84. I Hate my Box

84. I Hate my Box

In this episode hosts, Ackerman and Fern pull to pieces a very common problem, whereby a coach doesn’t like their box. This was emailed to the guys by a listener, about what they should do when they butt heads with the owner of the CrossFit affiliate they go to. The listener also laid out the scenario, including their answers to the problem and Fern and Ackerman, talked through them and ultimately give out their best advice.

Please remember that we are here for you guy. Do not hesitate to hit us up with your problems, because if you’re facing it chances are somebody else. We want to help that is what this is all about and why the podcast started. 

Timestamp:
Option A (11:10)
Option B (17:10)
Option C (25:50)
Ackerman and Ferns personal advice (32:130)
How to have the hard conversation (39:34)

The key takeaways are: 
Make sure you’re visiting other boxes for ideas
Maks sure you’re having these conversations with members coaches and owners and go with solutions
Be professional and specific

Recommended book:
The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field by Mike Michalowicz

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https://youtu.be/tuFcdjLj0vQ

I hate my box .mp4 transcript powered by Sonix—the best audio to text transcription service

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Ackerman:
All right. Fern and I are back. Best hour of their day, sorry that you guys had to deal with Todd last week. My bad.

Fern:
Let’s talk about this, your haircut.

Ackerman:
You know what? It hasn’t been addressed on this show. I was thinking about it earlier, two weeks ago. Today you and I got on a call, you and I got to get moving. I’m gonna get my haircut. And you didn’t really think of it. And then the next time you saw me, my hair was pretty much, you know, just bald.

Fern:
Well, you told me that you got your hair trimmed, so, you know, like you got it adjusted. But now you look like a 12 year old boy with a beard.

Ackerman:
That’s exactly the look I was going for.

Fern:
Well, you know, kudos to your barber right.

Ackerman:
Sofia shout out on a serious note. Todd did a great job. What is the R X episode? And a ton of feedback from this. And hopefully it opened a lot of our people’s eyes to that. I don’t know what would you call it? The Scarlet Letters, if you will, of Crossfit,?

Fern:
Yeah, it’s definitely it’s something that should be discussed a little bit more frequently. I think it would be a lot of people like to avoid it because it’s uncomfortable and it can it can create a little bit of a conflict, but a little bit of, you know. You know, personal issues. Incomplete, but it have to be, you know, it all can be avoided. And if you’re having trouble with it, understand that there will be some some sort of transition period, like as you start to educate people a little bit more and they start to understand the value. Like, for instance, today I had a member who’s known six years and she’s pretty fat. You know, she got two kids. You know, she works. She’s a single parent. But she got her first strict handstand pushups and she was stoked. But that’s because she does what we tell her to do.

Ackerman:
You know, and you and I have spoken about Todd and I’ve spoken about it at length where we said, you know, even bad Crossfit, yields results. It turns out just doing functional movements, doing them with a bit of intensity behind them, even with bad form or bad coaching, still gets great results. And that’s why Crossfit, is taking over the. That’s certainly the this industry is not the world and we’ll be a part of it this weekend at the affiliate gathering up in Whistler. We’re excited to talk to the Chucks, the Boz, the Castros, the coach, Glassman, they’re all going to be there. Hopefully we’ll grab a couple of them for the podcast.

Fern:
Chuck gonna be there?

Ackerman:
Yeah, from what I’ve heard. Chuck Dave Boz and a handful of other people are doing the whole motorcycle thing up from California to Whistler.

Fern:
I did not know Chuck rode a motorcycle.

Ackerman:
I you know what? First of all, Chuck,.

Fern:
Has many skills, dude.

Ackerman:
Chuck Listen to this show. One of the most download shows.

Fern:
I’m not. I’m not knocking it. I’m like as if he could go up any higher on my list. Like he just went up a little bit more.

Ackerman:
There is nothing that Chuck can’t do. Chuck, if you’re listening, know that Ackerman is the one that said that not they had to distinguish our voices.

Fern:
Thats yeah, that is considerably deeper.

Ackerman:
Well, I edited edit in post-production. I edited our voices to sound the same. But, you know, they’re gonna be up there. Chuck. Yeah, Chuck said, turning 15. And I know he was considering buying himself a Harley at some point. His wife had talked about potentially it. I don’t think it’s gonna happen, but yes, he can ride a motorcycle. He’s gonna be there. But I’m in San Jose your still home in Virginia Beach. We’re gonna be up there on Thursday. Let’s dive into this because we have a lengthy email. We always. Tell our listeners, hey, we’re here for you. If you have questions, comments, concerns, we’re gonna talk about them on this show. And that’s what this is almost like the love line of Crossfit, remember, Dr. Drew in love line.

Fern:
I do remember that, sir, but yeah.

