been a hundred percent online for years and they’re just going about their business as usual. But in the crisis, people with bricks and mortar were forced into online coaching. Many of them don’t actually understand what it is. So the big question, Josh, you’re the expert. What is online coaching and what does it not?

Josh (02:34):

So, at its most basic, Mike, online coaching is helping people achieve their goals from a remote setting. So no in-person interactions, no time in the gym, no classes at all. You may work with someone you’ve never actually physically met. Programming is provided via emails, spreadsheet, texts or an app. So, basically it is helping people to get to their goals without being with them in person is the most simplest explanation.

Mike (03:04):

These goals, do they have to be fitness goals?

Josh (03:06):

That was like how it started, but we’re finding that no, they do not have to be fitness goals anymore. All kinds of stuff you can work on.

Mike (03:13):

  1. Now how long have you been doing this? How long have you been offering online coaching?

Josh (03:16):

So, I started training runners and triathletes around 2011 or so I was UACT certified. That’s the USA triathlon coaching certification. I was certified for four years in that. Then I switched primarily to runners. Mostly marathoners. I helped a lady in her forties, finally qualify for the Boston marathon. That was pretty cool. And then 2016, I started training OCR athletes. That was fun. A little switch from just running. And then, in about 2018, I started adding in people at the gym or people who were contacting me from friends that were far away that wanted to work on their stuff but didn’t have a gym to go to. So that’s when I started the real online. And then the flex model that I developed came to be when we were talking to people that travel a lot in the gym or didn’t actually seriously have time to get to the gym.

Josh (04:08):

So we started the flex model, which basically was, they would come to the gym once a month. They do an InBody scan if that related to their goals. We’d sit down, talk about what went well the last month, what didn’t went well, what didn’t go well. And then we talk about what’s going to go on the next month and their programming. And then if there were any movements they weren’t sure of, I would quickly take them into the personal training room. And we go over those moments pretty quickly. So that was flex. But online, it’s closing on 10 years now. So it’s changed a lot.

Mike (04:43):

When people hear online coaching, a lot of people who hear about it for the first time think that that means a coach is watching you perform a workout via a, you know, a Zoom link or whatever. Is that the case? Or I suppose it can be, but what are we really talking about here?

Josh (04:56):

No, that really started with the whole COVID thing. Originally online programming is more about accountability. And that’s another other thing that people don’t understand is you’re not paying for a set of workouts and then being pushed on your way. The coach is there to guide you if you have any questions about the workouts, maybe you’re not sure what a movement is, you’re going to help them out and then they’re watching over you and making sure you actually complete the workouts every day, which is probably the biggest thing that helps people get success as opposed to just downloading a free program online and then never following it. I’ve had plenty of people that have had zero success usually when we’re doing our no sweat intro and they tell me they work out one time a week, I know that means never.

Mike (05:44):

I only have one beer a night, too.

Josh (05:44):

So, yeah, exactly. So when I start working with them and they’re checking off their workouts, you know, usually I program three days a week for most people, so they’re checking them off three days a week and the results come really, really, really quick. And the only real switch is that they know someone is watching them.

Mike (06:08):

We’re talking watching them in terms of accountability, you’re not actually watching them do their workouts. Right?

Josh (06:13):

No, no, no. Yeah, I am just someone is there checking to make sure that they’ve done the work.

Mike (06:18):

So is that the biggest misconception now cause you’re dealing with in the online group, in Facebook you are dealing with tons of questions about this. Is that the biggest misconception right now about online coaching is that I need to physically watch this person say push your knees out and push your chest up when you squat?

Josh (06:31):

Yeah. I think that is the biggest misconception and a lot of people just jumped right to Zoom classes and they saw that rapid fall off. We knew we didn’t do that. Of course we were set up to roll into this right away. So we went to online right away. We did do a couple Zoom classes, a few coaches volunteered and again, participation dropped off really, really quick. But it’s more about accountability and that’s what they’re really paying for. It works for pretty much everyone. There are a few people that still struggle with it, but I know it works for me. I mean, I have two mentors, so two coaches. So, I know that if I don’t get my work done, they’re going to know. And that right there, that’s all it takes to get me to do my work.

