Your Gym 2.0: The Exact Steps to Making It Better Than It Was Before COVID-19

Picture of Chris Cooper with title text reading "Your Gym 2.0: The Exact Steps to Making It Better Than Before Was Before COVID-19"

Andrew (00:02):

Welcome to Two-Brain Radio with your host Chris Cooper. Gym owners around the world are realizing that the current crisis has given them an opportunity to reshape and improve their businesses. On May 3rd, Chris led an online group of gym owners through Your Gym 2.0. The exercise helped entrepreneurs focus on their goals, evaluate their current businesses, and take steps to create new enterprises that will serve clients even better. To get Two-Brain’s Your Gym 2.0 worksheet, click the link in the show notes and worked through it as you listen. And now here’s Chris Cooper.

Chris (00:34):

Hey everyone. Good morning, happy Sunday. I’ve got my brightest Two-Brain shirt on out of the stack of many. Before we get going here, and I’m just going to give people, you know, five or six seconds to get started because we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us today. There are two things. And the first is a measure of gratitude. So there are certain people in this group who have emailed Krista and said, I want to pay for somebody in the growth group who is struggling next month. So if anybody needs you know, money or they need to be able to pay for mentorship just to bridge the gap, I’ve got you. And there were four or five people who did that last month and every single time it just brought tears to my eyes and I was so choked up. And so thank you for doing that. I know that part of the gift is the ability to remain anonymous and so I’m not going to call you out. But I really appreciate it. You know, from the bottom of my heart, as we get going this morning, I’d like you to open up the worksheet and it’s in the files section of the group. It’s also attached to the post here. Here’s what it looks like. Let me just open it up on mine.

Chris (01:48):

This is it. It should say Your Gym 2.0 worksheet. And we’re going to be going through this thing step by step. I’m going to be adding a little bit of color, a little bit of context every time we take a first step here. But if you’re ready, then open up the sheet. We’re going to work through it together step by step. You didn’t have to have it done before the call. Thank you, Kevin. I’m sure you were an amazing student in high school. You’re crushing it. All right, so here we go. And as we go along guys, I will be checking comments at the end of each section. So please feel free to ask questions within the Facebook group and you know, we’ll get to it as we go. I’ve already got 11 comments before we even get started. Thank you for that. If you can’t find the sheet, look in the file section of this group or look at the post to which it’s attached. All right, so I’m going to open this up. I’m gonna make sure that I’ve muted myself so you don’t hear duplicates, but I want to make sure that I can answer your questions as we go. That is really important to me. All right, so well thank you for all of the good mornings. It’s so awesome. All right. Let’s start with the sheet here and I’m showing you a picture of yourself here.

Chris (03:08):

The question I want you to be asking yourself today is who will my business be when it grows up? So most cultures have a right of passage from childhood to adulthood and one of the the rites of passage are ceremonial or just primitive. These rites always include these three stages. The first is separation from your tribe. The second is liminality, which is like the change and it’s usually including some kind of a test. And the third stage is reintegration into the tribe as a different person, as like an adult or the tribes concept as a grownup. Now you might be picturing this teenager in the Amazon, stripped naked, painted white and left to kill or be killed, but a new soldier in the army follows the same process. And so do kids going to college. The COVID crisis is our generation’s rite of passage. It’s a primitive test.

Chris (04:01):

We’re separated from our tribe. We’re sent out into the jungle to prove our value and we will not be returning as the children that we were. This is our best opportunity to make changes. So I’m going to outline how change is made and we’re going to start with your own vision quest. It involves, best quote, maybe one of his best of all time, but for this situation is there are three things in life. Your health, your mission, and the people you love. That’s it. And so I want to start this conversation from there. So we’re going to go back to starting with your vision. Your Perfect Day. Since 2012 I’ve been asking gym owners, what is your Perfect Day? And using that exercise to paint a picture of business success for them, most of them said something that amounted to freedom of time and money, which we’ve defined now as wealth.

Chris (04:51):

We use that term. But we all just got to test drive our Perfect Day for six weeks. Or at least the situation that would allow us to fulfill our Perfect Day. We had freedom of time. How do we fill that time? Did we fill it with work? Did we fill it with family? Did we fill it with workouts or something else? We all just got to test drive our Perfect Day for six weeks, we were at home 24/seven, we had complete time freedom and most of us kept some kind of income. So now it’s time to ask, is this the life that I want and if so, how can you make it permanent? So the first exercise I’m going to give you, if you pull up open this worksheet, you’ll see it. It’s knowing what you know now, how would your Perfect Day change?

Chris (05:32):

Would you still stay at home or would you prefer to have somewhere to go in the morning? Would you live where you are? And would you continue to live with the people that you’re currently living with? Don’t worry about whether they would keep living with you or not. I want you to paint the clearest picture that you have using this new knowledge that you’ve just gained. And so on Your Gym 2.0 worksheet under vision, I want you to write down how your Perfect Day has changed given the experience of the last four to six weeks. All right? We’re going to start with that. And while you’re doing that, I’m just going to look at our questions in the group. So we’ve got, yeah, we’re just going to move straight onto the next thing. That’s fantastic. All right, everybody kind of gets it here. So the first exercise is how would your Perfect Day change?