Ackerman:
So we’re going to we’re going to dive into this one. I don’t want to give a name, but just know he’s a former member of mine. I mean, not that that’s giving way. Thousands of members. Good dude. And, you know, I got his e-mail and I was like, let’s let me just discuss this with Fran, because I think it’s relative. And I think a lot of people will empathize with it. I’m going to do my best to read through it at a good pace. It’s a long e-mail. Hey, Jay. Hope all is well. I really love the podcast. After listening a bit, I thought I might bring my current situation to you to get your advice and possibly give you some topics to address on the show. Currently, my wife and I both coach at the box we go to. We are both L2 and have quite a bit of coaching experience. She has been coaching Crossfit, for quite a long time and is setting for her L3. Now in fairness, studying for your L 3 does not make you an L 3 coach, so a lot of people are studying for it, right? That’s me interjecting there, by the way. But I just wanted to give some context here. When we first joined the gym, we really liked it. The community was growing and the owner was very enthusiastic about it. He had a lot of plans on improvement. He was going to make us the gym group. We were eventually asked to be coaches and everything was going pretty well. As time went on, the owner became more and more absent and his training seemed to take precedence over the community. He was doing his own programming during class hours and allowing other members to do so as well.

Ackerman:
I’m a firm believer in practice. What you preach of the programming you’re putting on the whiteboard isn’t good enough for you. And why is it good enough for your members? And of course, Fern. Todd and I have spoken at length about all of that. I mentioned the open gym policy to him a few times and he agreed that class should take precedence. They never really enforced it. These issues have created a bit of a divide amongst the membership and have caused a good amount of them to leave. The community overall has just been a bit flat as of late. There’s been a lack of coaching, feedback or improvement. Basically, anyone who has their L1 and is allowed to just coach, I guess you could say that approach to coaching Crossfit, doesn’t always fall in line with the owners. He likes to say he’s open to feedback, but it’s not been the case thus far. I don’t want it to sound like it’s all bad, but it’s been something my wife and I have been discussing for a while. We’ve come up with a few different solutions. All right. So that’s kind of the backstory here.

Ackerman:
His solutions then fern and I will discuss and I’m sure a lot of people listening have been in a similar situation. Be it as a member or as a coach, I’m sure when I own the boxes that I had plenty of coaches feeling this way and I’ve felt this way as a coach in boxes around the country. Let me go into his three quick solutions. So option A, we leave and join a new gym.

Ackerman:
The problem is we don’t really know if the grass is greener. Great point there. Our box is the most convenient for us and it provides us the opportunity to coach, which, as you know, wouldn’t be guaranteed if we left. Coaching is really important to my wife. So if we were to leave. What is the right approach when you would like to become a coach at a new box? So we’ve discussed that a little bit a few weeks ago, right?

Fern:
Yeah.

Ackerman:
Let’s go to option B. We stay and make the best of it. That’s like many marriages out there. First off, that I came off completely wrong. Jess if you’re listening ahha.

Fern:
My Marriage is great.

Ackerman:
Jess, I’m sure you don’t actually listen to this show, but you do. Didn’t mean for it to come off that way. We did Just have a coaches meeting over the weekend and issues were certainly addressed. He did say he was going to handle the open gym situation, is going to start doing the work outside the white board. He was also open to more coaching, feedback and improvement. We really do like the community as a whole. We’ve made some great connections with the majority of the members. I guess the question here is how as a coach, I manage dealing with an owner who you don’t always agree with. And then of course, option C, my wife and I open our own gym and I’ll, you know, talk about all of that. He’s asked me a little bit about that specific area, which I don’t want to dive into because it might give away a little bit.

Ackerman:
So I’ll talk to him personally about that. Fern, let’s dive into this. Quite a long email. But that’s what we do here. I love line. I mean, best hour their day. Where would you start with that?

Fern:
So I would start with a. This might be the most common scenario. That that I’ve heard like in the in 10 years . I can’t think of. I can’t think if there’s the vast majority of gyms are probably have sprung up from another gym where they were unhappy. Now there is arguments on both side of that. Like whether the result of that was good or bad. So we won’t go down that road. But this is something I was at a level two in Kansas City this weekend with Steve Heydoc and Nicole Gordon. And this is this is a very typical scenario that people start to realize as we sit through some of the programming discussions in the level two which is, oh, my God, we’ve been doing far too much in our classes. It doesn’t allow me to coach. But I don’t write the programming. What do I do now that I know that what I’m doing is flawed? How do I navigate this scenario? So if you’re if you think you’re the only one, you’re not. I mean, this is I mean, top one or two problems that gets posed at a level one or level 2.

