Since it’s the start of a new year, we wanted to introduce you all to a man who helps people, within a gym. But this is no fair-weather trainer. Braxton Gilbert has a huge heart for helping others improve their overall well being. We found out in this interview he gets the most return by understanding his client’s psychological needs. Looking back at more than 3000 clients over the past 4 years, he thinks it is even more important than preparing their physical training regimen. Let’s sit down and have a great chat with the owner of Braxton Gilbert Fitness.
Braxton: My name is Braxton Gilbert and I'm the owner of Braxton Gilbert fitness at 100%
personal training studio here in Mobile, Alabama and we kick butt people all day, work on changing lives, and having a great time.
Marcus: Awesome, Braxton. Well, welcome to the podcast.
Braxton: Thank you very much, thanks for having me.
Marcus: Yeah. Now you and I got together for coffee a couple of weeks ago right before the holidays. I knew immediately after hearing some of your story, because I think that we've kind of circled around each other on Facebook and through mutual friends and stuff and I was like, "I have got to tell your story." So why don't you tell us the story of who Braxton Gilbert is? Tell us where you went to high school? Did you go to college?
Braxton: I did not, no.
Marcus: And give us some backstory as to who you are.
Braxton: Okay cool. Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama. Been here all my life and really man, got into fitness at like age 13, I was young. It was more of like wanting to get muscles, get a girlfriend kind of thing.
Marcus: Everything 13 year old goes through that.
Braxton: Every kid begins lifting weights and stuff. I actually remember being...
Marcus: Actually, pause for just a second; my 15 year old asked me last night to go to the gym with him to show him how to bench press, so it has begun.
Braxton: It's beginning man. You know, just like every kid wanting to get muscles and I remember one time being on Facebook, scrolling through Facebook and seeing this guy that went to the high school I was trying to go to. And he was sitting here with just these muscles on his arms; he played football and I was like, "Aw dude I want those."
Braxton: So I went to my room and got some 12 pound dumbbells and just curled my heart out.
Marcus: 12 pounds.
Braxton: It was just going at it man. I would legitimately, in the 8th grade, sneak dumbbells into my bed when I was supposed to go to sleep, to do these workouts I had learned online and stuff. It was crazy, but I really liked doing it and then from that it kind of created, you know when you see progress in anything, you kind of get excited about it. So I remember sitting in the car with my brother and he was like, "Hey dude, your biceps are looking a little bigger," and I was like, "You're kidding right?" But maybe look at this? You know that kind of thing? And it was just something that naturally, you know you see progress in it, you start working out more and then you start doing more push-ups, and pull-ups and stuff like that. I started to be able to see progress in my own body and my own strength. And then from that, it was about 9th grade whenever I started getting friends at school who ever
like, "Hey man you're working out a lot, you seem like you're getting stronger, like I'd love to do that." And there was this one guy named Brian and I got to work for Brian, who he was about 90 pounds overweight. And he was like, "Man I would love to do that
too, but no one in my family's in shape, no one's ever been healthy, really anyone in my house and I'd love to get to that but you know, probably not." And so I was like, "Dude, I'd love to help you out if you want to." And so we kind of went at it and dude in like four months he lost like 80 pounds, we worked on his food, we worked on his training and it was all these things that I had
studied with and nerded out on at home ...
Marcus: Practical application.
Braxton: Yeah it finally got met with the ability to go, "Hey actually I think I know what you're talking about when your stomach it does that when you eat this? Oh try this." I was able to help him out and then from that it was like boom. The fulfillment and the reward from helping someone else get there, was almost twice as much as it was for yourself, you know?
Braxton: If you spend your whole life just trying to get another half inch on your bicep, you know what I mean?
Marcus: Yeah big deal. But if you can affect change in someone else's life and change the generational, I'd say curse, of obesity, because parents tend to pass that on. But if you can change it with somebody and then see their children lead a healthier lifestyle.
Braxton: Aww dude absolutely, so that's where that kind of began. That's where the whole service of it began right? So I was 16 years old at the time, I had gotten a job as a janitor at a gym. I was cleaning the gym from top to bottom every week for gym membership. And so that was my payment for it was gym membership and protein powder. And so I was asking the owner, I was saying, "Hey man do kind of mind if I like meet a buddy up here, Brian, you mind if I meet him at the gym and kind of train him after hours or anything?" And he's like, "That's totally cool." So I would train him at the gym and so it's like ten bucks at the door kind of thing and it literally just grew from there. To where it was one dude, and of course when you get someone in shape, who wants to get in shape, everybody and their mama wants to get in shape. So then other people were like, "Hey would you help my buddy Brian, would you help my cousin?" And it continued to grow from that point. I'd say over the next few years, well in the next four or five years, we've worked really hard and now creating it into a business that we service over 3,000 people.
Marcus: Go back, cause when we talked, so you were 16 when you started with Brian right?
Marcus: When you graduated high school, how much money were you earning, training people?
Braxton: When I graduated high school, I don't know I think it was something like $5,000 or something like that, $4,000 a month, when I graduated.
Marcus: Don't be bashful about that.
Braxton: Something like that.
Marcus: You just told somebody that's listening to right now that you made 50 to 60 thousand dollars a year right out of high school. And had been making that as probably a junior, senior in high school, training people, effecting change in their lives.
Braxton: It really was. In total I think I worked for over 1,000 people before I graduated.
Braxton: And it was really from freshman year, one guy, and then it becomes two people and then three people and then all those people drop off. Then you get five more people and then you help ... you know so it just continues to grow back and forth.
