The Gym Owners Blog/Podcast/Fitness Business Done RIGHT with Dylan Harris

Fitness Business Done RIGHT with Dylan Harris

Monday, May 20, 2024



gym, people, working, coach, training, hour, springfield, dylan, clients, personal, run, years, classes, coaching, opportunity, upsells, space, open, programs, offer


  • Evolving gym model with personalized coaching and community building. (0:00)
  • ​Transitioning from personal training to 24-hour gym ownership. (4:52)
  • Gym marketing and upselling opportunities. (9:47)
  • Personal training and gyms' struggles to launch programs. (14:00)
  • The importance of social proof in marketing personal training services. (18:06)
  • Staffing and career development in a gym setting. (21:30)
  • ​Down Selling and upselling in fitness coaching, with a focus on retention and group classes. (25:25)
  • Expanding a gym's offerings, including athletic development and weightlifting classes. (30:29)
  • Growing a fitness business through an internship program. (34:36)
  • Creating a successful fitness business with a focus on mentorship and context. (39:21)


Tyler 00:00
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this week's episode of the gym owners podcast. I'm your host Tyler stone over there is John Fairbanks How are you doing John? Hello Tyler and special guests today from Springfield's strength and conditioning in Springfield, Missouri. Dylan, how are you doing Dylan?

Dylan Harris 00:14
I'm doing great today.

Tyler 00:15
Dylan Harris Harris. I pronounced that right. And it's not Missouri, that's Harris. So Dylan is a graduate of the gear Academy and spent about a couple years with us with the gear Academy year and a half, two years. And in that time, there's been a lot of things established, we've been paving a lot of pathways for this gym. And it's really cool to see Dylan out there continuing to kill at the gym and continuing to be successful. And so we wanted to share with you guys who are listeners. The specific things that Dylan does really well in the Buddha's gym does really well, it's not just Dylan, but it's that the staff does well that the community rallies behind. And I think that it is, it's a model that is one of my favorite aspects of I think the new potential of what gyms can be because very often when we talk about a fitness model, it's like Globo gym, and very little coaching. Or it's a global gym, and very cookie cutter, low level coaching. Or it's very coached like classes, classes, classes, or small studio only stuff, where it's just basically a personal trainer in a space and you guys have kind of blended a lot of those things together. And I think I created a system that covers a lot of bases in somebody's lifetime fitness journey and allows him to have expertise and companionship and the opportunity to build community through all of this. I think you have the best of the best of two worlds, the best of many different worlds. And I think and I think that's pretty commendable. So thanks for joining us today, Dylan. Don't tell me what's your gym? When did you guys open up?

Dylan Harris 01:51
We opened the keys, October of 2018. And I kind of moved my personal training clients over there, I'd already been doing personal training for I think, almost eight years at that point. So I moved them over there with me while I kind of got things operating. And in January of 19. We made it public and opened it to everybody.

Tyler 02:18
And were you at that time? Were you when you opened? Was this a gym that existed? No. Okay, so you built you equipped it and everything like that? Was that process? Like? Um,

Dylan Harris 02:30
you know, our whole? Yeah. You know, I was dark, I was already personal training out of like an Anytime Fitness, and kind of maxed out on hours about what you can probably charge. You know, in Springfield, it's kind of a low cost living here. You know, we didn't have kids, yet. We just wrapped up, both me and my wife both wrapped up our masters. And it's kind of just thinking, like, what can we do to increase revenue? Or where can we go from here? Because I'm kind of, you know, I've maxed out. So the answer was volume of some sort. So I found a cheap warehouse. And the plan was to outfit it and just do some small group training by myself. semi private type stuff, and then some athletic development because that was something I've always had a passion for, but didn't have the space for it and like Anytime Fitness. And then we, you know, I opened. That was going pretty good. We started letting a couple of friends come in, and their friends wanted to come in. And so that's how the whole 24 hour thing kind of started. But that was never part of the plan. But it kind of organically evolved into that and ended up being a nice little passive income right there.

Tyler 03:42
So the studio, it was going to be a studio with maybe some performance based stuff, some space, maybe some maybe some group stuff for specific needs. But my whole my whole

Dylan Harris 03:51
The goal was just to increase the number of people I could see as a trainer with a semi-private model. Yeah. And so and then it just kind of took off from there.

