Eric Malzone: Hey, cats and kittens, this is Eric with the Future of Fitness Podcast and the Fitness Marketing Alliance, and welcome back for episode number seven. Here I get to talk to Jason Brown. He is with, he is the founder and head coach there. He has carved out an interesting niche for himself, and he’s doing extremely well. He … and for those of you who are programming junkies like myself, this is an episode for you. He talks about his training with Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell, some of his favorite references for program design, like “Supertraining” by Mel Siff, and there’s also some great business lessons as well.

He talks about why it’s so important to explain the “why” to your clients, and what I mean by that is telling them why you’re doing a specific movement and why you’re doing a specific workout a specific way, right, get buy-in from them, which gets more engagement, which gets better retention and better overall results for your client. It’s a really interesting point and some great tips there. It’s also a great lesson in leveraging and scaling. He has done a great job of finding an itch that needed to be scratched, taking care of it, and then leveraging his relationships, and now he’s scaling up to a global level, and it’s really impressive, and Jason’s just an all-around great guy, so tune in, enjoy.

I’d also like to announce, in a very excited tone, that we have our first sponsor, which is Busy Bar. It’s, and it’s a great bar. He sent some to us, and I’ve been eating quite a few of them. I enjoy all the flavors, actually. It’s only one gram of sugar, right, that’s huge, especially for those who are interested in doing keto or any kind of low-carb dieting. It’s the highest quality protein available. It’s grass-fed whey protein, and it’s only six net carbs, and nine grams of fiber. If you go to their website,, B-U-S-Y-B-A-R dot C-O, and you enter in the promo code FMA10, so that’s F as in Frank, M as in Mary, A as in Arnold, 1-0, you’ll get 10% off. That’s for every product, every order for the rest of time, so go to the website, check it out, order something, and support our supporters. Without further ado, Jason Brown of

Hey, everybody, this is Eric with the Fitness Marketing Alliance, and today I have the pleasure of sitting with Jason Brown from I know Jason primarily through the Two-Brain Business group and our friends in that group, and I’m excited to highlight him because I think he’s doing some really cool stuff in the fitness industry, especially for people in the world of CrossFit and functional fitness. He’s got a massive background in coaching and program design, which is one of the things I love to geek out on as well, so Jason, thank you for coming on, and the first question I always ask everybody is, “What is your fitness story?”

Jason Brown: Oh, man. I don’t think we have enough time for that one. I’ve just been involved with strength conditioning for, since I was a little kid. My mother was a powerlifter, so I was always kind of getting taken to the gym, even when I was, I don’t know, old enough to remember, five, six years old, and seeing all these big meatheads lift weights. My mother was very, very strong and was really into it, so I think it kind of just naturally carried over to me, so it was-

Eric Malzone: What was some of your mom’s numbers? Do you know those?

Jason Brown: Yeah, so I believe she had a 225 bench, and I think she was in the-

Eric Malzone: Wow.

Jason Brown: … I can’t remember her weight class, but I think she was around 120 to 130 pound range, not a huge person, but she had a 225 bench, over 300 pound squat in deadlifts. She was just really an amateur power lifter, but she was very, very strong, and she used to arm wrestle all my friends in high school and beat them. It was really kind of funny growing up with a mom that has a six-pack and big biceps.

Eric Malzone: Yeah, it’s not normal.

Jason Brown: No, it’s not, it’s not, so I think for me it kind of just sparked that interest, and … I guess it was just more, that was normal to me, lifting weights was normal, so it was just kind of cool being able to see that stuff and actually think back on it and what it was, how I perceived it then versus what it’s actually like now, is kind of funny.

Eric Malzone: You were raised by a powerlifter. Go on through, tell us how you got to, I know you were in the military, but kind of progress us through that whole point to where you are now in the world of fitness. Yeah, give us some more detail on that, I’m curious.

Jason Brown: Sure, yeah, so the love for training was first, and then as I got into sports, I played football, I did track and field, going through strength and conditioning was part of that, and I was lucky enough to train with some really great strength coaches, a few of which that were, went on to be division one strength and conditioning coaches, so I got exposed to that and it was really more of a means of getting better at my sport, but it was really what I loved as much as, if not more than the actual sports I was playing, was the actual training process. I got to train at a facility that was local, and like I said, some really great coaches were working there, and I think when I was 18, one of the coaches had to leave, and said, “Hey, do you mind taking this group of,” they had a group of guys that were in their 40’s, through their program, “Here’s their programs. Can you just make sure that if they have questions, you answer their questions?”