Marcus: Let's drop the bomb, you didn't go to college.
Braxton: I didn't go to college man.
Marcus: How old are you?
Braxton: 20 and all the people that work for me went to college.
Marcus: So you're on par, you're building a business like no other. I've known a lot of gyms and I go to a gym every couple of days. The gym that you're building is not like anything else that I've seen before in that it's a 100 percent personal training gym.
Marcus: Which I think is just phenomenal, but the thing that just impressed me so much is that, at a very early age, you found what you were passionate about and just soaked up everything.
Marcus: And just in a short period of time, like you would still be in college.
Braxton: Yeah, trying to figure it out right?
Marcus: I can't take you out for a beer, maybe next year if you make your revenue goal I might
be able to take you out for a beer.
Braxton: Yeah if its after July we'll be good.
Marcus: Yeah. So I mean it just blows me away. I love your story, I just think it's absolutely
Braxton: Yeah, I appreciate it, it means a lot. It's definitely cool to ... you it's hard in everyday. A client actually this morning, I was sitting at the gym, I was in the conference room working on some stuff. And he walked in and kind of looked out to the gym, cause he's been with me for like two years. And he said, "Man a lot's happened in the last year."
And I kind of sat back and I looked at it and I was like, "Yeah I guess you're right." Because in reality on the day to day basis, all I can think about right now is everything that I found out in the last 24 hours is wrong with how we're doing things.
Marcus: Right, things you've got to fix.
Braxton: "Seriously, we didn't think about that, we didn't figure that out?" "Well man now I look back at last year, that's cost us two thousand dollars. This cost us ten thousand dollars or whatever it is." So every single day it's like you're learning and you're growing. Then you can look back and go," You know what, we really have done a lot of cool stuff, we've really grown into something that's hopefully been able to be really effective for a lot of people."
Marcus: Right. Okay so one meathead to another.
Braxton: Got it.
Marcus: I know that you're not just a meathead.
Braxton: I'm not.
Marcus: Because I know that have ... You didn't just open your doors and, "I hope people will come." You actually have processes built out for the gym and how it operates and stuff like that. So don't go into great detail because I know that some of the stuff is stuff that you want to keep under wraps, but give people a taste of what this looks like.
Braxton: Well the thing is, beginning fitness, it's all about reps, sets, weight, how to do it, all that kind of thing. And it's funny because, the way our gym operates now, why we've been able to be as successful as we are now, at this point, is because the more and more people that I worked for; the less and less and less I really applied so much of the actual exercise science and more to the psychology stuff, right? Because you work for your first thousand people and you go, "Okay this is great but I'm giving most people a very similar approach because they must have similar goals." But these people have everything they need to make the change.
Marcus: They're just not doing it.
Braxton: Yeah why do only ten percent do it? It literally gnaws at my soul. Every single day it's like, "Why can you only get ten percent of people to actually follow through with it?" So the idea is, with the different approach we started to take, was about really six months ago, we really, really started getting heavily in depth with actually catering to each person, based on their personality type. You have different types of people you work for and you have different physical goals yes, but if someone's going to change their body, every single person comes to you with, "I want to change my body." Every person does. And that's great. We'd have to change their strategy because if you're going to change what you look like and your body performance then you have to change what you do, you have to change your stimulus, obviously. So you're going to change your strategy. But you have to also go a little bit deeper and go, "What's that individual's story that they tell themselves every single day that's kept them where they were." For some people it's just a lack of energy, for some people it's just the fact they need a kick in the ass to do it. And then some people there's a legitimate psychological, there's this body dysmorphia, there's the fact that again, "I've never really been in shape so, the truth is, I don't really think I can do it." You know? You have one instance of a lady that just recently comes to mind where she lost 14 out of her 100 pound goal in the first month, she was one month in and then completely fell of the face of the earth, completely gone. And I was like, "What the heck?" So when I get back in contact with her, she calls me back about six weeks later, you know I contacted her a couple times, "Hey what's up?" She says, "Hey you know, sorry about what happened whatever, I want to come back. I want to get back involved with it." And we're like, "Cool, that's fine." She said, "Can I come back." I'm like, "Absolutely."
So we get signed back up. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, we'll get you set up and I'm like, "Hey real quick, what happened back there? You know you were 14 pounds down out of 100, what happened?" And she says the famous words everybody says, "I don't know, I just quit things."
Braxton: "I just always quit things," she says. And I say, " Yeah, but what was going on, what was difficult about it?" And she didn't, she said, "I don't know." The biggest thing I found out is that if you ask people what they're afraid of they'll tell you why they do what they do and so I asked her, I said, "What are you afraid of? What is it that makes you scared about this whole process?" And she's says, "Well, I just don't like seeing people," she said, "I just don't like going out and seeing people." I was like, "Okay what do you mean, you have to explain this." I'm driving, "What do you mean?" And she says, "Well I start losing weight and I go out and see people and people see that I'm losing weight and they just..."
Marcus: They notice.
Braxton: "That's interesting, let's go deeper with it, what scares the crap out of you about being successful with this stuff? Cause you hear about failure all the time, but what scares you about actually being successful with this stuff? Because this fear you have about going and seeing people, doesn't really make much sense. So if you're actually going to follow through and lose a hundred pounds, what scares the crap out of you actually doing that?" She starts crying, just bawling on the phone, she's like, "I gain it all back." And you find that that person the literal reason she has time and time and time again, on average, Americans have done it 11 times. Time and time again, started to lose weight and given up, there's a belief. Your belief shapes your everyday actions, what you believe truly. So she believed, 100 percent, the pain and public humiliation of losing 100 pounds and gaining it back would be drastically more, much worse than just being out of shape and overweight.