Tyler 04:03
I think that's a really, we talked with Tyler was it last week, John, it'd be it'd be two weeks if you're a couple weeks. This one but the same deal. This week, it's kind of evolved a little bit from what he wanted, or what he had originally intended. And you kind of I think it's important as gym owners for you guys listening is to constantly be identifying opportunities, much like when you were maxed out as a personal trainer deal and you go okay, well, I guess this is this is, this is what this is gonna, okay, we're here, we'll always have this What can I do to level that up? And I think that you've taken that same mindset to, to the gym, in developing new programs and the new the new, whatever new pathways and entry levels that the gym has developed over these last few years is I think really, really cool. Now, glad you're

John Fairbanks 04:52
having this very natural and organic growth plan, which I would love to be able to say that you had a plan that way all

Dylan Harris 04:59
all along. Yeah, not a chance.

John Fairbanks 05:01
But you know, I mean, just like it. And honestly, that's when the best stuff is working the way it's supposed to, is what it almost is like, yes, Dylan had a five year plan. He had a 10 year plan. This was all part of the plan. But because it was growing naturally, you just went with whatever was there? Yeah, how do you make that transition? So you are game, I need more space. So I get myself more space, just so I can be doing? Essentially, it's just a personal training studio. How do you allow yourself to have people that now are interested, that want to come in, but they don't necessarily want to be coached, like, directly by you, and it almost opens that door to 24 hour access, where now it's that open gym? It seems to be a thing where it would be if I'm in your shoes, where I fire, imagine it would be almost really difficult. You'd be like covetous of like, No, I do high quality, like high quality personal training, I make sure you're doing the right things. I don't just want planet fitness, I don't just want, you know, this to turn into like every other 20 for all the negative aspects that we can think of. But you allowed yourself, I want to say like give a little bit and allow that to open up? How do you make that transition mentally?

Dylan Harris 06:19
Um, I mean, it wasn't entirely difficult at first, because several, again, a lot of the people interested started out as friends of ours, and then friends of theirs. And so it was, you know, there was a, it wasn't just like, total randoms coming in, out of nowhere to the gym. So that made it a little bit easier. And then also, you know, I've always had a pretty big online training presence, too. I had a lot of clients in the area that I programmed for online that were training in other gyms. And so we kind of packaged up a deal there where it was like, Hey, I'm doing your programming. What if I get you a little bit better membership, right, you come over here, you do your programming here at the gym, then we can cross paths face to face more often. And so a lot of those initial 24 hour gym memberships were also originally just online clients that were somewhere else.

Tyler 07:09
Yeah. So your feelings weren't hurt, either. It wasn't like you were like, you were trying to sell personal training and people kept coming in and go, Nah, man, you're just closer to my

Dylan Harris 07:19
wasn't too bad. I mean, like, you know, I just saw it as an opportunity. You know, we risked a lot of open space, it was easy for me to say yes to any opportunity to make a few bucks. Yeah. And so every one of those people that came in the door, and the way that place was outfitted is you didn't walk into it and look at it and think, Oh, this is another 24 hour Globo gym, where it's not you walked into it and thought, like, these guys mean business, they're pretty serious. There's not a lot, there's not a lot of fluff in here. So it kind of attracted the people that were supposed to be there to be there and the people that wanted a lot of machines and stations and stuff, you know, it just didn't attract them. Yeah. And so it kind of naturally filtered everything. And

Tyler 08:05
How long does it take them before that is kind of the perception right? Once you get going and you get some social media stuff word gets out there's people there. How long does it take before you're not getting inquiries? Maybe still do you? Do you get inquiries a lot where it's like oh, they walked out? Nevermind Yeah,

Dylan Harris 08:23
I mean we do sometimes I mean it's kind of funny. You know, pictures make everything look bigger. And so sometimes people walk in the door and first thing comes out of mind is go outside as big as I thought you're like oh

Tyler 08:39
done plenty of I've heard it's fine people

Dylan Harris 08:44
have average

Tyler 08:47
your gym Let's see your

Dylan Harris 08:51
You know, I've had those moments and I've had my mind made up from the get go that I wasn't a 24 hour gym and I still have that mindset that I am not trying to compete with the 24 hour gyms in the area or the big Globo gyms and stuff. So when somebody does come in and it's not what they're looking for, they're disappointed. I'm not upset about it at all. It's just not who we're after. But now I have a lead. You know I've taken their contact and so now I can follow up with them down the road or something and keep them updated on what's going on around the gym. Yeah,