Yeah, I was a little nervous to do that. I had been training for a long time, but I had never coached anyone or answered anyone’s questions. It was more I was the one asking the questions and going through the process. When I had the opportunity to sort of train these guys and answer their questions, I realized that I actually knew more than I knew that I knew, so it was kind of a confidence builder, and I was like, wow, I really, it was enjoyable, it was something I could see myself doing. From there, I decided to become an intern and become a certified personal trainer. I don’t even remember what certification I got, I think it was the … honestly, I can’t even remember. It was online, it probably wasn’t a very good one. I started training people interning there, and more of under the supervision of other coaches, and more or less kind of facilitating. I wasn’t really coaching anyone, but I was asking a lot of questions and just being naturally curious.

That really kind of started things off for me, and I think it was in 2004 I realized that I needed to go work somewhere else on my own and start establishing my own clients and my own voice. That was during college. I was still training at the facility I had interned at, and then I was working at a commercial gym as a trainer, training some regular people, training some athletes, and obviously training myself during that time, kind of splitting time between the commercial gym and the facility that I had interned at. I just happened to get exposed to CrossFit from one of the trainers that was working there, and it was kind of one of those moments you’re like, “What the hell are you doing?” This was in 2006, CrossFit was not what it is now. No one knew about it, I didn’t know anything about it, other than the fact that this guy would be on the ground making weird noises after enduring his workout, so just to me it was like, “What is happening here that’s causing that much pain?” I remember this guy was an old-school bodybuilder, and he said, “You’re not man enough to do it.” I was like, I mean, he basically called me out, and I said, “All right, I’ll do it.” The next day, he took me through the Filthy Fifty, the day after that, he took me through Fran.

I still remember my first Fran time was 5:02. I was really strong, I could do the thrusters no problem, I did strict pull-ups, and I was on the ground for an hour after that workout. I threw up. I mean, it was bad, I can’t even, that pain that I felt was something that I’ll never forget, and I just didn’t understand how five minutes of training could facilitate such a response. That was, I think that has happened to a lot of people with CrossFit, and I think you probably can identify with the first moment that you went through a high-intensity workout and was basically put on the ground afterwards, that it’s painful, but it’s also like, “Okay, this makes me curious. I want to know what’s happening here. What caused that, how did that happen, why was it so brutal?” I think a lot of that stuff back then in the strength conditioning world just wasn’t, there wasn’t a lot about energy systems, and why is a workout like Fran so brutal, and you think, we know now why it is, but back then it was very mysterious to me, and it kind of sparked that interest.

Yeah, that’s kind of how everything played out. I went into the military after college. CrossFit was a huge part of the training system for what was preparing us for what we needed to do. I always wanted to open a gym, but I didn’t really know how, and CrossFit kind of gave me the ability to open a gym without needing a ton of money, and everything that you need to open a regular commercial gym. It gave me the ability to open a gym. As soon as I got out of the military, we opened our gym, we were open, I got home from a deployment and a month later, my wife and I had our gym open and running, open for business and starting to train people in CrossFit.

Eric Malzone: Awesome.

Jason Brown: Yeah.

Eric Malzone: How did you go from, describe the evolution from gym owner to what is now

Jason Brown: I think, really one of the things that I had an advantage with was having the strength conditioning background and then blending that with CrossFit. I got exposed to the conjugate method in 2004, and I incurred some of the greatest success I ever had in strength training with the conjugate system. When I started to do CrossFit, I didn’t make the connection that the two were very much aligned as far as the overall goal of what they were both trying to achieve. I thought that CrossFit, because it was constantly varied and more emphasis on the conditioning aspect thing, I thought the two were almost separate training platforms, which, in reality, they’re not. I know that now, I didn’t know that then. I tried to blend the two, and it went really well, and there were points in time where I said, “Oh, I want to try some more linear periodization, or more block type, where we’re focusing on certain things for certain amounts of time,” and that never really got us where we wanted to go. It never really yielded the same results. In combining that with the CrossFit, there were also a lot of issues with that, as far as overuse injuries and people feeling run down.

