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“The empires of the future are the empires of the mind� Winston Churchill















FOREWORD For many years, fitness industry has taken pride in being the ‘healthy’ business and used the ‘helping people change their lives’ tagline, to sell its services. Fitness club was a ‘place to go’ and a personal trainer was the ‘person to see’ for any health, weight and shape related issues. . In a most natural way, industry’s goal was to reach more people and bind them for longer, creating fitter and healthier societes. This still seems like a plan and there is no reason to doubt industry’s potential. Or is there?

Health & fitness industry has been experiencing a long time prosperity despite difficult economic conditions. Number of clubs, certified professionals and related services has grown exponentially over the past twenty years. According to experts, this only confirms, that the demand for fitness servies will keep climbing and industry’s position will keep getting stronger. But what if there was another way to get fit and healthy, without strenous workouts, personal training sessions and club contracts? 4

FOREWORD Today’s lifestyle, relative state of welfare, health promotion campaigns and selfawareness, have created very supportive grounds for development of the Personal Training service sector. At the same time, latest scientific research, especially in the field of genetics and neuropsychology, provides new evidence, that some of the traditional health & fitness paradigms may be obsolete. In times when obesity and lifestyle diseases are the major challenge, traditional fitness messaging may not win much more market.

New technology, direct access to information and social media can have a tremendous impact on this young, mostly unincorporated sector and dramatically change the fitness busines landscape for years to come. To stay relevant, fitness industry has to adopt some new strategies and answer some key questions. What exactly it is that we offer? Are we still in the health business or just fitness? Are we capable of actually changing people lives or was that just a slogan? .


REPORT’S OVERVIEW The world is changing fast and so is the business of health & fitness. Personal trainers will soon face strong competition from health, wellness and nutrition coaches. To stay in the game, personal trainers need to rethink and restructure the existing business & career model. The major shift will be triggered by the genetic based nutrition and evolution based exercise concepts.

Corporate wellness, online marketing and public health consulting; those are interesting opportunities that personal trainers should explore and consider. There is a need for a major paradigm shift & outside of the box thinking, when it comes to what does fitness offer today. Small groups of trainers will be able to build sustainable businesses while others will struggle to stay in the game. PTs can either specialize within a chosen niche or expand into new markets. 6




A PERSONAL TRAINER TODAY Personal trainer is the new black. Everyone either has one, or wants to become one. It wasn’t the case some ten or twenty years ago, when hiring a personal trainer defined celebrity and wealth status. Number of certified professionals have risen dramatically over the past few years and the marketplace was flooded with new trainers eager to work more hours at lower pay. Nevertheless, personal training services are still in demand and there is more opportunities than ever before.

„A personal trainer is a fitness professional involved in exercise prescription and instruction. They motivate clients by setting goals and providing feedback and accountability to clients. Trainers also measure their client's strengths and weaknesses with fitness assessments. These fitness assessments may also be performed before and after an exercise program to measure their client's improvements in physical fitness.� From Wikipedia 8

BUSINESS WITH A MISSION Numerous fitness business and marketing programs available in the market place today, confront fitness professionals with this significant question. Numerous publications underline the importance of sales & marketing implementation, while others stress out the role of education.

Many trainers have realized the potential of marketing their own name and turning it into a brand. With easy access to online distribution channels and constant demand for ‘new’ and ‘revolutionary’, it seems like everyone get a chance to shine.

So the question is: are you still a trainer or are you a marketer & entrepreneur? Is it still about training clients or is it about selling products? In other words, did you get into this industry to wear shorts or shirts? For most trainers, it’s still about fitness. It’s still about transforming lives and helping people. It’s still about passion and dedication. This is the number one reason, we choose to become a trainer.


IT’S STILL ABOUT FITNESS But ignoring changes is not what leaders do. If you want to stay at the top of your game, you need to anticipate trends and use them to your benefit and to the benefit of your clients. Otherwise, whether you work for someone, own a profitable studio or run online programs, you put yourself at risk of becoming irrelevant and losing the competitive edge.