Tyler 09:23
yeah. Well I think that gives you opportunities to as people you know the subject we always talked about the gear Academy and is that people have lifetime fitness journeys. And that if somebody goes through maybe you know what a generic 24 hour purple red or blue place, whatever was a few shades of purple and some reds, whatever those are, that are out there. They seem accessible to people because that's often what people think of if you haven't started a gym, that's kind of what you want. I want all the options. I want the lowest price I want to get in over a year, two years. Maybe that doesn't work, or maybe they don't like the vibe, or maybe they don't get any opportunities to get served better, or where they just simply need a change of pace. They know what yours is, is different. And I do think it is, it's kind of wild. You know, when you see distance, some smaller markets, you see people bounce from nearly identical gyms, you know what I mean? It's like, there's, there'll be like two or three in any reasonable radius, usually, right? Where it's like, they do the same thing. It's all the same equipment, mostly the same. And they'll rattle around there for a little bit. Or they'll stay in one knowing that the other others are the same. And what you then represent is a change when they do want something different. And so I'm sure you get some people that as years go by, they go, okay, you know what that, please, it's whatever it is, it's not this, and this isn't working. And so I think, being very publicly clear about what you are, and not hiding it, while still making sure that like, you know that people are aware of what you can do for them, you know, and what really it is you offer and what sets you apart is important, one of the things we talk about from everything from hiring people to getting good leads is I want to, I want to filter out, I just don't want bodies, I do want to filter out misalignment, you know what I mean, if somebody's poorly aligned with what I have, I don't want to spend extra money for 10 times as many leads if most of them are bad, and they're just not interested. That's a waste of my time and effort. So if I can be very early on in my social media marketing, and my correspondence with people and the way I react to leads, the way I set expectations and expectations start from, I mean, your website, your social media presence, all this stuff. If that stuff gets aligned early on, it's so much easier, the effort is so much easier, because you get to actually attract the people who are really ready. So that's almost even faster, your wins are faster, easier wins, and there's more of them. And then the ones that you lose on like, you're gonna You may, they may not be interested before they even waste any of your time. And that kind of fucking rules, you know. So I think that that's helped you quite a bit is the fact that you are different. And even though there is 24 hour access as a possibility, it's not the same thing. And I think that's really, really helpful. Let's talk about the other programs that you guys run as well, because one of the well lets start sorting this first. For gyms that have 24 hour access, or just access only whether it's 24 hour or not. Most of them, John, what do you think the ratio is, we ballpark this for some that we work with. But I bet it's not only less than 10%, very likely less than five, or even less than half that percent of the people that are their members that actually ever, ever, not just currently, but ever do a coach product, whether whether it's a group class, or whether it's personal training, or whether it's a, you know, a challenge, or a nutrition thing or anything like that most 24 hour gyms, it's such a low percentage of the people that are getting guidance from a professional in any way, which is your opportunity as a business owner to have upsells like, that's where if you want anything above and beyond your base membership, that's what that means unless you're selling shirts, or supplements, or whatever. And I think that your ratio, and we talked about this, you're at like between 70 and 80% of your people or your members are paying for programming, Coach classes, private sessions, at least in some capacity, whether it's all they're doing or a piece of it. And God damn it do. I love that that was one of my favorite things here. And we're working with you in the gear Academy because the centerpiece of what we want is client success. And in the US these people are having a professional take you from A to Z guaranteeing that you go from A to B to C to D and all the way through. And if you don't have a professional, there's a lot of wandering around at a sequence that can happen. So I think let's talk about how that I guess that's probably always been the case hasn't it for you?

Dylan Harris 14:07
Yeah, I mean, coming from having a personal training background and already being established and known in the area for it and things like that. You know, the first thing people tend to think about when they think about us or whatever is that we offer training, and then that's what we do is train people. The 24 hour thing and stuff people it's no it's more like an amenity. That's yeah, it'd be like we're not talking for hours. Jan, we're personal training gym when

Tyler 14:39
You can also come and train on your own. Yeah, yeah. And so I think most

Dylan Harris 14:44
people perceive it that way, as well. I mean, occasionally we'll get something purely organically that comes through something that's not really familiar to me or anything. That might be a little, you know, confused by what we offer but the bulk of Everybody that reaches out, you know, it's it usually starts with training which makes it easier for us for sales is we're not having to upsell a whole lot most people that walk through our doors or reach out there, they're already know they're looking for coaching. They

Tyler 15:12
I want to service Yeah. Well, that's I think is makes that fucking job a lot easier. And and John, we've noticed this too is where to where do we see most when gyms that are trying to add personal training or grow their personal training sometimes personal training is a thing these gyms don't even make a part of their brands very often and,

John Fairbanks 15:36
and just like you said, it's an amenity, it's the exact inverse of what you're talking about Dylan, which is it's almost as though the personal training is the amenity like that is the nice to have, and the 24 hour Access General big group, whatever it is, your normal access stuff, your lowest, lowest stuff is all that they're all their focus is on Yeah. And therefore the revenue shows that as well.

