I’m taking a moment to expand on my concerns with appearance-focused goals. I will always encourage clients to have less of an emotional attachment to aesthetics and to give more attention and awareness to the vision of the life they want to live, the things they want to do, and the experiences they want to have in a fitter body. That said, I understand context matters and everything is nuanced and situational.
When Ashley’s top coaches walked out the door with 40 of her members to open a gym 2 miles down the road, she contacted Chris Cooper (of Two Brains) to figure out where she’d gone wrong.
– What mentorship is and how it can benefit you
– How to use extrinsic and intrinsic motivation to build and maintain a solid business
– What makes Two Brains special in the crowded, sometimes shady world of fitness business coaching
– What does “successful” mean now?
– A formula to help you determine how much to invest in mentorship
– How to manage big changes at your gym
A reminder for CrossFit coaches and trainers to end ALL classes — not just kids and teens — at the height of fun OR at the right time. Know when it’s time to move to the next thing and keep your people flowing.
My thoughts on why there’s so much confusion about what CrossFit is, and what it all means for coaches and programmers.
CrossFit has changed so much in the past decade that it can be helpful to consider our history, remember how things have evolved within and alongside CrossFit, and think about the full context of what happens to anything when it moves from the fringes to the masses.
EC Synkowski runs OptimizeMe Nutrition, a company dedicated to providing solutions for anyone to improve their weight, health, and overall wellbeing through sustainable diet methods. Thousands have used her #800gChallenge®, a diet free of restrictive rules, to eat healthily and have reported weight loss, increased energy, improved performance.
EC has a BS in biochemical engineering, a first MS in environmental sciences (with a focus in genetics), and second MS in Nutrition & Functional Medicine. She has also trained others since 2000 and holds the Certified CrossFit Level 4 Coach (CF-L4) credential. Her professional experience includes working as a Program Manager for CrossFit Inc (2011-2017) authoring their training course materials and serving as a subject matter expert for their certifications.
We’ve known her for a long time and have a lot of respect for her work.
In this conversation, we get into:
What we appreciate most about her #800gChallenge® is that it’s not about removing things from your diet — it’s about finding delicious ways to add colorful, flavorful yumminess to your plate.
The question that inspired her quest: How do we measure “clean” or “healthy” eating?
Her biggest pet peeve with some nutrition advice
Her answer to How do you get someone to want to eat better, or to care about nutrition?
How she starts by asking, What did you eat for breakfast this morning? and then meets people where they’re at with small, sustainable changes.
The biggest pushback she receives on the #800gChallenge®, like weight gain, eating “too much” fruit or binging on one thing (potatoes, avocados, etc.), and issues with gastrointestinal disorders (IBS, etc.)
When coaches can shine
One solid strategy that’s so simple most of us ignore it — “Don’t buy it, don’t have it around the house.” Boring. :)
How we sometimes need to heal our relationships with food before starting a nutrition program — Eating more fruits and veggies isn’t going to help you love yourself, and if that’s the reason you struggle with food, changing your diet isn’t an effective strategy.
Loved this down-to-earth conversation on food and nutrition. I’m feeling super grateful that EC allowed me to selfishly ask her for the answers to my biggest questions and challenges with food. It was like a free, recorded consult. :)
EC’s Plug-n-Play #800gChallenge® package for gyms that includes email and social media templates as well as everything else you need to lead your members through the challenge. You can read more about the specifics of what you get with this package by reading how it’s delivered on platforms like Wodify and SugarWOD. You don’t have to use either of those platforms to take part in the plug-n-play, but those pages will give you a better understanding of exactly what’s included.
I am lucky to know many highly-skilled, hardworking people who’ve been incredibly successful in changing lives through fitness and movement. These folks also tend to be generous with their knowledge, paying it forward so others can share in the abundance.
With so many changes in the fitness industry due to COVID-19, and with so many of us considering hybrid gym models (running online and in-person memberships), I wanted to talk with people who knew how to offer that personal touch in an online space.
Mike and Adee Cazayoux lead the Working Against Gravity (WAG) community, which offers 1:1 personal nutrition coaching. They build a custom program around your needs to meet you where you’re at AND get you the results you want.
They’ve been offering their services through WAG since 2014.
What makes WAG so interesting to me is that Mike and Adee have chosen to run a premium-priced model, which goes against the typical volume-based membership service that relies on a constant turn-and-burn to keep afloat, like something that’s $20 a month.
In this webisode, the duo shares some of the mistakes and wins they’ve experienced while working with over 20,000 people and 35 coaches online. They offer up some great information on how they’ve built better systems for their program delivery, coach check-ins, and member tracking.
Some of the highlights:
All their coaches have to respond to messages within 24-hours.
All their coaches are former WAG members.
They have every member of their team take the Kolbe test to learn their strengths and weaknesses.
They believe online coaches need to be more patient because they don’t get that immediate feedback that happens naturally with in-person, face-to-face interactions.
They teach their coaches to build relationships with the FORD model.
