Personal Fitness Professional Jan/Feb 2015

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continuing education: general or specialized?

THE FIRST 60 DAYS Fitness Business 101: A PFP 2015 7-part special series

JOURNEY TO SUCCESS Brent Gallagher: A man worth telling a story about



president & publisher

chad griepentrog | audience development manager

rachel spahr | national sales director

susan malmanger | editor

lindsay vastola | managing editor

mike beacom | creative director

Total hip replacement: what’s next? From dream to done Brian Grasso gives insight on readjusting your clients’ mindset in order to take them from “dream to done” this year. By Brian Grasso

POLL RESULTS Do you focus your business primarily on a specific niche?


Visit our website or YouTube channel to view weekly instructional videos from some of the most respected names in the fitness industry.

4.5% 49.4%


Referral programs Facebook/social media advertising

Functionally Fit by Brian Schiff

Business partnerships Other


What is your primary continuing education focus in 2015?

by Josh Bowen


b. Adding specialty certifications

d. Getting an additional PT certification

Entrepreneur by Cabel McElderry

e. Other


Training Wheels

Career Builder

a. Earning an advanced degree

c. Business building strategies

EXTRA Business by the seat of your pants Are you a planner or a reactor? Lindsay Vastola says you need to be both to succeed.

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VIDEO Exercise of the Week



Total hip replacements are more common for the active aging adult population. By Chris Gellert


kelli cooke | contributing writers

brook benton, bedros keuilian, sara kooperman, nick tumminello featured columnists

michelle blakely, greg justice, phil kaplan, jason karp and bedros keuilian

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PFP (ISSN 1523-780X) [Volume 17, Issue 1]


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Lindsay Vastola |

Mindy Mylrea |

Your body (and career) achieves what your mind believes

Marketing for success

“The body achieves what the mind believes” is perhaps one of the most ubiquitous mantras in fitness. We know how intricately the mind and the body are connected; what if we applied this mantra in the same way to inextricably tie knowledge and education to our own personal and professional development and success? The greatest risk we face is allowing our level of knowledge and education to become stagnant or believe that our level of knowledge is “good enough.” A lack of continuing education is not only the most limiting factor in our personal and professional development, but also carries great consequence for those we are committed to serve. In our kickoff issue of 2015 we’re focusing on the importance of continuing education. I hope the content, cover-to-cover, serves as a reminder that we have a responsibility to the industry, to ourselves and perhaps most importantly, to our clients, to hold ourselves to greater standards of education and knowledge. There is a changing shift in fitness clients are not just expecting us to “give” them information, but rather to decipher the over-information they are inundated with. The onus is on us to respond from an educated and well-informed position. Imagine the impact if we all continue to raise the bar by demanding of ourselves the highest level of knowledge!

We welcome Mindy Mylrea, our 10th PFP Trainer of the Year! As a veteran of the industry as well as an influential educator and program creator, Mindy shares her insight on trends in continuing education as well as how to strategize your continuing education plan.

As you continue to raise your own bar, here are a few highlights from this issue: }



If you’ve ever thought of creating your own CEU course for your unique workout or program, Brook Benton of Cardiopump Fitness shares 10 key tips you should know before you go forward. Just starting your fitness business? Then you’ll find our 2015 special series “Fitness Business 101” a perfect resource in the coming year. Make sure you implement the marketing checklist Bedros Keuilian provides in this first article in your first 60 days. Our featured Journey to Success fitness professional, Brent Gallagher, founder of West U Fitness and PFP 2015 Trainer of the Year top 3 finalist, has a story worth talking about…and you’re sure to be inspired.

As we embark on a New Year, let’s ask more questions. Let’s read more and regularly challenge our own methodology. Let’s surround ourselves with like-minded professionals who are as thirsty for knowledge as we are and then share this knowledge for the benefit of our clients…and our careers. Let’s commit to making continuing education non-negotiable.

Do you see any new trends in continuing education? HIIT will continue to rule the fitness airwave and bodyweight training is taking hold as number one. An integrated whole body approach to movement has been preached for years but it has finally climbed to the top.

What are your plans for offering your continuing education programs in 2015? I have applied for 2015 CEC approval for all my courses including Tabata Bootcamp so I will continue to offer ACE and AFAA credits, and our applications are in for NASM and ACSM.

What advice would you give fitness professionals on determining their continuing education strategy? With all the options now available to obtain and keep current fitness certifications there is no reason not to make continuing education a priority. I suggest attending at least one fitness-related convention a year and take at least one intensive training every other year. The more we know, the more we realize how much we don’t know and the fitness industry is ever-changing. Stay current and diversify your portfolio and you will be highly sought after.

On the journey with you,

Trainer of the




Career-changing continuing education


OTHER Columns 08 Treadmill Talk Do you still “care to learn?” By Greg Justice

09 Top-Notch Training Take the drudgery out of continuing education By Michelle Blakely

10 Boost Your Business Do not ever be the smartest person in the room By Bedros Keuilian


Brent Gallagher: A man worth telling a story about Proving the timeless principles of success By Lindsay Vastola

10 Education Connection How do you know what you know? By Jason R. Karp

30 Be Better Creating miracles By Phil Kaplan

Departments 05 Letter from the Editor


Certifiable expertise: 10 steps to create your own CEU course


2015 SPECIAL SERIES: FITNESS BUSINESS 101 Part 1: The first 60 Days: Layout your 2015 business plan

By Brook Benton

By Bedros Keuilian


ImPersonal training: Three common ways fitness professionals fail to personalize workouts By Nick Tumminello

Your body (and career) achieves what your mind believes By Lindsay Vastola

15 Education Trends The trend of general versus specialty certifications By Sara Kooperman

23 The Message Jen Comas Keck

27 Resource Spotlight Certification & Continuing Education Organizations

28 New on the Market 29 Events Calendar 6



Do you still “care to learn?” Gordon B. Hinckley once said, “There are few things more pathetic than those who have lost their curiosity and sense of adventure, and who no longer care to learn.” So, my question to you is, “do you still care to learn?” You’ve received your certification to work as a personal trainer, you are building a list of clients and you have the essential skills and expertise in the field to really help your clients. So, why would you have to consider continuing education? For starters, it’s a requirement that personal trainers undergo continuing education in order to keep their certification, but there are other reasons you should continue learning. Here are a few: Certification and legal accreditation: Just like any other business, personal trainers are required to abide to stipulated rules and regulations in order to remain legally accredited and certified. Only trainers that have the necessary education certificates are accredited. Based on this fact, it is important to take continuing education courses. Reputation management: Your reputation as a personal trainer is deemed to be directly proportional to the quality of services offered. This means that it is very important for trainers to safeguard their reputation and track record in the market to remain relevant and compete effectively with other trainers in their niche. Many continuing education courses are packed with reputation management topics that can help you achieve this goal. Keeping tabs on changing technology: Technology is constantly changing, and this extends to the field of personal training. It’s important to keep up with the latest advances so you can help your clients reach their goals efficiently and effectively. Regardless of what comes out next, continuing education courses will allow you to stay ahead of the curve, teach your clients the latest workouts and continue to provide them with the best possible training and services. Increased competition and business management: Competition is one of the forces that govern all markets that are not a monopoly. To effectively compete with other trainers, you need a number of special skills, including business and marketing. Continuing education helps you analyze the needs of your target audience as well as help you come up with credible business and marketing plans. These days, trainers can market their services through a variety of platforms, but to derive maximum utility, you need to possess some skills and expertise. This can be gained through continuing education business courses. As you can see, it is important to continuously learn to effectively run your personal training business. Be sure to take these courses from accredited faculty to enjoy the benefits.

