Health Podcast Post

Making Radical Change with Devan Kline

George Grombacher December 6, 2023

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Making Radical Change with Devan Kline

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Devan Kline

Devan Kline

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:02
Devan Klein is the co founder of burn boot camp, an organization that he took from a $600 Parking Lot venture to a $500 million enterprise 42 states in growing. Welcome, Devin.

Devan Kline 0:14
Hey, what’s going on? George, thanks for having me. I’m

george grombacher 0:19
excited to have you on tell us a little about your personal lives more about your work, why you do what you do? Listen,

Devan Kline 0:25
I’ll give you just a quick walk down memory lane. All right, and you tell me if you want me to elaborate, I’ll try to do it quickly for everybody. You know, just to get to know me a little bit. I grew up in Battle Creek, Michigan, you know, it’s a little corner of Southwest Michigan. And my father and my mother, they were like, you know, firecrackers in a bucket. Like, there was a crazy chaotic upbringing, you know, full of drugs and alcohol abuse and fighting and you know, you name it, just give you an example. But by the time I was 18, you know, I know of at least 50 Plus criminal charges that were filed against both of them. So it’s that kind of kind of upbringing, which, which, you know, I wouldn’t change for the world, I love my parents, I’ll thank them for everything, they did good. But in everything that they didn’t do so well, that made me who I am, because I think it’s both sides. And because of that, I escaped to the baseball field to the basketball court. And, you know, around around when I was 12 years old, I also met Morgan, who’s my wife, who runs burn bootcamp with me today, or 385 85, location, fitness franchise out of Charlotte, North Carolina. And we inspire and power and transform lives through community based fitness. And so my wife and I had known each other since we were 12. In between her and escaping to the baseball field, were my two outlets. I found entrepreneurship. I didn’t know what the word meant by any means. But you know, when you’re either you build a business out of desperation or inspiration, right, for me, not having money, being on welfare, you know, having to stomach not being able to go through the normal lunch line at school, but having to go through the, you know, the welfare lunch line where you couldn’t get the chocolate milk, that was the biggest difference. And I wanted the damn chocolate milk. So I started a little snow shoveling business 20 minute snow removal where I get me and a couple of buddies, I’d knock on doors, cold selling, and they’d come behind, clean it up, we’d split the money three ways, did that for a few years, saved up enough to buy a car bought a car. And then I found a little website called eBay. And I did a car flipped and did arbitrage there for the next two or three years until I finally set you know, business down to go play sports. I played Central Michigan University for three seasons got picked up by the San Francisco Giants to play some professional baseball. And after that got released, figured, hey, I want to do something that I love for the rest of my life that helps people I also wanted to be wealthy. I also wanted to break the chain, if you will, and you know, not end up broke, right, and disgruntled and bitter and resentful. Like my dad and his brothers and everyone, generally, generationally around me. And so that was really important for me to, to chase Chase, what I loved and why I was passionate about I wanted to do it through helping people and burn bootcamp was born, we can get into the story. And this was in 2012. Burton was born, we get into the story deeper, for sure. I will I won’t go on too much in the initial initial question here. But that’s a little bit of just the kind of a backdrop and we can stop anywhere along that journey and go as deep as you want.

george grombacher 3:30
I appreciate that. That’s, that’s well done. You said firecrackers in a bucket. I kind of thought oh, you know, they’re just feisty people. But turns out there really are there really were firecrackers in a bucket. So I appreciate Sorry, sorry about that man. And no chocolate milk. Do you still do you do love chocolate milk? Did you just have some a minute ago, because now you could afford it?

Devan Kline 3:50
Well, we have Afterburn way chocolate protein. So that’s my, that’s my chocolate bar. I turned it into a company. It tastes like chocolate milk. But you know how it is like, I’m sure you have those experiences when you’re a kid, right? And it’s insignificant now that we’re adults, but when you’re a kid, and you get made fun of for something like that, it’s like mood and like sticks out. It’s an embossment in your brain. And that experience means a lot in that moment. And, you know, for some reason, to me and my as I backtrack, my story that was I can remember that day vividly at Prairie View, high school, or preview Elementary School, and I’ll never forget it. I was really embarrassed.

george grombacher 4:28
These things stick with us for sure. I know I can point to probably lots of stuff that’s just always been there, for better or for worse. You strike me as a really, really positive energetic guy. Is that your natural state or is that something you work at?