Chris (06:22):

And you’re gonna write this out long hand. Now, if you need some time to figure it out, you know, how your Perfect Day has changed, here’s what I suggest. Choose a task that requires manual labor today. OK? Follow the concept of thinking body, dancing mind mow your grass. Go for a walk. Do something that requires your body to move without conscious thought and think about Perfect Day. All right? How has it changed? What have you learned? The second exercise that we’re going to do is the pre-mortem. So now I want you to, with this worksheet, imagine that your gym died yesterday. It went out of business. You’re done. Your funeral, OK? And you’re holding a funeral for your business and somebody walks up to you and says, you know, what was your business anyway? What exactly did you do? So I want you to describe it.

Chris (07:16):

Describe your business as it was the day before it died. Don’t worry about writing down these were my mistakes or anything like that. I just want you to describe exactly how your business was. Now, if it helps you, imagine the way that your business was the day before you closed it, OK? But if you want to get a really thorough answer, write down the way that your business is today. OK? And pretend that you know it’s dying. So I want you to describe that business. I want you to take as much time as you need to do that. I want you to write two or three sentences, not even a full paragraph if you need to. Describe your business to me. Don’t worry about the service that you deliver, constantly varied functional movement performed at high intensity. Describe your business. What are you selling? OK. And, you know Stephen’s comments here is this was not even close to our Perfect Day. We have not had freedom of time. We’ve been working more. Perfect. And write that down. It’s a great lesson. You know, in the crisis has provided the opportunity to learn that lesson, which you would not have figured out any other way. You know? And that’s the silver lining here, Stephen. I know you get this, so I’m not going to belabor that point.

Chris (08:37):

  1. OK. So the next question I have for you is what killed your business? So if we’re doing this premortem and you’re at the funeral for your business and somebody walks up to you and first says, what was your business? Describe it. And you describe it and they say, Oh, OK, what killed it? Then this might be, you know, the straw that broke the camel’s back. It might also be, you know, hearkening back to the days of old, I started out without systems. If somebody had asked me this question today instead of asking me the question in 2008 obviously my answer would have been a lot different. My answer in 2008 would have been not enough marketing. My answer in 2010 would have been, no, actually I was wrong and I didn’t have the systems. You know, my answer in 2013 would have been poor staff management.

Chris (09:25):

My answer in 2020 would have been something different. So I want you to ask yourself what killed it. Now with Stephen’s great question in mind, we’re working too hard. We don’t have freedom of time. The work has expanded to fill all this extra time that we have. Maybe that’s what killed it. So I want you to write that down. It just became overwhelming. OK? And that is again, just an amazing lesson to learn that would normally have taken us five years to figure out, right? If we had just slowly transitioned to this online model, it could have been three years even before we figured out I hate this. It takes up more time, not less. So, while the COVID crisis is tragic for a lot of reasons, for business, it means that time has been condensed and we can learn lessons really, really fast that would have been way more expensive and way more time consuming to learn without this crisis, what killed it.

Chris (10:18):

The third question of the pre-mortem is what survived? Meaning what would you keep? Now it’s tempting because we’re all in the honeymoon phase of online training, it’s tempting to say I would only keep the online part, forget the bricks and mortar. It would also be tempting if you hate the online part, if you’re working way more now to say, screw the online part. I want to go back to the days of brick and mortar. We tend to wear these rose-colored glasses about how life used to be or how life could be in the future as compared to the present. And so when you ask yourself, what would you keep, I want you to not be completely black and white. So when you’re picking apart your former business and if your former business wasn’t doing well and online training looks to be this miracle, then I want you to pick apart your former business.

Chris (11:12):

You know, it’s dead now, what’s one little thing that you would have kept if you could? Well, maybe it’s the group training. Maybe it’s, you know, interacting with the people. Because later on today I’m going to tell you how you can keep those parts that you would miss. And then if you don’t like the online training part of this new business, this new world, instead of saying get rid of that, I want you to ask yourself, is there a part of that that I would keep in a perfect world? Maybe it’s the interaction with clients, maybe it’s the feedback that I’m getting from clients. Maybe it’s the ability to deliver, you know, habits training or mindset training or actually know what they need right now. OK, whatever that is. I want you to ask yourself, what would you keep? And I want you to write that. I left you s lot of space on the worksheet for that.

Chris (11:54):

This what would you keep as important. Because what we’re doing right now, guys, is we’re sifting through the ashes of this business that isn’t really dead, but we’re pretending it is and we’re finding pieces that we can use to rebuild. Hey, maybe there’s a stack of bricks over there that we can reuse. Maybe that beautiful wooden beam. It can be picked up and incorporated into our next build. Maybe the foundation is actually OK and maybe it was just, you know, the second floor that was the problem. Or maybe there are things that we’d like to keep just to remind us of where we’ve been and how far we’ve actually come. So while we might not rebuild on the same ground or on the same foundation that we started with, there are definitely elements of our previous business that will remain in our future business.

Chris (12:43):

All right, so we’re going to move on to the next exercise, which is what would a CEO do? Now, this exercise was in “Good to Great.” It’s also in “Traction” and “Scaling Up” and all the Gino Wickman books. It’s a really popular exercise that high-level mentors use with multimillion dollar CEOs. OK. Because even when you lead these massive, massive companies, they still have these emotional barriers to doing the things that have to be done. And we’ve talked about this on previous Sundays about how, you know, the logic behind like removing staff people or taking necessary but hard steps, doing the hard, hard things that are required for our business to survive. How to prioritize. But the thing is, you can understand the logic without actually taking the actions because the emotional ties will stop you. That’s what makes this hard. You don’t want to lay off a staff person, you know, you don’t want to cut your gym in half.