Tyler 16:03
And it makes it hard for these brands to launch. And this is a lot of these gyms really struggle to try to get these programs up, up and running. And it has nothing to do with really anything other you need to talk about it often enough consistently enough, the fact that whatever it took in years effort, clients communication, to get your reputation to where it was, when people know when they go to you a lot want to be coached, you know, they know what that is a gym that is selling $40 Only memberships and just hoping to get more of those and then gets a little monkey money hungry and wants to start plugging in personal training, they're kind of thought, because they're selling and they've built their whole brand on a very low value product. A low value, low engagement, low chance of a client success product. And I don't have to have I always say low value, like it's mean. But truly, it's cheap, which is the definition of low value. And it's really, really, really hard to get someone who comes in wanting $40 a month and to be left alone, it's very tough to get that person to spend 1000 bucks a month on anything. Like that's just it's um, I would never do that in almost anything that I do as a consumer. And so when you flip that on its head, at the very least you need to make, do what you've done, which is like our this is our bread and butter, this is the thing we do well, not everyone's going to come in if if your gym is trying to launch some new personal training, not everybody is going to come in geared up for your personal training. But you'll start to get more. And that's usually how it's got to be. So for you gyms out there that are listening, if you're wondering why you can't get it up and running, you're not talking about it enough. You haven't talked about it often enough, the few wins that you've got, usually they're not capitalizing and getting good testimonials. And really leveraging referrals and things like this from the successes you have. And you're not done, you just haven't done it for long enough consistently enough, not just doing it but promoting it and talking about it and offering it to people, if it gets offered to everybody. And that becomes like a 50% part of what your brand is, or at least what your asks are like on social media and the internet. Now all of a sudden, people are gonna go, oh, that's a thing that I want. I didn't know I could do that there. I'd never thought of that there. And I think they don't understand those businesses and don't understand the groundwork that you put in to be able to do this. So when we rave about 70 or 80% of your people are in a coach product, it's like, well, that basically means everybody is really kind of what that means in the long run.

Dylan Harris 18:38
Yeah, I mean, when you walk in our gym, it's if you're in the gym between 5am and maybe 7pm. It's not hidden. I mean, it's right there you're seeing five or six coaches, working with somebody or a small group of people all throughout the day. And so like you see coaches on the floor nonstop. So the products in your face if you're if you're coming to the gym during the day, our top product is in your face the whole time you're trying to just do your workout on the side you

John Fairbanks 19:08
I know that's no better than marketing.

Tyler 19:10
That's it. That's the best concept that we have for Megan and myself where we work out of his I only coach when it's fair not very busy. I don't have patience for busy Jim and Megan coaches some evenings so it's busy you know, it's it's busy around there a couple of times I've had to go in in the evenings and you know, there's pictures of me on the wall and stuff and it says that I have personal training and all the personal trainers and coaches and there's offers up on the wall and stuff like this but I coach one night, just one night when it's actually busy in there and I get like four leads following up and it's that's that is the reality is if if you guys are out there trying to get personal training up and running, get it going your gym should be busy. Don't be worried about having somebody working with a coach on the side that you're exactly right. That is the best marketing and the concept behind the reason that's good. Marketing is not only do they see it, because they're seeing it and that is good. They're seeing a person enjoy it, they're seeing that they can put themselves into that position and go, Oh man, I really would, I feel a little lost, it looks like they're getting good instruction, it looks like they're having fun. But what it really gives is proof that people actually buy this shit. And people forget, if you guys are trying to launch personal training, you are struggling. What happens is if you're a CrossFit gym, or like one of those spots, we're really just trying to build this part of your business to get your coaches some revenue and bring some new money into the business and help your clients better. Man, you tried to get that up and running a place that nobody thinks that you sell personal training, if nobody ever sees it, you're screwed. But once people start seeing people that they know, they've trained with people that are in front of them, they go, oh, this person thought that it was worth the money. That is social proof is this fucking wild marketing thing that I kind of hate the idea of. But truly, if you can just prove that other people are interested in this thing, it doesn't even matter what it is, people will move. It's like our herd mentality. Everybody will shuffle towards it. Once they see other people decide it was valuable, I guess. I've been to places where people just stand in line, because there's a line. And this kind of concept works. I know you're doing better than that. But that is like a really hefty part of that if people are seeing that other people chose to do this thing and choose to spend money on it. That's a huge win.

