Personal Fitness Professional Mar/Apr 2014

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Applications now open for the 2015 PFP Trainer of the Year award (see page 15) MARCH-APRIL 2014 WWW.FIT-PRO.COM


START A FITNESS FACTORY A case study of one of the nation’s premier group training facilities



Part 2 of the PFP 2014 7-part special series

JOURNEY TO SUCCESS From Hollywood to Washington, Grant Roberts is inspiring an army of change-makers

Maximize your profits with group





josh vogt | EDITOR

lindsay vastola | MANAGING EDITOR


rachel spahr | PRESIDENT

chad griepentrog | CREATIVE DIRECTOR


paul bosley, mike boyle, j.r. burgess FEATURED COLUMNISTS

The real costs of opening and operating a studio Get the facts on the true (and often hidden) costs of opening and operating a successful fitness studio. By Paul Bosley

POLL RESULTS How much impact do you believe continuing education has on your impact and overall career? 4%


Jump Start


by Valorie Ness

April exclusive web feature: Design and sell higher-value group training memberships By John Heringer

VIDEO Exercise of the Week ActivMotion Bar and VersaFlexx will provide instructional videos in March. Visit PFP online to join the Exercise of the Week mailing list.




Training Wheels Significant impact Some impact Very little impact

Career Builder by Josh Bowen

Not certain

NEXT POLL Visit: to participate

How many participants do you train on average in a single session? a. 1 b. 2-5 c. 6-12 d. 12+


What your clients are not telling you: How to design effective surveys to elicit the information you really want.

SOCIAL MEDIA Entrepreneur by Cabel McElderry

pfpmedia @PFP_FitPro

michelle blakely, greg justice, phil kaplan, jason karp, bedros keuilian and lori patterson COVER IMAGES

Courtesy of American Council on Exercise (ACE), California University of Pennsylvania, National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT) and National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) RB Publishing Inc. 2901 International Lane Madison WI 53704-3128 Tel: 608.241.8777 Fax: 608.241.8666 Email: Print Subscription Information Subscriptions are free to qualified recipients: $36 per year to all others in the United States. Subscriptions rate for Canada or Mexico is $60 per year, and for elsewhere outside the United States is $80. Back-issue rate is $5. Send subscriptions to: By mail: PFP, P.O. Box 259098 Madison WI 53725-9098 Tel: 608.241.8777 E-mail: Fax: 608.241.8666 Website: Digital Print Subscription Information Digital Subscriptions to PFP are free to qualified recipients and may be ordered at Reprints For high-quality reprints, please contact our exclusive reprint provider. ReprintPros, 949.702.5390, All material in this magazine is copyrighted © 2014 by RB Publishing Inc. All rights reserved. Nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Any correspondence sent to PFP, RB Publishing Inc. or its staff becomes property of RB Publishing Inc. The articles in this magazine represent the views of the authors and not those of RB Publishing Inc. or PFP. RB Publishing Inc. and/or PFP expressly disclaim any liability for the products or services sold or otherwise endorsed by advertisers or authors included in this magazine. PFP is published six times per year (Jan/Feb, March/ April, Spring 2014 Buyers Guide, July/Aug, Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec). PFP (ISSN 1523-780X) [Volume 16, Issue 2]

Functionally Fit by Brian Schiff


Published by RB Publishing Inc. 2901 International Lane, Suite 100 Madison WI 53704-3128, Tel: 608.241.8777 Periodicals postage paid at Madison WI and additional offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to: PFP | P.O. Box 259098 | Madison WI 53725-9098.



Lindsay Vastola |

Dan Ritchie |

Join a band of tribal leaders When I was transitioning my one-on-one personal training business to a small group fitness model, I read the book “Tribes” written by one of my favorite authors, Seth Godin. I revisit the book periodically as my business evolves because it reminds me of the importance of positive leadership in my business, with my team, with our members and within my community. Of many takeaways, Godin talks about three things that are happening: 1) people realize they are working a lot and want to invest their time and money in something that matters; 2) organizations are discovering that “factory-made” goods and services aren’t quite as profitable as they once were; and 3) consumers want to put their dollars in goods and services that aren’t off-the-shelf and are looking to buy what they believe in. What does this mean for fitness professionals? Quite simply, we are in the perfect profession to fulfill these needs as leaders of our own “tribes.” People are seeking out leadership and direction in their quest of optimal health; and they are willing to invest in you as long as you deliver. Whether you’re training one-on-one or groups of four or 40, success and longevity amongst the competition hinge directly on your capability to offer a service that your clients can believe in, and perhaps more important, your ability to cultivate and lead your tribe of loyal followers. During March and April, both in this issue and in our online features, we’re highlighting opportunities in group fitness. Group fitness is the perfect platform for building your loyal tribe. As the leader of your tribe you must find the right balance of making your group training experience unique (and profitable) but it is imperative that you not forget the core of your business: the individual experience of each and every one of your clients.

A few highlights of this issue: Leverage your time, space and resources with Mike Boyle’s innovative approach to group fitness. The medically based fitness movement is moving rapidly through the industry, especially with changes in healthcare. J.R. Burgess, CFO/VP of Rejuv Medical shares valuable information you’ll need to know so you’re not left behind. Our special series, Opening and operating a successful studio, continues in this issue with Paul Bosley’s valuable tips on getting financing for your studio. In Journey to Success we feature Grant Roberts. Grant is building and leading his own tribe to make real, significant change. Prepare to be inspired. Enjoy this issue of PFP; my hope is that you finish this issue inspired to lead and armed with a few new tools to make you a more powerful leader of your tribe! Committed to your success,

P.S. We’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of the PFP Trainer of the Year. Applications for the 2015 PFP Trainer of the Year are now available online. You could be next!

Maximize group training Dan shares with us how he maximizes group fitness opportunities at his facility, Miracles Fitness, and what he has planned for the spring.

