Level Method

Level Method removes the 'Rx-or-bust' mentality

Mike Watson, GM at Catalyst Fitness (Chris Cooper’s gym), told one of our Gym Success Mentors, "Level Method removes the Rx-or-bust mentality." 

We’ve heard this from many gym owners. In fact, if you’ve been considering implementing Level Method, but your gym has a lot of members looking to dominate, then maybe it's not a good fit.  Because some “athletes” don’t want to be quantified -- they don't like the fact that their real fitness levels are lower than their perception.  You know, the “athlete” who always does “Rx” but can’t finish the workout in the time cap … yet they claim success because they “Rx’d” the workout. 

Well, missing the goal-time is a "failure" -- it's barely even training (exercise plus intelligence). It’s dangerous for people to push themselves into “Rx” weights, reps and movements that are outside their abilities. This is how injuries, adrenal fatigue and so on occur.  Negatives like these actually damage fitness. 

Funny story.  A local gym closed, that had a competitive culture. One of their competitive members wanted to join our gym.  So I was coaching and the workout had muscle-ups. This was many years ago, before Nathan created Level Method, and this “athlete” wanted to Rx. I took him at his word since he'd been doing CrossFit for years.  

When it came time to do the muscle-up, he was struggling. It looked bad. I told him to not attempt another one and his response was, “F* you, I’m not a pu$$y!  I always do workouts Rx!”    

I exercised self-restraint. Nathan overheard, came out of the office, and in the middle of the workout he asked the guy to leave and not come back until he was ready to trust the process.

So how does Level Method help this? 

It is completely in the spirit of a TRUE “Rx” -- not an arbitrary one-size-fits-all that demands performance and capacity without training it. “Rx” is shorthand for "prescription". Does a doctor prescribe the same dosage to patients, no matter if they're 125 pounds or 300? Before doctors prescribe medication, they account for age, weight, allergies, biomarkers like blood pressure, severity of symptoms, any other medications, and so on.  Prescriptions are customized, or it's malpractice.  The Rx-or-bust mindset is toxic. Level Method gives appropriate prescriptions.

So how did fitness degenerate into an arbitrary workout standard, where if you don’t do “Rx” you're a “pu$$y”?  And a better question: “Is a single-Rx helpful, or harmful?” There are benefits of overcoming an obstacle by pushing into it, but there are grave risks. People come in all different shapes, sizes, fitness levels -- and they should not all be prescribed the same workout. 

Many will say, “Well, our coaches modify the workouts.” My response is to ask:

  • Are workouts modified consistently, across different coaches and different classes? 
  • Are the modifications taking the energy-system stimulus into account -- or merely changing the movement, or lowering weight and reps?”  
  • What if a coach has a newer member in class that they haven’t coached before? 

How does that conversation go? “What do you think you can do?” This requires members to coach themselves, to gauge their level of fitness and determine what’s appropriate. This is risky, and unprofessional, and may get only a minor improvement over Rx-or-bust.  

What if it's, “But my gym has an Rx plus a scaled version.”  Only two options then?  Some people will need the scaled-Rx to be scaled, and the previous issues still apply. 

So … enter Level Method.  When members join, they are assessed across 15 different categories of fitness -- 15 "biomarkers" for the prescription.  Safety rules are built in, so specific movements (such as kipping pull-ups) should not be attempted until a quantified level of Upper Body Pull Strength is reached. This way they enter class with a Level (we use colors similar to BJJ Martial Arts belts -- White Yellow Orange Blue Purple Brown -- there's Black and Red as well).  

When they do a group workout, they see a TV display that shows SIX different scaled workouts, each designed for an achieved fitness level. There are no movements or weights that are unsafe for their Level.  Members are pushed appropriately, and improvement is shown by their Leveling Up when they retest.   

Gym owners tell me all the time that this takes a huge stress off them. In fact, once members are used to it, they can find their “Prescription” and get set up for the workout.  The coach can focus on … coaching -- on building relationships, bringing energy, watching form. Classes become more successful and easier to manage.

Another quick story. I was talking to a gym owner in the UK who shared about a drop-in who is, let's just say, known and knowledgeable about fitness.  Someone you'd consider an expert.  They were travelling and just wanted to hop into a class. Afterward this person went to the owner and said, “Wow, that coach was really good, knew her stuff -- it was really a well-run class. How long has she been coaching?”  

"Well, she just got out of school, so not very long -- a couple months. I just give her the Coaching Notes supplied to us. She reads them and has everything she needs to run the class." Level Method helps with the consistency and professionalism of how your classes are managed.

People “Rx” their workouts for real, with Level Method. They're not compromising, and any  comparing or competing is like-with-like, apples with apples. If I'm at Orange Level, my workout is Rx, just like Brown Levels have their own comparable Rx workout. 

We consistently hear members say it -- “I feel like that workout was designed just for me” -- or, “I don't feel less than everyone else.”  My favorite is, “Level Method levels out all the jerks.” A member who was loving the culture changes said that to a gym owner -- referring to a couple of problematic people who left. 

Level Method was built to handle the everyday, regular person -- not the “fire-breather”.  We have many high level, humble athletes who love Level Method … although no athlete has yet tested at Red Elite in all categories -- our highest Level.  

The problem with ''fire-breathers" is that they can burn themselves, and other people too.  They think they're fitter than they really are -- they think they're Red Level athletes when they are more like Purple ... and their egos are offended by the facts.

We are in business to help people along their fitness journey -- to help them get healthy. During these pandemic times, fitness is more valuable than ever. People are realizing this, and they want to get healthier to reduce risk.  

As coaches we guide people to a clear path to their goals.  Fitness is not a wilderness -- yet people get lost, doing ineffective, inefficient, and injurious things. Level Method has a MAP, an objective way to visually show how to identify and how to reach goals. This kind of success elevates "coaching" from a job, to a calling.

If you are a gym owner who may be interested in using the Level Method at your gym, schedule a call today. If you are a coach, let your owner know asap. We are growing a large "legion" of the best gyms in the world, and we are considering limiting the number of gyms that can join to keep the quality as high as possible -- we've done this several times in the past. So, if you think you want in, don't miss the opportunity, and get on a call today.