John Fairbanks 21:30
We also talk about the psychology of herd mentality for your staff. Like if we're talking about staffing, if you've got a bunch of coaches that are busy, they're working, they're working all the time, they are working with clients, they're making good money, if you're somebody new, or let's say you're somebody that is a little bit long in the tooth, because I guarantee you any of you gym owners that have been working with anybody, if anyone's been in your right hand band, or your right hand person for long enough, they may not be as motivated as they once were all those years ago when you got them. And they're starting to slack off. Well, if you have a bunch of people, like all doing the thing that they're supposed to be doing, and it's all over the place. It really highlights and spotlights who's not pulling their weight. Because that was one of the things that I thought, can we talk? I don't want to go into too deep on your staffing, but I really liked dealing with where you came to us. And it was more abnormal than I was used to where you had a handful of folks that were like full time coaches with you.

Dylan Harris 22:31
Yeah, so one of my goals with opening the gym and everything is, you know, I, I wanted to have careers for people, I wanted to pave a path for careers. And, you know, I, you know, I still look back and I don't know if it was a mistake or not, but I decided the to really just invest in these guys and say here, here you get a salary, this is your base, and it was good for the the time they're putting in and stuff. And you can make some extra money with commission and stuff. And those guys are still here. They've been around for six years. Yep. So that Job was accomplished, like, or that goal. You know, these guys are having careers, they've all bought houses, they've all got families. And so that's, that's going good. It was a little bit of a headache for me at first until we started to get that, you know, investment back out of the product. But we got there.

Tyler 23:30
Yeah, well and one of the things is you sometimes you get out to buy the horses. But then we gotta we gotta strap a wagon to them. And we got to go and and I think that that was one of the pieces is it's not just that we can hire the guys is like okay, well now, what do we do to get one the most out of them for the other tasks? But how do we get people in front of them, which is a marketing thing, which isn't always them? You know? And how do we let them leverage their own personal brands and relationships? How do you make sure that if you were you're there, you're guys that they feel a part of the brand that what you're promoting them as much as you're promoting the business because that's who the people are going to be work with working with. But it was really nice to see, you know, over the time that we work together with you're doing that, and all of a sudden was like, Alright, these boys are was busy. And like the schedules are full and there's like good revenue and you've added staff since then. Right? Yeah, and that was

Dylan Harris 24:27
a lot of props to you guys for the push on that because that was something that I you know, I sat on the fence for too long until I think we had just one conversation with y'all was basically like do it and we brought a guy on and he's like boom, we got $5,000 more a month or something rolling in.

Tyler 24:45
I was like that was really like, well, Dylan, I don't I don't want to just make this all about math. Like that's your that's our easiest way to scale and if as long as everybody we put in And we keep busy and they gotta kill what they eat, or at least to a certain extent, like shit. And I think that, that was the moment where we saw you guys really turn the corner, I think because we were like, Oh, cool. Like now the thing had momentum, there was inertia to all of this now, like, you knew how to get someone on how to kind of onboard them, how to get them clients, how to make sure that they're making the most of their opportunity as well. And by the way, for full time or part time people now, you can bring someone on if they want to coach a couple hours a day. Fucking sweet. You know what I mean? That's,

Dylan Harris 25:33
I've started to lean more into that, you know, I started out so much trying to be like, Okay, I want to build careers for these guys full time, you know, this is real work. And I've started to lean more into the Okay, I've got those guys. Let's, you know, let's be okay with some people that are coming in and doing part time making good money for their hours they're in anyways.