How do members of Miracles Fitness engage in group fitness? Clients at Miracles Fitness participate in our small group personal training. We often simply call it training sessions. We try not to call it group fitness, as there are plenty of large health clubs around us that offer group fitness, from spinning to body pump to even step aerobics still! Zumba is still somewhat of a trend, though we have seen that peak and recently start to fall-off. We try to distinguish what we offer is personal training; you are working with a personal trainer and working toward a goal or specific result, not just showing up for a mass group fitness workout where the instructor doesn’t know your name, let alone your goals. Are there any trends in group fitness that you find particularly exciting? I think the trend in boot camp and large group training is very exciting. I think personal trainers can give great training sessions to 4-6 clients like we do at our facility, but even larger settings of 12-24 clients can get great sessions if planned appropriately. I have never been a huge fan of the “group fitness” model of traditional health clubs that essentially offers free classes. It devalues the service since it is free, and it rarely is individualized or based on goals. Large group training is not the old group fitness and as more and more people get great results they realize why it is worth $150-250/month. Since it can be based on the fundamentals of personal training, giving clients a designed program that includes progressions so fitness adaptations have to take place, people get progressively more fit, lose weight, get stronger and get the results they want. What plans do you have this spring for your business? Is spring coming? This has been the coldest, longest, snowiest winter I have ever experienced in my 12 years in Indiana, and I think people are ready for spring and summer. We are running a six-week transformation to help people get out of winter hibernation mode. Three or four times a year we run a six-week challenge, each challenge looking to take on 25-35 new participants. MARCH-APRIL 2014 | WWW.FIT-PRO.COM | 5



Maximize your profits with group training


OTHER Columns 08 Treadmill Talk Don’t become a commodity By Greg Justice

09 Top-Notch Training What do you expect? By Michelle Blakely

10 Boost Your Business


Maximize profits with group personal training By Bedros Keuilian

10 Education Connection


Inspiring an army of change-makers… from Hollywood to Washington, DC By Lindsay Vastola


A major industry shift in facilitating fitness

Prepare for the rise in medically supervised fitness facilities By JR Burgess


Getting ahead of the fitness game By Jason R. Karp

30 Be Better Be the diamond – a marketing perspective By Phil Kaplan

Departments 05 Letter from the Editor

Make more money with a fitness factory Case Study: The MBSC Thrive System By Mike Boyle

Join a band of tribal leaders

23 The Message Sara Kooperman

24 Education Trends Group fitness certifications and education By Lori Patterson


Financing your studio Understand your options and prepare for underwriting By Paul Bosley

PFP Special Series: Opening and operating a successful studio, Part 2



26 Exercise Spotlight: SPRI Slam Ball

28 New on the Market 29 Events Calendar


Don’t become a commodity As a potential client walked in the door, his first words to me were, “Three things you need to know about me...first of all, I live in Mission Hills, second, I have a whole lot of money and third, I don’t like to spend it.” My response, respectfully, “Well, sir, this may not be a good fit, as we’re the most expensive training facility in town, but I would be happy to connect you with my contacts at the YMCA.” His next comment didn’t surprise me, “Your program comes highly recommended, so let’s talk.” The purpose of this story is to encourage you not to compete on price. When you compete on price, you become a commodity. A commodity is a good or service that is in high demand by consumers and the price is the same throughout the marketplace. If you allow your product to become a commodity, you’ve conceded that your training programs are just like the others in town. Clients will pay more for your services if you differentiate yourself from other trainers, and this comes about from paying attention to your core values and attitudes. Value-added service has been discussed and recommended in business reports recently and I believe that core values and attitudes have a ripple effect on businesses, co-workers, clients and potential clients. Fortune magazine’s list of the 100 best companies are those that are operating by their values. In these tough times, I know it is my clear sense of purpose and my focus on my core values that separates me from the pack. In addition to my values, I have a positive attitude in my total way of life. I like to compliment and not criticize, and accept criticism graciously. I do more listening by developing my ability to listen. I look to be humble and recognize there is something to be learned from everyone. I do not fear failure, but recognize its ability to teach. Commitment, compassion, trustworthiness, being mindful, staying positive… these are some of my defining core values. They not only reflect who I want to be, but what I want my clients and potential clients to see in me. It’s part of my “brand,” and when people recognize the value of a brand, they are willing to invest in it. That is the difference between a purchase and an investment. When you are invested in yourself, your clients will be willing to invest in you!

Greg Justice, MA, CPT, is the founder of AYC Health & Fitness ( and the Corporate Boot Camp System ( He has been actively involved in the fitness industry for more than a quarter of a century as a club manager, owner, personal trainer and corporate wellness supervisor.



TOP-NOTCH TRAINING Michelle Blakely |

What do you expect? It’s simple: assess, design, communicate, train. Reassess, redesign. Stay informed. These are the trainer basics. To surpass the fundamentals and become truly top-notch, consider not just the hereand-now of each session but the end game: the expectations you set for your clients to help them reach their goals. If I pulled your clients aside today, could they tell me what you expect of them? Does each one know what you both have agreed upon in terms of what they do outside of the gym? Or, almost as important, inside it? Your clients’ weekly cardio assignment; their timeline for meeting with a registered dietician or getting their annual checkup; the consequences if they’re late to sessions. Do you have expectations around all of these actions, and have you clearly explained them to your clients? Make no mistake: as a superlative trainer, you must not only set the expectations but communicate them. This week, take a little time to briefly clarify for yourself, and for your clients, their big-picture objectives and the tasks that will help attain them. That clarification could be as simple as “cardio M, W, F at 9 a.m. for 20 minutes,” “move toward eight cups of water per day” or “use activity tracker daily.” But you have to start the dialogue. An easy conversation-starter could be: “I’m checking-in with every client to make sure I’m clear on their goals and needs. My understanding is that you want to [goal here]. Do I have that right?” Listen. Write the goal(s) down. Suggest a few simple weekly tasks. Make sure you both agree those tasks will be both effective and doable. Later, drop them a quick email restating the plan and that you look forward to their success. Not only is this practice a clear distinction between you and the average trainer, it’s an excellent motivator and accountability tool. Clients like to rise to the occasion and thrive when they have a clear path toward success. After all, that’s why they hired you. They also want to know that their success is important to you, that you value their aspirations. You get something out of it, too: clear expectations keep sessions effective—and keep clients coming back. New clients have often told me that their old trainers did not seem focused on their goals. As a result, they looked elsewhere. Improving your clients’ experience improves your ability to retain them.