Ackerman:
Yeah. And we’ve said that as in past episodes. And I think that’s really important to reiterate. The reason we get a lot of questions fern and I think the Instagram at best hour of their day. And then of course, this came in via e-mail. Best out of their day. E-mail that. So sorry, I apologize on my computer. So wait, wait, we get this a lot of questions often, but this one comes in quite a bit in different kind of variations. But one thing we’ve said over and over for from I think a lot of times in the Crossfit, world, a lot of people are in a very small bubble.

Ackerman:
You and I travel the world. We coach in different boxes. We talk to some of the best coaches in the world. And we see Crossfit, is very much like the real world. Know the old show where the characters are the same every season? The problems are the same every season. And that’s why we try to find these questions that are kind of resonate with the most people. And I think the only really thing that we can distinguish here from people is whether or not they coach at the box. Right. So we see this question come in as members and then as coaches. And it’s kind of it’s it’s really one and the same. Because at the end of the day, I mean, that the emailer laid out the three options. Really. You stay and deal you or you try to make the best of it or you leave and try to do your own thing.

Fern:
Yeah. So we’ll go down there. Three options. So we’ll start with option A, which is leave. Go find a new gym. And the question there is always. I don’t know what a new gym is going to be like. Well, that’s a pretty I don’t see it easy. I’ll drop on a semi frequent basis because one day or even one week is not enough time to determine. What is the culture at a gym? Talk to the members, talk to the coaches, ask them some general and specific questions and see what the answers are.

Fern:
I think everybody thinks is greener on the other side of it behind every curtain. There is some degree of a mess. I don’t care what the organization is. It is very rarely in my experience. You when you look under the hood, are you like. This is exactly what I expected. It is generally not now the degree of the problem is once you pop the hood is where the variance happens.

Fern:
So go check it out like you may walk into another gym and just love it and then just solves your problem right there and you can go. Be a great part of a different community. Option B.

Ackerman:
Well, before you go to option B. Let my be a little devil’s advocate. So. Whether we let’s let’s even look at Virginia Beach, how far as the post is box to RIF?

Fern:
Five minute drive is that he said either direction. I have two gyms that are equidistant either direction for me.

Ackerman:
So the challenge that’s going to arise for some of these people as well. If I go check out another box, someone’s gonna find out.

Fern:
To which my answer is, so what?

Ackerman:
Ok. Well, How, how would you expect a box owner to handle that?

Fern:
Like a professional? Which I know which is not. Probably, probably not gonna be the case. in a lot of instance, as I say, that kind of tongue in cheek, but.

Fern:
I’m serious.

Ackerman:
That answers exactly why my friend Alice loves you, because she just like that I was a total fern. Answer right there. I love it

Fern:
Now so first. And again, there is there’s a lot of varying reactions to this. And I could probably could probably discuss all that. One is somebody gets butt hurt, right? They’re like, why would you go to another gym? Right. The other one is. Somebody who just think anything of it is kind of obvious. They’re like, OK, cool. Hope it was great. And the third one, which is I think where most people should live, is they should be more inquisitive. They should ask why? Ask how it went. Was there anything they liked about it? Was there anything you disliked about it? And then that way you can get some feedback. So I have members who regularly, when they travel, go to other gyms and they come back. And I went to this other gym and answers your questions. Would you like about it? What did you like about it? If there’s something they liked about it, I tried to steal it. There’s something they did or didn’t like about it. I try to make sure that we don’t replicate that negative experience. So I think that’s the first thing is ask your members. You know, like if you’re a coach or a box owner, you should ask them one last time they drop it in a gym what did you think about it?

Fern:
We have the the I guess the advantage of traveling to a lot of gyms, which is like so we get a lot of different exposure to different ideas and different cultures and different coaching and different warmups and different logistical layouts and all that stuff. So. Constantly getting fresh eyes on different gyms, but not everybody gets that they live in that little bubble where this is the only Crossfit, gym in the world and then they leave that bubble and it’s either burst or they’re very confident in what they have in their own gym.

Ackerman:
Yeah, was telling Roz we’re actually yesterday in the car. You know, we’re thinking about spending a little bit of time in different areas. And I said one thing I would do differently is really try to be able to go to multiple Crossfit, boxes. You know, whether I think that’s one thing that doesn’t happen in the Crossfit, world. You’re a member of one boxes know because it costs two hundred dollars. You’re not going to be a member of multiple gyms. But it’s nice to have that change of scenery, change in environment, change a community different maybe class times, maybe one box AC in one box doesn’t kind of thing. And it’s most members don’t have access to that. You know, as as a coach, maybe you do because you can coach in different spots. But yeah, I think you talk to the average Crossfit, and they’ve been to one maybe two boxes.

Fern:
Yeah. Unless they travel frequently for work.

Ackerman:
Yeah. I mean you see like, you know, we’re in Vegas. Joe Teepee on the show and there clearly some crazy drop ins happening. But you can kind of get an idea of what their boxes like based on what they do when they drop another boxes.