„In the five years to 2012, revenue for the Personal Trainers industry is estimated to increase at an average annual rate of 0.4%, reaching $9.4 billion. Rising interest in personal fitness, partly prompted by worsening obesity trends, resulted in strong demand for the industry's trainers. However, the industry's growth streak was interrupted by the arrival of the Great Recession. With escalating unemployment and lower disposable income during the recession and slow recovery period, consumers increasingly turned to less expensive do-it-yourself exercise methods. …” Source: IBIS World Personal Trainers Market Research , Dec 2012


A BUSINESS OR A CAREER? From 2001 to 2011, the number of personal trainers grew by 44 percent, to 231,500, while the overall number of workers fell by 1 percent according to the Labor Department

„Employment of fitness trainers and instructors is expected to grow by 24 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. As businesses and insurance organizations continue to recognize the benefits of health and fitness programs for their employees, incentives to join gyms or other fitness facilities will increase the need for workers in these areas.” Source: IBIS World Personal Trainers Market Research Dec 2012

„In the five years to 2012, revenue for the Personal Trainers industry is estimated to increase at an average annual rate of 0.4%, reaching $9.4 billion. Rising interest in personal fitness, partly prompted by worsening obesity trends, resulted in strong demand for the industry's trainers. However, the industry's growth streak was interrupted by the arrival of the Great Recession. With escalating unemployment and lower disposable income during the recession and slow recovery period, consumers increasingly turned to less expensive do-it-yourself exercise methods. With the economy's slow recovery, demand has begun to bounce back along with consumer's rising disposable income…” Source: IBIS World Personal Trainers Market Research , Dec 2012


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„What alternative jobs and business ventures can personal trainers do besides your basic gym, bootcamp, or health facility employee?” From forum Unfortunately, it seems like a vast majority of personal trainers find it challenging, to create sustainable and reliable revenue streams. Some try selling nutriton products, others try their luck online, but only a few are actually ‘making it’ in fitness. 12

IS SKY THE LIMIT? Is the glass half-empty or half-full for fitness professionals? In other words, have we done all we could to penetrate the market?

To understand how much more potential does fitness have, we need to consider these three indicators: ďƒ˜ Total Available Market

Is our messaging tailored to attract new customers or is it mostly targeted at existing clients?

ďƒ˜ Market Penetration Rate

Key question for fitness professionals is the size of the total addressable (available) market. So far the penetration rate for fitness services is on average 4% - 5%, but very often it is much less.: 1% to 2%.

And then decide what core services we want to offer and who the customer is. This will determine how we define the Total Addressable Market.

ďƒ˜ Market Saturation Rate




How much potential?


GREAT EXPECTATIONS „Employment of fitness trainers and instructors is expected to grow by 24 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. As businesses and insurance organizations continue to recognize the benefits of health and fitness programs for their employees, incentives to join gyms or other fitness facilities will increase the need for workers in these areas.� Source: IBIS World Personal Trainers Market Research, Dec 2012

From 2001 to 2011, the number of personal trainers grew by 44 percent, to 231,500, while the overall number of workers fell by 1 percent according to the Labor Department. Is this indeed a crisis-proof and economyresistant sector? Will personal training business grow limitlessly? The forecast is good, but in today’s world ten or five years is a long time. The US market is the most developed one, and there are even better perspectives elsewhere, but the real question is: what is the reality?


LAW OF SUPPLY AND DEMAND The future of personal training business will depend on the ability to answer the demand for health & fitness services. In the consumer market, this may not be so obvious. We need to remember, that customers will always choose the more effective solution, the cheaper service or more valuable product.

Personal trainers are in great position to meet the increasing demand if only the service they offer, will meet the expectations. The demand is there, but can we supply the market with the right service?

