Two-Brain Radio With Sean Woodland, Episode 4: Zach Forrest

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Sean: 00:00 – Hi everybody and welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. On today’s episode I talk with three-time CrossFit Games competitor, training staff member, and owner of CrossFit Max Effort, Zach Forrest. Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland is brought to you by Two-Brain Business. For free advice and tips from best-selling author Chris Cooper visit twobrain Today, Zach and I discuss some of the things that led to him having to close two of his locations in Las Vegas and the lessons he learned from the whole ordeal, his experience competing at the CrossFit Games and the time he lost his pants while coaching at a Level 1 Certificate Course. Certainly do not want to miss that. Thanks for listening everybody.

Sean: 00:48 – Zach, thanks so much for taking the time to do this, man. How you doing?

Zach: 00:52 – Absolutely. I’m doing well. How you doing?

Sean: 00:54 – I’m doing OK, thanks. Usually we start with the CrossFit stuff, but because of what’s going on with a couple of your gyms, I want to start more on the business side of things. You owned two separate facilities, you had CrossFit Max Effort and CrossFit West Vegas and they both shut down. Why did you have to close the doors on those facilities?

Zach: 01:19 – I’ll start with West Vegas because it’s typically for me, the easiest and most simple to explain. So we had been operating in the facility for a good amount of time and the city decided to change the ruling on some of the zoning and operation laws within our space. So we were in a very unique space, actually the only place in the city of Las Vegas to be zoned the way it is. It was business tech. And we had gotten cleared to be there. We didn’t need a special-use permit or anything and it’s really odd zoning, like for instance, an indoor shooting range could have also been in the same space that we were, but then it was also light manufacturing and textiles. It was very weird. But the space suited our needs. We moved in, we had been operating for man, a year maybe, and the city came back to us and they’re like, “OK, we’re redoing the regulations and you’re no longer able to stay there.”

Zach: 02:25 – And I’m like, well, can’t you like grandfather us in or something like that? And they said, no. So that was a pretty big deal. They said, if you want to stay there, you have to get a special-use permit and that obviously cost money to apply for and you have to jump through some hoops. So I’m like, OK, I’ll play this game, don’t want to upset anybody. Went to my representative, the district representative, the councilwoman and spoke to her about it and we got all the paperwork in order and all this stuff. And about three months later I was in front of a hearing with the city council trying to appeal the zoning regulation and they denied me, basically, even going through the special-use permit process and everything. They were just like, “You know what, your business doesn’t fit our vision for that complex.”

Zach: 03:14 – And so I’m like, so you’re just going to shut me down? And they said, “Yep, I’m sorry.” And it didn’t help that while we had been operating there, there had been some noise complaints from just one particular person. And this particular person, I have no evidence of this, this is pretty much just me speculating, but I’m pretty sure they are well connected within the local government. He comes from a family with old money out here and you know, he probably pulled some strings, but again, I have no hard evidence of that. It’s just my speculation, but I just feel like the city was a little bit unfair in that entire situation. But regardless, we had to shut our doors down, or close our doors. So that kinda sucked.

Sean: 03:57 – What did you learn from that whole process?

Zach: 04:00 – Like, I tried and that’s the thing. Like I try and take away lessons learned from every situation, win or lose. And in this one, I’ve talked to lawyers, I’ve talked to the people down at the zoning office and city workers and they’re just like, “You know what, this was just straight up bad luck. Like there’s nothing you can do.” Like it’s maybe don’t put so much trust in local government, I guess, or local policy. But that’s kind of, I feel like that’s jaded and that’s a sad outlook because like, there was literally nothing I could do. I could sue the city of Las Vegas, that’s my lawyer said, and you might come out on top, but like, who wins a suit against the city of Las Vegas? And how much money do you want to waste on that? So I don’t actually know what lessons I learned from that other than you just gotta take it on the chin sometimes.

Sean: 05:00 – When you look back at the beginning of this process, what do you think are some things that you could’ve done differently to possibly avoid this outcome?

