Ray Gillenwater: The First Three Starting Strength Gyms: An Analysis Ray Gillenwater: The First Three Starting Strength Gyms: An Analysis

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Thread: Ray Gillenwater: The First Three Starting Strength Gyms: An Analysis

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    Default Ray Gillenwater: The First Three Starting Strength Gyms: An Analysis

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    Well done. On every level.

    How much "notice" do you typically have when someone is going to no-show?

    Perhaps there is demand fill temporary training slot gaps. (client's probably still have business trips and vacations)
    Or maybe everybody always shows up... which is even better.

    How are the coaches holding up? This has to be like drinking from the fire hose for them.
    No doubt the experience is amazingly valuable.
    I recall Dr. Sullivan talking about how his own lifts suffered when he opened his gym.

    This is a pretty amazing thing you've pulled off here.

  3. #3
    Ray Gillenwater's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesepuff View Post
    How much "notice" do you typically have when someone is going to no-show?

    Perhaps there is demand fill temporary training slot gaps. (client's probably still have business trips and vacations)
    Or maybe everybody always shows up... which is even better.
    For now we'd like to avoid any policy that has us with more sign ups for a time-slot than available spaces. We want to be careful to never become United Airlines. If we discover a solution for this "unexpected spare capacity" issue that has a 0% chance of annoying a member, we'll consider it closely.

    If a member gives notice about not showing up, the gym manager will have a spare spot for a trainee that wants to switch times, or for a drop-in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesepuff View Post
    How are the coaches holding up? This has to be like drinking from the fire hose for them.
    No doubt the experience is amazingly valuable.
    I'll see if the franchise owners have any feedback. From what I can tell, the coaches are really enjoying being able to coach this many people per week. Shifts tend to fly by with so much activity in the gym and back-to-back group sessions. I'll post this thread link in our Slack.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesepuff View Post
    This is a pretty amazing thing you've pulled off here.
    Much appreciated.

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    Do starting strength gyms hire non SSCs to "staff" the gym? If so, do they do any instruction, recording, discussion, etc? Sort of Like the role of a nurse to a doctor....

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    Quote Originally Posted by FatButWeak View Post
    Do starting strength gyms hire non SSCs to "staff" the gym?
    The full-size gym model (all of the ones we’ve opened so far) have a minimum staffing requirement of four coaches including at least one Starting Strength Coach. No receptionist or sales people.

    Non SSC coaches provide coaching based on their level of experience, at the Head Coach’s discretion (the SSC).

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    Well done Ray. Are you keeping anthropometric data in addition to lifting data?

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    J.D. Shipley is offline Owner, Starting Strength Houston
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesepuff View Post
    How are the coaches holding up? This has to be like drinking from the fire hose for them.
    No doubt the experience is amazingly valuable.
    I've asked the coaches - SSC's and apprentices as well - to provide feedback, but I'll give you mine in the meantime. From the perspective of the a non-SSC owner, the staff side of this business was a very scary thing when evaluating the viability of the gyms. The lack of availability of coaches and difficulty in obtaining the credential is a key risk from an owner/investor's perspective. While this risk is still present and being managed, the reality of the operating the gym with Josh Wells as head coach, his wife, Shelley and Chase Lindley as staff coaches has been nothing short of amazing.

    1. The difficulty in obtaining the SSC designation weeds out those who would be fair-weather coaches, leaving people dedicated to the craft of helping others get stronger through coached barbell lifts.

    2. Josh, Shelley, and Chase, quite literally, grew up in Rip's gym. They bring a level of commitment to moving Starting Strength forward as a brand few others have would they be from somewhere else. It's also helped up my game as the team leader. I have my expectations on how things should go, but so do they...

    Prior to opening the gym, I came from corporate America where so many unfortunately sit at a desk, doing the bare minimum to earn a paycheck and while hating every minute of it - this included me for quite some time. I now have the privilege lead a team that is the exact opposite, that is passionate about coaching, helping other get stronger, making Starting Strength a house-hold name, and making Starting Strength Houston the best run operation in the franchise.

    In terms of the coaches drinking from a fire-house, they may say different, but from my perspective the only learning curve I've seen anyone go through is our operating system. Managing members, scheduling, etc. But all that is taking is just reps.

    Their experience has been amazingly valuable. So much so, that oddly enough my stress levels were much higher before we were open. My lifts suffered quite a bit, but now I get to work them back up under the guidance of some awesome coaches.

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    That's excellent to hear, J.D.! My wife Shelley and I drove 5.5 hours one way to get an in-person session with Josh and Shelley back in the day at Mac Ward's place. You have an excellent coaching staff, for sure, and I wish all four of you success.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Santana View Post
    Well done Ray. Are you keeping anthropometric data in addition to lifting data?
    Thanks much.

    Yes, we track sex, weight, height, waist, hips, and chest. The app sends periodic reminders to the trainee so they can [optionally] update their measurements - and their coach is there to help if needed.

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