Fern:
So so that’s the first thing is like go try out the gyms and just and then just look and ask questions and learn and just observe. You know, I I. Have always had this desire to just go to every gym in Virginia Beach across a one month period. Not for no other reason to just observe, and some people would be turned off by that. Like you’re stealing some of their ideas and answers is yes, absolutely. Really? Why not? If it’s good, it’s good. So if it’s bad, it’s bad.

Ackerman:
Can you think of anything that you have stolen from.

Fern:
Everything.

Ackerman:
Well, I mean,.

Fern:
I’ve had I have very, very few original ideas in my gym or within my coaching like that. And that’s it. That is an extremely accurate statement.

Ackerman:
I like that. That’s coming from one of the best coaches in the world. Listeners just take you know, you don’t have to be this super creative genius. You just have to do the things that work and did it.

Fern:
Well, I’m sure I’m thinking of most of the things that people come in and they see in our gym as far as logistical layout or equipment. Ninety nine point nine percent of it was stolen from something that I saw somewhere else.

Ackerman:
All right, so let’s dive in. What were you going to say about his second scenario, which is basically stay and suck it up?

Fern:
Stay and suck it up. Is is an option. They there needs to be a conversation that needs out with the Coach now and you can kind of force that conversation in and maybe, maybe by visiting other gyms is a good way to force the conversation.

Ackerman:
You know, if you’re not around for a week and you just tell the owner, hey, listen, I’m going to take two weeks off from coaching, we’re gonna bounce around to some other gyms that’s going to it. If it doesn’t force a question, that probably just answers this whole thing for you.

Ackerman:
Yeah, that’s hard, though, because imagine a scenario where you’re added 9 to 5 job and you approach your boss. You’re like, hey, I appreciate the job. I’m going to go check out a few other jobs, work for them for a couple of weeks. I’ll be back.

Fern:
But it’s not a 9 to 5 job. I mean, how free. What’s the what’s. How many classes are they coaching? We’re not full time employed. There.

Ackerman:
Correct. Right. So I understand why it’s like have your coaching two to four hours a week and you’re unhappy. It’s not as if this is your income. If it were your full time job,. That’s a different scenario. There are coaches.

Fern:
That a different story.

Ackerman:
Right. And you probably have a greater inpacked in both scenarios.

Fern:
It should be. Yeah, in both scenarios. My recommendation is approach it like a professional. Because again, the reaction to that will help you make your decision. So if you say that and the person isn’t and alarms don’t go off in this person’s head as to why, what is wrong? Why are you unhappy? Why do you feel the need to go somewhere else, then? That’s an easy. That’s an easy out. You just walk out and do that. But I would sit down and I would express those concerns. With potential solutions while also being prepared for none of those solutions to be. Received well. Right. I think if the walk in with some sort of realistic expectation is that most gym owners, that’s their baby, that’s their thing. They’re very emotionally attached to it. They’re not open to objective or subjective feedback for that matter. And you’re likely going to hurt their feelings if you say this thing. You put a lot of time in. Kind of sucks.

Ackerman:
And I think if you’re listening, and especially if this person is listening and it’s important to come up with, like you said, solutions, not just problems, and too many people come up with problems. 900/And I think what also happens from the coaches level and the members level is it’s the same thing as what’s happening on the Crossfit, as we look at things as a macro and microcosmic. Everyone is hating on Coach Glassman, right. Everyone hates him. Glassman or Castro when it comes to the games and they have no idea what it takes to do what they’re doing behind the scenes. And I think we can take a similar approach when it comes to our box level. Like you might look at all Ferns messing up everything. And he does this and he does that. But you don’t realize, you know, Fern looking at the numbers and ferns doing, you know, making sure the programming works based on equipment and all these other things. So it is important to try to take the vantage point of the owner, to try to take the vantage point of the box owner, and then not just approach like, hey, I hate these things, but also I don’t like these. But here’s what I think will work better.

