In Art Of Coaching Podcast, Podcasts

It’s not everyday we get the chance to discuss the nitty gritty behind-the-scenes detail required to provide exceptional service (sans compromising quality) with someone who has built a powerhouse company from the ground up. 

Today, Matt Reynolds gives us a look under the hood at his online coaching model and his take on the “training” market that can be saturated with mediocrity. You’ll want to take some notes as we discuss topics ranging from the benefits of an apprenticeship model to pricing a premium product and not apologizing for it. You’re also in for a treat as we get a little fired up about why certifications alone aren’t cutting it…

Not only is Matt the founder of Barbell Logic which has grown to be one of the largest online coaching companies on the planet, he has a successful podcast, YouTube channel, and hundreds of articles on the value of strength training. He also knows a thing or two about managing people as he leads a team of 80 incredible high-performing, yet compassionate people.

With nearly 25 years of experience competing in strength sports and coaching barbell-based strength and conditioning. In his earlier life he competed at a high level in both powerlifting and strongman, and in 2008, he founded one of the strongest and largest strength gyms in the country, STRONG Gym, which Matt sold in 2015, to turn his attention to the broader audience of online coaching. 

Topics we cover: 

  • How to charge what you’re worth
  • What is professionalism in coaching?
  • The difference between a “trainer” and “coach”
  • Providing Pandemic-proof value and service
  • How to structure a premier offer for premier clients

Connect with Matt & Barbell-Logic:

Via Instagram: @barbell_logic or @reynoldsstrong

Via their website:

Via their podcast: The Barbell Logic Podcast 

Via their YouTube channel: Barbell Logic YouTube 

As you heard in today’s episode, becoming an apprentice is the fastest way to learn a craft. That’s why our Apprenticeship communication workshops, designed for professionals in all fields are the best place to learn the craft of communication and grow as a leader. We have a few more coming up this year:

Today’s episode was brought to you by VersaClimber, one of the true OGs in the fitness space. You know I’d never sell you anything I don’t use myself and my VersaClimber is the best investment I’ve made in my home gym, especially now that my crazy schedule doesn’t allow for the same two hours workouts of years past. Reach out to these guys and tell them I sent you.

Finally, our Coalition mentoring program (which I can only do twice per year) is now accepting applications for our November program. We’ve already locked in most of our spots so if you’re looking for a community of like-minded professionals looking to grow skills in both business and communication, submit your application TODAY!


Brett Bartholomew  0:14  

Support for today’s episode comes from VersaClimber listen, I’m a sucker for an original. And VersaClimber has been the first and the best at what they do for more than 40 years. And I’m not going to be as you guys with anything I don’t actually use and that’s a promise I will always keep to you on this podcast. And the VersaClimber is one of the best investments I’ve ever made in our home gym. why because sometimes I literally have 15 to 20 minutes to get something in. And there can be times after I’m traveling or some other live stress where I just don’t want to go pound my body and put it through anything high impact. You know how that is. If you’ve been on planes, you just, it’s almost like that morning after a hangover you just feel stiff. And the last thing you want to go do is go run or sprint or lift heavy or what have you. So with the VersaClimber, I can start a playlist zone out and go into my dark space and not have to worry about being sore or stiff for the next day’s workout or an afternoon chasing my son. So don’t settle for duplicates go to For more or better yet, reach out to them directly and tell them I sent you.


Brett Bartholomew  1:31  

Welcome to the Art of coaching podcast, a show aimed at getting to the core of what it takes to change attitudes, behaviors and outcomes in the weight room, boardroom classroom and everywhere in between. I’m your host, Brett Bartholomew, I’m a performance coach, keynote speaker and the author of the book conscious coaching. But most importantly, I’m a lifelong student interested in all aspects of human behavior and communication. I want to thank you for joining me and now let’s dive into today’s episode.


Alright guys, let’s get into it. Today I’m talking with Matt Reynolds and Matt has in nearly 25 years and it’s crazy to think that’s a quarter of a century of experience competing in strength sports and coaching barbell based strength and conditioning. In his earlier life, he competed at a high level in both powerlifting and strongman. And in 2008, he founded one of the strongest and largest strength gyms in the country, it’s called as you would guess, strong gym, which Matt been sold in 2015, to turn his attention into the broader audience of online coaching, which if you’re not in this space is a well over a billion dollar industry. Today, his focus is on improving the quality of life of clients and staff their refining power of voluntary hardship. And I love that term because whether you’re a corporate executive, or whether you’re a teacher, whether you’re no matter what you do, right, that’s really what training is. I know popular media makes fitness and strength and conditioning and performance look like these things that are super hardcore, and only for an elite few guys, anybody that just appreciates physicality, breaking a sweat, right or voluntary hardship, right, these things are for you. So in 2016, Matt founded barbell logic, a company built to provide the highest quality, online strength, coaching, nutrition, and educational content in the industry. He also puts a primary emphasis on coaching, which is what I love about him because we know that coaching transcends Sport Coaching transcends so many things. Coaching is guidance in its purest form. And since that time, barbell logic has grown to be one of the largest online coaching companies on the planet. And if you’re in need of resources, they have a great podcast, a YouTube channel, and hundreds of articles on the value of strength training in everyday life. Matt is honored to lead a team of 80 incredible high performing yet compassionate people. And we get into it, I think you’re gonna love this specifically, if you are in the business side of things. If you are trying to hire a staff if you’re trying to scale what you do. The thing that I appreciate is Matt and I met at when we were both speaking at a conference and he just is so professional in terms of how he conducts his business. And that isn’t needed, because a lot of times in fields especially when people have a little bit of success, and they start expanding something they can get really lazy with their decorum, or sometimes they just have trouble being adaptable across multiple demographics. That is not Matt, you will love this episode. Download your podcast reflection sheet at and let’s get into it.


everybody, thanks for joining me with another episode of The Art of coaching Podcast. I’m here with Matt Reynolds, Matt. It’s about damn time.


Matt Reynolds  5:07  

Hey, man, thanks for having me. On the show on the podcast. It’s an honor. Yeah. 


Brett Bartholomew  5:11  

Yeah. My pleasure. Listen, you have a really good radio voice and a damn good podcast yourself. So I feel like there’s a little bit of pressure here. You know, you have kind of that Dan, rather interview presence. Your facial hair is a little lackluster right now. So you’re not quite as intimidating as usual. But you know, I’m excited to do this. And we’re gonna dive into some stuff. So I hope you’re ready to roll.


Matt Reynolds  5:32  

I am although I will say it’s not hard to beat you on radio voices.


Brett Bartholomew  5:37  

Oh, wait. skirt off my throne. Elaborate on that. elaborado?


Matt Reynolds  5:43  

Well, I think when you were on my podcast, you said, you sound like what a WWE wrestler that swallowed glass. And I was like, well, that’s it’s not too hard to do. If that’s the standard. I can beat that.


Brett Bartholomew  5:55  

But here’s the thing, man, you’re playing to the home crowd, right? My voice no matter how annoying it might be to me. I have audience members that nearly like hung me up to dry for not narrating conscious coaching. And so, you know, you might have just cause a problem? Well, you know, listen, I want to respect your time, you have such a rich history in the shrimp game. And our listeners span a wide range of professions. Right. And I think that the folks that are entrepreneurs, business owners, any profession is going to get a lot out of this from somebody that competed in that international stage and strongman, you’ve created multimillion dollar businesses, all of this, of course, talked about in the bio, but you know, you’re we’re in a unique space now where we’ve had to navigate to such an interesting time in history, right? And if I’m correct, and somebody right here, if I’m not you started barbell logic, your company in 2016, right? 