Mike (07:13):

And I know that you do online coaching for Chris Cooper, is that correct?

Josh (07:15):

That’s correct, yes.

Josh (07:16):

Did he do his workout today?

Josh (07:20):

I have not got a notification that he did his workout yet.

Mike (07:22):

  1. So Chris, if you’re listening, get on it buddy. I know you’re creating lots of content, but it’s time to get on that bike.

Josh (07:27):

He’s done very well.

Mike (07:30):

So yeah, Chris’ work capacity in all things is pretty high, so I have no doubt that he’s getting those workouts done. He’s probably typing on his laptop as he crushes the miles. It’s interesting, I talked to Josh Martin from Two-Brain Coaching in the episode before this. Check the archives guys, if you want to see that. And Josh said kind of the same thing where for a long time coaches have been really focused on like their programming, their equipment, their space, their atmosphere and their technical cues. Right? Like, I’m really good at making people snatch better. This, that and the other. This online thing really changes that. And you brought up the same point that Josh brought up in that we’re really selling like a more holistic approach and a lot of it comes to accountability.

Mike (08:06):

So more than just like telling someone how to do a workout because again, how many workouts have you been in where you’re slogging through burpees and the coach is like giving you technical cues and you’re just like, I’m dying through burpees here. What I really need is someone just to keep me going, to get me to show up to that class and do the burpees that I don’t want to do. So there is really this incredible accountability option that is really the most important part of online coaching, I think. Here’s the question for coaches that are skeptical about this, do clients get good results in online coaching? Are they better or worse or equal to the results that they’d see in the gym? What’s your opinion on that?

Josh (08:39):

Oh, this is a great question. On my Zoom call for the Two-Brain group last week on Tuesday, I talked about this a lot and I had slides and everything because it’s, it’s amazing. I hesitate to say this, but generally speaking, my online clients get faster results and better results than the gym clients I have because of the accountability. I know people talk about community and accountability in the gym, but it is different when you know, one person is watching over you. So yeah, it was very interesting to me and most coaches when I show them that they’re blown away and that’s usually the key to them saying, OK, I can actually really do some good here. It does work because again, most people think that, Hey, I’m selling this programming, my programming is so awesome, people want to buy my programming.

Josh (09:30):

But that’s not what it is. You’re selling your eyes and your time and your care. So I mean, yeah, the results are great. It was very surprising to me when I started doing this, especially for, I know I get good results for runners and triathletes and my OCR people. But endurance people are a different breed than someone who comes to you and just wants to get better at life, wants to lose weight. So, the results of those people got was really striking and really fast.

Mike (10:02):

And it’s neat because we did the Two-Brain plan when we got shut down and we pivoted to direct, our coaches text each member every day of the program, modify it for the equipment that they have, the space. We run a few Zoom classes as well. But really, the idea is that we’re trying to do that one on one relationship and that’s the online coaching. The Zoom classes are extra, we have people that don’t even do them. Right. And what we’re actually finding is, you know, we wish we’d been doing this all along. We wished that we had been talking to people daily and giving them this accountability. Because, you know, we had retention systems, but you know, after a week we noticed, OK, someone hasn’t been to class for a week. What if we caught them six days earlier?

Mike (10:39):

And what if someone with a personal relationship had said, Hey Jen, I know that you’re super busy right now. What’s up? And she’s like, Oh, I’m traveling. Sorry. Oh, can I send you a travel workout to do in your hotel room? Instead of I got back, I broke my habit. I don’t need to go to the gym anymore. You know, like, I wish we had been doing that. So I think you’re right. That accountability element is so huge. And let’s be honest, we all think we’re great programmers, but like there’s so much programming out there, you can find probably literally a million CrossFit workouts on free sites all over the world and probably the same number for any other sport, you know? So the accountability is really a thing right. Although some coaches are finding trouble that mentally, they’re having trouble with the switch, and I talked about this a lot with Josh where they’re used to selling a certain thing. Now they’re selling something completely different. And the reason I really want to talk to you about this is because you can help them understand the value of what they’re providing. And I’ll ask you this question. Is online coaching in terms of value, is it more valuable or less valuable than the in person experience again, or is it equal like where coaches are saying, man, I used to sell my space, my expertise, now I’m selling accountability. Is there value to that? Will people buy that?

