133. Gary Villegas | Eternity CrossFit

133. Gary Villegas | Eternity CrossFit

On today’s episode, Fern sits down with friend of the show, Gary Villegas. Gary has been on the CrossFit seminar staff for five years and has owned his affiliate in Orange County, California, Eternity Crossfit for the past nine years. Gary is very much entrenched in this world. While listening to this podcast, you will hear how much Gary cares about every one of his clients, and how CrossFit gave him a better toolset to serve them. Gary has been through a lot to get to where he is today and is proof that if you want something, you have to go after. As always there is a tremendous amount of valuable information in this episode.

Timestamps 

(1:39) The summit. 

(2:36) How Gary found CrossFit, he’s backstory.

(5:30) Quite jobs after level 1.

(14:29) Going from the group setting to one on ones. Personal Traning.  

(19:08) Getting affiliated and the mistakes

(23:19) Why Affiliation is so important 

(27:44) The transition wasn’t easy

(29:45) The importance of the group setting

(34:15) What Gary says are his biggest mistakes

(40:07) Gary’s development programme for bringing on new coaches

(43:17) Older demographics of Gary’s box

(51:26) Movement Repetition

(57:06) Working up in HQ


Social media:

@eternitycrossfit

https://www.eternitycrossfit.com/

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Fern:
All right, everybody, welcome back to the best hour of their day Fern here. Sorry, we’ve had a little bit of gap Ackerman and I have been a little bit busy. A lot of travel, a lot of different stuff, but we are back on it. And today, I’m super excited. We have seminar staff member with us, Gary Villegas, who is the owner of Eternity Crossfit,. How long you been on seminar stuff, dude?

Gary Villegas:
5 years

Fern:
I was gonna say, yeah, you’re like right around the same amount of time as me and then. So Gary and I have actually never I don’t think we’ve worked a seminar together. I know we I think we’ve only worked at the games together.

Gary Villegas:
Yeah, I work at the games and hang out at the summits.

Fern:
At the summit. So which is interesting because a lot of people and I’m sure you get the same like out on the weekends when you work. Seminars, Gary. People are like, do you guys work together often? And I’m like, oh, no, once every two years. And like, wow, it seems like you guys do this every week.

Gary Villegas:
Yeah, that happened regularly.

Fern:
Anyway his gym is in kind of the Orange County area and he’s got a really unique story I think will resonate with a lot of people. So I wanted to bring him on. It’s all that. But I think there is a lot of cool stuff about Gary. So I want to talk about some of the members in his gym, want to talk about your experience coaching and kind of like becoming a coach and what that journey look like on the seminar staff and then some of the stuff that you’re getting into in the coming future, which we were just talking about before we hit record. But dude, I know you’re busy, so I appreciate your time. Thanks for coming on.

Gary Villegas:
Thank you for reminding me, man. And my pleasure to have this opportunity to be here with you.

Fern:
Absolutely, bro. Just bring on the best people and people we like talking to. So I didn’t I didn’t we didn’t really get a chance to hang out this summer. I felt like this was the fastest or this summit. I felt like this was like the the it felt like the shortest summit ever. It was like two days was just gone immediately.

Gary Villegas:
They went really fast. There was also a bunch of new people to me and different places to hang out with a lot of news stories to hear.

Fern:
Yeah, there’s like I think the number I think it was like. Twenty percent new trainers. Which is which hasn’t been the case in a long, long time. So 20 percent increase roughly on some of our staff since the last trainer summit two years ago ish. So yeah, It was it was fun.

Fern:
How long have you had your affiliate?

Gary Villegas:
I’m going in to 9 years, in September 2020, eight years so far.

Fern:
Ok. That’s so not not new to the game. And then obviously you didn’t just find Crossfit, open your doors immediately. How long have you been training Crossfit,? Like, when did you find Crossfit,? You’re like, this is what I’m going to. This is what I’m going to get into.

Gary Villegas:
So I was already a personal trainer for a global gym. I started in 2005. Exposed to Crossfit, around 2006.

Fern:
Ok.

Gary Villegas:
It took me a while to actually get him involved with Crossfit, because my closed mentality of what fittness was. Didn’t allow me to see the benefits of the program. It’s a. To my understanding, based on what I was taught is. A strict who loves and doing squats 180 degrees was the way of going. No one does what the organization that I worked for was willing to teach us. Till one day got in workout with a little girl. And She finish the same amount of work in about four minutes and I finish in about fifteen minutes. So I got me with the same amount of weight. This got me really intrigued and I start asking more questions. What is this? She told me. Does Crossfit,. And after that, which it was in 2009. I decided to go and take the level one like two weeks after that. And right after I listen to the lectures of the squat. That these squads, the functional movements that are essential, are part of our DNA. It just brought me back to my roots coming from way in southern Africa where I come from. You know, we have no seats, we have no toilets, so we squat all the way down. Now I’m here working in a fitness facility telling people to go to 90 degrees. Changing all these patterns. And I’m concerned that my family is going to have any problems for life because we have no toilet. We have to squat all the way down. So when I hear they talk about the squat. That was it after that, every other movement and every explanation. And on top of that, the way that the seminar staff explained the material, it was so inspiring for me that I was like I’m done being a trainer. After that, it took me two more weeks to go and quit my job.

Fern:
You quit your job two weeks after you took the one level?

Gary Villegas:
Exactly. Because like jumping today, industry for the reason of helping other people better become healthier, make healthier choices. And I was doing that, but not with the most efficient tools. After going to the level one seminar, I realized that the tools that I was given and that seminar were. What I needed to do my job in a more efficient way.

Fern:
How long were you a personal trainer for like how long were you in the fitness industry before you? So it sounds like you had like a three year kind of quasi relationship.

