Meet Michael Bann, Head Coach at OPEX Fitness and CCP Assessment Instructor, FDN-P, XPS, PN1, AFDNP Member.
For the last 10 years, Michael has made a career for himself in the fitness industry. During that time, he’s:
- Worked as a personal trainer teaching people how to perform bench press, bicep curls, and leg curls
- Run boot camps that prepare new recruits at the Arizona Police Academy
- Coached CrossFit for 4.5 years
- Prescribed exercise for people with varying medical conditions such as COPD at Banner Health
- Taught strength and conditioning courses at Northern Arizona University
Michael clocked in more than 10,000 hours of working with people offline before OPEX recruited him to work with remote clients.
When he started working with OPEX, experience was not a problem for Michael. He easily adapted to the clients he was working with. Michael already had experience working with athletes, who need to perform to the very frail and injured.
"TrueCoach is a true force-multiplier for coaches and gym owners.
Head Coach at OPEX Fitness
He is an encyclopedia and knows exactly what to give in which situation depending on the level a person was at. Still, something was holding him back. It was the day-to-day grind of admin work that limited Michael’s potential!
And with only 24 hours in a day, Micheal could only handle between 30-40 clients at a time.
To keep up, he’d wake up at either 5 am or 7 am. Depending on the season of the year, his day-to-day would consist of:
- Answering 250 emails of replies from the night before from clients
- Reviewing videos that he requested from clients
- Tracking back data he needed
- Writing 1-2 weeks worth of programming for his clients
And when Michael got up in the morning to start crushing emails in his inbox, he’d get replies almost immediately. There would be another 50 emails waiting for his reply.
Michael would work from 5 am and most of the time not finish his client admin and engaging with his clients until 9:30 pm. He did this 7 days a week...But that’s what success means right?
You have to work hard to earn your rights to success?
During this time, he worked with so many clients yet he remembers still trying to make ends meet.
He was still trying to make ends meet.
There was a period of time in his life that he lived off ground beef and powdered greens, so that he’d have enough cash to pay rent and living expenses. Michael had to budget every dime in pursuit of his dream.
In fact, his personal life is an all too common story of passionate coaches. His dating life, for example, consisted of hanging out in his apartment and eating Chipotle with his girlfriend. That relationship fizzled due to the massive amount of hours he worked and too little time to spend with his girl.
Now single, he pushed his client workload to 47 clients. Adding 7 more clients only meant more hours added to the already 16.5 hours he worked per day, almost seven days a week!
This additional client load didn’t last long... Michael was stuck at achieving more income and getting any time freedom, so he could continue to learn and develop.
Michael knew there was a better way, but he thought that a better way was to optimize his current system.
- He used Google spreadsheets to program the workouts for clients
- He’d spend time searching for and linking up YouTube videos
- He had his clients set up WordPress, so they could log their results (his client’s had to make a blog) and he could easily search the results
- He had more time to dive into reading books to develop himself
- He’d finish his 2 weeks of 40 clients in 2 hours
- He’d finish all his email replies within 30 minutes
- And by 4:30 pm, he was done his 1:1 consults and video analysis...
- They’re not doing the workout (Obvious)
- Something is going on in their lives that they can proactively reach out and ask about
- And he can catch an unengaged client before they leave him
- Earning only enough to pay his bills and eating powdered greens & ground beef
- Working 16.5 hour days 7 days a week (with 40+ clients)
- Having zero personal time (no traveling because of trading his time for dollars)
But when someone didn’t want to participate in his optimized process, Michael would have to manage the emails they sent to him.
Bottom line... this process was a pain... you’re not only a coach, you’re an administrator, the tech support, and curator of YouTube exercise videos. And keep in mind... he didn’t even own his own business... he was a head coach at OPEX.
But this was how he could communicate with his clients and get feedback in a searchable way.
OPEX HQ is at the forefront of training thousands of remote clients. HQ knew this was a very ineffective way of providing highly individualized coaching to their clients long-term. They were looking at some options that could streamline remote coaching for all their coaches and remove as many administrative roles as possible.
