Lachlan Rowston and Raph Freedman are shaping the future of fitness with the Mind Muscle Project.
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The Business Is Now Different
Mike: You guys have got experience in the fitness business that goes really, deep running gyms. You have online training programs now. You have done all sorts of stuff, your true entrepreneurs, and coaches and you guys have a good beat on what is going on and knowing that you were in Australia. And I know a lot of Americans and other people in other parts of the world are interested in what is happening in other parts of the world. and write before we hopped on in here, you guys are talking about, some Americans hitting you up about, what is the opportunities in Australia because the gyms or shut down.
And we have done some shows about that, like how to manage all that from people who are still committed to doing the jam to some people wanting to go online. and there's just so many options and it’s a, and a lot of times with a pivot, it's your having to start over. You basically, and you guys have been successful with this. You have run gyms, but you also have online training programs now on all sorts of stuff. So, I am curious to dig into what you guys are seeing right now.
What is working, what is not working and all that kind of, all that stuff is, are you guys, how's business right now?
Raph: It is different, that is for sure. where, so we are currently still locked down, but we're like right in the process of opening up some parts of Australia, have just opened up the gyms we are doing with our outdoor training allowed us and we haven't quite opened up. so, it has been interesting. It has been great because it has been an opportunity to basically correct a bunch of stuff we wanted to correct in our business. while we are closed, when we can just take a few months to do that. But we are still servicing nearly all our clients still. I am specifically going online and giving all our clients happy with that way and, but we are planning to go back into the gyms as well.
We are staying on our leases, everything like that but going to make a better than ever. We have not like gone off to a pivot in forgotten about the gyms. Yeah. One of the things that I'd say that that that's different as well is look we are, even though, because we have the three locations, the difference was between us in single location's is we had to learn to become a pretty digital team in terms of operations. I am not just like revenue. And so, when it went online, we were like everyone knew how to use them. Everyone is using Slack. We are using pro like a project management software like notion.
And so, it just felt like okay, we are just not seeing each other every day. And I forgot how much of the industry, just how I was like a WhatsApp channel for there, they are Business and they do not have like a good client communication because they just always that. And then when that went away, they are like, Oh, what is this Slack thing? How do I communicate with my team? And it is like, Oh, what is a Zoom? And I was like, Holy shit. Wow.
Mike: That it was, it was shocking. I am part of the CrossFit affiliate owners’ group on Facebook. They kicked me out, yet I have not been an affiliate owner and five or six years ago. And yeah, a lot of people were posting in there. They go, Oh, how do you use the Zoom and, and all this stuff. I was going, Whoa, it is become such a normal part of my life that it was easy to forget.
Gyms Going Online
Mike: What have you guys done that's been uncommon that other gyms, like you see, it's like you were just talking about like they don't know what Slack is or they didn't know what Zoom was or they weren't using a project management software or what's some of the stuff that, that you guys implemented long before this to put in a good position?
Raph: Well, during the process, I think the most uncommon thing we did, which kept us on a good position was how we do is maintain our prices across the board and for all the memberships. So pretty much everyone around us was decreasing their price, putting members on hold, or just doing some sort of decrease in value to their clients. but we maintained all our processes during the process so that we have all our clients keep paying the full rates and we just tried to step up and deliver them value in a different way to, just repair them for it, for how much they're still investing in that Fitness. So that was the number one. And that was huge because it kept, the clients that stayed on a, kept them super reinvested.
They still wanted to look on, they want to jump on the Zoom classes, jump on their online programming because they were paying for it. They were still paying the full membership. So, they were keen to keep using the experience and it got over that initial hurdle. Everybody has are going online and they kept on coaches, just fired off to the Cape or delivering because they knew all of our clients were paying full prices when all like their friends at other gyms around them with like, Hey, I'm playing, 70% of my membership. Or they pulled me on hold, and they sent me a free program. So, I think just being unusual compared to everybody else a hand, and continuing to deliver that, was huge.
And then I think the most basic thing is we just got rid of in person meetings years ago. online meetings just so much more convenient for everybody. Loves us to meet more frequently, probably then the average gym, for sure, you cannot meet a few times a week in person. It is just so inconvenient for everybody. When some people start the day at 4:00 AM we will finish your day at 10th. We were doing online meetings and I think it just allows everyone to, maintain their lives but more frequently meet more frequently to solve problems, which during a process like this, when we were going from indoors to outdoors to online, back to the outdoors, and that was so much chaos. Like it was chaos. It was a huge, like we must keep meeting online to make things work.