Gary Villegas:
Well,.

Fern:
You know,.

Gary Villegas:
I started at the started 2005. I quit at the end of 2009.

Fern:
So what was the hang? So, like, why didn’t like why were you resistant to Crossfit,?

Gary Villegas:
So if you have done any the, Any of these seminars, any SAM NTSA offer, any of the national certifications?

Fern:
Yup. So. I’ve taken the CSC s exam.

Gary Villegas:
clientsSo they’re pretty good in anatomy. They’re pretty good. And giving you all this information, all these literature. And then you just go and take a test in a closed room and then a trainer at that given time was more knowledge than what I had previous to that, you know, which it was just going to the gym and doing regular lifting. However, some of the information I was given, I had conflicts with like mainly the squatting part going only 90 degrees and the needs cannot pass the toes. Those have to be facing forward. Oh, I was working with a lot of people and using all those techniques and. Trying my best to get them to become the healthiest. I never got to me to be trained to become a better coach or went to like a summit where I was promoted to like do things there or someone watching after me. As long as I was bringing in revenue and income and my projections and selling more than previous previous years, I was good. So it became a point where everything was about sells and what I was passionate about at which it was working with people, training people. It was not there anymore. It was a re-sign re-sign time. And I was lucky enough that my seminar Coach Glassman was Able to give a little talk and explain the benefits of holding a group class and how that’s going to create accountability within the group, how they’re going to become friends. How one is going to call another one when they’re not there. And the fact that you can now, instead of 60 bucks or $120 for an hour, you can only charge two hundred a month. Yeah, but now you have multiple people. Within one hour or so, not only the days of accountability and having the tools to get people more benefits. It was positive, but also on the aspect that if you want to jump point, this is point. So I was just like a great moment for me.

Fern:
That’s really cool. So how long? So cute. So you’re out kind of the global gym. You take the level one. You quit your job two weeks later. And then what? I know there is somebody who A) wants to do that as well, but probably doesn’t have the balls to do it. Which I totally get and respect because that is frightening. But so then what? You’re just like, all right. I’ve I’ve I’ve found my purpose. And now what am I going to do? Did you just immediately decide you’re gonna open an affiliate?

Gary Villegas:
I did not decided that I was going to open in a field because at this point, I still haven’t told any of my clients that I’m going to start teaching Crossfit,. So I do my level one. And I come back. And within those two week period, I’m already planning how we’re going to leave. So I realized that this company that I’m working for, every time that someone decides to leave the company. The company find a reason to fire you. Why do you eat a protein bar in front of your client or like you fill up a piece of paper wrong. There was a reason that you’re gonna get fired. And you can come back to the company. So I was like, I’m not going to quit. I’m just gonna take a leave of absence, OK? So I take this leave of absence and. Tell all my what exactly what I was going to do. So they decide if they want to stay in the facility with another coach or they want to follow me. And a contact at its small facility that teaches yoga, but also has an outdoor space and percent then my project. And then we’re very excited about it.

Fern:
Mm hmm.

Gary Villegas:
So I made the transition exactly two weeks later and brought all my clients that I had from private to start doing some group classes and I was able to squeeze most of them in the morning.

Fern:
So all of them came with you?

Gary Villegas:
All of them. I will say a good ninety nine percent.

Fern:
That. So clearly they were happy with with with you. Right. And obviously, you’re an incredibly handsome guy, but like, obviously you’re doing something right. You know, like before you found growth, it’s not like you were just doing garbage training. It sounds like you were just doing the best with what you had. So do you mind if I ask, like, how many how many clients is that the you that you’re doing like personal training with? You kind of move over to this group setting?

Gary Villegas:
At that point probably be a little bit over 30.

Fern:
Ok. That’s a lot. That’s really good.

Gary Villegas:
So I had a pretty good start, to be honest.

Fern:
So. So what was their reaction to that whole thing? Did they just kind of blindly say, yes, they’re like, hey, what? Like I’m here for Gary soever? Gary goes, I go. Or were they. Were they a little hesitant?

Gary Villegas:
They follow me, man. I had a brief protection with my people. You know, I still have some of those clients with me from about, what, 14 years ago. I still have some

Fern:
That’s amazing.

Gary Villegas:
One of the reasons why they follow is because they realize that I care. If there was something that I didn’t know, I will let them know. A look. They will come in and ask me a question that I have no answer for. I will tell them, hey, as I wrote out, I will lie to you if I tell you. So just give me. A few days I’ll get back to you on that or let me contact somebody that can give you that information. I believe that that’s what’s going to help the most when making transition. You know, if he knows that you have. Your best interest to be with you? I don’t think that is going to be a problem.

Fern:
Yeah, I think it’s it’s interesting and I was going to ask you follow in question, but you answered it because I feel and you get the same questions I do on the weekends, which is a lot of people are afraid to say, I don’t know when in in from a personal relationship standpoint, that might be the best thing that you could say to a client is, I don’t know. I will find out and we’ll solve this problem together.

Gary Villegas:
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. I think it will be wrong to pretend that you know something.

Fern:
Well, I think there’s a lot of new coaches who who feel that they’re supposed to know everything and because they’re quote unquote, the authority or the expert, you know, because they’ve they’ve started their fitness journey.

Fern:
And I think they think there’s this misconception that that if you admit that you don’t know something, that that means that you are not good at what you do, which you and I both know that’s not the case. Like there’s everybody doesn’t know something. You know what I mean?

Gary Villegas:
Exactly. I agree with you on that.

Fern:
So I actually want to backtrack. So because I was actually doing a call with a couple of our coaches who were in our group for best out of their day. And we were talking about PT. You were doing a lot of P.T. before that. And this is something. Yeah.