Demand on the rise:  Nutriton counselling  Functional Training  Wellness coaching  HIT Training & Healthy Foods


WHY DOES FITNESS SELL? There is a number of ways to sell fitness services: from pain to desire, all sales strategies seem to make sense. Still yet, no single sales strategy has proven itself powerful enough, to help increase sales exponentially. In a usual scenario, a customer is driven either by ‘pain’ (poor health, physical pain, obesity, low self esteem, etc) or by ‘desire’ (to feel better, look better, feel younger, group identity, etc.). Both could be equally powerful but both are mostly transactional.









WHAT DO WE SELL Perhaps the most important question today, is about what exactly do we sell as personal trainers? Knowing our market, knowing customers and knowing their needs and aspirations can determine how we structure our business and how we market our services. The great news is, that there is room for every type of service. From fitness geeks to beginners, from weight-loss programs to advanced functional training – customers and their needs come in literally, all shapes and sizes.




AND WHAT DO CUSTOMERS REALLY WANT This topic comes up over and over again in every sales training and in various articles, blogs and coaching programs. And for a good reason. This subject is absolutely crucial to understand, if you want o succed in any business, and fitness is no exception. We all know that personal training customers want to: feel better, look better, stay healthy, loose weight or work super hard to look amazing or get ready for a sport competition or a role (actors, right?). Sounds good so far, but what are the actual proportions of that pie or a pyramid?



WHAT WE SHOULD BE OFFERING Without going into much detail, the picture is very clear. Majority of your potential clients do not want to look awesome. Well, they do, but they don’t. A majority of your customers want to be healthy. Another group wants to get fit and stay fit, while another wants to loose weight. Those clients, despite having high expectations, will never meet their long term goals. Only a small group of clients have the motivation and skill to not only reach their goals, but also make fitness a lifestyle.





Unless there is another way‌ 20

A NEW DEAL It is no secret that clients fail to reach their fitness goals more often that not. They lack consictency and motivation. Time, lifestyle, diet; the list of excuses is endless. But who is to blame? Can personal trainers be more responsive and adaptive? Could they focus more on nutrition and lifestyle coaching while simplyfing the fitness routines? Probably yes. In fact, this is the WAY TO GO. But, understandably, after hours, weeks, months and years of studying and applying the fitness training know-how, trainers want to make a use of it.






PARADIGM SHIFT Whether you are an industry veteran or have just begun your fitness business adventure, you probably know what happened in the last two decades of XXth century.

There’s been a major shift within the whole health & fitness industry and yes, unprecedented growth. From bodybuilding and Jane Fonda to Zumba and indoor cycling. What a journey. And there is more to come. This time no tights nor bars. This time the science and the information will shake it up.

That another great shift is about simplicity and results. It is based on scientific evidence and will show up at your gym’s doorstep some day soon. It will happen fast, because information travels fast. And once the social media gets a hold of it, it will spread like a wildfire. If you read, if you research, if you explore, you already know. But the question is: are you ready? Do you have a right mindset, to take a full advantage of this changing reality?


ARE WE READY FOR IT? Fitness is changing because modern society is changing. And this time it is faster then ever before. More global than ever. More commercial than ever. The technology and the internet allow everyone to be part of that change.

Just look at the explosion of online coaching services and apps. Just look at the number of personal trainers, health coaches and other industry related professionals lured by the vision of ‘doing what they love while earning great income’.

That means basic fitness know-how is no longer a privilege. The number and quality of free online programs are staggering. Anyone with a Smartphone can have an online personal coach these days.

The truth is, future is already here, but we just don’t know it yet.

So what does the future holds for fitness professionals?

And the future is about adapting and adopting those business strategies, that will fit the modern marketplace.


ARE WE ON THE RIGHT PATH? Most of the existing health & fitness industry organizations were formed, on average, in early 90’s. Now and then, we hear about the never-ending and unprecedented growth trend within the health & fitness industry. Certification programs and trainers’ organizations poise pprospects with visions of the ever-increasing demand for personal training services. While all this is true, as our societies develop and thrive for well-being and personal fulfillment, the future does not need to be so simple. It already is not.