Fern:
So that’s my recommendation there, which is I think you should put a considerable amount of time into prepping for this meeting so that it so that it has. A lot of substance. So when you go to the gym owner, there’s probably two buckets of information that you should arrive with. One is all of your personal feedback and be specific. Being general is makes this conversation really terrible. Be very specific. Hey, this. These five things. This is what happened. This is the negative outcome of that. And then the other thing, which I think we’ve talked about as well. You got to talk about it on the podcast with Matt, from Forever Fierce. If the members are unhappy, I do think it is absolutely OK to go in and talk to the owner about specific members. And I think a lot of people to put way too much. They’re way too afraid to. Reference people by name when I think that is appropriate, because that person’s specific problem needs to be addressed with that specific person. And if it’s addressed and appropriately within, the person should just leave. Right. So if if you say that if I go to my gym owners and I say, hey, Jason is really upset because the showers are super disgusting and there’s never any clean towels, there. And my gym owner gets mad at Jason for that. Well, that makes no sense. Those are legitimate gripes and they should say, oh, OK, cool, let’s let’s address that. And I’m gonna go personally apologize to Jason for that. You know, but if you just say in general, people are unhappy. A, are they? You know, how many people. What is the degree of their unhappiness? You know, we had something similar where I was told by some staff, something that all member was unhappy. And we have no idea why some of the staff chose this member. But when I I was like, who? Who is the person? And they said, this person, I went talk to them. And if I come to find out that person was not unhappy at all. They were like, I don’t know what you’re talking about. To which point I had says that I was I was like, you’re just making things up because you don’t you don’t like it. And if you don’t like it, then just say you don’t like it. And that’s fine. But don’t pull that off on everyone or some people. In air quotes was like, be specific because it’s generally not as many people as is as they say. So when you go in there, go with your specific issues with solutions and then go in with the members specific issues and solutions, because if it is one to five people. And make one to five people very, very happy by addressing their concerns rather than just having them to continue to have this unhappiness that festers inside and maybe even then other people leave. So it’s kind of a rant.

Ackerman:
But no, I think a big part of it is that it gets overlooked is we all love Crossfit, so much and we all love our box community so much that whether you’re the owner, the coach and a member of we take it very personally. And while you’re suggesting that has to happen better is kind of removing that.

Fern:
Attachment to it all and just approaching it like a business and approaching it with directness like you’re suggesting and honesty and saying really anything else if we just communicate a little bit better. It’s why you would just have such an amazing marriage. It’s the communication.

Fern:
We work on it. It’s not always amazing.

Ackerman:
I just think she’s listening. I’m still trying to make up for what i said.

Fern:
It’s just better than yours. No, but I do know that there’s there’s something. Yeah, there’s something that I think is pretty strange about Crossfit,. So right now we’re talking about coaches, but this happens very frequently with athletes or we’ll call them customers of the gym there. I don’t I cannot think of the number of people that have come into my gym where they come in to tell me they’re unhappy at another gym. At which point we start to cut discussing memberships and. They’re like, well, that’s kind of high. I’m just going to stay over here at the gym that I’m unhappy with. And for the most part, on the high end, we would be talking about 30 to 35 dollars difference. To which point my question to this person is that sounds insane. Why would you make that decision? So you’re telling me that the thirty five dollars difference. Is worth you continuing to be unhappy? At which point I’m saying you shouldn’t pay. Any amount of money. Something that you’re unhappy with. So for you to tell me that you’re not willing to pay thirty five dollars more to be happy and that you’re just perfectly fine being unhappy for thirty five dollar savings, then I can’t help you. You’d actually don’t know what you want.

Ackerman:
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that’s the old expression. Bitting cutting off your nose type of things,.

Fern:
Spite your face.

Ackerman:
So. All right. Let’s let’s let’s dive in the scenario 3, which is. All right. We open our own box.

Fern:
Most of the time I would recommend against it.

Ackerman:
Yeah. That’s like getting into a little fight with your wife over who has to do the dishes and being like fuck it I’m out.

Fern:
Or I go to a restaurant that I like, that I frequent on a very. You know. On a weekly basis, and all the sudden the food starts to be not as good as I once thought it was. And then I decide, you know what, I’m going to start my own restaurant. It doesn’t make any sense. You know, it’s this it’s this misconception and I think we should have more conversations about it in general, the Crossfit, community that running businesses is easy simply because you’re passionate about it. It is not. I would actually argue that it is far more difficult when you’re passionate about it because your passion can push you to make irrational decisions.

Ackerman:
And jades, you big time. Yeah. And not only that, I mean, it pushes you. And that’s a really good point. And also, you take every you cannot check out. There’s no punching out when you’re on a Crossfit, box. And if you’re able to, you’re probably not really running a successful box.

Fern:
So here is all of this unfold. Almost 100 percent of it. I’m unhappy at my gym. I’m like, whatever. We’re going to start our own gym. We go we spend we spend our money, we take out a loan, whatever, and then we have the conversation back. We don’t even care if we make money. We just want a good community. So. There’s a couple mistakes there. Number one, you if you don’t already own a business, you’re just going to put yourself at a ton of risk and start a business when you get where you have no experience. Right. And now, truth be told, this is where a lot of this how a lot of Crossfit, gyms start. Which I’m not even sure is a good thing at this point, because I don’t think there’s a ton of Crossfit, gyms that are thriving right where the blocks owner is getting what they need from the business. And Chris Cooper talks about this at length. So I go start this gym and then I end up making all of the same mistakes that I was unhappy with because I thought it was easy and nobody takes into account the logistics involved, all of the reporting that’s involved, the long work hours, the coaching development and the personnel problems and the membership issues. All they see is like, I show up, I coach my classes and I love it and it’s fun. And if that’s the case, start working out in your garage.And have a really good time there. But very rarely have I seen it, like really like somebody leave a gym and then they just crush it. When they leave, they might take a couple members and they end up being a different flavor of the same gym with all the same problems.

