Untapped Potential and Solving Your Clients’ Pain with Dr. Sean Pastuch

In this episode, Dr. Sean Pastuch, Active Life Rx, discusses how gyms and studios can better equip themselves to fix their clients’ pain.

“How many clients in your gym are modifying the workout for reasons other than they don’t have the skill or strength?”

“How many clients in your gym are modifying the workout for reasons other than they don’t have the skill or strength?”


Dr. Sean Pastuch

Dr. Sean Pastuch is the owner and founder of Active Life Rx, a company with the mission to educate health care providers and fitness professionals on how to provide solutions to their clients.

Active Life Rx was founded because he believed that the world deserved better solutions than the modern medical model could provide. As a former affiliate owner, Dr. Sean now focuses 100% of his time and energy on delivering inspiring rehab services to athletes all around the world.

Show Notes

  • A little bit about Dr. Sean Pastuch and Active Life Rx. [2:50]
  • Bridging the gap between fitness and rehabilitation. [5:05]
  • No one ever gets hurts in my gym. [10:58]
  • How do we take the best thing and make it even better. [12:03]
  • Do you really want to expand your potential. [14:38]
  • How many of your members are scaling not because of strength or skill? [18:38]
  • Without one-on-one training, you’re undeserving your members. [20:17]
  • Six questions you should be asking your clients. [21:44]
  • You need to reframe how you look at sales. [24:02]
  • Rope climbs for $1440. [25:52]
  • Change the way you think about one-on-one training. [30:26]
  • Calculating your personal training cost. [33:08]
  • A new compensation strategy. [36:23]
  • Dr. Pastuch’s favorite podcasts [47:53]

Full Episode Transcript

Dan Uyemura [0:05]
Welcome to The gymOS Podcast. I’m your host Dan Uyemura, CEO of PushPress. Each episode I bring the best and the brightest in the business world straight to your gym and we tease out actionable steps and strategies that you can implement immediately to become a better business owner.

What is up ladies and gentlemen of the fitness world, Dan Uyemura here, PushPress CEO broadcasting live in front of the pizza area of the local supermarket in the middle of this Coronavirus. Just kidding, that’s a green screen. Anyway, today on the episode we’ve got Sean Pastuch from Active Life, he is coming in to talk about you know, something that I don’t know why I never really thought of when I owned a gym, but actually solving people’s pain. And what I mean by pains, I don’t mean like, Hey, I just became single, and I want to look better in the dating market. I mean, like, literally their pains like knee problem, hip problems, stuff like that. He is pretty passionate about the idea of actively knowing what the problems are that your clients are facing and coming up with a game plan to actually fix them. Something he brought up while we were talking that I never really thought of was, you know, you have a client who’s in the gym, they tell you their shoulder hurts and instead of doing pull ups you tell them to do I don’t know about another movement and do something else. And the problem with this is you’re not actually helping them fix a problem. You’re just working around problems. So once you check this episode out, let me know what you think about the Active Life methodology and the stuff that Dr. Sean Pastuch is professing to the gyms that he’s working with and the clients that he’s working with. And I’ll get you on their side and see how it is.

All right, welcome back everybody to The gymOS Podcast. This is Dan Uyemura here, CEO of PushPress. Today I got with you a Dr. Sean Pastuch. And I think I got that right . Yes, I think I did better the first time off the air didn’t I?

Dr. Sean Pastuch [2:20]
You added the first name. So that adds complexity.

Dan Uyemura [2:23]
And I second guessed myself along the way. Sean is actually a former doctor, you want to kind of dive into that really quick?

Dr. Sean Pastuch [2:31]
Yeah, really quick. I was a chiropractor. I’m not anymore.

Dan Uyemura [2:35]
Okay, cool. So comes from the chiropractic lifestyle. Former doctor now runs Active Life, which I’m gonna let him describe in a second. It’s actually a pretty cool. I wouldn’t call it a mentorship group, but maybe it kind of is. What is it?

Dr. Sean Pastuch [2:50]
Well, so I can give you a quick background to get people to how we got here if that helps you. Yep. I started off as a personal trainer, and found that I was wasn’t able to solve problems that I wanted to be able to solve, like, my clients have shoulder pain. And I would go to the physical therapy office at the gym and say, Hey, what’s going on and say, don’t do this. I got it. So then I went to chiropractic school to learn how to fix that. Right? Got out of chiropractic school, my, my patients don’t care about moving well, and exercising this is, this is not what I want. So you opened a CrossFit gym, adjacent to my clinic so that I could serve people who had like, you know, like beliefs, and I loved it. And then after a while, I, you know, got burned out on owning a CrossFit gym because if I’m being honest, I didn’t do it in a way that I’m teaching people to do it now. I didn’t have it in me, I’m not good enough at daily, daily daily jobs. And I didn’t have the foresight. So I got out of that business and started helping my friends with their gyms with the things that I knew would work but didn’t have the hoods but do myself and here we are. We’ve helped over 10,000 people worldwide get out of pain without going to the doctor or missing the gym. We’ve helped right around 600 coaches now to learn how to do the same thing that we do for our clients one on one. And back in August, we started working with gyms and now we’re right around 60 gyms who were teaching to build the health care clinic of the future.

Dan Uyemura [4:26]
Cool. So so from from our discussion a few minutes ago, and what I’m understanding of what you guys are doing, I think it’s actually pretty cool. I’ve talked to a lot of people who are mentors and business coaches in the space. And a lot of them are solving gym’s problems and not making money by kind of attacking it from that space forward. And the way you’re describing it to me is, is you’re trying to come up with a system that helps the clients first and then that solves the money problem second. Then there are other groups out there like MadLab and them who kind of have that same vision where you’re solving the coach’s problem first, which is as a client and then the money, but I do like that better than just focusing on the money first.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [5:05]
Well, if I can, if I can piggyback on that. We refer clients to MadLab all the time. I refer clients to Stu Brauer all the time. There are a lot of great companies out there doing things to help gyms and the gym community, the fitness community needs those companies. What we do is fundamentally different than what those companies do. Now, when you were starting to describe was, we want to teach gyms and coaches, how to solve the problems that good gyms create for their clients, so that they become the only game in town that can solve that problem. And that is bridging the gap between fitness and rehabilitation.

