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How Coaching Saved My Gym

The Missed Flight

It was summer, the sun was shining, the weather was perfect. Life was good, unless you were a gym owner in the summer of 2020.

It was a Friday morning. I had just wrapped up coaching the early morning sessions at the gym. The gym had been reopened from forced shutdowns for 6 weeks. Members were getting back into their training routine and everyone’s energy was high.

I heard an alert go off on my phone. I checked my email and to my horror, my flight had been moved up by 1 hour. I did some quick math, grabbed my keys and ran to my car. I called my Mom who was staying at my house for a relaxed flight out of Toledo to my cousins wedding the following day. That Friday was going to be spent with family, celebrating my cousin and her soon to be husband. “Mom, grab your bags, meet me in the driveway. I’ll be home in five minutes – we’re probably going to miss this flight”.

My stress was through the roof. I raced home in silence, wondering how an airline could move a flight time forward by 60 minutes. I picked up my Mom and we rode in silence as I sped to the airport. If you’ve never missed a flight, the stress leading up to missing the flight is the worst type of stress. AS we hustled towards the check in gate I realized I couldn’t find my boarding pass. I couldn’t find the link to pull it up on my phone either – at this point I was at my breaking point. The guard at TSA asked why I looked like I was in a panic. I shared that I couldn’t find my boarding pass, and that my flight had been moved up and I was about to miss it. He assured me that no one misses their flight out of Toledo – it’s too small and easy to navigate. He asked for my flight number. He paused when I gave it to him, hesitated and informed me that the flight left 15 minutes ago.

My heart sank. I couldn’t turn around to face my Mom’s disappointment. The TSA guard gave us directions of where to go and who to talk to to rebook. When we got to the counter I pulled up my original email and discovered that the flight hadn’t been moved up. It left at the original time. I had failed to triple check the flight time and details – I hadn’t checked it at all. I choked back tears, rebooked the flight and headed back to the car with my Mom, knowing that I had to tell her what happened.

I was wrapping up week 6 of working every day from 5am until 9pm. I was working every weekend as well. I had just “celebrated” my 4th month of missed mortgage payments and was 5 months into having no income. The gym didn’t qualify for a PPP loan and my stress was mounting daily.

Work Harder, Work Harder, Work Harder

More members were cancelling due to fear of Covid, which was understandable. Despite Zoom sessions, weekly small group accountability calls, challenges and game nights – it wasn’t enough. Revenue was free falling and expenses were climbing. The only thing I knew to do was to work harder and longer in hopes to create a solution. National gyms were filing for bankruptcy, local gyms were closing their doors forever. The lump in my throat continued to grow.

The Discovery

We arrived at a family members house at 1am, nearly 15 hours after the missed flight. My Mom, was gracious and although I knew she was heart broken that we missed an entire day with our family, she never shared her disappointment. My cousin showed me to the guest room where I’d be staying. I put my things down, sat on the edge of the bed, and pulled out my phone. As tear began to fall off my face, I scrolled mindlessly through social media. I saw an ad that stood out so I read the copy. I was intrigued so I went to the website. I quickly pulled out my laptop so I could really dig into their content.

It was a mentorship program – by gym owners, for gym owners.

I didn’t sleep that night. I read through countless articles on their website, researched them extensively and had watched review videos for their business on YouTube. I was convinced that they were legit and I booked a call with them for the following week.

I continued to dig for more information on the business leading up to my call. I prayed for clarity. In the fitness industry – everyone claims to have the solution for you – both as a gym owner and as someone looking for help on their health and fitness journey.

As I prepared to jump on the Zoom call, I was convinced that this program was the solution I needed. I wondered how much it would cost. I told myself that unless the price was unreasonable I was committing that day.

The call went well. They answered all of my questions. They demonstrated that they had the solutions I was looking for. I knew in my heart that this was the path I needed to be on. The call drew near to the end – which is when the price comes up.

The Value Of Coaching

$10,000.

I had already done my research and knew this business doesn’t offer discounts. There’s no reason to – the best doctors, lawyers, and restaurants don’t offer discounts – so why would a mentorship business discount their services that would save my business?

I said “Great, let’s get started”.

The Investment

$10,000 feels like a lot when you’re missing your mortgage payment and haven’t seen a paycheck in 5 months.

So why didn’t I hesitate?

I thought about the people in Perrysburg. Although there are plenty of gyms, there are even more people that need personal guidance in their health and fitness. I thought about all of our members. Many of them look forward to the hour they’ll spend with us as the best hour of their day. The hour they spend with us improves their confidence, energy, they feel better, they have fun with all their friends, and they always leave feeling accomplished and smiling. I thought about our coaches – some of which have left salaried roles to make guiding people on their health and fitness journey – and treating them like family – their life’s work. I thought about my future family. They deserve to have me involved in their life. They deserve for me to have energy, to not be drowning in stress, for me to have money to pay for our house, and give them the quality of life I want for them.

I needed the solutions to the problems that I was facing that I didn’t know how to solve. I knew that the people who own gyms, that have solved these same problems for themselves and have helped others solve them as well, were the people that could help me. They could help me through coaching.

Then What?

As I’ve continued to watch other local gyms close since the summer of 2020, I think about the pain those owners went through fighting to keep their business alive and to continue to serve their community. They probably did a lot of the things I was doing and they likely burnt out or ran out of money. I would’ve too if I didn’t get help.

Maybe you can relate. You’ve tried training at home. You’ve had the membership to the big, pay for access down the street. You’ve tried to become a runner. You’ve tried to fall in love with yoga. You desperately want to lose weight. You’re tired of feeling depressed when you look in your closet and know that none of your favorite clothes fit. You’re exhausted from being ashamed and disappointed for not doing better. You know that people are successful. You want that success. You feel like you’ve already tried the “work harder, work harder, work harder” approach. You’re convinced there has to be another way, you just don’t know what the solution is.

You’re right.

There is a better way.

Coaching is the answer.

Coaching saved my gym.

Coaching preserved our community at the gym.

Coaching saved our coaches jobs.

Coaching saved my house.

Coaching can save your health.

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