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We teach 20,000 kids a year!
by Glenn Hayden, Cutting Edge Athletics

My favorite thing about owning a gymnastics club is that it’s a blank canvas waiting for you to paint your masterpiece. It literally has no bounds, whatever you can dream, you can create. At Cutting Edge, we love thinking up new ideas and bringing those thoughts into reality. Three of my favorite dreams that have become realities are our mobile program, energy producing bicycles and using heart rate monitors in our ninja fitness classes.

Mobile Program

First, our mobile program goes to elementary schools and teaches over 20,000 kids each year. We set up once each Friday after school. The next week we have 2 instructors that teach, side by side with the P.E. teacher, all the gym classes during the school week. We have one lesson plan for the year, where the hardest skill is a forward roll. Then on Friday, we pack it up and bring it to the next school. This program just celebrated it’s 10-year anniversary and has been completely booked a year in advance, with a waitlist, for the last 8 years. Here is a short video of the program in action:

Getting into the schools was the fun part (no sarcasm here, it really was fun). We put together a packet that answered all of the school’s questions:
  1. a description of gymnastics taught
  2. prices
  3. proof of insurance
  4. my resume, USAG Safety certification and other USAG online and live trainings
  5. my background check
  6. A picture of what we would be bringing
  7. Anything else that would answer any questions they may have
Once we had this packet assembled, we made a super cool poster to put on the wall at Cutting Edge, “Are we coming to your school this year?” Our parents and students couldn’t contain their excitement and when they would ask us about it, we would simply give them a packet with all the information and wait for the phone to ring. We had teachers, principles and PTO parents sitting in our lobby every day and they were the ones that brought our program into the school systems.

As an added bonus, we pass out flyers inviting all the kids we teach each week (usually 500-900 kids) to open gym on following Saturday. Why does the school allow this? Because it’s a fundraiser! We donate 30% of the proceeds from the attendance of kids from their school back to the PTO. It’s a win-win. So not only do we get paid to teach during the week, but we also make added income at open gym.

It has also showed us exactly where our club needed to be located. If you have ever been to Jeff Metzger’s Boot Camp (highly recommended), you know he tells you the 3 most important things about your business is “Location, location and location”. Our old location had 1 elementary school within a 2-mile radius and our new location has 10 elementary schools within 2 miles. Once we moved to our new location (4 months prior to this article), our enrollment went up 40% and that number is still growing. Thank you, Jeff!

Green Machines

Another idea that has come to reality is our Green Machines. It’s always been challenging to keep the kids busy when we rotate to trampoline. Now, thanks to Doug Davis the Founder of Tumbl Trak, we have introduced stationary bicycles that produce energy. While the kids are waiting for their turn on trampoline, they are powering up a laser light show on the ceiling, plasma balls, power banks for parents to charge their cell phones and laptops and several other mind-blowing contraptions that Doug has engineered. The buzz and word of mouth from this is nothing short of amazing.

We have even taken these green machines into several elementary schools to teach green energy in their science classes. Schools want and need this curriculum and will knock down your door to get it. One of the most memorable experiences with the green machines was when we took them to a 4th grade classroom to do a lesson on green energy. The school’s power went out and they were the only classroom not left in the dark. Here is a link to a local news broadcast featuring the green machines. This is an untapped market that could easily become another source of daytime income or its own stand-alone business.

Heart Rate Monitors

Finally, we are now using heart rate monitors in our programs, inspired once again by Doug Davis who in recent years, started a business called Heart Tech Plus. The heart rate monitor system works seamlessly during our ninja fitness classes and our mobile program at schools, (the teachers love, love love the data!). Our ninja fitness classes are a blend of some ninja obstacles, gymnastics and the USAG fitness program. Both, our mobile program and our ninja fitness classes, are very cardio-based. So, it only made sense that we introduce heart rate monitors to show the kids (and parents) how much of a workout they are getting.

At the beginning of class, we place heart rate monitor armbands on the students. During the duration of the class the students (and parents of our ninjas) see their active heart rate on a big screen TV, which immensely increases the motivation to keep their bodies moving. Now, there are no boys standing in line wrestling with one another, instead they are doing self-motivated jumping jacks or running in place, so that they can watch their heart rate (and number of steps) climb. At the end of class, a report for each individual child can be emailed home (or recorded at school) that contains their highest heart rate, lowest heart rate, number of steps, a graph of their heart rate during the entire class and other cool facts and figures. In our ninja fitness classes, the heart rate monitors information and the USAG fitness nutrition handouts are great tools for the parents to continue training the benefits of a healthy lifestyle long after the class has ended. The value of our ninja fitness classes is priceless to most of our parents. Take a look at this program in action here:

I sincerely hope this article gives you some great ideas and gets you to think “out of the box”. Your business is a blank canvas and is only confined by your imagination. Start painting your masterpiece!

Warmest regards,
Mr. Glenn