Josh (11:39):

Yeah. And it’s more valuable. And again, this is another area that the coaches sometimes struggle with. Like, Oh, I’m giving them an online program and it’s supposed to cost more than my gym? Yeah. When we transferred everyone over to online and they’re providing the oversight and the workouts and the interactions, the texts. And the phone call calls, all that stuff, they quickly realize that yes, this is more valuable. It should cost more because it’s a lot more work. Like well before I could service 15 people in one class and I was done in an hour, it’s like now 15 people will take me a lot more than an hour. And everyone’s different. It’s not just the same thing. So, yes it is. It is more valuable. You can charge more for it.

Mike (12:28):

That’s perfect cause a lot of people aren’t and they’re discounting the service saying, Oh that’s not as good as my, you know, my polished rowers. And it’s like, it’s actually, you are spending more time with these people now. So I want to dig into this for a second. So we’ve pivoted to online coaching at our gym. Like I said, based on the Two-Brain plan. Right away we were trying to figure out how to manage a large number of clients. Like how much work is online coaching? Can you describe the workload for us and offer us some guidelines on time per client and are there efficiencies to be found eventually?

Josh (12:55):

Yeah. So starting out, we’re not going to lie, as you discovered it is front loaded time heavy. Especially if you’re not used to it, which most people were not used to it. So, our coaches were taking upwards of 30 minutes per client when they first started.

Mike (13:12):

Is that per week, or how does that go?

Josh (13:12):

That was per interaction. I had a very large gym, so they were getting through as many as I could every day. And then that was a week to 10 days, probably, they’re getting through everyone. But that didn’t last long. Now it’s looking like, you know, three minutes a day. Max. I would say for them it’s per client, three minutes max, I would say. Yep. Efficiencies. So I don’t know which way you wanted to go here, but the longer you do it, the better your systems get.

Josh (13:47):

Obviously you’re going to find a lot of efficiencies. You’re going to get better at it. Reps are key. Reps are key for everything in life. This is no different. For me, I developed what I call now this is kind of going to pure online training. So I developed what I call a skeleton programs and it’s a program that I developed that’s going to work with a wide range of clients that have a certain goal set.

Mike (14:09):

Like weight loss or something.

Josh (14:09):

So yes, exactly. So as I get a new client, I’ll do my NSI over the phone or via Zoom or whatever it is, talk to them about their goals, talk to them about their equipment, where are they going to work out, what do they want to do? And I’m going to take one of my skeletons, drag it in, and then I’m going to personalize the skeleton to that person’s situation. So, I do usually program for a couple hours on Saturday mornings, because I enjoy it and I like to improve my skeletons; I’m always trying to improve my skeletons. But these programs then are used by my entire coaching staff. So, it’s well worth my time to do that. And it makes things a lot faster for them cause I’ve taught them how to do the exact same thing They’re just taking the skeleton and then customizing it or personalizing it to that person’s home, what they have there, what they want to do.

Mike (14:58):

And that’s really the key. Like what you’re saying there, the key part is the personalization and the, you know, taking into account that client’s space, the client’s goals, the client’s mental state, the everything, all the different things that apply to that one person because the old story that I’m sure you’ve heard back in the day as you know, a bunch of bodybuilding clients check their programming and it was all three sets of eight bicep curls, three sets of eight tricep extensions. And it was the same thing with a different name at the top. But in some cases the coach would forget to change the name at the top. That is not valuable. That is just delivering programming, template programming to a bunch of people and assuming that every person is going to respond the same way and it’s borderline worthless, although people have paid lots of money for it.