Fern:
So this is something that an admittedly for myself, if you start your your coaching journey in the group setting and then try to transition to in any degree to personal training, it can be a little weird. It just it doesn’t feel the same. The anatomy of that session is not the same. What for you makes a good personal training session?

Fern:
Like why did why did you have 30 client? Like what we’re doing so well in this personal training sessions that 30 people blindly just left that gym and followed you where you want.

Gary Villegas:
One of the things Will I was holding them accountable to what they were trying to accomplish. So accountability was like a big thing. Another thing it was that. We will measure progress. Somehow, like a performance body composition change. And also constantly giving them. New small goals to accomplish based on the big picture. So let’s say they want to know a certain amount of weight. We create more goals to accomplish in four to six week period that we’re. Body compensation or something related to nutrition, also performance. Like if we were walking a mile with someone that is extremely obese and the mile was taking fifteen minutes. The plan was within a six week period to go to fifteen and a half. Also keep it somehow realistic. And within the same says. Being aware that you’re going to make a few mistakes, like sometimes you’re gonna be off that calculation, you’re going gonna be overheard, you’re going to do even better, but as long as you are invested. And to help these people to accomplish this goal. You’re moving forward. They are trusting you. And as long as you take that seriously and showed them that you care, even though you’re going to make a few mistakes, they’re going to go by. And they still are going to be there for you.

Fern:
It’s so not not funny, but the the commonalities between literally every person they bring on the show when we ask them like what is the key to be in a great trainer, a great leader. It all comes back to that fundamental like you just have to care about people.

Fern:
You just have to give a crap about people. And that’s basically what you just said. It’s like, I’m don’t care. I want to keep him accountable. I want to come up with new goals. I’m going to invest in them and then they’re going to reciprocate that. And I just it’s.

Fern:
I think people are resistant to do that because it’s hard. It requires a lot of emotional equity on the trainers part to do that for 30 people or a hundred and fifty people. If you have an affiliate like whatever your affiliate looks like, like it can be a little emotionally exhausting.

Fern:
But it sounds like that is what you were doing, which is why people were so just, you know, 100 percent all in to follow you whenever you made that transition. So when you go from that, when you go to the yoga studio, like, how does that. What’s that transition look like from that process to eventually opening the doors that your doors for eternity. Crossfit,.

So I made the transition at this point. I have an Tadmor, much of the Olympic lifts movements, you know, a lot of I know a lot of benching, squiring, deadlifting, bicep curling, but everything now that I’m going to be in is what I have to learn on the level one. So I say you start the process, you know, of course. Some Wod were super easy. Some Wod were a lot harder. I think the newer format where people are now doing the same thing together, where you have 16 year old little boy that is going to high school and his super is working now with 40 year old mother.

Gary Villegas:
You know, that just came to have a week after dropping their kids to a school and having. Is different in those in the same group. Becoming friends, holding each other accountable. And at the same time, doing a work out. With their own personal goal, but within a healthy competitive environment where there is a lederberg spies leaking well, I am going to let just into their 16 year old kid say, I’m not going to let the mom beat me up when they get school because some of these babies are insanely fit. So moving into this facility, I made an arrangement with the owner of the facility where I will. Keep 70 percent and he will keep 30 percent of the profit, which is what most private trainers we’re working with every other facility. So I started a group classes. At this point I’m not calling Crossfit, anything. And the owner of the facility got all excited and wanted to get it and start doing marketing. And say, well, let’s do this, however, we have to get information first in order to do so. He decided to do a little bit of marketing without being affiliated. And I was like, man, that’s not the right thing to do. And within like two days we got a little email from HQ that just like it was really fast. I guess somebody from around saw that we were doing good and that we were using it and it was not the right thing to do. So that started a little bit of play between me and that facility. So I told them, look, if you don’t pay the affiliation, we cannot use the name. And if this is not going to work, just let me know when I find another place to go and start my own affiliation. But at this point, I still want it put like a good net bidets. Into learning what it takes to run through classes. You know. And the responsibilities of dealing with so many people at once.

Gary Villegas:
I don’t know at this point what is to rent a business, renting a building, to get a business license, to have insurance and all the things that come with being a business owner. So during this process, I’m just trying to prepare myself for the next step. And while that’s happening, we’re just getting more and more people. So let’s say another month goes by and we have. Forty five.

Gary Villegas:
The owner of this facility got excited and told me, OK, we’re doing a lot better. Now we’re going to go 40. I’ll keep 40 and you keep 60. And I go well Whatever we’re doing good, we’re going to get affiliated and say yes soon we get affiliated. Another month go by. We bring more clients. Now we’re reaching the 60s. And he’s still no one to get the affiliation. And he come with a new offering. He told me, hey, we’re going to go. 60-40. So he was about to keep 60 and he was to give me 40 and this is like or like. Middle of the month. So when I heard this offer and he’s giving me no option, I realize that it’s done with company and it was time for me to make the move and start my own affiliation because he was just benefiting of everything that I was bringing with the coaching group class. Matt he was not going to actually.

Fern:
Which is crazy because what’s the affiliation fee at this time? Like five hundred bucks.

Gary Villegas:
It was like fifteen hundred. What’s just it just got bumped to fifteen hundred.

Fern:
I mean still chump change.

Gary Villegas:
Exactly. But you know what? As today, you know, you have seen a lot of people don’t realize the benefit of the Affiliation and that because of a lot of people being on it and paying that money, the organization itself has been able to ban and support all of us, you know. And that is like a very tender topic because I have seen a lot of people. That get used in name and then they build a a bit of clientele and then I’m out. Crossfit, is not doing it for me, which is like I don’t get it. If it wasn’t because of Crossfit,, they would not be where they were. They were. They are to date.

