Tue, 22 August 2017
How do you make your gym stand out when every other gym in town offers the same services and specials? I mean, we know your gym is the best, but how will your prospects know? We asked killer marketer Jeff Sherman of Tech Sweat about how to make a connection with your clients before you even meet them.
In this episode, we talk to him about what in the wide world of social media marketing is worth our time, what trends to let go of, and why it’s necessary in order to get our potential clients to know, like, and trust us before they become members.
If you have some discomfort about putting yourself “out there” on Facebook Live, Instagram, and elsewhere on the World Wide Web, this episode is for you. Jeff walks us through the most effective and easiest ways to create and curate content for our audiences, so that when we make them an offer, they’re fully prepared to say “yes.”
On This Week’s Episode of Barbell Business, We Interview Jeff Sherman to Discuss:
Tue, 15 August 2017
This week, we met up with our friend Conner Moore at a box in Mission Viejo, California. To be clear, we said “a box,” not “his box.” That’s because Conner shut his box down. Ultimately, this is a story of Conner’s success, but we met with him today to talk about that particular phase of failure, what he learned, and how it can help the rest of us.
“I am really excited to be a part of this and share the story, because I think one thing that we missed is the idea that we can grow from critical failure, and we attached the idea that something is a success or failure when it's really just another flow of experience that we can then leverage to create further experience down the road.”
We talk to Conner about finding the “why” behind your business. In his case, his “why” ultimately took him to a better career fit. Listen in to hear his hard-won wisdom about making the most of your life.
Tue, 8 August 2017
This week, we took a trip to fabulous Las Vegas to meet up with old-school Barbell Business podcast host and two-time world-record-setting powerlifter AJ Roberts (Instagram: @ajroberts). He’s one of the few people in the industry with a very solid perspective on both business and training, and he’s one of our favorite speakers of all times.
AJ breaks down what he considers to be the three pillars of running a successful gym: sales, marketing, and experience. If you’re like most box owners we know, crafting a great client experience comes naturally to you, but sales and marketing might feel like something gross that happens on the used-car lot. In this episode, AJ offers insight that helps gym owners better understand what we already know: At the end of the day, we’re selling people happiness.
Tune in for an authentic, non-skeezy outlook that gets the best results not just for your clients, but for your business. No matter where your gym is on its path to awesomeness, this episode will help you solidify your thinking about what you want your gym to be.
For info on books and additional resources mentioned in the show, go to
Tue, 1 August 2017
We haven’t been able to independently verify it, but we think MMA trainer and entrepreneur Mike Dolce, of Dolce Fitness and The Dolce Diet, might be the hero of an old-school novel. Hear us out. After his father suffered a massive stroke, Dolce got a job as a New Jersey dock worker at the age of eight. Eight years old. Scraping barnacles off of fishing boats for $2 a day, like a… well, like a character right out of a legend. Being a forward-looking youngster, Dolce knew that $2 in his pocket wasn’t just that: If he kept it up, in 100 days he’d have $200. And if he found other work, he would have even more money. Growing up in straight-up poverty, Dolce didn’t feel entitled to anything except the right to work.
As a savvy eight-year-old, Dolce knew he had to work around the child labor laws in New Jersey. He stacked a paper route on top of his dock work and got a job with a printing shop at the age of 10. At this point, he had officially outpaced America’s classic self-made man, Benjamin Franklin, whose lazy bones didn’t start working at a printing shop until he was 12. (Benjamin Franklin obviously didn’t have Mike Dolce’s drive for excellence.) Franklin turned his print shop gig into his own newspaper operation, but Dolce had the good sense to go down to the 7-11 and buy muscle magazines with his hard-earned cash –– because that was an investment in the kind of future he wanted to have.
Dolce opened up the first iteration of his current fitness enterprise when he was only 17, without going into any debt. Now the founder and owner of Dolce Fitness and Dolce Diet, as well as being the owner of a real estate company and the founder of a non-profit dedicated to eradicating childhood obesity and eating disorders, Dolce joins us on this week’s episode to talk about good old-fashioned bootstrappin’.
Listen in as Mike Dolce gives us the real talk he’s become known for: no sugar-coating, no B.S., straight-up advice on how to rise up from the ashes like a [expletive] phoenix to make Benjamin Franklin jealous of your determination.
Tue, 25 July 2017
You may have heard the expression, “C students make the best teachers.” They remember the struggle of not getting it. They tend to give students the kind of support they wish they’d had themselves when they were struggling to learn algebra (or English, or chemistry, or whatever). The same can be said of functional fitness coaches. While natural-born athletes can certainly make great coaches too, the self-described “fat kids” have a natural empathy for their prospects that helps close the sale and keep clients coming back. And as perverse as it sounds, we’ve observed that true empathy is often the key to getting dollar bills to rain down from the ceiling.