I think it was 2012 I started blending them together again, even though I took a little bit of time off and experimented, and from then on I used the conjugate system, basically the template for the conjugate system with energy systems work, and the two blended together incredibly well in the sense that people are bringing up their limiting factors. They’re getting healthy doses of things that they might need more of, like the GPP pieces, that they’re just as important, but they’re not as cool-looking on paper. We really, really emphasize bringing those things to the forefront and building value and pushing and pulling sleds and doing loaded carries and things of that nature. I think when I started with Chris Cooper, when he was with 321Go, he really kind of pushed me to program, and I loved programming, but I didn’t know that I was good at it. I knew that our clients had great results, I knew that we kept people healthy and our injury rates were incredibly low, and I knew other gyms were on to the fact that are programming was different, but I didn’t know that I would be doing that for other people at that point in time.

Chris kind of kept pushing me to write content, do this, do that, and it was kind of just a way of me getting comfortable putting myself out there, which for me was never a comfortable thing. Once I started getting more comfortable with that and shooting videos and working with my first few clients, really from there it just kind of snowballed. I had, I think, 4 clients, and then a few months later I had 25 clients, and then a few months later I had 50, and it’s gone pretty consistently like that since I started this back in, it was 2015 now.

I think there’s been a lot that’s changed in, the time [inaudible 00:14:28], and I think that’s the great thing about programming, that it’s, we’re always getting new information, it’s constantly evolving, but one thing that holds the test of time is results, and if people are getting results, their athletes are feeling better, they’re looking better, and that’s one of those things that gets, we forget about, “Hey, people want to look better.” Well, we can’t do [inaudible 00:14:48] bicep curls, that’s not, that’s frowned upon in CrossFit, it’s like, “Well, why not? Do you want better looking biceps?” Of course, and you also want better pull-ups, so if we build up your biceps, not only is it, you’re going to look better, but that’s going to carry you over to other cool things that people want to get better at it.

I really just made it my mission to emphasize the less sexier components, the GPP work, the unilateral work, band work, things that just are not common, and the results just speak for themselves, they do the rest for me. People hit PR’s in their lifts and they start looking better, I don’t have to say really much anymore after that. Results are results, right, they don’t lie. That’s kind of what has, I think, sustained us and enabled up to keep growing as a business.

Eric Malzone: I love that, so, within, obviously I have a strong CrossFit background, but I took it upon myself too to constantly go out and educate myself on things outside of the CrossFit silo, right, it tends to be this echo chamber. If you’re talking to maybe a gym owner or a young coach who can’t afford your services yet or whatever it is, where do you tell them, if they’re in the CrossFit world, where do you tell them to go educate themselves? Where would you tell them to go and become a more well-rounded coach and program designer?

Jason Brown: That’s a great question. I think CrossFit does a great job at packing a lot into a weekend. I always get something, I’ve been to a handful of CrossFit certifications now, and I always get something great from them. The thing that I think from a programming perspective that’s not covered is things like progressive overload, things like linear periodization. Now, I’m not a linear periodization guy, but there’s still a value in understanding different types of periodization. I think a lot of that stuff is evolving too, CrossFit has more courses now, but for me one of the best certifications I did was the CSCS, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. There is so much in that textbook, I still refer to that textbook on a constant basis, because whether you want to get into exercise science or actually the practical side of things, there’s just such a wealth of information in that textbook that you could really learn about everything, and not just gymnastics progressions, or how to teach someone how to do a med ball clean, there’s just a lot of great stuff in that textbook.

The name of the textbook is “Essentials of Strength Conditioning”, and it’s the textbook for that cert that you need to read. That’s a great one. “Supertraining”, I think, is the bible of all there is training. I mean, there is everything in “Supertraining” that there is in that textbook, and then some, and that’s where actually the conjugate system really came from, is a lot of the principles from the Russian system. There’s so many things out there, and if you just stick to one thing, you get one thing, and as much as we know, there’s so much more that we don’t know. I think those are some great places to start. There’s a lot of great online places, I mean Elite Fitness System has a million articles on their site, a million articles, I mean, you could-

Eric Malzone: Yeah, that’s not exaggeration, either.

