MadLab 5th Law of Gymmin: Coach Compensation Model

It’s time to introduce the 5th Law of Gymmin: Coach Compensation Model.

In case you missed them, check out Law #1, #2, #3 and #4.


We have established by now that for a concept or policy to become a law of gymmin, it needs to work for all parties involved: The client, the coach and the owner. Never is this more true than when it comes to deciding how to compensate your coaches.

Currently the two most common ways gym owners pay their coaches is by-the-hour or via salary.

Through 10 years of collecting data from more than 1,000 gyms, though, we learned neither the former nor the latter is what’s best for the coach, the client or the owner.


Paying coaches by the hour, by the head or by salary:

• Doesnt work for the client, (coaching is often inadequate and uninspired as coaches aren’t incentivized to bring in, sell, take care of, or retain the gym’s clients. In other words, client success isn’t directly tied to the coach, so clients don’t receive the best care they can. Further, because coaches can’t make a professional wage, coach retention is low so clients often end up with a revolving door of coaches, as opposed to having a coach in their corner for life).

• The coach (measured by the inability to make a professional wage. This inability to make a professional wage means coaches don’t stay in the industry very long. The only way a decent wage is possible is if the coach works 50-plus coaching hours per week, which quickly leads to burnout).

• Or the business (measured by little to no business profit, poor client and coach retention, and increased owner burnout—since the business owner is the only one who cares about things like client retention, sales, gym cleanliness, and the bottom line of the business).

Instead, Law #5 says:

1. Coaches who are compensated financially as a percentage of revenue,

2. Per client,

2. For the lifetime of that client are:

• More motivated to become a career coach for life (i.e. more motivated to generate revenue for himself and the business by bringing in and selling new clients, as well as taking care of existing clients)

• More likely to pursue continued education (because he knows he can have a career in the fitness industry and wants to stay up-to-date to be the best technical coach possible)

• More likely to generate additional revenue through other entrepreneurial pursuits (such as starting a program like a weightlifting seminar or nutrition challenge)

• Able to earn a professional wage working as a full-time coach

It goes without saying, this is better for:

  1. The client—he has a coach who is invested in his health and wellness for life
  2. The coach—he is more motivated to work everyday and is compensated adequately for his efforts (there’s no ceiling on his earnings)
  3. And the business owner—revenue and profit increases, as does client and coach retention.


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