Dan Uyemura [5:54]
Right. So let’s actually dive into that because I think that’s one of the most important topics we can talk about today. It’s, it’s long been a mission of CrossFit to try to bring CrossFit slash fitness into the spectrum of wellness and doctors, right as a preventative medicine as opposed to something people are doing for recreation and enjoyment, I believe. I know, it’s long been an initiative of probably every coach who runs a CrossFit gym. They’ve probably been thinking about this, like they know that they’re the frontline to the medicine, the medical problem in America, but they don’t really know exactly, they don’t have a framework of exactly how to solve this problem. First of all, why where’s this dot not being connected? Like somewhere along the way? There’s a whole group of people on the fitness side who are like we are preventative medicine and there’s a whole group of people on the other side who are doctors like, probably seeking out reliable people that they can get to put in front of the problem. Where’s that disconnect in your eyes? There’s a lot of places it’s kind of like what we’re trying to do with social distancing right now for Coronavirus, except it’s from an ideological perspective or acumen of coaches and gyms.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [7:01]
The first problem that we see is, in order for a coach to be able to solve high level musculoskeletal problems for their clients, they need to understand them. So that means they need to understand the anatomy. They need to understand basic anatomy, basic physiology, basic biomechanics. And most coaches don’t, especially in the CrossFit space, they don’t know the difference between joint flexion and joint extension. They don’t know the difference between a ball and socket joint and a saddle joint.

Dan Uyemura [7:40]
So I’m gonna pause you right there because I guarantee you a certain percentage of listeners right now are like I do and I do.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [7:46]
And I’m good with that.

Dan Uyemura [7:47]
What percentage of coaches out there do you think don’t know basic physiology, anatomy etc.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [7:53]
90% in CrossFit.

Dan Uyemura [7:54]
90%. Okay, okay.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [7:56]
I think that’s being generous. I think it’s maybe higher than that. Here’s what I would say to coaches who do know it. Good. That’s, that’s the bare minimum. I’m not suggesting that CrossFit coaches are dumb. I was a CrossFit coach. I hired CrossFit coaches. I depend on CrossFit coaches. And they can do a really good job of helping people solve the problem of going from being unfit to being fit, without knowing all of the details of the difference between tendinitis, tendinosis, arthritis, arthrosis, right, all of these things that their clients are going to come in complaining of. But when you want to start solving the problems that physical therapy, chiropractic, and orthopedics find to be too unimportant to solve, but that your members are dealing with every single day. It requires an elevated level of education to solve specific problems

Dan Uyemura [8:59]
Now, so let’s back up real quick because we’re the route you’re going down specifically is for solving people’s pains and solving their bodily problems. And I think the the, the origins of CrossFit and a lot of these high intensity training methodologies is more on fitness looking good naked, right? So I guess, I guess right now, if you’re listening, you kind of have to decide like, or it might not have to be a fork in the road, but it definitely has to be decision like, are you solving pains and problems in people’s lives? Are you solving the I want to, I’m a 24 year old and I want to look better at the club, or, you know, I’m 50 and I want to I just want to feel younger, younger, there’s a well I guess even on that end of the spectrum, that person still is going to have some anatomy type things involved in what they’re doing. So you need to this and be completely in the spectrum of just like I like care about his movement and like high intensity exercise and metabolic and whatever, efficiencies or whatever but and not have to deal with this at all. But if you’re looking to make more money at your gym, you probably want to focus on people who, who are in pain.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [10:05]
Well, and here’s the thing, then both are necessary. The thing is, the gyms that we’re teaching how to do this and the coaches who were teaching how to do this, they already know how to do the fitness thing. So it’s not like they forgot how to do that. It’s not like they’re becoming physical therapy clinics. They’re becoming the only gym where people in their town can go to get in the best shape of their life without dealing with the aches and pains. They always have to work around.

Dan Uyemura [10:35]
Right. And I guess it’s similar to what Logan Gelbrich was saying a few episodes back was like, if you can deadlift 500 pounds, then you can choose to deadlift 135. But if you don’t deadlift 135, you can’t choose to deadlift 500, right.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [10:47]
He’s such a stoic dude, I love that guy.

Dan Uyemura [10:49]
Isn’t he awesome? Right? Like, yeah, so if you understand movement and anatomy, you can choose to coach one or the other. But if you understand both, you can solve somebody who needs both.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [10:58]
100%. And I also, you know, here’s the other thing. A lot of coaches and gym owners will come to me and say people don’t get hurt at my gym. And I think that if we ask the gym owners and the coaches worldwide to put their hands up if they believe that people get hurt in gyms, everyone’s hand will go up. And as soon as we ask, do people get hurt in yours? All the hands go down, and that’s a problem.

Dan Uyemura [11:24]
You know what I’m gonna have some type of psychologists on this on the show one time. It would be interesting because I have the same observation about programming where everyone will say like, you know, who raise your hand if your programming is the best in your city, and everyone will raise their hand. And you’d be like, well, the four of you are in the same city. So how is that the case? Right? Like, everyone thinks it’s, all the bad things are happening and everyone else’s facilities are not in there. And theirs is the best and I really want to dive into the psychology of that. It’s pretty interesting that people can’t realize, I mean, people get injured at every gym. It’s just a fact of moving I guess. I just stubbed my toe walking up to my desk, you know.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [12:03]
And Dan there’s two things to that. Number one, all four of those gyms can have the best programming in the same town if they’re serving a different clientele. The second thing is you described the incidence of injury walking up to your desk. The problem that I see in the fitness industry and CrossFit in particular, because it’s where I’m most interested. The reason I’m most interested in CrossFit is because I think they’re doing a better job than anybody else in the world of getting people fit. That’s why I’m focused there. It’s how do we take the best thing and make it even better? So the problem is, everybody denies it. Nobody, you don’t get hurt doing CrossFit. CrossFit is safe CrossFit is safe. Yeah, and so is Orangetheory and so is Fit Body Boot Camp, and so is running and so is weightlifting. And so is Judo, and so is Jiu Jitsu, but people get hurt in all of them. You know, and if we could acknowledge, yeah, people do get hurt in CrossFit. Here’s what we’re doing to make sure the likelihood of injury here at this CrossFit is as low as possible so that you can get the best results without the risk. That’s an elevated conversation.