Jason Brown: It’s not, so, I mean, there’s a lot there. I actually just wrote a blog about this, because I get this question quite a bit as far as, “What is a list of the top 10 resources?” “Supertraining”‘s on there, the “Essentials of Strength Conditioning”‘s on there, “Practice and Science of Strength Training”, all of these are great books. I will say “Supertraining” is … actually, I put it right next to me, “Supertraining” is, it’s got to be 600, it’s close to 600 pages, yeah, 550 pages, and that’s the type of book that I think the best way to read it, from how I’ve had success with it, is going through the table of contents and highlighting things that you are interested in. “All right, I’m interested in learning about endurance training.” Highlight that, go read it. “I’m interested in learning about bodybuilding.” Highlight that, go read it. Shock methods. I mean, you could literally, there’s 30 pages of contents, of … the glossary is 30 pages long, so there’s a lot of different topics that you can go through and read about. You don’t have to read it from cover to cover. I think that’s actually probably the worst thing you could do. A lot of people will. I can speak personally, I, so I read the first 30 pages and I was like, “Holy shit.” It’s really, it’s got everything, so …

Eric Malzone: Here’s a question for you-

Jason Brown: Did that answer your question?

Eric Malzone: Yeah, that was a great, that was excellent, “Supertraining”, so yeah, I think, I’ve been in this industry long enough to see that, and this bugs me, it bothers me, that physique competitors will shit on enduros, right? Kettlebell specialists will shit on CrossFit, right? There’s just this constant thing, and meanwhile, there’s a whole world if we just shared a little bit more information. What, do you have a, what would you tell to the fitness industry as a whole, right, as far as how can we push, take this whole ting, and just push it forward if we just communicated a little better possibly?

Jason Brown: That’s a great one. I think there’s something to be said about what everyone does. There really is. I’m a big believer in concurrent training, and that’s what the conjugate system is, that’s what CrossFit is. You can bring up multiple aspects of fitness simultaneously, and that’s something that, even to me, back when I started CrossFit, was like, “Hey, you can’t do that. You need to focus. You want to develop power, you need to focus on power development for the next 8 to 12 weeks,” and that’s simply not the case anymore. That stuff has kind of been turned on it’s head. I think it’s like a toolbox. If you have more tools, you have more chance of success. If you only have a hammer and a screwdriver, you can only do so much with a hammer and a screwdriver. Eventually you’re going to need an adjustable wrench, you’re going to need a socket, a ratchet, a level. You’re going to need more tools in your toolbox, and that’s, all of these types of training, whether it be endurance, it be bodybuilding, training for the Olympic lifts, maximum for power development, all of those things have a place, and it really just depends on who are we giving it to. Are we giving it to someone that has never trained before and they just want to look and feel better? Are we going to have them do power development?

Probably not, because they don’t really care about power development. They don’t even know what power development is, nor do they need to know, but there are a lot of things that we can give them that’s going to get them closer to their goal. My whole thing is, I want to get people closer to their goals, and that’s why I love working with the general population because we know that their goals are pretty basic. They want to look better, feel better, that’s number one and two. Then what happens is, all these things start happening organically. They’re like, “Okay, I want to be stronger. It’s cool to lift weight up off the floor. All right, I want a faster Helen time because I really like that workout, and if I’m getting faster that means my [inaudible 00:22:22] pull-ups are better, and that means I’m able to sustain my 400-meter efforts better than I once was when I started.”

All these things happen organically, and that’s, I feel like, one of the coolest parts about owning a gym and seeing people really kind of, their horizons really broaden because they’re like, “Okay, I look better and feel better, but now I want to get better at snatching, or I want to get better at gymnastics movement.” Whatever gets people closer to their goals in the safest possible way, that’s what I’m all about. If it takes doing hypertrophy work to get them there, than we do it. If it takes getting them to pull sleds, then we do it. We do all those things that give them the biggest bang for the buck.

Eric Malzone: That’s great, that’s a great message, Jay. Let’s get to your business here. Who is your ideal client? Who is your, what we call here, who’s your avatar?