Devan Kline 4:44
No, that’s definitely my natural state. I mean, people, you know, that’s one of the best compliments I can get. And one of the most frequent ones is, hey, anytime I’m around you there’s like energy and you’re always positive and optimistic and I really feed off of you when I’m around you. And you know that to me, was not as a natural gifting I think, for me to be a professional baseball player. I wasn’t talented enough, George, I didn’t have the 97 mile an hour arm I wasn’t six foot four, with huge hands that really matters. In baseball, my wingspan wasn’t seven foot. You know what I did, man, I just outworked everyone. And I was a great teammate, I was a great leader, I was always the first one to show up for practice, finish first and drills, you know, pull the guys along, be the guy, you know, rooting for the next guy no matter what. And also the guy holding other guys accountable when they were acting out of alignment with the championship culture that our team was going after. Right? We’re gonna if any team I was on, I always brought, I was always the leader. And I think that’s why looking back, I was on a lot of championship teams, because that was a good enough player to get the respect from the other players. So one of the best ones always, but never the best, but always brought the team together. And I think that’s the one thing I bring into the business world is just those years of wanting it so damn bad. covering every possible uncovering every possible element of the sport that I could in order to build up my resume so that coaches so that players would look at me as a leader. And so yeah, I was I was that guy. And then once people start recognizing you for something and giving you that positive feedback loop, then you get super intentional about it, right. So even when I’m at my lowest moments, even when I’m in the back of my own head, and I’m thinking about like, you know, my daughter just got sick at school and like, that’s, I gotta go in two hours, you know, I got this thing, I gotta reschedule it, and I’m in the middle of a conversation with somebody else. I kind of compartmentalize that, and just lock in and make them feel really special and important and admired. And, you know, I think that’s a theory that most people have that sign around their chest that says, hey, I want to be important and special and admired. And if I let my own personal life, get in the way of that at all, or interrupt that energy, then I’m not making the person on the other side of that conversation better. And I’m obsessed with that outcome every like even this interaction, we’re meeting for the first time, I hope that both of us walk away from this being a better human being just having a little bit more knowledge, a little bit more insight, meeting a new friend having another perspective to lean on. And so yeah, I think now, that’s what I mean by intentionality is you have it naturally, but never let it lapse, not even for a second. You don’t get to do that you’re, you have too much responsibility that you’ve chosen, you’ve chosen the responsibility. So

george grombacher 7:33
handle it with care. Amen. He talks about how, how dad, uncles, cousins, and I wrote down stuck in generational cycles. And in that example, it sounds like those are bad ones. You broke out of it. How do you think about that with your work? Now?

Devan Kline 7:53
That’s a great question. Well, I think about breaking that chain as something that’s you can’t just for those of you out there who have had something similar to this, right, there’s a lot of us that it’s you’ve got to be the one that can just break the chain by like doing things a little bit differently. Or just moving up a station, right? Like, you got to radically break the chain. I mean, like, you’ve got a hacksaw, you got to use the Bulk cutters and and then deteriorate and put in saltwater, do whatever you like, like the chain needs to evaporate, not just break. And so for me, that was always manifests and like not abusing substances. And like, even as you know, like, we just come off the generation where my dad, it was okay for my dad to like, take a belt to his ass and then right. And then for my dad’s generation, it was kind of not it was kind of frowned upon, right? But like still, in elementary school, my principal still had a paddle. I don’t think she was using it. But she still had it. Right. So it was like phasing out. And like nowadays, like, you know, I look at that, and I’m like, I can’t it’s not my standard can’t be to not physically abuse my child, right? That’s ridiculous. My standard is to make sure that that my child is in a position to help other people evaporate their chain as they grow older. It’s not, it’s not just one station away. It’s light years away. And jumping. You know, that’s how I think about it. And so that’s how I think about business too. So you can’t just you got to something that’s not working, and you keep banging your head over and over and over for months, years. And all of a sudden you You’re bleeding from your forehead, and you’re asking yourself, Why do I have a headache? Why Am I bleeding? Well, it’s because you’re just incrementally trying to change. You’re incrementally trying to strategize your way out of a bad situation. You’ve got to blow that situation up, and you’ve got to completely evaporate it and almost start from scratch. And so that’s kind of how it’s translated for me from my personal life to my business life, which is an interesting connection because I’ve never really thought about it that Wait until you ask the question.

