Tribefit Interview - Daniel Henderson From Functional Training Institute
Chris: Hey guys. Chris Lynton here from Tribefit and today we've got an absolute legend with us. Legend by the name of Daniel Henderson. Daniel how you doing buddy?
Daniel: Mate, absolutely sensational Chris, thank you very very much for your time today.
Chris: No problems, right back at you. And guys, Daniel put his hand up for today's interview. I reached out to him because I thought it might be great to speak with someone that has a phenomenal background knowledge, you know time in the space as well, in a bit of a multi facet format in the fitness business. And a lot of gold nuggets and a lot to learn from him that will be able to help you move forward in your face to face business, if you own a gym, location studio or also anything else from an educational perspective as well. But Daniel before I try and explain your full life story buddy, if you can just give us a bit of a run through of who you are, what you do and I guess where you've come from and where you are today.
Daniel: Yeah, beautiful Chris, thanks mate. So been in the fitness industry now full time for about 12 years. Absolutely love it. I've done many different roles and so I owned a facility in Sydney's beautiful eastern beaches for nine years which was amazing and had an incredible team there. I sold that in April last year very successfully. And that was to embark on another challenge which is building the worlds best coaching programme for fitness professionals. But, rewind a little bit, I wrote up Australia's first ever accredited Kettlebell course in 2008.
You know it's hard to believe for people but going back ten years, no one was using Kettlebells, they were a foreign tool. I just liked using it, I learned from world champions, some amazing people, just wrote it up as a hobby. Didn't know that it was going to propel me down this path, it was just running some little workshops around Sydney, then started getting calls to run them in other places and before you know it I was an educator and yeah that's been a lot of fun.
It's been a ticket, from that, you know I love being an educator, I saw massive gaps in the fitness industry in terms of depth of knowledge, in terms of tools, in terms of systems that people needed. So developed a whole number of other courses around mobility, movement restoration, barbells, battling ropes bags, you name it. So I've got a whole suite of courses, we deliver in 16 countries right now online and face to face and I've had the great pleasure of standing on stages all around the world. So that's been a real buzz, its been very humbling.
And that company's called the Functional Training Institute. So, I co-founded that, that's where I'm spending most of my time. And then in the last real 12 to 18 months, we've had it three years, but the last 12 to 18 months, been spending a lot of time in our business accelerator programme called Gamechanger. So really helping fitness professionals establish a great face to face business and helping them with their, we have three main pillars, attract, layers and systems. And really having that dialled in so they can have more impact, more profit and more freedom. So, mate that's my background in a nutshell.
Chris: Beautiful mate, well what we'll do, is we can break down today's call into kind of two sections 'cause there are obviously, they do compliment each other quite well but both are such strong pillars in their own, there's probably loads of learnings to take from both of them. So, to break it down into two pillars, one obviously being the Functional Training Institute and obviously your coaching for fitness professionals in regards to business perspective. So if we jump onto FTI to start with, to throw that acronym out there for you, if we start with that mate. So, if a trainer's out there and they're wanting to improve their knowledge base, what A, is a good reason to do it and B, what is kind of the fist stages and first steps that someone move towards increasing their knowledge around to improve their business?
Daniel: Yeah look, I've had the great pleasure of being in front of probably about 5000 different fitness over the last nine years teaching and if I could break it down, if I could just steal all of my learnings and observations in terms of what makes a successful coach stand out and from an unsuccessful one, it would be a growth mindset. A constant thirst and endeavour to learn and grow. So, all fitness professionals should have a professional development plan that should be on the technical skills, the coaching skills, the communication as well as the business skills.
And the space that we founded you know, it was in its infancy, it's now very well developed. Its a functional training space and so we were really in front of, we were really ahead of the curve at that time. And so, where we help coaches I'll always, you know even now I jump on sales calls 'cause I love doing it and what I find out is just like, who do they actually want to serve and what kind of impact do they want to have? Once I can find that then I can tailor a recommendation and what they need to do from an education perspective so they are equipped with the knowledge, the resources, the skills to actually do that. And so, we have a wide variety, a gamet of courses, but really I'll just find out who do you coach, why do you coach them, where do you fell like you need more assistance right now? And then I can make an appropriate recommendation.