Marcus: Cause then nobody notices, it's just.
Braxton: Yeah. So it's little things like that, the first time I ever heard someone say, "Oh the fear of failure is really real," or I'm sorry, the fear of success. And I was like, "What do you mean? What do you mean the fear of success, you're afraid of success?" And they begin to explain to them, someone in that situation goes, "Being 200 pounds overweight, what happens when I'm successful at this stuff? What happens when people start expecting more out of me? What happens when people start asking me to help out with things?" I had a lady tell me that one time. "You don't ask people who are overweight to help out with things, you know? And now that I'm beginning to get in shape, now I feel like there's more of a pressure on me and I'm expected to do more." And now you begin to learn that every single person, it is 100 percent psychology. I've got some of the best trainers you can find in the city, in the state. I could brag on them all day long with Jessica, Bryant, Andre, they're great. But, someone's change is not at all because of us. Because you have people that know nothing about fitness at all and lose 100 pounds, change their life and forever going to be changed person and begin to help other people. Before they know a quarter of the stuff that some people know and not doing anything with it. It's someone deciding, saying, "You know what? I'm not gonna do it anymore. I'm gonna do what I can't," Winston Churchill, "I'm gonna do what I can with what I have and where I am. I'm not gonna be satisfied, and I will
grow as my means grow, and I'll be able to do more, I'll learn more, but I know for a fact I can go walk." So there's the psychology and so now when people come in and trust us with their program and say, "I want to do this thing and I really want to get after it, so let's hire a professional." Then at that point it's okay we understand when I'm working with ya, when we're working with you that there's a strategy we're employing, but we're also paying a lot of attention to the psychology behind what you're doing. And we've got a very detailed, intricate system that we've used for other gyms across the country to help identify people based on PT type, their personality type and be able to help them based on that.
Marcus: So you have a gym, West Mobile, it's all personal training.
Braxton: It's all personal training.
Marcus: So nobody just goes in and just does their own thing, they're all paired up.
Braxton: It's all PT man.
Marcus: So obviously, if I go to the Y, I'm a single person, I'm probably gonna end up paying 50 bucks a month or something like that, what is the average cost?
Braxton: 360 dollars a month.
Marcus: 360 dollars a month. That's with a personal trainer, you're walking them through.
Braxton: Because it's $30 per session. So with $30 per session, we meet with every single person three times a week. It's on a monthly basis.
Marcus: It's that accountability partner, plus it's also, you're borrowing their knowledge or hoping that they're gonna take time out of the experience of losing weight right? But I just think that's fascinating because most gyms just open their doors and expect that people are just going to walk in and then, "Oh well if you want then we have these personal trainers over here-"
Braxton: If you wanna do it.
Marcus: Yeah, if you wanna share it, so what made you.
Braxton: We've gone and flipped it man, and here's why. Here's why I don't want to make it affordable for people either, legitimately.
Marcus: Well I mean pause, cause I think that actually is ... I mean I know that it's a lot of money.
Braxton: Of course.
Marcus: But for what you're getting.
Marcus: That is incredibly inexpensive.
Braxton: And that's where you have to put it into perspective because when people talk about what something's worth, it's what you get from it and so you have examples of people, "360 dollars a month?" cause every person that listens to this goes, "Well this guys sounds pretty cool, but I ain't going there, 360 dollars, that's ridiculous." Great it is ridiculous. It's a lot of money for sure, I'm with you, it's almost 400 bucks a month, agreed. But the thing is, is if you actually are going to be able to get to the goal ... I asked a lady that yesterday that, cause you're talking about the same thing, every single day I have this conversation with someone, "I don't know, that's out of my price range." "I've worked for 3,000 people and 2200 of them all told me that it's way too much money." And they did it anyways and at the end of the time they said, "Thank you so much for that." Right? Because if you ask someone can you pay me four thousand dollars next year, because we work with every single person for a year, "I'm not paying you four thousand dollars, I'm trying to lose weight." "Okay cool. Let me ask you this completely honest and you can be done I don't even need to talk to you anymore, it's fine. Cause this is for my own learning of the human brain, if I could actually guarantee you that would happen, if it was going to happen for sure. If there was not a shadow of a doubt that I could give you a pill or insert something into your arm, you started coming to the gym. But in the next 365 days, today being day one, you would guarantee to lose 65 pounds, would you pay me four thousand dollars in monthly payments, 360?
Marcus: I guarantee yeah.
Braxton: They go, "Hell yeah, I'd pay you five hundred dollars." And so it's about getting ... The reason it's gotta be something like that. The reason it's gotta be a little bit of a different structure instead of you just wobbling in; is cause you, going to a gym, because you have a problem. It's not necessarily you have a problem as a person, you have something you
want solved and the solution is, "I'm misinformed, I want to be in shape, I want to be healthy." And the problem is not going to get solved unless there is a skin in the game on your side, that's when you go, "Well I'm gonna go get ten bucks a month." Gym
memberships have never helped anybody get in shape, I think gym memberships are dumb, it just gives you the ability to exercise.