Ackerman:
Exactly. So it’s it’s funny how Crossfit, is one of those I’m sure. It’s common in other businesses and elsewhere. But it is true. It’s like this. This unique business structure where when you love it, you open your own. And that’s why out of 15000 affiliates, I mean, affiliates are closing. First of all, you know, not many have over one hundred members. And it’s because we’re doing it for this. I wouldn’t take for the wrong reasons. But you’re just not doing it right.

Fern:
You’re doing it for the right reasons without taking into consideration that two things can be true or wrongs. You can. You can do things for the right reasons and do them poorly.

Ackerman:
Yes. And good point. Very good point.

Fern:
You know, which is unfortunate where I would probably put the majority of Crossfit, boxes.

Ackerman:
Yeah, I mean,.

Fern:
If we’re solely talking about financial health.

Ackerman:
Yeah. And the simple analogy. Hey, I thought I was doing something right. I’m gonna do the dishes. I didn’t use any dish soap and my wife doesn’t really care that I tried to do something right. You still do poorly. Like Fern said,.

Fern:
You still at a terribly and it doesn’t matter because all it ends up happening is I end up not being able to serve the people that I want to serve. I end up not being able to provide great service and great results to all these people that are looking for that end that I have. But who else? From a training standpoint to give them? So that do you recommend, I recommend against that. Almost every single time.

Ackerman:
Well, I’ve seen that happen before and here’s what I don’t typically like about it. And I don’t know that this is that scenario. But like you said, it’s like hey i’m gonna open my own box and it becomes basically the same thing. And then you’re you’re battling over the same members. Right. Most people don’t open a new box like that and say to themselves, my goal is to get the rest of this greater, a county or town or wherever you live, to hear about Crossfit, and come in. They just think, well, I’m going to open, I’m going to steal 50 members from my current box and be making money. And that’s not the right reason.

Fern:
That’s probably not going to happen that way.

Ackerman:
Yeah. I mean, most people aren’t going to leave even if they’re unhappy for all the reasons we’ve already laid out. Throw into the fact that it’s just convenient. It’s on their way to work all those little things. I don’t care if you undercut the price when someone’s in the groove for the last two years of hitting the gym on their way to work and dropping off the kids or whatever, they’re they’re not going to change that because you opened a box two miles away.

Fern:
No. So with regard to the first scenario, go check out some other gyms. It’s just good to get some fresh eyes and for no other reason than stealing some things that they do well and bringing them back to your gym. Right. So that can doesn’t have to be a negative. It can be an absolute positive. The second one, which I’ll kind of dive into here just a second, is, I think probably the better option. Right. So I would go with either option A or B, depending on how severe the problem is at this gym. Option C, starting your own gym. I just don’t know if that’s the best option for so many reasons.

Fern:
We … on of a little bit of the micro gym community at this point to think that you’re just going to open up from scratch, not know anything and do it better is probably not accurate. So let’s go with option B. Here’s what I would do. I would go in. I would A, provide some solutions to the problems that I see. I would offer my services in a little bit more capacity. So ask the gym owner what things are you struggling with or do you not like to do within the gym? I’d be happy to take those from you, like, do you need a GM? You know where the other really weird scenario, I think is that people will, for whatever reason, propose buying into said gym for partial ownership. So buying into something that isn’t that is not doing well. Nobody would ever do that in any other aspect. For the most part, unless you were a V.C. and you had all these structure behind it as far as like restructuring and then probably either these millions selling it off or whatever. But the gym family doesn’t make enough to support two owners. No one does it make enough revenue or profit for that matter. So I and I’ve had this conversation with a coach recently who was considering buying, and I said absolutely not. I said, just grow the gym, secure your employment there. As a GM and save yourself all the stress of business ownership, would you would you prefer to make 40 to 50 thousand dollars as a GM and have the owner just be absentee and you can kind of do what you want? Or do you want to take this big group sandwich and have it be yours, you know, which are which I can assure you that you do not so good.

Ackerman:
You know that true. It’s like in the Crossfit, world for some reason because it looks so easy and it looks so fun. People just want to own a business where in reality, if this were anything else, you’d be like I’d just take the job, be able to check out at 5:00 p.m. every day, take my benefits, be able to go on vacation with my family, not worry that someone’s going to cancel or get hurt and be a lot happier.