Michelle Blakely is the owner of Blakely FIT, Inc., Strength Training Exclusively for Women and author of the Friday Quickie blog. She is a mother of two, wife to one and three-time Chicago Reader Best of Chicago winner. She’d love to hear from you: and




Bedros Keuilian |

Jason Karp, PhD l

Maximize profits with group personal training There’s a good reason why more fitness professionals are shifting away from the oneon-one personal training business model and into group training and boot camps. In addition to being less expensive for potential clients, boot camps and group personal training facilities are also a lot more profitable and have lower startup costs than their one-on-one training counterparts. Here’s why: With this type of business model you have lower overhead, higher profit margins and a bigger pool of clients to market to. You’re able to reach a lot more people in your community, which helps to position you as the go-to fitness expert. Here are a few tips to maximize your group training profits:

Decide your target market Boot camps and group training businesses have an advantage when it comes to attracting clients. They’re less expensive and more exciting, which is a great selling point when you’re meeting with a prospect, but if you really want to maximize your profits, you have to figure out who your target market is and cater to them specifically. Think of who your ideal client is and build your marketing message around them. Work with local businesses Partner with as many local businesses as possible and work together to promote each other’s businesses. For example, try a local beauty salon. Offer the owner a discounted rate or even a free month, if they’ll let you market to their clients and customers, ideally though direct mail or email. Also, offer them incentives to promote your business, like $50 cash back for every person they refer that turns into a paying client and promote their beauty salon to your clients. Starting strategic partnerships with local business owners is a great way to maximize your marketing budget. Focus on referrals The key to getting more referrals into your boot camp or group training business is to have your new clients bring in a friend within the first two weeks of signing up (when they’re most excited). One easy way to do this is to go to any office supply store, buy blank certificates and use them for a “bring a friend” offer. Hand out these certificates and specify that the offer is only valid for the first two weeks of the program. By creating that sense of urgency, your clients are a lot more likely to bring in referrals. Show appreciation to your referring clients with a Starbucks gift card or handwritten note.

Bedros Keuilian is the founder and CEO of Fit Body Boot Camp. Get more free fitness business boosting tips and tactics on his blog



Getting ahead of the fitness game If you spend time on Facebook, you’ll see many posts and ads about marketing. I’m bombarded by emails and Facebook posts promising five new clients with these top six marketing strategies. There’s certainly a lot of propaganda in the fitness industry. How do you become successful in an industry known more for its bodybuilder reputation than for its lucrative status? Well, for starters, you need to be lucky (or be Jillian Michaels). If you aren’t lucky, here are strategies that will put you ahead of the game: Get an internship. If you’re in school, most college majors require students to get an internship. Pick your internship wisely. If you want to own a gym, intern at a gym of similar size to what you want to own and learn from the people who work there. Find a mentor. If you’re about to graduate and want to learn how to navigate the undefined career path in front of you, find someone who is doing what you want to do and ask him or her to be your mentor. Do you want to be a personal trainer? Group fitness instructor? Health club manager? Do you want to be the next exercise DVD queen? Do you want to work for a company or be self-employed? Do you want to write magazine articles and books or speak at fitness conventions? Learn from someone who can give you advice and feedback, evaluate your work and put you in contact with decision makers. Be productive. In a society in which everyone claims to be busy, what really matters is not how much you undertake, but what you actually accomplish. Don’t be busy; be productive. If you’re in school, decide what’s more important—studying 20 hours for your psychology exam or choreographing your first exercise DVD. Publicize. While I was a graduate student, I invited the editor of Runner’s World magazine to attend my presentation at the American College of Sports Medicine conference. He attended and was impressed. I made a new connection and he included my research in Runner’s World. Since then, I’ve written a number of articles. Although great work often happens in dark garages or amid the noisy espresso machine in Starbucks, it’s not enough to do great work; people need to see and hear that you’re doing great work. Publicize everything you do. If you don’t, no one is going to do it for you. You never know who is watching or listening.

Jason Karp is a nationally recognized running coach, 2011 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year and owner of Run-Fit. As a PhD in exercise physiology, he writes for numerous running, coaching and fitness magazines, is the author of five books, an industry speaker and 2013 World Maccabiah Games competitor.

Journey to Success

By Lindsay Vastola



of change-makers… from Hollywood to Washington, DC


ou may have heard Hilary Swank mention Grant Roberts in her Oscar-winning speech for the movie Million Dollar Baby when she emotionally thanked him for changing her body in a mere nine weeks. You may have seen him in the movie Invictus or read about his Beverly Hills “Most exclusive gym in America” (as dubbed by SHAPE magazine in March 2013). If you read Fitness RX, you may have seen the cover article he co-authored with US Army medical director, Dr. Daniel Johnston, Train like a Navy Seal. If you don’t use either of his two apps, Restaurant Nutrition or Weighttracker, chances are you have a client who is one of three million users. Maybe the former Mr. Canada title rings a bell, or you may be familiar with his fitness, nutrition and lifestyle brand “Unified Lifestyle.” I could write another four or five paragraphs on Grant’s resume of impressive



career and personal accomplishments. But quite honestly, after spending more than an hour speaking with him after our first meeting at the PFP Trainer of the Year award ceremony last year (he was also one of the top 3 finalists), I determined it would be an injustice to focus this article solely on “what” he has achieved or even on how he achieved it. His resume is impressive. Extremely impressive. His life story is poignant and inspiring. But Grant’s mission and purpose is what I believe has the much greater value. I think most would agree that there are few people we meet in our lives who leave a significant, lasting impression. The kind of impression that stirs something deep inside of you, inspires you to take action and compels you to be greater. What separates these people is that they usually don’t even realize they have that impact. Grant Roberts is one of those people. I went into our interview expecting to talk about how he “got in” with the Hollywood

elite, how he operates his successful fitness studios and how he started his two widely-recognized foundations, Healthy Student Bodies and Healthy and Fit Communities. The first question I asked Grant was how he would like to be described or defined by friends, colleagues, the industry, etc. He initially responded “a revolutionary,” but quickly validated his answer in an even-keel, composed voice, “Well, more like a shit disturber.” That was the moment I knew this interview was heading in an unexpected direction. The conversation turned quickly to references of Plato, Hippocrates and Occam’s Razor. Grant is a voracious reader, is always thinking and constantly questions his own knowledge in order to prove himself right… or wrong. What makes Grant tick has absolutely nothing to do with chasing money, hob-knobbing with Hollywood, or even being “known” in the industry. He wakes up daily because he is vehemently committed to creating real, meaningful change; massive



From the movie, Invictus

WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT TITLE? Chief Anthropological Economist and Soothsayer – In order to accurately predict and provide results efficiently I rely on empirical and historical evidence of human development for program design.

From the movie, Million Dollar Baby

COMPANY NAME: I have a few companies. I have a nameless private gym in Beverly Hills; Fitness Outfitters is my equipment and consulting company; we are just launching Golf Fit; Unified Lifestyle Inc. is the foundational system of training I created that powers my apps and foundations Healthy and Fit Communities, and Healthy Student Bodies.

change that ripples through communities from the ground-up. Grant realizes that the top-down approach to change doesn’t work for change. Meaningful change will not happen through government agencies or even through the general medical community; it’s the foundation-approach that is the catalyst for success. More importantly, he realizes that it takes an army to fulfill these goals. One of his most passionate causes is creating a movement to abolish the Body Mass Index (BMI). He educates the medical community and speaks frequently on the need for doctors to prescribe preventative action with food and exercise before filling prescriptions. His influence on the medical community is having real impact by shifting the focus to body composition and return to resting heart rate as two simple tests of health and longevity rather than using the antiquated BMI.