Tyler 25:55
I think a passionate side hustle is a thing that people sleep on a lot. A passion isn't even a nine side job, a second job, my passion for fitness was all running concurrently with a completely different career. And it wasn't until I had the opportunity to like, Okay, I gotta get in and make this my work that I did. So for some people, that's the case, but I also got gym owners that I know who like, you know, are in tech space and running like secure tech security, who are never, ever leaving this cush stay at home job that they have. And so they're good for the few hours a day they put in at the gym, and there's no desire to detach from the other thing. And I think that that's okay. And I think as long as you know, you identify the right people, the hours they put in probably isn't as important as always coaching people to people like you. And now you can, every new person you plug in, you get access to an entire new social circle. The hardest thing is having the right people but that's that. The word being resistant to bringing somebody new into the fold is where everybody's worried about their coaching and their jam, we hold it all so close to our chest. And we eat our hats a lot because of it. Because we're so worried and we leave a lot of opportunities on the table, it's like, sometimes you got to hire somebody, you just got to hire them, you gotta turn it loose, and maybe it doesn't work. We always, you know, short of like we said before, short of bringing them on and paying someone salary and then trying to build working. As long as they gotta kill what they eat right away, it's a very little risk short of like the few people that you get put in front of them right away, so we get them on a short leash. And most people who are actually interested in working in fitness, like, aren't that bad like this, the industry gets a bad rap. But like most people who are doing it not for the sake of their ego, which you can use to sniff this out after a long enough time. Like those people kind of fucking rule and they're kind of meant to do it. And for someone who's new coming in to get connected with someone who really likes fitness enough to come in and coach outside of their day job. Like they love that energy and it works really well. So your clients have now you've had clients that I'm certain that you've had many that have been with you for a very long time probably since the beginning, including personal trainer and personal training clients that you're working with regularly. Do you have a talk about a down sell? And do you have people who are free? How common is it when people are like hey man, I just personal training was the thing where I wanted to get started. And they want to maybe that maybe people can't afford personal training forever? Is that a common thing where people will kind of downgrade to maybe like a session a week and train on their own? Or is there a lot of like kind of hybrid relationships you guys have as people maybe downgrade their monthly expenses with you.

Dylan Harris 28:39
We don't see it a lot, but it has happened. And my down sale on them usually, you know, they've enjoyed everything and they've been knowledgeable enough to kind of know what they're doing. Most of them there's down sale to online training, keep coming in, they get the programming,

Tyler 28:56
they're gonna have a membership, they're still paying for the bass.

Dylan Harris 28:58
Every once in a while in a new phase or something. Somebody might say, Hey, can I pay you to come in for a session? Just kind of go over this and then cut them loose again. And that's, that's kind of been our biggest dig down biggest down sale?

Tyler 29:11
Yeah, I think that is how people, your upsells I think are important for everybody. I think you're upset if everyone's upsells into nutrition or countability or specific challenges or upselling into a personal training group. I think that that is important for a business, but I think your bid, your ability to down sell is where true retention lies. Because if somebody hires me for personal training, it's two, three days a week, you know, very likely they're not gonna want to do that forever. Personally, the way I coach is there are very few people that I would run that relationship with for more than a year. So I'd like to get you on your own. I'd like to get you on your own two legs. But I'd always be happy to coach someone one day a week. While I know they're going to the gym the other times, and that is now I think the fact that that happens. And as a part of your overall system, I think that's what keeps people in your gym, keeps them training, keeps them off the couch, and covers such a really wide amount of time in their lifetime fitness journey. Want to touch on your group stuff, too? You guys do weightlifting programs and kind of some adult classes as well. Especially group type stuff, study group stuff. Yep. And you have a separate coach for each one of those correct that are kind of Yeah,

Dylan Harris 30:28
I kind of call them, you know, I got ahead of our athletic development ahead of our adult, we call it our adult performance class. And they do tend to lead most of the classes. But, you know, we got now that we have some other guys part time, they'll fill in sometimes. But they, you know, we have athletic development. We've had that from the beginning. And I kind of pass that on to an intern we had, whenever my schedule, I just needed to loosen up, I kind of pass that torch to him to be the head of it, he does the programming, you know, I've mentored him a little bit on kind of how I want things to be done, but he could have his own little flair on there. And so he's taken that and ran with it. And that same guy, you know, he has a passion for Olympic weightlifting. So he pitched me the idea of, you know, can we do a weightlifting club, it's okay, I'll fund it, we'll, we'll get it going and stuff and, and so that's kind of been going on the side there. And then the adult small group thing. Of all this stuff we do that was probably the slowest growing one. And I've really felt like one of our biggest hiccups is, we don't have, we don't offer enough hours for it, we don't have a great space for it. But we do offer a small group, it's usually up to like six people, and they just come in and work out together.