Things happen fast in today’s world. Whole new industries are created while other vanish overnight. Same with jobs and professions, university degrees and industry magazines. Adopt or die. Luckily, we can learn from others’ mistakes. There was a time in the past, not that long ago, when creating websites was a bit of a rocket science. In the 90’s, except for large companies, hardly anyone had a website and only a few knew how to build them.


THE WEBSITE MAKER LESSON As the Internet became increasingly accessible, it became obvious that sooner or later, everyone will need a website, either for business or personal. Still though, there were no Do-It-Yourself tools and people who knew how to make websites, ruled the world for a little while.

These days, almost everyone has more than one website or an online profile. And almost everyone can have a beautiful, cutting edge design and latest technology website within hours.

Just like those first webmasters, you can either adopt and grow or fade away (or keep delivering poor & outdated service). But just like the website-making industry has made a leap from a $10.000 agencymade website to a $10 & one-hour model, fitness industry is about to make a jump. The marketplace today is more democratic than it has been ever before. Consumers have powerful tools such as reviews, comparison sites and social media. 26

CONSUMERS DEMOCRACY And as always, consumers want the service or the product they buy, to do the job. They want instant solutions and they expect super customer service. Customers on a constant search for newer, better, faster or cheaper.

Or if they do, they don’t find the solution they were looking for. This is why, the Internet creates such an incredible opportunity for personal trainers. If done right though.

When it comes to health & fitness customers are spoiled for choice, or so it seems. In fact, when put in the international context, many potential customers don’t have access to a fitness facility.


LEARN FROM SPARTANS In todays world, we use the ‘Spartan’ adjective to describe the fiercest fitness regimes and programs available to anyone, but used by few, due to their demanding structure and techniques. In the ancient Sparta, there were warriors and regular citizens. Spartans have been known for being the fittest and best trained soldiers of the whole Ancient world.

In fact, ancient Sparta, was the first nation, that not only fully recognized the value of the physical fitness but had actually implemented a national health & fitness. Sparta then, can be an inspiration in a much more significant way. From now on, when you think ‘Sparta’, think ‘national health program’.

What is less obvious, is the fact that women were also a part of this ‘national fitness program’.




WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS? From wearable tech to genetic tests for consumers, there are many trends that could and will affect the health & fitness industry in the near future. Here are major trends, than can impact fitness professionals in the most profound way:


















FROM TECHNOLOGY TO LIFESTYLE Technology will impact Personal Trainers in more than just one way, both positive and negative. From bio-sensors and wearable tech, through mobile apps and online streaming,, technology will enhance end-user experience, but can also build up already present confusion. Those trainers, who will manage to keep up with latest innovation will get a great chance to make an impact by reaching more clients and offering more specialized service.

Use of technology in the process of monitoring clients’ health condition and progress can be a tremendous added value to traditional coaching service. On the other hand, some clubs have already replaced their group training teams with digital programs and online class streaming.

Lifestyle changes, the constant search for easier and better, means that fitness has to offer more competitive service to stay relevant. People simply can’t afford 3 times a week anymore.


IS THE MODEL BROKEN? Science and research keep delivering evidence that the traditional fitness conditioning may not the most effective solution for the majority of the population.

To be succesfull in the fitness business of the future, you need to consider these new paradigms: Everyone will know WHAT to do It turns out, the key to health and fitness is Fitness training will become FUNCTIONAL nutrition, genetics and neuroscience. In INFORMATION will be free health & fitness things have been pretty  COACHING will be still in demand much constant for the past three thousand years (yes, 3.000). Since ancient Greeks At the same time, not everyone will have the things have not really changed that much. MOTIVATION and the ABILITY to implement the knowledge, so the demand for coaching will Obviously, on the equipment and technology still be there. And the demand for EXPERTS side, there’s been much progress and and AUTHORITIES will be higher than ever. innovation, but the fundamentals remained. 32

PERSONAL FITNESS BUSINESS TODAY AND TOMORROW Staying ahead of the game in any industry depends on the ability to foresee the future and adopt accordingly.