Why they decided on a premium-priced model, and why they believe their product is worth what they charge.
How to determine what to pay a coach, how many hours it takes to coach x amount of people, and how many clients each coach can handle.
Why online services can be so valuable and deliver such great results.
What to do when a client isn’t responding to accountability check-ins.
This is a great conversation to listen to if you’re considering online memberships or a hybrid model at your facility.
If you’d like to learn more about WAG, here are some places to visit:
And, if you’d like to see how we’re using a hybrid model here at WUWO, here’s what our session plans look like. The link takes you to a 1-day preview, no email or info required. The “Partially Loaded” track is for people who work out at home. All they need are a pair of dumbbells (or objects from around the house) and a jump rope. We’ve found that providing at-home clients with similar or the same programming keeps them feeling connected to and a part of the larger community.
What is happening around the world is incredible. Scary, painful, devastating for many, for sure. But also incredible.
If a stranger had walked up to you on January 1st and said, “In a few months time, all planes will be grounded, people will be isolated at home with their sewing projects and newfound hobbies, economies will be in jeopardy, and the masses will be questioning a lot of what they thought to be real or solid or unchangeable, you would have tossed that person a buck and briskly walked away before they started shouting Armageddon prophecies at you.
Here we are. People are suddenly more educated about plagues and pandemics of old. Nearly everyone is stocking up on potatoes and seeds. And then there’s this whole Tiger King thing we keep hearing about.
It’s a weird world.
Things that seemed impossible are now our reality. Just like that.
These are not unprecedented times — they’re just new to most of us.
When our team first tossed out the idea of a Pay What You Want or Choose a Fair Price structure in one of our weekly meetings a year ago, the response we all had was, “That’d be cool. We wish we felt comfortable enough to do that, because it’s who we are and who we want to be, but now’s not the time for something that risky.” We were scared. We have mortgages and families and dreams. All of us work other jobs to keep afloat. None of us are rich or even have a retirement plan, so there’s no cushion to catch us if an idealistic pricing model fails.
Could we really trust strangers to be generous or fair?
Realities shifted. What seemed impossible now seems doable or try-able.
Let us be clear: Just about everyone still thinks we’re naive or really bad at business.
People will take advantage of you!!!
You’re undervaluing what you do and all the hard work that goes into your product!
People will underpay you because they can. When it comes down to it, we’re a self-interested species.
Look, if our top concern was making money or building an empire, we’d write a strength + metcon program because that’s what the masses want. It’d sell really well and people would say, “Wow, you know what you’re doing. Look at all this social validation. You deserve to do well….yada, yada, yada…” And we’d make 5x what we make now. Our Instagram account would have thousands of more followers. And we could pat ourselves on the back for the brilliant business decision. Problem is, we don’t believe in it.
We only know what feels right, especially amidst so much uncertainty. Because now, even with the best business plan, the most competitive pricing, and an excellent marketing strategy, it’s still a big-ole-TBD on whether or not any of us are making it out of this thing.
So if we can’t explore unusual ways of doing things now, when the world feels so topsy turvy, we’ll never be brave enough to do something so outside the box.
Pay What You Want-ish
Pay What You Want is a pricing system where people pay an amount of their choosing. Instead of the producer setting the price, the buyer sets the price.
What we’ve done is come up with a few suggested prices for gyms of different circumstances:
We’ve come to these prices thoughtfully after years of working with gyms on a case-by-case basis across a variety of situations, like exchange rates, soldiers training overseas, micro-boxes with missions we wanted to support, affiliates recovering from a natural disaster or event, or even groups of friends who workout together because they don’t have a nearby box.
From the very beginning, we’ve done our best to work with people who reached out, but it’s not been front-and-center enough. It’s been a much more casual Choose a Fair Price system. We want to change that, so people don’t assume we’re not willing to work with them.
What we’re doing is not a perfect Pay What You Want system. It’s more Choose a Fair Price, which is about managing the barriers to entry.
Barriers to Entry
The simple fact is: Price is a barrier to entry.
But it’s not the right barrier to entry for us.
We hope to transform the barrier to entry from price/cost to a different type of buy-in — similar values, a shared why, and a compatible mission. Meaning, we want to work with others who share our purpose: Fitness for everyone, for life. Powered by coaches skilled at communication, emotional intelligence, and village-building. Rooted in a culture of generosity, resiliency, and a “leave your ego at the door” humility.
If you’re our people, we want you at the table.
For us, this is about the long game, the mission.
We want more gyms to get on the GPP train.
More gyms warming up properly.
More coaches who feel confident and effective, and who find their work to be meaningful.
We need more facilities dedicated to resiliency, more cultures that encourage people to chase difficulty. Because running a business is hard, being a parent is hard, being a caretaker to your parents is hard, and we could keep adding to this list all the other difficult things we’re expected to do as humans. Hard things are part of life, and we want to train people to be physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared for the good and tough times.
We want to work with affiliates of all sizes. If you’re not profitable now, we want you to be profitable. If you’re doing well, we want you to do even better.
