Justin Yoon got tired of faking it.
Faking the fact that he was stoked to coach group classes.
“I had to put on a face that I was really excited about doing this group delivery thing, but I knew that the training maybe gave 60 percent of the people what they needed, but for the other 40 percent it was a complete waste of time,” said Yoon, the owner of BP Lab in Korea, a gym he opened in 2016 when he was just 21 years old, which at the time followed a hybrid model that offered both group classes and individual design.
“It felt really weird to me to be assessing a client during an initial consultation at 6 pm and then at 7 pm being like, ‘Ok guys, bring it in. We’re all going to do squat cleans,’” he said.
How Yoon Got There
Like many, Yoon discovered CrossFit and proceeded to become heavily involved in that community, eventually joining the CrossFit Seminar Staff.
While on Seminar Staff, he became friends with Carlos Albaladejo, an elite CrossFit athlete, who was also training under an OPEX-educated Crafted coach, which led Yoon to “see how a more structured training program could help me,” Yoon explained.
So Yoon, too, hired an OPEX coach and began seeing bigger and bigger results in his own development from following an individualized program designed for his wants, needs and goals.
The more he dug into OPEX methods, the more holes he started to find in the traditional group class CrossFit model, and realized coaching went beyond just being able to a person’s fitness level through modifying movements.
“Let’s say some people are coming in twice a week and other people are coming in six days a week…that twice a week person shouldn’t be doing the same thing as the person coming six days a week, and we couldn’t cater to that,” Yoon said. ”This wasn’t covered at all when I was on Seminar Staff. I didn’t know how to design an individual program. Coaching is more than just scaling a workout in a group.”
He added: “And I thought I was building relationships, but a lot of the people coming in weren’t coming for me. And I want them to come in for that one-on-one relationship. When you’re delivering that, it’s much more fulfilling.”
The bottom line was Yoon started to feel like he was “selling his soul coaching group classes,” and taking the OPEX CCP in 2020 helped him realize that “people are smarter and more autonomous than you think.”
“If you give people power, you empower them. If you give them the right balance of freedom and challenge, they enjoy it and it empowers them and they see better results,” he said.
All of this led Yoon to transition his gym earlier this year into a purely individual design gym, something he couldn’t be happier about.
Not Without Challenges
Yoon is the first to admit transitioning an existing gym away from the group class model comes with some growing pains, but it’s a short term pain for long term gain kind of thing, he explained.
“You might lose money in the immediate future. I think you can expect to lose 25 percent of your clients, and some will want refunds,” he said.
But in the long term, you’ll end up with higher paying clients who stick around, and ultimately will have the ability to make more money, he added.
For Yoon, it took him two months of pain and losing money—February and March 2022—but in the third month he was able to get back to where he was, and he is projecting he’ll be able to make six figures within nine months. Further, Yoon is also about to bring on a new coach to take on his gym’s growing book of individual design clients.
Part of the reason the earning potential is higher is simply because of how much higher his average client value is in an individual design model. His group class rate used to be US$184 a month, but now his individual design rate is $318 a month.
Read 6 tips for transitioning to individual design in this blog.
Let the Results Speak
While Yoon did lose some clients, others quickly embraced the individual design model and are fully on board with the new order today.
“People were surprised by how much care and time we put into them in the individual design model. Now, we can actually sit down with them and make a plan and look at why they weren’t achieving their goals and create the best long term plan for them,” he said.
As a result, clients have seen positive results, both performance-wise and body composition-wise, “and they feel more confident because they know they’re doing more appropriate workouts for them,” Yoon said, adding that this has also led compliance to “skyrocket.”
Yoon added: “They are confident that the long term fitness we’re prescribing will give them everything they need to reach their goals, and they can’t fathom jumping into a class of 20 people where the coach is up there cheerleading and might not even know their name.”
Read why another CrossFit gym owner, Henry Toraño, made the switch to an individual design facility in this case study.
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