#031: Level System for Increased Athlete Engagement
As gym owners, one of our many jobs is to always keep our athletes engaged and striving towards the next stage of development. One of the common challenges is simply that members just get bored. Without a clear view of where they’re going and what’s next for them, it’s just human nature to tire of a routine that doesn’t have a clear progression.
Our guest Michael Cazayoux, the founder of Brute Strength, joins us to break down his level system which overcomes this issue.
Join us every Friday at 10 a.m. PT on The Network where we’ll be airing live. Be sure to stick around for the live Q&A session at the end of the show so we can answer any questions you have.
This show was recorded live in The Network on Friday, May 11, 2018.
In this article:
- 3:00 The challenge of developing your vision of culture
- 7:17 The relationship between the patch system and culture development
- 15:00 Creating a culture of commitment and growth vs physical ability
- 17:00 The importance of over-delivering the first impression
- 24:50 The power and personalization of video communication
- 36:00 A nutrition coaching program for gym owners
One of the bigger challenges of owning a gym is keeping members engaged for the long haul. You can help increase the longevity of your members with a level system or a patch system like Michael uses at Brute Strength.
Helping your members see that there’s an expertly crafted path they’re following helps people, in general, stay intrigued about what’s to come. The anticipation breaks their fitness journey into manageable sets for them to accomplish which keeps things fun for both parties.
Michael explains that this culture piece was discovered by accident. This is can be such a struggle for many gym owners who have an idea of what they want their culture to be but are seeing disconnect in the reality of their gym.
You have to have consistency with your messaging from the very beginning.
When someone signs up with Brute Strength, they receive in the mail the velcro Brute Pledge Patch which has their flag logo on it and can be stuck onto a hat or bag. It also comes with a letter that has their deepest core values. It says that by joining the program, they acknowledge that they’re a little bit different.
He knows this because the majority of his athletes join the program from his podcast and they really resonate with the shows that are about having better relationships, using the power of vulnerability, having a growth mindset, and many other topics that aren’t specifically fitness related. His culture is that of self-inquiry and pursuing excellence in every area of life rather than just competing better. Michael believes that it’s the story he tells with consistent themes that contribute to the evolution of his tribe’s culture.
The following patches come with different messages along the same theme of pursuing excellence. He has his athletes contemplate, “what does it mean to stick with something for 6-months? A year?” He expresses gratitude. He expresses many messages, feelings, and emotions that fall in line with the self-development his vision for their culture aligns with. While their mission is to crank out stronger, better athletes, they also exist to create better, happier people.
That may resonate with you reading this. Many times, your “why” for owning a gym isn’t about the fitness. It’s about bettering your community. Now, topically how can you do that to people in a way where they stick with you for the long haul so you can have maximum impact on their wellbeing? That’s where the psychology of the patch/level system really shines.
The reasons people train changes depending on age, life experiences, and the amount of time in the game. Perhaps you started off as an insecure small teenager who wanted more respect. You train to make yourself feel better about your self.
Many times, that reasoning will shift as people fall in love with the science and sport of training. Or it can become about finding a place of belonging. Realizing that not everyone wants to join your gym because they solely want to look better naked is important as you can then craft your longevity system to touch on these important points.
Many gyms have a level system where you have to be able to do certain movements or a certain number of reps or weight to test into a certain level. Brute Strength’s is a little different. The first 3 patches are based on the length of time an athlete has been training with them.
A new athlete gets the Brute Pledge Patch at right at sign up, the Brute Tribe Patch at 6-months, and another that comes after a year. Then if an athlete gets nominated, or he/she can self-nominate, for doing something really great in their life, there’s another patch for that. The patch system is very attractive for competitive people – so it’s a good fit for our kind of community. It gives people something to chase.
