“Going Deep with Danny Twoguns” – Part IV “Updates On the Fun”

Posted: December 10, 2017 by dannytwoguns in About Me

(Quick Note / Reminder – this is again technically a Guest Blog from fellow fitness professional and friend, Craig Householder in a series we did at the beginning of 2017. Initially it was one super long interview style blog that we cut into three parts. This one is a follow up on that series that of course ended up really long and we split into two parts. Here is Part I of II aka Part IV πŸ˜‰ …)

CH : So the initial “Going Deep with Danny Twoguns” quote, unquote “mini-series” was a big hit when we did it, it would seem. Thought it would be a good idea to follow up on those things in an “addendum” of sorts and see what’s new and if there is any deeper we can dive almost a year later!

D2G : Absolutely. The series was definitely one of the most “shared” things I’ve put out blogs wise and also resulted in a lot of good conversations resulting from the things we talked about.

CH : That’s great. What were some of the conversations like?

D2G : A lot of them were based around showing gratitude towards and asking more specifics in relation to my personal story. It is always easy for people to assume that because people own a gym or are a “personal trainer” / fitness professional that everything comes easy, it has always been easy and we are immune to all of the things that “normal people” deal with and have issues with. And as you know with newborn baby Jack, that simply isnt the case nor true.

People like knowing and/or hearing that they are not alone in their struggles regardless of what popular media / mainstream bullshit tells them – “It is easy and you are broken/damaged for it not coming easy to you.” When in reality the immense and vast majority of people struggle with the same exact things.

Video Interview of Danny Where He Elaborates on the “Being Broken”…

It is always interesting to me how when people come in for their initial strategy session to see if the gym is a good fit for them, how they think that they are on an island with their struggles and how it comes easy to everyone else and how there is “something wrong” with them for the issues and struggles they deal with.

When I tell them that they are not only “not alone” but that we built a gym centered around the people who have exactly that issue, the look of potential on their face as opposed to the look of frustration, literally makes my day every time.

Back to the conversations that were sparked last time other than relating to my personal story, there were also a lot about the “nerding out” piece and deep diving into fitness rabbit holes.

In the past, people have said that only other trainers want to hear the deep down, nitty gritty of the fitness stuff, not our potential clients. And at least for us, in “10 years behind the times fitness-wise Erie”, people seemed to appreciate (although maybe not always understand) the diving down of the rabbit holes so they could know the true WHY of the things we do and why it benefits them and why their fitness, health and well being is worth investing in and why dollar store trainers and bootcamp beatdown and punching bag nonsense is not the effective or safe way.

Kind of like a, “Wow I had no idea there was such depth to this fitness and movement thing.” Which educating them on that is obviously one of our big goals.

CH : Nerding out is always good! I’ve enjoyed your scapula stuff recently. But before we go anywhere with any of that… Has anything significantly changed for you business wise since we last talked in this context? Crazy it has almost been a year.

D2G : Slightly reiterating but we are still completely living and breathing continuing the mission of changing the way fitness is done in Erie. Attempting to convince the general masses that they themselves, their health, their fitness and actually LIVING life are worth investing their time, energy and money into for the long haul…

Though we’ve expanded that into “Changing the Way Fitness is Done” as I begin to help other fitness professionals across the country and world, do the same in their markets through programming, marketing etc. I’ve now added an “Only” I didnt have previously, of – the Only Fitness Professional in Erie who is a paid consultant and expert to other fitness professionals looking to grow their business, change lives and Change the Way Fitness is Done in their town / city.

It is a great way to evolve – “Helping the most people possible” to “Helping the most people, help the most people possible.”

But yeah, when you are on the ever changing rocket ship we are on, a lot changes in a year. On the surface, it is actually funny, last time we talked we mentioned how Erie was kind of behind the times in terms of high quality fitness options etc and our goal was to change that, hence opening Movement Forever prior to us talking…

And we’ve continued to do that but since we’ve talked the progress on that has probably actually gone backwards even though completely out of our control as we are continuing and growing at both locations as another Planet Fitness opened up in Erie.

Posted in jest, of course…

Not that far from the original Erie Planet Fitness and right next to its two direct competitors, which is strange, but it is what it is. It really reiterated that we really shouldnt give any time or energy to things that do not effect us at all. Hopefully it builds up the top of mind that fitness is important in the area, and allows people to seek out the best, which is us.

Any way, our second location, Movement Forever Fitness is no longer an “infant” in terms of how long it has been open. It hit its 1 year mark and is absolutely continuing our mission…

CH : We never really touched on Movement Forever at all last time. Can we elaborate now? Why a second location in the same city? Why a different model? What is the goal?