Matt Reynolds  6:47  

Yep, that’s correct. 


Brett Bartholomew  6:47  

Okay. And I’ve heard you describe what you do. As we connect a world class strength coaches, with the people that essentially need them. Is that so how you describe that before?


Matt Reynolds  6:58  

Yeah, yeah, I think so. I mean, we try to look at ourselves as the most professional coaching organization, online coaching organization, in the world.


Brett Bartholomew  7:06  

Yeah. And the reason I asked that is because, you know, everybody now talks about change and navigating change. But one thing that I think is interesting about that is, most people really struggled to kind of find true differentiation to begin with, before the pandemic, right? So like, let alone trying to adapt to change. You know, how did you guys How did barbell logic differentiate itself? And one of the largest markets in the world online coaching, Like, can you just start with that? I know, it’s broad, but I’d love to hear your talk on it. 


Matt Reynolds  7:34  

No, for sure. I think the easiest thing for me is that I just I came from a coaching background. And you know, it’s interesting that in the division one and professional world, you’re not called a trainer, you’re a coach. And  in the private sector, you’re called a personal trainer. And I just felt like I couldn’t understand why the coaching market or the coaching industry hadn’t really busted into that, private sector. And so what we tried to do is, bring world class strength, coaching, strength and conditioning, and nutrition coaching, to normal Gen pop, you know, business professionals and soccer moms and dads. And so that was the first step that made a big change, that seems like really, really kind of a no brainer. And then the other part was we actually coached, which is in the online coaching world, the vast majority people just, they’re selling templates or programs, which I’m actually not knocking if it’s a cheaper way to do it. If you’re a college kid, and you can only afford your 50 bucks a month or whatever, then it’s perfectly fine. But we’re coaches, we’re not programmers, we certainly provide programming, we’ve got our own software programming software that we use, but ultimately, the biggest bang for your buck is the fact that we literally break down every single exercise of every single workout every single day of every single client. You know, we do screen recordings, and we’re marking up our screen and, and, you know, I see what you’re doing here, you’re a little low forward on your toes, we get back on mid foot, hips back. And so we do that for every client, I just don’t think very many people were doing that. So the combination of one we were both actually coaching technique on every single workout. And two that our primary demographic was just Gen pop middle age, you know, upper middle class people, really, I think really was a differentiator for us and really made us you know, knock on wood, sort of pandemic proof. And so, you know, because the, because we spent a lot of time focusing on the relationships and building being very intentional in our in our relationships, in fact, very conscious in our coaching. Bartholomew. then I think that when you got to listen, we had some challenges and COVID about 60% of our clients train from home, which again, is a big help for us when COVID hits, but that means 40% Don’t and every single gym in essentially the entire world shut down. And so how do you convince and we didn’t really Have to do so. But how do you convince your clients to stay and continue to receive coaching when they don’t have a gym to train at? And the simple answer to that is we had spent a lot of time building the relationships with our clients. And so then it was like, Look, are you going to sit around and do nothing? You’re gonna sit around and watch Netflix? Are we going to do what we can with what you’ve got at the house? Okay, do you have 50 pound dog food bags? Do you have a kettlebell? Do you have the old dumbbells from the garage sale when you you know, whatever, like, let’s find what we can find. And let’s do what we can to avoid detraining and get through this. And it worked. We have still very low churn all the way through COVID. And it’s gone very well for us.


Brett Bartholomew  10:37  

One, I think you talked about a core concept here of just you know, being adaptable. And that comes from clearly defining a competitive advantage, right? Like if we think about, or I’m going to create a business awesome, what kind of competitive advantage you seek right? And then how is that competitive? And as you said, it’s so funny, people would jump into a specific market, it could be online coaching, it could be anything else, and they think it’s competitive, just if they render the gnomes on level five, a different color, or no, I got a different template, where we use this technology. It’s like, oh, no, that’s tricky, right? And then not only that, does your audience even perceive your advantage that way? You know, and that’s why I’m glad you brought up the misconception of the term coaching, not even just within, you know, strengthing conditioning and what have you. But we’ve been fine with art of coaching part of our big obstacle early on, was actually helping people understand that even though my background was performance, that we helped people in the business world and medical world and what have you, you know, and why do you think there is just this overall misuse of the term coaching? Why is there so much confusion of people thinking it has to be specific to sport or even online training? Do you have to do where does that come from?


Matt Reynolds  11:43  

Yeah, I assume in culture, I mean, obviously, it starts with sport coaches, right. So everybody had a football coach or a baseball coach. So Coach, your first coach was not a strength coach, probably it was your T Ball Coach, it was your, you know, literally coach and So I think you get in that sport mindset, it’s for teams, it’s for you know, it’s for sport. And and then I think it’s just naturally the culture has just lent itself that for somebody who wanted to be a strength coach, or a strength and conditioning coach, that was a professional coach at the usually the college or professional level, maybe a club sport. Now, obviously, you’re seeing more and more high school strength coaches come in, but it’s still when you hear strength coach, you know, your average, I mean not just your listener, but you know, my mom, like, if I use the term to just the general population, it’s a strength coach, like, oh, it’s, you know, it’s a guy that, like, teaches the football players how to lift you’re not, that’s the thing. And for me, then the other problem I saw was that trainer, and listen, there are some really great trainers out there. But there are far more bad ones. And, you know, there’s a lot of guys out there with the purple polo on with the bosu ball under their arm, you know, given the thumbs up at the Globo gym, that was almost like there has to be something better for Gen pop people. And the problem with even if there is a great trainer slash coach, in your town, wonder expensive to you got to you’ve got to make it fit your schedule. So you know, really fit their schedule, if they’re great. They’re gonna say this is the opening I have. It’s Monday, Wednesday, Friday, at two in the afternoon, you can’t do two in an afternoon. Sorry, that’s the opening, right? For us to be able to say, Listen, not only that, how many rural areas have access to a great coach zero, basically. And so to go, Listen, we’ve created the system where anybody anywhere, anytime can have access to a great coach for essentially what the cost for a monthly cost of this online coaching is what we would cost for an hour in person coaching. So it’s also you’ve got this incredible price advantage there too. So you know, it’s asynchronous coaching, which, I’ll be the first to admit, coaching in person live is better than online coaching, right? I can fix you every rep of every set of every lift. If I’m coaching you live, I can fix you from rep one to rep two, I can make little tweaks, right. I can’t do that in online coaching. I can just fix you from session to session. And so that’s not as great and yet, what are your options if you’re in rural America? What are your options if you’re an American military, Canadian military gas station overseas? And so I think it it just, you know, we filled a niche that people wanted that and so now it’s like well, if your alternative is the Globo gym trainer, the 18 year old kid with the name tag that says trainer or a professional coach online rockin coat, rocking train anytime I want at any gym I want, I can travel and do this on vacation, I can upload my videos to the app and then have my personal coach break down my videos. It’s a no brainer. And so I think that’s a big piece of it’s just the culture separate. There’s so now for us though we constantly fight this vernacular battle, which is we don’t really it’s for us. It’s a little cringy to hear the word trainer. We’re like we’re not trainers were coaches. But then that’s hard to explain. You kinda have to explain what that is in the private sector, like, what it sounds like we do is it sounds like we’re personal trainers, but to us, we’re professional coaches,


Brett Bartholomew  15:12  

why and that much was evident, you know, giving the audience some context here, you know, we always start each episode as if people it’s a fly on the wall, right? You and I are having lunch or what have you, you and I met at a conference up in no deck country, North Dakota, and it was clear in your presentation style, right. And one of the things that endeared me to you is, you know, we have a big kind of internal mantra of fundamentals, not fluff, both in the relational side of things, the way we operate our business. And in the way, you know, I always coach folks, you know, whether that’s strength and conditioning business, or what have you. And you did that, you know, and I remember , you took a significant amount of your time to sit down, we had breakfast or something that maybe it’s coffee, or maybe we just shared air together, prior to COVID. And you just went off Rain Man style into how you grew. That’s how you did that. And it made it clear. I mean, it’s no coincidence that you guys have built a successful and resilient business, because when you operate off fundamentals, whether it’s teaching people what you do, and I know this isn’t all you do, well elaborate on this, but focusing on the squat, the deadlift, the press, right, the fundamental stapler, and you do that with business. And then you do that with sourcing and growing great coaches. Success leaves those kinds of clues. Yeah, yeah. And, you know, within this and you put that specific emphasis, let’s go right into your business. Right, you guys i And from what I understand you have adapted you do some things with bodyweight training or what have you, but mainly do the core strength exercises, correct?