Mike (15:34):

What you’re talking about here is actual personalization according to their needs on that day. So it’s like, I know you’re beaten down. You had a 12-hour day. We’re going to do three sets instead of five. I know you have 20 pound dumbbells, not 50. So we’re going to add a tempo to this. I know that your nutrition is important. I need you to have your post-workout shake and more than anything else, I need you to put this on your calendar and do it between three and 4:00 PM today when I know you have some down time. That’s what you’re getting at, right?

Josh (15:58):

Yeah, man, that’s great. I can tell you’ve done that.

Mike (16:02):

Or maybe I need it. Maybe I just know it cause that’s what I need someone to tell me. But that’s the idea is that it’s personalization and it’s not just like cut and paste. Fran, Murph, Helen, go. We’re actually personalizing this stuff. So that’s a huge efficiency. Do you have, along with that like a movement library or anything where you can tell people like a list of like if someone’s like, I don’t understand the dumbbell snatch, do you have a, like a list of things that you’ve either recorded or a list of resources that you can send them or how do you do some of that teaching?

Josh (16:29):

So I do use True Coach, so there’s a lot of videos in there. I’ve only made one or two of my own videos. Otherwise I literally search YouTube and just plug it in because they don’t care that it’s not me. And to be honest, a lot of these people do a better job demoing it than I could. So yeah, there’s tons of videos. I’m not gonna remake anything unless I have to. So, and then again, you can always have them shoot you a video via their phone. So if you really need to take a look at something, you can, Hey shoot a video of you doing this movement, I’ll let you know if it’s good or not. So.

Mike (17:05):

So here’s a question related to that. With time management as a coach you’ve got and you’ve now got online people and whether you’re using an app or using text or whatever, you’re probably getting quite a bit of contact. How do you manage that? Like, so cause you’re getting probably texts, I imagine all day or so, do you, for coaches who are out there managing our 30 or 40 clients, do you recommend that they block off time, like in the morning and evening to respond to texts in a block? Or do they just get them as they come in and drop whatever they’re doing or how do they manage that process?

Josh (17:32):

So it’s kind of how you set it up and the expectations you set for your clients as well. Using the app that I do, I communicate mainly through the app, which makes it easier for me to block my time. I do have some clients that are paying higher levels and they do have my personal text and it’s not like 15 or 20 texts a day. It’s usually one or two.

Mike (17:58):

And that costs more.

Josh (17:58):

It costs yes considerably more. And I do answer those people as soon as I get those texts because they’re valuable to me and I want to take good care of them. But as far as coaching goes, yeah, you have to have them block your time, otherwise it becomes very overwhelming. We saw this with nutrition coaching as well. Our nutrition coach was just getting overwhelmed. She had 30 some clients and they were texting, her PM-ing her nonstop and like, Hey, you need to block this out and just deal with it at certain times of the day and just let them know that, Hey, I’m not going to respond to these till, you know, 7:00 PM every night or something like that.

Mike (18:39):

So that’s two takeaways right there is that first off, setting up an online coaching program is going to be challenging at the beginning, but there are efficiencies to be found. So you’re going to do some work at the beginning, but it is going to get easier as you get better at it. Like many things. So if you’re overwhelmed right off the bat that this is a lot of work, know that it does get easier and the best thing you can do is probably formalize things with systems and procedures. Two-Brain Business mentors will teach you how to do that where you document all your stuff so that it can be replicated and so that you can offload tasks as you see fit. The second thing related to that that you just said that’s really important is that having a coach on demand, like a client texting and saying like, Hey, I need something right now, and you responding that is hugely valuable. That’s not like a hundred dollar a month service. Right. I think a lot of people do that though.

Josh (19:25):

Yeah, yeah. They’ll learn or they’ll burn out. It’s one or the other.

Mike (19:29):

Yeah. Yeah. Learn or burn. We gotta put that out in a hashtag or t-shirt somewhere. I like that. So we talk often about sales on this show. So let me take a step in that direction. This is the big question. Who needs online coaching out there and how do you create offers that appeal to these guys? What kind of services are they looking for?

