Beware the Gym Gurus

TLDR; Gym owners are being bombarded with ads about transforming their businesses. Some are bad, and some work. How do we know what to avoid? How do we spot what will leverage our own business success? 

For the past few years there's been a boom in businesses that aim and claim to help gyms. How can gym owners discern between what's useful and what's hype?

Before getting involved in the fitness industry, I did a lot of consulting in the corporate world. We’ve run into many companies that promised the moon -- self-styled 'world class' marketers, looking to sell marketing & services. Their genius is in telling you what you want to hear. It's a trap that even I have fallen into, and since then I’ve seen more businesses get hurt than get helped. Now it has expanded to the world of boutique gym owners, and our Level Method clients see it too. 

I’m not here to name names, but I know some of these “gurus”, and knew them before they were “gurus”. There are patterns, and a few questions to ask yourself: 

Has this person had success themselves? -- and if so, was it by doing what they are trying to sell now? How much prosperity did they have? -- in actuality rather than according to carefully crafted exaggerated marketing stories. On social media, what image and values are they projecting? Are they showing off luxury living, fancy cars, big houses, lavish vacations? 

This is a tactic to attract you via fantasy and envy. To me, it's a slap in the face to gym owners. It's like politicians flaunting wealth they did not earn, gained only after they attained public office. Stinks of corruption. Simply put, fantasy images show they are out of touch with the reality of the people they pretend to help. Gym gurus didn’t have those things when they were coaches or gym owners, supposedly using their "system". They prospered only when they started selling their system.

Do these “gurus” still own their gyms? Are they constantly testing and improving their systems, before experimenting on you? Finally, do they care about you? Will they remember your name? Are you a person to them? -- or just a dollar sign.

One “guru”, not to be named, actually was a coach next door to my gym. We shared a wall. I will be tactful. This person pretended to be a gym owner, but was not. They basically took the system from that gym, and turned it into something to sell to other gyms. They are great at sales, and they have helped some businesses -- but I know of more businesses that were hurt. 

Using gimmicks to herd in people can attract the wrong sort of member, faithful only to gimmicks, and who do not honor the loyalty and competence of the gym owners. The pattern is that these newbie butterflies just up and leave. Meantime, the loyal members who are the foundation of your gym may have been driven away. So after an initial influx, owners can be in a worse position financially.

New business and membership leads is the "sexy" thing that gym owners want to buy, in the same way potential gym clients can be sold on losing weight and being attractive, being sexy. Professionals know there is no quick fix, no magic pill -- it's about hard work and discipline, but that’s just harder to sell. It's the same truth for marketing and sales. 

Gym owners have clients who come in faithfully, apply effective techniques, and work hard enough to become inspirational -- and lose 50+ pounds. As with clients, so with owners: those who succeed using a “guru” system, succeed by being hard workers, motivated to put in the work -- they adapted the system to make it work. 

But for every success story, there are many failures who people who don’t want to change and don’t get the results. The problem is that they claim to be selling a done-for-you system. But it isn't done for you.  If it is to work, owners have to study and learn and implement the system, and tweak it for specific needs, and work to maintain quality.

Owners need a solid operating business, and tools for onboarding and retaining clients. (That’s what Level Method is great for. Fix the holes in your bucket, keep clients engaged, show them their progress visually -- so they’re engaged and stay longer.) But implementing a valuable system is not magic. It’s analogous to the hard work, discipline and focus of anyone who’s lost weight and kept it off. 

Level Method is not a business-management system. It’s an operating system, a set of tools, and a product for getting results for your members. It works best when there is a foundation of leadership, a clear business vision, a solid team of coaches that you value and nurture -- you help them grow, consistently. How does all this evolve? 

There are times during our "Discovery Calls" with gym owners interested in Level Method, it’s clear that someone is not ready to implement Level Method. They don’t have regular coach meetings. They don’t run their business with standard operating procedures. They don’t have repeatable systems in place that can be improved over time. These folks genuinely need, well, a genuine guru -- mentoring.

In these cases we routinely refer them to Two Brain Business. All of the TBB mentors are gym owners too. They share real-world tactics that have worked for them. We get $0 for this referral. Likewise, Chris "Coop" Cooper (CEO/Founder of TBB) gets $0 for recommending Level Method. He does so because he has used it at his gym since 2018, and genuinely loves it. He even put the Level Method logo on his sign (as you can see).  The feeling is mutual, because the gyms that are crushing it with Level Method are mostly TBB gyms. They understand that businesses operate on systems, not gimmicks.

I honestly don’t even know what kind of car Coop drives. But I know that he has grown his company not by being the focus, but by making others the focus. One of Coop's great values is to “Help First”, and he exemplifies this. He gives away a lot of solid information for free, and he's written several excellent books. He’ll remember your name. He'll ask you about how things are going. He will give you free advice if you ask. He still owns a gym. He is humble. I could go on. 

The bottom line is, we align ourselves with TBB because we share a set of core values. Our goal is to help gym owners succeed -- making the world healthier and more vibrant. TBB plus Level Method is a powerhouse system. They go together like PB & J. Both are great on their own, but when combined they can be even better.

P.S. -- Level Method may still be closed to new gyms… occasionally, we shut down to the public to focus on  expanding our services and on making our existing clients more successful. 

With that said,  TBB gyms are the only gyms allowed to adopt Level Method all year round, because (to be totally transparent), they adopt things really well and need less support in the process. So if you are a TBB gym, take advantage now. You can follow the link in your TBB App marketplace.