george grombacher 10:01
Yeah, well, thank you for sharing that. I just, I work in personal finance. And so I would very well aware that there’s generational poverty. And it just goes over and over and over again. And I’m sure that that’s also true for our physical health. And when I’m thinking about the work that you’re doing, you’re helping women to become stronger and transform and empower them and their families and create confidence and happiness and discipline and all those kinds of things. It’s not dissimilar from the work that I’m trying to do. That’s just it’s not easy. Otherwise, people would do it more.

Devan Kline 10:38
Yeah, the discipline, the consistency, the persistency, that you apply to a business or, you know, a career advancement, it’s the same one you apply to your health, you know, you think about it this way, this is maybe a good way to think about it. Or at least the way that I think about it, is that you have eight kind of areas to your life. And each one of these areas, you do something every single day, a little something every day, that’s a deposit and one of these areas, like it’s your body, it’s your it’s your mind, it’s your spirit, it’s your emotion, to relationships, it’s your time, it’s your work, and it’s your money. And these things all have a separate definition. And nobody like I always say this, nobody wants to be the suicidal billionaire, like you don’t want to pour so much into the money bucket or the work bucket, that you leave your body behind, you neglect your spirit that, you know, you become so mentally engaged with making money that you become bitter and resentful toward humanity. And, and you stop making deposits into the bank that really matters, which is the memory bank, the experience bank with you and your family. And everything is all about how do I acquire green paper. So just it’s not a balancing act, I think it’s a act of harmony. It’s an act of how do I integrate my day, so that there’s at least one thing that I’m intentionally doing every day consistently over and over something that’s repeatable, that I can do every day. And I think it starts with body, I think it starts with moving your body, emotion and motion are so closely correlated, that if I can get up in the morning, and the first thing that I can do is set my body in motion, the one thing I don’t want to do the hardest thing that I’m probably going to do all day, well, then in all those other seven areas, if that’s my one thing for my body, I wake up and I move doesn’t have to be an hour, it doesn’t have to be a burn bootcamp, 45 minute workout, it can go, it can be a five minute jog, if that’s where you’re at, it can be 25 Push ups, if that’s where you’re at, where you’re starting, and let that momentum build because it will spill over into all seven of those other areas in your life, as long as you’re intentional about allowing it to, and from each kind of piece of the pie to the next there’s an open doorway, you know, where hey, my intention behind anchoring my life in my workouts is not to become some shredded physically fit person who’s chasing a six pack and a bikini body, right? It’s, it’s so that I think can become a person who does hard things. And if I can do hard things, I build my character, if I could build my character, I build my personality. Now my reputation is somebody you know, that does heart thing. That’s kind of the way I think about

george grombacher 13:20
Yeah, no, I think that that’s great. And we have gotten so far out of our bodies, and just, we’re just like, neck up now it just in our heads so much that I think that yes, doing. That’s what I do first thing in the morning is I need to move my body and get my butt moving for a lot of reasons, what you’ve just described really well. And if I wait till the end of the day to move my body, the odds of me doing it are a lot less. I imagine that you have wonderful data. And I have to imagine that one of the one of the challenges and opportunities to get people to consistently come to bootcamp what has what has worked in getting people to get their butt out of bed and get in there.

