Personal Fitness Professional Sep/Oct 2015

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PSYCHED FOR PSYCHOGRAPHICS Do you know your real ideal client?

YOUR BRAND BEYOND YOUR LOGO Fitness Business 101: A PFP 2015 7-part special series

JOURNEY TO SUCCESS Josh Bowen: Challenge the status quo. Aspire for greatness.



president & publisher

chad griepentrog | audience development manager

rachel spahr | national sales director

susan malmanger | editor

lindsay vastola | managing editor

mike beacom | creative director

kelli cooke | contributing writers

Un-anchoring from your fitness business 3 most common small group training mistakes If you train small groups, avoid these pitfalls. By Nick Clayton



3.4% 39.2%

VIDEO Exercise of the Week

What is the primary age demographic of your clientele?


Rise above the challenge of being tied to your business. By Jason Klein

Jump Start

by Brent Gallagher

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


EXTRA Under 21 years old

Training Wheels

22-35 36-55 56-75

Career Builder by Josh Bowen



Visit: to participate

Approximately what percentage of your time weekly do you spend on your business (versus training)?


Functionally Fit by Brian Schiff

a. Less than 25% b. 25% c. 50% d. 75% e. Almost entirely focused on business


Find your real ideal client Lindsay shares a valuable exercise.


pfpmedia pfpmedia pfpmedia

brent gallagher, jeremy greenberg, jennifer urmston-lowe featured columnists

michelle blakely, lisa doughtery, greg justice, phil kaplan, jason karp, bedros keuilian

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Lindsay Vastola |

Mindy Mylrea |

Stop being very good. Start being remarkable. There are few books I can say that I’ve read more than once. Purple Cow by Seth Godin is on that short list. Each time I read it there’s a new nugget of gold I can apply in my business and even in my own personal development. In short, Godin talks about how to be remarkable; how to be the “purple cow” among the ordinary cows in your industry. In my last read-through, the point that resonated with me was Godin’s caution about the dangers of being just “very good.” If you get on a plane and it gets you to your final destination, you tell no one. If the airline provides you an extraordinary experience by doing something remarkable, it’s tell-your-friends-worthy, social media-worthy, post-a-review-on-TripAdvisor-worthy and even talk-to-strangers-worthy. In our annual niche training issue, rather than focusing on the various populations, client-types or specific type of training, we’ve instead focused on redefining our approach to niche training. We need to be exceptional at our craft and create extraordinary experiences for those we serve. The professionals who will rise to the top will be those who are not just very good, but those who are truly remarkable. To be remarkable you must deepen your focus beyond who you train. Being remarkable starts by uncovering how you will connect with those you serve to create an extraordinary experience and impact in their lives, even beyond fitness. As you consider how you can redefine niche training in your own career, here are a few highlights from this issue that may just inspire you to be remarkable: }

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You’re probably confident in knowing the demographics or your ideal client, but have you ever considered exploring their psychographics? Jeremy Greenberg shows us the power of understanding your ideal clientele from inside their mind. In our 2015 special series, “Fitness Business 101,” Brent Gallagher uncovers what may be missing from your business branding… beyond your logo. If you don’t know Josh Bowen of Aspire Fitness, you’ll want to read about his journey to success. See how challenging the status quo, taking risks and aspiring for greatness pay off big time.

I challenge each of us to stop being very good at what we do and find ways that will make us remarkable; it’s simpler than you may think. Imagine what our industry would look like and the profound impact on the people we serve. Cheers to being remarkable,

A passion-driven focus What niche would you consider your primary focus in your business? My niche is wellness coaching. Too many trainers and participants alike are concentrating only on the fitness component, and placing healthy eating and moving more throughout the day second and third on their list. We need to stress to our students and clients that wellness is not just fitness. What, when and how we eat, how much we move throughout the day, how much sleep we get, and de-stressing our lives are all parts of the picture of wellness. As fitness professionals, we have an obligation to be educated on behavioral change and healthy eating. We are the change, and because of us the fitness industry is moving in this direction.

When did you realize this was a niche you wanted to focus on? About eight or nine years ago when I was first researching and creating my program, Tabata Bootcamp. I didn’t want to create just anotherrun-of-the-mill exercise program. The market is saturated with the same ol’ story… Get trained in a fitness program, pay every month to get new choreography, see your students a few times a week. There was no follow through. No discussion about eating and behavior change. So we were providing a great workout but that was it. The student then had the wrong impression that because of that great workout they could sit the rest of the day and eat anything they wanted. That student saw no change. It was lather, rinse, repeat. I didn’t want my program to be the same ol’ same ol’.

What advice would you give to a fitness professional who isn’t focused on a specific niche in their business? Find one!!!! This industry is changing so fast and we should not stand for mediocrity. We should stay current on ALL the research out these about behavioral change, nutritional support, and the right amount of exercise needed for maximal results.




Redefining niche training: from ordinary to remarkable


OTHER Columns 08 Treadmill Talk

What’s your niche?

By Greg Justice

09 Top-Notch Training Size doesn’t matter By Michelle Blakely

10 Boost Your Business Micro-niche targeting

By Bedros Keuilian

10 Education Connection Grades don’t matter

By Jason R. Karp


Josh Bowen: Challenge the status quo. Aspire for greatness. By Lindsay Vastola

30 Be Better

The tool is not the program

By Phil Kaplan

Departments 05 Letter from the Editor Stop being very good. Start being remarkable.