Dan Uyemura [13:15]
Right. I mean, I would liken this to like, let’s say there’s a car brand out there who just for some reason denies the injury happens with their car, or accidents happen in their car. But you know, it’s like everyone knows across the board, you get in a car, there’s a risk for an accident and an injury. But if a car manufacturer is proactively trying to reduce the rate of injury through, you know, protective measures, or whatever they can do in their car, that makes me more inclined to use that car brand, right? Like what why wouldn’t any fitness modality embrace that the same way?

Dr. Sean Pastuch [13:47]
Well, and then if they say nobody gets hurt in our car, and then somebody does, everybody and their mother who has been waiting for them to be wrong, he’s going to put the spotlight on it, right? It was no big deal. Some guys skinned his shins on a box. Nobody died. But all of a sudden, because you told people nobody gets hurt here. And everybody wants to see how bad this guy got hurt. Let’s make you look like a fool.

Dan Uyemura [14:14]
Yeah, let’s put together a three minute reel of all the fails.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [14:17]
Yeah, exactly, exactly. In the case of like, what’s going on with, what is the NSCA, came up with an entire fraudulent study. I think the more you try to describe yourself as impervious to the same risks as everybody else, the more everybody else wants to prove you wrong. Right.

Dan Uyemura [14:38]
Absolutely. So, right now somebody is listening to this and they’re maybe self realizing and they’re going okay. I have spent a lot of time getting kettlebell certs and running certs and you know, barbell certs and all these things, and I haven’t spent any time doing any anatomy, work, physiology work, what would be your framework or your path of learning if I’m that coaching right now, and I’m like, damn, I want to expand my potential, right?

Dr. Sean Pastuch [15:04]
I would push back first. So what I mean by that is I would first ask you do you really want to expand your potential? Have you maximized your current value? You know what I mean by that is, our coaches who we work with, and the gyms who we work with are not necessarily better than the gyms who we don’t. They are better at what we teach them to do. So I would avoid getting education for the sake of getting education and make sure that first you’ve maximized the education that you have. Or look at your capacity and determine am I fulfilled if I reached the maximum potential that I have right now and then look out? Or do I not really want to do what I’m good at and I need a new set of skills, then go look for a new set of skills. So the coaches who we’re talking to end up working with us are the ones who are frustrated because they know how to Get people fit. But someone you know Mary in their gym is dealing with shoulder pain. And they’ve been asking her to modify for six months. And now they’re just like, they feel valueless because they haven’t been able to help Mary. She went to physical therapy and they were like, yeah, just workout around it. So if you’re somebody who is feeling that way, the I mean, you can just start anatomy anywhere. Teach me anatomy.org I think it is or at edu, whatever their back end URL is a great place to learn anatomy. We have our coursework that we teach people, but I’m not looking to use this spot on your show as a platform to tell people about exactly how we do what we do, why we do it and why they should buy it. I would love for them to be interested. But that’s not my I didn’t take this interview to do that.

Dan Uyemura [16:54]
Yeah, yeah. So the I mean, the jump off point would be again, if you’ve identified that, hey, this is a hole in your profession that you want to get into, and you’ve kind of analyzed that, and it makes sense. Start seeking out, I mean, I always begin with just start seeking out that information and discovering it on your own before you decide which way you want to go with things, right. Just dip your toe in the water.

Yeah, it’s funny. One thing I love about doing this podcast is you talk to people who have extreme experience in certain niches or certain areas. And they say things that are just so fucking obvious that I’m like, how did I not? Why didn’t I put that together? And it’s like, you know, I think back of all the years I’m in the gym. And I used to own a gym and I would have like a shin, like a knee problem or like my leg would be sore or whatever would happen and I would do exactly that. I would just work around it I wouldn’t take the time to figure out should I be do some strengthening exercises my my scalps you know, like, how can I get my this frozen shoulder whatever problem I have going on, like, actively work through. I just did the workout of the day that was on the board and modified around it and I bet that happens literally in 99.9% of gym. out there, right? Or of the clients that are feeling pain, it’s got to be less than point 1% of the people are actually actively fixing it. Right? And imagine if you had that skill set in your gym to say like, hey, Mary, it looks like you’re kind of like favoring your right leg. It looks to me like your knee might be having some problems. You want to talk to me about it, and then give her a program to fix it, as opposed to avoid it.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [18:24]
Well, so Dan, you’re making it really hard for me to not plug my stuff?

Dan Uyemura [18:28]
Well, I mean, like I’m saying is like, plug it or not, it’s fine because you just like it literally it was an epiphany where I’m like, Fuck, like, wow, you know.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [18:38]
I will I’m happy to give as many listeners as possible the epiphany right now. The epiphany that usually happens in our conversations with coaches is this. There’s two. The first one is how many members of your gym are modifying workouts for reasons other than they don’t have the skills or they don’t have the strength. So they’re modifying the workout for a reason other than they don’t have the skill, or they don’t have the strength.

Dan Uyemura [19:12]
Let’s pause there and dive into that. What other reasons: skill, strength. Why else would somebody modify let’s just bullet point these.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [19:19]
Knee arthritis.

Dan Uyemura [19:21]
Okay, so pain, right?

Dr. Sean Pastuch [19:23]
It doesn’t have to hurt.