Matt Reynolds  16:32  

Yeah, that’s true. I mean, we focus on improving all aspects of fitness for sure. We actually just did a podcast on that earlier today, on our podcast, where we believe strength is the most important physical attribute, it carries over to all of the other physical attributes better than any of the other ones. But it isn’t the only thing we train, although it is the first thing we train, right. So we can teach, just about everybody how to squat and deadlift, and 85, almost every 85 year old on the planet can deadlift, right, they might not be able to squat, but they can deadlift, and they press and they do these. And then yes, we do bodyweight movements. And certainly as time has gone on, we continue to meet our clients where they are we do conditioning we do you know, we’ve got registered dieticians that are tremendous with sustainable habit based nutrition. But it is certainly fair to say that the foundation of what we do are the four big lifts,


Brett Bartholomew  17:20  

and where I’m going with that. And just to orient our listeners, right, you heard Matt say, strength is the foundation of every other capacity. So whether you know you’re a member of the initiated, that understands the subject matter or not, if we want somebody to be more powerful if we want them to be more fit, strength is such an underpinning quality. Now you said it’s not the only thing you do much like we think social skills and the way we communicate, right? It’s such an underpinning quality. But that said, we teach people about business and other things as well. Now, my point with that, and why I ask is because so many people will try to think, oh, we could do this. And we could do that in this business. And I got a great idea. It’s almost like a crime now for people not to share all their great ideas. But sometimes the best business strategy is saying, here’s what we’re not going to do. So So Matt, what are you not ever and this is in a vacuum, right? You can say you’re wrong in five years. And I know I’m putting you on the spot. But what did you know you are not going to do starting off? And why did you make that clear cut decision?


Matt Reynolds  18:17  

I knew we were always going to coach techniques, I knew we were never going to sell programs. One because I don’t think it works very well. I don’t think programs, I think programs are you know, those templates are written for the masses. And I think true, optimized programming has to be personal. And there are obviously these fundamental theories that delfate I mean, you gotta have progression, you gotta have an increase in strength. And you know, as a beginner linear progression is pretty common, and whether that’s adding a rep every day or adding some weight to the Barbary, that kind of stuff holds true. But true. Programming has to be personal. But to me programming was always secondary. Now, listen, I geek out on I love programming. I will I’ll talk about it for years, but technique and consistency are so far beyond what the program is. And listen, you saw it, you see this, Natalie even talking about consistency, how many high school kids are out there doing, you know, bigger, faster, stronger, Nebraska program, whatever, you know, a bunch of 14 year old, you know, barely pubescent kids, but they’ve got they’re there and they don’t miss and they’re competitive with each other. And they get brutally strong when they’re 15 16 years old. Even though the program not might not be that great. And even sometimes, often actually, the techniques not that great. What we saw was for our clients to make long term progress, they needed to have really good technique. We need to be very tough on making sure that technique was and we’re not talking about this the other thing 15 16 year old boys don’t get hurt in the weight room. 44 year old moms and dads do. And so we focus on technique. And so we have to actually coach technique and we focus on consistency and so we actually keep consists Since the ratings on all of our clients, their compliance down to the set of every exercise, so I can pull up data on any client, we’ve gotten know exactly how compliant they were, for the last seven days, the last month, the last 90 days, their lifetime, I can see compliance ratings for every coach, I can see compliance ratings across any demographic for us, like, you know, what, 30 to 40 year old males, how compliant, are they? What’s the difference between them and 50 year old? And so that was a big piece. And then yes, we focus on programming, but to us, it was never going to be about the programming first. So we were never going to be that we’re never gonna sell templates, we’ll still never sell templates. We don’t think they work. We use minimum effective dose style programming where we make when, you know, we grew up reading these programs in muscle and fitness or the muscle magazines. And you would and you know, and Lord knows who wrote it right? So it says Ronnie Coleman wrote it or whoever and he didn’t, but you do it. And maybe it works. And it probably does for some small amount of time, and then it stops. And what you would do is you would just go to a different program, right? All right, I’m gonna do Body for Life, I’m gonna do like whatever the thing is. And what we do is if you start with basic linear progression, the simplest, most effective novice program there is we’re just going to add a little weight to the bar at a node rep, we’re going to make sure that stress goes up every single session, if stress can go up every single session, and it continues to do that, why would you do anything different, you don’t need periodization in the beginning, when that slows down and stops working, we just make one minimum effective dose change for a maximum return on investment. We don’t change the program. We don’t give the clients a new template, we make one change, okay, like now we’re going to have to start adjusting a little bit the intensity or the volume or the frequency but almost never all of those things at once. Maybe we make a change in an exercise selection, whatever. So for us, it wasn’t about programming templates, and never will be.


Brett Bartholomew  21:55  

Yeah, but I mean, it’s a clear answer. And there’s a lot of good jumping off points there. One the most relevant and recent. In this morning, I have that same conversation with an athlete I’m training that plays for the Patriots, right? We did a snatch grip RDL. Well, why the hell are we doing snatch grip? Well, buddy, I can give you a lot of information as to how it’s going to strengthen your upper back, engage your lats more this and that. But here’s the reality, you’ve been doing a conventional RDL for quite a while. And the RDL is a classic hinge, it ain’t going anywhere. But we need to vary this a little bit. Now I could put a bunch of goofy shit on it. And we could do some other nuanced exercise. Or you could just widen your grip challenge essary muscles. And guess what? When we go back to the traditional RDL, your body will be all the better for it.


Matt Reynolds  22:32  

Yeah, it’ll be easier. It’s amazing things like that, like the snatch grip deadlift, the deficit deadlift things that increase the range of motion, they’re harder. And then you pull it in, you go back to the regular like, whoa, that’s easier now. Like, yeah, it works. That was the goal, get some adaptation, not just the adaptation, for the new movement, but also the adaptation for the conventional movement.


Brett Bartholomew  22:55  

And that’s why you know, your space it was so sorely needed with what you guys do in your product. I mean, I just see it, you mentioned form not being taught to high school kids, right? When I worked at Nebraska, when I worked at Southern Illinois, you’d see these four or five star recruits coming in that they couldn’t move, they had no movement proficiency. And then you saw that all the way up to my father, you know, a financial advisor, and I’d have to explain linear, you know, programming to him is kind of hay dad its basic compound interest. Yeah. But none of us really kind of have this stuff and it’s pervasive all the way into pro sports, right? Like, and now they have their own limitations. And I’m not one of those guys in our profession that wants to just crap on everybody else. But I would always tell folks when they came, and they said, What was your different, you know, why should I train with you? I go, Listen, dude, I’m just the guy that you come to, when you realize half the stuff you see on Instagram doesn’t work, you know. And so that said, you know, you’ve had to recruit, how many folks around in terms of pure coaches, people that their main job is to, coach and work


Matt Reynolds  23:53  

about 70? Either or so, staff is about 85 and 70 pure coaches.


