Eighteen months ago I had to close the business I had spent 10 years building in various forms due to an unpredictable and unbelievable incident.

Have you ever been kicked full on in the testicles or had the gut wrenching feeling of splitting up with the person you love?

That’s pretty much how I felt locking the door to the gym for the last time.

It’s taken since then for me to get anywhere near to fully appreciating the situation.

However, since that time I’ve travelled around America, cycled across Australia, backpacked around New Zealand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Bali and I’m currently training in Thailand.

Part of me not going bat shit crazy after having to close my business, was looking back at the lessons I’ve learned from some of the world’s best in the fitness industry over the last 10 years.

I’ve had the fortune to study, party and train with some of the best.

People who teach you lessons even when they’re not even trying.

People who don’t forget you when you’re in the shit.

People who have got there through a complete understanding of what they do.

Now this article could be an entire book and probably will be one day.

Instead I’m going to give you what you need to know.

Go away, think about it and trust me when I say it will change everything when you absorb them as daily habits to getting stuff done.

DAX MOY

“No person is ever the same person”

Dax has taught me so much giving him one line almost feels like an insult, but that’s kind of the point.

Dax taught me to help people not with more and more information but by understanding that day by day, week by week and year by year, the same individual is only ever reacting to their environment and experiences.

If you want to be a top coach, you have to stop trying to put things and people in boxes.

Go deep and stop thinking there is an ultimate apex of coaching knowledge.

Learn to understand personal threats and how the brain works.

Accept there is no ‘one way’ but a right way to go about finding out what an individual needs at any particular time.

The answers are in the moment and that will never, ever stop changing.

Dax also does the WORST foot massages…

JOHN SPENCER ELLIS

“When you love what you do, you do it even when you don’t have to.”

I remember sitting in a mastermind room in Vegas listening to JSE asking us all questions and I’m thinking “This guy has earned, invested and multiplied millions of dollars and he wants to know what I think about stuff”.

It was more exciting than this photo seems to suggest.

In fact that night we partied way too hard involving Mexicans, tequila, the Hard Rock Cafe and a light sabre.

A couple of years later JSA took me to Wanderlei Silva’s gym on the Strip to show me some kickboxing techniques for an upcoming fight, on his own valuable time.

I knew why.

  1. He’s a good guy.
  2. He learns by teaching.

The moment you don’t want to learn or teach anymore, you’re done.

MARTIN ROONEY

“Energy and passion outsell everything else”

You can talk about marketing, funnels and referrals all day long, but ultimately if you have so much energy and passion for what you do that you can’t hold it in, the right people will be drawn to you in their droves.

Another time in Vegas I sat listening to Martin at lunch and it struck me that the guy just can’t stop talking about what he loves to do – coach people and fire them up!

If you and your employees can’t bring it every single time, your business will never reach it’s potential.

Take along, hard look at the energy and passion that seeps or dribbles through your business.

A lot of answers will be right there.

DAN JOHN

“When you think you know it all, it’s time to start again”

I was in Utah training at Gym Jones and found out Dan was back in Utah.

I asked him if we could do an interview.

He invited me to his house to do just that and then to return for the free session he does on a Saturday morning for a few people.

Why does someone with his experience and reputation do a free session?

To keep himself sharp as a coach.

Seriously?

With upwards of 30 years coaching experience, a guy still has to practise and sharpen the sword?

Yes, that’s what makes the difference.

Dan has also taught me that as a coach you collect more and more tools in your excitement as a ‘new’ coach.

When you really start to excel, you start to strip away a lot of these tools and you’re left with doing the fundamentals over and over but you find yourself better able to communicate how and when to use them.

PHIL RICHARDS

“Everyone benefits from strength and conditioning”

I mentored with Phil and studied all his work.

What I learned is that a lot of athletes don’t train like they need to, even at a high level.

They can also be very unhealthy and perform despite their training not because of it.

More importantly for many of my clients, when you approach Joe Average with a performance perspective you help them progress much faster and with a more complete set of physical skills than when you focus on ‘fat burning’.

Performance improvements can come from improving sleep, getting hormones checked and building health from the inside out (including mental health) – it’s not all about Olympic lifting and 40m times.

STEVE ATLAS

“Build your own jigsaw in the industry”

Steve’s like a real-life superhero which I think it what’s he has been aiming for all his life.

He looks like one and moves like one.

His super-power is teaching you that bodybuilding/aesthetics, movement, strength and being humble with your talents are not isolated ‘skills’ that you have to choose between.

The world of fitness makes out that these approaches are like competitors where only one can win through and BE the fitness industry.

You will have the most impact on this world if you make your own jigsaw and put the pieces together in the way that most resonates with you, then demonstrate to the world that you fully believe in it with every action you take.

Stop arguing about which is best and start creating your own unique jigsaw.

ALWYN AND RACHEL COSGROVE

“Be the best part of your members’ day”

I was fortunate enough to mentor with the Cosgroves, experience their gym at Results Fitness and view Alwyn’s huge stash of BioTest products at his house collected as a writer for T-Nation.

