birth of challenge - The Circuitfactory

We made this video to introduce people to the Circuit Factory Challenge. While Janine and I may have been acting, the bit in the middle, was very real. The Challenge is, without question, the most important thing we do, so I wanted to explain how it came to be.

Three years ago, we started giving workouts. And those workouts weren’t pretty. From the corner of a warehouse that smelt like a dead pheasant, we had some dumbbells, some handwritten cards, and a 20 Dollar ghetto blaster on top of a cardboard box. Despite the lack of finesse, there was something very real about these workouts. They were honest, and hard, and unlike anything I’d ever experienced.

Honest though they were, effective they were not. They didn’t work. People didn’t get results. The world is full of workouts like that, and we had no interest in being one of them. Food was holding us back. Translation: People were eating shit. The good work being done in the gym, was being undone in the kitchen. One cancelled the other out, and everyone stood still.

We figured if food was the issue, then a food plan was the solution. So we wrote the Holy Grail. People call it a diet, but I don’t think it is. Weird stuff like “Dukan” or “Atkins” – they’re diets. The Grail is more like, common sense. You can explain it in three words: Don’t eat crap. If you want the extended version: Avoid fast food, excess sugars, processed carbs and anything that was made in a science lab. We sent that pdf out far and wide. If an old lady broke-wind in Sharjah, the Grail was in her withered hand before she’d even smelt it.

It definitely made a difference. We now became the exercise class that got results… Sometimes.

We weren’t happy about this. “Dubai’s Most Effective Weight Loss System... Sometimes.” Hardly a marketing dream. We were kind of scratching our heads. It didn’t make any sense. On the exercise side, the workouts were solid. People were training hard, calories were being obliterated, and fitness levels were soaring. On the food side, the Holy Grail was alive, and in everybody’s inbox. They knew what they had to eat. So why wasn’t it fucking working?? Why did some people lose weight, while others got nothing?

The answer came to me like an apple to the head. I was walking into the gym and I noticed a girl outside, swigging from a bottle of Gatorade. A few minutes later, she was in class. While we were waiting to start, I decided to lay a little food ambush. “How’s your diet been?” The answer was not what I expected. So confident, delivered with such surety, I waved the ambush off.

A light bulb flicked on. I may not have invented Gravity, but I did recognise the existence of a “Reality Distortion Field.” When people talk about food, they bend the truth. They tell you everything is rosy. They believe it themselves, but the truth rarely concurs.

This was the reason for our intermittent results. The Grail was commonplace. We spoke about the importance of food at the start of each class. 100% of people nodded sincerely, but when the rubber hit the road, a far, far smaller percentage of people actually followed the advice.

We needed something that would cut the Distortion Field down, and hold people accountable. So, once a week, we made people confess - a Food Diary. This was a huge step for us, because it built a bridge, from the gym to the kitchen. We now had influence on both training and food. Yes.

With a tough, accessible workout, a simple, straightforward food plan, and a system to monitor the latter, we thought we’d cracked it. We hadn’t.

When it came down to it, people didn’t want to do it. The changes we asked for were too radical. Imagine eating a certain way for 30 years. You walk into a warehouse, and hear some twat shout: “reverse every bad habit for the rest of your life.” Doesn’t sound too compelling to me. And it didn’t sound too compelling to them.

We were asking for too much. So we asked for less. Do it for 4 weeks. Long enough to reverse your bad habits, and long enough to see what happens to your body when you do. A month was easier than a lifetime, so people gave it a go. This time, the impact was huge. Out of nowhere, people who had been struggling with weight their whole lives, were dropping Kilos for fun. The Challenge was born.

The first ones were small, but they did deliver on one thing: results. Everyone that finished, dropped centimeters from their bodies, and pounds on the scales. We could see the potential, so we started to make changes. We sent out morning emails to collectivize and focus people. We built spreadsheets and tracked the stuff that helped get results. We got more personal with our members, more outrageous with our marketing, and used the attention to encourage people to change their lives, and take up the Challenge.