Josh (19:49):

Yeah. OK. Well, the short answer is everyone needs online coaching and you know, it’s not just fitness related. So, I’m not a marketing specialist, but what I’ve seen and what I like to do is focus on the type of person I want to work with in my marketing, or the gym wants to work with. And then try to use language that relates to them. Generally speaking, if you want to talk about the situation right now is we’re seeing that focusing on your warm leads, so people you’ve been in contact with before would be considered warm leads, former members of your gym. People on your email list, people that have come to a friends and family day, former members, people on your Facebook page, all of those people are like warm leads. They know about you, they know who you are. Focusing on those people right now seems to be your best use of your time and your money. I’ve been seeing a lot of people struggle with broader types of marketing or posting on their personal pages. So we’ve been telling people to try to niche down what type of person do you want to work with and then or what type of person are you, maybe—I don’t want to go on a tangent here, but I’m going to try not to.

Mike (21:10):

No, that’s important. The niche part is important, so we’re gonna follow that up anyways.

Josh (21:14):

  1. Yeah. So I mean for me, OCR was something I really enjoy doing. So I started posting that on my Facebook page and talking about it and created some groups and that was quick and easy way to get OCR clients, whereas opposed to if I was just looking for general people, most were just going to scroll by that. But I say, Hey, I did this OCR race last weekend. I’m a certified SGX coach. If you’re interested, contact me. And, you know, bam, it works. So also sharing your personal story and then looking for people with similar stories or experiences has been pretty effective for a lot of people. And that can be whatever your personal story is. Have you had a big weight loss? Have you struggled with different things in your life? Depression, all kinds of stuff, that can get you clients really, really quick too as, whereas again, a broad, I’m looking for five people in Rochester isn’t gonna touch someone when they scroll by it.

Josh (22:09):

So Facebook leads right now are really cheap, but we have found that they are really hard to close. So yeah, our Facebook lead costs were upwards of 70 or $80 last fall, which was one of the highest I’ve seen. We have four really good CrossFit gyms in our city and they all know what they’re doing. So the ad costs were extremely high. Right now we’re getting leads for seven or $8 a pop, which is a drastic drop. But all of our online, all of our new clients that are not warm leads have been they had been through Facebook posts talking about Hey I helped my mom lose 10 pounds. Are you interested or is your mom interested, stuff like that. I have a newer coach that is a military wife and she has niched down to helping military wives. So that type of stuff, who do you want to work with? You know, moms, dads, single moms, old people. If you can find that niche it becomes a lot easier. I think Rob Connors from Signum CrossFit talked about that too. He’s focusing on golfers.

Mike (23:30):

Rob is going to be on the show shortly. We haven’t got him booked just yet cause he’s busy teaching people about golf. But Rob will be on the show very shortly. So if you’re looking at niche discussions, as soon as we can pull Rob off the fairway, we’ll get them on here to teach you how to putt and sell it. You know what you’re saying though is really in the Two-Brain, you know, nomenclature is essentially audience building, right? So you’re out there and it doesn’t cost any money. It just costs your time to go and put Facebook posts up, tell your story, write blogs, get in Facebook groups, interact with people and start becoming an authority figure. So you’re establishing your authority that you do this thing and eventually people want it as you warm them up, right? You’re not, we always ask people inTwo-Brain to do the organic stuff and do the, we call it affinity marketing.

Mike (24:14):

Talk to like the people who know, like, and trust you. Then talk to their friends, then talk to their friends and keep going down that list. And eventually you’re going to find yourself with these, you need to find leads, cold leads. And that’s where you bring in the marketing. And now we’re not saying that you can’t market right now, but exactly what Josh said reflects with Jeff Burlingame, Mateo Lopez and other sales specialists have said in previous episodes, sales are tough right now. Lead costs are cheap. Conversion rates are very, very, very low. So it’s going to be really tough to sell those guys. However, we’re finding that people are moving services and they’re doing it by talking to their friends, their friends of friends, their old clients, next door neighbors, people down the street, people who know them. So those are two things you can take away from this guys is get out there, start building your audience through content and then start warming those leads by helping them out. You’re in a Facebook group and someone says, man, like I’m really struggling getting over the wall in the OCR race. I’m a great runner, but I can’t climb that thing. Hey, I can help you with that. Here’s a couple of quick tips. If you want more, I offer online coaching. Here’s a program that’ll get you to do it right. Like is that the kind of thing that you’ve done Josh?