19 Education Trends


Get psyched to use psychographics


Market to your ideal clientele using more than just demographics

The power of your brand Is your brand helping or hurting your business? By Brett Gallagher

By Jeremy Greenberg

Not worth the risk

Rest assured with adequate liability insurance for your studio By Jennifer Urmston Lowe


By Lisa Dougherty

23 The Message Jessie Mundell

26 Exercise Spotlight



Disease-specific education and boomer fitness

MostFit Core Hammer

28 New on the Market 29 Events Calendar


What’s your niche? Let’s face it: You have an entrepreneurial spirit. The thought of working a 9-to-5 job – for someone else, no less – doesn’t exactly thrill you. You know you want to own your own personal training business… You’re just not sure what niche you will be serving. Don’t worry: plenty of fitness professionals feel this way. You don’t have to know precisely what segment of the market you’ll serve to know you want to be an entrepreneur. However, before you can open those doors to your new business, you need to identify the niche you want your personal training business to dominate. So how can you find your niche? Identify your passions There’s no denying that entrepreneurs are busy people; after all, you have a successful business to run! You’ll be working on your new business day-in, day-out – and at all hours of the night. That’s why you need to ensure that your business is something that you’re passionate about. This is the passion that’s going to keep you driving forward, even when you’re burning the candle at both ends. Without this passion, it’s so easy to suffer from burnout. So focus on what truly interests you. What do you do in your free time? What are you interested it? What do you love learning about? Narrow it down Once you’ve identified your passion, you’ll need to narrow down what you’re going to offer the world. If it’s too broad, your business will be too generic – and that could be the death knell for a business. If your idea is too focused, you might not find a sustainable market for it in your community. Make sure you walk the fine line between identifying a segment of the population that’s specific, but not to the point where it excludes most of your potential market. Do your research Before you take that next step with your business, you’ll need to do plenty of market research. Find out if there’s a market in your specific community. Not only do you need to find out if there are clients searching for your service, but you need to identify if this is a service they’ll want to buy from you again and again. Otherwise, your doors will close very quickly. Some fitness professionals know what their niche is; others take a little more time to discover it. No matter where you are, make sure your entrepreneurial niche is one that you feel passionate about!

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 |

Size doesn’t matter I love the niche. Love it. So much so that I have whittled my ideal client profile and training style down to a very small demographic. Some say this is foolish: “You’re limiting your potential client list.” “You’re not playing the odds.” “You’re going to miss out on potential revenue.” I smile at this feedback, knowing their concerns are unfounded. The secret of the niche isn’t in its size; it’s in its skill, in what it offers and what it solves. Here are my three favorite niche advantages — the reasons why it’s like the dubious date who turns out to be a terribly good kisser. 1. It gets beyond the surface. I could throw a rock in any direction and hit a trainer who says they work with young and old, men and women, athletes and the obese. When you train absolutely everyone, you seem to offer nothing special. You look like every other trainer out there. You may not be, but the client looking for help with their particular problem just hears a lot of white noise and can’t see beyond your similarities to everyone else. Different is attention grabbing, and that will set you apart. Give potential clients a reason to consider you: specialize. 2. It limits you — and thus empowers you. Being an independent trainer requires a lot of empowerment. Having a focused, limited client base actually opens doors for you. It exposes you to recurring needs, and that will force you to come up with better solutions. Your clients will appreciate that. And, if you’re an above-average trainer, you will reach out to practitioners who share your focus on the same demographic. This can create a very organic network, an educational resource and a potential referral stream. 3. It gives you the power of “no.” Having a niche allows you to say “no” more often, and that is a good thing. Don’t just structure your niche so that it plays to your strengths, structure it so that it allows you to steer clear of your weaknesses. For example, I recently spoke with a busy trainer who was clearly annoyed by his “average Joe” clients’ poor commitment outside the gym. Not only is this not good for the clients (people should work with those who believe in them), it’s not good for the trainer. It promotes burnout and frustration. I’d love to see this trainer focus strictly on recreational and professional fitness competitors. It’s what he loves, and it would help him avoid the client base that isn’t a good fit. The size of your potential client base doesn’t matter. Try something different and take niche training out for a stroll. I think you’ll find it’s a better, more lasting match than first impressions might suggest.

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 twotime winner of the Chicago Reader’s Best of Chicago Personal Trainer award. Join Michelle at, LinkedIn and




Bedros Keuilian |

Jason Karp, PhD l

Micro-niche targeting

Grades don’t matter

As you look for and study advice about building a better fitness business, you’ll likely discover all different kinds of people teaching the exact same lesson: find your niche. Don’t ignore them! However, they may not be telling the whole story… Simple niche targeting is increasingly becoming too broad for many trainers and their businesses. With the powerful tools in an online marketer’s belt you can do a whole lot more than target a simple niche. In this scenario, simple meaning broad. You might be targeting moms between the ages of 23 and 37, but that’s hardly a niche. Sure, your marketing messages will have increased effectiveness if they’re written specifically to young moms, but what if you could get even more focused and thereby even more effective? For example, what about targeting women who’ve just given birth in the last six months. You’re going to advertise your specialized training explicitly designed to help new mothers improve the areas of their bodies that have been changed or affected by a recent pregnancy. You’ve probably cut your potential leads down to a few thousand in your area. That can seem scary at first, but consider how easy it will be for you to connect with that micro-niche? You can fill your copy with the language and the pain-points that resonate with new young mothers. Because your marketing will be so powerfully effective it won’t really matter if your audience is small. You’ll reach fewer people, yes, but you’ll appeal to that small number of women so powerfully that you may likely get a much larger response than you would from a more diverse audience. Micro-niche targeting doesn’t just make your marketing more effective, it makes it easier to create. It’s easy to make sure you’re speaking the language of a small, specialized group. A bit of research and some first-hand experience will give you all the resources you need to connect to a highly specific group of people. There are a few things to think about when considering a micro-niche. Make sure the narrow audience you’re targeting actually exists to sustain your business, otherwise you might be getting a bit too micro. You’ll also want to stick to the areas with which you’re already familiar. If you’ve trained mostly middle-aged men, then you probably won’t want to switch to training new mothers just because it’s an untapped micro-niche in your area. Micro-niches are the fitness industry’s not-too-distant future. Fitness marketing experts predict that these specialized marketing messages are going to become mainstream thought in the coming years; get ahead of the game and tap into the value of micro-niches.