Tyler 31:48
I think that's such a practical take on it, too, is what I mean is we all want to be able to like, I would love to be able to run just full CrossFit classes while also having these functional fitness classes. And but like, I think the reality of it is that it's like wow, there when you know so many gyms, I think do make that mistake of not understanding just when people can train, you know, and that's going to be your biggest barrier to anything with classes, frankly, even personal training, dealing, if you had one hour available for personal training a week, whatever hour that is, it's very unlikely that the person who's going to inquire about that hour that that's the hour they would train. And I think that, you know, knowing that with your class with the group classes, just kind of you can keep it in a space, you can build it for what it is, but knowing its limitations, I think is important. So yeah. Before we move before we shut down here, I want to because you've got you got into this gym, you started this gym because you were maxed out. Right? You were like how you have an eye for the next thing. And so that's the question we didn't get into this with you at off of the after the year Academy. So you want to get into now, what does the next stuff look like for you? Because I know you're not the person who's gonna sit here and go, Okay, well, we're just gonna run this, your I know, you're gonna run it for a while. But once this, whatever this peaks, like, what are your next moves? What are the next angles? Or what are the next things we're trying to promote? Well,

Dylan Harris 33:12
I mean, it's actually kind of funny. With that question, everything we put an offer on a building last night. Yeah. Oh,

John Fairbanks 33:19
Is that the photo that I saw on Facebook?

Dylan Harris 33:23
The photo you saw was a piece of property. We bought back before COVID intentions of possibly building on it one day, and, you know, having a GM and having some additional properties to lease and stuff. We kind of got an opportunity that fell in our lap for a property that's not even listed yet. We kind of got first dibs on it. Yeah. That really? You just couldn't. I sat on it for maybe three weeks. I couldn't let this pass. Yeah. So we put in an offer last night. Hopefully, you know, we'll see if we can meet him somewhere or whatever. But I mean, we're talking just over three times the size of the space we have now and it'll open the door for us. So now. We're hoping to, you know, really make a push on athletic development, we've always been kind of capped out on athletic development because of space. Being able to run classes alongside athletic development, space we go. So that's kind of our push is going to be there and push some of the group stuff. It's gonna be just a giant personal training service. Jim is asking, you know, I've talked to a few, but we haven't told a whole lot of people but, you know, one of the questions is all like, what kind of equipment we're going to put in. I'm like, not a lot of extra equipment. We're getting space, right? We'll have like 3000 square feet of turf, things like that. And so that's how it's all mapped out whether or not it works out who knows, but we're thinking bigger. All right. Eddie. And yeah,

Tyler 35:02
Well, that's Dylan. Congratulations. That's awesome. That's super great for us to hear John. And I think what you had hinted at such things?

John Fairbanks 35:10
Well, at the very beginning, I felt it was one of those things where it was like, what would be a great goal, you're like, I think we need to grow. I think I want to eventually get a new building. And we're like, all right, like, that's, that's a nice big beefy goal, and only be like, two years from you kind of putting that out into the world. I'm sure it's been longer. Obviously, you bought property before COVID. But yeah,

Dylan Harris 35:30
We've had this vision for a long time. You know, I, I just, I'm an ambitious person. And I'm also, you know, I'm confident and we've got a great team that I have faith in to make the push for a bigger space. We've got a great internship program going now, like, we have

John Fairbanks 35:51
talked about that a little bit more, because we know that but share what this internship program is and how you're taking advantage of where you're located. Yeah,

Dylan Harris 36:00
so we have three more major universities here in Springfield. And I think all three have some degree of like an exercise science type offering for people. But over the last, close to three years, we've usually had, you know, one or two interns every semester, we've converted some of them to part time employees and whatnot. What's, you know, we end up putting them to work in our group stuff, and, and having them help out there. And it kind of helps me to see how helpful it is to have another body? Yeah,

Tyler 36:36
you can decide you can kind of dip your toes in the water a little bit. Yeah, I

Dylan Harris 36:40
get to use those guys and be like, okay, that the quality of that product was a lot better having two people around, you know, what can we do this? And so it's, it's been helpful for me a lot to see that. But yeah, our goal at the bigger place is, if we get that as I'd like to continue to make a big push for having an awesome internship program. We had a kid, this, you know, this last semester that said, you know, their teacher, you know, he, his plug was, if you guys want the place to get your internship, this is the place. So short. Yeah, so we're getting acknowledged at the university and stuff is kind of, you know, if you guys are really interested in this type of thing, this is your place to go. Yeah. And so, take that pretty seriously. And