Josh (25:19):

Yeah, that’s exactly what I’ve done. I had a lady contact me the other day, she had a competition coming up this weekend. It’s a very niche sport, OCR related but with guns.

Mike (25:37):

So what is that called?

Josh (25:45):

I’m not even sure. I had never heard it. I had never heard of it. And she was like, you haven’t heard of this? I’m like, Nope, never heard of it. So she needed to climb a rope. So she contacted me. We found a place outside where we could climb a rope. And I showed her the Spanish wrap cause she’s got to have a, I mean the amount of weight she had to have on her. Cause I mean it was amazing. Like I have pictures of it, but I haven’t posted anywhere cause you know, there’s guns involved. But, taught her the Spanish rap. She learned how to climb the rope. And then, yesterday she signed up for an intro session and joined the gym. I’m like, cool.

Mike (26:31):

Is it like a biathlon rifle or what do they use for that? Or it’s just like the old 12 gauge from above the mantle?

Josh (26:35):

No, it’s tactical. So she actually carries a pistol and an AR.

Mike (26:41):

Oh wow. I’m curious to see how this sport goes.

Josh (26:46):

A full vest as well. So she had 35 or 40 pounds on her in equipment.

Mike (26:54):

Yeah. So then you got to learn how to climb a rope. But that’s just an example there guys. You could do that with literally anything. I mean, you could find at home workouts for moms, stay at home moms or dads, whatever, you know, and then get in those groups and start talking to them. And man, it’s like, I just can’t seem to get stronger. I have no idea how to get stronger because I’m just doing air squats all day. Hey, well could you fill a backpack with rocks? Could you do this? Could you do that. Offer that help, and at some point as you establish your authority in these groups and through your own organic Facebook posts, someone is going to want your services because you’re becoming the expert. So that’s a cool thing. And Rob will talk to us again coming up about niching down, which is the term meaning find out exactly who you want to work with.

Mike (27:34):

Find those people, help them, and eventually they’re going to buy some stuff. So that’s a really cool thing you guys can take away from this. If you are struggling right now and just putting out random posts about at home workouts, maybe like at home workouts for stay at home dads to build strength, you know, try some ways to put a finer point on that pencil so to speak. So let’s talk about this. You’ve got online coaching hours, you’re in the Two-Brain groups. So we have a private Two-Brain group for growth clients and these are some of the best gym owners in the world. And Josh is in there three times a week, sometimes more and fielding their questions. What are some of the biggest pain points that you’re hearing right now? And this might be from guys that are just starting out, or people that are more experienced at online coaching that are finding some new problems. What are the pain points?

Josh (28:16):

So the biggest pain points for gym owners when they were starting out was figuring out how to handle the increased workload with dealing with all the people and delivering the service and that just took time for them to figure it out. And now they’ve got that pretty much nailed down.

Mike (28:35):

The only way through it is to do it, right?

Josh (28:35):

You just got to keep going. So now what we’re finding in the group is the biggest pain point is motivating their members, right? So the member signed up to join a gym. That’s not what’s going on right now. So, they’re finding online isn’t for everyone, but what we’ve found has worked best for them is goal reviews basically. So if you have someone who’s trailing off, not participating, doesn’t want to do anything, maybe wants to cancel, the best thing to do is sit down with them, have a goal session, and say, Hey, we have time now, let’s work on a skill. Let’s get pull-ups, let’s work on your running. Let’s work on pistols. Let’s do double unders. It’s a great time to focus on a skill. And that has seemed to work for a lot of people to reignite some motivation. Other people were switching to like a hundred percent, Hey, well let’s focus on nutrition right now then. And they’re cool with that. So it seems like a goal review session or simply asking, Hey, how can I help right now is a great way to deal with the lack of motivation.

Mike (29:39):

You essentially have to find out what your clients want.

