Sometimes you find incredible things in the most unsuspecting places. It just so happens that Brad Jonker and his weightlifting club, Lion Chaser Barbell, are one of those things. If you turned into a residential driveway on the outskirts of Gardner, Kansas - you wouldn’t expect that a gym filled with young, talented weightlifters and a passionate coach would be found tucked away in a small building in someone’s backyard. But in this case? That’s exactly what you’ll find.
Sam Karoll: Can you take a second to introduce yourself?
Brad Jonker: My name is Brad Jonker. I am the head coach and owner of Lion Chaser Barbell.
Sam Karoll: How did you get started?
Brad Jonker: I got started in college, playing football at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas. We had a big influence on our strength program with the snatch and clean and jerk. By the time I got to my senior year, I started competing, and the strength coach there helped me out with that a lot. That's how I got started with weight lifting. As far as the gym goes and his coaching goes, I graduated from MidAmerica and was a teacher and a football coach. And the football coach, knowing about my background in weightlifting, asked me to help him start an after-school program for his football players to lift in the off-season, and that's kind of where it started. That was down by Wichita, Kansas. Then as far as Lion Chaser goes, we moved up here to Gardner about seven years ago. I had been coaching weightlifting, had a club down there in Wichita for a while and then we moved up here. Had to start over again and just started things out of my garage.
Sam Karoll:What drives you?
Brad Jonker: Well, I get to work with kids. Kids matter a lot to me. They're certainly way cooler than adults, and kids deal with a lot of stuff these days, especially high school kids. And so whenever I could just see them come in and know that for a lot of them, this is the best part of their day, that matters a lot to me, so I work hard at it.
Sam Karoll: What’s your favorite memory at Lion Chaser?
Brad Jonker: Guys, any favorite memories? Oh, we set up a giant tarp in my yard and covered it with Dawn dish soap and put a sprinkler on it, and we just played on it for like four hours one day.
Sam Karoll: How were things before PushPress?
Brad Jonker: Yeah. Probably like any old lady teaching piano lessons, I got a check or cash handed to me once a month by a kid walking into the garage or the basement, wherever we were at at the time. That's how that worked, and trying to run things through a Facebook group. Yeah. Thankfully at that point in time, we were pretty small, so it was manageable, but it was certainly not ideal. As far as collecting payments, that's way easier. When it comes to recruiting athletes for our team, I can set up an event on PushPress. I got a landing page that I can share to our Instagram or whatever else, and that can get people to click on that and get people in the door.
Sam Karoll: How would you describe PushPress to a friend?
Brad Jonker: Simplifies the process and introduces processes that you didn't know existed that are helpful.
Sam Karoll: What is your favorite thing about PushPress?
Brad Jonker: I think my favorite part about PushPress and the guys that run it is that I can tell they're trying to help their clients succeed. They're trying to help our gyms grow and help the coaches focus on coaching rather than the administrative side. They genuinely want us to succeed and do well, and I like that.
Sam Karoll: How has life changed after switching to PushPress?
Brad Jonker: I'm rich. No, I'm not rich. How has it gotten better? I mean, I guess the whole point of PushPress is to save time and allow you to focus on things that you want to focus on outside of collecting checks every month or the communication side. It makes that side of owning a gym a little bit easier, so I guess I have a little more time to focus on just writing quality programs and just doing the coach thing.
Sam Karoll: Is there anything you want to tell your athletes?
Brad Jonker: I wouldn't trade them for anybody.