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 |

Take the drudgery out of continuing education Do you drag yourself to your continuing education units with the enthusiasm of an early-morning teenager? I now enjoy in-person learning events, but that wasn’t always the case. Here are my tips for taking the drudgery out of CEUs: 1. Sign up for courses that address your specific needs. Where do you struggle the most as a trainer? Feel clueless about the Olympic lifts, nervous about pregnant clients, unsure about your legal risks as you venture on your own? The greatest remedy for fear is action. Instead of avoiding these areas, throw yourself into learning more about them. Your instructor will be thrilled to have a novice student, and colleagues will often happily share their knowledge with someone eager to hear what they have to say. Look for CEUs that fill these gaps and ultimately reduce your anxiety. 2. Make it about people. We all have attended talks that were in some way a bust. The description didn’t match the presentation, the presenter strayed off topic, or the environment quality was somehow lacking. Still, there is something to be gained by attending CEUs, and that’s networking. Strike up a conversation with a neighbor or the person who asked an interesting question. Personally thank the presenters for their expertise. Follow up with an email or even a handwritten note asking to meet for coffee. Connecting with other attendees is an invaluable tool in your continuing education experience. I have often learned as much from my colleagues sitting in the audience as I have from the paid presenter in front of the room. Smile, introduce yourself and ask a few questions about your neighbor’s experience. You might be pleasantly surprised. 3. Share your CEU experiences. Tell your clients what you learned and what is trending, and indirectly convey that you care enough about your career and their training to pay attention. Need material for your blog or newsletter? CEUs are an easy, powerful way to inform your clients of your expertise and professionalism. Have fun with it: Take a picture (with permission) of a famous presenter, or photograph an odd piece of equipment and ask clients to guess what it is. Learning is an integral part of success. Addressing your gaps, keeping the focus on people and sharing your experience can make all the difference in enjoying your obligation and need to learn.

Michelle Blakely is the owner of Blakely FIT, Inc., Strength Training Exclusively for Women, a public speaker and the author of the Friday Quickie blog. She is a two-time winner of the Chicago Reader’s Best of Chicago Personal Trainer award. Join Michelle at, and




Bedros Keuilian |

Jason Karp, PhD l

Do not ever be the smartest person in the room

How do you know what you know?

There is a huge hazard that, unfortunately, traps many fitness entrepreneurs: trying to be the smartest person in the room. For most, as their careers move beyond the stages of a new entrepreneur they finally begin to consider themselves experts. But some take this attitude too far and fall into the pitfall of believing they have arrived; that they have made their success and that, for them at least, the learning stages are over. This is a massive mistake. You should never allow ego or misinformation to convince you that you are done learning or that there is no one out there with anything to teach you. You should certainly feel confident knowing that you are experienced, with wisdom and lessons to share from your years of trial, error and success. But you should never act as if you are the smartest person in the room. Even if in some cases, it may be true. Depending on where you are, be it figuratively within your life or career, as well as literally, whether sitting in a kindergarten classroom or billion-dollar corporate boardroom, there will be times when you are legitimately the smartest, most experienced, most qualified individual around. But even then, even when you know you are the resident expert, there is a certain philosophy you need to adopt: Everyone has the potential to teach you something. You can learn something powerful and valuable about your profession from anyone. But, while true, this may seem a bit impractical. You aren’t going to be interviewing every stranger you encounter in order to discover his or her one-life anecdote that applies to your business. However, there will be numerous times throughout your career when you will attend a conference or a business meeting and will hear from a colleague who has less experience, less money, less success and less accomplishment than you— these are the moments when this attitude is most crucial. These are the situations where many will decide to throw away valuable knowledge and opportunity. It is at such times that some successful and proven fitness professionals may decide not to improve themselves, not to acquire new knowledge or advance the development of their business. While it may be difficult to discover anything of value from a complete novice or an individual whose style differs greatly from your own, you should always look for something to take away and develop into a lesson for yourself— even object lessons in what not to do. So don’t ever check out. When you check out you essentially say: “I have reached my plateau. I have already peaked. I know everything I want and do not need to learn new ways to make my business better.”

If you’ve ever tried to have a conversation with me about computers, you found out pretty quick that I don’t know much about them. I don’t know much about several other industries either, like dentistry or fashion, but I’m guessing that few other industries have as many myths and misconceptions as we have in fitness. From resting metabolic rate to stretching and lactic acid to the idea that running is bad for joints, there are many things that stick around despite the overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary. Given how the fitness industry is driven by certifications rather than by a formal education, we are often left on our own to figure things out. As a fitness professional, how do you know what you know? How do you know that what you tell your clients is true? Did an authority figure tell you? Did you read it somewhere? Did you design an experiment to test your theory? There’s more to learning than acquiring information about a subject. Magazines, online articles, even textbooks and research articles don’t teach you how to think. Lasting knowledge comes from understanding. Seek to understand. Don’t believe everything you read or hear. Read all of the studies that have examined the topic you want to know about. Only after you have critically reviewed all of the studies will you get the whole picture. For example, if you’ve heard or been told by someone that strength training increases resting metabolic rate, you may learn something new if you critically read all of the studies that have been done on that topic rather than just assume it as fact. Really try to understand concepts, theories, arguments and research rather than just memorize things to pass a certification test. In 1999, I attended the International Society of Biomechanics conference. The keynote speaker was Andrew Huxley, the Nobel Prize-winning discoverer of how muscles contract and a legend in the field of muscle physiology. One day at the conference, there was a student luncheon with Dr. Huxley. We all piled into a conference room at the convention center like we were waiting to talk to Santa Claus at the shopping mall. Nerdy students from all over the world asked Dr. Huxley, who was in his 80s at the time, specific questions about muscles, his research, and what he felt still needed to be learned. The intensity in the room was palpable. It was one of the best learning experiences of my life. While you and I may never win a Nobel Prize like Andrew Huxley, it’s important to keep an open mind, because that’s the only way you can truly learn. How do you know what you know?

