S.3 Ep. 22: Beachbody Events: 18,000 People Working Out

Beachbody’s events are pretty massive.  Leah Green sits down and walks through the details including a fitness portion that obstructs ten city blocks!

How did you end up at Beachbody? You’ve been there for 10 years?

Yes. I’ve been here for a long time. I actually got my start with beach body that summer right after I graduated from college and moved to New York. My degree is in broadcast journalism so wasn’t thinking about events at all. I was actually thinking about more in live production. So I had my resume out there just as a freelance PA and I got picked up by one of the production companies that we work with on our infomercials cause at the time we were all infomercial based and got there. It was actually for Brazil butt lift. If you remember that program. The first like day that we were on set and we were doing like before photos and everything, I just went up to one of the other guys who was in charge and I was like, I’m sorry, what are we doing right now? He was like, we’re going to do this fitness program. These people are getting amazing results and blah, blah blah. And long story short, it was supposed to be just freelance. I ended up sticking with it for another two programs. One of the producers of one of the programs said, Hey, if he ever moved to LA, give me a call. You know, you’re great. We’d love to keep working with you. All of a sudden I found myself moving to LA. That’s where my boyfriend was now husband at the time and called her up. I still transitioned to the Santa Monica office more in live production, working with success stories, the people who were using the programs at home and finding success. While that was happening, I was also getting to help out with the live events that we were hosting and really fell in love with that. We had sort of a changeover, a changing of the guards of how that department was being run. They knew they needed to beef it up and add more people and an opportunity for a coordinator on the team opened up and I threw my name in the hat and luckily I had one of my coworkers who was on the team at that time. I was really nervous. I was like, I don’t know anything about events, so what do I do? And she was like, don’t worry, don’t worry. We got this. Like, you can do this. It’s exactly what you’re already doing. Just a little bit different. I’ve been here ever since.

Tell us about the events.

The largest one we do is the coach summit. And that’s every summer. The most we’ve ever had We always like to say butts in seats. We always sell like a ton of tickets. But you know, you get attrition on that. So our biggest butts and seats was just over 18,000. I think that was the second year that we were in Nashville is when we had that many people. We’re used to it now, But the first time we ever experienced it, it’s completely overwhelming. We had several years where our event, we were doubling every year. The business itself and the coaches were, everything was catching on and we had our first summit together as an events team here in Los Angeles. So we had 2,500 people. The next year in Vegas we had 5,000. Then we had 9,000. And then it just kept growing and it was like every year it was like, how do we do this? So it’s like we learned together because we had all come from different places and it was the same thing, you know, everybody on the team was like, we’ve never done this before. We’ve never had this many people. How do we figure this out? And we just sort of learned as we went. I just am on the most incredible team. It’s like a well oiled machine. Everybody gets their marching orders and says, okay.

So how many people are your team?

I think it’s 10 people.

Year after year this thing’s growing. What goes into making it fresh?

Yeah, that is the challenge, how do you make it for those people? What we found is a lot of times it’s about 50, 50. When you’re talking about people coming to the event, about 50% are brand new, have never been before. And then there’s the other 50% that are the old guard, the coaches that we see every year that you recognize their faces, their names, that have been with us for forever. It’s that 50% who’ve been around for forever that you’ve got to figure out how do we make this so they want to keep coming back, you know, they keep coming back. What is it? Probably the biggest thing that we do is location change. So if you are in a position that you can do that, that’s one of the best things that you can do. One of the things that we do here at Beachbody is we typically do two years. We’ll do two events in that one city and then we move on. With every city like the, there’s pros and cons when you are planning for that. Obviously, when you are bringing 18,000 people into a city, the whole city has to be on board.

We take over the convention center, we take over the stadium, we take over all the hotels, we have room blocks, almost single hotel that’s within downtown area. We try to go to places where everything is within walking distance. If it’s not within walking distance, you have to set up a shuttle system. Ehere’s a ton of logistics, but essentially everyone in the city has to be on board. That’s typically the biggest hurdle to get over. When we come in, we find that most people are really excited to have us. We go to cities where we like the people and it’s typically, they’re excited to have us. So everybody gets on board. All the hotels say we’re in. All the local restaurants know that we’re coming, we’re prepping them in advance.

What other criteria do you go by to pick a city?

We’re very unique in that we have the live workout aspect. So for us, we can’t just go to a city with small meeting rooms. We need a convention center and we need those spaces to open up. We bring almost all of our super trainers with us and that’s the big thing when people, when coaches are coming to a live team beach body event, they’re coming, one, they want training, but two, they want to work out with their favorite trainers. We can’t just have one space that holds 3000 people. We have to have six. We need a lot of space. And then in addition to that, the coolest thing that we do at the summit every year is the super workout. We literally all 18,000 people work out all together. So that’s a huge undertaking working with the city, with all the police officers, with security of, because you have to shut down, you know, a dozen blocks of city traffic so that you can host this.

How do you deal with weather contingencies?

We have been so, so, so lucky that we have never had to move it inside, but we always have the rain plan. And the rain plan typically is, if that were to happen, you basically have to move everybody inside to the indoor workout spaces. It would never be as fun because everybody would need to be in the separate rooms and we’d be trying to live stream the trainers onto the screens that are existing in those rooms. If we needed to do it, we always know how, but it’s always preferred because you get that shot of standing on the stage and seeing 18,000 people in front of you.

Are you live streaming this out?

Some of the pieces do get streamed. I believe the last several years we have live-streamed our opening and our closing sessions. The opening is always on Thursday night. That’s where we do all the really exciting product announcements and the stuff that everybody’s been eagerly all year long.And then the Saturday night closing show is where we do most of our recognition.

People are torn between streaming and not streaming their event…

Yeah. The scariest thing is trying to make that decision because you don’t want somebody at the last minute to go, ah, forget it. I’m not going to go. I’ll just watch it at home. We’ve tried to appease the people that can’t be there by doing some pieces of it the meat and potatoes is really the training, the opening show and the closing show are fantastic and everybody loves them but the training is happening in general sessions and in workshops. That’s what we try to get people to actually be on site for. I’m trying to walk a fine line of, of letting people who are at home be engaged in the event because we know some people truly can’t be there, but then really pushing them of you have to be here to get the real gems.

Super Power:

So my superpower is my brain works widely. I have this ability that I’m the person that people usually come to when they say this is my idea, where and when could I do something like this. It’s usually like within a live an event that we’re currently in the middle of planning and my brain does this beautiful mind board of bubbles in lines, I see past what it is they’re asking to do, and I can map out depending on how many people it is or where it would make the most sense, see how if I were to drop that in all the things that it would moving forward, like where did the dominoes fall and where does it end up?

Pet peeves:

My biggest pet peeve is there’s so much communication that happens from us to the other people both attendees and the people internally here at headquarters who come with us to work the events and to, you know, be the speakers and be the faces. And we’ll send out so much communication ahead of time, like so much communication and we’re hitting them over the head in live meetings. And you got it, you got it. Great. And then you land at the airport and they look at you and go, Oh, so what’s next? It’s like, Oh my gosh, you gotta be kidding me.

Cause: Hope of the Valley.

Do you have any good advice for the newbies?

We sort of have a team motto here one of my bosses came up with a couple of years ago and we just say surrender and that’s sort of our go-to, is knowing that learning to anticipate obviously as much as possible. I mean I think that’s number one, but being able to anticipate that something’s going to go wrong, something is not going to happen the way that you intend it to and you have to learn instead of getting frustrated or you know, stomping it out. Just surrender to that moment and fix it. Just accept this is what’s happening right now. Here are the next steps to ensure that we get back on track.

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