Braxton: And you already have that, you know? Unless, you have somebody to go ... I tell people this too when ... I used to sit down and do salespeople, first time they work out, "Great here's what we're going to do, here's what we're gonna help you get to your goal, etc." If they're hesitant, it's great. I love it much more when they're hesitant when they're like, " I don't know man, that's a lot of money." I'm like, "Good then it means something to you." Cause they have people who have all the money in the world.
Marcus: Right, it's nothing to them.
Braxton: It's not enough of a risk man, it's like skin off. It's absolutely nothing for them to pay for training and you have people like that ... I have a lady right now, I learned about this through the grapevine, she has refinanced her home to pay for training.
Braxton: Who do you think is doing better on their results between her the guy that it doesn't mean anything to his, "360 bucks, whatever. I've spent that on dinner." You know what I mean?
Braxton: It's a hundred percent. Really the way we've gone about it is to try to create, not something to just go, "We want to get everyone in the doors." We want to get everyone in the doors absolutely, but we want to make sure that there's a science behind it to go, I need to get you to the point where you sit there and go, "Alright let's do this thing, I'll marry you." Because if you're just telling me, "Well I mean we can go on a couple dates, I don't know let's see, let's maybe text once a week and we'll see how it goes." No, it doesn't work that like that. "We're going to fall in love, we're going to get married and
this thing's gonna work out."
Marcus: Closing them on marriage on the first meeting. That is really cool. How did you ... I know that you've gone through different phases, you were working as a janitor and bringing some friends in and then at what point in time, did you start the business as a legitimate business?
Braxton: I think at 16. I was making maybe a hundred bucks, hundred and twenty dollars a month from training him and then I had a couple people that ... here's the funny thing, is that I started helping out with food because it was big part's food. A big part of what we're doing is diet. Long story in twenty seconds, I started helping people with their food. "Hey I'll write a diet out for Marcus, every month he'll check in with me and then I'll change it around." That's what every fitness dude does in Mobile Alabama, that's what everybody does. Well so [inaudible 00:18:45]. I'll become a fitness coach or whatever and so I started writing diets for people and I got to where at 25 dollars a month, I'll write your diet. Because I know what I'm doing at this point, so I'll help you lose 20 pounds and help you lose whatever. Then your friend wants to join too and then so and so wants to be a part of it. So I'm gonna get them signed up and so I had like 45 people that were paying me 25 dollars a month, at like 16. I was making like $1100 a month from just writing diets and it was like Louisiana, Florida, South Carolina, it was all these people, because FacebookMarcus:
And a lot of it's the same.
Braxton: It's the principles right? So then from that point, then I discovered, literally I was 16 years old. I was a janitor at the gym, I had Brian that I work for, personal training was kind of just the other side hustle that I did, because I was into health, but I knew food was important. Then I'm reading online about a little certification I wanted to get on nutrition, and it said you could get certified, but you still have to practice within your bounds. I'm like, "Bounds? What the hell are my bounds?" I look it up. Well Alabama is a red state for nutrition. It's a practice like law, like medicine, you can't do it, you can't provide nutritional counseling for people, one on one, unless you're a registered dietician or it's illegal.
Braxton: You got a 16 year old with a real tear flowing out of my eyes. I put so much work into this thing, every person I work for now. I make a thousand dollars a month from this thing, I've built this, it's not just the money. But I've built something valuable enough to where I have a thousand dollars coming in a month from other people who value this enough. You know? And now it goes like that. So I literally sent an email out to 25, it was 40 people at the time, " Hey I love you very much but I can't do this anymore, I just found out it's illegal." So then from that point I just had to decide. Well, I could either ... And I take video logs every four days or so, just like 16 seconds just to check in. I've done this since, funny enough the day before I learned that, was the first one I took. "Hey it's going well. I've got 40 people for nutrition set up." The next day I'm like real tears in my eyes, "Well, this shit ain't working." Well this ain't gonna work out. And I'm like, I could either go to school become a registered Dietician. I could get another job, which I really don't want to get another job, or I could start putting a lot of time in personal training. So I guess
we'll go from here. So then from that I was like, "Well I'll just grow the personal training side of things," and that's where this journey began to kind of shape into what it is now. So 16 years old and then it was like "Well, this is really happening." I'm gonna start really putting a lot of heart, time, and effort to personal training, to help people out. So you go back and you redefine your sign-up packet and everything. Then you start really putting your effort, energy and I really ... Big believer in things like law of attraction. I think if that you start to move towards that direction and things are gonna start falling in place. And God lines
things up for ya. From that point, 16 years old, work all the way through high school, graduate high school, work for a 1000 people in this 24/7 gym. And then after that, the point where it transitioned was like ... "Man, I got 30 or so people who are here with me 3 times a week. I'm doing 90 or a 100 workouts a week." And the majority of the clientele that I'm working with doesn't ... What their goals aren't really conducive with the environment they were in. This is the gym that I go to too. So it's strength training, hard training, shirts coming off, and I got a lady telling me she's addicted to food and needs to lose 85 pounds. I had to really had to go and create the environment. So I walked in and I had to be the little glow of this space where that person could feel comfortable. And so then it was like well, "Maybe I should look for a place that I can kinda house this on my own." And of course, you get a little heat flutter to even think about that as an 18 year old kid at the time. So then literally it was like "Alright, maybe that is something that we should do." And we found a car lot, we found this car lot that had recently moved. They had moved, it was 1600 square feet, it was perfect for us. 1600 square feet, two offices, two bathrooms and it was no lie, 35 seconds from the house. I didn't have to buckle up, I should have buckled up, but I didn't have to buckle up. So, then we checked it out and we pulled up and looking the window and the property manager. I've worked very hard but my guy continues to lines things up as things step forward. The property manager drives by when we're looking in the window, so he pulls back around and he likes "Hey, guys you wanna check this one out?" Real country guy. "Y'all wanna check this thing out?" We're like "Yeah, we're looking for a gym." "Well, there's three people that are interested in it. They'll probably sign next week. Cause we've had a lot of people, so if you really wanna move forward then we probably need to know by tomorrow. If y'all wanna do it." So I'm at the gym that night, just doing my workout, and I finish. I'm kinda doing some mediation, some prayer. I'm thinking "Man, should I do this or not? It's a big step." All my money I saved up as an 18 year old kid. I had $16,000 or whatever. I'm gonna buy all of the gym equipment with this.
