The First Three Starting Strength Gyms – An Analysis | Ray Gillenwater

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    Default The First Three Starting Strength Gyms – An Analysis | Ray Gillenwater

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    "Evaluating our performance comes down to two important questions: First, are we making people stronger? If we're not, we are just like every other gym franchise. Second, are the gyms performing well financially? If not, they won’t be able to pay SSCs the premium they deserve, nor will gym owners be able to make a living. Let’s look at the data..."

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    I'm a member of one of the new SS gyms. I've done the SSLP in the past by myself and am happy to have a place to go to get coaching.

    I do have a suggestion and a question though. The time slots at my gym are 1.5 hours with no time between classes/time slots. I'd increase the time slots to 2 hours to allow for those days when a little extra time is needed to finish or when consultation with a coach is needed.

    When I go from novice to intermediate is the 1.5 hours enough time? I'm in the Masters category and I don't seem to recover as quickly as a did 10 years ago.

    Thanks!

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    Ray Gillenwater is offline Administrator, Starting Strength Gyms
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    Quote Originally Posted by psc15771 View Post
    I'm a member of one of the new SS gyms. I've done the SSLP in the past by myself and am happy to have a place to go to get coaching.
    Excellent to hear that. You are one of the main categories of trainees we had in mind when we built this concept.

    Quote Originally Posted by psc15771 View Post
    I'd increase the time slots to 2 hours to allow for those days when a little extra time is needed to finish or when consultation with a coach is needed.
    This is a good idea but one that's very hard to achieve in practice. Since a gym's prime-time is before and after business hours, there are two short windows per day where a gym can earn enough money to become a sustainable business. This factor must be coupled with gen pop's tolerance for maximum time spent in the gym. The best blend of those two considerations we've come across is 90 minutes. Frankly, 90 minutes is pushing it for many non-SS trainees that are used to 45 minute spin class or an hour on the Nautilus machines at the local commercial gym. However, we've found that most people can get all of their lifts in within 90-minutes, especially if they're being efficient with warm-ups and rests. More importantly, it's not practical to do anything less than 90-minutes for members to train productively in a group setting, so this is what we've settled on.

    For extra time to consult with your coach, there really isn't time during peak hours of the gym for this. For the business model to work, it needs to be a well oiled machine with trainees showing up, training, and heading out. Where we accommodate for check-ins with your coach is in the gym's Slack channel and at gym events. There's also the option to add one semi-private coaching session to your membership per month (at a discount) if you have masters related recovery questions, or other specific areas that need more one-on-one attention. This is how we keep the price of coaching at less than $30/session (the most important success factor), while paying the SSC like a professional services provider (instead of like a yoga instructor), while maximizing the the gym owner's ability to run a profitable business. It's the best blend we've been able to find and there are trade-offs (like with all things), but this seems to be the sweet spot.

    Quote Originally Posted by psc15771 View Post
    When I go from novice to intermediate is the 1.5 hours enough time?
    Yes, it should be, especially since your masters' intermediate program will likely not have a ton of volume. If you end up needing a four-day split to keep your sessions at short as possible, there is an option to train one additional day per week on your own as a keycard member (for an additional fee). However, I'd be surprised if you couldn't keep making great progress as a masters lifter, with 3x/week @ 90 minutes per session.

    Quote Originally Posted by psc15771 View Post
    Thanks!
    Thank you for the feedback and questions. I would love to hear more about your experience, the quality of the coaching so far, your progress to date, and any other feedback that you have about the gym in general.

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