Owner of WTF

Meet Stuart Brauer

consultant / gym owner / speaker

"It's not what you do. It's HOW & WHY you do it that separates the winners from the losers."

I think people look at what I've created and judge me as successful. But to me, what I've built is not a narrative to my success - it's the how and why that needs to be understood.

This didn’t happen overnight and it sure as fuck wasn’t easy but, if you don’t love the process, then you’ll never create the best end-product. You’ll discover that the process is never over and the "product" is never really finished.

I've been a student of strength and conditioning since I was in high school. Being skinny and a ginger was a tough gig. Plus, I was a fuck-up who constantly found himself in detention. Hanging out in the weightroom became an easy place to hide from mandatory trash collection.

I was self-educated up until going to college and earning my degree in Exercise Phys. In 2006, I found CrossFit.com and immediately understood the potential. So I bailed on my Masters program and went to work for the first affiliate that would hire me.

Life was great. My craft as a coach got better each year, but I looked around at the early affiliates and realized that business acumen was the missing piece of the winning equation. So I went the globo-gym route to develop the aspects of business you can't learn at a weekend certification - sales, retention, marketing, staff development, finances...you know, the shit that actually keeps your doors open.

A very successful globo gym career brought me to Charlotte, NC, where I started my side hustle...before #sidehustle was sexy - ESC Mobile Fitness.

I would contract with local apartment complexes and perform initial fitness assessments for all new residents. In addition to my 40 hour week globo gym career, I created a side business generating over $6,000/mo with 5 contracted trainers and a dozen apartments being serviced.

But foresight has always been my thing - being able to anticipate the next move and choosing to pivot before being forced to.

So after being fired from my globo gym gig over a non-compete (they weren't exactly thrilled I had started my own company and been mutlitasking for the past 6 months), I decided to completely flip my business model, converting my PT clients over to a group model.

I started with a boot camp in a local park. I would roll up with my pickup truck and $600 of Craigslist equipment. My clients would show up, get their workout in and then I spent the remaining 12 hours hanging fliers, going door-to-door with local businesses and searching for my first brick and mortar location.

In 2011, I signed my first commercial lease. It was 1,800 sq. feet, 10-foot ceilings and had to be completely gutted. The gym was ugly as fuck, but it was mine.

I knew I was never going to be able to compete with the bigger, more established gyms strictly based on my appearance, size, equipment inventory. 

But I knew that none of them could outwork me.

So that’s what I did. I went to work.

I outgrew that location and moved into a space 5x larger and 5x more expensive. The economics barely made fiscal sense. I could barely afford the larger facility, but my tenacity to grow my business was a force I couldn't compete with...math and Excel sheets stood zero chance of convincing me not to take this risk.

That risk happened to work out.

Constantly having the "What's Next?" mindset allowed me to pursue commercial building acquisition. Real estate was always the check-mate move for my business - because in case you haven't noticed, those dumbbells and membership contracts don't really create much of an asset.

So I bought a building. Completely up-fitted it in what I believe to be winning model that focuses on client experience first and brought in tenants like a spin studio, coffee shop and bodywork professionals to create rental income and enhance the brand.

During this 22 month process I got married, built a new house, my wife had a baby...oh and I started a business consulting service.

With all that being said...

My observation of the microgym market has always been unromantic. I love what CrossFit® allowed me to do - inspire a 22 year old kid to start his own gym - but I knew that my real love was for delivering an experience, not a PR.

I don't care if you're selling Zumba®, TRX®, yoga, CrossFit® or hoola-hooping in roller skates.

I’m more interested in the process, not the product.

The strict pull-up that Sally accomplishes awards the coach inside of me, but it’s how she got in the gym, why she stayed and what I’m going to do next with her that lights my brain on fire as a business owner.

I remember the exact day I decided to create a business consulting service.

I realized there were tons of opportunities to become a better coach, but very limited opportunities to become a better owner..

I also thought microgym owners deserved to hear a success story from somebody who didn't have 20k followers on Instagram, who didn't win the CrossFit Games®, who literally just woke up every damn day...

doing all the right things

for all the right people

for all the right reasons.

Now, I'm proud to say that I've worked with hundreds of micorgym owners starting, fixing or growing their business. Empowering them to forge their own path and achieve their business aspirations, because remember...

passion isn't enough to run your business...

there needs to be profit, too. 


I’m going to stay on your ass so that you can stay on your feet and keep hustlin until we’ve accomplished what we set out to do.

Get under the hood

I don’t just hand out templates and PDFs that are rinsed 'n' repeated to every business I work with - it's created and sustained by your unique situation.

For you, by us

We’ll co-create a tailored plan of attack that puts you in the best position to succeed based on your strengths and weaknesses as a business owner.