Jason Brown: I would say really anyone that is open-minded to doing some things that they might be uncomfortable doing, because I tell everyone that signs up with Box Programming that you’re going to see things you’ve never seen before. For most people, they’re going to see things they’ve never seen before. Now, of course there’s some people out there that have been exposed to block squatting and the conjugate system, and maybe they’ve done some things that are “outside the box”, but just be ready to see things that your athletes might not want to do. They might not want to pull a sled, and they might not see the value in it yet, but be open-minded, build the value in it, explain to people why we’re doing it, and just kind of hang on for the ride. Because once we get past, I tell people 16 weeks, we can retest things, we can show them that what we’re doing works. We can also show them that, “Hey, how does your shoulders feel? How does your lower back feel?” Once that happens, that’s when the real magic starts happening form there, because then you have people’s trust, and it just takes that time.

I want people that will stick with it for four months before they say, “Hey, it’s a no-go.” For me, once people get to that four-month mark, my retention is incredibly high. I almost never lose people after four months. It’s before then where people say, “Hey, I don’t like programming sleds. I don’t like programming farmers’ carries and the things that aren’t as cool.” They want to do maybe more things that are cooler looking on paper, I get it, but give it some time because Rome wasn’t built in a day. Take some time, and once people see their retests, and they see significant progress … I don’t like five, ten pounds. Five, ten pounds is I got a good night’s sleep, maybe I had a good week of eating. I want to see 20, 30, 40, 50 pound PR’s on lifts. I want to see drastic improvement on pieces that are less than 10 minutes, not just 30 seconds, I want to see a couple minutes off those, and we see it. That’s what I really tell people, “Be open-minded, give me 16 weeks, and if you’re not happy, then there’s no pressure, no harm, no foul.” What I do, I believe in what I do, but what I do isn’t for everyone, either. I mean, that’s what the greatest thing we have, is having multiple options out there for people. I think that’s probably what my perfect client would be.

Eric Malzone: Awesome. Now that there’s starting to see some competition in the market for what you do, how do you, how does Box Programming, how do you as a coach, how do you differentiate yourself from people coming into the market?

Jason Brown: I think that we do a great job in giving people knowledge, educating them on what we’re doing, and not just doing something because it fits in or it’s cool-looking. Being able to educate people is really, really … it’s difficult, but we produce a ton of content on a consistent basis, and the whole reason for that is to educate people, because if they understand why we’re doing what we’re doing and they can articulate that to their clients, that really sets them apart from the gym down the street that’s not doing that. Most gyms, they might not, I think more gyms are starting to, but I know for a period of time that, and even when I opened my gym, I wasn’t thinking about, “Hey, I’ve got to tell my clients the ‘why’ behind every workout.” I mean, that’s something that you might not think about if you’re not, I guess, if you’re not thinking about it. Educating people is something that we take a lot of pride in, producing content, and giving people options as far as workouts. Multiple scaling options, we have multiple levels, we need multiple scaling options. It’s not just Rx and then just two options. We need multiple options.

I program a beginner option for just about every workout. The beginner option might be less volume, it might be less time, it might be less loading, it might be a completely different workout. All right, if we’re doing a workout like Grace, most people that are new that just graduated on-ramp, they don’t know how to cycle a barbell. Are they going to get any intensity from cycling an empty barbell, doing muscle clean and push press? No. Are they going to get intensity doing a four-minute [inaudible 00:27:56] wrap of five deadlifts and five burpees? Yes.

Most people can do that, yeah, and it’s a terrible workout, but we’re teaching them to feel intensity, and that requires different context, I feel, and if we’re only giving people a couple options, then not only does it not give their clients their desired stimulus, but it also doesn’t keep their classes efficient, because you’re going to run into those people that aren’t ready to do whatever movements that you’re doing for that day. We need to have options available, it makes it easy, and it also makes it easy for those clients to feel comfortable and say, “Hey, yeah, I’m not really great at CrossFit yet. I just started, I don’t know much, but I know that I can do a deadlift and a burpee, and I can do an air squat, and I can do these basic movements, these foundational movements.” That’s something that we really, really go above and beyond, is giving them multiple options that are going to facilitate all levels.

Eric Malzone: That’s huge. I can say I am extremely guilty of not explaining the “why” to almost all my clients. You just assume, right, like, “Well, I know all this, they must know the basics of it.” It goes, it’s undeniably a huge differentiator to tell your clients why you’re doing things, get them bought in, understand that … I think Chris Cooper has a great example of why people are doing Grace, right? Why are you doing 30 cleaning jerks for time? Well, it has this metabolic effect, and it’s scalable, and all these things that you can teach them. We miss all these great teaching opportunities, and I think if you can help your clients be better teachers, then that’s a huge asset, and I see a lot of value in that. Where do you see Box Programming in two years? Do you have a roadmap on how to get there? What do you envision?