Fern:
Yeah, I don’t get it either, it’s one it’s one of the more perplexing things in in the industry. It’s it’s twofold to me. It’s just straight-up ungrateful because like you just said, they wouldn’t be there if if that wasn’t available to them. And an Crossfit, wasn’t essentially an open source market, which is like, hey, you could just look at the Crossfit, dicom and learn everything. But the other thing that has always been just very puzzling is that it’s it demonstrates a lack of understanding of what. What’s what entails or what franchises entail? Because it’s significant, more buy in. If I was to do a franchise and I feel like people want franchise support for affiliate fee prices and it’s just not going to happen.

Gary Villegas:
And if you actually look at behind the scenes support they can have from all the education that is for free. That come from the interaction that you get from every similar staff. That is an old source that you can contact on any given time and you’re not getting. Charge for any of that. You know, you ask any questions you can contact. You get e-mails, you get phone numbers. It’s just like you get the biggest resource ever. They’re not any other franchisor. They have a rule book that you need to follow and stick to that. I believe the resources are endless. Just people who haven’t figured out how to tap into it.

Fern:
I agree. And that’s something that I actually struggle with. As as like I don’t want to say like a leader, but like with this podcast in general, like I. It’s one of the things that is like very frequently comes to the forefront. On my radar of a problem to try to tackle is I agree with you. I don’t think people know what to do. And I struggle because part of my answer is I feel like there’s somebody sitting at a desk. Trying to learn a topic. And there’s a book sitting in front of them that’s closed and all they’re telling me is that they can’t figure out how to learn this topic. And all I want to say is open the damn book like that’s how I feel.

Gary Villegas:
I totally agree with you, man. I totally agree with you. If you want something, you have to go and get it. You know, the last podcast that I listened from you and Jason, it was with Coach Glassman, at the end, you guys, Jason is talking like you got to go and work. You got to go and get the answers and the information is there. But you just got to exposure’s and you got to want it to grow. You know, in order to get that information so you can use it in a productive way.

Fern:
Which is which is actually brings me to the next point, which is like you’ve kind of had like just in general kind of a fortuitous path to where you are today, which is clearly you wanted to do this. Right.

Gary Villegas:
Yeah, I was.

Fern:
You sacrificed a lot. And I don’t know if you like how much you want to go into that, like some of the hardships that you’ve dealt with, but like, I think.

Gary Villegas:
Well.

Fern:
Perspective matter. Yeah.

Gary Villegas:
No, no. Keep going. I’m sorry.

Fern:
No, I was just gonna say, like I think I think that’s a story that people should hear.

Gary Villegas:
Well, listen, let’s talk about it,. I was making about $120 dollars an hour. For a for private training and plus bonuses, I cut my salary to a quarter. From a hundred-plus low 40, but the biggest take of that it was the fact that I went from working 10 to 14 hours a day back to back just selling and sacrificing the thing that was giving me the joy which it was. Spending time with people to see them progress, I have to be worth more worry about what I going to do with the next client so I can re-sign them to now work in a lot less hours having the time to spend with my kids. Having personal time and actually enjoy what I was doing, which is the reason why I’m into this industry, which was coaching to see people grow. So, yeah. If you want to go into the financial aspect and make a crazy amount of money working 16, 20 hours a day, and that’s what gives you joy. Yeah. There’s a. There is.

Gary Villegas:
An opening for that, there is an industry for that. Go for it. But if you want to just put a few hours. Make enough to make a living and gradually make people grow in a healthy way that. It will organically, organically give you the returns of your effort. Man, I think group classes within the Crossfit, format. Is the way to go for me.

Gary Villegas:
I know. There are options. There’s other group formats. But this is what’s working for me so far.

Gary Villegas:
Yeah, I agree. I was actually talking to some people yesterday. I was trying to explain to them, like the energy that I get when I walk into a class. Like, I can’t really explain it, but I get. I could be having like the worst day, and if I walk into the class, there’s 15 people there ready to train. Man, I get I get pumped.

Fern:
I’m like, God, there’s virtually no other place I’d rather be than right here, right now with you guys, like just training and getting after it, like teaching you how to do this and making you move better. I agree with you.

Gary Villegas:
So in the same part of the transition and the heart is like, I’m not all shit barriers, but I’m getting separated. And. So I’m live in my home to share a new businesses with a new family. So I say starting this facility. I have only two weeks to open this facility because they and I’m working with. One, to keep 60 percent of what I’m bringing in and leave me with only 40 percent, so within time I wrote a letter to HQ, went to the city, got a business license, rented a building and at this point I have only a credit card with thirty thousand dollar credit. And I knew that if I spend more than five grand, I going to get my credit card block. So what I did went to Rogue and look at everything I needed and swipe the credit card for. Twenty six thousand dollars at once.

Gary Villegas:
And next day.

Fern:
Is amazing.

Gary Villegas:
Next day, my credit card, the bank called me blocking my credit card, trying to set up a payment plan. And I told their managers, it’s OK. I’m going to make the payments. Just no worries. I already did the purchase. You cannot take the credit back. So I put everything together with some of my friends and knowing the laws of. Taking claims from all the facilities, even though this was people that was following what they already signed an agreement and this place didn’t tell anybody that I was doing this, OK, I just left. I just left because the conversation that I have with the owner of that place in regards of what he was doing, I thought was very dishonest. And it didn’t turn out well. And I knew he wouldn’t back off from the deal and I was willing to give him all my work. So I just left one morning and open my facility without anybody. And as I was there, people should call him. Hey, well, you’re not coaching today. I’m not longer there. I just up in my new facility. Because I realized that if I was not the one contacting in boat people, was the one contacting me for my services. I will not get in trouble. And that’s what happened. I opened my facility and at this point it. Every single one of the individuals that started with me at the facility, plus a few others that we’re looking within that facility, came to my new building.