Dan Uyemura [19:24]
Ok, so physical limitation.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [19:26]
So pain, range of motion issues, coordination, flexibility or mobility, coordination problems.

Dan Uyemura [19:39]
Because what what I would, I’m gonna pause you for a second and you can consider, like right now, if you own a gym and you got people working outside of your office you’re listening to right now or when you go into the gym later, I would take out a piece of paper or an iPad if you got a little stylus thing and walk around and actually tally people. How many people are doing this workout? How many are modified? Why are they modified? Because if it’s strength or skill that’s coaching opportunities, right? If it’s a physical limitation or pain, and that’s like an Active Life type situation, opportunity, some ability that I mean, it could, this will tell you how to open up additional revenue streams, additional services that help people. And it’s so simple as walking around with a pen and paper.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [20:17]
And I’ll go further than that because the second epiphany is this one, Dan, if you’re running group class right now, and you don’t have robust one on one training in your gym, it’s very likely that you’re under serving your members. And nobody gets in the fitness business to get rich. Everybody gets in the fitness business because they want to be able to help people. If you audit your gym, and you’re taking money from people who, for example, wanted to lose 30 pounds when they joined two years ago, and hasn’t lost any weight. And you don’t offer one on one and you do your best in your group. Then you’ve done your best, and you can’t serve that you can’t solve this person’s problem, and you should stop taking their money.

Dan Uyemura [21:06]
Yeah, it’s an interesting, I guess Pandora’s box you bring up because you do typically want your gym to be results driven. And ideally, you do want it to be personalized the person’s goals. But if you’re working in a group setting, there’s no way to actually funnel that person into their goal, like for sure you can’t you can’t promise that

Dr. Sean Pastuch [21:27]
The group is great, right? We don’t advocate personal training instead of the group. We advocate personal training for the group.

Dan Uyemura [21:34]
Yeah, it’s personal training to drive you to the goals but the group class gets you there, right, but you can’t hone in on what every person needs individually without some type of personal attention, right?

Dr. Sean Pastuch [21:44]
No, you can’t. And so personal training is for learning group is for practicing. That’s how we like to put it. So we give our gym owners who we work with and the coaches we work with an exercise that I’d like to give to your audience so that they can stop feeling sleazy, stop feeling pushy and start serving their members and making A lot more money. Would that be okay? Yeah, dude. Okay. So, again, the reason why most people don’t sell training is because they feel sleazy or pushy about asking people for more money, when they’re already paying what is perceived to be a lot of money to be a member of the gym. Okay, first of all, they know that. Yeah, yeah, the average CrossFit gym is charging three times less than the average Barry’s Bootcamp. That’s it. It shouldn’t be that way. So six questions. First of all, before we ask the questions, rule number one, the only rule of sales is only sell to people who want or need what you can do. That’s it. Question number one is, is it true that you have this problem? So someone would be like, you know, if you were in the gym, I’m like, Dan, you have, you know, is it true that you’re dealing with some knee pain? Like? Yeah, sure. Okay. Question number two is Dan, how long have you had that knee pain for like a six month, six months. I’m sorry, I never noticed that before, I should have said something, I apologize. You would probably tell me that’s not a big deal. It’s not your fault. But in reality, it is my fault because I’m your coach and your doctors fix it and haven’t sent you to a doctor. And I haven’t fixed it. So it is my responsibility. Question number three is what have you tried? I’ve tried physical therapy and tried chiropractor. They just all told me I get to work around it. Okay. Question number four is, why do you think that hasn’t worked for you? I don’t know. Maybe I’m just getting old, whatever the thing might be. Okay. Question number five is, well, if it was possible, would it be a priority for you to get out of pain said yeah, would definitely be a priority for me. Okay. Well, question number six is, if I set some time aside, would you like to go through an assessment to see if it’s possible? Yeah. Okay, great. What about that is sleazy?

Dan Uyemura [24:02]
Yeah, I mean, one of the big challenges that I have is I understand why people don’t like selling. I did a whole episode earlier with Greg Mack about sales. If you can, you just have to reframe how you see it, you’re not pushing them into doing what you want. You’re just helping them make a decision on something they need. Right? That’s just the big difference. You have to reframe how you’re seeing things.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [24:23]
Can I give you a reframe for that? Yeah. So the reframe is people who struggle to sell is they internalize the cost of action for the person they’re talking to. All right, if I want Dan to work with me, I’m thinking about am I worth Dan’s money, Dan’s trust, Dan’s time, dance, regimentation, Dan’s sacrifice elsewhere, all of those things. Yep. The person who sells well internalizes the cost of inaction of the person across from them, meaning if I don’t get Dan to buy and his knee pain is causing him to feel like less than he other could be, how is it affecting him in the rest of his life? Is he showing up as a husband? Is he showing up as a father? Is he showing up at his business? Is it making him not want to hang out with his friends as often? Because they make fun of them for his bad knee? I have to help him with that. Yep. m