Zach: 05:09 – Exactly. And that’s what I kept asking myself. The only thing I think I might have been able to do, and I don’t know who would have had the foresight to do this, would have been to go and talk to the guy that had been complaining. But then again, I have no idea how big of a pull he had, if he was actually the cause or the deciding factor in the city’s decision. I’m sure he had some influence on it. Which could have been mitigated if I had the foresight to go over and just randomly pick one of my neighbors and be like, “Hey, is everything OK?” He like came out of nowhere and that’s the thing. It just, all of a sudden he was upset with us being there. So it was kind of like I was blindsided by the whole thing. And I hate, like it sounds like I’m making excuses for myself or I’m like saying there was nothing I could have done. I just haven’t figured out what I could have done. Maybe you talk to the councilwoman again, Ms. Tarkanian, and try and find other alternative solutions. Like we tried soundproofing for that guy. We tried—they wanted me to completely change my business operation. They’re like, “OK, what we don’t like is the fact that you guys are running outside and that you guys are dropping weights. If you guys were like a Pilates studio or a little bit more high end—” I constantly remember them using the term “high-end boutique gym studio.” We might have a little bit more leeway, but because we’re CrossFit, I think they just didn’t like it.

Sean: 06:39 – Man. That’s crazy. Let’s move on—

Zach: 06:43 – I was like “high end?” We charge more than Life Time Fitness, which is where you’re going, Ms. Tarkanian, come on, give me a break.

Sean: 06:54 – Let’s move on to CrossFit Max Effort, because that opened in 2011 but that also recently closed. Why did you have to shut the doors on that one?

Zach: 07:01 – So that was more of a strategical decision on my part. Basically what had happened was our lease had come to an end as of December 31st, 2018 and I was talking to the building owners and they were completely willing to keep us around month to month. They did not want to resign me under a long-term lease because they wanted to sell the building that we were in. They were asking four million and it’s a standalone building with two tenants, myself and another business. And it’s a pretty large building, industrial, but it is one and a half miles south of where the new Raiders stadium is going. And so these, the land owners, the building owners were trying to capitalize on the market, and I completely understand why they were trying to sell the building. It was outside of my range, of being able to afford $4 million. I didn’t want to take on the risk. I would have had to take on an investor to get the loan, just to be able to buy the building. So it was just, that wasn’t a good option for me unless the investor wanted to be a partner in going to expansion, but yada, yada yada. Anyway, they were looking to sell the building, but they were like, “Hey, we don’t really have anybody lined up. You’re going to go month to month. We’re going to keep it the same rates. And don’t worry about it.” I’m like, OK. And I had already been looking for a space for six to eight months, about actually eight months, in case I needed to move and I was anticipating on moving.

New Speaker: 08:30 – But the market out here, because the two major factors, the Raider stadium and then the legalization of marijuana, the industrial market out here is, or at that point, was completely crazy. You can’t find an industrial space between 8,000 and 15,000 square feet to lease. Like you might be able to buy one, but you can’t find it to lease. My space was 16,000. So like even if I go to 8,000, I’m cutting my square footage in half. So I found an 8,000 square foot. And the rate was double what I was paying, actually it was over double what I was paying. So I was like, I will be paying more for half the space because that’s what the market is at right now. I was paying 75 cents plus CAMS at the space that I was currently in. And the space that was our best option at that time was asking $1.50 plus CAMS and more restriction on what we could do. They said, you can’t run outside, yada, yada, yada, and a bunch of stuff. And I was like, OK, well maybe I’ll just buy a bunch of Assault Runners and we’ll figure it out. Right. So while I’m in the process of doing this, the building owners came back to me and they said, “Hey, we sold the building, we’re in escrow. We’re going to be closing next week. Here’s your 30-day notice.” And I was like, “What? Like, you told me you would give me at least a 60 or 90-day notice and that you would tell me when you were working with someone to buy.” And they’re like, “Yeah, this guy came out of nowhere. He’ another local business owner right up the road. And he just made the decision that he’s going to buy the building. Like he didn’t even negotiate with us, he just came in and said, ‘I’m buying this building.'” I’m like, OK, well what am I going to say? The guy offered them exactly what they wanted and the new building owners were in our space like the next day. And so I’m starting to talk to these guys like, “Hey, do you mind holding off on moving? Like give me an extra month.” And they said, “The most I can give you is a month we’ll give you until like February first,” ’cause this was happening at the beginning of January or something like that.