Brett Bartholomew  23:58  

Okay. And we’re gonna jump around here a little bit, because I want to follow the conversational flow. There’s a lot I want to ask. Yeah. But we all know that great coaches are in high demand short supply. And Coach education is fear on the whole, relatively crap. You know, we can find people that have ingrained resources. And I know you guys do and we’re going to talk about that in a moment. But a lot of it is is really focused on technique which is necessary, you need to understand the biomechanics. I love that you explain yourselves, as you’ve talked about yourself, this form Nazis. Any sensitive listeners need to understand the context that is said, Right? 


Matt Reynolds  24:33  

Got any other time, 


Brett Bartholomew  24:34  

right You gotta be huge there. But you know, when you talk about how you will rank compliance, right, and you can do that. And you can obviously coach people up on form with your coaches and how hard it is to find and train great coaches in general. How do you also do that on how they communicate and they connect 


Matt Reynolds  24:53  

That was so good?Yeah, that’s a great question. 


Brett Bartholomew  24:55  

I’ll let you take that where you want 


Matt Reynolds  24:58  

it’s a lot of work. It’s a lot harder. Honestly, it’s a lot harder than the other one. And so we’ve got a team, an entire team that at barbell logic called the experience team, and it’s, it’s both for coaches and for clients. And you know, we have a CFO, we have a chief experience officer, Nikki Sims, she’s actually she interviewed you rights podcast, co host. And she’s incredible. She just, she’s constantly focused on making connection with whether that’s making connection with our clients or making connection with our staff and how to do that in an authentic way. Recognizing major transitions in their life milestones, pits, places that are struggles, we use those as places where we can make connection. And so and that happens all the time. And we are, we all go through that maybe it’s buying a new house, maybe, you know, maybe you lost a pet, maybe you know, somebody got COVID in your family, like, like good or bad, like you had a baby, you got married, you went on vacation, like these are all transition milestone type. And so, we train our coaches, very intentionally, to be able to make connection, I mean, look, online coaching by its very nature is impersonal. And we’re trying to make it personal. And that’s, you know, I know that speaks a lot to what you guys are doing is you can be the best coach on the planet. And if you can’t connect with your clients, you won’t keep your clients. And obviously from a business perspective, churn is as important for us as signing up new clients if our churn if we’re losing clients, right, so churn is that percentage of clients that we lose every month, our churn is under 2%. And that’s I mean, that’s it. Dude, I would love to, I’d love to like say, that’s because of me. It’s not 


like I remember, we were bragging when churn was 5%, in the beginning of the business, but an a change from 5% to 2%. Is especially you’re talking about a multimillion dollar business you’re talking about, that’s a massive swing. But it was very intentional, we spent a ton of time thinking about how do we make sure we connect with the clients? How do we build community with the clients? How do we train our coaches to do this. And so we spend a lot of time training our coaches, you know, we’re getting ready to have a big block conference here next month, where the entire staff is getting together here in my hometown, we rent out an entire hotel. And we’re just spending several days just having a blast with each other, building our own relationships with each other, but spending a lot of time focused on how can we continue to improve and create better connections with our clients better connections with each other. it’s a huge piece of who we are and what we do. And again, I think it’s a lost art often. And, again, why I think you’ve hit on such a niche as well in the coaching community is that, so it’s an afterthought for so many people. So many people get into that, you know, if you’re really into coaching, people love to nerd out on the biomechanics and the programming. And it is I love to do it, too. It’s fun. But if you don’t know how to connect with people, then you’re not going to succeed in this career. And here’s the thing, if you don’t have the right personality, like if your personality is way off, I can’t do anything about it. If your personality is infectious, I can teach you how to be a great coach, it will come with time with experience that will come. But man, if you’re the socially awkward, you don’t know how to talk to people you can’t make eye contact with, you know, and you’re not authentic and you don’t care. Sometimes you just you know how to play, you’re a salesman, you know how to play the game, but you don’t it’s not authentic. People will read that don’t understand it, you know, you can fake it for a while, but you can’t fake it forever. So we spent as much time focused on authentic connection between our coaches and clients, as well as between our leadership team and our staff as we do focused on being really professional expert coaches.


Brett Bartholomew  28:50  

Yeah, well, you know, you phrased it really well, once I heard you say we try to make a lot of deposits in the clients emotional 401k. 


Matt Reynolds  28:56  

Yeah, that’s right. 


Brett Bartholomew  28:57  

And I think that makes a lot of sense. I think the interesting thing, and you said it well, also that a lot of people don’t focus on it, because I think compared to programming, they feel like it’s not objectively able to be measured. And we’re seeing that myth go away more and more, right? We’re doing stuff and in our workshops that give people a tool know you can objectively measure somebody in context, because a big issue and this goes into something else I want to ask you, is it’s one thing to try to build somebody’s coaching ability so they can establish those connections. But you also don’t want them to be cardboard cutouts of each other. Right? You should not coach like me, I should not coach like you, right? You don’t need a whole group at barbell logic or art of coaching that coaches like each other. Now, there’s principles right, but you need them to have some differentiation there as well. 


Matt Reynolds  29:39  



Brett Bartholomew  29:39  

And I think that that’s an interesting idea of like, alright, you clearly have to match. It’s one thing to bring coaches on just to fulfill the need of all the people that want them. Yep. And you can they go through your coaching academy, if I understand it’s really a baked in interview process, and I want you to elaborate but I’ll get to the core of the question. How do you nurture the fact that there Gotta have different coaching styles, communication styles. And does that factor into how you then place them with the individuals that those ensure? 


Matt Reynolds  30:08  

Oh, great, great question. So yeah, just a real quick elevator version of how we find our coaches in the first place. So we’ve got enough of a following now. And we’ve built up a good reputation for creating professional coaches, very good coaches, I knew that the day was coming when demand was going to outstrip supply. When when you’re focused on experts, the problem is you can’t scale experts very well, it’s going to take some time. And so we have spent, oh my gosh, an inordinate amount of time since since 2016, officially launched a coaching academy in October of 2018. After several years of work, we’ve put hundreds of coaches through that now. And it’s and it focuses on anything from anatomy, biomechanics, physics, programming, business, connection, personal skills, all that stuff is in there. When they complete the academy, there’s a three part process to becoming part of barbell logic, there’s a written test, which is entirely academic. It’s not multiple choice. It’s not the CSCs. It’s not right. We’ve all done those. And, I’m not knocking that stuff, either. It’s just that, you know, some people are great at taking tests, it’s a lot harder when you have to write things, right. Like, it’s some people, I was great at taking standardized tests like I can read a question and figure it out, I can narrow it down to two choices, you know, it’s not that hard. And so the academic tests is tough. If they pass the academic test, then they have to do about a two hour interview with our experienced team with our culture team, to make sure they are not just a good, it’s one, it’s a good potential fit to work at barbell logic, but they don’t have to be a great a perfect fit, to get a professional barbell coaching certification. So they can earn the certification and still not be hired at barbell logic. But we’re looking to make sure that they’re a good cultural fit. And then some of that in that interview process is, you know, can they communicate effectively, via, you know, over zoom call over the internet, which is what we’re doing every single day to our clients. So can they do that. And then the third is a pretty in depth on the platform, coaching live where they set up a, they have a client in person, and they set up a camera, and they have to coach while there is a panel of coaches watching to make sure that they are skilled in their actual real time technique. But they also have to do the same thing with online. So we send them videos, they have to break down those videos and send it back to us as if we are an online coaching client. So they have to do all those things to even get through to become an associate coach. And then basically it’s a What’s the term called like when you’re a plumber and you follow? 