But if I was to say, if I was to give a universal kind of great place to start then it's definitely in the movement, restoration and mobility because not everyone needs a Kettlebell, not everyone needs a barbell and not everyone needs to learn you know, sprint training and all these other things but everyone needs to learn how to move better. Everyone presents some kind of disfunction, everyone's got an asymmetry, everyone's got some kind of postural imbalance and if we just throw that person in and give them a session then all we do is load and compound that disfunction. And so, it's really our job as a coach to provide an environment where we restore function and movement. And so that's where I say for a lot of coaches is look, that one I can almost give a universal recommendation and that's a great place to start because everyone of your clients, whether they're athletic population, they're teenagers, they're seniors, they're sedentary, they're well conditioned, they all need to learn how to move better.
And it's our job to do that you know, exercise should be something that really builds us up, we don't want to end up having injuries or pain or anything else as a result of that. So that's my kind of universal recommendation but it also depends on the person's journey. We rate our education, we know, we're constantly iterating, refining, developing it. I have some of the best education consultants in all the world really, contributing to our education but at the same time I know that's not appropriate for everyone because everyone has their different path and different gaps of knowledge as well.
Chris: Yeah, beautiful mate. Well, just a very timely conversation. I watched the Ronnie Coleman documentary on Netflix the other day, I don't know if you've seen that?
Daniel: No, I've heard its magnificent though.
Chris: Phenomenal doco but the guys body is just broken and I was speaking to my business partner yesterday and he said you can look at YouTube videos, his recent surgery didn't work, his back infused and now he's in a wheelchair getting lifted onto the bench to try and do a workout of his own so it's a ...
As you said, functional training is the norm these days-
Daniel: It is.
Chris: I would say and you guys definitely got onto that wave before probably the wave even started or very very early so awesome work on that and very much so I would agree with you is that, you are training people to be healthy and be, elongate their ability to move and do it in a healthy format. So if you aren't knowledgeable around that its probably a good spot to start mate, cool.
Alright, so massive tick on that. In terms of the business coaching side of things, so if we jump over to that side. So who do you commonly work with and what do you see are, I guess the common traps or mistakes that people come to you with?
Daniel: I really help people if they have facilities and generally smaller facilities or people with an aspiration to own their own facility as well. People within commercial gyms, they're kind of the two main categories that we work with.
In terms of look, a lot of the time there's a lot of things they need to work on but the overarching thing, and I always look for the smallest hinges that can swing the biggest doors, and what I find a lot of the time is that is actually their business model. You know a lot of the time their business model is broken. A lot of the time their pricing and their memberships is broken and so we need to start there because that's the foundation that we can build everything on.
See they think they need leads. A lot of the time, yes they do need leads but first we've got to get your house in order. We've got to go okay, well what are your layers of business? Are you just trading time for money? Which a lot of them are. How can we get out of that model and going from transaction to transaction? And actually create a business that has some consistency, that has some profitability, but also has some leverage to grow?
So a lot of people, it's not through lack of work, you know they're working rings off, they're delivering 40, 50 sessions a week, but they're not doing it in the smartest way that they can possibly do it.
Chris: Yeah, no, very very smart mate. I always say 'wrong model, wrong outcome'. You can't outwork a bad business model, you can smash a couple more coffees in you, get up earlier, sleep later but you're going to end up with the wrong outcome no matter what unless you evolve and change and improve your business model so I hear you there and totally agree with you there.
So, in terms of I guess, lets just say for example a face to face person or either looking to start their own gym or has their own gym studio, whatever it might be, is listening to this right now and going, "Look Daniel, everything you're saying sounds spot on and I'm feeling you there." So in regards to their business model, what would you first suggest to them to be able to I guess, recognise the issues, identify the issues and then potentially start looking at ways to solving those problems.
Daniel: So I'd look at, a lot of business models, they're not very well systemized and so it means that people are really chained to their business and they're really a slave to their business itself. We just took on a client recently, she's got almost a hundred members but she doesn't have things like a CRM in place, she doesn't have great contracts in place, doesn't have direct debit in place, doesn't have systemized price increases, doesn't have membership options that are going to increase profitability, doesn't have a great front end offer. So having really clear concise systems in place, so that can actually free you up somewhat to then do work on the business itself and do the things like the lead generation, the sales, the recruitment of team and everything else.