Gary Villegas:
That’s incredible. So how long did it take you to kind of get your feet underneath you when you make that transition? Because I’ll be honest with that. Like that whole scenario just gives me anxiety. What you just stated. Even though I’ve done probably equivalent if not stupider things and I don’t mean that in a negative way, but like you just like that’s a massive risk.

Gary Villegas:
Which is a big it’s a big move.

Fern:
You know,.

Gary Villegas:
I have I have no other options. You know, I have no family here. Have no one to back me up. So I was counting only on myself. And when you’re in a seat, surely that. There is no option to think that you’re going to fail. Your only option is going to keep doing what I’m doing. And I deal with the consequences. But then when you get all the people that you’ve been working with for so long to come back and to be there every day and to do you realize that you’re doing something good? You know, it is very motivating to keep doing it. And within. Within nine months, I have already paid my debt.

Fern:
That’s incredible. And so you’re so you’re paying. So you know, you’re paying all your expenses. You’re clearly paying yourself because you have to live and you paid off twenty six thousand dollars of debt in nine months and you do that on basically a two week. We’ll put it in air quotes business plan that involves you just walking into the city, grabbing your license and renting a spot.

Gary Villegas:
Man, I didn’t have a business plan. I remember. Come on.

Fern:
No, I had no idea. I was saying that jokingly because, like,.

Gary Villegas:
I know I got it.

Fern:
I was just like. But but it works. It speaks very, very much to the whole thing. Like with everything that you’re saying, which is like you have to care if you if you put everything into it, like you will get back what you need from it.

Gary Villegas:
Exactly. And you. You have to do your best. And then there you going to be no. If something didn’t work, you’re going to be like, Oh, but what if I tried that? No, you know that you tried everything that was within your reach. It doesn’t mean everything you do is going to literally work the way you think. I have made a lot of mistakes in this process. You know, like in every other business owners have. However, if you’re putting everything into it, by the time you make those mistakes, you can be more like, OK, I’m going to learn from these, then just be like, man, if I would’ve done that.

Fern:
So if what would you. Could you. Have you identified what’s the biggest mistake you’ve made as a business owner slash affiliate owner? Do you know what it is?

Gary Villegas:
Man I have made a bunch of big mistakes, to be honest.

Fern:
I was trying to line of all I was trying to line up all of the mistakes the other day and the list just kept getting longer and longer.

Gary Villegas:
You know, like. So one of the first ones they were. Was that as soon as they saw, as soon as I pay everything. And some money was coming in. My mindset was that, you know, what I want all my coaches to make the most that they can so they can make a living out of these. And. We can all make good money. However, I was not in the position to do so. So all the coaches that I have, that they were brand new and fairly none experience. I started paying. Twenty five bucks an hour. You know? But I don’t know anything from that, I come from the background of personal training and I was getting paid way more than that and I knew twenty five with just a few hours a week. Well, no, let’s really make it then. I am getting a lot of the classes cover. The money’s being spread thin. Between the coaches and myself, because I don’t have experiences managing business at this point.

Fern:
Yeah.

Gary Villegas:
So. I see that was one of my first mistake, not having a plan and a structure way of. First, getting coaches to be prepared. To entering to the base is in a gravel. Payment instructor where? Hey, you’re going to enter getting paid this much. And then after a while, you have proven that you care. You have delivery results. We’re going to promote fugitive’s. And instead of having a bunch of people that we’re also friends. Coaching. Choose the ones that want to do it as a career. And we’re more invested into it. So that being one of them.

Fern:
Yeah. And I think that’s probably a pretty common, if not one of the more common errors for like affiliate owners is you just don’t know. So you start bringing on people without figuring out, you know, what can I pay total in payroll?

Fern:
Who should I pay? How many people should I pay? I mean, damn, embarrassingly enough, it took me eight or nine years to figure out something that even comes remotely close to being something that looks logical on paper.

Fern:
And how many coaches do you have now?

Gary Villegas:
As a right now? I will. I have zero coaches.

Fern:
OK.

Gary Villegas:
That that just happened last week. I one of top coaches. His father got really, really sick. And he’s caring for him. I have a full, full time. So he can not be covering by now. And another of the coaches, when true, will say life transition, where he want to go in a different path, more like holistic yoga and martial arts movement.

Fern:
OK.

Gary Villegas:
So I’m starting again with that new group of people.

Fern:
Got it.

Gary Villegas:
Hopefully. Hopefully I’ll have them ready for like March or April.

Fern:
So for any of you coaches out there, eternity Crossfit, is looking for coaches if you want an opportunity. So let’s talk let’s talk about that a little bit. So what is you know, because this inevitably this question is going to come up because, you know, people are aware that you work on seminar staff. You wear the red shirt, which means, you know, you clearly are good at what you do in the Crossfit, world and one of the best trainers in the world at doing that.

Fern:
What is your development program look like for coaches that you’re going to bring them on? Like, how do you so if you’re going to bring these people and have them ready by March, what does that look like?

Gary Villegas:
First of all, they come from within my facility. If they don’t come from within my facility, I know them from another facility that I’m close with. But most of my coaches come, I’ll say eighty nine percent have come from my facility and they’ve been doing it for at least three years that they’ve been doing Crossfit,.

Gary Villegas:
They have their level ones. And right before they decide that they want to do the L-1 or I have the talk with them to offer them to become a coach within this facility.

Gary Villegas:
I start like. Coaches Development Program, where I invite them to shadow me to classes for a few months. Then I invite them to run, warm up classes to get them introduce to the rest of the community, so the rest of the community can see that this is going to be one of the new persons that’s going to be leading them. And the the other classes.