Brett Bartholomew  32:48  

Like an apprentice? 


Matt Reynolds  32:49  

Yeah, it’s apprenticeship program. It’s just basically so it’s an apprenticeship program. And by the time I’ve seen how you work in the academy as a student, and I’ve seen that you can pass the test and you have the knowledge to call yourself a professional and then you work for us as an associate coach, and they’re paid as an associate. It’s not an unpaid internship, they’re actually paid decently well, then you get to the point where you officially become a full staff member. So the process is pretty long. But we’ve got enough people in the pipeline that we’re able to continue, at least so far, again, knock on wood, that the supply is able to meet the demand but just barely.


Brett Bartholomew  33:35  

I don’t feel like anybody listens to what I have to say. I struggle thinking on my feet and putting what I mean into words. There are some personalities that I really struggle understanding how to deal with and it’s causing me stress at work and at home. I’m tired of feeling like politics and other BS seem to get in the way of us getting work done and helping more people sound like you sound like somebody you know, we get it. That’s why our apprenticeship communication workshops exists. And we have upcoming events in Nashville, Tennessee, the UK and Asheville, North Carolina, but you need to sign up now is tickets are going fast. So go to or email for more details. We’ve worked with large organizations such as Microsoft Wells Fargo, and small business owners, first time coaches and marriage counselors. Do you get it? Our workshops are for people of all types than if you believe there’s always room to grow as a leader. Then you need to become an apprentice. Go to I look forward to seeing you in person


Matt Reynolds  34:48  

then you get to the point where you officially become a full staff member so the process is pretty long. But we’ve got enough people in the pipeline that we’re able to continue at least so far again knock on wood that The supply is able to meet the demand, but just barely. And so it’s a big focus for us to continue to pursue that. And you’re right. I mean, we’ve I’ve taught at the university level as well, and with the various won’t throw anybody under the bus, but just that, you know, the big personal training certifications, the big strength conditioning certifications, I’ve had all of those or taught those. And almost every single one of them is just a multiple choice test. And for us coaching so much more than that, and so I’m amazed at the ones that are most widely accepted in the industry are often just literally, can you pick A B C or D? And for us, it’s, there’s a lot more to it.


Brett Bartholomew  35:35  

Yeah, sure. I mean, it Listen, it’s a process of ongoing evolution with this, I think. And just to give you the ability to not have to worry about that I always do remind our listeners, guys, we can be critical of people. And that doesn’t mean that we’re launching a full out attack. I would say Matt and I would say we’re probably pretty critical of ourselves, too, right? Like the amount of there’s plenty of stuff, we beat ourselves up over at art of coaching. You So listen, I hope people take in what you just said, because you have trip wires. I mean, let’s call it what they are. And it’s smart, right? You need to have trip wires, because while everybody will DM you and say, hey, what can I do? Matt, you know, I want to do this, I want to do that. The reality is some people you know, just aren’t cut out for it. And that’s not a knock on them or anything like I just we’re not all meant to do everything. And you do have to I think a big issue that there’s been watered down. Services. I think there’s an issue with a professionalism side of things in coaching in general. If people let their passions steer what they’re going to do. And you shouldn’t always do that. Right? Like you shouldn’t you have to actually look at do I have this skill set? Can I see something through? I’m biases as to why I love your use of the term apprentice because that’s what we call our own vetting system. our workshops or the apprenticeship. And there’s a level one and a level two. And guess what if you want to teach from us, even if you have a full time job, right? Somebody could work for you guys for all I care. And if they want to come host a workshop, and there’s availability and their schedule, and it’s cool with you, they can do that. But we almost kind of got away from the idea of certification. Because we felt like That became so bastardized, but the issue is, is you know, Matt, people recognize that term. 


Matt Reynolds  37:07  

That’s right. 


Brett Bartholomew  37:09  

So then it’s like, Well, hey, you said you weren’t gonna do a certification, but then you’re doing this. And it’s like, well, there’s a point to where you don’t want to get so nuanced that nobody knows what you’re talking about. That’s exactly right. Differentiate should be on a point can be a bad thing. 


Matt Reynolds  37:22  

Yep. Yep. For us, we had to create one of the reasons that the certification exists for us was that we needed a standard with which to make sure we can hold our employees to I mean, so it’s, if somebody is like, Well, how do I know that my coach is a professional expert coach, you’re well, I mean, if they all have, you know, half of them have this certification to have them this have this other ones, some of them don’t have any. And, you know, we needed a standard that we can hold them to, and it was the same thing. So we absolutely champion the other certifications, I’ve had the CSCs and the USAW. And I think there’s a lot of value in those things, for sure. But for us, the reason that those alone were enough is they didn’t speak to everything that we were doing. And so for us that those core values and the culture of who we are, and that includes like how we coach and the style that we coach. And while we don’t make everybody fit that perfect mold. Again, one of the things that you were asking me about is once we identify that someone is a professional, and by the way, by the time they come through the academy, and they do that work, they can be as professional as the coach that’s been doing it for 40 years on day one, they cannot be as expert. They, can be as professional, right. 


And so for us, it’s about being a professional coach first. And knowing that an expert coaches this long process that occurs over time, like you’re not, you’re not one of the best in the world. After having gone through an academy, we don’t tell people that they are and so we don’t even use we’re careful not to use the word expert, just throw that thing around. So all of our coaches, every coach at barbell logic is absolutely a top notch professional. Some of them are still relatively young coaches have been doing this for two or three years, not for 20 or 30. but they’re gonna be there, right? They’re getting though and they’re getting more reps in the online coaching world and CMR technique and breaking down stuff every single day. I’ve broken down, you know, I’ve coached for 25 years at this point, I’m sure I have seen 100x as many reps now online, doing this thing full time for the last six or seven years than I ever did in the first 20 do an in person because the amount of people that you can coach online even in coaching technique and even in breaking you’re gonna break down every single rep of a workout for some client in five or six minutes. I mean, you think about if you coach somebody for an hour, especially for the big lifts right for you’re doing the big stuff, the squats, and the presses and the deadlifts. How much time are they actually doing heavy squats heavy domains just a few minutes in that workout, right? There may be some circuit work and some stuff that you’re going to want to look at but you’re most of what you’re doing and I’m sure you guys coach this It’s the interactions between the lifts a lot are just as important to right. So what are the conversations look like or you have an appropriate conversation, professional relationships there as well, we don’t have to worry about that in online coaching. So you can see so many I mean, we do have to worry about the relationship, but we don’t have the dead time right between, I don’t have to figure out what I’m going to do for the next six minutes before their next set of squats. And so that has helped tremendously. Because of that, as we identify the professionals, once we’ve identified them as professionals, it is imperative to us that they are their own person, right? Like we this is a premium service, it’s expensive. It’s not McDonald’s, and I’m not knocking McDonald’s coaching, if you were McDonald’s coaching, in fact, all coaches should coach exactly the same. That’s the point you can go get a whopper at, McDonald’s, a whopper, that’s Burger King, you can go get a Big Mac at McDonald’s in southwest Missouri, where I live, you can go get a Big Mac in Thailand, and it tastes exactly the same. That’s the point. What a premium service does, it’s more of what they’ve traditionally called the Harvard Model is you hire the best people on the planet. And then you give them the parameters with which to coach under and then you let them be themselves. And because of that, when a new client signs up for barbell logic, we always have a perfect coach to pair them with, we spend a tremendous amount of time making sure that our clients, our prospective clients, or new clients are paired with the right coach. So we have coaches that, focus on, you know, postnatal moms or, you know, post, post CrossFit or sport, you know, injury rehab, we’ve got PTS on staff, we’ve got people that focus on professionals in like in their 50s, like, you know, male professionals, whatever demographic you are, and this is the other big competitive advantage for us, when this online coaching business started, when it was just me, it was just Reynolds strong. I’m not, there’s a ton of demographics I’m not great with. And there’s still a ton of demographics I’m not great with but now that we have 70 coaches, we have someone and usually multiples, who will be great with you. And so it really, really works, we can find we and that’s, man, how important is that for long term, lifetime value of the client keeping churn low is I’m trying to set my clients up with coaches that they want to be friends with, even if they weren’t their coach. And that’s another kind of different place. I think we talked about this on our podcast, when you were there is that that’s one of the differences that you see between professional coaching or division one type coaching. At what we’re doing. Often, you talk about this relationship that clients have that they can do this with? What are the what are the three terms you use that they can do like begrudgingly? What do you got compliance, 


Brett Bartholomew  42:37  

compliance, commitment and resistance? 