Marcus: With $16,000.
Braxton: Yeah, right? So real, real low. Turned out to be about $8,000 more. So I'm like "Should I do it?" And then it will be $2,000, $3,000 a month to pay for this place. I'm making six grand so this is half my income. But the question I asked myself that it go "Alright, let's do the damn thing." Was could I provide a better service for people I work for in this space. It was a definite yes, I absolutely could, no doubt. So, it would be cutting into profit, obviously. But would I be more satisfied with it.
Marcus: Reinvesting back into the business world.
Braxton: And that was the first time I ever did. I've done things that to kinda differentiate myself from other trainers in the gym at the time. I probably spent a couple hundred dollars a month on waters, because every client I ever worked for, I bought a water for them. I had to buy them from the gym, so it's a dollar per water. I had some people who were 450 pounds who were going through 8 waters every workout. Just guzzling them and all I'm seeing is one dollar leave my pocket. His $30 training session just turned into $19 training session, because he drank ten waters. So, between waters and I bought towels and stuff for clients. Always have fresh towels folded and water, so I tried to create a better service for them in the place. But this was the first time, it was a big investment. Okay so now we're actually putting all of the money that I have, everything that I've earned from it, and half of what I'm earning every month into creating this thing. Is it even gonna work? Or should I sit back real pretty and collect my six grand? And so, and then from that we moved to the car lot, built in, and then in a year's time had ... That was my first employee I hired was at that gym, because I was like, "Dude, I cannot keep track of anything." Put me in the room with the person. Gimme the thing and I'll do it, but remembering to respond to six different emails and call through people, whatever. I need a list and I needed to be able to do it, so I hired on Cara who's my assistant now. So, that was so, so helpful and she was able to help organize and get things on track, and help with a lot of the back end stuff. The numbers and keep track of all of the reports and stuff like that. Then come January, so we moved in October 2016 and then in January it was "Alright, I've got 50, 60 hour or 55, 60 hour weeks I'm working right now. And I'm trying to grow the business. I can't do this if January's about to come up and here comes a bunch of people. I gotta hire somebody." So I start telling everybody, " Hey our team takes great care of people, we knock out. You'll love us, you'll hate us and love us. I didn't know who it was gonna be, but I knew I wasn't gonna do it by myself. Then Bryant, whose one of our trainers now is awesome. He shot me a text, again another example of how the guy works. He shot me a text, literally the day I decided that I needed to contact somebody. I already decided I needed to hire someone, but the day I decided I was gonna hire someone in particular that I already thought about, was the day he text me. "You kidding me?" I already set my hopes on this person and I was about to contact them. Now he's texting me saying "Hey, I think what you're doing is great, I would love to be a part of it." He's got a kinesiotherapy degree. He worked at hospitals creating knee replacement, hip replacement fitness programs and stuff. So, he had all the credentials that would ... It really worked out well. So I literally went to his house, interviewed him on his back porch, on New Year's Eve. It was like "Let's roll with it."
So, then I had one trainer, one gym assistant, so we had a little team of three people, as of January 1st, 2017. Obviously, last year we grew a lot, went from just that to one we've got ... Bryant kicks butt with us, Andrea kicks butt with us, Adam, Jessica. I mean a really great team that's been pieced together, just one by one, as we've needed to grow and needed to support someone. And have a different perspective or a strength perspective or a conditioning perspective, and have the ability to go on and bring more
talent on board with us. So now we've got a team of six people who are able to knock it out and it's cool. We get to spend all day together and of course, the end of this past year 2017, literally 364 days after opening the first place, we moved to the new space
right now. We jumped from about 1600 square feet to about 6500 square feet and then we have this space of a 1600 square foot area where there's actually a full gym. So, that all of the client can come back and use anytime they want. So, it continues to shape itself up and we continue to grow with it, and always question "Where's the next way we can move forward with?" Whether it's the facility, I'm not so sure if we could change the facility or grow anymore than that. It would be beneficial.
Marcus: Different locations?
Braxton: Different locations or how can we continue to work on the blood of it? The inside. When you walk in, it's what you get from people.
Marcus: The cold shoulder.
Braxton: Not just the towel service, but the culture and the strategies. "I'm gonna take you to a great workout. I'm gonna call you and check on you, etc." But there's a certain protocol on following based on who I think Marcus is and what his personality is, and what he needs, that I'm following.
Marcus: Really? I'm interested in hearing-
Braxton: Who you think I am, man? So, but then we get to track things like "How much are you engaging in the workouts on your own?" Based on our login records on the little keypad access on the 24/7 gym. And how can we see that based on the different approaches, based on how I contact you as the person I expect you to be? What the most received way of contact? Let's quantify that, let's try to be really strategic on how we're taking care of people past of just kicking their butt and getting you out of here.