Josh (29:43):

Yeah. You have to figure out what they want and they don’t know what you offer. I mean, you try to communicate as best you can, but they’re like, Hey, the gym’s closed. I’m not doing online. So I’m canceling. And it’s like, Hey, what do you want to do right now? We can help you with that. You want to get stronger. I have a program for that. Let me plug you into that and I’ll make sure you do it. So that type of thing,

Mike (30:07):

A lot of members probably don’t even know these programs exist or that you could create them because it wasn’t something a lot of gym owners focused on. So like in the worst case we had gyms, and I don’t mean Two-Brain, but gyms in the world that would just focus only on group classes, which we have found out can be a fragile model if you lose your physical space, the Zoom thing, it wears out quickly for a lot of gyms unless you’re really good at it. And even then there is retention problem we found in our data. But you have, you still have the ability as a coach to put together a strength program. It’s easy, right? You’ve got this group thing, you can just—like, a five-by-five squat is a five-by-five squat whether it’s in a group or whether it’s individual, which your members might not even know you have that, so if you’re not talking to them and asking, if you’re just assuming everyone loves group classes or Zoom coaching or whatever and you’re seeing retention problems, it would probably behoove you to speak to those members and find out exactly what they want to do, especially if they’re canceling and then find a way to do that.

Mike (30:59):

We found this. We’re selling more nutrition services right now than fitness. We can’t sell any fitness stuff for whatever reason, nutrition stuff is working because as Burlingame brought up last a couple episodes ago, the COVID-19 pounds is starting to become a thing for some people and they’re realizing, man, I need to look at my diet because I’m sitting at home eating because of the snacks are there and Chris Cooper and the email that went out today, this is May 22nd, he said, create content for a client who says, I’m having trouble stopping snacking because I’m at home working all day. And so that goes back to what we talked about. That’s audience building, but it’s also finding out what your clients need. So have you had a client who’s going to cancel and had one of these goal review sessions and sold a completely new service to them?

Josh (31:41):

Yes, absolutely. It’s worked many, many, many times. I had a guy who wasn’t going to the gym. He’s said well, I’m just going to cancel because it’s going to be spring anyway and I’m a big triathlete and I’m like, Oh triathlete. I do that. And he said I have this program I’ve been doing a long time. It’s like, OK, cool. Anything else you need to work on? He’s like, well, my upper body strength isn’t very good. I’m like, cool. I have a 12-week program that I call Thor and I can plug that in for you and I’ll make sure you do it. And he’s one of our biggest raving fans right now because he’s got biceps, he’s got chest, he’s like, I’ve never looked like this. I’m a biker and a runner.

Mike (32:23):

And I’ll say right now if you’re listening, you get a guy like that or a girl like that you collect, ask him, dude, may I get your thoughts on the service that we’ve provided and your success and goals and put them on camera saying I was a runner, I was scrawny. I never thought I could have muscles like this. And this coach gave me this stuff in like three months and I’m thrilled. And then collect that, share that story, put it on your website, put it on YouTube, get on Facebook. That stuff that’s called social proof in the marketing world, that will get you more clients because it’s people like me doing stuff that I want to do. So if you find that stuff guys, you got to do it, collect it. And get it up on there. That’s really interesting.

Mike (33:05):

I love that. Where you know, you’ve got a guy who’s going to quit and the one that we see, so I’ll give you a scenario. Pretend I’m your client Josh, and I’m saying, Josh, I’m going to quit. I just, and let’s pretend you’re running Zoom classes. I don’t know if you are or not, but let’s just pretend because I know a lot of people are. Josh, I’m going to quit. I cannot make the Zoom class times. It doesn’t work for me. I don’t have an hour. I only have 20 to 30 minutes a day and I’m quitting. What do you say?

Josh (33:29):

Say, Hey Mike, what do you want to work on right now? I can easily find something for yo u that takes 20 or 30, 20 or 20, 30 minutes.

Mike (33:37):

Is it gonna work? Am I gonna get fit?

Josh (33:37):

Yeah. I guarantee it will work. I’ve had great success with this in the past with people. I work with plenty of busy people and actually they get, sometimes they get better results than people that are going to the gym.