Devan Kline 14:05
So I’m going to tell you what I what I believe to be the catalyst around our, our success. And and we saw this through the pandemic, as everyone’s kind of isolating into their homes, you know, fitness companies start talking about, well, maybe the future of fitness is just people in their homes, because that was the closest current environment. And if we think about it that way, it would be the world’s biggest upset to have that be true given the 1000s and 1000s of years of tribalism communalism that has shaped who we are like we need each other to survive. And, you know, what’s the number one form of human punishment outside of death sentences isolation and solitude? And so there’s this built in innate factor communal factor. And so what we did with burn bootcamp, is we took person Little trainers such as myself, I’ve done 15,000 of our sessions. You know, we have about 2000 trainers in our organization now that are running our camps every day. And what we did is we took the best of the best. And we gave them a place that had values that had a jersey on their chest that they were proud of, that gave them creative freedom and autonomy, that imaginative creative artists type of trainer that’s like, we’re kind of like that we’re more like artists than we are like engineers, and you give the freedom and you give the creativity, well, now you have this desired place where the best of the best can come. And we make them personal trainers to teach them how to be personal trainers in a group setting. So that trainer has an individual relationship with all 300 400 500 onwards, our largest gym has over 800 members, they now become that that’s that have that connection to all of the different members, and then the community facilitator amongst them. And once you get like minded people in the room, who have the same values, we work hard at Berg. Like we used to have the MO of like, hey, it’s a fit community of like moms and women and their families. Like it’s kind of soft, and maybe it’s not too hard. Maybe it’s like a stroller strides, nothing against them, but you’re not going to change, you’re going to transform your body there. It’s a good segue program into some more intense training. We get after it, George like, flat out, you know, and so that collective suffering, that collective difficulty, really Bond’s people, and then you know, you bring a group of women together who want to build each other up rather than break each other down and invite their families, their children, their husbands, their boyfriends, or girlfriends to come in. And to experience that with them. It’s sticky, where we have a very sticky culture, and

george grombacher 16:52
its community is the answer to your question. As simple as it is. Its community. Yeah, well, that makes no sense the world to me, you know, I need a hand up. And I need a kick in the butt every so often. And I can’t do those things on my own. So having those people around me and having the place to go and knowing what I can expect and giving these trainers the autonomy and freedom to express themselves and to connect and make it fun while kicking their butts, I think is a recipe and obviously, obviously it’s working.

Devan Kline 17:26
Just one quick point on that too. Because a lot of times this is a Starbucks model if you think about it. Meanwhile, as you take a sip from yours, the thing about the barista Do you have a Starbucks that you normally go to that’s like maybe your go to and they may or may not know you, but I’ve been in situations where the barista knows the customers that are coming in. And when George walks in, they know George wants an extra pump of this or, you know, this specific order, that order might not be on the menu. Right, it might not be on the menu. It’s not that the barista is so creative and autonomous, where they’re just going off the rails and doing something outside of the brand, you know, and trying to make some random drink. They’re modifying what we call modifying off the baseline. They’re modifying off the baseline to the menu to meet you where you’re at as a customer. And that’s exactly what we do with our members, our trainers, they’re given that creative autonomy to modify upper down off the baseline to treat George like George right to not treat George like Devin, because they have two different needs. They might be good looking handsome bros with cool hair. But they also have different needs. You know what I mean? And so the trainer’s treat you that way. And that’s the autonomy that I think, actually, that’s the autonomy, it’s so counterintuitive, that actually eats the community together in the long run, right. Rather than trying to micromanage everyone and make everyone like cookie cutter robot trainers. They actually adhere to the baseline to the menu more because of the freedom that they’re given. There’s a duplicate, there’s a to a respect there. You know what I’m saying? I

george grombacher 19:00
love it. It makes a ton of sense. Beautiful. Well, Devin, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? How can they engage, there’s opportunities for you’re in 42 states and there’s still eight more to go. So there’s opportunities if you’re interested in going into business, and having the opportunity to partner with Devin and the amazing team and then obviously, if you’re interested in in in taking advantage of what he’s been talking about in the community and getting even in better shape or getting back in shape wherever you are at how do people do that.

Devan Kline 19:33
So if you are not near burn, download the burn bootcamp app. We have burn on demand and you can work out with us from anywhere in the US. And as long as you have us membership you can work out anywhere in the world. That or one of the burn bootcamp gyms. As you mentioned, if you guys want to know more about me, my YouTube channel is business oriented. And then my Instagram channel like blends everything together. So one of those two places and shoot me a DM on A comment I’ll be happy to connect and get to know you and in go deep. Excellent.

george grombacher 20:04
Well if you enjoyed as much as I did show Devon, your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas. Get the burn on demand app, check out Devon’s YouTube channel for business thoughts and advice, stuff like that. Find him on Instagram, where he deals a little bit of everything. And I will certainly link all those different places in the notes of the show. Thanks good Devin.

Devan Kline 20:27
Hey, thanks, George. Appreciate you man.

george grombacher 20:29
Till next time, remember, do your part by doing your best

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