When I coach high school or college teams, I often get into trouble with parents because I tell the students not to study so much, that their time is better spent doing something creative and productive than studying facts or equations for a test that they’ll never need to know again. When I teach college classes, I don’t give tests. The administration doesn’t like that, but the students, of course, love it. I don’t do it to be voted favorite teacher; I just don’t believe in grades. Grades just feed the ego of exceptional students and frustrate the mediocre ones. And they don’t matter anyway. I usually fell somewhere between exceptional and mediocre. Whether someone graduates with a 4.0 or 3.0 GPA doesn’t matter to an employer. I have yet to see a personal trainer, group fitness instructor or fitness director get hired at a gym over someone else because he or she had a higher GPA in college or high school. Credentials matter little when applying for a job. What really matters is one’s ability to create. Creative thinking is arguably the pinnacle of cerebral function. It requires seeing things or ideas that are not already there. There’s an intellectual freedom when being creative, when thinking on life’s fringes, when developing an idea and seeing it grow from concept to something tangible. Our educational system being the way it is, it’s often hard to think creatively. Truth is, we are educated out of creativity. School doesn’t teach us how to think; it is the antithesis to creative thinking. We’re left on our own to figure out how to think for ourselves. I often develop creative ideas while running. Research has shown that people who exercise score higher on creative thinking tests than people who don’t exercise, and people perform better on tests of creative thinking following an aerobic workout compared to when the tests are taken without exercising first. Interestingly, exercise only exerts an effect on creative thinking if we’re used to exercising. If we’re not, the mental effort that goes into the exercise itself detracts from the ability to think creatively after the workout is over. It seems that exercising on a regular basis trains our brains to become more flexible in finding creative solutions, but only if our bodies are used to being active. Through attaining a better physical self, we attain a more creative self. In college, I skipped my fair share of classes. Sometimes I slept through them, and other times, I felt my time was better spent doing something else. Perhaps that explains why I got a D in physics. Studies show I’m not alone. Lots of people get a D in physics. And lots of people, when placed outside of the box, are more creative. And they don’t even have to study.

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



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

Journey to Success

By Lindsay Vastola


. o u q s u t a t s e h t Challenge . s s e n t a e r g r o f Aspire


If you had gone to high school with Josh Bowen, you would probably remember him as that unassuming 140-pound kid. You then see him years later around town and barely recognize him because he isn’t quite the same guy you remember. Josh Bowen was that guy in high school. But now that 140-pound kid from Lexington, Kentucky has a different edge; a sense of confidence and conviction that wasn’t quite there before, and far beyond the muscles and tattoos. It wasn’t quite there until he found what he was meant to do; what he loved to do. And



he found it almost by accident. Josh Bowen experienced a seemingly serendipitous string of events that paved the way of his journey to success. While working in retail, a woman asked him, “What do you want to do with your life?” She suggested that he should look into majoring in kinesiology. He looked at the curriculum at the University of Kentucky and pursued his degree. His mom then told him he should get experience as a trainer, so he invested in his first certification. By happenstance on a trip to Las Vegas, he met a woman who then be-

came the manager at a local gym. She interviewed Josh and hired him as a trainer.

CHALLENGE THE STATUS QUO It didn’t take long for Josh to realize his passion for training but also for mentoring and teaching his colleagues. He had the opportunity to train at a large gym in Louisville. Once there, it bothered him that many of the trainers didn’t hold adequate qualifications or certifications and many didn’t look the part. He was persistent with management to do something about it. It would have been easy

JOSH BOWEN CURRENT TITLE: Fitness professional/owner Aspire Fitness


EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree, kinesiology, University of Kentucky

FAVORITE WORKOUT EQUIPMENT: Barbells and kettlebells


FAVORITE QUOTE OR SAYING: “Challenge the status quo”

CONTACT: Twitter: @jbtrainer Instagram: @aspirefitnessky

to brush off and go about his business, but instead Josh took responsibility for the solution. He approached ACE to offer a group rate for all the individuals who were not certified. He met with them every weekend to help them to not just get certified, but to make them quality fitness professionals. By the time he was 24 years old, Josh was running Lexington-based Urban Active’s 24 gyms in three states as the “quality control director of personal training,” a new position that management created initially with no definitive job description. He evolved

his role over the next four years and was the spearhead of setting the highest standards of quality, service and education for a $35 million personal training department with more than 500 trainers at 36 gyms in seven states.

ASPIRE TO TAKE RISKS In 2012, Urban Active was taken over by LA Fitness. Seeing the value he brought to Urban Active, LA Fitness quickly asked Josh to stay on and become their national fitness director. Josh realized he was at an important crossroads in his career. The new position would

require him to move to Los Angeles as well as make other career and personal concessions. He didn’t know what he was going to do, but he knew this wasn’t it. With the risk of having no plan, no promising means of replacing a once reliable income, and even having to cash-in his 401k, he made the decision to go back to personal training. After leaving Urban Active after the buyout, he took two days off then put his head down and went right to work. By the third day he had signed a consulting deal, and, with exactly zero clients and being out of hands-on training for nearly


seven years, became an independent contractor at a small local gym in Lexington. Over the next two years, Josh began to see that with great risk comes great reward. After quickly building his clientele, he also wrote a book, “12 Steps to Fitness Freedom” and was recognized as Life Fitness’ “Top 10 Global Personal Trainers to Watch.” In December 2014, he took the next big risk and opened his own personal training studio, Aspire Fitness, and he hasn’t once looked back.

ASPIRE TO A HIGHER STANDARD With 10-plus years training fitness professionals in a corporate gym setting, Josh has a unique perspective of what it takes to aspire to higher standards and shares valuable advice for those looking for opportunities both in and outside of the club setting: 1. Understand your advantages of working in a big club: you have a captive audience to develop a clientele and your marketing is done for you. It’s a great place to learn your craft before having to generate revenue entirely on your own. 2. Train your clients near where the club sells memberships, so new members will see you



achieving higher standards continues beyond what was once his job title; it is the driving force behind what he practices daily in his business, with his clients and community and with his team at Aspire Fitness. His goal is not to be the biggest, but simply to be the best.

– you can set the first impression. 3. Figure out what separates you from the other trainers (i.e. what makes you stand out?). 4. Your primary focus is to supply the best experience for the individual you’re training. 5. Create a relationship with the club/management where everything you do is a win-win situation for you, the club and for the client.