Bedros Keuilian is a fitness business consultant and founder of Fit Body Boot Camp. Get free fitness marketing and business tips at his blog



Dr. Jason Karp is one of the foremost running experts in America, 2011 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year and recipient of the 2014 President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition Community Leadership Award. He is the creator of the Run-Fit Specialist certification. A PhD in exercise physiology, he has more than 200 publications, is currently writing his sixth book, mentors fitness professionals and speaks around the world.

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Journey to Success

By Lindsay Vastola

CURRENT TITLE: Owner / Performance Coach COMPANY NAME: West U Fitness EDUCATION & CERTIFICATIONS: University of Montevallo (BS Kinesiology) & United States Sports Academy (MSS Sports Fitness), NSCA-CSCS & ACSM-HFI FAVORITE WORKOUT EQUIPMENT: Your body: By mastering this first, we learn to manipulate gravity. This becomes the catalyst to enjoy any movement, sport or piece of equipment to the fullest extent. FAVORITE QUOTE: Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication. CONTACT: Social (LinkedIn, FB or Twitter): @BrentGallagher



A MAN WORTH TELLING A STORY ABOUT Proving the timeless principles of success There are fitness professionals who inspire through achievement. There are those who motivate through action. And then there are those who silently change the face of fitness by leading through character, authenticity and a commitment to simple core values. Brent Gallagher, a 2015 PFP Trainer of the Year top 3 finalist, may just be one of the few who embodies it all. As proven in his achievements in both his personal and professional life as well as through his persistent action and relentless commitment to lead by example, Brent Gallagher is forging the path of the rising standards in our industry. In 2006, Brent took a huge risk and opened his facility West U Fitness alongside his wife, Carrie, in Houston, Texas (in the very same year they were married). At the time, the facility was just 1,200 square feet and he had exactly zero clients. He carried nearly $220,000 in debt and was operating without any staff or support.

Fast forward just nine years later and West U Fitness has grown to 4,500 square feet operating his signature 30-minute program and also offers a fully functioning “teaching kitchen” where he features local chefs, foodies, registered dieticians and nutritionists, and even local farmers. West U Fitness now has more than 400 clients, led by a staff of 13. And perhaps one of the most impressive feats - he runs his business entirely debt-free (he paid off that $220,000 of debt in less than 22 months after opening) and now grosses over $1 million in revenue annually. Brent has even taken his team on an all-expense paid four-day Cayman Island trip as a reward for achieving their goals. Beyond the walls of his facility, Brent has authored the book, “Purpose: A simple path to a better life,” and has created a seven-week class that walks individuals through the seven steps he outlines in his book and


the program is now offered in gyms around the country. He has trained and traveled with PGA Tour players and speaks at industry conferences. His national recognition includes being a featured entrepreneur on the Dave Ramsey show as well as on the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Brent is also a devoted father to two young daughters. Brent is as resilient and persistent as they come, but the purpose of success has never been to fulfill a need for celebrity or fame. Rather, it’s his sincere commitment to be the catalyst for profound change –one person at a time. To achieve this, he holds himself accountable to upholding timeless principles, of which he has never compromised: } } } } } } }

Lead by example Earn trust through serving Humbly walk alongside each client to meet them where they are Build a true sense of community Run a debt-free business so as to make decisions based on clients’ needs Develop a team of leaders Truly focus on what being fit and healthy is all about: having the energy to leave a positive lasting legacy

Brent proves that living and exemplifying these principles in all facets of his life is at the core of true success. He also shared with us experiences that have influenced his business as well as his personal development as an entrepreneur. Here are some of Brent’s most pivotal lessons, in his own words, that will inspire you in your own journey to success…


“I LIVE BY THE MANTRA ‘THE LEADER IS THE LESSON.’ I’ve helped our clients and community redefine success when it comes to being fit and healthy - moving from the superficial to deep values and meaningful purpose they long to live for. I have clients who have lost a significant amount of weight, but it’s really nothing to brag about. It’s said the leader is the lesson.”

“I QUICKLY DISCOVERED THAT INNOVATION TRUMPED IMITATION EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK. I also learned that success is short-lived if it’s built on emulating industry leaders and facilities. Early on I offered everything that my competition was doing, trying to force their programs to work within our facility, never being true to what I knew in my heart to be right. This led me to develop the 30-minute training system we now use to coach our 400-plus clients. It also caused me to seek a deeper purpose not only in my business, but within my own life.”

“FAMILY LIFE OFTEN GOES OVERLOOKED WHEN IT COMES TO CAREER SUCCESS. My greatest success to date has been the honor of working alongside my wife every day for the past nine years - and we still love each other! Throughout the pursuit of growing our



professional lives, we’ve kept our priorities marriage first, girls [two daughters] second and our careers third. We have built our business around the values of putting family first and set our teams’ schedules to be at home as well.”

“I’M DRIVEN BY A VISION OF WHAT COULD BE FOR OUR INDUSTRY - NOT BY WHAT ALREADY EXISTS. My approach is unconventional. My goal in 2015 and beyond is to open the eyes of the forward thinkers in our industry to redefine success in business and with those who need us most - our communities we serve.”

“ADVERSITY HAS BEEN PART OF ALL OF OUR MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS. Throughout all the adversity, there’s one common theme to my journey: persistence. It’s the greatest lesson I could ever hope to pass along to my family, my team, the community I serve and the fitness industry at large.”

“LIFE IS ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS. The strength and health of these connections determines the depth of life we experience, the impact that our lives will have and the legacy we will leave behind. It is through these relationships, the connections within

our community, that we establish a cause worth fighting for.”

“I SET OUT TO BUILD A BUSINESS WORTH TELLING A STORY ABOUT. A story that helps to create insight, builds curiosity and challenge what’s possible in the fitness industry. A story that doesn’t matter what your background is or the number of followers on Twitter or fans on Facebook. A story that simply encourages taking small daily steps to accomplish the unimaginable.” The essence of Brent Gallagher, on paper and in person, is incredibly authentic. Though he’s achieved some of the greatest successes many fitness entrepreneurs only dream of, he is as Texas-humble as they come. He’s not looking for glory or fame, but has a clear vision of limitless possibility and is fiercely committed to achieving it; not just in words, but through actions, perseverance and an unrelenting sense of purpose. Brent’s journey to success will continue to raise the bar for our industry and will impact lives probably beyond what he even realizes. Brent Gallagher’s journey to success is certainly one worth telling a story about… a story worth inspiring our own journeys.

