Characteristics Required of a Successful Gym Owner

I will be in San Antonio this weekend at Mission CrossFit with my Learn 2 Lift series. Next weekend April 18-19, I will be at CrossFit Whitby in Ontario. For a full list of Clinics, click on the link below:

Mash Mafia Learn 2 Lift Clinics

Characteristics Required of a Successful Gym Owner

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Opening your own gym is the dream of thousands of men and women around the world. It is an admirable vocation because most people are driven by a desire to help other people. If you are not driven by a desire to help others, stop reading this right now. I have no desire to help people driven by greed. If money is your main desire in life, there are a lot of other ways to make money that are much easier.

While admirable and rewarding, the gym business can get the best of a great coach. If you do not have a solid plan and a willingness to work your butt off, going out of business is a frequent ending. It’s sad! It breaks my heart to see someone that truly loves helping other people lose all their money chasing their dreams of owning their own gym. Having owned my own gym for the past six years, I have a lot of great information on what to do and what not to do. I have actually owned four gyms in my life with two of them being financially successful, and two of them just kind of existing. I have been blessed to never lose money, but I have had to work super hard a few times.

I don’t think that anything could be more rewarding than helping gym owners succeed. When a gym owner succeeds, that means that they can go on helping other people. This new passion has sparked my new desire to write a series of articles to teach all of you future and existing gym owner’s ways to succeed in this rise and grind industry.

1. First, let me tell you what is required to be a successful gym owner. Yes, you have to want to help others, but that is just the start. You have to have a thirst for knowledge. You are going to want to be a sponge for exercise science. You are also going to want to be a sponge for business knowledge. You can know every fact and study in the world about exercise science, but actually have to have members to pass on that knowledge.

I recommend spending 70% of my time on Exercise Science and 30% of business for the first five to eight years of your career in fitness. Then I would switch to 70% business and 30% science. At first one has to acquire enough scientific background to properly service your members. Results and referrals will always be your number one source of new members, so master the art first.

2. You have to live it! Don’t be the fat trainer. That’s like being a broke financial planner. People won’t trust you, and I don’t blame them. I don’t care what you are doing in life. If you are telling other people to do something, then you need to be doing it. Louie Simmons lives by this code. Zach Even-Esh lives by this code.

Sometimes coaches in gyms get busy, which is a good thing. The problem is they let this busyness cause them to stop training. Never allow this to happen because it is a quick way to lose all that business. People want to be led by leaders. People react much better to General Patton type leaders. Don’t be the sideline coach! If so, that’s a great way to sideline your business.

3. If you are not a Grinder, then you are in the wrong business. If you want to work 20 hours per week, then you are in the wrong business. I am not saying that you won’t build your business to the point of you having a manager and being able to relax a little. You will! I did! But I worked my butt of to get to that point.

When my wife Drew and I got married, I would start work at 5:30a and I would finish between 8 and 9p. I worked everyday for the first four years of our marriage. I am not crying at all. I loved every minute of it. I was training more people than I had trained my entire life. I was at every event that I could, and my reputation as the best trainer in town spread like fire. I was growing my business, and I loved it.

If you don’t have the work ethic that I just explained, then you are in the wrong business. I am sorry, but that is what it takes. I know all the big names in this arena, and there isn’t one lazy person. We are all Grinders. If you want to become one of us, then you have to put the work in.

4. Know your niche! Is it strength and conditioning, CrossFit, or General Fitness? Once you know that answer, you need to define it even more. If it is strength and conditioning, are you going to focus on football, soccer, wrestling, softball, or what? Whatever it is, become the expert. If you are CrossFit, are you going to be where the competitors hang out, or the barbell specialists. Whatever it is, be known as the best in that area.

5. Give things away for Free! Never be afraid of giving information for free. If you are afraid of that, then you must not have a lot of information in the first place. I have written over 20 free workouts over the last one year that are used by thousands of people all over the world. Does that make people not want to buy my other services? Absolutely not! It makes them trust me. When they get results, they come to me for more.

Once again, it all comes back to one’s desire to really help people. I recommend putting on free seminars, and invite everyone in town. Tell your friends to come, and ask them to bring their friends. You have to learn to use social media. You have to build followers that are in your area, and that are interested in what you have. These are a great source of people to invite to Free Seminars and Free Gym Parties. I will talk more about Social Media next tie.

I have started the Mash Mafia Barbell Affiliation Program with two awesome gyms: Undisputed Strength and Conditioning in Eagan, MN and CrossFit Broken Chains in Orlando, FL. I am going to teach these guys about my training philosophies and techniques. I am also going to teach them how to grow their business. We are going to have monthly meetings and quarterly Mastermind Meeting where I get all the owners together for group meetings to exchange ideas.

If you are interested, email me at The full program will be released on the website within the month. I am more excited about this project than any other.

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