D2G : Absolutely. There are a couple of “origin stories” there…

For a while, Geoff [Danny’s “non-sexual life partner” aka his business partner and head of LEWIS Fitness & PerformanceΒ ] and I had this idea of creating a baby boomer centric facility. One that catered to the fastest growing population we have in this world, the said “baby boomer.”

Erie really didnt have a facility that is specifically geared toward helping them the correct way in terms of programming and the correct way in terms of the business model that supports that. The closest thing really was Twoguns Training Systems.

And we wanted to create something specifically that addressed that and conversations about that in the early stages is possibly why there was an initial misconception that is was an “older people gym” which it is not, which I will elaborate on very shortly.

Then simultaneously, we had a friend / colleague in the area, Tim (now General Manager of Movement Forever) who previously worked with Geoff at a shared former job, who was the most similar to Geoff and I in terms of actually valuing continuing education, wanting to learn more and get better as a fitness professional in Erie, which unfortunately is pretty rare in our area.

He was kind of looking for his “next step” as we were having the previous idea on the backburner because we didnt have the manpower to actually run or implement it.

I was teaching a DVRT Level I and II Certification in NYC, with Geoff coming along and Tim was actually attending that certification as well. So we drove together and through a wintery hell drive home from NYC, we talked a lot about life, visions of the future in all things fitness, and our mission which Tim shared completely.

The “brain baby” of Movement Forever was born. And being the rocketshippers we are, set to put those things in motion to see if it was logistically feasible, immediately. We had the idea and we had the person, now to hash out details.

Tim, Geoff and Dan at the Movement Forever Grand Opening

Obviously that brain baby developed into what Movement Forever is now – fully functioning, living and breathing the mission of Changing the Way Fitness is Done in Erie.

The main difference is, it started as a thought of a baby boomer and 55+ facility but evolved into and really always was a lateralization of what our current facility is…

Our currently facility houses three main brands / marketing entities, Twoguns Training Systems, LEWIS Fitness & Performance and Kinstretch Erie though we operate as one business internally. We have the segmentation marketing wise so we are able to speak specifically to each demographic, rather than have a mixed up or muddled message.

Within these brands and this facility, as mentioned in I believe what was “Going Deep With Danny Twoguns Part I” was that we take our fitness very seriously, but we dont take ourselves too seriously in a unicorn environment of glory and dreams…

It is a big facility and there are a lot of things going on. And we built it that way intentionally because we wanted to attract those specific people… We wear unicorn heads, we wear shirts that say “Always Practice Safe Sets”, we are big on ridiculous humans and serious fitness. We have a culture that often attracts but sometimes repels.

Where the facilities are both similar is they are both geared toward the person who wasnt / isnt a “gym person”. The person who “traditional fitness has failed”. The person who is intimidated or unmotivated by “normal gyms”. The person looking for that additional layer of community, camaraderie, support and accountability. The person who values expertise, experience and investing in themselves over looking for the best deal.

If that description of how Twoguns Training Systems does fitness resonates with you, click HERE

Movement Forever does all of those things, just as our “first” facility, but it does so in a smaller, more intimate and controlled, less organized chaos kind of way. Where We take our fitness very seriously, but not in a “dont take ourselves very seriously” kind of way. There is more emphasis on education, investing in yourself and individualization to special considerations like injuries – lower back, knees, shoulders, hips etc in a more controlled environment.

We once had a client who did not sign up at Twoguns Training Systems because she wasnt comfortable that a male coach was shirtless for a portion of her session. She is definitely a better fit at Movement Forever.

At its roots, both facilities are essentially all of the expertise, knowledge, certifications, community and a system we specifically catered around what truly works, not a specific model, methodology, or “how it has always been done” wrapped together, but implemented differently so that we have a fitness solution for every demographic in Erie and can serve them the absolute best way possible, specific to them.

They complement each other, not compete. Plus it was an easy way to build up the amount of high quality facilities Erie had to offer.

Side note : If that description of Movement Forever resonates more with you than our Twoguns one, click HERE

CH : Wow, I didnt expect that deep of a tangent, but that’s great. Circling back to the initial question of things that have changed or evolved significantly since we last talked?

D2G : In terms of operations, which may not be incredibly pertinent to this context, we’ve started systematizing and diligently working on formal staff / team development and training so that is where a lot of Geoff and I’s time has shifted towards, which has been great at taking things that only existed in my head to on paper and has made the gym run even smoother and better than before.