Tyler 37:33
that program, there's so much opportunity with that, because now you're not only you're not hiring people from off the streets, you know, what I mean? You know how it is in any in any area, there's, you're getting people who are new to coaching very often, or attaching a couple hours to it to get people young and excited, fresh out of the box, and you can maybe rattle the university brain out of their head a little bit too, and they get me like, stop it, you don't know everything that's getting in the car coach and people. And some of that, I think is really, really important to you that we can get people early, actually in front of people and figure out what goes on in a gym. But that now I mean, your ability to grow is nearly endless. If you always have good coaching, passionate coaching talent coming in, that now knows your system, you're putting onramp limits, that they're already familiar with people in your gym, for Christ's sake. And all of a sudden, man sky's the limit.

Dylan Harris 38:24
And that was another thing was, you know, I was kind of nervous about having interns in and having them help us out with, you know, they'll even help out some with one on ones and having them do some small group stuff, man worried that, like our clients would not like that, you know, because, but we haven't had any problems with clients being like, I'm paying for this guy to be here. I don't want this guy working with this. And honestly, people have taken to it really well. And, you know, we have an attraction, literally every intern we've had has been, like, really good people ready to learn. Like I've been really impressed that we haven't had, you know, any meatheads or anybody to come in, like they own the place or no one is better than anybody. I think a lot of that just goes back to I think, when you walk in our door, like you kind of know the place you're walking into. They're like, Oh, this isn't one of those places. Yeah. And so we've attracted awesome interns. And

John Fairbanks 39:20
culturally, you've done the hard work upfront, you took the risk. You brought people on when you had no business just putting people on salary. You had no business at all, it was a terrible idea. Right? But because you stick with it, and those guys are the right guys and all those intangibles that allow you to be successful. Use zoom ahead now so many years later, and the only way this stuff just seems to just magically work is because you did all that upfront. Because now when young folks are coming in or new coaches are coming in, they're not coming into a situation where they're the second coach or they're the third Coach, no, no, there's like a season of like Tyler said, right is of seasoned horses that are there. They know how to do the shit, they're going to show you how you're going to lead by example, on top of actually communicating it. And then when new folks come in, they're like, Oh, this is just how I'm supposed to do this. And hopefully, it helps some of those rough edges that maybe they do have where they gotta come in, and they're got big brain, and they're gonna, like, try and fuck everything up. Because now they know. And it's like, none as a kid, there's no time for that. This is how we're doing it. And you have so many examples,

Tyler 40:34
your programs, these students an immediate chance to put context into everything that they do. And I think that's the biggest thing that I find when kids come out of an exercise science program. They get like, it's almost like Catty, or they'll become internet influencers, where it's like this exercise better than this, or you don't I mean, it's all weird, argumentative, nobody Oh, shit. And it's, it's very irritating. Because you know, when you park sometimes there's people in front of a person, there's nothing. It's just not that. And so I think being able to, very early on, have these people in a place where a lot of times Exercise Science students when they are doing their internships there man in a desk at a 24 hour gym and mopping the floors. Every once in a while. We've been working on that and why. And so yeah, you're mopping up the steam room once a night. And so this at least gives immediate context to the thing that they're passionate about, which allows you to actually go to work and be treated like a professional in this space, so they don't have to come out. And there's nothing worse than the flailing of a new exercise science graduate out into the world. It's frustrating to watch. I just want you to coach and people just coach row. So it's really awesome. You create a great opportunity for your clients, tremendous opportunities for your employees. And are you building lots of great opportunities for this whole new upswell of coaches coming up underneath UDL, and I think it's really commendable. We're super proud. It's been an honor for us to work with you directly. And to see the development of you guys, your family, the staff over at Springfield, strength and conditioning. So I want to tell you Thanks for Thanks for working with us over the last couple years and thanks a bunch for coming on the show. Dylan, how can they get a hold of you? Or how can people check out your gym?

Dylan Harris 42:16
Websites Springfield, strength and and you know, you spell out the end on that. Email is Dylan dy la en at Springfield? strengthening You can find us on Instagram. It's at SP FLD underscore SC that's

Tyler 42:35
it. All right, guys. Dylan, thanks a bunch. everybody that's listening. You know all our shit. We drop it every week, so we won't do it today. We'll see you next week. Yep

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