Picture this: You are all amped up, driving to your gym, and ready to crush todays training. It’s all you have been thinking about. You are blasting the sickest Eminem song you can find and are on the verge of fighting the first person that looks at you wrong.

You pull up to your gym and when you walk in the first thing you hear on the radio is Justin Bieber’s greatest hits. The air conditioning is cranked up to the point where you can nearly see your breath. Everyone is complaining about being tired and saying that they don’t feel like training. You take a look at today’s program and all it incorporates is a bunch of aerobics and Bosu ball work.

My head just fucking exploded.

As a coach, you have to understand that the type of environment you create will dictate your clients' athletes' results. It doesn’t matter if you have the best training program and equipment around, if your training environment sucks your clients will be held back. Their results will be lackluster and their experience, as well as your business, will suck. The music you play and the attitude and energy you bring will directly affect your client’s results.

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Something that has always come natural to me is being able to create a gym atmosphere that is fun and welcoming, where we will have plenty of laughs, but know to work when it is time to work.

You need to be able to set the tone as soon as your clients walk through the door. And if you are tired and had the worst day of your life, your clients should never know about it. Day in and day out we have to be able to bring it. We've gotta be on! We have to be able to light our athletes on fire and get them prepared for the ball-breaking work they are about to go through.

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That doesn’t mean that you have to act like a drill sergeant and just scream nonsensical things like a lunatic all day. It means you have to know the people you are training well enough to get them fired up. Sometimes you have to go deep and bring stuff up that will create a spark. Sometimes you have to get in their face and challenge them. Sometimes you have to just take a step back and let them do their thing. Knowing how to connect with the people you are working with is a quality we must possess if we are going to create an atmosphere that people want to train in. When the right music is cranking and people are working their asses off, you will notice the magic that starts to happen. Relationships develop. People push each other, motivate each other, and almost become coaches themselves. When a group of the right people walks in to train in the right environment—an environment that is coached properly with the right attitude—a culture is then made. A culture where blood and sweat are expected. A culture where the people around you want you to get the last rep just as bad as you do, just so they can get under that bar and do one more. Once that culture is created, there is truly no stopping it. 

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People will love training with you and dedicate themselves to your program. Progress will come faster and incredible relationships will be built with the men and women training around you. And once in a while, you get someone that is a cancer to the atmosphere. They complain. They cry about being tired, or that it’s too hot, or that it’s too hard. Here are the two best words that you can tell people like that: beat it. The last thing you want is that kind of person destroying the culture of your gym. I don’t care if it’s the best athlete or biggest superstar on the planet, that negativity will destroy your culture and the attitude, as well as the results, of those around them. I know that if you own a business this may be hard at first. But trust me, cutting your ties with people like that will be the best thing you ever do for your business. Because when you do it, you will start to only attract those who are serious — those who want to be there and put in their sweat equity.

Those are the people you want in your business, and the best way to do that is by creating an environment that YOU would want to train in yourself. If you do that, your atmosphere will be authentic. You should never pretend to be someone you’re not. If you try to accommodate those types of people by lowering the music or cranking up the AC, the people that you truly want to work with will be pissed off and the vibe in your gym will suffer. When you have everyone on the same page and training with passion, the weak will weed themselves out. Then you can start coaching the way you want to coach, and the people you enjoy working with will start to refer other like-minded people and your business will begin to explode.

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Now, please let me make it clear that an awesome gym atmosphere does not mean simply cranking up the music and getting your athletes or clients competitive with one another. That’s only part of it. If you have the tunes cranking and everyone all fired up but all form goes completely out the window, your environment will suck. If the people you’re training keep getting hurt then it doesn’t matter how good of a playlist you have. Nobody is going to want to or should be training with you.

As a coach or trainer, we are still responsible for sensible programming and thorough coaching and instruction. When you combine good programming and intelligent coaching with some killer tunes and a group of people that will do anything it takes to achieve a common goal, you have created an awesome culture.

And part of that is making time for the guys to bullshit. People like to shoot the shit and talk trash to each other. Make some time for that during warm-ups or cool downs. When everyone gets to know each other better, they will support each other that much more. Talking trash and creating a competition for your guys from time to time is an incredible way to build the culture of your gym. Competition makes training fun, even the ball-breaking days. Make sure you do what you can to encourage that.

A great way to kick that off is by putting up record boards. You’d be shocked at how much harder people will work to try and get their name up on a board. When you tie these things together you have created a culture that will literally breed results. People will become driven and strive to do better than the guy next to them. When everyone is trying to intelligently out-work their partners, everyone wins. Everyone will get bigger and stronger at a faster pace. And you, the coach, will have created a facility that everyone wants to train at.

So be sure to do your best to create a kick-ass culture at your facility. It will make all the difference in your success.