Braxton: You know, so.
Marcus: You're 20.
Braxton: 20, man.
Marcus: I just want people to remember that. This guy ... No, I mean in all seriousness. Hats off to you again, cause I know people that have done their whole lives working in jobs. And don't think through the level of detail and processes that you have thought through and put into your business.
Marcus: I'm not making light of that. I think it's just awesome, so ... Imagine you're talking to someone that wanted to get started running their own business and it's not necessarily a gym. What's the one bit of wisdom that you would impart to them?
Braxton: Don't do it.
Marcus: Yeah, run.
Braxton: Yeah, don't do it, no. If I had to give a little pep talk to anybody starting their own business or wanting to start their own business, I think that number one: it ain't gonna work. It's the best piece of advice. It's just not gonna work how you thought it was gonna work. It ain't gonna work out, so your numbers and your ideas of what you thinks gonna happen, how's it's gonna work, how much it's gonna cost.
Marcus: There's a pretty big good chance you're gonna fail.
Braxton: There's a pretty good chance it's gonna look nothing like that. But the best piece of advice you can have, is the thing I tell myself. Literally was telling myself this morning, "God, we've ... Things got difficult in the last couple of weeks, we've reevaluate things, keep moving forward. That's not what I expect it to be, okay let's actually ... We didn't calculate that in there." Those kind of things. "The only way forward is forward." That's what I tell myself all the time, cause there's days you wake up to five clients that have quit. You got two client to sell today, two first clients, and you gonna, "Shoot, you gonna bust my rump and stay high energy for these next four and half hours. I'm still down three." That's okay, the only way forward is forward. Let's keep moving forward, keep moving forward. So I would really would think that always be willing to know ... It's not the successful people who the ones that fail the most, cause they stay in it and they fail again, they get better. They fail again, they get better. So I definitely think realizing it ain't gonna work how I thought it was and failure's a big part of it.
Marcus: I think the more that you can just associate things that are failures in business from your own personal self-worth
Marcus: Then the better off you are, if you're gonna to be a business owner.
Braxton: Like your pride.
Marcus: Yeah, because you're going to try things and they aren't going to work. Well that's a failure, but your true value as a business owner or as a entrepreneur is to be able to go "Well, that didn't work. What do I need to change? What do I need to adjust? How do I need to pivot?"
Braxton: Yeah, and not take it personally, right?
Marcus: And not take it personally, and that's not a position of arrogance. That's just a position of "No, I want to accomplish this goal. Something didn't work out and what I was thinking was gonna do this-"
Marcus: "So what was wrong when-"
Braxton: No, what was it missing out on? Let me change it to get a different result, right?
Marcus: Are there any books, podcasts you've listened to. People that you've been mentored by or organizations that you're a member of that have been helpful when running your business?
Braxton: Dude, absolutely. The answer's yes. The first question of books.
Braxton: Books, huge.
Marcus: Give us two.
Braxton: Okay. The book I'm reading right now this seconds is Principles by Ray Dalio.
Braxton: Which is really cool. He's the largest hedge fund manager in the world, manages a hedge fund that I think is a 180 billion dollars or something crazy like that. It's his principles on how his life works and how his family works, and how his business works, and how he balances it all. Elon Musk. The story of Elon Musk.
Marcus: I read that one.
Braxton: I read it, I think like four times.
Marcus: Well, it's just funny ... I should let you talk.
Braxton: Go ahead man.
Marcus: But the thing that I just kept thinking as I was reading it was "This guy just has figured out how to just not have any boundaries at all." Period. "I wanna go to Mars." Well, that's not ... Really, that's not possible. NASA's phasing out and all this, that, and the other thing. "Yeah, I don't care, I wanna go to Mars." This is January of 2018, probably within this year he will launch a rocket ... If I remember correctly, he will launch a rocket to Mars.
Braxton: Yeah. Things like that as we shake our head and go "What in the world are they thinking?" I really think Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and also Ray Dalio who's an important part of that little trio that I mentioned just off the top of my head. Because Ray Dalio is not Elon Musk. Ray Dalio says that when he started having a family when he's running Bridgewater. It's this huge hedge fund. At the same time, now he starts to have a family, he attacks his family in the way he spends time with his family and raises his kids with the same type of intensity and passion as he does his business. So you can see where … You can't take one person, completely associate yourself with them and go "Alright, Braxton Gilbert, naw bump that. It's Elon Gilbert from now on-"
Marcus: Yeah, I know. I don't think that's the intention.
Braxton: But the thing is taking a little bit from him, a little bit from somewhere over here and realizing, "Okay, the successful people. The people who do a lot and do it well. What are things that make them very successful?" Because I think that your standard comes from the people you spend time with. I don't spend time with Elon Musk or Ray Dalio, Steve Jobs, or these type of people that I like to ... Tony Roberts and stuff like that. But when you know that they put in 20 hour work days for 8 months to work on a certain project and at the same time, found the internal fortitude to still balance other areas of your life and to spend time with your family or whatever it was. It kinda makes you go like "Ehh." When someone says "Kinda tired. I work ten hours a day." I guess that's your normal. So I definitely think that-
Marcus: Well, that gets you to your goals.
Marcus: It just means that their goals are different.
Braxton: Of course.
Marcus: I think that's what I took away from Elon Musk. Not necessarily that I want ... Between reading 10X by Greg Cardon and the book on Elon Musk. So, 10X the premise is set your goals ten times greater than what you want them to be, what you wanna achieve. Because if you shoot for those and the assumption is that you're just not setting the goal and that's it. But that you're setting the goal.