New Speaker: 10:47 – And it was basically the last 30 to 45 days of us being in that space was just chaos. I was torn between, OK, do I move into this, what I considered a financial death trap of 8,000 square feet that was about a mile down the road from us. The building was in worse condition. They had more restrictions on what I could do operationally and the price was more expensive. My expenses would have been going up. So I’m like, best-case scenario, I retain all my members and I move over there, and now I’m downsizing but I’m not becoming more efficient doing so. And they want a minimum five-year lease. So I’m like, I really don’t think, even to stay open, I do not think that this is going to be a long-term solution for us that’s going to allow us to be successful. And so I made the decision to just shut the doors down and wait until I had a place that I can move into, be happy with and continue flourish. So it was a hard pill to swallow. And the hardest part about it was my ego. And that’s the lesson that I learned there was, even though the choice may seem like it could be the death of you, like when you have to look at all the other options, always, always, always stay away from the emotional decisions.

Zach: 12:19 – Like I wanted to stay in operation. I did not want to quit. I had 300 people that, like, they felt homeless. They’re like, “Where are we supposed to go work out now?” And I’m like, “You know what, there’s 30-some odd other gyms in town. Let me do some research, let me talk to some owners and see who can take care of you the best.” And I gave them my suggestions. And it was just—I felt like I was abandoning my family and that alone would have been enough to keep me making bad decisions. And I had to do some soul searching and had to pull back really, really hard to be like, you know what, in the end, this is going to be better for everybody.

Zach: 13:01 – If the staff is unhappy in the new space, the business isn’t doing well in the new space, it’s like that’s going to eventually get to the community and the members and my customers are going to be unhappy. They’re going to feel that. So I’m like, it all starts at the top but you can’t go somewhere where the owner and the leadership are completely unhappy with the scenario and the situation and expect the customers or community to feel different. You know what I mean?

Sean: 13:30 – About bringing an investor. Why was that not a good option for you?

Zach: 13:35 – Well, because, if we talk about the financials and what we’re looking at, as far as down the road, an exit plan for me as a business owner, it was really coming down to two things and this is why I made the decision. One, if I take on an investor, am I going to be able to—I’m either going to have to give up a ton of equity, which I really didn’t want because then that just messes with my exit strategy for selling the business and moving on to other things. But, I would have to expand beyond what I was, just to make money, enough profit to buy out the investor at a later date. And I was looking at the rate of return, on that profit and how large I would need to be in order to meet that rate to get someone out in the timeframe that I thought was reasonable, and it wasn’t feasible. I wasn’t willing to do it. I’ll just say that. I made a decision. I was like, I don’t want to do that. So looking at the numbers, I would have needed to get an investor on board for anywhere from 350- to $450,000. Might’ve been able to pull it off with 300,000. And the valuation of the company being at $1 million, I’m like, OK, so we’re looking at it, if I can’t do a good job in negotiating, I’m looking at 30 to 40% depending on what they come in with. And as far as equity is concerned, that’s a big chunk. Is it majority? Is it controlling? Absolutely not. But it’s still a big chunk. And I’m thinking, OK, what does that look like? That looks like me getting an investor and then me taking that money to take out a loan from the SBA for $4 million so I can buy the building. Upside is I now have real estate. I now have a hard asset that’s going to appreciate in value and look at the market’s going up in value probably. And I now also have the responsibility of managing that. It’s better for the business, obviously, to be in the building that you own, but I don’t know what the trade-off is as far as managing, ’cause I’ve never done it. Managing two spaces. It’s a 20,000-square-foot building. I did not necessarily want to be a landlord. There was no way we were going to be able to do enough business to pull off 28,000 square feet. I just wanted to stay in the 16,000 square feet that I had, which means I’d have to rent out the front of the building, which means I now have to either pay someone to manage that or manage it myself, and I had no desire to do that. So there was a whole bunch of small factors like that. I mean, they’re not really small, that I had to take into consideration. It was like OK, not worth it for me. It’s not filling my vision for what I want to be able to do. And that made that decision relatively easy once I considered all those things.