Chris (13:45):

We’ve got history, we’ve got relationships, and we’ve got our personal ego wrapped up in this. Our previous definitions of success are very hard to shed. So the first thing, the next exercise we’re going to do is imagine that you got fired as CEO of your gym, OK? The gym still exists the way it is right now and you’re fired. Somebody else is going to come in and run this, OK? Your board of directors has hired a new CEO to come in and take over your gym. This CEO doesn’t have the emotional ties or the emotional baggage. They don’t have the subjective look at your gym. They don’t have the relationships, right? They don’t know anybody, they are coming in from outside today. What’s the first thing that CEO would do in your gym? I want you to write that down. So on the Your Gym 2.0 worksheet on the third page, the first exercise is you get fired as CEO, the board of directors hires a new CEO.

Chris (14:41):

That CEO doesn’t know anybody or anything about your business, what’s the first thing they would do. When I do this exercise, and I make myself do it every six months, what it reveals every single time is something that I know that I should have done but haven’t done it because emotion, ego, attachment to the past has stopped me. Jonathan. That’s awesome. I haven’t actually gotten that book yet. But we are trying to work something out with Dan Heath to do some stuff with you guys. And I’m glad that it’s part of the decision process. You know, as I said before, there are two parts to making a decision. The first part is knowing what to do and the second part is doing it. We’re going to get to the doing it part here in a moment. Getting clarity on knowing what to do though is crazy, crazy important.

Chris (15:35):

Blake says, Chris, I’ve been the CEO for such a short time. I’m not even sure I think like a CEO. That’s OK. If somebody came in who did think like a CEO, what action would they take? Like, and that’s what we’re trying to get to here. OK. Think about like if one of the mentors showed up at your gym today, somebody from the mentor team. OK. Brian Strump shows up at your gym today. What is the first thing he’s going to do? And the Atlanta Two-Brain group kind of did this actually about a month and a half ago, they did an in person visit to one of the gyms in Atlanta. And after they were done, they all said, here’s what I would do. Here’s what I would change. And having that objective eye as well as the accountability factor of having your friends in your gym really help people make changes.

Chris (16:21):

Most of the time these changes were not a surprise. You’re right, I need to pick up those dirty towels that are in the restroom. You know? But having that objective eye forces you to do it. OK. And Blake, don’t worry man, you are a good CEO. What that’s going to do is define what your first actions have to be. Now, if you’re a Gino Wickman fan, you’re going to refer to these as your rocks. OK? Your top priorities as CEO. And what you’ll find is that these rocks are not like sell more clients. It’s fix this process. It’s upgrade this staff member. It’s tell this person how to live up to the expectation. It’s set up staff evaluations. These rocks usually have more to do with holding other people accountable or making strategic moves than tactical moves. Now I’ll tell you that the key to taking action is to add things, not to take things away.

Chris (17:21):

And so if you’re adding things, you should be adding systems and processes or evaluations. These additions might result in subtraction. You might change your team, but it might also mean that you do the action instead of just procrastinating. Because as I said, this exercise reveals what you already know, but something’s stopping you. Here’s another tip on defining what your first rock should be. In times of crisis, you should be looking at leading indicators every single day for how your business is doing. And you should be looking at lagging indicators only at the end of the month. For example, what is your revenue retention rate? You might be fretting over this every single day. Every time a client leaves you might be going, Oh man, now my retention rate is 78% and it was 81 and you know, you can’t do that every single day. As a leader, you can’t be distracted by those things.

Chris (18:17):

You have to be looking at leading indicators and these are your rocks. The things that will affect leading indicators, not lagging indicators. So for example, what can you look at as a leading indicator? How many leads I’m getting? OK, how many NSIs am I booking every day? How many of those are actually converting? That’s a lagging indicator. And you can work at converting them after you have a month’s worth of data. OK, so getting leads is one. Another one is adherence is a leading indicator. You know, how many people actually did the thing that I told them to do today, how many of my clients took my advice? I texted 90 of them out of 150 today. How many of them actually did the workout? Retention is a lagging indicator. How many people canceled at the end of the month? OK, that’s actually churn, another lagging indicator.

Chris (19:11):

How long do people stay? That’s a lagging indicator, but we know adherence is a leading indicator and so your rocks, your first rocks to this new business, your priorities as a leader should be to effect the leading indicators as well as you can. All right. I’m sure we’re going to get some questions about that, so I’m just going to hop over and take a look. Yeah, so Andy, I guess maybe Andy, you were the host of the Atlanta meetup and I don’t think it needs to be humbling. I understand. Like, yeah, you’re going to get a lot of—the thing is, it’s humbling because you’re a humble person. Other people would take that as a challenge, but I’m going to bet that there was nothing that any of your visitors said that was a total out of the blue surprise. The reason that it was humbling was probably because they removed your ego for you.