On a similar note to when we chatted last time, a lot of my continuing education time has continued down the rabbit hole of motivation science, behavioral psychology and habit formation. We are planning to launch an additional habit, motivation and accountability backend piece to what we do and how we do it with this year’s upcoming New Year New You challenge we do every beginning of February. (Stay tuned for that!)

We also launched a Kinstretch specific membership, which I / we will touch on later because I know you said you had a couple of questions about it.

We slightly tweaked the way we run our Fit in 42 program that has been a massively positive change for those who go through that.

As well as a lot of little things that may not seem “big” on the surface but have a great impact over time.

It is interesting because looking back on the past year, we’ve grown both in size of members in the gyms as well as knowledge wise but it didnt necessarily come from “big interventions”, it came from constantly and continually sharpening the sword and putting an emphasis on being masterful at the little things.

We are at the point now where it would be strange if something came along that resulted in a big overhaul of operations. Not saying it isnt possible but we are more at the point where we fine tune things and focus on the marketing not the operations because we have those pretty dialed in.

CH : Oh man, no more “Erie’s best kept secret?” πŸ˜‰

D2G : Weelll… haha. Slightly inside joke from us for the reader, but essentially it boils down to that I / Twoguns Training Systems / our brands are often called “Erie’s best kept secret”. And Craig and I joke because part of it is a big compliment and the other part is like if you are that good but a secret than your marketing needs work…

I remember when a member first told me that she thought we were the best kept secret and I was like hmm, well I dont want to really be a secret. Or do I? And there is always an interesting dialogue that comes from that.

I think it partly stems from a personal trainer in the area, who has his face and his voice in everything – radio, morning TV segments etc and he is all about it being about him, him, him but not his clients or striving to offer a high quality service and when it comes to his gym, it is primarily a show without any substance behind it.

An “emperor has no clothes” type scenario. And that resonates with me so poorly that I often would rather not be in the “spotlight” and just focus on providing the absolute best service and client experience possible.

CH : Switching gears a little bit. The documentary, “What the Health” was a big topic in the fitness world for a while. Primarily in terms of a lot of nutritionists and fitness professionals speaking out against it. We were talking about it one time and I really liked your thoughts…

D2G : I remember. And yeah, nutrition…

The main element of the fitness industry where people almost unanimously agree on the 80% but argue vehemently about the 20%.

It comes back to the pendulums and how people love for it to dramatically swing one way and then swing completely to the other. It HAS to be black and white.

“What the Health” came out and people started demonizing meat every chance they got…X on the picture. New vegetarians came out in mass. And it was all kind of BS information wrapped in a direct and succinct delivery.

But then all the rage was about how the vast majority of science that they were using in the film was completely untrue and that the documentary was complete propaganda.

People went back to not demonizing meat. Z on the picture.

It will always be interesting to me how with nutrition there is always this “black and white”, it has to be X or Z, nothing in between camp / school of thought…

Dont eat meat. Dont eat carbs. Dont eat fat. X is bad. Z is good. Etc etc.


Drink more water…

Avoid processed sugars…

Eat as close to real as possible…

Eat enough protein from the right places…

Eat a lot of green vegetables…

are realistically the only “non-negotiables” and the things we can come close to calling absolutes when it comes to nutrition.

After that everything is pretty “gray” and / or individualized to the person.

Can meat be good for you? Absolutely.

Can meat be bad for you? Absolutely.

Can a vegetarian diet be healthy? Absolutely.

Can a vegetarian diet be unhealthy? Absolutely.

Is it harder to eat “healthy” on a vegetarian diet? I would say so. Getting enough protein is the common concern and it is definitely true. It is harder to get the correct amount of protein, from the right places but definitely do-able as well.

I think there are a lot of vegetarians who are essentially just “not-eating-meat-a-tarians”. These are the people you see people whose diets are composed of baked goods and pizza but no meat.

Just not eating meat doesnt really make someone a vegetarian, eating a diet primarily based around high quality vegetables is probably a better definition and typically does.

The former is where health is an issue, the latter, not so much. If a person is solely going vegetarian for health reasons, they have a discussion about how that may not be the best or easiest way. If someone is because there is an issue other than health related and the challenge is worth the effort? It can absolute be done and be done well.

One of the strongest fitness professionals I know is a vegetarian.

CH : This is probably a good transition as one of the ways you tackle nutrition at your gym is with Fit in 42. And other than in the question prior, I dont think we’ve mentioned Fit in 42 in this series. Is it still a big part of what you guys do at the gym?

(Stay tuned for that answer and more in the second part of this interview and Part V overall!)

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