Josh believes the most successful fitness professionals aren’t always the smartest but rather those who have the ability to make the complex simple. They have the skills to develop relationships in order to get someone to do something they otherwise wouldn’t; they understand the human psyche to effectively encourage behavior change; and they have the business savvy to leverage their connection with people in a meaningful way that delivers value upon which to build a thriving business. The most successful are those who view competition as an opportunity to showcase unmatched value and consistently aspire to a higher standard. For more than a decade, his primary job function was focused on inspiring, educating and elevating the standards of more than 500 fitness professionals. His commitment to setting and

It’s doubtful that Josh named his business Aspire Fitness simply for marketing or motivational purposes. Since the moment he took his first job as a trainer, Josh Bowen has held himself accountable to not just teaching the higher standard, but being the higher standard. Josh is fiercely committed to changing the standards of the fitness industry; how we practice our craft and make the profession of fitness more legitimate. Josh, half-joking, claims he’d like to be known as the greatest trainer of all time and laughs as he says he’s not sure how one would quantify that title. There is no doubt that Josh has certainly impacted the fitness industry beyond what he probably realizes. By challenging the status quo and aspiring for his own greatness, he inspires greatness in others. And that is how you inspire change across an industry.





he fitness industry is enormous and fiercely competitive, with nearly 300,000 personal trainers and more than 30,000 gyms in the U.S. one might think that the success of independent fitness professionals is based on some combination of producing results for clients, pricing and operational execution. Fitness, however, more so than nearly any other industry, is relationship-driven, and the interaction with our clients is most important. Think about your new clients. Very likely, you either knew



them or you connected with them through a shared relationship, interest or group. Absent those few who insist that they operate the perfect business, each of us falls into one of three camps: novices who are trying to gain traction, established professionals seeking growth or experienced experts yearning to optimize. Each of these groups needs to gain a deep and evolving understanding of its clients in order to foster deeper relationships.

THE VALUE OF PSYCHOGRAPHICS We are all familiar with demographics, the quantifiable characteristics used to describe

a population. Demographic attributes commonly used by marketers include age, gender, marital status and income. Psychographics go deeper. Psychographic attributes are developed based on people’s activities, interests and opinions (known as AIOs). Whereas demographics describe “what” someone is, psychographics describe “why” someone acts. Psychographics help businesses to segment the population into groups based on their lifestyles. A familiar example of a psychographic attribute of a gym-goer is the motivation behind why she exercises. Common reasons include losing

weight, looking better, increasing energy, improving strength and being part of a community. A health club with no group exercise classes or personal trainers likely will not appeal to someone whose primary reason for attending the gym is to interact with others. Psychographics matter because they enable us as business owners to better meet our clients’ needs, identify the right prospects to target and market to clients and prospects more effectively.

GATHERING PSYCHOGRAPHIC INFORMATION Here are some suggestions on how to learn about your clients’ activities, interests and opinions: 1. Plan: Choose a set of questions that will help uncover your clients’ lifestyles. Questions about what fulfills them are of utmost importance. What do they value? How do they spend their time? Where do they eat out? What are their most prized possessions? 2. Listen: Many would be surprised to learn how much information is shared during a workout. You can get a good sense of things

like what kind of music someone likes, how they feel about their body, what their hobbies are and how they like to communicate. 3. Interview: You can request 15 to 30 minutes of your clients’ time, over the phone or in-person, to get to know them better so that you can improve your work with them. You will find that many people appreciate being asked to provide input, and nearly everyone enjoys talking about themselves. 4. Survey: You can draft a basic survey either on paper or using one of many free online survey tools. Surveys have several benefits in comparison with interviews. They tend to be viewed as less intrusive by respondents. They also take up less of your time once they are set up. 5. Explore: Without being overly nosy, look at what your clients are posting on social media. If a male client is constantly sharing shirtless photos on Instagram, he is showing a different set of priorities than one who is sharing healthy recipes on Pinterest. If you are reluctant to take these steps, pull out a piece of blank paper. Make a column

on the left side listing your top 10 clients. Add column headers for attributes you think matter. Potential examples include: introvert versus extrovert, stingy versus generous, primary exercise goal and fashion preferences. You will come up with appropriate attributes based on your specific business and clients. Complete as much of this “psychographic grid” as you can.

IDENTIFYING PSYCHOGRAPHIC SEGMENTS Once you have compiled the information on your clients, the next stage in this process is to identify the essence of your client base. No matter how diverse the group appears, in nearly all cases a clear pattern will emerge about the lifestyles of your clients. You will see what similarities they have and, perhaps more importantly, you will identify which attributes are non-existent for your clientele. After writing down what your clients have in common, start to tease out segments. Your clients will be similar in many ways, but you should see clear differences between sub-groups.


TURNING PSYCHOGRAPHICS INTO ACTION You will now have powerful information that can be converted into marketing actions. You can take steps to meet your clients’ needs better, target prospects that are similar to your client segments and market more effectively to both groups. There are several ways to leverage your psychographic study: 1. Create evangelists: You likely already have fanatics who love your services. Now that you know these people even better, it is important to use the tremendous power of word-of-mouth marketing. In a relationship-centric business, it is critical to have clients who are outspoken and go above and beyond to tout your services. 2. Treat segments differently: You will likely find that each of your clientele segments desires a different approach. Some may want guidance on nutrition, some may want tips on how to work out on their own, and some may want reviews of the latest ostentatious smart watch. 3. Build a community: People connect over commonalities. Whether you use a group



class, a guest speaker, an email newsletter or a private Facebook group, developing forums for your “lifestyle-minded” clients to connect will strengthen the relationship they have with you. 4. Augment your marketing: Adapt your marketing strategy to reach people where they spend time, with messages that appeal to them, showing value for what they value. For example, if one of your client segments is very passionate about sustainability, include a message about the relationship between taking care of your body and taking care of the earth. 5. Abandon some tactics: Stop going after the types of people who do not fall into your core client base profile. Stop marketing using channels that attract the wrong people for you and your business. Focus on your sweet spots and invest in them rather than spreading yourself thin.

fundamental, emotional level. According to research by the Keller Fay Group, as much attention as we place on social media these days, only seven percent of word-of-mouth marketing occurs online. That means 93 percent of word-of-mouth marketing happens offline, in the real world. Do not use your psychographic intel merely to change your social media tactics. If no one talks about your business, the tweets, Facebooks posts and Instagram posts are meaningless. Your in-person interactions with your clients are most important and by understanding the psychographics of your core clientele you will drive your success.