EDUCATION TRENDS Sara Kooperman | CEO of SCW Fitness Education, LesMills Midwest & WaterInMotion |,,

The trend of general versus specialty certifications There are some current trends in the fitness industry that are sure to raise eyebrows with regards to certifications. Increasingly, based upon a recent survey, facilities are not requiring fitness professionals to possess a fitness certification as a condition of employment. Consequently, facilities are more often hiring fitness specialists who attempt to become experts in a particular field of practice. These gyms are not requiring the general knowledge offered in a degree program or well-respected fitness certification. Therefore, there is a predominant trend towards specialty certifications. Certifications and trainings such as Tabata Bootcamp, SCW Barre Foundations, Piloxing, ExerciselabX, SharQui, LaBlast, Urbankick, Les Mills BODYPUMP, and Zumba are flourishing regardless of the specialty focus of the education. Surprisingly, club and facility managers accept these certifications and trainings and employ these instructors regardless of the fact that they may not possess a general personal training or group exercise certification. Theoretical information such as exercise physiology, anatomy and kinesiology appear to have taken a back seat to practical skill training and exercise execution. The perception amongst club and facility managers appears to be that an eight- to 16-hour course will properly prepare the fitness professional to teach the activities related to their specific class or session. The reality is that experienced, well-educated and well-respected fitness industry leaders have developed these booming specialized programs that take the guesswork out of teaching and training. These creators are smart and savvy and often rely on fellow professionals and/or exercise physiologists to review and evaluate their choreography and exercises. Simply put, these specialized programs are tried and tested and work. These developers have evolved safe, effective and creative programming that has longevity and harvest increasing numbers of fitness professionals for our forever growing obese populous. The bottom line is that these are great programs that are producing great results.

Additionally, these fitness regimes are sustainable. The variety of exercises and movement patterns keep students engaged and coming back for more. Furthermore, program developers have intentionally and intelligently created continuing education to consistently upskill their instructors, to provide and promote program growth. What is also interesting to note is that the health and wellness industry is supporting this specialization. Whether this is intentional or simply driven by our free market economy, these programs are attracting fitness professionals and sustaining them through a natural selection process. Therefore, these specialty programs are working to bring in revenue and make for a healthier society. In fact, it appears that while insurance companies typically require fitness professionals to be certified, it seems that all certifications, as well as trainings, are being accepted and covered by various policies. This coverage of individuals with specialty certifications and trainings helps business owners. Club and facility owners are driven to support these fitness professionals with specialty certifications and the classes serve to create sustainable business models that drive membership retention, ancillary revenue and operating income. These programs and instructors are covered by insurance policies and serve to drive members to our YMCAs, private clubs and studios and help our fitness industry thrive. The exercise community has many proponents preaching standardization, qualifications, evaluation and licensure. However, most industry leaders, as well as facility managers and owners, love the diversity and creativity that these newer, specialized programs offer to a variety of members. Available education, diverse fitness strategies and an ability to reach beyond current demographics inspire new certifications every day. This trend will continue to thrive in 2015. In our ever growing and ever changing fitness world, change is welcome, change is needed and change is being rewarded.

Sara Kooperman, JD, is the CEO of SCW Fitness Education, Les Mills Midwest and the founder and CEO of WATERinMOTION and MANIA Fitness Instructor Training Conventions. She has appeared frequently on CNN and is a contributing fitness editor for Oxygen Magazine, and published repeatedly in SHAPE Magazine. Most recently, Sara has been inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame.

Certification and continuing education organizations American Aerobic Assoc. International (AAAI)

National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT)

American Council on Exercise (ACE)

National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)

Savvier Fitness

SCW Fitness Education



Visit for the case study showcasing how Brook Benton grew Cardiopump Fitness to become a premier campus recreation education program.




Have you created a unique class, workout technique or program that has an avid following of clients? Are you considering sharing the success by offering a CEU course to gyms in your area, across the country, the world? Fitness professionals tend to be impulsive. We jump forward to implementing good ideas before planning out the details. Ready, fire, aim. Failure to plan will surely lead to a plan’s failure. Before you jump into creating the CEU program, be sure to take time to lay the groundwork and know the first steps required. Here are 10 steps you need to understand about creating your own training course.

1. KNOW YOUR EXPERTISE You may be a fabulous yoga teacher. You have achieved your 200-hour yoga teacher certification, you’re a Yoga Alliance member in good standing and you have a fluent vocabulary in Sanskrit. But you really like ballet. You create a program that blends yoga and ballet and decide that you want to educate fitness professionals in this innovative new program. The problem is, you have no training in ballet. You may have taught yourself a thing or two on YouTube or taken a ballet session at IDEA, but a ballet expert you are not. Until you take the time to become adequately educated on ballet, you have no business leading a ballet yoga course. Know your expertise, and teach to that.

2. DEFINE A TARGET MARKET Don’t cast a big net, hoping to appeal to all markets. Don’t waste your time or marketing dollars on demographics that are not going to resonate with your program. Does your program require little or no equipment, and you have volunteer experience with low-in-

come housing during a college internship? Monetize your experience by targeting inner-city municipal fitness programs. Does your program blend faith fitness and children’s programming? Maybe target YMCAs. Know who you are, what you stand for and what you know that others need to know. Put all of those together to brainstorm potential markets.

3. CREATE A CURRICULUM A curriculum will likely include all of the following: } Manual } Training outline } Learning objectives } PowerPoint presentation } Assessment criteria (theoretical and/ or practical) } Evaluation

4. MASTER YOUR PRESENTATION Like it or not, people do judge a book by its cover. You need to package your program nicely and you want to get paid for this. That means a professional logo, consistent Pantone colors and a specific font across all of your materials. Print on heavy paper and use a laser printer with plenty of toner. Another option is to have an office supply store or online printing company serve your printing needs. Bind your manuals with coil, clear front cover, and hard back cover. Ship with quality shipping containers, such as those offered through Uline supplies. Your course will only be successful if fitness managers want to host it. They will know within five seconds of looking over your material if they are interested or not. It behooves you to present it to them in a professional package.




Around November each year, nationally-recognized certifying agencies begin issuing continuing education approval for the following year, effective January 1. If you only propose CEC/CEU approval for one course, it’ll run you in the range of $250 per agency. Each additional course you seek approval for will cost significantly less, but don’t let that convince you that you should seek approval for more than one course. If you’re just getting started, put all of your energy and intellect into one quality course. Down the road, you may add breadth and depth. Here are some companies that you may want to seek approval for continuing education:

Be careful about labeling your course a “certification.” The National Commission for Certifying Agencies, NCCA, sets stringent criteria that all accredited certifications must meet. Your new course wouldn’t even qualify for NCCA accreditation, because you wouldn’t be able to show that measurable learning goals were achieved in the past one year of administration or 500 candidates assessed through your course. Applying for NCCA accreditation costs $2,000 for initial application. It’s in that same ballpark, per course, per year, thereafter. Just for the sake of potentially being able to call your course a bona fide “certification,” it may not be worth it. If you seek approval to provide continuing education from any of the reputable organizations listed above, you would be advised against submitting your course materials as a certification. These companies wouldn’t want to put their name and reputation on the line by approving an unaccredited certification for continuing education credits. An advisable option is to call your course a workshop, and make the issuance of a certificate contingent on passing the comprehensive exam (written and/or practical) at the end. That

} } } } }


The American Council on Exercise (ACE) The Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) National Sports and Conditioning Association (NSCA) American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)


allows you to maintain integrity of your program without having to defend the certification title. If a participant completes the workshop, you cannot withhold their CECs. What you can do is issue a CEC form upon completion of the workshop, but withhold the certificate for your program until they have passed the examinations required.