Jason Brown: Yeah, we … I like the pace that we’re going now, and I like the things that we’ve been working on from a development standpoint and behind the scenes, so I see us continuing down the same path that we’re going on as far as having really healthy growth, but I do think that there’s, everything evolves, the programming evolves, the service evolves, so I do think things that will, things will change over time, and I think that we would like the ability to reach more people, and that’s something that’s kind of uncharted territory for us. We’ve never really done advertising, I think we had a Facebook ad a couple times, so I just was, I see us trying to increase more awareness about what we’re doing, and reaching more people that might see the value in what we’re doing. In two years, I would, I see it going the same place, but I see key aspects of how we operate will probably evolve as far as adapting to more people in the same space.

There’s a lot of gyms out there, there’s more and more gyms every day, and there’s a lot of gyms that aren’t CrossFit. I actually work with quite a few non-CrossFit gyms right now. Not quite a few, but a few CrossFit gyms, and there’s definitely a lot more of that, so it’s kind of funny how things work. I can’t see the future honestly, but we’re just trying to stay foot on the gas pedal and stay, keep doing what we’re doing and really trying to find people that align with our core values, and that’s really the biggest. The thing that I hold most important is finding people that really see the value in what we’re doing and have the same core values that we have and are trying to help get their clients closer to their goals in the safest possible way.

Eric Malzone: Awesome. That’s a great answer, and yeah, I’ve watched you grow, I have no doubt that you will continue to grow and be a force in the industry as well. Jay, how do people find you if they want to talk to you or if they want to talk about your services?

Jason Brown: I’m glad you asked that, because you can go on my site and book a free call, under “Contact”. It’s It’s right on the homepage. Now, I prefer that everyone that signs up books a call first. Of course there are people that sign up and that don’t book calls, but I love to talk to people first, and just be very transparent about what we’re doing. I don’t want you to buy my programming and say, “Hey, where are the handstand push-ups and ring dips and all of the higher skill stuff?”, not to say that we don’t ever do that stuff, because we do, but I will say there’s probably less than some gyms are used to, so I like to lay all that stuff out with new clients before they start so they know exactly what they’re getting, and I feel like it definitely fosters a much better relationship if they’re on-board with what I’m doing, and I’ve been able to really answer all their questions and maybe help alleviate all the stress of switching to new programming. Switching to new programming is not easy, it’s a big change, so if we can help make that transition smoother, it more than likely will be done over a call before you start, so book a call, we can chat and see if things make sense.

Eric Malzone: Cool. That’s great. I know you’re also really active on Instagram, and I know your website has a ton of content, so find him at, and Jay, thank you, we’ll be in touch for sure.

Jason Brown: Thanks, Eric, appreciate it, man.

Eric Malzone: All right, man. Take care. Thank you for listening to this episode of the Future of Fitness podcast and webinar series. We’re working really hard here to keep varied content coming out, and we’d like to express our gratitude by offering you a free seven-day marketing crash course. Here’s how you can claim it. If you go to gift, and you enter the promo code FITMARK, F-I-T-M-A-R-K, you can claim it that way. The other way is you can text us, so you can text the phone number (805)619-5550, and you text the word FITMARK, F-I-T-M-A-R-K. Thank you, keep listening, go claim that offer, there’s a ton of value, and if you ever want to get ahold of me, or if you suggestions for guests, topics, or anything else, or if you just want to ask me questions, I always respond, you can reach me at Keep listening, we have a lot more coming down the pike, and we’ll make sure that we’re keeping the value great for you guys. Farewell ’til next time.


Eric Malzone

Eric Malzone

Eric’s professional experience stems from a decade in various sales and marketing roles that led him to open a CrossFit (TM) affiliate in 2009, Gravitas Fitness. After 8+ years of gym ownership and a deep analysis of his own “ideal day,” Eric decided to sell his gym and go full throttle into FMA.

The success that he saw during his days as a gym owner, can now be leveraged to help thousands of gym owners worldwide.
Eric Malzone


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