Braxton: Strategize towards that, right?
Marcus: Strategy for getting to that goal is that if you miss it by even 50%, well then you're 50% greater than what you would have originally set, and that so many people don't set high enough expectations of themselves and what they are able to achieve. Then you look at a guy like Elon Musk and Elon Musk probably never, I don't know, maybe he never thought that he would actually get people to Mars, and he still hasn't done it, but maybe he never thought that that was the case. But he's built the most powerful space company, I guess is how you'd classify it? Space exploration company.
Braxton: Or private rocket manufacturer.
Marcus: Yeah, he does most of the flights that are launching satellites for companies in the United States right now, or done by his company versus what used to be handled by NASA. So, it just kinda boggles my mind.
Braxton: He said that whenever he took his PayPal payout, he created PayPal, him and a couple other founders of it. He got a 180 million dollars from it, he's 25 years old and he took it.
Marcus: All in.
Braxton: Yeah. He took it and split it. Tesla, 90 and SpaceX, 90. And I saw an interview where they said, "How did you think it was gonna do? Were you certain?" Cause they were ... It's absolute certain death, if you didn't put the money into them, cause the companies were going down.
Braxton: And they were "Did you think it was gonna be successful?" He was "No. I was pretty certain it was gonna fail anyways." So, he's like "Yeah, two businesses are gonna fail. I was 99% sure it was going down anyways, but if I didn't put in there, it would be absolutely certain. So I put a 180 million dollars into it, 99% sure it was gonna go down."
Marcus: I don't know how far you are, if you've read the whole book yet?
Braxton: Oh, a couple times, yeah.
Marcus: Okay, so you know. And if you skip forward 15 seconds if you don't wanna hear this part, but basically what he at one point in time, he asked to take money from Tesla and to fund SpaceX. Because SpaceX was so bad, but Tesla had literally just kinda gotten itself to a place where it was okay, so it was kinda interesting in that standpoint, but no that's really cool. So what's the most important thing that you've learned about running a business?
Braxton: Honestly I think it comes back to the same piece of advice that I give. If someone's starting a business. They're like "It's just stick and move." Okay, I could say this. Don't take it personally .That probably it. When it doesn't work out, it's not personal.
Marcus: Be flexible.
Braxton: Be flexible. If it doesn't work out, you have the wrong strategy. You're not a terrible person. You didn't fail. You get upset when ... Everyone hits failure, it's inevitable.
Marcus: Unless you're not trying.
Braxton: Unless you're not trying, yeah. So when you really try something, you're gonna hit failure, it's inevitable. Then, what that shows you is something's not working, your system's not working. Well then that means one of two things: Either this system's never gonna work and this whole thing's going down, and it's a failure and I'm a failure. Or it means the system's not working, so how can I prove the system? And then we test that again, and then "Oh, wait that works." Okay, it gets a little checkpoint further. So, I think that's the basic thing. Don't take failure personally, man. Just figure it out, look at it almost like a bird's eye view of "What happened here if I wasn't involved in this? What happened? How can I change it?"
Marcus: Tell people where they can find out more information about what you do and the services that you all offer and everything.
Braxton: Dude, check out the Facebook page. Check out Braxton Gilbert Fitness, if you check it out. We post on it every single day, post stuff. Videos, pictures, we try to document a lot of the stuff we do every single day with people. Show not just weight loss, but also people developing strength, people getting stronger, the transformations that come along with it. Try to be catalyst for change with tools and encouragement.
Marcus: Listen, I wanna take just a note, and we don't have to spend a whole lot of time on this, cause we're almost wrapped up here. So, one of the things that I think is absolutely wonderful is that women; it is now becoming okay for women to be strong.
Braxton: Strong, baby. Yeah.
Marcus: That is incredibly sexy for a woman to be strong and have muscles. The understanding of the physiological aspect of a woman's hormonal makeup means that they'll never be as big as a man.
Braxton: Sure, yeah.
Marcus: But that doesn't mean that they can't.
Marcus: Be strong as a woman. You have a trainer there, Jess, who has a wonderful, absolutely wonderful heart. She ... You told me earlier she's ranked number 15.
Braxton: Fifteenth. Jessica Claygen is her name. She's fifteenth in the world for women's strongman. The girl's nearly deadlifted a car 19 times in a minute, and she's beautiful. She's got the muscles, she's everything that every little girl wants to be when they grow up. And it's so, so cool, because we get messages from clients that will say "Ella, my daughter was looking and talking about how she wants to be big and strong. Wants to grow up and be like Jessica." [crosstalk 00:39:15] It's awesome.
Marcus: Jess is awesome, yeah.
Braxton: And it's so cool though, because the "What feels good." It seems to be something that is becoming more popular. You get on social media, you get on Facebook and Instagram. You see more and more PRs, personal records, how much did someone squat? How fast was her interval? And a lot of that is starting to become the bragging rights. I love it, I think it's fantastic. Jessica is really great, because she get to connect well with the female audience, you know?
Marcus: I wanted to bring that up, because I know that there's ... We have a fairly mixed audience and I didn't want people to think that it was just.
Marcus: Meatheads. Yeah.
Braxton: Well, honestly if we're talking statistics, I think about 60% of the people you work for are women. So, with her being there it's really helpful because, we can talk about something all day long. For instance after bootcamp the other day, she had a women's only health chat. We have health chats in the gym, like "How do you eat? How do you train? How you do think?"