Jeremy Greenberg is CEO of Flyte Fitness, the manufacturer of Core Flytes, patented portable stability trainers used by fitness professionals world-

This article began with a reminder of the importance of building strong relationships with clients. A deeper understanding of your clients through a psychographic study will enable you to connect with them at a more

wide. He is an entrepreneur and advisor, with an MBA from Wharton. Contact Jeremy at or visit


Disease-specific education and boomer fitness Lisa Dougherty, founder of the Medical Fitness Network and veteran fitness professional focused on individuals with chronic disease and special populations, shares with us the opportunities in continuing education and niche certifications fitness professionals should consider as they plan their long-term career. 1. What are some of the newer trends in niche continuing education and certifications? There are 100 million baby boomers (those over 50), that make up about 30% of our population, and three-fourths of America’s wealth. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC): 80% of older adults have one chronic medical condition, and 50% have two or more. The most valuable additions a fitness professional can consider adding to his/her resume are specialty certifications and CEU’s that offer higher qualifications to work with our aging population.

Fitness professionals should seek out education companies that offer courses on special populations specifically focused on a deeper education and understanding on these issues.

5. Are there any resources you might recommend that will help give more insight on this trend? Clients with medical conditions and chronic disease, once thought of as the exception, are now becoming the norm, and they are seeking the best of the best from our industry to serve them. Education companies like Cancer Exercise Training Institute, DSWFitness/Human Kinetics, Fitness Learning Systems, Functional Aging Institute, American Academy of Health and Fitness, the Medical Fitness Network and Geri-Fit are established organizations that are a source for fitness professionals interested in continuing their education and expertise in working with the aging population and more specifically, focused on disease-specific services.

3. What type of fitness professional do you think would most be interested in pursuing this certification/continuing education? Fitness professionals who want to have a higher level of knowledge, skill and expertise in working with our aging population are certainly a great fit for this population with disease-specific knowledge. It’s this type of education that has the highest growth potential.

Lisa Dougherty is the founder of the Medical Fitness Network. Its mission is to improve the quality of life with those with chronic medical conditions by connecting them to the most qualified fitness and healthcare professionals with a background in treatment or rehabilitation of various diseases and medical conditions.

2. How can fitness professionals take advantage of this trend and help it grow their business or career? As this baby boomer population ages, we are seeing a significant increase in obesity, chronic disease and individuals with multiple medical conditions. Among the many conditions a boomer client may face are joint replacements, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, arthritis, Parkinson’s, osteoporosis and muscle loss.

The demand for fitness professionals is expected to jump 24% in the next decade according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 edition. Additionally, the Handbook states that, “Aging baby boomers, one group that increasingly is becoming concerned with staying healthy and physically fit, will be the main driver of employment growth in fitness workers.” 4. What questions might you suggest a fitness professional ask themselves to see if pursuing this trend/opportunity is right for them? Do I have both the passion and patience in helping those with health challenges to create a better quality of life? Do I want to be part of the healthcare team and take a role in the health and wellness of our aging population?

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

National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)

American Council on Exercise (ACE)

Savvier Fitness

National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT)

SCW Fitness Education



THE POWER OF YOUR IS YOUR BRAND HELPING OR HURTING YOUR BUSINESS? As we look to grow our careers – from opening the doors to a new facility, surviving the first year, to thriving past the five-year mark – our internal voice starts to ask “How do I build a brand?” Typically, our first thoughts are about the visuals:  What should my logo look like?



 What kind of ‘swag bag’ gear should I give out?  How can I design my Facebook and Twitter backgrounds? Can they build my website as well? It’s easy to get caught up in the image of your brand because we want to make a great first impression. The visual aspect of a brand is

important, but many fitness professionals often forget one thing: BRANDS ARE ACTUALLY PEOPLE. Brands are businesses made up of individuals with feelings, fears and personalities (think founders of major companies like Jeff Bezos of Amazon; Mark Zuckerberg


FITNESS BUSINESS 101 By Brent Gallagher

not knowing how to do things the ‘correct’ way, but learning to do them your own way. Think of it like this: as toddlers, we learned to walk in individual ways. We didn’t follow a manual. Our parents didn’t seek out experts. We learned by stepping and falling over, standing and repeating. The walk we have today is a reflection of learning to do something our own way. As we explore to define our brands beyond the visuals, don’t fixate on what’s expected. Instead, do things your own way by focusing on this question: WHAT UNIQUE STORY DO I WANT TO TELL? Defining your brand’s story is like a journey of self-discovery. It can be difficult, time-consuming and uncomfortable. But if you want your clients to recognize, love and talk about your brand, you need to go further than just designing a memorable logo. You need to create a cohesive experience. It takes wrestling with the following basic questions to discover uncommon answers:

BRAND of Facebook; and Dave Schultz of Starbucks). True brands have a clear sense of why they were created in the first place, something that goes deeper than logos and websites. As we seek to build our brand reputation, we need to forget the industry rules and learn from firsthand experience instead. So much of what is unique to your brand is gained from

1. Why did you truly get into training (beyond wanting to help people)? Look back at past experiences, struggles and obstacles for patterns of grit, determination and courage in overcoming challenges. 2. What unique benefit does a client get from training with you? Beyond fat loss, lost inches, more energy and less pain. 3. What does your community already think of your company? Be openly honest and vulnerable here. Don’t sugarcoat the truth. 4. What attributes do you want clients to identify with your company? Approachable? Simple? Unconventional? Agile? Community? Optimistic? And so on. Once you’ve worked through your answers (preferably with your team or someone you trust as a sounding board), dive deep with these follow-up questions: 1. What are the key statements you want to communicate about your brand? 2. How do you integrate your brand into every aspect of your business? How you answer the phone, what your team wears, how your sessions flow, music, email language, programs offered. 3. How does the ‘voice’ of your brand sound? Across all written communication, visual

Here’s a glimpse into what to expect in our exclusive 7-part series Part 1 | January-February The first 60 days