Matt Reynolds  42:39  

That’s right. And so for us, if you know, you can be a division one wrestling coach and tell some kid like, if you’re not in the weight room, you’re not wrestling, and he’ll wrestle with resistance or compliance, but not with commitment. In the private sector, you better focus on commitment, or you’re gonna lose them, like, even compliance is not enough. And so I use that term compliance, just to identify how we track the metrics, but the goal is committed clients.


Brett Bartholomew  43:04  

Yeah, well, I mean, the thing there right is, meanings are in words, or sorry, meanings are in people not always in words, right? So if you guys use compliance, right, as long as you have a definition and operational definition of what that means, and barbell logic, nomenclature, that’s fine, right? Like, the last thing people need to do, and it doesn’t make you a good communicator, if you do it is that there’s so much there’s at least two meanings for every word in the dictionary, right? But then there’s what that means to that person here and there and nothing drives me I go back, and it almost takes me to a red space where somebody wanted to get on me for the use of buy in and my book, and they said, well, now we’re teaching coaches to sell. And I looked around I go, excuse me, not only in the book does not it say buy in is trust plus commitment. But buy inis a pretty universal term. I think people, most people know what that is. 


Matt Reynolds  43:48  

For sure. 


Brett Bartholomew  43:49  

So you won’t hear me criticize you on that a couple points. Because you do such a good job getting rich rants, not just random a rich rant, touching on coaching every rep you’re spot on there about you know, it doesn’t make somebody an expert coach, if they sit there and they critique every single thing that’s performative, you know, beyond a point, it’s performative. And I’ve been a part of, and again, nothing wrong with the organization. Just sometimes people I think, misunderstand principle. You want people to feel like they’re getting critical coaching, and you want them to understand that you’re being thoughtful in how you do that. But I remember, I mean, there was a point in time where it’s almost movement snobs, you know, oh, my God, every single rep, there had to be something and it’s like, Ah, you’re trying to substantiate your paycheck here. You know, and you’re not thinking about the client experience. And not only that, it’s poor motor learning. You know, if somebody does a few reps that are poor, you need to take it for what it is, you know, my kid is going to learn how to ride a bike someday when he’s not 19 months old, and swallow in his own snot all the time. I’m not gonna get on there and like, Oh, my God, you know, you’re gonna let them wobble a little bit. It’s okay. Now, of course, we always have to say this right disclaimer, as long as they’re not in harm’s way. So I want to touch on that, 


two. I love that you talked about pricing, and we’re almost going to get there. I just have two more questions on how you develop because I think it’s truly extraordinary. And it speaks your guys professionalism. But it was nice to hear that you know, you have a premier product. And in strength and conditioning or training, let’s use all the damn terms. It’s always a race to the bottom. It’s a suffering unlimited. It’s like people have to do cheaper and cheaper. Now, I have a good friend, and I appreciate him and love him and he won’t mind me being critical. I’m not gonna use his name. He talked about how, you know, he focuses on speed, like you focus on strength and more of a track background. And he says, You know, I charge $35 An hour and I look at him I’ll call him Harold, for the sake of anonymity. I go, Harold $35 an hour. Are you batshit crazy? I go, you know, like, not only look, at the mark, he goes, Well, you know, he started substantiating and, and listen, most coaches aren’t brought up with a business background. I’ve been there. I remember when somebody quoted me a speaking thing. And you know, we all go through it, it’s fine. But I remember a third party said something great. He goes, Listen, buddy, I gotta tell you, he goes, if you have a chance to go to a $35 massage, or $120 one, which one are you gonna go to? And the guy goes, well, 35. And he goes, Well, Herein lies the problem. He goes, I’ve had a $35 massage. That’s about $120 massage. Now, I’m not saying all the expensive ones are good. Sure he goes, but like there’s a responsibility when you have a premium price product. And if you have the right people you over deliver on that product. And nobody should ever question what they paid for it. Right, right. And you know, what? Screw the other questions. We’re going into that? How did you decide that? You were just going to skip that? And say, Skip, let me rephrase that. Because I, you got me going now? How did you decide? No, this is going to be our price point, we’re gonna own it. And even if it’s crickets for a little bit, which I’m sure it wasn’t, but there’s somebody listening, that they’ve taken that leap, they’ve now become turned pro in their business, they are gonna raise their price. Why should they not be nervous about that? Why do they need to stick it out?


Matt Reynolds  46:44  

Well, I mean, your job as a coach regard or whatever you do, if you’re a trash man, your job is to provide value for your clients, period. Right? And so, again, come back to the question where yes, what are we not going to do, we’re never going to do the race to the bottom, never, we are never going to be a volume company, in a race to the bottom, hey, I’ll do is I’ll coach as many people as we can add a premium product, and we’ll crush it. But that’s not who we are. And so I knew from the very beginning, that if I could see what the standard service was, which was, again, there were Excel spreadsheet templates, you know, there were Google Sheets templates. And I saw like, that’s not very much service. I don’t want to do that. 