Michael explains that having the onboarding process flow effortlessly for the athlete is one of the most important aspects of your client’s experience. You need to minimize negative feelings and maximize positive feelings. Some common negative feelings may be discomfort in not knowing what’s coming next, confusion of not knowing if they’ve done all of the right steps, or being unsure that they made a good investment.
Common positive feelings may look like hope in the future or the excitement of overcoming a challenge. Having the right technology in place to minimize and maximize the right feelings is a great way to scale this system. So make sure your communication is just enough information sent at exactly the right time otherwise you risk people not feeling like they’re being taken care of. You’re letting them become disenchanted with your brand before you even had a chance.
If you DIY, it can take a tremendous amount of work in the beginning, but once it’s automated, you’re good to go.
Another aspect of technology that helps increase the longevity of your athletes is video. Automating communication feels much less robotic when there’s the personal touch of a prerecorded video. This can help a message that might actually be quite dry and give it some life and more impact. Michael uses a year long email series that has about 100 different emails which include embedded videos that explain the message. The upfront effort has paid off exponentially as it’s now reproduced hundreds of thousands of times to athletes all over the world.
Creating systems like this specifically for boxes is what Gymwright is committed to, so if you’d like to speak to a Gymwright Growth Specialist to see if we’re a good fit for your business, click here to schedule your free strategy session.
Switching gears, Michael and Markus discuss nutrition programs in gyms. Much like we discuss in Dr. Mike T Nelson’s show last week, there’s a glaring gap in offering nutrition services in our industry. Gym owners know it’s something that’s needed but aren’t quite sure about to go about implementing something that’s scalable. Michael’s up and coming program will fix all of that.
- You choose a coach to be the nutrition expert at your gym. It can be either you as the gym owner or one of your coaches.
- Michael’s organization trains that person using the same exact system they use to coach a new Working Against Gravity coach which is a four-phase system.
- At the end of each phase, your nutrition coach will get feedback from one of their head coaches on their progress and walk them through the course.
- While that coach is in training, Michael is personally having a meeting with the administrator or the gym owner or whoever is running the business side of the nutrition program to discuss marketing and sales. Michael will give you a ton of resources for email marketing, website copy, social media marketing, and a launch strategy for the physical gym. You will learn the best way to go about actually teaching your members what the program is and how to sell it to them. The course doesn’t end there. This nutrition coaching program is also packed with tons of follow up to ensure it’s working for each and every business that signs up.
- Stay tuned to learn more about when this great new program is launching. And definitely check out Michael’s podcast Brute Strength for radical wisdom of life, training, and beyond.
About Michael Cazayoux
Michael Cazayoux is the owner of Brute Strength and a partner in Working Against Gravity. He has been coaching and competing in CrossFit for four years. He has eleven years of Olympic and powerlifting experience. Cazayoux spent one year as an assistant weightlifting coach at Southern Utah University where he worked with athletes from the football, soccer, track and field, and gymnastics teams. Following SUU, he spent one year at Louisiana State University working with a variety of sports before moving back to Utah.
Cazayoux graduated from the Utah Honor’s College with a BS in Psychology. He is currently writing a thesis for a Master’s in Sports Performance.
Cazayoux is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), as well as USA Weightlifting (USAW) coach. He is a CrossFit Level One Trainer and is certified in CrossFit Coaches Prep, CrossFit Weightlifting 1 and 2, Fascial Stretch Therapy, and Functional Movement Systems (FMS).
Cazayoux was a CrossFit World Games competitor in 2011, and a CrossFit Affiliate World Cup Champion in 2012 and 2013 with his team the “HacksPack.”
Cazayoux can run a mile in 5:09, can deadlift 500 lbs, and has a 2:02 Fran.
Cazayoux originally moved to Utah for drug treatment when he was 17 years old. It was a huge success and found CrossFit and coaching to be an integral part of that rehabilitation process.
Cazayoux was born in Arlington, Virginia and moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana three months later. He spent his childhood and adolescent years in New Roads, LA. He currently resides in Salt Lake City, Utah.