Personal trainers

Health coaches




Personal training

Counselling & coaching



THE FUNDAMENTAL QUESTION Personal confidence and ability to respond to changes or better even, anticipate them and act accordingly, may be the greatest talent of a leader. Entrepreneurs too, they see changes coming and they jump on the waves, even of their board is not perfect.

You can never get ready enough, but if you keep preparing too long, you might miss the ride of your life.

You can either keep doing what you are doing, because you know it and you love it, or – you can step out of your comfort zone and try something new. In other words: you can be tactical or strategic. Tactical means applying new solutions to an old model. In fitness business this can be anything like trying out new marketing techniques, offering new nutrition products, taking courses and adopting latest training systems or equipments.


THINK STRATEGIC You should be tactical and innovative, this is a great way to stay competitive, but you also need to make sure you apply new tactics to a relevant system. If the model is broken, there are no tactics that can save you. Bottom line: you need to be strategic.


Strategic thinking in personal fitness business means that you are willing to cross some boundaries. Strategic is about going global, bigger market share, preeminence and results. Think corporate wellness, online programs, nutrition counselling, wellness coaching‌



LEARN FROM LAWYERS The excerpt from an article below, explains, how lawyers get ready for the future changes: ‘The market is flooded with an oversupply of lawyers, consumers of all sizes are seeking more affordable access to legal services, and technology–practically the standard in other businesses–is yet to become widely adopted in the practice of law (…) There are a host of start-ups offering consumers ‘Do-it-Yourself’ alternatives for more standard legal tasks like incorporating and drafting short contracts (…) While I predict people will still be willing to pay a premium for the advice of a true legal expert, technology will significantly reduce a client’s appetite for paying for time spent training junior associates (…) “Lawyers are increasingly using social media, hosting blogs, speaking on panels and leveraging technology to build a practice on a shoe string and deliver high quality legal services to clients at a reasonable price. Lawyers have additional challenges like ethical regulations on marketing, ownership regulations which affect building your team, and financing issues that are far stricter than for non-legal companies. Lawyers have to learn to become not only subject matter experts, but also marketing, sales, financing and operational experts to run a successful practice,” said Jennifer Hill, Startup Lawyer and Entrepreneurial Expert. (…)’

Source: How Entrepreneurship Is Reshaping The Legal Industry, Cari Commer,, July 2013 36



WHAT WORKS? Most trainers today share a similar vision of success. Win more clients, work less hours, open a studio, hire some trainers, distribute or create a nutrtition product line, create an online product, get on the TV… Many programs offer marketing formulas to help you ‘win more clients’ and ‘triple your PT business income’. That’s fine. But the question is: do you want more clients, shorter sessions and more money, or would you like to have diverse portfolio of bigger* clients, strategic projects to work on and a small group of personal training customers?

*Bigger clients meaning: corporate, institutional, celebrity, community clients. Browsing through online profiles and websites, there is a clear pattern used to present a successful trainer. „{…} a fitness guru, health expert, celebrity trainer…” „{…} have developed a unique body program…” „{…} has his own line of supplements…” The model seems to work for some, so the majority follows.


STANDING UP TO LEAD There is a great value to continuous education and life long learning. But studying the same subject over and over again won’t take you far. There are times in life, when real leaders stand up and lead while others keep preparing. When the change is coming, leaders act and take charge. This is a perfect time for personal trainers to become true leaders and build real businesses. Sustainable businesses.

This is absolutely possible. The trick is to think strategic and global. You can choose to stick to traditional PT business model and compete with your competition‌ Or you can excel and outpace your competition by expanding into new territories

There are two pathways to successs these days: advanced specialization or expansion. It means you either become a top class specialist or a full blown entreptreneur. 39

FUTURE CAREER & BUSINESS MODEL Fitness industry and personal trainers have worked hard to make the world a fitter place. We shouldn’t let a major opportunity pass us by. If consumers want more softcore solutions, if they way to go is the nutrition counselling, if the way to earn money is to offer a simple service to more people, then why not?