So if that’s not what I want to do, what do I started with what the service look like, before I started the price, as well, the service is going to be, I have to be able to actually see the technique from my client. So in the old days, when I first started doing this with technique, it was just you could you had to upload it to Youtube and send me a YouTube video, right, like, we didn’t have our own app or anything, but it worked. And I was able to break it down and break down YouTube videos. But so I knew, if I’m going to break down technique, that’s a level of service and almost nobody else is doing the online coaching business. Now on top of that, I had learned from my days on owning a large gym and talked about that I’m sure in the beginning of the show, I recognize that customer service was huge. And so if I was going to provide a service that I was going to provide top notch technique, coaching, personalized programming, and oh, by the way, treat everybody awesome, which again, seems like it should be a no brainer. But for some reason, the fitness industry, we want to walk around with chips on our shoulder, I recognize that I could charge a premium price. And so the market will dictate what the price ends up needing to be long term. But you can’t get scared in the short term. Right. So when we first launched the business back in 16, we charged I think it was $179 a month. And I remember thinking that was expensive and $1,600 a month. And we had said when we get to client number 500 It’s going up to 199. Well, it didn’t take very long, we got to client 500 We went to 199. And the signups didn’t slow down. They stayed the same. And then we got a few 100 more and we went to I think 219 or Yep, somewhere in that 229 Two or 209. And now our flagship base product is 225 Well, 225 You know, I’m sure you charge that per hour for coaching people that’s not you know, that’s not a so people pay for high level in person coaching 1000 bucks, 1500 bucks a month, they’ll pay that and so for online coaching to get the same level coach that you would have for in person that you don’t have access to, because you live out in the middle of nowhere or you just don’t have access to him, then 200 bucks is not that big of a deal right now we’ve got even premium services that go up beyond that, we’re all in the wheelhouse of, you know, 200 $225 a month up to maybe 400 and that includes nutrition and for most people you talk about the type of demographic you’re pursuing if you’re pursuing upper class upper middle class I’ll use as an example because I can my brother is a paying client of barbell logic full price paying client yeah I was like, listen, I can he’s like, Nope, this is man, my brother retired at 37, he’s got plenty of money, I guarantee you, he has no clue what he’s paying for coaching. For clients, if you’re gonna make a premium product or premium service, and you’re gonna go after premium clients, your premium clients don’t know if it’s $200 or $600, because they’re buying premium there. And it’s not just because it says premium, you better be able to meet it with like, they know what premium service looks like, they might not remember if it’s 200 bucks or 300 bucks or 400 bucks, because it doesn’t matter to them. So the problem that you have a lot of times with these with coaches, most of us and I’ll speak obviously paint with a broad brush, dear, I was raised, super poor, Baptist preacher’s kid, I to this day, I’ve never had a happy meal. And my parents never bought me a happy meal that was for rich kids. I’m grateful for that. Right? I’m thankful for that upbringing. I’m glad I wasn’t given a big inheritance. That’s not what I wanted at all. But the value of $1 to me is still there. And so it’s terrifying to go. Well, this is you know, or even when people try to see me in personnel and I’m in southwest Missouri. I’m in the Ozarks. It’s like, well,  that’s right. It’s like, well, $250 for the first hour and $200. Now we’re after that it to this day, I every time I send that email out I go, I guess I’m like, Oh, that is that’s attorney prices. I’ve done this for 25 years.


Yeah. And that ain’t attorney prices, by the way I’ve tried


I know. I know. It’s not, you’re right. So it’s as somebody who spent a couple of 100 grand on attorneys last couple years. I know that too. But yeah, I mean, you know, it’s so you have to recognize that if you’re going to provide the premium service and the premium product, you’re providing that to premium clients, and premium clients will pay it and it’s so you’re not providing that service to the guy who wants the $35 massage. No, no, no, you’re providing the service to the guy who wants the $120 massage. I’ve never paid $35 for a massage. That’s terrifying. That’s I don’t want to go someplace I don’t know what’s going to happen in there. Don’t want any part of it. Give me the professionals I want to go to the spa not the little place in the strip mall right so yes, that’s what we’re doing. 


Brett Bartholomew  52:11  

Yeah, well and Midwest jump off here Warren Buffet right price is what you pay value is what you get. And I remember when we first started this company I had said and you know I was a guy same thing you know, my parents came from humble beginnings what have you and I got my hair cut like a great clips are super complicated haircut, you know, but when I got a beard, I remember going to a real barber for the first time. a real barber and I remember the price being like 65 bucks, which that to me was you know, very expensive, you know, just getting my beard trimmed but I was going to speak I wanted to be professional went out. And I remember just the right amount of small talk. Just you know this great razor everything


Matt Reynolds  52:49  

Leather  apron. hot towels on the face. You’re like, bro, this is so much better.


Brett Bartholomew  52:54  

100% And then I remembered I go you know what if we had a brick and mortar, there would be a barber chair in the main entryway as a reminder almost like a totem for my staff every day. That’s the standard. that right there. And so when somebody asked me, Hey, what is great coaching mean to you, and I go, you know, I use a skilled Barber, there’s enough trust that they’re going to hold a straight blade to your throat. And of course, a coach isn’t going to do that. But they wield their product, their service the way they do it. And that has real consequences to it. If they do it, right. Any tool has virtue and vice, and they can cut you or they can help you and I go it’s just the right amount of small talk. It’s not too much they know just to win and reject. And not only that, it’s not just them, it’s about the environment you create we’re talking about the professional product again. Right You know, if you spend in or just on somebody just splurge once on a little bit nicer. You know, the Ritz Carlton is always world renowned. And I had never really gone to one except for my dad even went to a business trip. And took us when we were kids. And I remember holy shit is somebody that used to steal all the toiletries, I was a little obsessed with that. Oh, my God, they got a sewing kit in here. You know, they have a handwritten card, you know, 


but it leads me to one of my final questions because your time is so valuable, I want to be locked and loaded with this. When you have a premium product when you’re so picky about you know, the people you bring on board, and you should you’re so precise about what you do. I mean, you’ve gotta aside from the academy, there’s got to be some pretty incredible onboarding systems here, right? And then just to frame it up, I can tell you about like, we’re a much smaller team at art of coaching. And we have this a living, breathing document that’s kind of an if this, then that map, right? If somebody wants one of us to come speak, and there’s a budget mismatch, what’s another zone of possible agreements, we have things like that, we have things like hey, if somebody reaches out and ask for this, if there’s a conflict, if there’s a, you know, whatever it is, there’s, you know, a business owner, or whatever it is, but we you know, even with that level of precision, and we even have a communication hierarchy of saying, Hey, if you’re going to have this conversation, let’s say the richness of the medium, right, if Blank, blank blank, try to make it face to face. If it’s a customer service thing, obviously emails for evidence have that if it’s a staff meeting of a certain thing, what kind of onboarding systems you guys have in place? Because Tell me about a failure. I know why your products awesome. But tell me something that sucked, that you had to try to resolve through onboarding at some point?


Matt Reynolds  55:22  

Well, we’ve done it all wrong at some point. I mean, that’s, for me. In the beginning, it was just the the onboarding used to be a series of emails that they got. And then we realized and which is fine, that’s fine, right? But we’re providing a premium service that’s heavily interactive. So at some point, we’re like, why are we sending PDF documents over emails? So we create it. So we’ve got one, of the things that we do that we’re really proud of us, we’ve put a tremendous amount of free content over the last several years, YouTube channel, podcasts, all that sort of stuff. And we pay our podcasts I pay Uber professional producer to produce the things so it sounds great sound quality is outstanding. Videos are the same way. I’ve got guys that shoot movies and commercials in Hollywood, I’ve got post production team that does our videos, our videos are short and easily digestible. And they sound great, and they look great, and they’re well lit. So when we got to onboarding, we’re like, why aren’t we doing that with our clients. So now our onboarding is entirely interactive, anywhere that we can get away from text and make it video interactive. You know, we’ve got a great looking coach, it’s not scary. It’s not a 280 pound powerlifter. Like myself, you know, that somebody that almost anybody could relate to, they’re walking you through what your experience at barbell logic is going to be like, there’s screen recording screen apps, and there’s just this very clean system. One of the things I learned a long time ago strong is I’m a Systems guy, like I love systems, systems. Some people think systems make you neurotic, I argue it’s the complete opposite. When I have great systems in place. I have people on the team that own those systems, and I no longer have to micromanage people. 