Another mission of Grant’s is to impact youth to adopt a healthy lifestyle while they are young. His foundation, Healthy Student Bodies, started in 2007 and continues to grow nationally. The foundation originally started by donating a classroom full of fitness equipment, heart rate monitors and his fitness protocol to an eighth grade class of special education students. Standardized tests proved that more than half of the students enrolled improved six full grade scores in a single school year. What he found personally rewarding was one student, who was deemed the greatest problem student in the school by all of the teachers, became the class valedictorian. The foundation is now partnered with Harvard University neurosciences and is having a significant impact on student performance that will have lasting results. Grant started his second foundation, Healthy and Fit Communities, in 2008, reaching more than 100,000 participants in cities around the world. The initial city launched was Oklahoma City, led by Mayor Cornett. You may be familiar with the story: the Mayor set a goal for the second-most obese city in the U.S. to collectively lose one million pounds (which was ultimately achieved). After the Mayor ap-

EDUCATION: Empirical evidence – I am a voracious reader, taken countless courses and reviewed thousands of clinical studies, each of which I attempt to poke holes in. I believe in Occam’s Razor, questioning everything and experimenting to discover the truth. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PIECE OF WORKOUT EQUIPMENT? A pencil followed closely by a fork. The brain is the control center; if you don’t train your mind … you can’t possibly train anything else – strength, flexibility, endurance and determination is nothing more than neural coordination. The fork is a close second because nutrition is 70% of success. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE HEALTHY SNACK? The perfect snack is full-fat yogurt, with a tablespoon of citrus flavored omega 3 fish oil, a scoop of chocolate protein and some frozen blackberries. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE OR SAYING? I like the signoff I use on my radio show: “EVERYTHING … is going to workout.” CONTACT INFO: Grant Roberts MARCH-APRIL 2014 | WWW.FIT-PRO.COM | 13

I started my foundations Healthy Student Bodies and Healthy and Fit Communities, not because I wanted to advance my career; I did it because that was always my plan once my career was advanced. What did I learn? That charity stops at nothing.



peared on the Ellen DeGeneres show and the story made national headlines, the website received two million hits with hundreds of cities, aspiring trainers and advocates around the globe wanting to participate. Driven by service and a greater cause, Grant sees that the real power of celebrity and media is not the opportunity for personal gain, rather the opportunities to put forward a call to action in a significant way. He was asked to participate in an episode of American Idol Gives Back. He, along with friends Morgan Freeman and Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, both of whom are committed to the same causes, filmed a segment he wrote entitled, “Education is the ladder of opportunity… but you have to be fit enough to climb.” They raised $9 million, 100% benefitting Save the Children programs run by Mark Shriver. Grant believes the opportunity for the fitness industry is to be ambassadors of education and change. In Grant’s own words, “I have dedicated my life to the pursuit of improving human performance on every level including longevity. I am fortunate that my work has attracted some very powerful and influential voices that join me in seeking to inspire change. Collectively, we must dispel the myths and misconceptions that deter

fitness goals and provide a roadmap for success to the public.” My first thoughts when I first spoke with Grant was that there was something almost enigmatic about him. It soon became obvious that it simply is Grant’s relentless commitment to creating change that keeps him so vehemently focused on his mission. He has a reserved but laser-focused energy. He speaks and carries himself with intention; he is deliberate and purposeful in his words and actions and humble in its truest definition. He has an insatiable hunger for creating massive change and I had the sense that he will always feel unsettled until he can inspire an army of change-makers to accomplish these goals. It’s not surprising that this energy is reflected in his approach to his fitness and lifestyle methodology. The “lessons learned” from Grant’s journey to success may not offer his “how-to” or the step-by-step guide to becoming a successful fitness professional. I hope the greater takeaway, as was personally impactful for me, is that if we all discover and embrace the inner-fire that drives us; have an insatiable hunger for impacting a cause greater than ourselves and remain dedicated to that cause, the end-result will be far greater than any professional or personal success we imagine.


A major industry shift in facilitating

FITNESS ur industry is no longer reaching out to those who want to get fit, but those who need to get fit. Health insurance is covering medically supervised weight loss and personal training services because they are science-based amenities that focus on improving one’s quality of life and lowering overall health care costs. The increase in this demographic seeking medically supervised programs is a direct result of the healthcare changes beginning in 2013 and the modifications to healthcare we anticipate to come in 2014 with the Affordable Care Act. The estimated annual health care costs of obesity-related illness, as of 2013, are a staggering $190.2 billion, or nearly 21% of annual medical spending in the United States. Childhood obesity alone is responsible for $14 billion of this figure simply in direct medical costs. Personal training and weight loss programs that are medically supervised tend to



address serious health issues already stemming from organic or poor lifestyle health challenges. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or even altered in scale with the proper medically supervised program. Hypertension, stroke, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea, infertility and osteoporosis are just some of the medical diagnosis accompanying patients to medically supervised programs.

THE SHIFT TO MEDICALLY SUPERVISED FACILITIES Medically supervised facilities provide clients with medical assessment and medical supervision of weight loss, behavioral therapy and services for people with medical needs. These are services the average personal training client can’t find at a typical gym. People who seek out (or are referred to) medically supervised services require more of a complex approach than simple training or weight loss strategies. Qualified nutritionists, personal trainers and doctors are being recruited to meet the specific

Prepare for the rise in medically supervised fitness facilities needs of these specialty programs. It’s estimated that in the next 10 years, every health care organization will have a facility and program dedicated to the prevention and treatment of lifestyle-related disease. (Source: Doug Ribley, vice president, health and wellness services at Akron General LifeStyles) Medically supervised personal training services are evolving into a real asset of supportive health initiatives because more and more research is connecting these services to improved health. So much so that insurance companies are even testing reimbursement for medically supervised weight loss in several locations to encourage the use of fitness-related services. Public health professionals have increased efforts in recent years to develop medically supervised programs for this population. Several recent studies archived in the US National Library of Medicine report that “most of the successful obesity programs utilize an interdisciplinary approach that combines a

diet, physical activity, parental involvement (in adolescent obesity issues) and behavioral modification.” Being that our waistlines as a country are on the rise, and our overall health is on the decline, the need for serious physical, emotional and dietary interventions are also on the rise. We have to change our approach, which is why medically supervised programs are growing exponentially.