Chris (20:06):

These were probably things that you knew that you had to improve or change and just couldn’t bring yourself to do it because you had a defense mechanism for defending your actions. Hey, yeah. Yeah. There’s some towels hanging up in the bathroom. But I got 10 new clients this month, right? Yeah. OK. Thank you Eddie. So guys, these are your rocks. Now I know that this webinar is all about what your next business is going to be. The reason that we’re talking about like rocks and priorities and stuff right now and you know, becoming the new CEO of the gym is that we’re going through a metamorphosis, OK? We’re going through a change cycle and we have to tear down what’s not working before we can rebuild. We are not going to go bankrupt, change our name, close our business, wipe it from people’s brains and just start up again overnight.

Chris (21:04):

So first we’re going to identify what we want to keep. Then we’re going to identify what we want to get rid of and we’re going to identify how do we act on the things that we want to keep. All right? So the next exercise is an after action review. OK? So before we start getting into rebuilding the business from these pieces, we’re going to start with what’s our foundation? All right? So we’ve identified like the pieces of our business that we want to get rid of, the pieces that we want to keep and now we’re going to start assembling those pieces that we want to keep into a foundation for this new platform. OK, so the after action review starts with this question. In this experience of COVID, the crisis of gym closures, what went right for you? Now I am asking you to look for bright spots and I want you to write them down and I left you a lot of space on this page.

Chris (21:56):

So please fill it in. I also want you to maintain some kind of context here because you’re tired and you’re stressed because of the unknown ahead of you. But I don’t want you to just throw out the baby with the bath water here. I want you to ask yourself what went right. Let me give you some context here. Even if you are down to 50% of member revenues, OK? And you lost half of your clients, you might be feeling depressed because you’re not used to using losing that much. But if you look at the broader fitness industry, most gyms have gone to zero. They’re done, they’re bankrupt, they kept zero revenue. They kept zero clients, OK? You are way ahead of them. Most gyms in the fitness industry kept zero staff employed, they’re gone. Most franchises kept paying rent, but the franchisee lost money.

Chris (22:54):

A lot of them actually went personally bankrupt. They had no option. They’re still not delivering anything right now. They’re out of business. They’re also not going to ramp up fast. Now, if you own a big globo gym and you’re a franchisee today and you get a green light to open up full operations as before, tomorrow, you’re still starting from scratch. If you’re in Two-Brain right now and you’re saying, Oh man, you know, I’ve lost more clients than the average, I’m down in revenue. This ramp-up period is not going to be easy. But you’ve got a massive head start. You still got most of your clients and the clients that put their subscription on hold, they’re going to come back. So what went right is number one, I mean you kept a lot of people. Number two, you’re still in business. Number three, you probably made some cuts that should’ve been made anyway, and number four, you’re going to have a much easier ramp up than anybody else.

Chris (23:50):

OK? So I want you to ask yourself like, what went right during this crisis and write those things down. Graham asked a question, where can I find more info on leading and lagging indicators? I’ve actually got a blog post about this, Graham, I think on the Two-Brain site. But I’ll post it later and leading and lagging indicators are covered really, really, really well in Gino Wickman’s books like “Get a Grip” is there, I think “Traction” covers it probably, too. We are going to be talking more and more about this and I don’t want to go down the rabbit hole here of data, but it is hard to define leading and lagging indicators outside of sales and marketing in fitness. So, as we get bigger and bigger data, we’ll be able to provide that to you.

Chris (24:48):

  1. I’m going to give you one more second here to work through that first exercise. I’m just writing down your question, Graham, because I want to make sure that I give you some solid links. All right. Next question. What will you never do again? So just thinking about this short-term crisis here, the acute effect it’s had on your business, what mistakes did you make during this crisis? You know, now’s the time to be honest with them. As Andy said, when the other local Atlanta gym owners visited his gym, there were very few surprises about things that he had to change. But the radical candor of having people there in person that he trusted and the objective viewpoint that they gave him kinda, you know, set him back. I wouldn’t say set him back. Andy doesn’t get setbacks. The honesty might’ve been a lot to swallow.

Chris (25:35):

Let’s put it that way. So the next after action review I want you to write down, even in bullet points, is what will you never do again? OK? What pivot will you never make? The next thing is, the next question is what did you miss about being online? OK? What is it that you miss by not having people in front of you in person? Write that down. And I can probably guess. This is the easiest question in the after review. What did you miss is probably like fist bumps, right? It’s high fives. It’s hugging. It’s like being right beside the girl as she’s suffering and you’re suffering too. It’s the competitive collaboration of I want to climb that rope, but I also want you to climb that rope. OK? And then finally I want you to bullet point, what do you not miss? What did you survive without?

Chris (26:25):

You know, what surprised you? Like, Oh, I really thought that I would miss this thing, our whiteboard talks, but I really don’t. Or maybe you know, I thought that I would miss the 6:00 AM crew, but really it’s been going fine online. OK? So I want you to write down what do you miss, what do you not miss? And again, what we’re doing with this after action review is we’re taking the previous exercise of what do you want to keep? And we’re grouping these things that you want to keep together to form a foundation for your new business. OK? So if you’re just joining us, we started with a very blank slate. We talked about how your Perfect Day has changed and we laid that down as a new easel for the picture of our new business that we want to create. Then we went through the steps of what do you have to remove?