Sean: 16:37 – Where are you now in the process of restarting that gym?

Zach: 16:41 – So it’s funny because now I’m going to have to rework some things. I’m open to taking on an investor because I still feel like the brand is relatively strong, but if I’m going to reopen—and I say if because I haven’t fully committed to doing this and because the market is still crazy. There are a couple prospective locations, but I haven’t pinned down anything. If I were to do this and how I would do this would be different. It would need to change, in the sense that I would not offer the—I don’t know if I want to use the word classic or the word original CrossFit affiliate model because the market is changing, it is developing quickly. And I think that the original model for CrossFit affiliates is—not that it can’t be profitable, it’s just, it’s not going to continue to thrive. So I would have to change some things and take on an investor with the sense for what the goal of expanding outside the city of Las Vegas.

Sean: 17:48 – Why do you think that the old model of an affiliate won’t continue to thrive?

Zach: 17:55 – You know what? I should change the way I said that. I should. It won’t change—it won’t thrive for—how do I phrase this? I don’t want to buy a job. I think the operator-owner model is effective if you love doing what you’re doing every single day and you love being in the trenches and you want to wake up and you want to coach, even if you just want to coach like two to three classes a day. And you know, continue to work in the gym. I don’t want that. I didn’t want that. So I’m looking at how much money can—especially in the Las Vegas market—how much money total revenue can a gym pull in versus how much you need to pay skilled labor versus expenses and all that stuff. And I don’t think that in this market an owner-operator gym can provide enough income for me to do what I want to do. So that’s why I was like, OK, I’m going to need to expand and start a different way of running a gym. And it’s like I said, I shouldn’t have said it the way that I originally set it. I think if you are happy coaching and running the day-to-day operations, a gym can support that and pay you definitely a livable wage and definitely a good amount of money to support a family. But I wanted more.

Zach: 19:25 – Assuming that you are able to start another location, you mentioned how you had to send your old members to other gyms. How do you get them back?

Sean: 19:37 – I feel like that’s a trap question, Sean. With risk of sounding arrogant, I open up. And that’s all I do. I’m not, and that’s not me saying like—I gotta be careful how I answer this because I do love the affiliate owners and the community that we have out here, but at the same time, I know why we were the best and I know why we had a strong community and a strong gym. And I feel like it’s very difficult for the other gyms or for any gym to replicate what it is that I had and what we were doing. Not that it’s not possible. I just don’t see it happening. I don’t see the realization that needs to occur for it to happen. And I don’t know—like, how much do you want me to go into that. I feel like I would get them back just by opening up and by virtue of Max Effort is back in town. These people loved—it was their second home, third home.

Sean: 20:56 – Yeah, and I think there is some loyalty there that most people have to their gyms, whatever the original one was that, like you said, it feels like home.

Zach: 21:06 – I mean, I wouldn’t directly approach anybody, I’m not gonna poach members, obviously, that’s terrible, and I’m not going to directly call out anyone or have a marketing campaign that is directed at that. It’s literally just open, make it known to the community that we’re open and if someone’s happier at where they’re at currently versus the happiness that they had with us before, then they should stay there. It’s funny that you asked that question because that was asked of me a while back. Like people were worried, they were like, “Aren’t you worried that like if you reopen, you’re just not going to be able to rebuild to get back to where you were?” And I said, “Absolutely not. I’m not worried about that at all.”

Sean: 21:55 – Well, I hope it works out, man. Let’s go back now. When did you first discover CrossFit?

Zach: 22:00 – So, 2005. I was in the Navy, and Dave Castro beat me over the head with CrossFit.

Sean: 22:13 – What was it about it that hooked you?

Zach: 22:16 – That’s a good question. You know what? I was actually pretty resistant to it for a while. So, we had used it and I’m not sure, are you familiar, Sean, with Gym Jones?

Sean: 22:28 – I’ve heard of, yes.