Gary Villegas:
And as they’re doing that, I required for them to do the L-1. They started running classes while I was watching them for a few months. So the whole process take. Anything between 90 days to a year? A just various for everyone. There is some people that I have had for a really long time interested on. And we keep talking and I just tell them just honestly. Keep preparing themselves. And as long as you’re honest with them and tell them, what do you expect for them to do. I believe you are building a strong team.

Fern:
Yeah, I would agree. I did a recent episode on kind of like hiring and firing and like one of the big things that I learned purely by messing it up on many, many occasions was the the setting of expectations upfront, because that really kind of sets the tone for, you know, people’s success or failure. And that usually that falls on the shoulders of the leader or the business owner or the head coach, whoever that is. So I would agree with you. One thousand percent. I want to talk about your members a little bit. So your how old are, you, Gary. You’re probably right. You’re like right around my age or younger. Right.

Gary Villegas:
I just turned 40, this last year.

Fern:
Yeah. You and I are like a year apart. The. But your member base is a little bit older. Correct?

Gary Villegas:
That’s correct.

Fern:
What’s the, you know, the average age of a client in your gym?

Gary Villegas:
I will say. 45+.

Fern:
Ok, so you’re about like a yeah, so mine is about thirty five, so mine’s actually a little bit younger than me, but forty five. So you have forty five and over is your average, which means you have you have quite a few people like 60s, 70s. Right.

Gary Villegas:
I have a lot of people. I will say my average is forty five plus within that I get 60 to 70 percent is in the 60s.

Fern:
That’s a lot.

Gary Villegas:
It’s fun.

Fern:
All I have no doubt. Like like I like now I want to come. GUEST coach, your gym does I feel. I feel like that would be amazing. What the the. So talk about that, right. Because there’s a lot of people who are looking to start like silver sneakers or the you know, like whatever their masters classes or whatever they call it.

Fern:
But that’s basically just your gym population. So do you do things differently because your your demographic is a little bit older?

Gary Villegas:
The only different thing that I’ll say will do is just ask them to move. Some days they just need to move. Not everyone in that age group need to come and hit a superheavy and hit a super hard. They just need to move. They just need to do what we preach. Remain independent. And by moving. And improving their abilities to be functional. They are going to remain independent and they are going to. Stay as healthy as they can. Mm hmm. Even though I have a bunch of athletes claims over the age of 60, a lot of them being with me for a long time, they are very, very capable guys. Is not the average 60 or 70 year old individuals that are using walkers or need assistance.

Gary Villegas:
All of these guys are very successful business owners that retire and. They’re insane, to be honest. Like a lot of. I didn’t choose this demographic. It happened that where I opened my facility is is a community. There is a lot of retired people and there is I will say Orange County is a conservative. Wealthy communities, I will say, yeah. So most of the people that live here is in that age group. So it happens that I open a facility within that environment. You know, and some of their Kids started with me and then being by invited parents and then that one got great results and invited a friend. And the word of mouth is. You know, and it begins that have a bunch of those clients. Right.

Fern:
So is it would that be your would that be your your advice to people who are looking to try to start training? I don’t want to say like geriatrics because they’re not. Well, some of them could be geriatrics. But the but just that older population is, you know, like really understanding that intensity is relative. And sometimes just people need to just ditch that intensity altogether and just come in and just. Be there essentially,.

Gary Villegas:
Look, just put into what we teach in the seminars and the weekends when we have an Olympic athlete, they need to move 500 pounds on a deadlift. We have a grandmother need to move bag soil for her garden.

Gary Villegas:
They both need to practice the same movements. They both don’t need to use the same weight, but they need of practicing movement is exactly the same. And the saving for the squats is healthy for the joints. Just to put it in simple words, as we teach on the weekends, these adult people need to be treated. And being included. Like every other individual in your class, it should not be any different. I today I have a class day. 5;30am and I have a couple of guys, I have only one guy in his 20s. I feel the guys on their thirties and then everybody else were 60 plus. Guess what? If we were in a competitive environment, the lady that just turned 60 years old a few days ago need to work out exactly as prescribed for a female individual. And none of the kids on the age of 30 able to touch her. If we kill it, we go into the competitive environment. That’s her. She’s that she’s a unique case. OK. Yeah. However, if I have somebody else that is possibly the conviction based on what they can and cannot do. I will scale their movements. I will scale what they need to do as close as possible to the work out based on their abilities. And that’s where most of new coaches get lost. They tried to become super creative and. Go crazy around when the only thing that you need to do is just have a clear combination with your client. Hey, how are you feeling today? You know. What is hurting, what we’re hurting? OK. After you have the feedback of whether you’re capable of doing. Just come up with something that is going to allow them not only to move, but to feel included. That is why they are there in that group class. And that is what creates their. Decided to come back and to strive and they actually motivating the younger people because he inspired them and that’s how I see it.

Fern:
I mean, that’s how I see it. Like, I mean, if I if I. We have a couple older folks in our and listen, they’re not they’re not pipefitters, they’re not there. They wouldn’t even be considered in my mind, like, you know, like really fit. Like they’re just in here working hard. But I find that to be inspiring because they’re in there putting in the work. And I know where they started and I know where they’re out today. So I don’t really care if like what weight they’re moving. Like, I’m just like, man, he comes in and he works his ass off. Like she can almost do a pull up and she’s sixty five. I’m like, that is legit. Like that. I don’t like. That’s amazing. Like I’m Carol Fast. She moves like she’s living a better quality of life because of doing this. And that is what gets me fired up and it motivates everybody else, too. They’re just like, God, I want to be like that when I’m sixty five, you know?