Chris (27:12):

What do you want to keep? What actions do you need to take as a CEO? Then we went through this after action review basically of like, how did this make you feel? OK, what would you do differently next time? What will you never do again? What do you miss? What do you not miss? What did you survive without that kind of surprised you. So Joe, smiles and campfiring, I totally get that right. There’s something that is wired into our DNA about being able to sit beside somebody in a big circle, talk about how your day went. The campfiring effect. Yeah. And the smiles, it’s hard to get smiles on text, for sure. The next exercise is a callback to the previous exercise. And so I want you to ask yourself what remains. So we start with, you know, getting rid of the stuff, the mistakes that you would never make again.

Chris (28:07):

We started with getting rid of the stuff that you don’t miss. We started by getting rid of the stuff that an objective CEO would have gotten rid of. And we ask ourself what’s left? OK? So after we’ve cut all of those things, after we’ve audited, we say what’s left over. And the foundation of the new business are the parts that contribute to your Perfect Day. What’s left over are the cornerstones. OK? So we went through this exercise of, you know, what did you miss? What was working well before? What’s working well now? What’s not working? What surprised you? And that helped us cut away the stuff that is not part of our Perfect Day. There will not be part of this business going forward. Now we gathered together the parts that were working, the parts that we missed, and these will be part of the foundation of our business going forward.

Chris (28:58):

So for example, if you had a lot of group training clients and that was profitable on its own, but you were overpaying coaches for personal training or you were losing money on nutrition coaching or you were spending too much time on online coaching, then you’re going to trim those things away. If your group training was not profitable but you were making money on personal training and training clients alone, or your nutrition program by itself was making you money and was scalable or online coaching made you happy, then we’re going to keep those things. If you missed some elements of group coaching but you didn’t miss the schedule, you didn’t miss running 10 classes a day, then we’re going to keep group coaching as one of your cornerstones for the new business. But we’re not going to do it the same way. We’re going to have a different schedule.

Chris (29:53):

Maybe we’re going to limit the group size. Maybe we’re going to do it only on Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Maybe we’re going to bring everybody together for one big group workout. But knowing what these cornerstones are means that you can arrange them in a different way. And the way that you arrange your cornerstones determines the shape of your new business. So for example, some of the examples that we’ve been talking about with different people is, OK, yeah, we need that group interaction, man. We just miss the campfiring and the smiles too much. We don’t miss the big rent expense that we had before. So how often do we need to do the campfires and the smiling to be happy? How many classes do we need to run a day? How often do we need to see people and what fills those gaps? So after we’ve got the cornerstones of our business, then we’re going to add the elements back in that link those cornerstones together.

Chris (30:47):

OK? We’re going to pour the rest of the foundation and the supporting infrastructure. So your cornerstones are group training. What would you change? Would you keep it? Yes or no? What would you do differently this time? Personal training. OK, that’s another cornerstone. What would you change? Do you have enough personal training? What would you do different with personal training this time? Nutrition coaching. Are you doing it? Do you need to add it? What would you change? What would you do differently this time and online coaching is your fourth. Will you continue doing it? What will you change, what will you do differently this time. These are the four cornerstones. Group coaching, online coaching, nutrition coaching, personal training. OK? Will you keep all four? You don’t have to. Do you need to add one of them? You can. What will you change about each thing? I want you to write that down.

Chris (31:41):

Make a short list of the elements that you want to keep in each category. Then we’ll figure out how do we bridge them. So back to the group training example. If what you miss was the campfiring and the smiling, you can keep that element without keeping your big physical space, without keeping the schedule that binds you to that space 12 hours a day. OK. How would you do that? Well, you know, we would rent a small space. We would run group training twice a week. Maybe we would invite people in for that. And then between those group training sessions, they’re going to use online training to do the rest of the workouts on their own. And that’s how you bridge those two cornerstones. Maybe between group training, they’re going to have one or two personal training sessions per week and they’re going to come to see you one-on-one.

Chris (32:29):

And then on Saturdays everybody’s going to get together and work out together. And that’s how you bridge those two cornerstones of personal training and group training. How do you bridge nutrition coaching? Well, maybe we have group training on nutrition, a seminar, a cooking class. We all go to the grocery store together to get that, you know, group training effect. Maybe we do that once a week, twice a week, maybe. We come together in a support group once a week, twice a week. And that’s how you bridge that. How do we bridge personal training with nutrition coaching? Well, maybe we’re going to give people all of their nutrition coaching online, but they’re going to come to see us in person. And so we don’t have to spend our in person sessions just teaching them about nutrition. Maybe all of their nutrition comes through a course that we deliver to them one step at a time using the online platform or maybe linking personal training and nutrition.

Chris (33:24):

We do their nutrition plan one-on-one for everybody, but they all train in a group. And so what we’re doing now is connecting these four cornerstones. After we ask ourselves, are we secure in these cornerstones? What would we do different? How would we rebuild them? Now we link them back up and what we’re doing here is pouring the walls of our first floor. How does this look like? You know, what does this house look like? Now that will really be reflected in your sales binder. As you’re building out your memberships, the ground level of your new house will look maybe a little bit differently. You have options. You have this blank slate, you have a new canvas, foundation, whatever you want to call it. After you think about your cornerstones, you can think about how do they link together and you don’t have to do it the way that you did before.