We developed something that really works. It isn’t a workout. It isn’t a diet. It’s a system. Everything you need to do, to lose weight. Basic. Powerful. Flawed. But a system nonetheless. And if you follow it, you know with absolute certainty, that you will get results.

Getting Our Priority Straight - The Circuitfactory

So the Challenge evolved, and so did our marketing. In the early days, we used to record stuff on a tiny Canon, and share it with people. There was no method behind it. We just wanted to show what was happening to people. Today, we make campaigns. Some are serious, others are ridiculous, but they’re always bold. And that’s why controversy has never left our side. I would be lying if I said that it hadn’t helped us – it has. I would be lying if I said a part of me doesn’t enjoy it – I do. Nothing gets the heart pumping like a bit of cardio scandal. But recently, a part of me has started to question our focus. There has to be a balance. We have to speak to the people who enjoy the liberality of the CF brand. At the same time, we can’t let that craziness cloud people’s perceptions of what it is we actually do.

Earlier today, I had another Gatorade moment. The light bulb. I was at the Challenge Final, asking people about their results. I recognized a lady called Catherine. I met her about a week ago in Mirdif, during one of her first classes. She told me she had shin splints, but that she was determined to turn it all around. Today, she got off the scales 15 pounds down. She had been training with us for 2 weeks. I then talked to someone else. When I met him last month, he looked absolutely petrified. His said: “I’ve come to sign up for the Challenge.” The only other thing I remember him saying was: “Can I do this?” He just kept saying it again and again. “Can I do this? Can I do this?” He was so nervous, I wasn’t actually sure if he was joking, so I just told him he could do it, and didn’t think much more about it. Today, Tim Hock got on the scales and was told that he had lost 24.6 pounds in the last 4 weeks.

My moment of clarity was simply this: The outrageous stuff is great for getting attention. It creates awareness and gives us a real identity. But if we keep going down this path, I can see a future where people think that this is what we’re here to do: to entertain. And it isn’t. We’re here to do something extremely important. We’re here to make people lose weight. That is our primary concern. The entertaining stuff isn’t going to stop, but it must find its place. Second place. Circuit Factory is not about Rashid. It’s about Tim Hock and Catherine Gaugain. It’s about changing people’s lives. It’s about results.

Act 3 – 4 Kilos. 4 Classes - The Circuitfactory

Circuit Factory has always tried to present you with something real. We don’t sugarcoat or cover stuff with cheese, because we want our voice to mean something. When we said: “The Middle East’s Most Powerful Weight Loss System,” it wasn’t just a catchphrase. We said it because we meant it. We said it because it’s true. We are the best in this field. If you want to lose weight, you should be with us.

But I’ve been thinking about it: “The Most Powerful Weight Loss System.” It’s ambiguous. It can’t be measured, so therefore it can’t be proved. It’s too vague. It needs to be more grounded.

I looked at the numbers. More specifically, I looked at the results of people who completed the Challenge. I then looked at the food and discarded those who didn’t follow the system. The average number: 4 Kilos.

So from now on, it’s “4 weeks. 4 Kilos.”

Everyone says: “we will get you results,” but how often is that true? Anything with a load of variables, that takes place over time, is difficult to track. Companies find ways to shirk responsibility. There’s always a reason why promises were met. You can’t pin anything on anyone, because no one gives you anything to measure themselves against. Everyone just says: “We’re amazing.” But with everyone saying the same thing, how can you judge? You just have to pick someone and hope it’s not all bullshit. 4 weeks, 4 kilos is our way of cutting through it all. It sets a real standard. Something that should be present in the mind of everyone who takes the Challenge.

"Obviously if you don't have the weight to lose, you're not going to lose 4 Kilos - You can only take from what is already there. You will simply burn off whatever fat remains. If you do have weight to lose, then this is the new standard. Not a magic pill. You put in the work, we will do the same, and the results will come thick and fast."

And it’s not just meant for our members, it’s a target for us as well. It serves as a constant reminder. We are not here to work for a crazy brand, or look good in Lycra. We are here to change the shape of people’s bodies. That is our responsibility, and that is what we have to make happen. More specifically, we have to make 4 Kilos in 4 weeks happen.