Marcus: But you got women's only to.
Braxton: And she goes "How does this affect your periods?" Stuff like that, we don't know what the hell to talk about.
Braxton: And she gets there and says ... I'm not even in the room right, cause I asked her "Hey can I be in here?" And she's "No." I'm like "I own the place." And she's like "No, get out of here." And all the ladies are "Get out here, Braxton."
Marcus: She's big enough, you probably wouldn't.
Braxton: I'm like "Fine, you know what, fine. I won't do it." Check the bicep real quick. So, I walk by the room a couple of times and I'm hearing questions, and I'm "I don't know the answer to that question." So, it's really helpful that she's there, absolutely.
Marcus: I known tangentially through another place that she works at and I've just always thought that she was an amazing human. So, when I saw that she worked with you, I was just like "Yeah, that really makes sense now." Alright, I wanna thank you again for coming on the podcast, to wrap up, any thoughts or comments you like to share. This is ...
Braxton: Man, I think I would have to share from my heart as a fitness person for anybody listening. Cause you're gonna hear business stuff all the way, there's plenty of advice on how to think and grow and be better business-savvy and stuff. But I think that especially with this being recorded near New Year's.
Braxton: Not sure when it's published. When does this.
Marcus: It will go out next week.
Braxton: Cool, so it's around the time that everybody and their mama is trying to get in shape. So, I would encourage anybody that's listening from someone whose been privileged through this journey with 3,000 plus people. Going through how do you actually make a change in your health, that you have to go against the status quo. Go against what most people are doing, most people are signing up for a gym, most people are trying new diets, and most people are trying all these things. But things that have never worked before.
Braxton: If you could just make a habit of doing something consistently and starting with what you know. I probably even encourage you, don't even go seeking information. If you had to ask yourself right now, if I had to pretend. "If I get a $1000 tomorrow." If I pretended ... Better than anybody else to be healthy today, what would you do? Well, you probably go walk. You maybe do a couple of exercises that you already know. "Why don't I do push ups?" Well, what do you think they look like?
Braxton: Well I could probably try and look like this.
Marcus: Or YouTube.
Braxton: Yeah or YouTube. If you're pretending to be healthy for a day, what would you eat? Would you eat that? No, probably not. Just ... 96% of people gain the weight back, because they don't exercise the discipline of going "What do I already know apply?"
Marcus: My father had a heart attack when he was my age. Actually, I think he may have been a little bit younger when he had his first heart attack. He had another heart attack, I wanna say it's been ... It's been eight years or so. It was after we moved here, so it would have been 2006 or somewhere around that time frame, and it devastated me. My father was my world, I love the man. He's loved me when I was a little shit.
Marcus: I deserve that one, I deserve that one. But anyway, I was ... Before we got super busy with kids and all that stuff, I was riding a lot, I was a cyclist. I would go to the gym and occasionally play racquetball or maybe lift some weights. I've always lifted weights, since I was in high school, I would go ... So I knew what I was doing. But about eight years, nine years ago when he had that next heart attack. I said "I'm going to go..." Cause at the time, I kinda let myself go and I looked in the mirror and I was "I don't even recognize who this person is anymore." It wasn't January 1st, but I didn't wait. I made the decision at that point. So, if you're listening to this podcast and it's not January, then still know that you can start today.
Braxton: Do it man.
Marcus: To make those changes, because there's no better day than today to make that change for a healthy ... But what I did was I did exactly what you're suggesting which is I told myself that I was just gonna go to the gym. And I didn't care what the outcome of that was, I was just gonna go and I was just gonna do some stuff for approximately a hour,
three times a week.
Braxton: Boom. There you go.
Marcus: And what i found was that going to the gym has now become my therapy. I think even on my Instagram story last night, I was in the gym, I was working back and arms. Back and biceps, and I was just like ... I'm trying to get better about being on Instagram. I took a picture and therapy was all I put on it, and it's true. There's been a lot going on. Get back from the holidays, and there's a mad rush of taking care of everybody's expectations that were kinda left from before the holidays. And now they're starting a new year and everybody's rushing off and stuff, and I was just like ... That is what that place has become for me. When you do it enough, it takes a while though, after about a year, it got to the point where I could tell that I needed to go to the gym. Because I was a little bit quick to anger-
Marcus: Or I felt like I had a lot of pent-up energy or whatever.
Braxton: Sure, you're a man of the people, man.
Braxton: You should be drinking with other people, right?
Marcus: Hulk smash.
Braxton: Yeah, of course. We don't feel good. You don't feel good, you don't do things that are good for you, you don't do things that are good for other people. How much better can I love you? How much better can I show you care and affection and kindness, if I feel really good about myself? And that's just truth.
Marcus: So, don't ... I would say, I would add on to what he says about consistency. Not seeking the latest fad, because the truth is we all know what it takes, and it's not dieting yourself into oblivion. It's eating good wholesome foods and fueling yourself well, but also just being consistent and giving yourself the grace to go to the gym. Again, just like in business, you're gonna go to the gym and you're gonna fail. You're gonna have days where all you eat are cupcakes and ice cream.
Braxton: That's alright.
Marcus: But that's fine, don't let it throw you off-track. Just continue on.
Marcus: But anyway, Braxton I so appreciate your willingness to sit with me and share your journey as a business owner and entrepreneur. It has been great talking with you.
Braxton: Marcus, thanks for having me.