Zach: 22:31 – OK. Mark Twight and Gym Jones. So I found CrossFit, I want to say in second phase of BUD/S. But we didn’t really do it because they weren’t allowed to call it CrossFit. So we would do some weird workouts where we would do on the minute, every minute for 30 minutes, 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 air squats, and then run into the surf, hit the surf and then come back and start all over again. And that was miserable. I couldn’t even keep down Gatorade during that workout, I was like throwing up as I was working out. And it was just one of those things where I had no idea what we were doing. I just knew that these were the hardest workouts that I had ever done in my entire life. And I expected it. I was like, this is what BUD/S must be. And I mean, this was in addition to our regular PT stuff like running. And then in SQT, I remember Dave asking, he was like, “Hey, does anybody want to do a fitness course over the weekend? It’s Friday, Saturday, Sunday.” And everybody in the class was looking around like, no, we don’t want to do this. And he’s like, “OK, I’m asking for volunteers And when he gives you that look, it’s not he’s asking for volunteers, it’s like if each one of you assholes don’t raise your hand, you’re all gonna pay. And we’re like, “OK crap.”

Zach: 23:52 – And I went through what I found out later to be a Level 1 course with Greg, Dave and Nicole. And it was a turning point in realization of like what fitness is. And even after that, though, like when I got to the team, they were doing Gym Jones, and I was like, “This is kind of like CrossFit.” And I had to research and look at Mark Twight’s background and involvement with CrossFit. And I was like, OK. So it’s basically the same thing. So we did Gym Jones training or CrossFit-style training about twice a week. And that was in addition to the regular running that I would do on my own and like bench press and like the weightlifting, ’cause I was a small guy and I needed to get bigger or so everybody told me. And it wasn’t until I moved to Vegas later on that I was like, “OK, I’m just going to fully commit to doing CrossFit”. And that was like 2008.

Sean: 24:46 – Then how did you get involved with the training staff?

Zach: 24:49 – So training staff, what had happened was we hosted a Level 1 at CrossFit Las Vegas. And I remember, I think it was Pat Barber, I remember talking to Pat, I think this was around 2009. And just picking his brain about the job and what he was doing. And I was like, you know, this sounds pretty cool. I’ll check this out and see what I need to do. And I reached out to Dave and he was like, “We have this new course coming online, a Level 2, take this and talk to me afterwards.” I was like, OK, cool. So I went to a Level 2, and I remember Andy Stumpf, who was a guy that I had been at BUD/S with. He was one of my instructors at BUD/S, and Nicole Carroll, Freddy Camacho. And I think that was it. They were putting us through a Level 2 and it was Carl Paoli, Jason Khalipa, John Welbourn was there. It was kind of cool. And I had worked with those guys a couple times and I remember walking in and sitting down to find out whether or not I passed my Level 2, and Andy just looked at me, he has the sunglasses on inside of course. And he looks at me, and he goes, “Well, you screwed that up, didn’t you?” And Nicole was like, “No, you passed. Don’t worry about it.” And then, so passing Level 2 that weekend, I reached out to Dave, I was like, “Hey, I passed the Level 2. Cool, what’s the next step? What do you want me to do?” And he’s like, “OK, cool. I’ll set you up with a course.” And I interned at a Level 1 in Reno and then interned at another Level 1 in Las Vegas and then start working ’em.

Sean: 26:37 – Everyone I’ve ever talked to who’s on the training staff, they all have one sort of crazy story. What is your one crazy story from your time as a member of the Seminar Staff?

Zach: 26:49 – Oh geez. Should it be training related or not?

Sean: 26:52 – It can be anything related. I mean, I’ve heard about fights, I’ve heard about all kinds. I’ve heard about people getting propositioned.

Zach: 27:02 – I want to be extremely clear, the training staff is amongst the most professional people I’ve ever gotten the privilege to work with, and the family sense, it matches that of the SEAL community. And there was one year, when at the Staff trainers summit where we all get together and we talk about how we deliver the courses. At one of the after parties, I don’t know what happened, but I lost my pants. I don’t know how it happened. I mean, I woke up the next morning, I was in the hotel lobby, and when I say morning it was probably like 4:00 a.m. or something like that. And didn’t have any pants on. And I think I remember getting a text from Hobart. Was it James or someone? And they’re like, “Hey, were those your pants in the elevator?” And I’m like, “I have no idea.” Yeah. They like to they like to play hard and that’s not characteristic of me to get blackout drunk where I start losing clothes. But I woke up—oh, I was wet, too. It’s like I had gone in the pool or something, and I think I remember the hotel staff not being very kind to me that morning.