THE IMPACT ON FITNESS PROFESSIONALS How might this trend in the industry toward an increasing number of medically-based facilities impact you and possibly offer more opportunities as a fitness professional? It is up to you to be prepared to rise to today’s medical challenges. The emotional issues often associated with why a client shows up for a medically supervised training or weight loss program can be bittersweet. Are you prepared to not only implement education and specific health methodologies, but provide a supportive bedside manner? Especially when a client has been told he or she needs a medically supervised service – and the client isn’t thrilled? What about those who need a coach who can properly progress and overcome any mental or physical barrier and help one who needs to be there long-term despite not being ready to make some of the necessary changes to see the greatest results? Insurance companies and doctors are recommending the prevention and circumvention of serious health issues with medically supervised programs, but the patients aren’t always 100% on board. Additionally, the requirements to work within these programs (and the environment) is quite different for fitness professionals who are use to a more competitive environment, such as a 24-hour membership-based gym where the bottom line is a top priority.

ARE YOU PREPARED? As a fitness professional you have to consider continued education within your field and do your research on the rise of these medically supervised programs to remain relevant. Challenge often comes when working with a doctor or any provider who isn’t fully aware of what medical exercise to prescribe for a patient. Working alongside doctors who aren’t providing the right instruction can become a political nightmare for some dedicated fitness professionals. Knowing what medical services can be prescribed, how much prescribed exercise adherence is needed for patients and how to communicate this in a non-demeaning manner to doctors is also going to be part of your role. It is the thought of personal trainers work-

You may ask how and what does a fitness professional need to do to become better equipped to be ready to handle the growing need for medically-integrated facilities?

1 2 3

Become familiar with comprehensive medical terminology to help you work alongside prescribing doctors and with physical and/or occupational therapists.

Understand how to provide individual support that is effective but also within the regulations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA); this is a major concern for fitness professionals. Are you readily aware of HIPPA laws and how to incorporate its very strict regulations while imposing an appropriate, friendly, supportive bedside manner? Other laws such as Stark and anti-kickback regulations need to be understood in a medically-integrated facility.

Another source of continued education to consider is the Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults published by the NIH, NHLBI Obesity Education Initiative. ACSM’s Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist certification sets the gold standard of working in a medically-integrated facility.


We must seek to understand exercise progression from physical therapy or cardiac rehab to integrated functional movement intended to restore a client’s active daily living or athletic performance.


Seek out a possible mentorship or internship in a facility that has a proven medically supervised program and learn the intricacies of how they operate.

ing alongside doctors and not just for doctors. Fitness professionals also need to understand the tools and tests that a medically-integrated facility incorporates. These tools are used to properly progress one safely while helping a client/patient see the best possible outcomes. Trainers in these facilities will be asked to learn the science and interpretation of medical tests such as all major biometric markers, metabolic testing, HRV (Heart Rate Variability), DPA (Digital Pulse Analyzer), BIA (Bioelectrical Impedance Analyzer), hormonal testing, food sensitivity testing, sleep studies and more. Medically supervised is a way of stating medically-monitored or controlled environment. In many cases of medically supervised training, a risk factor exists within the client. Do you feel, with your training right now, prepared to serve the client’s best interest and actively communicate concerns and progress reports to supervising medical professionals? If you feel you are

not prepared, it is time to start considering the reasons why. The industry is changing, and for the better, but many ill-prepared fitness professionals may be left with a limited clientele. These recommendations should help you further your value within our industry, and complement the growing trend of medically supervised services. I know we all believe that exercise is medicine and it’s our responsibility to help bridge that gap!

J.R. Burgess is the CFO/VP of Rejuv Medical, and president of The Medical Fitness Platform. Rejuv offers a full-service medical fitness, functional medicine and non-surgical orthopedics clinic. As a result of their success and mission to change healthcare, they have created a turn-key system for license and franchise options nationwide.


Make more money with a

CASE STUDY: The MBSC Thrive System

Mike Boyle



I think every fitness professional, trainer or facility owner asks the same question: “How do I make more money?” The majority of us don’t enter the fitness business with a goal of getting rich, but eventually the reality rears its head. How do you make more money? I believe the answer is to develop a system. Open a fitness factory. Not a little boutique, but a factory. What is the most recognizable feature of the factory? The assembly line. In a factory, everything moves in a logical order and produces the finished product at the end. Why can’t our business be that way? In many ways our businesses do not function as fitness factories because many of us think like artists, not like factory workers. We allow our

trainers to train the way they want. We have no concept of best practice or of standardization because that runs contrary to our artist’s brain. Our MBSC (Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning) Thrive system was created out of need. As a collegiate strength and conditioning coach in the 1980s and 1990s I needed to figure out how to train 30 varsity teams with no staff and simple equipment. In order to do that we needed a system. We needed traffic flow. Not only did we need a place for everything, we needed a place for everyone. We realized we needed to set-up our weight room like the modern day factory with an assembly line. When we opened Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning in 1997 we took the

POD SYSTEM that can be adopted by any club Step 1 Prime

Step 4 Strength

Prepare the body to work. Instead of the old “five minutes on the treadmill,” every client does self-myofascial release with foam rollers, massage sticks, tennis balls, etc. to prepare the muscles for what comes next. Next in the Prime process is static stretching. Long out of favor, static stretching is something every client needs, even if they don’t want it. Four to six stretches for major body regions and the client moves down the assembly line.

Step 4 is what many of us recognize as a big part of the trip to the gym. However in our system, strength is just another step on the assembly line to a healthy body. The muscles that have been primed and prepped are now taken through a well-designed strength program meant to be both efficient and effective.

Step 2 Prep In step 2, the body that has been prepared via foam rolling and stretching goes through a series of exercises that we could refer to as a dynamic warm-up, movement, prep, joint mobility or activation. You choose the term. In any case, it’s step 2 in the process.

Step 3 Power

system that was working so well for collegiate athletes and applied it to high school and middle school athletes. In the 2000s we realized that this system, with a few tweaks, could also service the adult market. The key was the development of the assembly line I’ve outlined below. Start at step 1. Fifteen minutes later, you, the fitness professional, lead your group to the next stop on the assembly line. Not a circuit of exercises but a program – a system of training, predicated on the idea that training needs to proceed in an orderly fashion and that there was a sequence, a recipe for success. I’ve outlined below the steps that my partner, Bruce Mack, used to create a “pod system” that could be adapted to any club.

In step 3, a very simple but neglected area is taken care of. This can be a five-minute step but, an essential step. Adults lose power (think of power as the ability to move fast) at a rate of almost twice as fast as they lose strength. Basic jumps and medicine ball throws are done here to get muscles to reestablish their ability to move with speed. Jumps take care of lower body power while medicine ball throws are done for upper body and core power.