Dan Uyemura [25:17]
And I think I’m like you’re saying, sales is tough when you look at it from like, again from internalizing on your end of it, but you have to look at the value also that the person is going to unlock right and that’s it’s the flip side of what you’re saying. It’s it’s like how that is worth a ton of value to me if my if this knife in the back feeling I get whenever I do pull ups wrong for two weeks and I can’t sleep well happens and if I can figure that out. I mean, I couldn’t put a price tag on it. But that’s where thousands of dollars to me if it if it can be fixed and I know how to fix it for the rest of my life that’s worth a lot of money to me.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [25:52]
Right. May I tell you a story for the coaches who aren’t learning how to fix people in terms of pains, because I think I want to give them something really relatable. Okay. When I was a coach in my gym, I was a little bit overconfident and brash. And I sold the guy 12 personal training sessions for 120 bucks a session without even asking him what his goals were. So he buys 12 sessions. I shouldn’t have sold them 12 sessions. When we get together. I asked him, okay, so what do we want to do here? He’s like, I just want to learn how to climb the rope. Like, that’s it. I was like, yep. So okay. So four minutes into the first session. I said, Look, I feel really bad. I feel like I should give you a refund because we have 56 minutes left on the clock today, and the next 11 sessions, to just practice what you now can do. It took four minutes, you knew how to do it. He’s like, dude, you don’t understand. Don’t understand what, he’s like, I would have paid you $1440 to teach me what you taught me in four minutes if you guaranteed me I was going to learn. What do you what do you mean? He’s like I bought rope climbs for $1440. I said, why would you buy rope climbs? It was so easy. He’s like, you know, he’s like, Look, I was an athlete in high school, I still hang out with my high school friends. And now I’m a dad, and I want my kid to look at me like, I’m the man. And we go and do Spartan races, me and my friends. And there’s a rope climb in the Spartan Race, and I couldn’t climb the rope. So my friends would make fun of me. And you know what, that was fine. And my kid was young, but now they make fun of me in front of my kid. And I want to feel like a man in front of my kid. So I started telling my friends, I can’t do Spartan races, because I made up an injury and told them that my ankle hurts when I run too much. My doctor told my Achilles is gonna flare up. So I stopped doing them. So I’m losing my relationship with my friends. I’m a fraud for my son. And in four minutes for $1440 that’s gone.

Dan Uyemura [27:58]
Yep. Yeah, in some ways. What are some ways it’s actually better money better spent that he learned it in four hours, right? So he’s four minutes for that.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [28:06]
And that’s the thing when people are like, Oh, I charge $40 for 30 minutes session and $70 for an hour. I’m like, wait a minute. So you’re telling me if you can solve my problem in 30 minutes, it’s less expensive? Well, why? Why sell sessions? Now that time?

Dan Uyemura [28:23]
Right. All right. What else can we talk about? We’ve already kind of covered this controversial subject you want to talk about?

Dr. Sean Pastuch [28:32]
Well, I mean, the big day it goes so deep, you know, because it becomes a question of, is what we’re doing as a fitness community. Good enough? Is it within the scope of a coach to be assessing and correcting for for clients? Or is that supposed to only happen in a physical therapy clinic? And shouldn’t coaches who don’t have a good education on how to do that be doing it? And are people getting hurt? And the answer to all those questions is, it depends on where you sit, but I can tell you that the coaches who do this feel fulfilled none of them feel like they’re doing anything that’s any kind of underhanded and as we sit here and like Coronavirus I’m getting texts from gym owners we work with it they’re still selling personal training sessions from closed gyms.

Dan Uyemura [29:15]
Well yeah because especially if you’re if you’re working on people’s pains that are direct to them you can easily do this remote I assume right?

Dr. Sean Pastuch [29:22]
We have you know, we’ve worked with at this point almost 2000 one on one clients remotely, 10,000 plus when you include our templates, yeah, you can do this remote.

Dan Uyemura [29:33]
Yeah. So this is pretty good. So one of the big things I’m trying to get gym owners, before this Corona thing even hit, was learning how to scale your business more and you can’t scale your your gym size you it’s hard to scale locations and it’s hard to scale yourself. It’s possible scale yourself. And you shouldn’t be trying to scale yourself and your coaches because you want your coaches to be their own people. But you can only hire so many coaches right. And the only way to really scale is to be able to do remote stuff to some degree. So for the gym owners who are enterprising want to learn how to make more money it was all going this way anyways and one of the silver linings to this Coronavirus incident that’s happening is all of a sudden gym owners are learning how to do remote stuff in droves, which is pretty cool.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [30:19]
They’re trying to do remote stuff. My hope is that many of them do a good job.

Dan Uyemura [30:23]
Yeah. You gotta be forced into it to even try right?

Dr. Sean Pastuch [30:26]
Yes. Yeah. And here’s, here’s the thing, you know, for most gyms, the on ramp is either an arbitrary Hey, everyone does five sessions before they start here or there’s nothing in most cases, and this is where I think a company like MadLab set the tone, creating something amazing, and everybody should just follow suit. And thank them for it. So that is everybody who comes through the gym is a one on one client first, and they earn the right to take classes. Yeah. And when I talk to, you know, through and through enthusiasts, they will tell me like, well, nobody’s gonna buy that. And my answer to that, first of all, is they are buying it. And second of all, what you’re doing if that’s the way that you respond to that, is you’re putting the money that goes into your pocket above the needs of your client. If you believe that that is the best way to do it, but don’t know how to sell it. Right?

Dan Uyemura [31:30]
Yep. Yeah, I mean, I think every market varies, every gym varies and the culture that you’re trying to build and whatever gym you’re working on varies, but I’m a firm believer in private training first, if not, like, small group, like I used to sell private training first. But what I liked was, you’d always get clients for like 100 bucks an hour is kind of expensive for eight right to start. And I was like, Well, if you got two or three friends, I can cut it down to like, 40 bucks a person for three, right? Which still gave me enough time to do personalized stuff with them kind of deviates from the one on one model, but it made it much more affordable for each person. And they got the social like connection and buy in with their friends, which usually turned into all three of them joining the gym at once. Right?

Dr. Sean Pastuch [32:18]
Yeah, and look on a scale of good, better and best. I think that’s better. Yeah, I think that best is having an assessment process before you even tell somebody how many sessions they need from you.

Dan Uyemura [32:31]
Yeah, I mean, for sure. Like, again, knowing what I know now and as much as I’m learning now talking to a bunch of people like like you and over the last five years, I would definitely run I actually have the working theory with my business partner Chris here that if we opened the gym, it would be a different ballgame. Like we know so much now. But at the time, it was like we just got okay with selling $100 an hour sessions like I was that coach who was like, yeah, who’s gonna buy that? That’s a lot of money. So I had to ease my self.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [32:59]
Where are you? Where are you based?

Dan Uyemura [33:01]
Torrance, California.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [33:02]
Okay, do you know the average household income?