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 7 | November-December Lay out your marketing plan for 2016

Miss an issue? Read our digital issues at

imagery, online, offline, social media, etc. 4. What is your brand slogan? A memorable, meaningful and concise statement that captures the essence of your brand. 5. How will you establish your brand consistently in the eyes, ears and experiences of your clients? SUCCESSFUL BRANDS CREATE CLARITY The reason brands like Facebook, Amazon and Starbucks are successful is that they’ve taken the time first to build a healthy organization. Second, they’ve created so much clarity throughout the business that there’s little room for confusion, chaos or internal conflict. We should all strive to build clarity into the steps that our businesses and teams take. This is not giving permission to micro-


manage, but empowering you to establish a successful brand by knowing the answers to these fundamental questions: 1. Why do we exist? 2. How do we behave? 3. What is most important, right now? No brand is more courageous than when the leader speaks with the clarity and courage of their convictions. VALUES ARE LIVED OUT IN DAILY ACTIONS Take a look at what Richard Branson has done with Virgin brands. We can tell they are healthy by how well the clarity of their values match up with their daily actions (culture). Here are their values: 1. Challenge existing rules 2. Provide a better consumer experience 3. Be more fun 4. Put a thumb in the eye of the complacent incumbents 5. Be irreverent and edgy, funny and clever, youthful and energetic - stick it to the man If you know anything about Virgin, you would say these values are crystal clear in every step they take. They didn’t get there overnight. It was a process, and sometimes a painful one at that. But look at their success. Sometimes we have to dig ourselves out of a hole before we can begin to see the success we dream about daily. FOUR-STEP ACTION PLAN At this point, you have covered a lot of ground, asked a lot of questions and challenged your current definition of what a brand truly stands for. You might be stuck asking: Where do I start? To help bring clarity and develop a specific to-do list action plan, follow these four steps: 1. Shoot your sacred cows: Success and/or just years being in business can cause us to hold tight to the status quo. Let go of what everyone else is doing and dare to become remarkable. 2. Build a brand on promises: It will simplify your strategies and give clarity to the voice of the brand. 3. Become better: It’s not about changing who you are; it’s about bringing to life the best of you that has always lived, does live and will always live and clarifying that. 4. Outside perspective: If you feel stuck, seek



out a branding professional to help put into words your convictions, dreams and desires for your business.

Brent Gallagher, MSS, CSCS, ACSM, has built Avenu Fitness into a brand measuring

Today’s decisions – not your logo, shirts or business cards – create tomorrow’s experiences. And when there’s a healthy business behind those decisions, blazing a new path with clarity around your ‘why,’ you will ultimately create the brand where your clients will reward you in three ways: money, referrals and most importantly, loyalty.

the quality of life one can live, not just their biceps and waistlines. He invests time coaching high performing leaders and challenging fitness businesses to come to blows with the status quo by redefining what’s possible for the communities they serve.

THE MESSAGE Website:, | Facebook: @mundell.lifestyles | Twitter: @mundell.lifestyles

Jessie Mundell has quickly become the authority in prenatal and postnatal fitness and lifestyle. Along with her fresh, evidence-based approach to fitness and coaching programs for expectant and new moms, it’s her authentic personality that has garnered a loyal community of women in search of a safe, healthy, fun and progressive approach to fitness during pregnancy and beyond. Here’s how Jessie shares her message… 1. My ideal client is a prenatal, postnatal or woman trying to conceive who wants to go on a journey to having a more positive relationship with her body, exercise and food. A woman who wants exercise and eating to enhance her life; not have these be tools to punish herself. 2. My message is taking care of yourself doesn’t have to take over your life and your mind. Healthy eating doesn’t have to mean hours spent in the kitchen prepping food, or fearing food. Getting physically strong doesn’t have to mean beating your body up in the gym six days a week. My aim is to simplify so mental stress is reduced. 3. If I had only one way to share my message it would be through social media via Instagram and Facebook. I’m grateful that I can show glimpses of my life through photos, videos and writing. That being said, I love teaching and coaching in person, too! 4. Successful messaging is being me. It’s showing my ladies my struggles, my successes, my life. I try to be as honest as possible with my coaching gals in sharing my story – our experiences are so similar as women. 5. People follow me because I offer a different, modern approach to exercise in pregnancy and postpartum. I blend sound rehab with effective weight training and I think that’s refreshing for people to see that it can be done.

Jennifer Urmston Lowe



t is imperative that fitness studio owners protect themselves from loss resulting from injuries to patrons, guests or staff members inside their facility, liability incurred in their ongoing business operations and physical damage to their owned or leased property. This important protection is available through insurance programs tailored for businesses in the fitness industry. Many fitness professionals looking to open a studio or facility don’t realize several considerations of liability insurance coverage



that differ from individual coverage, or don’t know which questions to ask of their liability insurance carrier. Here is a list of some of the important questions and answers that will give you a more comprehensive understanding of liability insurance for your business and facility to ensure you have adequate protection: How is liability insurance for a studio different from the insurance I have carried as a personal trainer?

As a personal trainer or group exercise instructor working inside of a health club, the fitness professional only needs to carry professional liability insurance for what they do or say when working with a client. They do not have the liability of their client being injured coming and going on the premises, either inside or outside of the building. When it comes to your studio, in addition to the same individual exposure, you’ll also need to cover for any injury related to the use of equipment or participation in a class

as well as the professional liability exposure for the fitness staff. Why is a studio policy more expensive? Slip and fall injuries are the most common injury in any fitness facility, large or small. These are premises exposures and are the greatest reason that liability insurance premiums for a studio are more expensive than individual professional liability policies. Personal trainers have very few claims for the instruction of clients versus premises-related claims for studios. The studio policy will also defend the studio for any negligent acts performed by other trainers who are employed or contracted. How much liability insurance do I need for my studio? Usually the studio’s lease will determine how much liability insurance they must carry. A $1,000,000 per occurrence (per claim) limit with a $2,000,000 annual aggregate limit is usually the lowest limit that a landlord will require. It is very common to see landlords request single occurrence limits of $2,000,000 or $3,000,000. Some general liability policies can provide these limits or an umbrella or excess liability policy may be required to achieve these limits. What other insurance do I need to open a studio? You will also need to insure the equipment, including fitness equipment and office equipment/computers plus any tenant improvements required by the lease. This will all come under a commercial property insurance policy along with coverage for loss of income due to covered property damage. It is important to know what the lease requires when it is signed. If employees and/or independent contractors are going to be working for you then a worker’s compensation insurance policy is required in most states. How do I save money on my insurance? Look for an insurance program that is tailored to fitness facilities that has been in existence for a long period of time. Fitness insurance programs will include coverage for the unique exposures common to the fitness industry without having to purchase additional coverage, either as standalone policies or via endorsement. It is important to work with a program that has a