$ Step 5 Burn Bruce dubbed the last phase Burn because in the client’s view this is where they burn fat. I don’t think this is really true but the reality is I dislike all the terms used here. I’m not a fan of the term cardio, either. In any case, the last step on the assembly line is the conditioning component. For both efficiency and effectiveness reasons, we almost always use interval training. I prefer stationary bikes like the new Assault Air but we can run, walk, slideboard, climb etc. as long as we make it appropriate to the client. The key to the MBSC Thrive system – and really to any good system – is traffic flow. No one waits for equipment, no one occupies a space for an hour, no one hordes weights or dumbbells. Every coach and every trainer trains within the system and moves along the assembly line. This is efficiency at its best and when a business is efficient, you maximize your opportunity for greater profits in your group fitness facility.

Michael Boyle is the co-owner of Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning and MBSC/Thrive ( and the co-owner of StrengthCoach. com ( In 2013 Mike was the strength and conditioning consultant to the World Champion Boston Red Sox and head of Strength and Conditioning for the 2014 USA Women’s Olympic Ice Hockey Team.


Opening and operating a successful studio


Part 2 your Understand your options and prepare for underwriting

By Paul Bosley ften the most daunting, yet critical step in opening and operating a successful studio is understanding your financing options. In this issue of our 2014 special studio series, Paul Bosley outlines a list of financing options that you may consider exploring as well the appropriate steps you should take before you begin your application process. Even if you do not need financing, it is a wise investment of time to understand how to keep your financials in good standing in case of the need for future funding or for other opportunities that may arise.



Understand your options for debt and equity financing...

Traditional bank loans Banks typically focus on the following for applying businesses: } } } } }

Have you been incorporated for more than three years? Do all owners have “A” credit (675+ credit score)? Do your business tax returns report positive net income? Are your gross sales growing? Are your profit margins improving?

If the answers are all “yes,” start with your banker. If any of your answers are “no,” shop banks for the best depository account deals and move on to other financing options.

Equipment leases – lease-to-own or fair market value If you plan to use equipment in your business long-term, you may consider a lease-to-own option. This may be a good option for equipment that will last long-term, such as your strength equipment. Lease-to-own offers provide a simple buy-out option at the end of the term such as $1.00 or $101.00 and then the equipment is yours. If you are unsure whether you want to own equipment such as computer equipment or cardio equipment, at the end of the lease you can choose a Fair Market Value lease. Fair Market lease end-of-term options are to either return the equipment, continue to rent equipment on a month-to-month basis or purchase the equipment at fair market value. All lease documentation fees range from $95 to $495.

Part 3 in our Buyer’s Guide issue: Equipment ideal for your studio

Leases typically require one or two lease payments upfront and financing terms offered typically range from 24 up to 60 months.

Small Business Administration (SBA) loans SBA loans are government-backed loans for start-ups and existing businesses. All SBA loan applications will require a source and use of funds statement, a business plan including your bio, financial projections, tax returns and a personal financial statement. The following SBA loans exist: }

504 loans are used to purchase real estate offering repayment over 25 years with no balloon payment. You must be 51% owner-occupied. Loans range up to $10,000 and require personal collateral such as real estate or marketable securities.



7(a) loans can be used for build out, working capital and to purchase equipment. Loans range up to $5,000 and require personal collateral such as real estate or marketable securities. Small Loan Advantage II (SLA II) loans are working capital loans ranging from $20,000 up to $150,000 for start-up and existing businesses. The loan proceeds can be used for anything except major construction and to purchase an existing business. The collateral for the loan is your business.

Unique loan programs } Low Income loans are offered by Certified Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI). An online search will give you information on opportunities specific to your area.



Microloans exist nationally for small loan amounts ranging up to $35,000 for start-up businesses. One national company is www. Crowd funding is a form of financing that was signed into law with the J.O.B.S. Act. The rules are currently being issued by the Securities & Exchange Commission. Some great examples of these can be seen on, a platform focused on small businesses offers.

Once you have explored your financing options, the next step in financing your new personal training studio is to prepare for the underwriting process. Regardless of the type of financing you choose, the underwriting process is similar, so it’s wise to take the following five steps as you prepare.


1. Focus on your (and your partner’s, if applicable) personal credit. All underwriting decisions are affected by your personal credit score. Request a free copy of your credit score at or www. First, make sure everything is accurate. Dispute all derogatory items because sometimes you will get lucky and have them reconciled or cleared. If you have many derogatory items, consider hiring a credit advocate and hold off from applying for a loan or lease. 2. Focus on your business credit. If you are incorporated, Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) automatically sets up a file on your corporation so be sure to request a copy of your D&B report. Update your report to include basic information, especially time in business and ownership contact information. Consider enrolling in D&B’s “Self-Monitoring Program” to improve your company’s “Paydex” rating by submitting your existing vendors of choice who have given you a credit line. 3. Incorporate your business, then check with your Secretary of State’s website to



ensure the accuracy of the listing for your business. Make sure your time in business and ownership are listed correctly. Remove any owners with bad credit from the listing. Keep your existing company open as long as possible since lenders view three or more years as existing companies. All underwriting decisions involve a Secretary of State check. 4. Introduce yourself to your banker because you will often need to provide a personal bank reference. Maintain month-end balances as high as possible because underwriters check your average balance and month-end balances. Learn your bank’s business debt financing products and when you will be considered a candidate because most banks will not start lending until you are in business for two or three years. Consider local credit unions versus local banks. 5. Be prepared to present your business plan and financial projections. There are free templates available on the national SCORE website: http://www.score. org/resources/business-planning-financial-statements-template-gallery.

Preparation is the key to success in financing your business, so before you move ahead with any of the financing options, make certain you have taken the time to prepare. A famous quote from Benjamin Franklin is appropriate to end this article: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Regardless of the financing methodology you choose, you will only get one shot at the plate with any given financing source, so be prepared and take your best shot!

Paul Bosley is a partner with First Financial and the owner of and Champions Youth Fitness. Paul has worked in the fitness industry for more than 40 years as an operating partner in fitness center chains and now works to finance fitness centers nationally. Paul speaks at IHRSA and Club Industry trade shows on financing fitness centers. Contact Paul at, 561.702.5505 or visit

THE MESSAGE Website:,, | Facebook: |

Twitter: Sara Kooperman’s leadership in our industry is undeniable. We asked the woman who serves as CEO of SCW Fitness Education, CEO of LesMills Midwest and Founder of WaterInMotion why she believes she’s been so successful with sharing her message.


My ideal client is the professional who is always learning and growing. SCW Fitness Education caters to dedicated fitness ‘freaks’ who are looking for new, cutting-edge methodology backed by solid science. A key characteristic of the perfect client is a willingness to apply what is learned. Brain power alone gets us nowhere; it’s in the brawn that positive change occurs.