Dan Uyemura [33:04]
I mean, there’s double income houses that are making over $200 a year here.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [33:08]
Okay, so we have a formula that we use for what are the personal training sessions cost, it’s based on average household income. And I imagine that a single session where you guys are would fall into the category of costing $150 for one, and a 12 pack would be 115 per session.

Dan Uyemura [33:25]
It’s just more you have to have the confidence of what you’re selling and how to sell and how to you know what I mean? Like it’s again I don’t want I don’t want to say because what happens if you know not to sell you discount the rate? That’s the first Yep. Or you don’t offer it? Or you don’t offer it? Yeah, in it. Yeah. So or you’re like hey, I’ll do one on ones for 15 bucks an hour and then once you sell out you’re 20 and then 25.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [33:45]
Well, and and the the other manifestation of that, Dan is gyms who are like yeah, look, we do five one on ones to start and our membership the first month is $300. Every month after that is $150. And people are like, okay, but what they don’t realize is that they’re charging $30 per one on one training session.

Dan Uyemura [34:06]
Again, that goes back to selling right? They don’t sell one on one. So they sell a monthly cost at 30 bucks an hour, which is yeah…

Dr. Sean Pastuch [34:14]
Yeah, but it but it feels like a big sell because they’re selling themselves. Yeah. Right. I mean, we have, I’ll show you, you’re gonna have the video, we have a questionnaire. And we ask our clients these questions before they’re allowed to join the gym. And the answers to these questions each have a numerical value to them. And based off of the numerical value of the answers of their questions, we let them know how many training sessions they need before they can start because it’s unsafe otherwise, right? How many gyms…

Dan Uyemura [34:47]
Yeah, it’s not a crazy assertion, right?

Dr. Sean Pastuch [34:49]
How many how many gyms are walking around right now and don’t know how many of their members have a hip replacement. Oh, yeah, exactly. That’s important. Yeah.

Dan Uyemura [35:00]
So I mean, this is all in the spirit and the direction of professionalizing gyms, professionalizing coaches, what I like about what you just showed, if you’ve been listening to podcasts or pay attention to what anything that I that spews out of my mouth, is that’s a framework, right? That is a framework that’s repeatable. That’s on paper or erasable plastic that a coach could take. It takes them takes you 15 minutes to train them on it, because it’s just a math formula, like add up. I don’t even know it, but I can in my mind, I understand it because it’s you build a framework, right? I mean, if you’re running a gym right now, and you’re kind of just like, swinging and swinging from the hip, and you know, pulling your gun out whenever you want. That’s not what he does. That’s the opposite of professionalism. You have to get to the point where everything falls into a framework. Yes, everything falls into a system.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [35:46]
And to speak to systems, one of the biggest reasons why people think that nobody wants to buy personal training is because of the way that they pay their coaches to sell it and administer it. If you’re expecting somebody who is not good at sales not experienced in sales, avoids conflict in general and doesn’t feel like they’re that valuable to begin with. And then you’re going to offer them 4/9ths of a session that they have to sell. They’re going to avoid that conflict for that low reward all day long.

Dan Uyemura [36:20]
So what is your compensation strategy for that thing?

Dr. Sean Pastuch [36:23]
So the way that we do compensation strategy is as follows. We know what the average session is going to sell for in a gym based on the average household income and the session prices because we have packages 1, 12, 24, and 48. 1, 12, 24 and 48 are going to end up with an average session price that is just above the 24 session package price. What we do is we teach the gyms we want you to take out credit card processing fees first, and then look at the number that would be left and split that number in terms of the taxes that you’re going to pay an employment, split that with the coach, subtract from that number, what it costs for you to cover a class, then, and 20% of the class cost to put a manager in between the gym owner and the coach. The coach gets the rest of the money. The idea on this is once you have done as many sessions per week, as you have classes per week, with this formula, you have paid a manager of personal training, and all of your payroll for classes is covered. That’s your baseline. Right. And we tell gyms that they should be training an average of 10% of their members an average of twice per week, one on one. That’s how the math ends up with gyms that we work with. What that means is if you have 100 members, you should be doing 20 personal training sessions per week.

Dan Uyemura [38:04]
And doing the math for an average gym, like let’s just put put this, put this to $1 amount so you can can start to visualize what this means. Sure you have 100 members and you’re able to do 20 pt a week and you’re in a, let’s just say you’re in an area that makes 100 grand, average household.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [38:23]
Let’s bring that easy number let’s say you’re in an area that makes $45,000 a year. So your average household income, you’re going to what we would tell you to do is double that and then add 10% your $200 a session. Okay, that’s the bottom of what we let gyms charge who we work with. One session is $100. If you’re charging 100 for one, you’re charging 85 per session for a 12 pack. paid up front. If you’re charging 85 for 12 pack, you’re charging 90% of that or 78 per session for 24 If you’re charging 78 for 2492, and a half percent of that is going to be 7273 per session for 48. That make sense? Yep. Now people ask us all the time, why do you discount? We don’t discount. We work up the base rate. What most people is charging is what our gyms are charging for 48 sessions upfront. 1, 12, 24 expire in three months 48 expires in six. Now, the cap for what we have gyms charge outside of major metropolitan areas is $150 a session. If your gym is over $120 for the single session, then you’re going to charge 75% of that for your 12 pack up front. You’re going to charge 90% of that for 24 pack and you You’re gonna charge 92 and a half percent of that, for 48. Did I lose you, are we good on that?

Dan Uyemura [40:07]
No, that’s a lot of numbers. Hopefully people have a pen and paper.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [40:10]
So google average household income, multiply it by two, add 10%, then knock all the zeros off. That’s your single session rate. If it’s above $150, bring it down to $150. If it’s below $100, bring it up to $100. That’s where you start.

Dan Uyemura [40:30]
Right? So where I was going with that is let’s say I have 100 members, I’m doing 20 pts a week, it’s $100 bucks per session, let’s assume you know, like, we’re just selling per session rate. So not to deal with these multi packs. What does that mean annually roughly for a gym?