7. MAINTAIN RECORDS Records that you will want to keep on file after administering your course include: } } } } }

Signed and dated liability waivers Photo release forms Written test results and practical skills test checklists/pass-fail justification Verification of each participant’s CPR card* Contact information for each participant

*If you are teaching a course that may be dangerous, it is prudent to check for a current CPR card from each participant before issuing a certificate by your program. For instance, if you are teaching a course on plyometrics, and you issue a certificate of completion that reads “Jane Smith has completed eight hours of Pepe’s Plyometrics,” you have some liability

for Jane Smith’s clients. By ensuring that Jane has current CPR certification, you have done what a reasonably prudent person should do.

8. NAME IT AND CLAIM IT You may think that because you call your course a title that you believe you made up, no one else can use that name. Wrong. To protect the title and reserve it as your own, you must apply for a registered name/trademark; this will legally grant you exclusive use of that name. However, if you were to try to register the name “Crazy Calisthenics,” assuming that name is not already taken, your trademark would likely be granted for the name in its entirety: “Crazy Calisthenics.” You would not be able to own the name “Crazy” or “Calisthenics.” You may apply for a trademark for your course and/or a copyright for your manual at Expect at least six months of processing time.

9. EVENT INSURANCE You may think your course is very safe, but accidents happen. Mirrors get broken, heavy fitness equipment gets dropped, and you get trouble! It’s a good idea to purchase event insurance in order to cover your liability for damage that may occur to people or prop-

erty while on your clock. Event insurance for most fitness courses, workshops or certifications costs approximately $300 a day. It can be purchased easily through a quick online application through During the application process, you may list the host site as “Additionally insured” for no extra fee.

10. PRICE FOR A BARGAIN, PROFIT FROM ANCILLARY INCOME People love to think they’re getting a bargain. Price your course with that in mind. You want people to sign up and be so pleased about the nominal registration fee that they take to social media and recruit many others to follow suit. Once you have a packed house for the event, you can make your money with other goods and services. At cardiopump. com, we offer a membership program, where people can pay an extra $69 a year and get access to one or two new instant videos each month plus the entire Cardiopump DVD library shipped to their homes. After scratching the surface of kettlebell education in our nine-hour course, the membership sells easily. People are hungry for more choreography, so they perceive the membership as yet another bargain! What they perceive as bargain, bargain, bargain, you accumulate as

dollars, dollars, dollars. You would have never gotten people in the door in the first place had you charged too much for registration. These 10 guidelines, while brief, will help you plan and pursue your own continuing education course. However, much of the more valuable education will come experientially. The initial phase of planning can be fraught with insecurity. “Do I have what it takes? Can I afford this? Are the educators who trained me going to think I’m copying them?” Don’t worry about the slew of competitors out there. As Petra Kolber says, “There’s plenty of room at the top.” Use your unique skillset to create a course that differentiates from anything else out there. Then market it and spread your gift with the world.

Brook Benten, M.Ed., is the President of Cardiopump Fitness, LLC and has a B.S. in Exercise and Sport Science, Business Minor and M.E. in Physical Education. Brook spent 10 years working at universities in the department of campus recreation prior to launching her business. She applied that experience to specialize in kettlebell education for campus recreation.


Part 1 of PFP’s 2015 Special 7-Part Series: Fitness Business 101


60 DAYS At some point, every fitness professional thinks about it; they fantasize about the possibilities of no longer having to report to a manager and controlling their destiny as an entrepreneur. Chances are, you, too, have thought about being the “founder and owner” of your own fitness business; and if you have an established business, there are probably aspects of your business you wish you knew as a start-up that you know now. In each 2015 issue of PFP, we will be devoting a special section with the sole purpose of arming you with tools, strategies and resources to create a rock solid foundation for your business. We’ll give you a peek into some of the more successful businesses and the minds of those who have already made the costly mistakes,

Layout your 2015 marketing strategy checklist By Bedros Keuilian

learned the tough lessons and have taken positive actions to achieve highly profitable businesses. Think of this special series as a your quick reference guide to the business of fitness – whether you’re contemplating a startup or are already in the thick of business ownership, each topic in the series has been purposely selected to offer you tangible strategies and resources to set you up for success. Following the introduction of part one of the series below, “The first 60 days,” you’ll find a brief outline of what to expect in each upcoming issue. And we’d love to continue the conversation with you online! Share your best advice as a fitness entrepreneur or post your questions on our LinkedIn page (search PFP media).

This is neither the most exhaustive nor the most complete list of marketing strategies, and it certainly does not contain the only ways to promote and advertise a business. However, the following tips and advice have been carefully selected specifically for the new fitness business entrepreneur. To keep things simple, reliable and attainable, this list includes the most proven and budget-friendly strategies that actually work. While any business can benefit from this checklist, it is designed to assist those opening their first fitness business.

Community involvement


he first few months operating your fitness business will, in all likelihood, contain the most difficult days of your career as a fitness professional. You will encounter problems you have never seen before, deal with situations that are entirely new to you and all the while you will be struggling to maintain your fledgling marketing efforts. To ensure your business is profitable during its first 60 days – and beyond – you must provide incredible service, tackle all the problems and responsibilities that come with opening a new business, but most of all, you need to drive as many new clients and prospects through your door as possible. The following checklist of must-do marketing techniques is designed to provide the tools and knowledge you will need to set up dependable marketing systems and help establish the processes that will bring in the traffic necessary to remain profitable. By establishing these powerful techniques, your marketing initiatives will be operating smoothly and reliably as soon as you open or launch your business.

A great way to advertise the launch of your business and create buzz about you and your product or service is to get majorly involved with your community. Many new and successful fitness business owners will form relationships with local charities, schools or other organizations by donating workouts, gift cards or money and publicizing their involvement. Connect with local small businesses and ask them if they would be interested in a promotional relationship. Most likely, if they are popular and established businesses, they will have compiled a list of customer emails. If you have a list of your own (which you should) you can offer to mail out to your list promoting their business and have them mail out to their list endorsing your new fitness business. Cross-marketing is another great way to promote your business by getting involved with and generating a presence within your community. Try fostering relationships with grocery and health food stores in your area and ask if they will allow you to offer healthy grocery shopping workshops. You can get the word out about your workshops by mailing to your list, posting advertisements around the store, and if possible, having the store mail out to their list promoting your workshop. Require a refundable $10 reservation fee but distribute the $10 back to attendees as store gift cards (this is how you incentivize the grocery stores and get access to their list). If you provide a quality tour or workshop that teaches some truly valuable information, you will attract new clients from within those attending your session; if there is a sizable number of attendees, the store will experience a boost in sales. This process generates a positive reputation for you and your business, creates and strengthens business connections within your local small business cohort, and generates new leads and clients in the process.