This week we went up to L.A. to meet with Fit Body Boot Camp’s Josh Carter, a fat kid turned swole, and one of the best in the business when it comes to marketing. From copywriting to group-closing, Josh takes us through the process that contributes to the astounding success of Fit Body Boot Camp. And it takes more than just remembering the feeling of wanting to get fit yourself.
“Here's the first thing I would recommend people do, is know your audience,” says Josh. “That would mean poll your audience. Other than knowing them, ask them, ‘What do you want? What are your goals?'... And get them to tell you, and then use their words. When you use their words, you can better speak to them.”
Listen in to hear about what a comprehensive marketing plan looks like for a gym, and get some good advice on how to close those sales. (ABC: A - Always. B - Be. C - Collecting email addresses. Always be collecting email addresses.) The good news for the many of us who don’t love the “sales” part of our job: Closing prospects at a gym should be mutually beneficial every time––otherwise we’re just crooks. We should believe in our product to the extent that if a potential client walks, we legit feel bad for them. As Josh explains, “When we’re selling, we’re literally selling health and happiness.” Take this knowledge to heart, and then get them to sign on the line that is dotted.
Tue, 18 July 2017
We have a super-exciting guest this week. A big “get,” if you will. We’ve been wanting to feature him on the podcast for years, because we’re his biggest fans. That’s right, kids! This week we got to talk to Markus Gerszi, of Barbell Business fame! [Thunderous applause; confetti falls from the ceiling.]
Joking aside, it was very cool to be in Markus’s old box in Orange County, CA, this week. Markus is a smart dude, which is why we keep him around. We’ve been wanting to get his best practices for accountability on the record, so that’s what this episode is all about. [Thunderous applause; even more confetti falls from the ceiling.]
In this business, we tend to be very client-focused. We want the best for our clients, or we’d be doing something else for a living. We have a natural impulse to hold them accountable, with everything from documenting their workouts to journaling their meals to setting long-term goals (and occasionally standing in for their therapists). Join us as we talk about some common-sense, often-overlooked methods for reliable client accountability.
And while we’re on the subject of accountability, let’s talk about you. It’s almost second-nature to keep our clients accountable. But who or what do you have in place to keep yourself consistently in-check? This includes your personal fitness goals as well as the daily operations of your business. Long-term goals, too. If you’re like most gym owners, your answer to this question is, “Mumble mumble clients busy mumble.” And unfortunately, “Mumble mumble clients busy mumble” isn’t a sustainable strategy. As Doug points out, “Holding yourself accountable is a totally different ballgame.” Most of us know we should do it, but don’t have a great idea about how.
In this episode, we talk to Markus about the best strategies to hold your clients accountable, your team accountable, and yourself accountable. Listen in to learn commonsense strategies that you can implement right away for a stronger business.
Tue, 11 July 2017
Who do you learn from when you’re already at the top of your field? How do you get the motivation to grow when you’re already, frankly, pretty awesome? Maybe there are worse problems to have… Okay, there are definitely worse problems to have. But as entrepreneurs, this is the challenge that we all hope to face at some point. This week we travelled to Chino Hills, California to interview someone who knows a ton about the top tier of personal development: Bedros Keuilian, CEO and founder of the Fit Body Boot Camp empire.
Bedros has one of the fastest-growing franchises on the planet, so when he thinks about improving his business and himself, he describes his current state as being like 211º degree water –– he just needs one more degree to make a monumental impact. While there’s a lot you can do at 211º, at 212º you have steam. It’s the difference between cooking an egg and powering a locomotive.
As tempting as it might be to stand on top of that mountain and pat yourself on the back, there’s so much to be gained from continuing to improve yourself, even when you’re at the top of your field. He maintains the same mindset he had as the fat, broke foreigner he describes from his youth, even though he’s now an ultra-fit kajillionaire. Self-development is the highest priority not just for himself, but for his employees (who he describes as working at a “self-development company that happens to be in the fitness industry.”) But where do the Bedros Keuilians of the world plug in? Just as his clients plug in to him for advice and growth, he needs to learn and recharge somewhere.
Listen this week to learn where to find your built-in mentors, why you want to be a fighter jet, and why Bedros would rather get attacked by a shark right now than go write the next chapter in his book. (And why he’s gonna go write the next chapter in his book right now anyway.)
