- Ten years
- 86,014 clients in over a hundred countries
- At least a handful of lives changed for the better
That’s a pretty big deal, and we’re grateful to everyone who’s been part of it.
I always say that our best ideas have come from listening to our clients. Don’t get me wrong – some of our clients have some colossally bad ideas. But that’s to be expected; it’s not their job to know what they need. It’s ours.
And though listening to our clients – at their best and worst – we’re able to come up with better ways to teach than we would by just meditating on a mountain top somewhere and trying to formulate the perfect program. Through many thousands of interactions, we’ve become far better teachers.
GMB2020 vs GMB2010 is not a fair fight.
The story so far…
When Ryan, Jarlo, and I launched GMB back in July 2010, we had no idea what we were getting into. All we knew was that a lot of people wanted to learn how to get better at doing stuff, and most of the “fitness” material available at the time was doing an awful job of helping them.
We set out to bridge the gap between training skills (what we’d all grown up doing) and training attributes like strength and endurance.
And… well, we didn’t quite knock it out of the park.
Our first programs filled a major gap in the available knowledge of how to use gymnastic rings and parallettes, but looking back, they didn’t do a great of of making people more skillful.
Over the years, we found that it wasn’t just strength that lacking – for most people the real missing links were motor control and range of motion. Once we began teaching fundamental movement patterns, our clients began making more consistent progress with a lot fewer cases of getting stuck on specific skills.
Over time, we found our groove, and it feels really good to make things we enjoy and see them help so many people.
Some Important Milestones from GMB’s History:
- 2005 – I met Ryan at his first fitness seminar in Japan.
- 2006 – Ryan and Jarlo worked together on a yoga DVD.
- 2009 – Ryan and I started our first online coaching program.
I wouldn’t usually mention these things, but the thing that blows my mind is that, some of the clients from these pre-GMB days are still with us today.
- 2010 – Ryan shows off at a seminar, and Jarlo gets the idea for GMB. In just a few months, we get up and running with our first two programs and hire Amber to help answer emails. Ten years later, and she still manages most of the important details that make the company run
- 2012 – After hearing from a few hundred clients that don’t have the flexibility to perform the exercises in our main courses, we create Focused Flexibility to address that bottleneck.
- 2015 – After a few hundred more people ask us for a “Level Zero” into to GMB, we launched Elements to build foundational strength, flexibility, and motor control.
- 2018 – After working with about 40,000 clients, we decided that the standard online education model was less-than-ideal for teaching physical skills. We dedicated ourselves to spending the next two years and all our profits building the beginning of something better.
- 2020 – Holy shit, we finally manage to get all five of our core programs available through the Praxis experience.
- 2021 – Don’t get ahead of yourself…
I’m leaving out a ton.
But more important than what we’ve done is how we’ve helped. We’re way behind on updates, but you can see the stories from a few of our clients here, and we get emails and social medial comments everyday from people who’ve put in the work and gotten fantastic results.
Honestly, we’ve had a far greater impact than we would have had any right to expect back when we started. Through all this, we’ve tried to run our company with integrity and irreverence.
And as cliche as it might sound, we really feel like we’re just getting started.
It’s important to understand that every part of GMB was fully conceived and implemented by the three infallible gurus who started the company.
And if you believe that, I’d like to invite you to join our Platinum Membership for $1,000,000/month.
Over the years, we’ve had a lot of help. You can see that Amber, Andy, Gina, Verity, James, Stacey, Sara, Jenn, Jeffrey, Rose, SheenRu, Gene, Ben, Josh, and JC are the current rhythm section keeping our solos sounding tight. Clayton, Milos, Angela, Rachel, Jason, Simon, Adam, Alicia, Deston, Janessa, Kirsty, Chris, Sydney, Greg, and Chris also made important contributions.
Ten years is a pretty long time, and people come and go. That’s not always easy, but just like we can’t do this without our clients, we know that teaching on this scale is very much a team sport.
Here’s a few things we’ve learned:
You can’t make everyone happy.
One of the first things you learn when you put yourself out there and try to do something different is that some people are assholes.
There’s also people who have legitimate reasons for not needing or liking you.
The trick is knowing the difference. It can be humbling and painful, but critique can make you stronger and better at what you do. At the same time, trying to please every critic is a recipe for a terrible product (with a heaping side of anxiety).
Luckily, we’re not in the happiness business.
You never graduate from the basics.
It’s always been true that a small number of things, executed consistently at high degree of quality, will produce far greater results than constantly trying to jump ahead to fancier stuff.
Practice the basics as if they were advanced. That’s the key to advancing.
People ask us all the time:
- How many reps should I do before I switch to a harder exercise?
- How long will it take to learn a handstand?
- Why should I practice crawling?
And the answer is that most of us don’t give enough attention to things we consider “easy.” We rush through them and don’t even notice how badly we’re doing them. Things like push-ups or bodyweight squats or basic locomotion. Everyone assumes they “already know” how to do them.
In reality, we all already know how to do them like crap, but if that’s enough, why are you even reading this?
We talk a lot about basics on the podcast. I like talking about how much time high-level athletes spend on very, very basic things. Serena Williams still practices her serve. She’s one of the greatest athletes who’s ever lived! Steph Curry still practices hundreds of free throws every damn day. And we think we’re “too advanced” to do any more work on smoothing out our basic movement patterns?
Spending time on those basics is what cements our mastery over them and allows us to profitably practice more complex things. It doesn’t mean you confine yourself to the basics forever until they’re perfect. But giving them your full attention lets you get more out of them and gives you the confidence and competence to practice the advanced stuff.
Even for GMB as a business, we’ve found this to be true. Getting too fancy too soon has never been the right choice.
We’ve killed off more ideas that didn’t workout than I know how to count. Some failed outright. Some simply outlived their usefulness. Others were… fine, but they took us away from what we’re best at and what we enjoy doing that makes an impact.
It takes humility to focus on things that aren’t flashy, and so far, it’s proven to be the right approach.
Practice always trumps theory.
Ten years ago, there was a LOT less info available online about training with gymnastic rings, so it made sense for Ryan to teach the skills properly, the way he learned them as a gymnast. Since then, loads more really good and experienced people are sharing what they know online.
That’s great, and we’re proud to hear from people we’ve helped inspire to teach and share their knowledge.
But with all that knowledge available, a lot of people have gotten very confused about the function and importance of experience in expertise. The ability to look up and read is not the same thing as expertise in a field.
The internet has created the illusion that we’re all part of some massive roundtable discussion among equals. While we may be equal as humans, we’re not all equally good at everything.
Ultimately, the ability to teach something effectively has a lot less to do with thinking you know the right answer than we’d like to admit. In reality, teaching is about what you can get the student to consistently execute. Over ten years, the content of our programs has seen a couple of major revisions, but not a single month has gone by that we didn’t some important adjustment to the way we deliver that info.
There’s a lot of theories about what works best, and we’ve tested many of them. We’re lucky we’ve had the opportunity to practice teaching so many thousands of clients, because that’s what’s truly made our programs as effective as they are.
So… thanks! I guess we’re just gonna keep on going.
I don’t have anything inspiring to end with.
This has all been a lot of work. It’s gonna keep being a lot of work. It’s a good thing we enjoy it enough to give a damn. And we appreciate everyone who’s been along for the ride.