Establish a referral-generating incentive There are endless ways to generate referrals but that does not mean it is easy. While you have numerous options, you still need to ded-

Here’s a glimpse into what to expect in our exclusive 7-part series: Part 2 | March-April

Optimize and diversify your business’ profit centers

Part 3 | Spring Buyers’ Guide Plan for profit: understanding the real costs of business

Part 4 | June

Select the client management system that fits your business

Part 5 | July-August

Integrate mind/body programs that complement your training services

Part 6 | September-October The power of your brand: is your brand helping or hurting your business?

Part 7 | November-December

Lay out your marketing plan for 2016

icate a significant amount of time and thought deciding what your referral-getting strategies will be and what sort of incentives you will offer. It can be as simple as offering a cash reward for one or multiple referrals. You can provide free workouts for those who bring in friends, subscription discounts for clients whose referrals sign up for new services or any other form of incentive you imagine will get people motivated to bring in friends and family. Clients with the most referral potential are those who are still new and experiencing exciting results— offer these individuals buddy passes. Build milestones into your training


programs and offer passes for weight-loss accomplishments and other important events on your clients’ path to health and fitness. To ensure your passes are used and highly valued, print them with expiration dates. By making these passes seem difficult to acquire and by stamping them with a time sensitive incentive, you are ensuring the passes will be used to bring new prospects through your door. Ultimately, the most effective referral-getting strategy is simply delivering results. When your clients’ friends and family see the transformations you make in their lives,

they will naturally want to come see what you are all about. But by throwing in some buddy passes and discount incentives you will ensure a flood of new referrals come through your doors on a regular basis.

Master and utilize online technologies There is no other marketing resource as successful or cost-effective than an online presence. While your online options are virtually limitless, the following are the three most effective and accessible Internet marketing resources for a new fitness business.

The first and most powerful online tool for any fitness professional is email. Building, maintaining and utilizing an email list is absolutely crucial for generating success within your first 60 days and beyond. While initial returns may seem minimal, the long-term potential is limitless. Use websites, advertisements, squeeze pages and other in-person resources to generate a list of customer email addresses. Regularly send out helpful and valuable content as well as offers and incentives that generate low barrier trial program sales. By using your list to sell these easy to buy and access programs, you will generate new leads, bring in more prospects and have the opportunity to sign more clients. Second, but still incredibility important, are deal-of-the-day programs like Groupon deals. While most will likely understand the appeal of Groupon and its importance as a client getting tool, there is a simple but underused strategy that allows fitness professionals to capitalize very efficiently on leads generated through this resource. When Groupon users enter your business with a purchased promotion you must be absolutely sure to offer a package upgrade to those prospective clients. Inform them that they can simply use their Groupon, or, they can take the value of the Groupon and apply it to a more expensive and longer membership. This way, they still get the discount but have even more opportunity and motivation to transition into long-term, higher paying clients. Finally, the last invaluable resource that absolutely cannot be ignored is, of course, Facebook. You will be searched for by prospective clients, monitored by existing clients and have the opportunity to advertise to entirely new prospects all on this extremely powerful site. By maintaining a constant and regular Facebook presence posting transformation pictures, motivational quotes and client success stories, you will create an image and a reputation for yourself that not only contributes to the community’s positive conception of your business but also generates large amounts of leads and new clients. These tried-and-true tips are guaranteed to be the most powerful marketing strategies for the new fitness business or new fitness professional. Memorize this checklist to outfit yourself with these few but powerful stratagems. Set your business up for immediate as well as long-term, continual success.

Bedros Keuilian is a fitness marketing consultant, the founder of Fit Body Boot Camp, and can be reached through his blog:



THE MESSAGE Website: | Facebook: Instagram: | Twitter:

We caught up with Jen Comas Keck, fitness and health writer, nutrition and lifestyle coach and advisory board member of Girls Gone Strong. Here’s a glimpse into how she’s been successful sharing her message of optimal health, sustainability and enjoyment of life. My ideal client is somebody that is working toward making long-term changes for their health, fitness, physique and overall quality of life. I don’t do any type of “quick fix.” I swear by the Minimum Effective Dose when it comes to diet and training, and I get fantastic results for my clients by taking a simple and sane approach. My message is one of optimal health, sustainability and enjoyment of life. While I think it’s important for people’s confidence to look good, I put a strong emphasis on habit and lifestyle change, as well as how people perform at whatever they do, whether that is hiking, biking, chasing their kids around, playing a sport, etc. If I had only one way to share my message it would be word of mouth. There is nothing quite as powerful as getting a referral from a trusted friend. With that being said, social media is a huge key to reaching the masses and I prefer to use Facebook. It’s a way to reach, and engage with, countless people in a fun, entertaining and informative way. Successful messaging is encouraging, authentic and always realistic. When making lifestyle changes, things can be pretty tricky, so try to stay positive, but always keep it real - it’s only fair. People follow me because I am relatable. I can dish out tips and tricks all day long, but the most popular stuff that I’ve ever written is when I’ve shared personal stories about how I (or somebody close to me) struggled with something, and things that can be done to overcome it. Nobody wants to hear about perfection; your audience wants to know that they are not alone in the challenges that they face, and what to do to conquer them.




TRAINING: Three common ways fitness professionals fail to personalize workouts By Nick Tumminello




he reason clients seek private or semi-private training services instead of group training classes is to get a more personal program. This article highlights three ways fitness professionals commonly fail to personalize programming so you can avoid making these same mistakes, offer more personalized programming and deliver clients a much higher value for their investment.

Mistake #1: Giving lessons in the trainer’s favorite exercise method, not a personalized program for the client’s goal There are many training approaches. Some trainers may follow a bodybuilding-type philosophy where others are more into Pilates; some do 3D functional training and others may be more into kettlebells… and the list goes on. That said, many fitness professionals provide a training direction based on their own chosen training philosophy (i.e. bias) instead of delivering a true personalized workout program. In other words, many trainers just end up giving their clients private lessons on what that particular trainer likes to do instead of using the best modalities for the client to achieve their goals – the goal they’re paying the fitness professional their hard earned money to achieve. Put simply, there are fitness professionals and fitness hobbyists. Fitness hobbyists try to get other people excited about their hobby, regardless of their individual goals, while fitness professionals fit the workout program to the client’s goal, not to the trainer’s specialty or bias.