Fern:
Yeah. So maybe there’s opportunity for full time employment there. Which is another. I’ve had this conversation like three times in the past week. I mean, how many coaches do they have on staff? If they have 12 to 15. See if you can pitch the idea of reducing it to four, at which point there’s probably enough revenue there for full time employment. So you would just be the person there because there is there are worse jobs than working in a Crossfit, gym. Assuming that you’re getting paid a living wage. So, you know, there might be some other things there to address and and create your own opportunity with the gym while simultaneously making the gym owner happy versus just walking into the his office. His or her office. And as my as my first commanding officer in the military told me, you I came in and I presented a problem and he just told me to get out. I was confused and he called me back in later and he says. Listen what you did to hand me a drunk monkey. All right. So imagine a scenario. Everybody in this world is walking around with our own little drunk monkey, right? Like everybody’s got one. You’re born with one. And that drunk monkey holds all of your problems. Right. And then all I did was walk into your office and give you my drunk monkey. And now you have two drunk monkeys running around in your office. Says, I don’t need any more drunk monkeys. I’ve got my own. So next time you come into my office, don’t come in here unless you have a solution. And like I’ve remembered that conversation since then. And that was in April of 2005. And so that’s what I try to tell everybody. But I’m like, I don’t need any more problems. Nobody needs anymore problems. Provide solutions. And if you don’t have solutions, at least acknowledge that you are trying to think of solutions, yet you have yet to find one. That at least makes me feel better. Any time somebody just walks and be like the laundry isn’t get it done to which my response is to says, why aren’t you doing it? Like what? Why is it not getting done? You know, I’m like your arms don’t seem to be broken, you know. So.

Ackerman:
I love it. I love that. That’s a really good drunk, monkeys. So. With all that being said, drug monkeys coming at us. We’re We’re telling this guy. And if someone’s listening a similar situation, it’s all about communicating. See some options out there, drop into some boxes. See what you like. See what you don’t like. Maybe it’ll give you a better vantage point on your own box and realize, hey, this isn’t so bad. But if it is, approach your box owner with solutions, not with junk monkeys.

Fern:
Yeah, I think you’re you’re far more likely to have a positive interaction with the owner if that is the case. If you walk in there because most gym owners are not going to admit this, but most of them are stressed out. Most of them don’t don’t know what to do.

And I know this because I’ve been there and I am still there in many cases, like the problems are just different now. So they don’t need any more of that, particularly from somebody on the staff. If it’s a consumer customer that’s different, you have to address that. But if it’s the staff, you have to teach your staff like either solve it or come to me with said proposal for solving it. But don’t just come in and hand me a problem. Chances are I probably already know about it anyway. You know, so thanks, Captain Obvious in that scenario.

Ackerman:
And I also think it’s. You’re going to have things you don’t like when you’re not the owner. That doesn’t mean you want to be the owner. That means, hey, I worked for this guy. He is going to have some protocols, some, you know, opinions and decisions that I don’t necessarily jive with 100 percent. That doesn’t mean they’re wrong. But if you’re if you want to change them, like like Furness said, have a solution, but also accept the fact that he is the boss. And there are some things you do have to deal with as a either member coach or a full time employee at the box.

Fern:
And another strategy, strategy from a problem solving standpoint is, you know, choose your battles here. Maybe don’t walk in with the one that is likely to create conflict, maybe walk in with like some lower level issues and just prove to the box owner that you’re there to help rather than expose the fact that the gym has problems, because that is going to hurt somebodies feelings unless they’re just, you know, the consummate professional and constantly asking you for feedback. Most people are gonna get but hurt about that. So choose some of the things that you can fix pretty quickly and then have a follow up meeting after that and address the second set of issues that you have to present to him with solutions. And you can work your way to that big one. But now I’ve created a rapport with the owner as a problem solver, and they’re open to my feedback and my solutions rather than just being like. Thanks. I appreciate your criticism of gym, but you don’t know what this is like because that’s almost gym owners feel.

Ackerman:
Hey, let’s let’s wrap this up. But let’s do a little role play and let’s let’s dive into this. So let’s say I’m the emailer and let’s take what seems needed to be the biggest problem, which is the owner. Hey, you’re the owner, Fern. And I approach you, Fern. You’re doing your own thing a lot of times. And I’m hearing from three of the members, you know, Johnny, Susie and Kelly, that they see you doing your own thing and they’re not doing it. Can we discuss that for a minute?

Fern:
Yeah. Sure. What did they give you any details on what it is they don’t like about it?

Ackerman:
Well, I think what they don’t like about it is they they really look up to you. You’re the owner, you’re very fit and they see you doing your own thing and they think they need to do that to get fit. Also.

Fern:
I was not aware of that. Now, there’s one of two scenarios. I’m doing this program. Make it up, let’s say they really need to do a program. So we’ll do that.

Ackerman:
Well, look, no one really needs to do a program.