Enjoy the show,
Tue, 4 July 2017
This week, we flew in one of our own: Angelo Sisco resides in Chicago, where he works all day every day with gym owners through Barbell Logic and Barbell Ethos. Since he’s our boots on the ground, he talked to us about a couple of trends and common pain points he’s seeing in the field. In this episode, we talk about the hurdles facing a bunch of y’all, and how to jump over them.
Do you ever get an awesome idea, implement it, and then move on to the next thing before the idea starts to yield the results you’ve envisioned? Yeah, you do. We all do. Incomplete follow-through is one of the most pervasive negative trends Angelo’s observed in gyms and boxes. Particularly with long-term marketing strategies, we see gym owners get impatient with the lack of results and pull the plug early. We see a lot of switching between strategies instead of doing one strategy well and seeing it through to completion. And when we don’t see these projects through completely, we can’t know if it works or not.
If you’re a gym owner, the chances are that you’re a “quick start.” You’re great at getting things up and running, or else we wouldn’t be talking to you right now. That’s great and valuable, obviously. Does your team have a follow-through person? A finisher? The great news is that you don’t have to be all those things. Sure, you can be all those things. But why would you want to spend your time and energy on things you don’t like or that you’re not naturally good at?
Listen in with Angelo as we troubleshoot for gym owners everywhere.
Tue, 27 June 2017
What would it take to get Casey Jenks functional fitness sainthood status? Is that a thing? If we just put his face on a medal and wear it around our gym, will that do the trick?
Casey’s the creator of Fitbot, the software that keeps our personal training programs from being our personal nightmares.
One thing we’ve found as gym owners is that people very rarely stumble upon a great opportunity without first encountering a world of pain. For Casey (and for us before he came along with Fitbot,) the pain was in the logistics of maintaining individualized fitness plans for personal training clients. To manage all the aspects of a program with remote, in-person, and hybrid clients, the whole digital circus would have to come to town: email, Excel, Google Docs, Evernote, Vimeo, copying, pasting, smartphones, desktops. When Casey would ask other coaches how they were keeping track of fitness plans, the same gigantic list of tools would come up. Luckily for all of us in fitness entrepreneurship, Casey already happened to be a software developer.
“I got sick of it, and decided to fix it. And I’ve believed that I could do a better job than what was being done. And I believe that what coaches and trainers do is a super-important part of society, and the tools they had at the time were just complete shit. And I believe that they deserve better.”
But let’s back up to why efficient individualized fitness plans are even necessary: A lot of coaches start with group fitness, and this is where they feel most comfortable. So this is sometimes where they want to stay. But personal training is what your gym needs in order to extend the lifecycle of your members. We see a ton of burnout after two years, but with a robust personal training program, you not only extend the interest and commitment of your clients, but you create a useful career path for your coaches.
Join us as we talk to Casey about how well-managed personal training programs increase income, improve employee and client retention, and get the best athletic results.
Tue, 20 June 2017
Because gym owners almost always love coaching, it’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to do all the hands-on stuff yourself. You love your work, so why would you want to let anyone else take over?
This week, we talk to Alwyn Cosgrove of Results Fitness to find the compelling answer to that question. We were thrilled to have the chance to sit down with Alwyn, because he was one of the first people to really convince us of the merits of systemizing our own business.
Alwyn helped us explore some of the reasons we choose not to delegate our work or simplify it with systems. A lot of times we think of handing over a task as a form of ‘giving up.’ Alwyn’s response is that “It’s not about idleness. It’s not about stepping out to be lazy. It’s about what if you had to? Could you?”
When Alwyn was diagnosed with stage-four cancer, he very quickly figured out how to get all the systems in place that were necessary for his gym to operate optimally in his absence.
“I had to move in at UCLA to have a stem cell transplant, right? We had insurance because of the gym, but your bills at home… You still have to pay your rent or your mortgage. You still have to pay your car payment. You still have to pay for everything, right? How do you create a business that runs without you? That’s what you should be doing in the first place.”
Alwyn’s gym underwent a thorough systemization under circumstances that were far from ideal. But it worked. In fact, he jokes that he must have been the jam in the system, because business boomed while he was gone.
As a result of the groundwork he laid years ago, Alwyn is now able to focus on refining his systems and getting incredible results. Some of his members, for example, have been with his gym for 17 straight years, with the average membership running in the seven-to-ten-year range. Ideally, the only reason someone would chose not to renew their membership is that they’ve moved out of the area entirely. Otherwise, he wants to be the last gym his members will ever join.
Direct download: The_Last_Gym_Theyll_Ever_Join_with_Alwyn_Cosgrove_-_165.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT