Mindfulness

Why Some Gyms Succeed and Others Fail

This is Dan.

Dan is an average guy. He used to play lots of sports in high school and even a little intramural in college. He’s always been in great shape, but now that his career has started he rarely works out. Not knowing any better, Dan eats a standard American diet. A bagel and some yogurt for breakfast. A hamburger and french fries for lunch with some colleagues. Then some pizza and beers to round out the night.

He gains about 30 pounds, and he has really low energy in general. He knows he should probably work out and eat healthier, but the thought overwhelms him. He has no idea where to start.

Then everything changes when Dan’s friend drags him into his first CrossFit class.

He does a workout named after some chick named Jackie. He dated a girl named Jackie in college who had two chickens in her yard named Eggs and Toast. He chuckles at this.

Then he does the workout and finishes in a pool of his own sweat on the ground panting like a dog. He’s being really dramatic about it, actually—like he’s dying.

You’d think that after a near-death experience like that Dan would never set foot inside another CrossFit gym. But Dan is different. Dan actually enjoys it!

In fact, Dan signs up on the spot and starts going to the gym four times per week. He learns how to lift weights and do burpees, and he even attempts something called a muscle-up about 1,500 times in his first month. The coaches teach him about the Paleo diet and about “The Open.” Dan gets nanos and a $100 jump rope, and he becomes so familiar to the staff at Lululemon that they address him by his first name when he enters.

Dan quickly loses the 30 lbs. he had gained and then some. He’s in the best shape of his life and is much happier. Obviously, he tells all of his friends. Actually, it’s all he can talk about (Dan’s friends secretly play a drinking game one night and take a shot every time he references CrossFit. His friends get drunk.) He does this for about six months.

Then Dan gets a promotion that pays him very, very well. Dan is pleased.

With that added salary comes added responsibility. He’s working a lot more, which messes up his routine. He’s still working out his usual four times per week, but he starts slipping back into old eating habits. He starts prioritizing convenience over health. Slowly he gains back 15 of the original pounds he lost. Dan is unhappy.

So Dan asks his CrossFit coach what he should do. Dan says that he’s trying to eat Paleo, but he just keeps messing up when he’s in a rush or overwhelmed. The CrossFit coach recommends he try the Zone diet. So Dan tries the Zone diet for a few weeks and sees some progress. And then the initial motivation wears off, the diet becomes too hard to maintain, and he falls off.

He’s right back to where he started.

He goes back to the CrossFit coach who then tells him to track his macros. The coach thinks he can be successful with more flexibility in meeting his macros however he wants. So Dan tries that for a few weeks and sees some progress. And then the initial motivation wears off, the diet becomes too hard to maintain, and he falls off. He’s right back to where he started. Dan feels defeated.

This happens over and over for the next few months. He makes some progress only to lose it. He starts to blame the gym. He thinks it’s not working as well as it used to, and it’s really time-consuming. He decides that he could just do bodyweight workouts and running from his house in half the time as going to the gym. So he quits the gym.

This is Sam.

Sam is an average guy. He used to play lots of sports in high school and even a little intramural in college. He’s always been in great shape, but now that his career has started he rarely works out. Not knowing any better, Sam eats a standard American diet. A bagel and some yogurt for breakfast. A hamburger and french fries for lunch with some colleagues. Then some pizza and beers to round out the night. Seeing a pattern here?

Sam is like Dan in every way. Except Sam is blonde and Dan is a brunette. Other than that they could be mistaken for twins.

Here’s where the story deviates…

...You’d think that after a near-death experience like that Sam would never set foot inside another CrossFit gym. But Sam is different. Sam actually enjoys it!

When he signs up the owner asks him what his fitness goals are. He says he wants to lose weight and body fat. The owner then explains that nutrition is one of, if not the most, important aspects of weight loss and that they offer a nutrition coaching program to go along with the workouts he’ll be doing.

Sam is smart enough to know that he doesn’t know a thing when it comes to nutrition. He decides that if he’s going to do this he’s going to go all in. So he signs up for the nutrition program as well.

Sam starts going to four classes per week. He learns how to lift weights and do burpees, and he even attempts something called a muscle-up about 1,500 times in his first month. The coaches teach him about “The Open.” Dan gets Nanos and a $100 jump rope, and he becomes so familiar to the staff at Lululemon that they address him by his first name when he enters.

While that’s going on he also checks in with his nutrition coach from the gym each week. The coach gives him a personalized nutrition plan and also teaches him about portion control, meal prep, how to avoid hunger, etc.

Sam quickly loses the 30 lbs. he had gained and then some. He’s literally in the best shape of his life and is so much happier. Obviously, he tells all of his friends. Actually, it’s all he can talk about. He does this for about six months.

Then Sam gets a promotion that pays him very, very well. Sam is pleased.

With that added salary comes added responsibility. He’s working a lot more, which messes up his routine. He still works out four times per week, but for a couple of weeks he starts to slip on his nutrition. Still checking in with his coach weekly, he gets some new strategies for this new chapter of his life. And just like that, he’s right back on track.

Sam looks and feels so damn good that he continues working out there… like forever. Dozens of his friends and family join, and they all love it too.



Dan and Sam have about as typical a story as anyone that joins a gym. They have some weight to lose, they are super motivated in the beginning, and when they start seeing results it’s all they can talk about.

Where the two stories diverge is in terms of the nutrition support from each gym. I can personally relate to the first story of Dan. I’ve been a member of 10+ CrossFit gyms and even ran my own for six months once. The support I got in nutrition from these gyms was general education or time-based challenges. Both of these worked to a certain extent, but not for an extended period of time.

When we created the WAG Affiliate Program it was to solve this exact problem.

We’ve now coached over 21,000 people through one-on-one coaching, and in doing that we’ve created a system that repeatedly and predictably gets people long-term sustainable results. So the question we asked ourselves was, “How can we put this system in the hands of gym owners so they can have a greater impact on the members of their gym?”

The way we do it is pretty simple. When you sign up for the WAG Affiliate Program, you put someone forth who will be the nutrition coach for your gym. We then train that person using the same exact training program we’ve used to train over 40 of our own coaches. We give you the marketing, we give you the same technology that we use at WAG, and then we support you all along your journey. We give you all the tools you need to implement our proven nutrition system within your gym.

From the first 100+ affiliate interviews I’ve now done, here are my biggest takeaways about what gym owners want in terms of their nutrition services. If you’re a gym owner and you’ve read this far, then I’m sure you can relate to this:

  • You personally want to be more educated/competent when it comes to nutrition, or you want someone on your team who is. There’s information overload and no clear right answer for what works for people.

  • You want a system that can repeatedly and predictably get your members results.

  • Finally, you want something scalable. You want a way to hold your members accountable that doesn’t take you or one of your coaches an extra 40 hours a week to implement.

We built the WAG Affiliate Program with all this in mind. As a member of the WAG Affiliate Program, you will have tools that allow you to change your members’ lives through one-on-one nutrition coaching.

If you are a gym owner who cares deeply about your members and truly wants to make a bigger difference in their lives, then this program is for you. If you are a member of a gym that you think could benefit from a program like this, please share this with your gym owner.

If you are interested in hearing more about this program, please email us at affiliate@workingagainstgravity.com to get on the waitlist.

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