Mistake #2: Trying to fit individuals to exercises, instead of fitting the exercises to the individual Continuing the point above, one of the biggest mistakes fitness professionals make is

attempting to fit the individual to the exercises instead of fitting the exercises to the individual. All of us are the same species (human), just like all different makes and models of cars, trucks and vans are the same species (automobile). But just like automobiles, humans come in all shapes and sizes. Your size and shape is caused by your structure, and structure determines function. Although both a mini-cooper and a mini-van are made up of the same basic parts (four wheels, two axels, steering wheel, etc.) and can perform the same basic driving functions (e.g., go forward and reverse, turn right and left, stop and start) you would never expect a brand new mini-cooper to drive and handle the same as a brand new mini-van because of the different ways those same basic parts are put together. This is exactly why it is unrealistic to expect a guy who is built like a football running back to move the same as a guy built like a lineman. Although both the running back and lineman can change levels, push, twist, pull, and so on, they perform the movements in slightly different ways based on their structure. In other words, there isn’t any exact exercise that matches the movement of everyone because there are individual variations in the way humans move. The fitness professional must choose the particular exercise variations that best fit how each individual moves. The reason why we have exercise variations in the first place is not just to add variety to training, but because there are variations of normal in the way humans move. Some exercises just don’t fit well for certain clients. Not only do we all move a bit differently based on our size and shape, which is dictated by our own unique skeletal framework and body proportions, but past injury, loss of cartilage or natural joint degenerative processes such as arthritis can influence how we move. This is why attempting to fit every person to the same exercise movement is


potentially dangerous. Doing so could cause a problem or further exacerbate an existing problem as it may go against one’s movement capability. When it comes to performing the exercises provided in a way that best fits you, here are two simple criteria used in the Performance U individualized training approach for finding exercises that do make sense: 1. Comfort—the movement is pain-free, feels natural, works within current physiology, and so on. 2. Control—the individual can demonstrate the movement technique and body positioning the fitness professional has requested. For example, when squatting, the client displays good knee and spinal alignment throughout, along with smooth, deliberate movement. To allow for comfort and control, you may have to modify (shorten) the range of motion or adjust the hand or foot placement of a particular exercise, such as a squat or a push-up to best fit your current ability. Or, you may just have to avoid certain exercises.



Mistake #3: Failing to tailor language to create better client buy-in I’ve written several workout programs that were featured in exercise magazines targeted at men, only to have those exact same workout programs also featured by the same publisher in the magazine targeted at women. The only thing the publisher changed were a few key terminologies used to explain the workout. In the men’s magazine version it said something like “use this workout program to build a stronger and more ripped body of an MMA fighter.” Whereas, in the women’s magazine version it said something like, “use this workout program to shape a tight and toned body of a goddess.” As you know, “exercise is medicine,” but people are all much more likely to take their medicine (i.e. use a particular workout program) when they think the medicine tastes good. This is a valuable lesson fitness professionals need to learn from the major fitness magazines, as well as take advantage of. As fitness professionals, we must meet clients where they are by giving them the respect they deserve. To accomplish this, we must tailor the way we package the information we’re communicating

to them in ways that make the medicine taste good to each individual so they can get excited about their training programs. Let’s face it, if our clients are excited about what they are doing in training because they like why they’re doing it (i.e. the packaging you delivered it in), they’re much more inclined to stick with it. Not to mention, they’re also more likely to put more effort into their training sessions.

Nick Tumminello is known as the “Trainer of Trainers.” He’s the owner of Performance University, which provides practical fitness education for fitness professionals worldwide, and is the author of the book Strength Training for Fat Loss. Nick has produced 15 DVDs, is a regular contributor to several major fitness magazines and websites, and writes a widely-recognized blog at

Certification & Continuing Education Organizations RESOURCE SPOTLIGHT National Strength and Conditioning Association The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) is the worldwide authority on strength and conditioning, supporting and disseminating research-based knowledge and practical application to improve performance and fitness. Founded in 1978, they set the standard for strength training, conditioning and injury prevention. The NSCA offers four respected credentials of distinction: Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified Special Populations Specialist (CSPS), NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT) and the Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator (TSAC-F).

AAAI/ISMA-American Aerobic Assoc. International/International Sports Medicine Assoc. AAAI/ISMA has been certifying & educating fitness professionals for 35 years. AAAI/ISMA is one of the original, largest and most recognized International Fitness Certification Associations, with over 180,000 members worldwide. To ensure quality education our faculty trainers have a Ph. D., M. D. or Master’s Degree. Modeled after a University system, students pre-study and attend a hands-on workshop. The certification exams are written & practical. With 26 certification options, we help you build a CAREER! The certification workshop & exam is $99.00.

AAAI/ISMA 609.397.2139

Become an ACE Health Coach Ever feel like you’ve tried everything to get people invested in their health and fitness? You—and thousands of professionals like you—are why ACE created the Health Coach Certification. Lead people to long-term, healthy change by developing your expertise in behavior change and coaching psychology, weight management psychology and the physiology of obesity. Earn the only health coaching certification accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

ACE 800.825.3636

NSCA 800.815.6826

Become a Tabata Bootcamp Trainer!

Personal trainer certification

Tabata Bootcamp is a revolution in small group training designed to generate revenues for you and achieve client retention. Tabata Bootcamp is based on HIIT research, metabolic profiling, perfect exercise programming, body assessment, nutritional guidance and motivational coaching skills for creating positive healthy habit forming behaviors. We’ll teach you how small steps can yield big results and will transform your clients’ bodies and their lives. Certification includes instructor manual, resistance tubing, access to our complete online library that contains over 70 workouts and nutritional support videos, web membership and ongoing support at no additional fee. This is a complete turn-key program that generates revenues for you.

NFPT has been certifying fitness professionals since 1988, offering an NCCA-accredited Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) program and specialty courses in nutrition, resistance, and endurance training. NFPT education curriculum provides a comprehensive approach to fundamental exercise science concepts with prep tools that facilitate your full understanding of the material. Let NFPT guide you down the path to success by providing the start to finish support, convenience and credibility you need in a certification credential.

Savvier Fitness

NFPT 800.729.NFPT

NEW ON THE MARKET The latest trends in fitness equipment

SPIDERBANDS Centered on suspension and aerial concepts, this unique hybrid fitness modality is a total body cardio resistance workout that leverages gravity and your bodyweight with other intense exercise modules such as rebounding, kickboxing and indoor cycling. The choreography, music tempo and other factors vary class to class. Using the concept of leveraging body weight while defying gravity as its foundation, Spiderbands offers support that enables you to perform more intense and challenging fitness moves that cannot be done without bands.


Lindsay's Review: Demolition Ball

Just when you think the medicine ball couldn’t be reinvented, enter the Demolition Ball. The ball is 14” in diameter ranging from 6 pounds to 25 pounds. The minute you pickup the ball, you can immediately feel it is a high-quality product; the cover is made with Dupont Kevlar brand fiber and has a unique textured grip so the ball doesn’t slip during movements whether passing, dropping or throwing. It is obvious that the Demolition Ball was crafted with incredible attention to detail and with the user in mind. If medicine or slam balls are a staple in your workouts, the Demolition Ball is a perfect upgrade!