Mike (33:46):

Oh, tell me more. And here’s my credit card. Right. Like that’s kind of how the conversation goes. As easy as that. When you’ve got a guy who can’t make it to class and you don’t really need them in class to be honest. So, and again, that also works. We’re going to find, I’m sure as gyms reopen and I’m sure that the gyms that have been doing goal review sessions before COVID probably found that when members were leaving and they did a goal review session, they probably found a service that they could give them as they were, you know, to replace, I can’t get to group classes. I’m traveling a lot. Do you want a hotel program? Done.

Josh (34:16):

Yup. And that was another, yeah, that was another reason that the flex program developed. It was for that exact situation.

Mike (34:21):

This is great. So the flex program that is now, where can people find that?

Josh (34:28):

It’s in the Two-Brain modules. So there’s a whole course on it. I think I did four videos explaining the whole process and most people can do the course and they can implement it just from the course. And if that doesn’t work, you can get more help to develop it and install it into your gym.

Mike (34:47):

If you’re a Two-Brain client, check that course out. If you are not a Two-Brain client, you can become one and get access to that course. Let’s talk a little bit about taking action here. So how can people out there who are maybe, you know, either they’ve done online coaching and they’re struggling with it or they’re thinking about starting it. How can people get better at it? What is going to make them better online coaches?

Josh (35:08):

My first advice is always hire your own coach. I know it seems counter interactive, but it’s a great investment, not only for you personally, but you’re going to see how another coach does it. You can learn a ton from doing that. The other way, the other best option of course, is join Two-Brain. You can talk to me. I am three days a week next week in there, and then I move to Tuesdays at 11 o’clock Eastern. Two-Brain Radio podcasts, right? Episode 124 with Brad Overstreet was great. And then episode 130 with Chris Cooper and Josh Martin. Also I’m just going to plug Two-Brain all the time. Hope it’s OK.

Mike (35:51):

That’s OK. That’s essentially what we’re here for. We’re building our audience just like we said people should.

Josh (35:56):

Yeah. So, Two-Brain Coaching has a how to coach online course. It’s a really, really good, I’m almost completed with it. I love it. And then of course you have the tools. So that’s what I would do. Hire a coach. And then join Two-Brain.

Mike (36:17):

Give me your free tips. So this is if there’s one thing that an online coach should take from this episode and do right after the episode ends, what is that thing for free? What should that person do?

Josh (36:32):

Is this person doing online coaching already?

Mike (36:34):

Let’s give one. Let’s give one for a person who’s not doing online coaching and is going to start. And let’s give one for someone who’s just started out and wants to make it better. One tip for each.

Josh (36:43):

Honestly, I think the best tip for someone who hasn’t done anything would be to hire a coach. And that’s probably the best thing.

Mike (36:54):

So that’s it. If you guys are out there and you don’t know how to do this, find a coach and then figure out how that coach does things. If you like something, find your version of it. If you don’t find a better version of it and build your service around that tailored to the clients that you want to attract. So for someone who is, now you’ve got a client, sorry, a coach who is doing online coaching wants to get better. What’s the thing?

Josh (37:17):

I would take that online coaching course. Even I’ve been doing it for 10 years and the course has been really, really great. I’m taking something away from each and every module. And you can do it online. You don’t have to go anywhere and it’s very affordable.

Mike (37:34):

Is that over at Two-Brain Coaching, correct?

Josh (37:34):


Mike (37:34):

Right on. All right, that was Josh Grenell. We are on Two-Brain Radio. I am Mike Warkentin. Josh is an online coaching expert. Check him out. You can go look at his gym, Progression Fitness.

Mike (37:52):

Check him out. If you want to hear more from Josh, check him out there. And we do have him for our Two-Brain clients. He’s regularly inside oue private groups. If you want more actionable advice based on data, you need to check out Gym Owners United on Facebook. In it, you’ll find daily topics from the one and only Chris Cooper as well as the support of a host of business owners from all over the world. That group, again, Gym Owners United on Facebook, join today. Thank you for tuning into Two-Brain Radio. Please subscribe for more episodes and we’ll be back with more next week. Thanks guys.

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