Chris (34:15):

  1. Kids classes, fantastic, Graham. You know, is there a way that if kids classes are a cornerstone of your new business, is there a way that you can offer those? Yes. Does that mean you have to offer everything else the way it was before? No. You could run a kids class in an elementary school or a park or maybe you expand your gym. Maybe your gym looks more like an American Ninja warrior course than it ever did before because that’s your focus now. OK. So you’re going to write these into your sheet and this guys is now we’re starting to get this picture. All right. One great question that I just got is how do your seed clients determine this? Well, I mean, I asked you to say what went right, what wasn’t working right on your four cornerstones of group coaching, personal training, nutrition coaching, and online coaching.

Chris (35:03):

But I’ll tell you what, I’m not good at guessing, right? The best thing that you can do is go to your seed clients and like, and ask them what is working really well? What do you love about nutrition coaching? What do you love about personal training in my gym? OK. And use those to make the best possible cornerstones that you can. And then the next question is how can I serve you more? And that’s what links your cornerstones together and forms the walls of your new business. Just making sure I’ve got all the questions answered here. OK, so we said, you know, review your short list. These are the cornerstones and I give you four. Graham brought up another one, which is kids classes. Kids classes can be a cornerstone of your business. Habits coaching can be a cornerstone of your business.

Chris (35:47):

Mindset coaching can be a cornerstone of your business. I gave you the four big ones because those are the ones that we have measurable systems and processes for. I’ll talk to you more about that in a moment. But mindset coaching, habits coaching, like these resources are out there. What do you need to make these a cornerstone? You need a way to link them to the other cornerstones. None of these stand alone. And so the question that we’re kicking around now is like, what are we actually coaching now? You know? Yes, we’re coaching movement and exercise. Absolutely. Now we’re also coaching nutrition. Two years ago, most gyms weren’t doing that. In the last couple of weeks, people have found themselves coaching habits, coaching mindset, and that’s something that none of us have ever done before. So what are we actually selling now and what starts that process?

Chris (36:35):

Well, as you’re building up this new house that is your business, you’re going to have to decide what does the front door look like. And the front door is how people enter your business. What we think the front door is is the no sweat intro, which is like a short version of motivational interviewing. Motivational interviewing is basically asking the question, how can I serve you now? And drawing out of them what they need from you. In other words, it’s coaching, and coaching is your ability to this say, yes, I can help you with that or I can help you with that, but not personally. I can bring in an expert that will help you with that. OK, so now as we’re linking these cornerstones together, creating these walls, the foundation, the first floor of your new house, don’t worry about using labels like CrossFit or paleo.

Chris (37:27):

OK? These are methods. Stick with principles for now. Exercise, nutrition, online coaching habits, mindset. Kids. OK? Stick with those right now. Don’t stick with methods. OK, so we’re going to put the blocks together. Now, obviously, you know I’m going through this. We’ve been doing this for 40 minutes. This is like a three or a four hour, this is a day long, this is a weekend project, OK? But you’ll never have a better chance there. There’s never been an opportunity like this to rebuild your business from the ground up as we have right now, so be thankful for that. You might want to bring other people in, OK? Like your family. You might want to ask your seed clients, how do you like this thing? How can I fix it or improve it? But we’ve got these elements together and you’ve linked them. You’ve established what the front door to this house is. I want you to ask yourself, what do I call this? You know, what do I call this new business? Is it Catalyst Coaching? Is it Catalyst Fitness? Is it Catalyst Strength and Conditioning? Is it Catalyst Nutrition?

Chris (38:37):

Is it Catalyst CrossFit? What do you call this given you know what your building blocks are and your foundation is and what your house looks like now. What would you call it? Now if you find that that name is different from what you’re currently calling it, then we can talk about rebranding, we’re not necessarily talking about rebranding though. I’m talking about building your house on principles instead of just defining yourself by your methods. That’s another big topic too. OK? Now, super big bonus. You know, way out there, playing the long ball, swinging for the fences. What if your new name reclassified the type of business that you were in? And I’m not suggesting this is just an idea, I’m not suggesting that you do it, but what if that type of business fell higher on the essential services list for reopening? I just want you to be aware of this right now because what’s really happening in states and countries around the world as they reopen with coronavirus, is that a lot of precedents are being set.

Chris (39:44):

So the first precedent that’s set is next time there’s a pandemic or a worldwide crisis, everybody goes into lockdown, OK, shelter in place. The next precedent that’s being set is that if you’re out of work, the government will pay you. The next precedent that’s being set is return to activity is going to happen, you know, in stages and the people who are classified as essential right now will probably always be classified as essential. You can move up on that list from level three to level two level one to essential, but once you’re up there, you probably won’t move down. And so as you’re rethinking, you know, what am I selling? What is my business? What is this new house? You might want to look at the essential services list. That’s secondary to clarity. So it’s more important to, if you’re a gym, it’s more important to have the word gym in your name than to fit on the essential services list. OK? Clarity is always greater than everything else. People have to know what you’re selling. So you know, will Catalyst Coaching be our next name, I don’t know yet. I’m not sure. Catalyst nutrition coaching. Yes, that’s clear. Catalyst fitness training. Yes, that’s clear. That’s actually our legal name. People need to understand at a glance what it is that you do and so don’t trade clarity for the ability to move up on the essential services list. But if you can do both, that’s great. And that’s a pie in the sky goal. It’s not a priority. Alright, so I said that there are four cornerstones of your business. The way that you deliver these things might change based on what’s working and what you’ve missed and what you haven’t missed and what’s not working and all that stuff. Based on what an objective person would say about those four cornerstones, you might change them.