long history and commitment to this industry as you look to grow your business into the future. A long-term relationship with your insurance representative and the carrier will keep rates down in the event of a claim. What are the most common insurance claims for a studio? Any fitness facility, whether large or small, will have the most exposure for claims related to slips and falls on their premises. These include falling down steps, slipping in shower areas, tripping over electrical cords, slipping on a wet or icy sidewalk or falling in a pothole in the parking lot. The next most common claim would be slip and fall injuries specific to group exercise classes followed by falling off of cardio equipment, with a moving treadmill being the most frequent equipment-related fall. Finally, there are claims related to use of weight equipment and free weights with a pull-down type machine causing the most common strength equipment-related injury.

dio is covered for their liability in connection with any injury the independent contractor’s client might sustain while in the studio, but the contractor must carry their own professional liability insurance. Owners and employees are covered for their professional liability while working in the studio and do not need to carry separate professional liability insurance. Do I need to cover the independent contractors on my worker’s compensation insurance? Yes, independent contractors need to be covered on the studio’s workers compensation insurance policy because they are just as likely to be injured while working as an employee. Most states require that they be covered on the workers compensation policy unless they can show proof of carrying their own worker’s compensation coverage. All studios have premises exposures related to members and guests coming into their owned or leased space. This includes walking through the parking lot, over the sidewalk, across the threshold, into the locker rooms or showers, as well as use of the fitness equipment and participation in classes or training sessions. Premise liability claims range from simple slip and fall injuries to minor or more severe injuries resulting from the use of fitness equipment or participation in exercise activities. Seek out a reputable insurance agency that is familiar with the fitness industry specifically in order to protect yourself and your business.

Slip and fall injuries are the most common injury in any fitness facility, large or small What records do we need to keep if a client/member is injured? It is very important to write down the specific facts of an incident immediately and ask the client/member to sign it as well as the employee(s) on site or involved in any training. Make sure to include date and time of the occurrence and verify contact information. Follow up with the injured person to see how they are doing. Note their condition. Keep copies of any medical bills or written communication and document any verbal communication related to the injury.

Jennifer Urmston Lowe is the national account manager with Sports & Fitness Insurance (SFIC) and has been insuring health clubs and fitness centers since 1998.

Are my independent contractors covered on my liability insurance? No, independent contractors are not covered on most general liability policies that cover the studios where they train. The stu-

She helped her father, John Urmston, found the IHRSA Insurance Program for Property and Casualty Insurance in 1999 and is a founding member of the Advisory Board of the Association of Fitness Studios.


EXERCISE SPOTLIGHT Exercises designed by MostFit

MostFit™ Core Hammer™

Introducing the first of its kind, MostFit Core Hammer, finally making sledgehammer workouts possible without the tire. Its round, solid rubber head achieves just the right amount of rebound to mimic a traditional sledgehammer. Use it to hit/strike the floor, walls or cement. Take it outside or incorporate it into boot camps. It can also be used as a stabilizer, weight and balance tool. Try this quick circuit, then create your own exercises and sequences. Look for programming and education from MostFit in early 2016.

WARMUP Stir the Pot

This exercise is great for stretching and engaging a variety of muscles. Stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width, place the head of the hammer on the ground in front of you and grab the tail of the handle with both hands. Engage your core, round your back as you reach forward, moving the handle in a circular motion. Alternate directions and breathe deeply for 10 circles.

Bicep Toss

Wake up those biceps and shoulders with the second warm-up move. Hold the Core Hammer in the hammer position with the head in your right hand. Straighten your right arm as if to do a bicep curl. As you bend your elbow, toss the head of the hammer up and over to your left hand. Switch the tail into your right hand before you catch the head with your left and repeat.



For more information, visit

CIRCUIT Core Hammer Slam Jacks

Hold the Core Hammer in a hammer grip position and slam on the ground in front of you as you lower your hips. Retract the hammer and reach overhead as you jump your feet together like a jumping jack. Jump your feet open and repeat, alternating sides if possible.

Alternating Side Lunge with Toe Tap

Start in a neutral stance with the Core Hammer in the right hand position. Step to the right into a side lunge, bending your right knee and extending your hips back. Touch the head of the Core Hammer to your right toe. Push back into the neutral position as you switch the core hammer into the left hand position and repeat the movement on the left side.

Core Hammer Speed Skaters

Place your Core Hammer on the ground and stand over it with one foot on either side. Extend your left foot back behind you into a runner’s lunge position and reach your left hand down to touch your right foot. With an explosive hop, jump over the Core Hammer onto your left foot and repeat.


NEW ON THE MARKET The latest trends in fitness equipment

SLACKSTAND The SlackStand is a completely freestanding, portable structure allowing set-up indoors or out without the need for trees or other anchors. The SlackStand includes a 12-foot slackline, making it the ideal system for schools, gyms or in-home use. Steel construction provides a solid base and sleek design keeps the unit as lightweight and compact as possible. It is easy to assemble and breaks down into two sections for convenient storage.


Lindsay's Review: Folding Travel Mat

A piece of equipment necessary whether doing yoga or Crossfit, the workout mat has seen quite the evolution over the last several years. The drawback, despite the plethora of mats available, is that while portable, they aren’t quite portable enough to travel without requiring a special bag or awkward strap. Until now. Merrithew has released its new Folding Travel Mat. It can easily slip into a large purse or suitcase. It’s 100% eco-friendly, has both a smooth and textured surface and can even be machine-washed. Simply the perfect solution for exercisers on-the-go.