Brett Bartholomew  56:59  



Matt Reynolds  56:59  

so we have. So I, you know, in the beginning, when you’re a one man show, you are the manager, you’re the owner, you’re the technician, you’re the coach, you’re the you know, the Secretary that answers the phone, you’re everything. And as time goes on, you hire staff to do that. And then you have the systems that you built that were imperfect, but you, get to give it to them. And they’re better at that job than you were. And so now I’ve got an entire team that thinks about literally everything. So in our onramp, it’s super, super interactive. And then what the emails, our clients get a series of about one email every five days or so, for the first several weeks that they’re a client, it’s a very personalized email, but it walks them through, we know what they’re going to be going through five days in and 10 days, and then 15. Like, what the struggles are, here’s probably what you’re struggling with here. You know, you’re really excited right now, because it’s easy to add weight to the bar, and then they hit that point where things start to slow down and you go, Hey, here’s why you shouldn’t be discouraged. Right? So all those little things where they hit a plateau and then and then we’ve got great biopic opportunities that everything we offer at barbell logic, we give them their first month 100% free so when somebody is starting to get ready to hit a plateau, you’re like, you know what, why don’t you try a nutrition program for completely free for a month, and just see what you think? Well, it’s again, you go back to that, imagine, if you went to that barber shop the first time and you didn’t have to pay the 60 bucks is 100% free, but the the service, the value is incredible, you’re gonna go back. And so for us, we do the same thing. It’s like men just give people an incredible value. For again, for a price of zero, they pay nothing, but it’s a customer acquisition costs, marketing costs for us. And so everything is systemized and organized and beautiful. And then we do the same. But we’ve got a big system that I could go on forever about our intercompany communication or intra company communication. So the way we do project management on Basecamp, the way we do our monthly meetings, the way we’ve made everything efficient, so that each person can really be who they are in the business. And they’re not a cog in a machine. But we don’t get bogged down with to our meetings, we don’t do to our meetings, everything is very efficient, my time is important. And sometimes my time is important because I want to go hang out at the swimming pool with my wife. Right? It’s because that’s why I want to work efficiently not because I want to work 16 hours a day, I want to work super smart, and hard, but not long, so that I can free up time to spend time with my kids and spend time with my wife and like actually unplug when I want to those sort of things are important. So we Yeah, again, I would love to take credit for all that stuff. I had a pretty good hand in that in 2016. But as the team is, I am very lucky and very blessed and just a tiny little bit skilled at being able to put the right people in place and delegate well and so now at this point, the team is just outstanding. I could never do this without them. And every person on our team is far better at their job than I ever could have done it and so 


Brett Bartholomew  59:51  

yeah, well listen It’s important that it’s an important service that you’re not only providing to people that need the coaching but I think this sounds awful kind of bringing coaching back in general is just critically important, you know. And when you create a workplace that emphasizes coaching instead of hey guys here at barbell logic, we need you to get nuanced tools and hyper crazy equipment. Like you’re not, the training is a staple, right? But people stay for the coaching. And I think that’s the thing that I still try to get across to some of our audiences. People say, Hey, can I shadow you? Can I do this? And they still want the bread that was just coaching pro athletes all day, every day? 


Matt Reynolds  1:00:27  

Yeah, right. 


Brett Bartholomew  1:00:28  

Yeah. And what we say is, guys, we’re doing a little something different. Now. Now, here’s what that day looks like, you still want to come. And you can see the people that just want to do it, because they want to train pro athletes versus the people that love coaching. 


Matt Reynolds  1:00:38  

That’s right. 


Brett Bartholomew  1:00:39  

And like you said, a million times, there’s nothing wrong with them being in that phase or season of their life. But let you know that they’re not for you. I loved what you said about the meeting, too, in case the audience didn’t listen, you know, we’re still growing in that you have to make it efficient. We were getting down a trap where our one time team meeting was starting to take on a visionary tone, as well as an admin tone and what have you, they were getting a little long. And I said, Guys, no, we need to have one time a week, we’re gonna have a meeting that focuses mainly on the vision side of things, what are we doing? What’s this quarter look like? What have you done, we’ll have another shorter meeting, that’s going to be the administrative, Hey, old business, new business, what have you, let’s not do a marathon meeting. And we’re still finding our way through that you’ve got to find what works for you and your own, you know, your own kind of fit. 


There is a lot to chew on here, man. But I just want to tell you that I deeply appreciate your transparency. I deeply appreciate the professionalism you’re continuing to bring to this. And I appreciate the friendship, frankly, you know, because there’s a lot of people that have scarcity mindsets here, and they don’t want to share, and you’re always a guy of abundance whenever I’m around you. So tell us where we can plug and play your stuff. Where do you want the listeners to go? How can we support you?


Matt Reynolds  1:01:46  

Thank you so much, by the way, on the transparency, you know, it’s way easier to be transparent than to hide stuff. And they’re like, I don’t want to be a guy that’s got skeletons in my closet. I’d rather by the way, nothing. There’s no better humor than self deprecating humor. 


Brett Bartholomew  1:01:59  



Matt Reynolds  1:02:00  

And so when you have a podcast, it’s so much better when you can be the buddy your own joke, you don’t have to hide that stuff. So it’s just life’s easier to live that way. So man, I would love I, here’s what I tell people. It’s super easy to find barbell logic, Google barbell logic, get on YouTube and watch our videos, listen to podcasts, the best place to start and we’ve got great articles and ebooks and all that stuff for free, the best place to start with the content because the content is free. And see if it’s a good fit for you. If you’re interested in for your coaches who don’t necessarily want they’re not necessarily the type of demographic or client, they don’t necessarily want to hire us to be their coaches, I think we’ve got a lot of great value just in the content. So check out our YouTube channel at barbell logic, check us out on all social media, we’re really active on Instagram primarily @barbell_logic


So we’re super easy to find, but I love it when people consume the content and then just reach back out to us and say, Man, I got so much value out of this. I’m a coach. I’m not somebody that’s looking for, you know, personal coaching right now for myself, but I’ve been able to get tons of value there for free. I love that I because I want to develop that reputation that we’re trying to bring value to people, whether they’re spinning nothing with us that freemium sort of product, or whether there’s, you know, one of our biggest spenders of our clients, it doesn’t matter to me, I want to be able to bring value to that world. I see the fitness industry in the coaching area, coaching industries as broken. But as coming back, they’re moving back in the right direction for the first time in a long time, in my opinion. And I want to help not necessarily lead the charge, but we could be on the team I need to be I want to be in the team picture to be able to say like, Hey, there are right ways to do this. And so we try to do that. And I would love it if people just found our content found the videos, let us know if you got some value out of those things, or the articles or ebooks or the podcast long form stuff. The podcast, the barbell logic podcast is really a systematic progression from the very most simple things you can talk about in strength and conditioning in the early episodes to slightly more complex as we went along. So it had a very nice systematic progression to it. We do seasons now we do a combination of both new episodes that come out every Monday and then we do seasons like you get with you No wonder you’re one of those where we launched almost Netflix style. So we’ll launch nine episodes in three days and they can hear an entire season on different topics that are really pretty cool. So we have technics series, or the getting started series in the nutrition series or whatever and that’s a great place to start as well.


Brett Bartholomew  1:04:18  

Yeah, well I love it and by the way leading the charge and all the changes you want to make you gotta find a way for our companies to collaborate you know, similar so if you guys you know after hearing this and consuming their content getting to know Matt everything. We want to hear from you what ways would you like to see organizations like ours continue to push coaching no matter what format together, you know, we’re always listening and it’s one of the things that hopefully keeps us adaptable and providing value to you guys for years to come. 


Well Matt, thank you again, man. Here’s a round of applause for you we got a live studio audience and everybody until next time, this is Brett Bartholomew Matt Reynolds art of coaching podcast. Take care


Hey, are you still there? Good ahead because if you are somebody looking for additional mentoring, I would love for you to check out our Coalition program. There, dude, my own schedule. I’m trying to write a book. I’m trying to be a dad, I’m trying to do other things. I can only open these things up twice a year, and it’s your opportunity to work alongside myself. Yes, actually, me, my staff and others so you can get clarity, accountability, and guidance with whatever matters most to you right now, whether that’s a personal issue, a professional problem, you’re trying to solve anything of a sort. So please give us the opportunity to join you on your journey. Go to And let’s schedule a call

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