But first you gotta get that humming because you know, when they calculate people go, "Oh well, you know I'm making x amount of dollars." I'm like, "Well how many hours are you working? I want you to record, I want you to do a time audit for me. Record absolutely everything that you're doing." And you can see that it's not a good yield per unit of time, the way they're working and so we just look at some of those fundamental things in place.
Like do you have a really good agreement in place? Do you have a good customer management system in place? Do you have people on memberships that with reoccurring revenue? Are we making sure that there's room to grow? If you've just got a one on one business then, what are you gonna do to then, are you gonna add nutrition coaching to that? Can we add supplement that with some semi private training as well? So how can we actually increase the profitability and the lifetime client value and they're the big things that we look at.
Chris: Yeah beautiful mate, spot on. If you don't have the simple stuff like even just direct debits, automated direct debits in place and you're chasing people left right and centre every week for what they owe you or whatever it might be, its just wasted time and inefficiencies. Which you could be using those time and energy elsewhere. So whether that's, and you know, we talk to people all the time, whether that's in your business, making your business better, or whether that's with your family and loved ones, wouldn't you prefer to be-
Daniel: That's right.
Chris: Spending the time doing what you love, whatever that might be, rather than chasing people round on admin that could be automated so absolutely spot on man, cool. Alright well, in order to, I guess in terms to wrap things up mate once again, there's the two buckets there. If anyone's listening to it today, they're a face to face trainer, online trainer, they got a gym, they got whatever it might be, first and foremost what would be your simple one liner sort of advice for someone that's I guess lacking or feels as though they're lacking in the educational side of things? And then also your one liner advice for someone who has a business but is kind of at a cap and exhausted and trying to find a way through, what would that be buddy?
Daniel: Yeah look, I think its on both sides and I'd just say find a mentor, find a coach, find a model that works and just absolutely inhale their content, their experiences because you know they've already walked the path that you intend to walk on, on want to walk on and so that can really expedite the process for you. You know, too many people think they can figure it out on their own, that, "Hey, I'll just learn it on my own, I'll work this out." It's the most inefficient way of doing things, it really is. There are amazing people out there that have just a lifetime of knowledge that you can get from listening to an interview, reading a book, having a phone conversation. So go and seek those people out 'cause it will just expedite that learning process and you'll knock years off to get to the destination where you wanna get to. So find those people, they're all around, they're only too willing to help and you'll elevate yourself as a coach, you'll elevate yourself as a business owner. Then you've got more freedom, more impact to do what you want, when you want and how you want.
Chris: Yeah beautiful mate, very very wise words there. Daniel mate, if anyone is listening to this, they're loving what you're saying, they're connecting with it and they're wanting to find out more about yourself buddy, where would they go to check out about you, about the Functional Training side, whatever it might be?
Daniel: Yeah, just hit us up. I'm on two social channels so Facebook is under Daniel Henderson, there's a few of us but yeah, find us on Facebook or on Instagram @the_coach_of_coaches. Reach out, if I can give you any advice I'm more than happy to. I'm always really generous with my time, I'm happy to jump on the phone if someones got a problem or a challenge or whatever else. So please do so. This industry's been amazing to me, I've had many great mentors that have been really generous with their time and I wanna give back as well so yeah, please reach out and I'd love to connect.
Chris: Beautiful mate, there we have it guys. Reach out to Daniel, absolute wealth of knowledge, even it's just to pick his brain and no doubt he'll send you at least in the right direction if not be able to help you one on one with any of your issues as well. So guys that's it from us today, Daniel thanks for your time mate, really appreciate it. Hit Daniel up-
Daniel: Absolute pleasure mate.
Chris: That's how to do it mate. We'll catch up no doubt face to face sooner or later, we're both in Sydney guys so look out for that. But that's it from us. Daniel thanks again for your time and bye for now.
Daniel: Absolute pleasure, thanks Chris.