Power Plate is rolling out the world’s first whole body vibration system for group fitness. The Power Plate pro6+ draws on the proven effectiveness and fun of Power Plate whole-body vibration training to provide club operators with a new way to capitalize upon the popularity of social exercise. Features include an interactive touch screen monitor designed for easy-to-follow use in instructor-led classes and retractable cables for enhanced upper body work.

Vida is an app that provides a personalized program that combines technology with a human touch. It is designed to help individuals lose weight, detox from sugar, reduce stress, lower cholesterol and blood pressure and manage a large variety of chronic conditions, connecting consumers with a personal coach with 24/7 access to via video, voice and text. Vida draws upon protocols developed in partnership with leading medical institutions and integrates with Apple’s HealthKit, as well as data from patients’ doctors, to suggest the optimal individual care. Apple App store or

Peak Pilates has released its new reformer series, Afina. Features include a new four-position contoured footbar, a redesigned carriage and the new, sleek tapered leg provides maximum power and grounding. All carriages are now equipped with a flip mechanism to allow for simple future upgrades to a tower or twin mat system. A new tower system provides maximum versatility and expanded exercise options for a total integrated workout that incorporates much of the traditional Cadillac repertoire as well as other functional training exercises.


EVENTS CALENDAR February 2015 - June 2015

FEBRUARY 2015 Lebert Training Systems Master Trainer Summit February 12-16 | Atlanta, GA

Philly MANIA February 20-22 | Philadelphia, PA

B.A.M. Body and Mind Conference February 20-22 | By In Motion Fitness

AAAI/ISMA”One World” Fitness Education & Certification Conference Feb 27, 28 & March 1, 2015 | Broadmoor Hotel & Conference Center Colorado Springs, Colorado

MARCH 2015 IHRSA 2015 – 34th International Convention & Trade Show March 11-14 | Los Angeles, CA

NPE SPRING TRAINING March 26-28 | La Jolla, CA

2015 NSCA Training for Combat Sports Clinic March 27-28 | Colorado Springs, CO

California MANIA March 27-29 | Burlingame, CA

MAY 2015 Florida MANIA May 1-3 | Orlando, FL

JUNE 2015 AAAI/ISMA”One World” Fitness Education & Certification Conference June 5, 6 & 7, 2015 | Atlantic City Convention Center Atlantic City, NJ

For a complete listing, see our online Events Calendar at JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2015 | WWW.FIT-PRO.COM | 29

BE BETTER Phil Kaplan |

Creating miracles There’s an old song by John Waite that I often play in seminars. The song is titled “Change,” and it’s the theme that underlies everything we do. With the song blasting through powerful speakers, I coax my audience to rise to their feet and move their bodies, connecting muscular contractions to the driving beat. They respond for two primary reasons. First, moving the body through space perpetuates what we might call our life energy. Second, by connecting with a song, connecting with a concept (change), and directing their minds toward visions of improvement, excuses, stressors and challenges move out of the way, momentarily, so they can appreciate the power they have to transform. Yes, we thrive upon the concept of change. We seek out our own betterment through application of the fitness principles we study and learn. We choose careers that deliver value by helping others trade their bodies for new ones. As we mature into our careers, we begin to conceptualize how we might change attitudes, change society and, for some, change the world. We alter many things along the path of physical change. We change beliefs, we change behaviors, we change what we or others focus upon, and in some cases we may change value systems. If we step back and appreciate the good we’re all capable of, simply because our hearts and souls connected with this idea of fitness and exercise as powerful tools of transformation, we realize we can play a role in the manifestation of miracles. When a 49-year-old man with metabolic syndrome and arthritic joints begins a regimen with his trainer and progresses to run a 5K with a bill of perfect health, that falls into the category of miracles. When a mother-of-four rediscovers youthful vitality and her pre-pregnancy body after 12 years of seeing a stranger in the mirror, you can be certain she’ll call her trainer’s work miraculous. If you’ve been a fitness professional for any length of time, you’ve directed your share of miraculous outcomes, and in this moment, I urge you to appreciate those miracles as evidence of a natural gift that we can help people unleash. Yes, we pursue change, and we have a contagious enthusiasm that serves as our greatest weapon. If we limit ourselves by thinking our purpose lies in helping a handful of paying clients shed some weight, grow their pecs, or progress from step-ups to box jumps, the world fails to recognize the power we’ve tapped into. And if we land somewhere in between changing the world and reshaping a few eager clients, that contagious enthusiasm takes hold. Look around, not only in gyms and athletic arenas, but in malls, airports and on the metropolitan streets of the commuting public. Even relying only upon the visual, you’ll see the preponderance of abdominal adiposity, obesity, postural abnormalities (forward head), labored gaits and labored breathing summoned by simplistic physical tasks.



Tune into conversations. You’ll hear complaints, frustration and tales of woe. Get into the conversations and prepare to enter dialogues about meds, doctor visits and procedures that failed to deliver as promised. The health of our nation is abysmal. The public conversations about health care aren’t about health care, they’re about money. Perhaps it’s time the conversation changed (there’s that word again). Perhaps it’s time we realized the influence ability we as an industry can wield. I’m not out here alone when I tell you, without any clairvoyant powers, it’s only going to get worse unless something “changes.” I’m suggesting that fully within our scope of practice, we take on individual and collective efforts to change masses of people, not only through group training and boot camps, but through vital communication. People will only change for the better if they understand how to alter their behaviors, attitudes, and actions, and you, as a fitness professional capable of miracles, are better positioned than anyone to empower and educate our overfed, undernourished nation. We have to speak. Publicly. To corporate groups, to medical patients, to doctors, to teachers, to mothers and to influencers. We have to illuminate the gaps between “things that sell” and “things that work.” We have a lot to talk about. Sure we can talk about exercise. We should. We can do more. When we look closely at the degradation of the health of a nation, we identify that the cause runs deeper than the oft-accused “lack of exercise.” The cause is multifactorial and widespread. If we’re going to empower the masses to change for the better, we have to expand our scope and cover additional ground. The 49-year-old 5K participant and the mother-of-four I told you about earlier are real people, and when I look at the list of elements they changed, the strategy clearly goes beyond “working out.” Exercise is a vital piece of the equation, but far from the entirety of it. When fitness professionals expand their calling to a realm of true re-education, not taking anything away from but adding to the array of personal training ventures they encounter and take on, the impact of our ability to change amplifies and as any global change, this one has to start with a group of pioneers being bolder than the rest, stepping up to a greater calling, heightening their willingness to be responsible. What, specifically, should you speak about? Nutrition. Digestion. Breath. The Kinetic Chain. Biomechanics. Belief systems. Mindset. Sleep. Recovery. There’s a start. Continue your education and refine and hone your speaking skills. Dare to ask for opportunities to present before groups. Tap into your resources. Two amazing things will happen: 1. More people will know you, leading to more value and more business 2. You’ll play a greater role in facilitating massive change That would be a miracle.

Find details on Phil Kaplan’s newest course, The 21st Century Health Catalyst, at or email him directly,

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