Life is hard enough. We want to help you meet your needs as a business owner by skilling-up your coaches, giving your clients continual progress and growth (while keeping them safe), and freeing up some of your time.
If one of us succeeds, we all do. It’s about the larger mission at hand.
We see this pricing move to be in alignment with our vision: Fitness for decades, for everyone. Led by skilled, kind coaches who show up and serve.
How Our Pricing Works
When you start the sign-up process for our Gym Program, you choose a monthly price that feels good, right, or appropriate to you.
Then, you’re asked a series of questions:
What is your greatest strength as an affiliate?
What would you like to improve?
What was your most recent affiliate success?
What was the most recent mistake you made as an affiliate?
Write a quick summary of your affiliate’s journey up until now.
What programming are you currently using? In-house, or a different programming company? Has your programming been following a daily Strength + Metcon structure? Any other type of cycles?
Why do you want to use WUWO at your affiliate?
Do you think that CrossFit is the most effective methodology for making people more fit?
In a nutshell, we’re all about the three C’s:
That’s where we shine. We’ve built profitable businesses by giving a lot of energy to those three pieces, and we’d like to strengthen your business by doing the same.
To do that, we need to get to know you a little. These questions give us context so we can assess if we’re a good fit for you.
* This pricing structure is for our Gym Program only. Our other programs (Kids, Teens, Oly, Competitor) are written by fantastic people who we want to support with full pricing.
One Last Thing
We’d like to go ahead and set a clear boundary: If it becomes clear that you are more interested in taking advantage of a cheap price than you are in showing up and serving your community, then we will reach out and have a chat about your membership. We are a small crew and we want to keep our community tight.
As we said before, this is about changing the barrier of entry to the right one for us: A shared mission or purpose.
We’re actually really excited to do this because we believe people are generous and full of giving. We want to pay it forward by giving gym owners the autonomy and freedom to choose a price that’s good for them.
Most gyms and affiliates around the world are working harder than they’ve ever worked, adapting to a changing world and completely pivoting their entire business model in the span of hours or days. Part of this transition is learning new platforms like Zoom (for virtual at-home workouts) while experimenting with different ways to keep community engagement high in a digital space.
In the past few weeks, people have shared some amazing ideas in our private Facebook group for members.
We’d like to share a few of those with you so you keep your community strong throughout this crisis.
Most affiliates are conducting online classes (at-home workouts) via Zoom, so here’s some stuff to know about the platform:
Some affiliates have integrated Zoom with Facebook so the Zoom calls are automatically published to Facebook Live. What they’re finding is that some people don’t want to show up for a Zoom call but when a video is pushed to Facebook Live and they can watch it on their phone, they see how much fun everyone is having, and they’re more likely to get involved. It lowers the barrier to entry. Here’s how to do it: Streaming a Zoom Meeting on Facebook Live
Community Engagement and Zoom
A lot of affiliates have said, “When I’ve reached out to some members, they just want to talk. They need to talk with somebody.” People need people. This is one of your superpowers right now — you offer community. Led by leaders who actually care about people. Don’t get so caught up in offering fitness that you forget that a lot of people just want to see the faces of their friends, share stories, and laugh with each other. Give attention to this question: How can I bring people together during a time of social distancing and shelter-in-place?
Several affiliates are hosting a weekly happy hour where they schedule a Zoom call or Facebook live, pour themself a drink, and chat. They’ve noticed that people talking over each other, and the screen jumping back and forth, hasn’t really been an issue, especially if they use Gallery View and teach people how to Mute/Unmute.
This article gives specifics on how you could run Trivia via Zoom (how people can submit guesses, etc.) and it suggests a few other games you could play. The Scavenger Hunt one looks fun to us, especially for your members who have kids at home right now.
Use Icebreakers to get everyone smiling and talking. Make space for social interaction more than you normally would in class, as that’s what people really need right now. Here’s A List of 143 Icebreakers we wrote years ago. We also have a small collection of Would You Rather… Questions.
In talking with a lot of people in the past few days, it seems like some gym members haven’t been showing up for virtual classes because they’ve had the mindset of, “Hey, it’s a week off, just like a vacation.” Thing is: This is not a one or two-week situation. We have no idea how long this is going to last. So, we need to shift people from “meh, it’s just a week” to get them to understand that they need to build better, more sustainable habits into their lifestyle. Reach out to members who’ve been MIA and check on them. They might have some serious stuff going on in their life, they might not understand how you’re doing the at-home workouts (or be intimidated by the process), or they might need a little encouragement to get off the couch and get moving again (it doesn’t help that new movies & T.V. shows keep getting released on streaming services).
Managing a Virtual Team
Simon Sinek has led a remote team for over 10 years. In the following video, a team leader explains a weekly ritual they use called the “Huddle” to connect, build trust and get to know each other as people. It’s 75 minutes each week, just to build relationships and show appreciation, not talk business or strategy.
And with that, we’ll just say: Take care of yourself, your loved ones, and your community. We’re all in this together.