Gary Villegas:
I mean, that’s what it is. Quality of life. Manjeet, you’re saying you’re improving their quality of life. Another thing that surprised me with some of these individuals is that they surprised himself. What they’re capable of accomplishing because. Over time of practice in one mechanic over and over. Repetitive movements build in strength. I cut. I got cut by surprise with a lot of my individuals that are over the age of 60 that have rings muscle ups and by muscle ups. I was not expecting that, to be honest, when I started with them.

Fern:
That just sounds crazy. You saying it now? Yeah. Well it just you saying that sounds crazy.

Gary Villegas:
It’s just like I was not expecting that, to be honest. You know, and. I have a guy that he started like maybe two years ago and he came to. And often because I have an online qualifier, I have one of my 60 plus eyes that is very energetic, very engaged, and he realized that it was that regionals for the Masters. So when they online qualifiers came along, he decided to invite the top 20 of southern Orange County to my facilities and we run an option for them like an online qualifier by the regionals. So I just hosted the band with the judges, like is a regionals for them. And all these guys come and they do that all night qualifiers and then they just go and have drinks and have fun. But going back to the story, I have one of the guys, they show up two years ago. He looks really feed. But he was unable to do a lot of these movements that these older guys for older. And they were doing a handstand pushups chest of our Pull-Ups. I started just working with them regular classes like you do with every other, only read only by going to teach muscle ups. And I have. Females or any over one person or any older individual that can not exist. Women still get them some kind scale. That they’re going to do the transition. Are they going to do a jumping ring or something? So they participate to get the same benefits. And by Jones doing that over time. These people not only learn the mechanics, but they develop strength. And when you let suspect you’re ready for it. And it happens. They give you a muzzle up. They give you a. Boot up, and it’s no different than a younger individual. It doesn’t happen as fast as possible. It’s not a goal. It’s not my main goal of working with these individuals to get them to the game because I am on the other side. I totally respect the coaches that go for athletes and care for athletes. That is not where I am. For me, is the health aspect longevity? But it does happen. These individuals will develop high skill movements as long as you remain consistent.

Fern:
You bring up a really. Really strong point about movement repetition, particularly for honestly any population as they age. So I’ll give will leave fitness out and then I going to circle back to it with. So if reading this listen this for any amount of time like so I played Division 1 college basketball and when I was done playing college basketball, I was done like I literally did not touch a basketball for years and then occasions I would pick one up. But maybe like a year and a half ago I was at a gym. I remember where I was, but they had a basketball hoop in the gym. So I picked up a basketball and I probably haven’t touched a basketball in 24 to 36 months, at which point doesn’t matter, pick it up and I shoot a couple of shots and it feels like I never put a basketball down. And I’m not this world class basketball player. I mean, I was pretty good. But I’m not. I’m like nothing to write home about. But my point is, like, I had so many shots.

Fern:
Over the course of my lifetime that it’s like I’m not I it’s very strong argument that I’m never going to lose that skill, like it’s not going to go away. Like once you get to a million, like you’ve got it now. The reason the reason I tell that story is because now if I take that same concept, I’ll just like movement repetition over longer periods of time. That’s the reason that we emphasize doing more teaching and coaching in classes versus like doing like going right into the Mid-Con.

Fern:
Because those fifteen to 30 reps of air squats that are coached day after day, month after month, year over year are what lend people to you, no longer more thriving lifestyles where they’re not going to get knee pain when they’re 60, they can still squat.

Fern:
They’re going to be able to press over their head. They’re gonna do hands and pushups. They’re gonna be ringed ups.

Fern:
But it’s a long game, right? Like in some instances, we’re trying to keep them. Get them to keep it. But in other instances, we’re kind of turning back the hands of time and we’re giving it to them by kind of doing it in reverse order from the basketball scenario that that I just talked about, which is like I’m not going to lose that skill, but you can do it backwards and give it to them. But you just have to do it in very consistent, you know, largely low dosages, day after day after day after day, because those reps add up.

Fern:
And that is why I think people are missing the boat on like that’s what warm ups are for. That’s what the specific warm up is for. That’s what movement, practice and skill work is for. Like it’s for the long game. And it sounds like that is exactly what you have happening in your gym, which is you just doing muscle up scales every time muscle up comes up instead of having them do a jumping pull up. And all the sudden you have 60 and 70 year olds who could do muscle ups like. That’s incredible.

Gary Villegas:
Exactly. Secondly, you couldn’t better man.

Fern:
That’s really cool, dude. I think so. Let’s make a transition here. So you’re so. Because it’s actually not really transition. It’s just kind of more of a Segway because you’re you’re working with that population, but you’re gonna start working up at HQ. So Michelle Moves is gonna come on the podcast. She was recently on the Julie on Julie for show’s podcast talking about the classes that she’s running at HQ. So you’re gonna start going there, like I think you said, roughly like once every two months.

Fern:
And then Jay and I are going to go up there and guest coach for three days and march out to out to California.

Fern:
But you’ve already been up there, right? Like you’ve already coached there before. Correct?

Gary Villegas:
Yeah, I have. Yeah.

Fern:
So. Yeah. So talk a little bit about that like this, because these are not people that you would see in a normal Crossfit,. Gym. Correct.

Gary Villegas:
No. So it was a an eye opening experience because even though I have a lot of older individuals, I don’t get to have more than five at once in one class. And normally they’re a mix and they’re very active. So any. Elder or older individuals that I have had, that is the condition or. Overweight to a point that can not partake in a class. I have work a little bit more with them individually. Till I can get them to be in a point that they know them women’s, you’re around. Before I lose them into a class. Going to HQ was an eye opening experience because now you have a large group of people within these age groups. You have some condition people, some people with double knee surgery, hip surgery, more as. Some overweight people and.