Dr. Sean Pastuch [40:45]
It depends on what they charge for a group class and when they pay a coach for a group class. So let’s say for example, they’re paying a coach $25 for a group class fare. Okay, if they’re paying a coach $25 for a group class after they’ve paid their coach to execute the session, their PT manager to oversee education of the coaches and execution of the sessions. If they’re offering 40 classes a week, 40 classes a week I think is about average. It’s a little higher average, but it’s about high average. They’re making 25 times 40. What’s the math on that? 1000? Yes. Okay. So then they’re making $52,000 a year of net profit after they’ve paid everybody on their staff. This is the the gym owner is? Yeah. Okay. And here’s the thing. You can tell coaches all day long. We have expenses that are fixed. We have expenses that are variable. Coaches see through bullshit. And they know that if I’m charging, if you’re selling a session for $70 and you’re telling me I get 31, for example, and as a gym owner, that means you’re taking 39 you’re expressing to me that 39 dollars covers your cost. If I’m willing to sell sessions at $100 Why can’t I have the difference right now? Why do you need to continue getting 56%? That doesn’t make any sense. Your your expenses do not go up with the exception of my payroll tax, that is the only expense that goes up.

Dan Uyemura [42:30]
Yeah, I mean, the, the argument that could be made is if you get to the point where you’re charging $150 bucks a session versus $70 bucks a session, you have more amenities. You have more showers, like the argument could be made that you’ve made more reinvestments into the facility, but you’re right on a day by day basis. The percentages don’t go up.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [42:50]
Well, I’m just a thing on a $150, just to be clear, we advocate that you take the session rate that a coach is going to get, you split the margin gap between $150 and your 12 pack. So, for example, if on a 12 pack of coaches making $62 I’m just I’m making it up now. $62 on $100 session and you end up as a gym, netting $25. If you sell a session for $150, just $50 bucks, you get $25 more as a gym. The coach gets $25 more $87 for the coach. The rest for you got it. Okay. And the other thing is, you’re in Torrance, California. I don’t know Torrance, California haven’t been there. But I’m in Long Island, New York. And the expensive steak houses are busier than the inexpensive steak houses.

Dan Uyemura [43:44]
Oh, yeah. I mean, this is a huge tenant of mine that I i every time I get a chance I talk about there’s two types of consumers. There’s people who try to find the cheapest thing they can tolerate. Right. And there’s people who find the most expensive thing they can afford. I’m the ladder. Yeah, like, whenever so airlines and hotels are the examples I give, I will always try to sit in first class if I can afford it. Generally 99.9% of time I can’t. And then it’s always like more like room next. Can I afford that? Nope. Okay, what about the extended space? You know, like, I go down and down until and then I might end up in like economy plus, or whatever. But I’m always starting at the top. Same with hotels like I try and get the view with the balcony. And if I can’t afford that, I go down. I’m the client you want, right? Like I’m the guy who you want you want to portray value you want to portray oh, that’s a whole nother topic we could have gotten into but more but you want to, you want to roll out the red carpet for people like me, because we’re willing to spend for the best that we can afford. Right?

Dr. Sean Pastuch [44:48]
And can I just help people feel at ease with this for a little bit because I think that there’s some conflict that comes up for people when it comes to selling to people who can afford it. And that leads to Well, what about other people who can’t? Well, and I want to let you go ahead, I want to let gym owners know this. One of the things that we do at Active Life that I personally do at Active Life is if somebody can’t afford to work with us, legitimately can’t afford to work with us. We have cases where we allow them to do two hours per week of community service in their town, document to community service, and then they can work with us at no financial cost to them. But you need to be able to make enough money to pay the staff who are going to service the client for free. Right, so it’s not all about money. If people need our services, especially our business development services, and they can’t afford it. They can go provide community service for two hours a week and work with us for free if they apply for it at a time.

Dan Uyemura [45:55]
Right. And that’s a that’s a good thing. You could you could think about deploying at your gym.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [45:59]

Dan Uyemura [46:00]
Yeah, but I mean, here’s the deal. Here’s the reality of it is like we live in a society in a world where, I mean, I can’t afford most of the stuff I buy nowadays, I really can’t. But I make it a priority, right? The things that I want. And this is the society we’re in is like when the things people want become a priority. And if they want to look better or feel better, or become fitter or whatever, it will become a priority and the cost won’t be won’t be such an issue. And for a certain percentage of the population, which I’m going to say is 50% minimum. The cheaper you are, the worse your position is, right, but you can’t sell an expense an above average price ticket product and be worse, a worse of a product that will ruin your business faster than nothing else.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [46:49]
Not only that, you have to be exponentially better. Correct. People are only going to buy something that they believe is worth at least double what it costs. So you need a way better.

Dan Uyemura [47:02]
I mean, here’s the deal everyone’s willing to spend more money for a MacBook or more money for whatever, you know Computer, tv or whatever it is. And then the stuff downstream from it as long as it exceeds their expectations what they get has to be good product.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [47:15]
Yeah, look, no offense, but I don’t think anybody’s gym is full of Christians fitness factory. Remember, Christian fitness factory? We never had them out here. Okay, they’re a service. They’re their equipment provider. I think they still exist. And you can buy everything that you can buy on Rogue there. It’s just not Rogue. Right. It’s much less expensive.

Dan Uyemura [47:36]
It’s just a good?

Dr. Sean Pastuch [47:37]

Dan Uyemura [47:39]

Dr. Sean Pastuch [47:41]
Okay. No, but that’s the point, right? Yeah.

Dan Uyemura [47:45]
Oh, yeah. Everyone wants rogue, right.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [47:47]
Yeah. Because they’re at the games because they’re cool. Yeah. And because they’re good. And I make good stuff.

