Expresso My Esso! – The Timberline Guide to Motivation and Victory in The Top 100

If you’ve been participating in the Top 100, then Timberline Fitness is a name you probably know well.  They were the inaugural winners in November and the first ever team inducted into the Top 100 Hall of Fame.  How did they do it?  Wooch Graff, Timberline trainer, fitness director, new membership coordinator, and motivation czar lays it out for you:


Here is a short guide on how Timberline pulled off the unthinkable with a few bikes and a small number of people.

Long story short, it’s PERSONAL!  Timberline Fitness in Houston, Tx is a 6500 sq ft gym with approximately 120 members, and 300 to 400 people who come in each week to improve their health in the way of personal training, pilates, martial arts, yoga, spinning, boot camps, nutrition, run classes, and massage.

We are a facility that is connected in a very close way.  We know each person’s name, and we know they know how much we care about their needs on a day to day basis.  Turkey Top 100 started for us as an idea… What if we really tried to win this thing?  Do you think we could do it?  We brainstormed on an approach and our resources, and then we took action.

Step 1: What is our current rank?
85th out of 981 facilities

Step 2: Size up the competition.
Mayo Clinic jumped out to an early lead.  We saw online they were a huge facility with over 16,000 members.  We called and pretended to acquire about their facility.  We learned they had 8-10 Expresso bikes, and we saw that the majority of their calories came from “guests,” people who were not registered online as riders.  That told us they had volume, but they were not organized.

Step 3: Provide Incentive.
We started a competition within our facility for whoever rode the most miles would get a $200 gym credit, and whoever rode and burned 10,000 calories would get $100 cash!


Step 4: We illustrated the “villans/competition” with a visual graph for our clients.
We made a dry erase board showing our calorie count total alongside University of Iowa and the Mayo Clinic.

Step 5: We organized a history lesson.
We talked about about David and Goliath and what if, in this case, the Spartans actually defeated the Persians.  We commented to our clients of the size and magnitude of our rivals, and our commitment to win.  We learned the other facilities had twice as many bikes and far more people.  Some commented we should quit because we were out numbered and out “biked.”

Step 6: Lead by example.
We reminded our clients that nothing in life is fair in regards to rules or our number of bikes which was 5 at the time.  The staff, with a few members, and clients did a 24 hr bike ride on the Expresso bikes.  We made up 49,000 calories on the overall leader, Mayo Clinic.

Step 7:  Exploit Arrogance.
Mayo Clinic withdrew from the competition because “they could not accept the grand prize.”  We touted of the extreme arrogance on the Mayo Clinic’s part because there was still 15 days remaining in the competition, and they were publicly announcing they had won and could not accept the grand prize. (Note: Along the way we came to realize what an amazing community the Mayo clinic facility in Richmond, MN has. The rivalry was embellished tongue in cheek COMPLETELY in fun.)

Step 8: Recruit more people.
We offered free memberships to any existing client’s spouses, friends, and co-workers to help us with the Expresso bikes.  They could have a membership through the end of the month for free, and we would appreciate, but they were not obligated, to help us ride on any available bike.  We also put an add on Craig’s list soliciting help from the public 🙂  Lastly, we provided 24hr access to our facility for no additional charge for anyone willing to come in and ride the Expresso bikes.

photo (4)

Step 9: Gather intel.
One of our clients, a computer programmer, aka as “Cherokee” on Expresso, figured out a way to project out the numbers from Mayo Clinic based on what they had done before pulling out of the contest. Since they were no longer posting live results, we could continue to ride against who we considered our main nemesis.  This was a huge boost in moral and tenacity amongst our gym.  We wanted to beat the Mayo Clinic to fulfill what we considered “Epic”

Step 10: Maximize calories.
We taught all of our spin classes on the Expresso bikes forming relays on the most difficult courses with a goal of averaging 250 watts +.  We told of the class heroics to members who also formed relays with others to take refuge in the “hurt locker,” and we had everyone who came in our gym warm-up and cool-down by riding on the Expresso bikes.

Step 11: Keep Morale.
We pumped the entire gym with “Energy Music” and  “Wild Screams” from our staff, utilizing double shot espresso’s, costumes, and simple “thank you for your efforts today” to all who contributed.

Step 12: Thanksgiving
We did not close our facility, and we rode before and after indulging in Turkey Greatness 🙂

Step 13:  Finish it!
Lastly, we maintained a push with 10 individual clients burning over 10,000 calories, and our staff contributing over 160,000 calories to our grand total.  Our top 5 clients provided 84,000 calories alone, and the rest was contributed in a flurry of efforts by approx. 140 persons, who stepped up and cranked down either as relays or with individual efforts to finish out our remaining calories.


Step 14: The Secret Ingredient.
One of the best features of the Expresso bikes is you can’t ride off of the road.  Thankfully so, because we drank a lot of beer during all hours to celebrate small accomplishments, morale maintenance, like drinking at noon, and because it was available to all who sacrificed in helping us define “Greatness” within our wonderful community of Timberline Fitness!

Step 15: Win a bike.
That is nice, but not why we competed.  We love our small community, and we just wanted to prove ourselves within our own facility.  We can do hard things, and we did.  So, we requested a kid’s Expresso bike.  Now, we can provide goals for our younger, enthusiastic counterparts, and share with them the story of the “little gym that could”

Thanks Boss Ross and thank you Expresso!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Push Guts


4 thoughts on “Expresso My Esso! – The Timberline Guide to Motivation and Victory in The Top 100

  1. We would like to add: please don’t mistake our enthusiasm for arrogance. Along the way we came to realize what an amazing community the Mayo clinic facility in Richmond, MN has. The rivalry was embellished tongue in cheek COMPLETELY in fun. – Wooch and Dean, owners, Timberline Fitness

  2. You guys were amazing….I have a bike in my home, and I was just trying to keep up with your “off-road” Chase Race Points, and I could not…..I finished second to your gym in total Chase Points for the month…..of course, me being one human, saw the challenge to try to find one category to compete in….I could not possibly burn enough calories as a whole gym of people or I would whittle down to nothing…, I did what I could to have fun with it….you are all to be congratulated on your victory…..

    Ken Dunn (Ken Dunn’s Home Gym)

  3. Dean and Wooch are completely unaware of the meaning of “tongue and cheek”. For them there is no such thing as fun ONLY arrogance.

    1. Tongue-in-cheek is a phrase used as a figure of speech to imply that a statement or other production is humorously or otherwise not seriously intended and it should not be taken at face value. We don’t want to taint a truly fun and spirited competition, so , VERY sorry to offend. We found humor in that it was likely that a big facility like The Mayo Clinic didn’t even know or care that we were trying to catch them. To keep it real, Mayo was saving lives while we were all amped up on biking. We recognize our place in the grand scheme 🙂

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