What Do Gyms Really Need? Services and Schedules

A coach guiding a client with a bullhorn - services and schedules - what do gyms really need

The most profitable gyms in Two-Brain don’t make all their money from group classes.

The Top 15 most profitable gyms earn an average of 12-15 percent of their revenue from personal training, and 5-8 percent from nutrition coaching. The most forward-thinking are adding “self-management” coaching, like mindfulness, habit formation and more. We call these the Four Pillars—sleep, nutrition, exercise and habits—and I’ll tell you more about them here.

Your clients should determine the services you sell. And those services should determine the space you rent and the equipment you need.

Keep in mind: You are a coaching business, not a gym. You sell coaching, not access to your equipment.

You sell a premium service, not a commodity.

Your primary service is tailored to each client. For those who can’t afford personal coaching, you have a lower-budget small-group option. And if you have three tiers, your bottom tier is larger-group training that addresses fitness in a broad, general and inclusive way instead of a focused, targeted and specific way.

Now, I screwed this up when I opened a CrossFit gym. You can read that story here. I made the same mistakes most gym owners make, and they almost ruined me.

To be a successful fitness coach, you have to sell exercise and nutrition—at minimum. We give you everything you need, except for a certification, in our RampUp Program.

(And you can even get your certification on our sister platform, Two-Brain Coaching.)

What Gyms Need—and Don’t Need

How do you sell high-value services? You implement the Prescriptive Model, focus on 100 great clients instead of 200 high-churn leads, and deliver with excellence.

How do you get stuck in a cycle of discounts, high churn and burnout? You sell only group classes, base your prices on the other local boxes, fail to understand your clients’ real goals, and try to grind your way through. Trust me: that was Chris Cooper from 2005 until 2009.

The group-class-only model also leads to another huge problem: scheduling.

How many of your classes have fewer than four people attending today?

Do you realize you’re losing money by running that class?

Do you put half the effort into coaching a smaller class—or, even worse, work out with the class instead of coaching them at all? This is a lot like visiting a restaurant, getting called back into the kitchen, and hearing the chef tell you how to cook your own spaghetti while he or she eats dinner.

How to Fix It: Services

You can pivot back to a coaching business any time, but there’s never been an easier time than right now.

Here’s how:

Start all your new clients on the Prescriptive Model (we teach it step-by-step in RampUp and give you everything you need).

Start all your returning clients with a Goal Review, and introduce them to the Prescriptive Model that way. All you have to do is ask them for an update on their goals, tell them how they can reach their goals fastest and then provide the coaching they need. That’s it!

Yes, they might need more coaching or they might need less. That means they might need to pay more or they might need to pay less. I trust your judgment—and so do they.

How to Fix It: Schedule

We’ve all had a “ghost class”—usually around 10 a.m., when a coach either has two people in the group or an empty room due to no-shows. You can’t punish people for your own mistakes, but you can make those mistakes temporary.

Every quarter, audit attendance in each of your class times.

Compare how much your gym is earning in that hour and how much the coaches are making in that time. Which class times generate the most revenue? Which generate the least?

Looking at the worst times, ask yourself: What else could I do in that time that would grow my business?

Then release your class schedule quarterly.

For example, my Summer 2021 schedule will be slightly different from my Winter 2020 schedule because my clients’ schedules change. In the winter, many of my clients prefer to come after work. My weekend classes are huge. But in the summer, many of my clients prefer to do yard work in the evenings and go to their camps on the weekends.

Higher-value clients do higher-value activities. So they come in the mornings or at lunch time, and I don’t have to run a Friday night group at all in the summer, but I might add a second coach at 7 a.m.

Audit and Adjust

Your gym will be different.

The key is to constantly audit which services your clients need (Prescriptive Model) and build your business around their needs. Then you audit when your clients need these services (your schedule), and you offer the desired services when it’s convenient to your clients.

Because these variables change all the time, your system must be flexible. And if you make a mistake, a flexible system will make change a lot easier.

Other Media in This Series

“What Do Gyms Really Need?”
“What Do Gyms Really Need?—Space and Equipment”
“What Do Gyms Really Need?—Staff”


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.