Chris (41:34):

But the four basics are nutrition coaching, personal training, group coaching, and online training. Online training is more than a delivery method. We call it a cornerstone because you’re actually delivering something different. We don’t think that you’re just selling fitness programs or selling programming. If that’s what you were selling online, Zoom classes and programming, we wouldn’t call it a separate cornerstone. But online delivery is more than just delivering the other three services through the internet through a screen. So here’s the big surprise. You guys know that we’ve been building courses online, and we had to make some really fast pivots. We built two courses, “How to Run Your Business Online” We built that in about four days. That was a miracle. That cost us about $35,000 to build because we had to buy experience and knowledge from people who had done it.

Chris (42:24):

We didn’t want to just guess. Then, Josh Martin and I recognized, you know what, some coaches are really struggling with this and the reason that they’re struggling are fixable and it’s just because they were introduced to coaching through group coaching. And that means like, look around the room, see somebody making a mistake, tell them how to fix that mistake. Don’t interfere with intensity. That’s not actually coaching. That’s reactive coaching. People who had been a personal trainer for a long time actually pivoted online faster because they were used to having those conversations. They’re used to doing motivational interviewing. And they were used to pivoting the programming based on what the person needed right then. And that’s always been part of the first degree program that Josh built on the Two-Brain coaching platform, which means that these are teachable things. It doesn’t mean that you know, failure or struggle to deliver online, it doesn’t make you a bad coach. It just means you’ve never been taught how to do that. So while we were wrestling with that, we built the how to coach online course. Now if you’re inTwo-Brain, you get this course on the platform for free. It’s $500, but we reduced the price to zero for you. What we know now though, is that coaches need help being excellent on those four cornerstones. They need help in delivery. You need help in building those four cornerstones because if you don’t have excellent delivery, then the foundation of your house is going to crumble. So here’s what we did. We looked at the Growth ToolKit and we said, how can we get people, you know, to build a much more solid foundation, to be operationally excellent at each of these four cornerstones, to go step by step through building each one of these cornerstones to take a deeper dive into them.

Chris (44:13):

And so at the beginning of March, what I was actually doing is building four new rows on the Growth ToolKit. One of those was online coaching, thank goodness, because we were able to turn that into a course to help you. But here are the other three and you’re getting these tomorrow. There’s a separate row on the Growth ToolKit for building a personal training program. There’s a separate row on the Growth ToolKit for building a group training program. There’s a separate row on the Growth ToolKit for building a nutrition coaching business on your platform. You can follow these things step by step, just like the rest of the Growth ToolKit. There are, you know, specific exercises for like how do you set your rates for this thing? How do you combine this with all of your other things that you’re offering? Now, if you love the online coaching program, and I certainly did, I mean it was very step-by-step, do this, do this, you will make money, then you’re going to love these other three, too, which is personal training, group training and nutrition coaching.

Chris (45:10):

Why did we feel like we had to take a deeper dive into each one of those things? Well, when I started mentoring gyms in 2012, here’s what we found: The coaching that people were receiving on how to be a better coach, that was better than ever before. Like the CrossFit Level 1 was miles ahead of any other certification that was out there. It was logical. It was done in person. There was feedback. I mean, it was a game changer and so people were delivering a good experience with their coaching. So that was maybe, you know, a seven out of 10, but everything else was a two out of 10, including business. And so, you know, as we started building and refining the incubator and mentorship, the business started getting better and better and better to where in many gyms now, the business knowledge, systems, and operations are better than the delivery of coaching.

Chris (46:02):

Now that was a huge epiphany and it took this crisis to really shine a spotlight on that. Josh and I were shocked, you know, that’s the word Josh would use. It’s not the word I would’ve used. And so what that taught us was like, OK, you know, if business is an eight and a half and coaching is a seven, it’s time to improve the coaching. The best way that we can improve your other business metrics like adherence and retention is actually to improve your coaches. So the first thing we have to do is become excellent all over again on a new stat platform, on a new standard, meeting a new criteria. You have to get excellent at delivering group coaching better than ever before. You have to get excellent at personal training better than ever before. You have to get better at nutrition coaching than ever before.

Chris (46:51):

Now this is on the Two-Brain Business Growth ToolKit. That means we’re not telling you how to coach a group better, OK? There’s help for that on the Two-Brain coaching platform. What we’re telling you how to do better is to build SOPs, to build better delivery of groups, to help your coaches get better, to scale better, even to get more people into your groups. We’re telling you how to rebuild your personal training business from scratch. You know, how to start over, how to get the first client, how do you get the next five clients, how to build your rates? How to scale up to small group training. We’re telling you how to build your nutrition business better. You know, how to start, how to price it, how to get the first few people onto a nutrition program, how to deliver that program, how to get corporate clients.