The NormaTec Recovery System is a patented, dynamic compression and performance modality for athletes of all levels and experience – from professional to amateur. NormaTec promotes circulation to the tissues to leave muscles refreshed and rejuvenated for maximum recovery time. This non-invasive technology effectively treats common circulation-related conditions for improved training and enhanced performance.

The perfect rope for those who prefer the feel of the rope in hand without rope handle interference. This premium polydac training rope has tubular nylon webbing covering that protects and extends the life of the rope, while allowing it to move freely. This is the perfect training rope for those who want to feel more connected to the rope and in control of each movement.

AXIUS introduces core activation through controlled instability across three planes of motion: tilt, rotate and roll. Its two sides provide variable levels of difficulty, allowing you to reduce or increase degrees of instability and create safe levels of progression. With a unique core focus and 360-degree mobility, you can strengthen your entire body and enhance isometric core exercises and pre-habilitation routines.


EVENTS CALENDAR October -December

OCTOBER 2015 HIGHX Training - White Belt Training Oct. 9 | Chicago, IL

HIGHX Training - White Belt Training Oct. 10 | Chicago, IL

2015 NSCA Personal Trainers Conference Oct. 10-12 | Anaheim, CA

SCW Fitness l DC Mania Oct. 16-18 | Washington DC

NOVEMBER 2015 YogaFit l YogaLean Mind Body Fitness Conference Nov. 9-12 | Orlando, FL

SCW Fitness l Boston Mania Nov. 13-15 | Boston, MA

YogaFit l YogaLean Mind Body Fitness Conference Nov. 19-22 | Portland, OR

RISE Nov. 20-22 | Gaylord National Harbor, MD

DECEMBER 2015 YogaFit l YogaLean Mind Body Fitness Conference Dec. 10-13 | Boston, MA

For a complete listing, see our online Events Calendar at


BE BETTER Phil Kaplan |

The tool is not the program Years ago, after listening to a red-faced manager bellow, “sell, sell, sell,” I chose to leave the big box health clubs and hone my training skills. I found employment at Palm Aire Spa in Pompano Beach, a hideaway for the rich and famous. My clients were academy award winners, rock stars and show business icons. There was purity to the position. It wasn’t about taking money in exchange for membership, but I was paid to help people by delivering guidance in exercise, nutrition and recovery. When guests arrived they were scheduled for an intake assessing health history, VO2 Max, body composition, vital markers, flexibility, strength and endurance. Based on expressed goals, we, a small but professional team of trainers, “programmed” them. They were assigned menus, training sessions, exercise classes, spa treatments and whatever else fit under the umbrella of giving the guest what he/she was looking for. Murad, near 80 when I met him, had been at Palm Aire for decades. He was living an enviable life, and didn’t need to “train” people, yet he conducted exercise sessions daily and was different from any trainer I’d ever met. Despite the fact that he’d already lived near eight decades, he had a physique that could command respect among 30-year-old athletes. A lean agile Tarzan, he had the mix of genetic gifting and devotion to his craft. With his booming voice, filtered through an Egyptian accent, he moved grown men around a swimming pool, delightfully punishing their muscles with volleyballs until they begged to be set free. The creative exercises he relied upon were part comical, part genius. Murad’s clients moved in patterns emulating the Decathlon and from day-to-day you’d watch movement away from clumsy toward grace. Gravity, leverage and balance were the primary means of challenge. He used broomsticks, towels, ropes, chains, high bars, ledges, hills and other people as tools to isolate muscles, integrate muscular cooperation, and in that he was masterful. Murad saw the body as a brilliant and miraculous anatomical machine, and I wanted to learn from him. After witnessing my 350-pound bench press, Murad asked me to hold an extended plank atop a stone wall. Every 30 seconds he coaxed me through a 20-second pushup. “Now go to the bench.” The 45-pound bar could have been a ton. I learned to stop trying to impress him. This man was a source of wisdom. After months of relentlessly asking Murad to teach me, he responded: “Come in at 7 a.m. Saturday. I’ll give you a book that will change your entire view of exercise.” I arrived Saturday at 6:45. Murad was swimming laps. Perfectly. Endlessly. Rhythmically. At 7 a.m. he got out of the pool, dried off, handed me a tattered book, and had two demands:



1. “Return this book in 30 days” 2. “Read it from cover to cover.” It was an ugly brown book titled Physical Culture with grainy black and white photos of men in funny tights written in 1939. My arrogant young brain reacted: “I expected something amazing, not an old book about historical gym classes.” Murad’s eyes, conviction and reverence for this book humbled me.

“Every day after my swim we’ll study one page. If you miss one day, there’s no need to come back.” After moving my ego out of the way, I studied this ancient work. It detailed how a body moves through space with shifts in center of gravity. It addressed acceleration, deceleration and resistive forces. It shared science, but in a practical way. Every day we’d look at a page, and practiced the lessons. While it’s unfair to say that book was my greatest source of fitness education, I’d be remiss if I failed to credit Murad’s lessons for shaping me into a better fitness professional. Today I attend workshops, as a fan of the toys that clutter the corners of personal training studios. If, however, I were to consider how much “new” science was meaningfully beneficial, I’d have to admit everything I see in functional training workshops came from that book. Not directly, but from the knowledge it bore. Murad was a student, not of bodybuilding or performance, but of physical excellence. He has since passed. Of course I returned the book 30 days after I received it. I’m not asking you to dig up a book from 1939, but the newest machines, fads, contraptions and innovations are simply different tools for human movement meeting resistance. The tools are not the program. Knowledge that underlies a true expert’s ability to reshape a human body provides the key to being a true transformer. I’ve had many accidental mentors, and Murad was only one. I urge you to be an eternal student and implore you to seek knowledge, not only within the boundaries of industry conferences, popular study guides and certification offerings, but know that the best trainers carry forward the wisdom of the ages and seamlessly intertwine it with the science of the modern day.

Phil Kaplan offers programs, seminars and webinars on Betterment Solutions addressing exercise, mindset, nutrition and lifestyle. For more information go to and send him an email requesting further information.

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