People always say that “fitness is a lifestyle.” Sorry to say... I disagree. I think fitness should fit into your life, and not the other way around. That is why SCW strives to offer diversity in our programming. Everyone needs and deserves options. Having fitness fit into your schedule creates sustainable change that truly impacts wellness.


If I had only one way to share my message it would be at MANIA events! You would think I have to say that, since it’s what I do. But, it is the truth. Live programming is our heart and soul. We value social media, we love our email marketing and we also offer online certifications. Yet, hands-on training, rubbing sweaty shoulder-to-sweaty shoulder...that’s where epiphany can’t help but happen.


We believe that we have been successful in our messaging when we have repeat customers, when our clientele reaches out to tell us the impact their training has had on the people around them, and when we see the “AHA!” look on the faces of our fitness ‘freaks’ as they learn new and better practices. Success is creating change and changing lives.


I think people follow me for many reasons. I want people to follow me because I add something to their lives they can’t get somewhere else. I love to foster connections. I know some people follow me specifically because I am a successful female entrepreneur, and I must admit that I love this. But I simply am out there getting the job done; providing good fitness education to as many as I can. Sharing the love of movement.



Group fitness certifications and education What are some of the newer trends in group fitness certifications? Some newer certifications we are seeing in the industry include Certified Special Population Specialist (NSCA), Group Training Certification (NASM), Life Coaching (ACE) and Specialty Certifications like the ACSM/ACS Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer (CET). How can fitness professionals take advantage of these trends and help it grow their business or career? Fitness professionals can grow their business/career by expanding their scope of services with trending education and certifications. For example, a group trainer can increase their education around a specific disease specialty and create group programs to focus on this target market. Because the majority of our “target market” is sedentary and may have several risk factors to include disease, this education would prove a great opportunity to increase their reach. What type of fitness professional do you think would most be interested in pursuing this certification/continuing education? The fitness professional most interested in pursuing these new

certifications are those who consider their position in fitness and wellness as one of educator and a proponent of change in wellness. Also, those who would like to take their business to the next level by increasing their reach. What questions might you suggest a fitness professional ask themselves to see if pursuing any of these trends is right for them? A fitness professional should start with the question, “Do I have the desire to broaden my education?” Because all of these certifications will require a commitment and sometimes a slow return on investment (ROI). Another question is, “Do I have the time and resources to pursue these certifications?” As we all know, continuing education requires time and a financial investment. And lastly, “How can these additional certifications grow my business?” A change in a business plan may be required. Are there any resources you might recommend that will help give more insight into this trend? Additional resources recommended would include looking at the major certifying agencies including NSCA, ACSM, NASM and ACE.

Certification and continuing education organizations American Council on Exercise (ACE)

Functional Aging Fitness Specialist

Savvier Fitness

California University of Pennsylvania

National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)

SCW Fitness Education

EXERCISE SPOTLIGHT Exercises designed by 2014 PFP Trainer of the Year Dan Ritchie and SPRI featuring the SPRI Slam Ball.

Slam Ball

Built specifically for the most demanding, intense med ball slamming activities, the Slam Ball is uniquely durable, evenly weighted, one-piece roto-molded medicine ball that you can bounce and slam on rubber, concrete, hardwood, artificial turf, and cinderblock surfaces and still get consistent rebound responsiveness. The basketball-style grooves and tacky surface texture ensure a firm grip, even when wet, and the ball floats, too.

Straight-ahead slams

Raise up to full overhead extension, coming up on your toes, then quickly and forcefully slam the ball down into the floor. Be aware of your release point so the ball bounces directly back to your hands, not between your legs or out of reach in front of you.

Lunge with rotation

Forward lunge and rotate the Slam Ball toward the side of the front leg. Ideally, attempt to rotate 90 degrees with emphasis on trunk rotation, not upper body reaching. Repeat on both sides.



Rotational overhead slams

Begin overhead at full extension and slam the ball down to your side, turning/rotating with 90 degrees at the waist. Alternate overhead rotations from right to left. Be aware of your release point so the ball bounces back to your hands.

For more information, visit or call 800.222.7774

Push-ups with Slam Ball

Performing a push-up with one hand on the Slam Ball forces more balance control and works each arm differently. You can shift more weight onto the hand on the ball or onto the hand on the floor to vary the movement.


With a Slam Ball, reach outside your foot. If you can touch the ball to the floor do so, if not try to get below your knee. Then diagonally reach up and across to your opposite shoulder. Make sure to rotate your hips and waist so your shoulders and head turn fully to the left and right. After 10-15 repetitions repeat in the reverse direction. A more advanced option is to perform a push-up with each hand on the Slam Ball, requiring more shoulder and core stability. Another advanced option is to alternate shifting the ball from the right hand to the left hand in between each push-up repetition. These movements can also be performed in the modified knee position.

Torso twists on floor

Start in a seated position on the floor. The beginner position should begin with the feet on the floor; more advanced, feet off the ground. Rotate the torso with the Slam Ball side-to-side touching the floor on either side of hips. MARCH-APRIL 2014 | WWW.FIT-PRO.COM | 27

NEW ON THE MARKET The latest trends in fitness equipment

THE BEAST ROPE Versatile tool with numerous applications - explosive sprints and rotational movements, lateral movements, reverse walking. Lightweight, nylon sheath protects user from the dangers of heavy ropes and unprotected elastic bands. Available in four resistances: 47, 77, 105 and 150 lbs. Includes one 20’ resistance Slastix rope with 60’ stretch.

PRO-ROLLER ARCH The PRO-ROLLER Arch, exclusively from OPTP, fits perfectly on any 6” diameter foam roller. When placed on top of a roller, the Arch improves posture by cushioning the head and preventing hyperextension of the cervical spine. The crescent shape also makes it perfect as a spacer between the knees, while side-lying, or a cushion underneath, while kneeling. It cradles the head while lying supine on a mat and supports the head and neck when side-lying. On a foam roller, a mat, or a Pilates Reformer/Cadillac, there are unlimited uses for the Arch. or 800.367.7393



Lindsay's Review:

10 in ONE Platform Trainer

Whether you own a studio or are limited in training space, versatility is a game changer when it comes to investing in equipment. The 10 in ONE Platform Trainer is the answer for any fitness professional in search of a go-to addition to their equipment collection. The 10 in ONE offers a portable platform and is adjustable so it’s perfect for individual or group training. With hundreds of exercise options, from step-ups to pushups to flexibility training, the 10 in ONE is a great investment for all training goals.