Sean: 28:31 – Can’t imagine why.

Zach: 28:34 Well, I woke up and I think one of the things I asked, I was like, “Hey, where’s breakfast?” And they said, “Sir, you need to have pants on first.” And I was like, “Oh shit. OK.”

Sean: 28:40 – You first competed at the Games in 2009. That was the last year at the Ranch. What do you remember about that atmosphere?

Zach: 28:52 – Holy cow. I was in such awe, I was so happy to be there that the Ranch at that time seemed like, I was like, “Man, this might as well be the Olympics.” It was small. It was intimate. And I had heard about something called the Woodstock of fitness, had no idea what Woodstock was. I had to look it up. And I remember being there and just seeing what I thought was a very large crowd and being like, “Holy cow, this is a real thing.” I just thought it was going to be some like, backyard event, and going from my only experience, up to that point in CrossFit competition being the Regional that you had to qualify in—which, our regional was in Flagstaff, it was at CrossFit Flagstaff. Not a small gym, but I mean it was like, it looked to be about a very large CrossFit class. So I was like, OK, cool. I’m just going to do some workouts today and we’ll see what happens. And then I got to the Ranch and I was like, holy cow. It was amazing. For me, it was just like, it was inspirational. I was like, look at all these people that want to want to compete in fitness. And that was just 2009. But at the same time it was very humble. It was very much like—not archaic, but like, I don’t know how to explain it. It was like the, the woodland games or—what are those—

Sean: 30:22 – The Highland games?

Zach: 30:26 – The lumberjack.

Sean: 30:27 – Yeah, the lumberjack games.

Zach: 30:34 – Yeah, it was very raw and I totally fell in love with it. It was great.

Zach: 30:39 – Fast forward then to your final appearance in 2013, that’s at now, the StubHub center. What was the biggest change that you noticed between 2009 and 2013?

Zach: 30:53 – The biggest thing I saw was the support for the competition. It was no longer a gathering of people. I mean, it still was, but I was amazed. I was completely blown away with the medical staff, the athlete support, the crowd control, the logistics that were happening, the Rogue crew that showed up. It was just, it was amazing to me to see the management of it all and the behind-the-scenes stuff and it kind of you realize everybody is there in support of the competition, in support of the show, in support of the athletes. But it does not feel like that. You feel like you are part of something bigger. Like you legitimately feel like you’re part of a movement that’s changing the world. When you get to see the behind-the-scenes stuff at the events like that, it’s amazing to me.

Sean: 31:44 – What’s your fondest CrossFit Games memory from your time as a competitor?

Zach: 31:48 – Oh, I don’t have any—probably being in the tennis stadium. Anything in the tennis stadium is pretty amazing. Just the atmosphere. I don’t think it can be duplicated. I don’t think it can be replicated. Maybe at Madison in the Coliseum, but the tennis stadium was intimate, for lack of a better term, like the pit. It was very cool. And just being down on that floor, anytime I was down on the floor, it felt great. So I don’t think there’s any one event that I specifically cherish more than the other. It was just the entire cumulative experience.

Sean: 32:38 – Why you decide that, you know what, I’m done being a competitor?

Zach: 32:40 – Because I wanted to focus on the business. Because I wanted to focus on the business and because I realized that with the sport growing and maturing that the amount of dedication it took to be at that level was beyond what I wanted to give. And I enjoy business. I enjoy seeing something grow. I like working on my own skills and I like working on bettering myself and I think that I’m starting to value outside growth a little bit more. Not that I don’t do personal growth, but like seeing something being built and seeing how it affects the lives of others is one of the coolest things in the world to me. And that’s why I made the decision. That’s it.