Fern:
They they don’t. So the first thing I would probably say is like I’m going to try to jump into classes a little bit more. That’s a legit concern, right? If I if I’m never in the classes, that’s a problem. The other thing is, do you think they’re interested in some personalised programming? I’m happy to do that for them. If they if you think they are. Let me know and I’ll set up a personal console with them and we’ll discuss this whole thing. And maybe there’s an opportunity for me to give them a little bit more of what they’re looking for along the lines of what potentially I’m doing.

Ackerman:
Yeah. I mean, those are both great solutions. And I think it really just came from an open dialogue. You know, some others that were kind of running through my head are, hey, whatever program he is following, maybe we throw in those workouts and they become the class workouts, even though it would only be a portion of what he’s doing. And then he could do those with class or like you said, just happen to if you need your own programming to begin with. Chances are doing one or two additional met cons a week shouldn’t impact you greatly. Just happen to class twice a week. Or make sure you’re doing it off hours. Like hey, cool, you’re doing your own thing. But can you do when there isn’t class? You own the place. You’re here all the time, you know. So there’s all sorts of scenarios, but it starts with that dialogue.

Fern:
Yeah. And then maybe maybe you can present the. Option of, hey, people really kind of are interested in that programming that you’re doing. Do you think we could do that for the gym and then you could just work out in the class? Because now, now everybody gets to keep it. Get what they want. That owner gets to do that special programming and the members get to do that with the owner. To which point the counterargument might be from the owner. Well, people aren’t prepared for that. Well, hey, I’ll be more than happy to provide all of the scaling options for that program.

Ackerman:
Yeah. You know, it’s it’s like you said earlier, it’s not just even when you have a solution, make sure you’re not just handing a solution over and expecting the owner or someone else to do all the work either. The solution may entail like to do a little more work now, but everyone’s gonna be happier.

Fern:
So let’s go. Let’s let’s continue playing this because this let’s say he’s, um, completely resistant. I’m like whatever I do, my own program does because I want to. So they can get over it?

Ackerman:
Yeah, I mean, depending on how what kind of angle, right. This is an employee still. So he’s trying to be a little bit respectful. They would try to figure out why they’re trying to do their own programming, why they really need it. Obviously, you and I believe no one really needs their own programming. So we’re going to come out from a slightly different perspective. That would just, you know, OK, you really need your own programming. Can we just. I would then say, can we just take aspects of it and put them in class? So so you can do them with class members can feel like they’re doing the same thing as you. And then if you really want, let’s program the auxiliary stuff as some open gym time. And maybe that could even be like, hey, let’s charge a little more and there’s open gym or let’s put our personal programming with those little pieces so that coaches can make a little bit more money. There’s so many ways that we can approach that.

Fern:
One of the other things just to put your back pocket is just accept the answer. You can’t change it. He’s the boss. And I just say, OK, that’s cool. I wanted to present it to you. However, I still think you should talk to Johnny, Susie and Sally. They don’t seem to be very happy, which means they’re likely going to leave within the next 30 to 60 days. So I think as customers of your business, you should sit down and talk with them. And if you don’t want to. That’s fine. I’m going to do my part to let you know.

Ackerman:
Yeah. And as an owner, you should be doing that regularly anyway. One of the you know, in our private mentor group, we have quite a few coaches. And I always tell people when they bring some problems to me, I’m like, hey, talk to those people. But now I also want you to go talk to people that are really happy and find out why they’re really happy. And for the price of a Starbucks, you know, for five bucks. Go sit down with one person a week. If you’re an owner or a coach, choose one person a week. Find out what they love about the place and dig deep. They’re going to tell you it’s the programming. It’s the community. Dig deeper than that. And that’s really going to be what you should focus on that.

Fern:
That is very much detailed in Michael McKellar, which is the pumpkin plan, which Chris Cooper talks very regularly, which is how you start the process of replicating your seed clients. So if you ever read the book or read it,.

Absolutely. Check that book out and learn. The new Web site is up, by the way, if people want to check it out. Best hour of their day, dot com. All the old archives are there. We’re gonna have more content coming there. Currently, if you go there, bonus feature, it’s mostly pictures of me. So if you guys want to see more pictures of me, get there today. Fern Todd Katie. They’re all sending in their pictures to our Web guy. So in the meantime, I’m the place holder. So you’ll you’ll want to check that out before you see too many pictures of Fern.

Fern:
It’s a small place holder, so it’s not about that.

Ackerman:
Alright fern. Well, next time I see you, we will be at the affiliate gathering, hanging with some of the yogis of the Crossfit, world. And if you guys have questions that you want to hear them answer, maybe hit us up and we’ll do our best to get that on a future episode of Best Hour of their day. But hopefully that helped. That was a really broad topic. We tried to cover as much as we can. And I think if we had to sum it up, what would you say for its communication? That’s what it comes down to.

Fern:
Communication and options. Communication options.

Ackerman:
All right, Fern, I’ll see you in a couple of days.

Fern:
Yes, sir.

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