Alwyn and Rachel taught me that owning a fitness facility is not about giving people workouts.

You have to look at it like Disneyland.

Be obsessive about making the ‘flow’ something that adds value to the member experience at every step.

EVERY step.

Every thing should be part of a system that delivers maximum value.

I also learned that when it comes to selling other products and services, “It might as well be me”.

Your members are going to buy a range of other products to compliment their workouts.

They are going to spend money on things.

“It might as well be me” that profits from this creating a win-win situation.

Members get the best accessories, supplements, products and support and it’s all in house to make their life easier.

At the same time, you make more money.

LUKA HOCEVAR

“Outwork everyone”

I went to see Luka at his gym Vigor Ground in Seattle.

We trained then sat down to eat at about 10.30 at night before he went home to do some work.

Luka would be up at 5am as usual, grinding and planning to re-open Vigor 2.0 in a new building he just bought.

For around 6 years I’ve watched Luka grind every single day or his life constantly building and focusing on delivering more value to everyone that crosses his path.

Hard work rarely goes unrewarded so don’t give up to soon.

Work, train and party hard. 

If you’re not sure quite what that means, go see Luka.

Work harder.

Yes you can.

AJ ROBERTS

“Success is an attitude”

Few people have held world powerlifting records and built successful businesses.

AJ taught me that when you understand what success takes, it can be applied to anything.

Sure you’ll need different skills, but skills can be attained.

Attitude comes from within and has to be applied to EVERYTHING you do if you want to keep the sword sharp.

You might be successful and then things take a turn for the worse.

Go back and start again in the same way with the next project.

Do this as many times as life decides is necessary.

TRAVIS JONES

“Do what you have to do”

Travis now runs a very lucrative gym business with multiple locations, retreats in Bali and a coaching business with wife Liv.

When I first met him, TJ was just starting out with the first location in Melbourne (where he slept) and got into Chris McCoombs’ mastermind by promising to get the Kick Back Life tag tattooed on himself.

Many people will say they’ll “do anything” but never really come close to anything uncomfortable.

Sometimes you have to go all in.

JAMES MALINCHAK

“Always be selling”

James is a very well-paid public speaking coach.

Whilst on his coaching program I found myself in a Vegas hotel which had tried to change our location because President Obama wanted to stay there.

James was uncompromising as usual and refused to change the venue, so I spent the weekend under the watchful eye of the Secret Service around the pool (at a cost of about $40,000 per night apparently) and being scanned whenever I went for a run around the block.

James taught me that human psychology never changes and there is a process by which you can demonstrate your amazing value to someone and encourage them to invest in you (and themselves).

Always be selling and delivering at the same time.

ROB MCDONALD a.k.a Bobby Maximus

“Do the work today or don’t bother coming in on Monday”

Rob is Chief of Training at the world famous Gym Jones gym, where the 300 movie actors trained as well as Henry Cavill for Superman and a range of athletes and very committed members of the public.

I learned so much about programming for elite level fitness but you can get that by getting involved in this.

The best lesson Rob gave me was delivered with a look.

I was about to attempt the sub 7 minute Gym Jones 2k row standard having never tried it before.

As I got strapped in, Rob just stopped, looked into my soul and raised his eyebrows.

The look said it all.

“Get under 7 minutes, or don’t bother coming in on Monday.”

When you surround yourself with mediocre people they will tell you it’s okay when you mess up because you didn’t try hard enough.

Be around better people.

Get uncomfortable.

Don’t accept being mediocre and the bullshit stories that are holding you there.

6 minutes 53 seconds later, I understood.

On Monday, Rob didn’t care anymore.

Go again.

TIM GOODWIN

“People just need to understand the principle of slight edge”

We were discussing when is the right time to launch a new product and when do you “know enough” to be confident enough to start.

Tim came out with this little gem that stuck with me.

Provided you have a slight edge on who you wish to teach or coach, you can deliver value to their life and charge accordingly.

You don’t have to be perfect or be miles ahead of the pack to be able to help people and build a profitable business around it.

This doesn’t mean be lazy and just do enough.

You need to stay ahead of the advancing game to keep things progressing and maintain the edge.

ANDY JENKINS 

“You’re supposed to Perform and Publish”

We were talking systems and out-sourcing.

Everything you do that isn’t the performance of your unique, key skill or publishing your content is likely pulling you away from spending more time on the high value stuff you’re capable of.

In setting up any business it’s often smart to actually spend time figuring out what works best from an admin perspective and may be necessary until funds allow you to outsource, but as soon as you can move yourself closer and closer to solely Performing and Publishing.

Pay someone £10 an hour to free up an hour you can command £50, £100, £200+ for.

WANT A MILLION MORE LESSONS AND ACTUAL SWIPE FILES?

If you’re a fitness professional there are some spaces left on the new Fitness Business Freedom coaching program.

This will blow your mind and fast forward every part of your business by 4-5 (expensive) years.

Check it out. Get in touch. We go soon for Winter 2017!