Any successful and sustainable business should rely on more than one revenue stream. Just like a successful law firm, you need to have a major corporate client with a long term contract as well as a number of individual clients. This may be a new approach in fitness, but it is certainly nothing new to any successful entrepreneur. The above model incorporates all major opportunities and but you can start with testing one stream at a time, until you feel confident enough to juggle them all. 41

BOTTOM LINE Personal trainers need to anticipate future market trends and react accordingly. There is enough evidence to understand that the traiditonal health & fitness service model is broken. Fitness training got to complex and inneficient and can only guarantee results to a small group of customers. Nutition and lifestyle counselling is in high demand in a busy society.

Trainers to stay competitive need to make a choice between: a) becoming super specialists (‘super trainers’) and focus on specific fitness training to cater to a small group of customers. b) or, they can offer a wide range of services and head for a full service consultancy model




NEW SOCIAL ROLE & NEW POSITIONING There is absolutely no reason why personal trainers shouldn’t move into new markets and offer additional services. There are only a few professions where dedication and integrity levels are higher. There are only a few professions today that actually have the solution to modern civilisation problems. There is no reason why a personal trainer couldn’t be:  Consultants to businesses & councils  Advisors to governments  Media & social media authorities

Personal trainers should build their social status upon: • Unique knowledge, • Experience and values. • Business relevance • Passion + position + leadership A recent study by Willis North America’s Human Capital Practice found about 60 percent of the companies surveyed have wellness programs, an increase of 13 percent from 2010.

Companies encourage wellness, Pittsburgh PostGazette, 22 April 2012


PERSONAL TRAINER OF THE FUTURE As a personal trainer you work with clients of various social backgrounds and representing a number of different industries. You probably know, that some industries are more ‘important’ than others and there simply is more money and power in sectors like energy, finance, law, healthcare or even food and enertainment. Fitness industry can also take a much more significant postion and personal trainers can become the ‘sought after’ experts, if only we can position ourselves properly.

With the progressing healthcare crisis and social demand for better and healthier way of living, new opportunities arise.





MARKETS & NICHES Niches are about going ‘deeper’ within your existing market. Some already existing profitable niches: •Weight loss & nutrtion coaching •Functional & cross fit training •Sport specific training •Anti-aging programs Niches are a great way to sell your services and stand out, but you should think new markets too. New markets mean unlimited growth opportunities and less competition. Here are some interesting opportunties to consider:

Corporate Wellness: great opportunity for trainers who understand and know how to operate in the modern corporate world. Online marketing: great opportunity for trainers who have a knack for writing, presenting and selling their ‘own brand’ Public health: health & fitness are now important part of public life and expert advice is in growing demand. Becoming an expert on public health and community wellness can be a great opportunity to branch out your practice and become a sought after expert.

INTEGRATED PERSONAL BUSINESS STRATEGY Planning a career or planning business is not an overnight task. From vision to execution, there are many steps you need to take and many points to consider, to succeed. If you are already thinking of starting a business – either by opening a studio or buying a franchise system, you know.



This is a great time to be a personal trainer. This is also a great time to do more. With a right vision, with a will to work hard and learn, you can become the health & fitness authority and a valued advisor to businesses. You can build a whole business based on your existing skills and experience.




AFTERWORD Despite all the future challenges, opportunities of rewards of working in the health & fitness industry are still worth all the hard work and constant learning. Just like in any other business, you have to stay on top of your game and plan ahead. Whether you can become the fitness entrepreneur and build a legacy business that depends on your mindset. Can every personal trainer try this new approach and be successful? Probably not. But if you have the right mindset and right set of skills, impossible is nothing.

Always start with an honest assesment of your strentgths and weaknesses. Review your skills and past experience, consider which personality type are you. Make sure you follow your own vision, not somebody else’s.

„Losses have propelled me to even bigger places, so I understand the importance of losing. You can never get complacent because a loss is always around the corner. It's in any game that you're in - a business game or whatever - you can't get complacent.� - Venus Williams









Copyright NXPT International 2013 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. 51

The Future of Personal Training  

In an engaging way, the new report published by NXPT, “ The Future Of Personal Training Business" describes major challenges and opportuniti...

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