Fern:
Well, just to be fair, and we’re and we’re not judging here, but like just to give a little more context, when I’m talking about overweight, we’re talking about morbidly obese. Correct.

Gary Villegas:
Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. OK. Exactly. So we’re talking like 300 plus. People that. Going to be able to take the classes, but they’re going to require a leader with more attention. So even if that experience working with the older individuals, I was exposed with an even greater age seventy five. Plus I have had eighty and eighty five years old. But only two at a time. Now you have a class. Everyone in their 60s, 70s, 80s and include 90s and ones, you know, walking into the class, i.e., I was uncomfortable here. This is my background. But after I realized that. Talking in one direction, let’s say I’m talking straight ahead to the individuals I study in front of me and there’s a screw up, you’re going to have individuals that cannot hear. DeVito’s that also can here will forget rapidly. So. I learned so much because. While I was there, I got to experience that situation. I’m talking to an individual and I think that she’s listening to me and teachers walk by straight ahead like I was like how rude she is ignoring me when I’m telling her, you know, but it’s it’s just it’s just that new level is a new area for me that now is hearing now. Attention now is speed walk from point A to point B. So. One of the greatest thing that Michelle and. Sjaak, Katie. And what was going on over there is that they’ve been exposed to this group. For a long period of time and there a large group of them.

Gary Villegas:
So they became familiar with the needs of each one of these individuals.

Fern:
Yeah.

Gary Villegas:
And they have already created. And structure how to offer these kind of environment is like how we run the level once. Yeah. This is how to run a class with masters, with elder Lee people at these level. Where you going to tell them what you’re going to do? Try to be as loud as possible, as simple as possible, and to get from point A to point B. Guide them visually. And as you go in 50 percent of the rows of them, I remind them again what begin to do. And when you get at point B, tell them again. That is what you’re gonna do. And also that. The whole dynamic change and was that a still from the coaches down there? You know, because. Amongst the older people that I help, you still very, very active. And the ones that we’re not beat. They overcome their problems and they became very active at this facility. You have people that. At this point in life, they only need to gain that independence for as long as possible. Yeah. So to keep it on. You know, and it was it was a very uplifting experience to see Katie to sit back and to see w run these classes like it was with a bunch of teenagers, that you have to be screaming at them because they’re talking between them and a guys bring it in. Have it fun. It is just next level.

Fern:
I am simultaneously petrified and super excited at the same time because because I know, because I because I. Because I know it’s going to be challenging. But like your explaining. I know because it’s going to be challenging. I’m going to learn something and I’m going to be a much better coach for my members or helping other coaches because of it. And that’s why I’m so stoked about it.

Gary Villegas:
Oh, man, you have no idea. When I remember going there, Michelle was with me like for two weeks prior to that, preparing and telling me, hey, whatever you were ready to scale. Why? Have it ready to three more levels. Yeah. And she will contact me. Oh, what would you do in case of. They cannot do this movement. Okay. And what about the candidate? And what about that? So you run out of options and you’re like, OK, I haven’t figured it out. Then you show up and you were in the actual situation and you get exposed to where this Kelin option one didn’t work. Scaling An option two is not doing it either. And like. You have to move on because you have another group of people that also means your attention. So you have to really put the thought on it. Prepare yourself for it. And be open to get the feedback that is given. Because these guys are being doing for a while now. Yeah. And they can see with a different set of eyes like to me. When I teach my last class with the Masters, I thought that I will pull this class. This was amazing. Everyone laughed in a day, in the day after the class was done, it was like, OK, I didn’t do this. That I have planned. I didn’t scale for this, I didn’t changed these work now. We didn’t got time to play. So I realize that even with my best effort. There was a bunch of good things that I could implement, but because of not knowing, I missed them. So at the end of the class I sit with the other coaches , which is in a very gentle way. They were like, Oh, do you know they could. It changes. And it was so amazing. I was like, oh, my God. I realized that he’d done so much more. You know what? I’m glad they are, there. And, you know, for so long because they’re setting. They put in the work to create a route. Is that how you say?

Fern:
Yeah, yeah. The roadmap,.

Gary Villegas:
A roadmap for where we are going to fall. And we’re going to go independently and then it’s going to grow like everything else we have done in Crossfit,.

Fern:
That’s really cool. I think they I think they call it experience. Expanding the margins of your experience.

Gary Villegas:
Exactly. Exactly.

Gary Villegas:
Oh, dude. This is Ben. This is awesome. And so we’re definitely to have you on. Hopefully we can link up and we can probably meet out there.

Fern:
I don’t know if you’re gonna be out there in March, but if we can if we can time that up to be out there, like we’re all going to try to get everybody on the podcast and talk about this, because I think it’s gonna be I think it is gonna be super fun and and the community can learn a lot from that. So we’re gonna try to share a lot of that stuff with people. And I hate to cut this short because I would just keep talking forever. However, I do have to go coach class shortly, so I do have to get off.

Fern:
But we will definitely have you back on Gary. And hopefully we can do the next one in person or out there, but do anything you want to leave your listeners with about running an affiliate. Overcoming adversity. Coach development, coaching elderly people. What else you got?

Gary Villegas:
Man, just go back to everything we teach. Use care and care about what you’re doing. I to care about what you’re doing there is to keep everything. Everything else come behind that. You just care about what you’re doing. You’re going to enjoy it. You’re going to give results. You’re going to get a return. Just care about what you do.

Fern:
That’s amazing. If you guys got questions for Gary or just about any stuff in this episode, obviously hit us up. But yeah, there will definitely be more on this topic. So we will catch you next time. All right. Thanks, guys.

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