After several meetings with Casey Jenks (TrueCoach CEO), they settled with TrueCoach. It fit OPEX’s mission of providing excellence in individualized coaching.
By this time, Michael had all the parts of his optimized system working. Then, OPEX made him pivot...
Now here’s the conflict, when you’ve optimized a system you’ve used for a while it feels like it would take enormous effort to move to another system.... Michael admits he kicked and screamed a bit, and even protested against it. But he also admits he did this because he didn’t know of a better way, because he hadn’t experienced it before.
OPEX HQ definitely saw the future of how they could use TrueCoach to increase the quality of life for their coaches while providing a high standard of excellence through individualized coaching. So with HQ committing to overheaul their current system, Michael spent the time to invest moving his clients over.
Once Michael got used to the new way of managing his ~40 clients, he started noticing positive changes in his life.
Which meant he was done with his paid work... He shaved 5 hours off his day and eliminated the mental merry-go-round of busy work like searching email threads of conversations from 3-months ago, linking YouTube videos, etc.
Now with 5 extra hours per day... like any driven coach... he started filling up his client list to an incredible 94 remote clients. Which meant he busted through his income plateau. And you might think he’d have to work an extra 5 hours to make up for the increase clients, but it only took an additional 2 hours!
With new income he was able to ditch the powdered greens and ground beef meals... he leveraged his personal time more with investing into a meal delivery service! So when he got home he’d have food waiting for him.
Michael used his time to study and read more books, so he could learn more and earn more. All while having the capability to actually coach his clients rather than being a paper coach, pushing programs, and organizing data for his clients.
What does this mean to be a coach?
A coach is specifically hired to help create a specific outcome for their client (big or small). They actively train, instruct, or teach their clients until they’ve achieved their goal. And a good coach knows that they’re judged based on their clients’ performances, so they need to continually develop their skills (mindset training, articulating how to get their clients to do what they want, how to keep the individual accountable) in order to help their clients’ achieve their outcomes in the most effective manner based on where they’re at.
But being remote, it can become hard because you never see the person in the gym. Taking advantage of what TrueCoach helps solve... email, video analysis, and video consults are your tools to engage, retain, and deliver to your client, and do it with a professional presentation to clients.
Using TrueCoach, Michael took advantage of all these features.
He’ll wake up in the morning and scroll through the TrueCoach dashboard (it works like the Facebook newsfeed). He’s able to give comments and feedback on 50 client workouts within 12 minutes or less.
Now, these comments are tied to those specific workouts, so he and his client can refer back to them later.
And one big piece that Michael uses to achieve high-quality results for his clients is the compliance numbers on the same screen. (Like Facebook trends on the right-hand side.)
Michael uses compliance numbers to help give his users what they need before they know it, and that’s what allows him to charge as much as he does.
For example, when someone isn’t getting better or asks why they’re not achieving their goals, he can see their compliance numbers. And if he sees they’re only completing 37% of their workouts per week, then he knows:
Micheal can now provide top-notch coaching service and overdeliver for his clients without working 16.5 hours a day, 7 days a week. He has time to relax, improve himself, and have meal prep done for him every day.
In fact, with the level of coaching service he can provide vs. all the unpaid admin work he was doing, he was able to travel 8x in 2017 and still keep up with his client load.
Michael has doubled down on his coaching processes to deliver even more value with bloodwork analysis and has increased his prices to reduce his client workload, so he can focus more on a subset of people rather than focusing on volume.
Michael has predictability in his schedule. He knows that with 30 clients, he’ll be able to finish all their programs by 11 am and have the rest of the day available replying, coaching consults, and doing video analysis.
In fact, at the time of this Case Study (July 2018), he got accepted into medical school and plans to continue to work so he graduates with minimal debt.
If Michael was able to overcome:
Just by having a business tool that allowed him to pay for a meal prep service every day, travel the world without worry of losing income, finish work at 4:30 pm, and have the capability to come out of medical school with minimal debt... then the move over to a robust TrueCoach system was worth it? Wouldn’t you say?