Sean: 33:32 – You’ve been a competitor, you’ve been a Navy SEAL. How did those two things help you in your career as a businessperson?

Zach: 33:40 – I think it gives you some objective perspective. To do well in both of those things, or all of those things, as a competitor, special operations, being part of a team and also a business owner, you need the ability to know when to put your ego aside. When to you leverage your ego as a tool, and when to take emotion out of the equation in order to make some hard decisions. And you also need to be comfortable being uncomfortable. And it’s not just a physical sense, it’s emotionally and mentally and intellectually. Like there’s fatigue on all levels and nothing great ever occurred by someone staying in their comfort zone. So you just need to be OK with the fact that sometimes the grind is uncomfortable. Sometimes the training is uncomfortable, sometimes the decision is uncomfortable. Sometimes the conversation that you have to have with that person is uncomfortable, but you have to be willing to go through it. And know that it’s going to be better after the fact if you do it right.

Sean: 34:46 – You have coached people all over the world in your own gym as well. What’s been your proudest moment as a coach?

Zach: 34:58 – There’s a couple that stand out my head. Two female athletes on two certain occasions. Actually, man, there’s so many that are coming back to me now. But that popped in my head. I remember one athlete after the acquisition of 702 CrossFit West Vegas. I had been working with her for maybe four months and she was unable to run anything past, like a very slow jog and the first time during a workout that she was able to run a full 400-meter lap without stopping. And it wasn’t a jog. It was like a legitimate run, “I teared up, I was just like, holy cow. That was incredible. I was like, Dawn, nice job. You blew me away. Let’s keep this going.” And it was just, she was happy, and she almost didn’t even realize what she had done. It was so cool.

Zach: 35:57 – And then another time was when Annabell got her first pull-up. Yeah. She had been working really, really hard and had her on some bands and had her on some ring rows and gave her some extra work to do. And she’s dedicated. She’s consistent. She’s a workhorse and she’s a pitbull and she loves doing more and more and more. And so I had to work with her to temper that passion and focus it. And she eventually got her first pull-up combining that with some dedication on the nutrition side. And that was pretty amazing.

Sean: 36:34 – That’s really cool, man. I think everyone has those moments and it’s weird how you take probably more pleasure in their accomplishments than you do in your own.

Zach: 36:42 – 100%, yeah.

Sean: 36:45 – Final question. What has been the best part about this whole CrossFit journey for you?

Zach: 36:56 – That’s a hard question. The best part has been kind of getting a better sense of self by interacting with some pretty amazing humans. I mean, there’s so much good that comes from owning a gym, from coaching people, from competition, from exercise in general, specifically CrossFit. It’s hard to pin down, but I would say because I’ve been blessed and so incredibly lucky to have experiences with some of the best coaches in the world, who also happened to be some of the best people in the world, and my own members that it’s—you know, that quote where it’s like you are the sum of the five people you surround yourself with the most? You know what I’m talking about? It’s like there’s something about CrossFit that inherently good people involved. And the fact that I can be regularly exposed to those people has just elevated every aspect of my life. And I don’t want to take that for granted. And I’ve learned to appreciate human interaction. Even if for the most simple fact that I will always learn from it. So, either through win or lose, it’s like I’ve done nothing but grow from being involved in CrossFit physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually to a certain degree. I’m not really religious, but I know that it’s there. So yeah, that’s what I’m thankful for.

Sean: 38:39 – Well, Zach, I really appreciate you taking the time to do this. Great conversation and I want to wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors. I hope that you get the gym back up and running again soon.

Zach: 38:48 – Thank you, Sean, I really appreciate that.

Sean: 38:50 – All right, man, talk to you soon.

Sean: 38:54 – Once again, I would like to thank Zach Forrest for taking the time to speak with me. You can follow Zach on Instagram. He is @zach_af, that’s z a c h underscore a f. Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland is brought to you by Two-Brain Business. To learn how to generate profit and take your business to the next level, check out “Founder, Farmer, Tinker Thief” by Chris Cooper. It’s available now on Amazon, and if you want me to read it to you, I literally do that in the audio version. Thanks for listening, everybody. We’ll talk to you again soon.

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