Dan Uyemura [47:53]
All right. All right, Sean. Well, we’ve gone deep into this podcast. I’ve been making it an effort to keep it under 40 minutes, and I’ve been failing every single time, but I’ve been having that interesting of guests on so I mean, what are you gonna do? Right? Um, I like to leave people with a little parting gift from you to them. Like, let’s quickly go over are there any podcasts right now that you’re super into?

Dr. Sean Pastuch [48:16]
Yeah, mine haha. So besides my podcast, the Active Life podcast, I would strongly recommend gym owners start listening to shows that are outside of the fitness space. So I really like Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman. Oh, yeah. Yeah. It’s you know, listen about what other people did in their times and see how it relates to what you could do just thinking differently.

Dan Uyemura [48:44]
That’s it’s funny you mentioned that because that’s the actual whole purpose of this podcast. I don’t bring I try not to bring on too many people from the fitness space and it’s more from the business world to talk about. I mean, people in the business world are solving the same problems. We are just on a bigger scale. So to me, it’s it’s actually like, more efficient and relevant what they’re doing and then tweaking it to apply to it like our world. Yeah Masters of Scale is a good one. Although I would argue in the fitness space, no one’s trying to do any hyper growth. So I mean, it could be lessons learned and like, how to be creative and growth, but you’re not trying to go from like, 200 members to 2000 members in a year like these guys are trying to do.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [49:22]
Well, right. But you can apply the same concepts to go from 200 or from 100 to 150. Or from charging $100 to charging $150.

Dan Uyemura [49:30]
That’s a better example. Yeah. Or it could be like going from 25 members to 200 could be the…

Dr. Sean Pastuch [49:35]
Yeah or no staff to five staff.

Dan Uyemura [49:37]
Yeah, yeah. Cool. What about books? You got any favorite books right now?

Dr. Sean Pastuch [49:42]
Yeah, I love this question. Go back and read the last book that you read that you thought was awesome, and you haven’t done anything about it. Or the last book you bought and haven’t read? Well, I like to tell people to go back and reread a book that they already read and didn’t take any action from and take an action from the book, and then then move forward. And especially if your audience is CrossFit gym owners, I would recommend the book Blue Ocean Strategy. And the reason why I’d recommend the book Blue Ocean Strategy is despite the fact that a lot of the examples are old and now antiquated. It demonstrates how a gym can stand out from other gyms instead of just competing for the same client and the same way. Right?

Dan Uyemura [50:28]
Yeah, I think the big concept. All right, cool. Well, thank you, Sean, for being a guest on The gymOS Podcast. I think you’re in the same business. We are and we’re all trying to professionalize this business and help turn these gyms into better businesses, more healthy businesses that can affect and help their communities as well.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [50:47]
Yes, sir.

Dan Uyemura [50:48]
Thank you so much for being on the podcast and we’ll catch you later.

Dr. Sean Pastuch [50:51]
My pleasure, Dan.

Dan Uyemura [50:53]
Whoo. What do you think guys, another episode of The gymOS Podcast in the books. Dr. Sean Pastuch dropping knowledge for you guys. Man, I think there’s something to be said for actually, at least having a coach or two on staff that understands anatomy and physiology and can can work down the route of, I see it as bridging a gap between the medical profession and the fitness and wellness end the things and providing a legit solution for the doctors in your area to have somebody they can trust in the fitness community to start working in the pro active medicine area, proactive wellness area, some good stuff there. And it’s pretty eye opening stuff. The one the one thing that epiphany that I had, I had many one of the epiphanies I had and that was like if you literally take a pen and paper, walk around the floor of go through every class that you have at your gym, walk through the floor and take a note of like, who’s moving weird. Why are they moving weird or who isn’t doing this workout as prescribed and why aren’t they or if you’re in a martial arts studio like is some Not able to do a certain movement or do they seem like they’re in a little bit of pain or whatever, take a note of all these things and jot them down in martial arts. So you have, you also have a good opportunity to say like, oh, how many kids are or how many of my students are lacking in the ability of these certain really, you know, critical movements or techniques. And these can all be upsells and your gym and I want you not to see upsells as something negative because the people are going to your gym for a service and a reason. And if they’re functionally dysfunctional, functionally dysfunctional in any of these areas, and they value what they’re learning they’re there is there is a reason for them to pay extra money and pay additional time and energy into bringing those areas up to par. Right. And that could be a physical ailment just as much as it could be. I don’t know how to climb a rope so I can’t do this part of the workout, or I I lacked the strength to hold this type of a position. So, you know, for yoga people, there’s all kinds of different reasons why somebody would put a lot of value in spending additional time under your watchful eye to make that happen. So why don’t you try that go out, go out on the floor for a day with a pen and paper and start taking inventory of what’s happening out there. I think it might be eye opening. Anyway, if you, hear comes he asked, you know the drill, if you’ve listened this before, if this episode brought any type of enlightenment or value to you, if you had any eye opening moments, if you could take anything away from this that you think will help your gym. Well, hey, that’s good. That’s what I’m here for. That’s why I’m doing this. But what I would like is for you to like this episode, or give us a five star rating, give us a thumbs up, subscribe to it to make sure you get more of these in your inbox. So you can listen to them whenever you have time and you have energy and bandwidth to do so. That would really help me out. My job here is to help you become a better gym owner. And the more that you’re sharing these episodes and the more you’ll letting people know about it and the more that I’m going to be able to do just that for everyone else in this community and that’s, that’s really why I’m here. Just like you’re in your gym primarily because you want to help your community become fitter become stronger, become more self aware or able to defend themselves, that I’m here to help my community and your my community gym owners and studio owners. You guys are my community. So the more of you guys I get to help the better and in any way you can help me do that. I would really appreciate it. We’ve been hard at work filming a ton of these podcasts and we’re gonna keep doing it as long as we know it provides value to you guys, so let me know you can even send me an email if you want Danny push press calm. Let me know if this has impacted you in any way I would love to hear. Alright guys, until the next episode, keep on grinding on those businesses. See ya later.

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