Chris (47:37):

We have some specialists who are coming in now who will help you with this stuff too, but we want to include it because again, these are like the four cornerstones of your business, and so tomorrow you’re going to get access to that on your Growth ToolKit. All right. So, Kevin, do you recommend going through these one at a time focusing on your weaknesses? Yeah, man. So the Growth ToolKit process is basically like you evaluate and then you say, here’s my next priority, right? So a lot of people here will say, I got group coaching, it’s great, but what the data is showing us on the dashboard and I’ll report a lot more on this later, retention is getting worse in group fitness gyms. Churn is getting higher, people are getting introduced to intensity through a group at your gym. And then they’re saying, OK, how can I get more novelty?

Chris (48:28):

You know, you’re competing with the franchises on intensity. And so if that’s the core of your business, you’re in trouble. You’ve got higher churn than ever before. Blame marketing, whatever. What we can do though is we can start with group coaching and we can say like, do you meet these criteria? What level of group coaching are you actually delivering at your facility? OK. And we do that on the road test. So I think a lot of people, you know, me included are going to be surprised at, wow, I’m really a four out of 10 on group coaching here. So start with the ones that you already offer. Go through the Growth ToolKit step by step and say, that’s where I need to focus. OK. Before you add anything new, start with what you already have and bring that up to like a seven or an eight or a 10.

Chris (49:20):

Some of you are just going to leap there. OK. Like Catalyst, I’m just, you know, pulling this out of my butt here. Catalyst might say like, Oh yeah, we’re a nine out of 10 on personal training. That’s where we started 15 years ago. We’ve got it, but we’re a four on group coaching, so we need to focus on that this month. OK. You might say the same thing about online coaching. Oh man. You know, I’m doing well. I got the organic leads in. I’ve got 10 clients. The ads are starting to work, but my SOPs are not good. I’m spending way too much time on this. It’s taking 12 hours a day. I need to refine my SOPs and hand this off to somebody else. OK. So this is really a you and your mentor conversation on what your priorities should be next month.

Chris (50:02):

But what we want to do here is give you the actual tools and your list of priorities to do these things. All right. Thank you for this, Fergus. Beautiful, man. So guys, if you have questions about this, you know, reach out to your mentors. There’s a ton of information that you’ll be able to access through your Growth ToolKit tomorrow. You’ll probably have to log out and log back in again, but by eight or 9:00 AM Eastern, you’re to see these three new highways. The online coaching highway, you might not have actually accessed that through your Growth ToolKit, but what’s in there is what’s in the online coaching course. The last thing about this guys is the curriculum that’s on the Growth ToolKit, gets dialed in more and more over time. So you might see something that maybe you haven’t seen before. And that’s because the Growth ToolKit actually changes based on data.

Chris (50:55):

So, you know, digital marketing, if I’d had the Growth ToolKit in 2015, the digital marketing line would have been like the new you challenge, right? That’s what was working. When that stopped working, we would have changed the Growth ToolKit and that’s what’s happening all the time now. So you’ll see on the Growth ToolKit, here are some examples of people who’ve done this really, really well, like a 10 out of 10 example. You’ll also see things change. So you need to be going through this, you know, fairly often. You need to be reassessing every quarter, taking the road test. Where am I now? It’s tempting to just learn this stuff, say, yeah, I know that and then put it in your pocket for later. OK. What has to happen though is you have to constantly be self evaluating or having your mentor evaluate your progress because while it is possible to move to the right on the Growth ToolKit, it’s also possible to move to the left.

Chris (51:48):

I’ll give you an example. When I did the Growth ToolKit in December, I found that, you know, metrics reporting, OK, I was a 10 out of 10 in knowledge. In actually reporting my metrics, I was a one. I wasn’t doing it. So I’m really a one and that’s what you have to establish. To get to tinker phase on the Growth ToolKit, it doesn’t mean you have to be a 10 out of 10 on everything, but it does mean that you have to be consistent at the things where you’re like a five and you can’t just be a one on anything. And that usually means hiring staff. All right. And we’ll tell you how to do that also. Adam, will this be put in the Two-Brain group? Yes sir. You’re in the Two-Brain group. And this will stay there.

Chris (52:31):

Don’t worry. All this stuff gets recorded. So guys, this is an exercise that we walk through slowly and I gave you a few minutes to write things down, but as you work through these exercises over the next week, you’re going to find that more and more stuff just kind of pours out to you. So what I want you to do is print out these sheets. If you haven’t already, put them somewhere on your desk that you can see them, that you can quickly grab, make notes on, write bullet points, cross things out, scratch it up. OK. This is not a homework assignment that you’re going to turn into your teacher and say, do I get an A? This is a homework assignment that’s going to allow you to rebuild your business step-by-step. And that rebuilding is messy. So these sheets should be, too. Bring the sheets with you on your next call with your mentor.

Chris (53:15):

Walk through them. Ask yourself, how are the cornerstones of my business going to change? How will they be rebuilt? What will I build on top of them? How will I connect them? And then we can ask what will my front door be? Thanks a lot for giving me an hour of your Sunday guys. I think that the opportunity that’s before us is profound. No other business in history gets the opportunity to go back to square one and rebuild themselves from scratch. Especially not with an audience that’s waiting to see what you’re going to do next. Enjoy your Sunday. Enjoy the process.

Andrew (53:53):

This is Two-Brain Radio. Please subscribe for more episodes wherever you get your podcasts. Two-Brain Business has the best strategies and tactics for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. To see our central resources for gym owners, visit and click COVID-19 at the top.

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