Lachlan: Hmm. Yeah. And I think also from the practice perspective as well, like we had had years of practice, so we knew what worked for us. Whereas when people are jumping on at the first time, they can use all the software that way you choose to, but they do not know the cadence. They do not know the frequency. They do not know how well they are team is going to like it. They have not got feedback from them yet. And so just I am all the structures and just the practice of these structures is so important. So, I think that is where we had a real advantage because it was a lot of business as from operation
Delivering Value Despite Going Online
Mike: A lot of gyms saw lowered the prices and now what I am hearing from them is almost like, why now I got to raise the prices again. Now that we are getting back in the gym and, and it, it, it creates like, like, Oh, I load it now I am going to raise it again. And it, it, it creates a weird conversation. Especially when, we do not know if we will go on to lock down again. So, it is like that there is, from the very beginning, there was conversations of that this will over the summer will probably, go down and then it might come back in the winter.
Well, our winter, a lot of like go back in a lockdown. When you say you just like low your prices again or like you're conditioning your clients to have that expectation and when expectations aren't met that's when people experience unhappiness and discontent and that's not the kind of client you want. What did you, what did you guys do to add value to were to create value where there might have been a and assumption that there is less value because people could not get in the gym? What was your communication like? What did you guys offer?
Raph: Yeah, I think the number one would thing we thought about was how are we just need to step up what we do off the floor. So obviously there is no floor but outside of class times like this has got to be way better than it was before. Cause people feel like they do not obviously come to the gym and not getting maybe the community aspect of seeing other people is, so we stepped up really is how much retention work we do. We are obviously messaging client’s multiple times a week from their personal Coach because this is the type of people fall off as no one. Then to see their friends, no one says that they are getting, and they are just, it is it easy to go, will you go to the online without logging in to anything?
So, we had set that up in a huge way, so people really felt like we had not forgotten about them. In fact, they felt like we were thinking about them far more often than we worked when we have the gym. So, we just like took, okay, we cannot do that in person stuff. We cannot yell at them. We cannot deliver value in in that sense, that squat perfect.
Mike: It is like you said, yell at them and deliver value back in the back.
Raph: We thought it was like you cannot live out big motivation that you can get off it in person and inspiration. It's not a, it's not exactly the same when you message someone or if you have a video or you can coach them on a live class is different but what you can do, which I think for a lot of people that is more beneficial, it will just hold them more accountable on a daily basis. You know just checking in that they trained or they ate well, they followed their water drinking have it on a daily basis as that still transforms people’s lives and there's no reason why we can't deliver that and you know if the coach is the saving time on the community and they can spend extra time holding clients accountable so that really the root we went down.
I also think that it started when we said to our coaches because our coaches just like our client's, they were like alright cool let us drop the prices, let’s make a cheap, let's just do online. And we had to step in and be like, if think that the only
Lachlan: Difference between what you do now, like 50% of their membership between what you do now and what we did in the gym is, some equipment and four walls. I am like, you are completely wrong. You write a program for them; we can still do it that you still coach them. We are still doing that. You were holding them accountable. We are still doing that. You offer them nutrition coaching. It is still doing that. We are doing all these things. The only thing that went away is just the location to do it in. And plus, we rented out a half of the equipment anyway. People came and grabbed it from the gym. So, once they realized that our coach is like, Oh shit.
Yes. Like not that different. Okay. It has been a few months now. It is like we want to get back to the gym. Totally. But just changing their mindset on that. They were like, ah, yeah, true. That is like there is only a small difference between now then it is not a 50% difference. Yeah. sounds like
Mike: Your coaches likely got better at coaching because of this because they realized what are the value is that it is in the Relationship it is in the conversation. I think most coaches are completely missing out right now.
Lachlan: Yeah. Yeah. And they are, I would say probably for them as well. They must have some hard conversations because they are trying to keep people on membership who have lost their jobs. And I think a lot of our coaches really stepped up and probably do things that they really, obviously we were not comfortable doing, but also did not think they could do. So, I think that our coach is built a lot of self-belief in themselves as well through simply hard conversations.