DETECTO’s new SlimPRO digital flat scale provides clinical-grade weighing accuracy and durability. The extra-wide platform accommodates all sizes of patients. The SlimPRO’s high 440lb/200kg capacity allows for bariatric weighing with an accuracy of 0.2lb/100g increments. The scale’s RS232 serial port allows connectivity with optional P50 thermal tape printer or EMR/EHR software. With the serial connection, you may print on stable weight or send the data to a PC for patient recordkeeping.

Designed for varied workouts – from pullups to rope climbing and weightlifting to sled drag - the X3 Competition Gloves feature Harbinger’s exclusive SpiderGrip with specially-tanned tactified leather in a seamless palm. SpiderGrip offers maximum grip on all surfaces, with no additional bulk, for a natural feeling grip. Made with real leather, these gloves are proven to last longer and work well with chalk, and are machine washable and dryable.

EVENTS CALENDAR March 2014 - May 2014

MARCH 2014 National Posture Institute CEC Workshop March 15-16 | Miami, FL March 29-30 | Atlanta, GA

California MANIA March 28-30 | Burlingame, CA

APRIL 2014 Fast Forward Workshop April 4 | Toronto, Canada April 4 | Orlando, FL April 6 | New York, NY April 7 | Philadelphia, PA April 9 | Charlotte, NC April 11 | San Antonio, TX

IDEA Personal Trainer Institute West April 10-13 | Seattle, WA

ACE Sports Conditioning Workshop April 12 | Rochester, NY April 12 | Raleigh, NC April 13 | Little Rock, AK

Vivobarefoot Running Technique Workshop April 12 | Phoenix, AZ April 12 | Washington, DC April 12 | Eugene, OR

NSCA TSAC Conference April 15-17 | San Diego, CA

Scottsdale Fitness Conference April 24-27 | Scottsdale, AZ www.fitnessfest.orgm

MAY 2014 Florida MANIA May 2-4 | Orlando, FL

AAAI/ISMA’s One World International Certification & Education Conference May 30 – June 1| Atlantic City, NJ

For a complete listing, see our online Events Calendar at

Connect with your peers MARCH-APRIL 2014 | WWW.FIT-PRO.COM | 29

BE BETTER Phil Kaplan |

Be the diamond – a marketing perspective As personal trainers, our initial study is appropriately in exercise science, kinesiology and physiology. Then we step out into the arena and we realize clients do not fall from the sky. We have to find them…and in our initial study, we failed to learn precisely how. Our initial plunders into marketing usually cost us, as we naively believe marketing = advertising. Marketing is not advertising. Marketing is not social media. Marketing is not an email campaign, a Tweet, a Poke or a Google Ad. These may all serve as forms of marketing, but marketing is simply, “putting your likeness, message or position in front of an audience with the intention of driving people to respond.” I won’t give you marketing ideas or tips herein, but I will urge you to recognize three important points. 1. You have to market, even when you don’t think you do (failed business can usually trace the downhill plunge to the point where they became “stable” and no longer felt a need to put out continuous marketing messages). 2. Your most effective and lasting marketing will be that which emotionally informs people of your unique ability to help others solve problems or alleviate pain and creates an association between better health and the need for a personal trainer. 3. If you’re not seeing a return that justifies the output, STOP! Do something else. Wasting money and time become self-defeating distractions that hurt the business more than they help. Let’s examine a glowing example of the power of a strong marketing campaign. Diamonds don’t rust, oxidize or deteriorate. We equate them with eternity, and in that, a diamond stands as a token of love and marriage, suggesting they are “forever.” A glimpse at divorce rates is enough to coax even the most devout optimist to raise an eyebrow. So what, really, does a diamond have to do with love? A man planning to get on one knee must prepare to open a little box. A shiny diamond must glisten as the intended (hopefully) says “yes.” A woman, expecting to become engaged, expects a diamond upon the magical moment. This wasn’t always the case. Men have always offered gems as tokens of love, but the reason the diamond is expected, required and scrutinized by every friend of the soon-to-bebride has everything to do with marketing. In the late 1800s a massive diamond was discovered in South Africa. Cecil Rhodes, who rented water pumps to miners, saw opportunity, bought land and created a company named DeBeers. In 1947, DeBeers hired copywriter Frances Gerety, who came up with the campaign “A Diamond is Forever.” Nearly 70 years later, it still works. It changed the landscape. It made women expect a diamond. It made men accept the diamond purchase



as a ritualistic behavior leading to an eternal love honored by marriage. This is a powerful example of association. The best marketing creates a new association driving an emotional response making the product a “must.” Associations need not be rational. The hippocampus doesn’t evaluate what’s real and what isn’t. It simply stores memories and at times links elements of those memories together. Coca-Cola has nothing to do with cute lovable polar bears, nor does Geico have anything to do with animated adorable lizards, but those associations have been effectively formed, attaching emotions to products through marketing. It’s the clever linking of two entities in the presence of a strong positive emotion that reinforces the associative link. So are you the diamond people need? You better be! You just have to find a way to communicate it emotionally, compellingly and confidently. You have to form the associations between your offerings and an outpouring of joyous emotion, achieved through fitness. Just as DeBeers created a must, your marketing can help your audience understand why, without you, they’ll be worse off. Why, if they care about themselves or their families, they need an expert to guide them in human betterment. The question that begs to be answered is, “What do people think of you?” and if it needs to be changed or adjusted, “What do you want people to think of you and how can you change their thinking?” You have to stay ahead of the curve, do things that are different, play up your unique traits and gifts, and be willing to catch people off guard. When you imitate the masses, you agree to carve up the market. When you market with your uniqueness, you create your market. Marketing at its best can take things that are relatively ordinary and position them as if they’d never been seen before. In 1795, salesmen arrived in town with products. They’d stand on an improvised stage and scream, perform and demonstrate, and if they were good, people would pull money out of their pockets scrambling to get the promised benefit. Today, that technique has evolved. Watch someone selling VitaMix at a health conference. Watch ordinary products being sold as extraordinary on QVC. These forums create buying frenzies. It’s the human reaction to shock, association and a compelling message that worked for the salesman in the 1700s, just with the use of different media. You don’t need the large forum. You just need the skill. With all of these thoughts on the table, the most effective personal trainer marketing is the simplest. Talk to people. If you very simply talk to five people a day about what you do for a living, confidently, emotionally, passionately, you can fill-up your schedule and grow without limit. Be the diamond. Create your campaign. Be extraordinary in your actions and your willingness to spread that message. Accept every opportunity to write, speak, yell, whisper or compel, and watch how attractive you and your business suddenly become.

Phil Kaplan will be launching a new distance learning program aimed at teaching trainers to grow without limit. Visit or send an email to inquiring about his ETC program.

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