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www. VOLUME 19 | ISSUE 4 president


chad griepentrog | publisher

josh vogt | audience development manager

rachel spahr | national sales director

josh vogt | editor

lindsay vastola | managing editor

mike beacom | creative director

kelli cooke |

More than just an addiction Top 5 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Training clients afflicted with addiction. By Doug Bopst

Are you tracking the right data? By Josh Leve

contributing writers

lynn coffey, joe drake, mike gelfgot, greg justice, andrea leonard featured columnists

shannon fable, brian grasso, melissa knowles, robert linkul, pat rigsby

RB Publishing Inc. P.O. Box 259098 Madison WI 53725-9098 Tel: 608.241.8777 Email:


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Career Builder by Brandi Binkley

Entrepreneur by Jim White

Social Media Strategy by Scott Rawcliffe

INDUSTRY STATS The estimated average studio owner invests $166,152 to open their business. This includes the costs for facilities, equipment and pre-opening expenditures (e.g., marketing and operational development costs). Numbers ranged from $42,115 for a studio < 2,000 sf to $372,500 for a studio > 10,000 sf. – Association of Fitness Studios


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

Business Performance by Joe Drake

SOCIAL MEDIA pfpmedia pfpmedia pfpmedia pfpmedia

EXTRA Editor’s Top 10 10 questions to ask before you open a studio By Lindsay Vastola


Tel: 608.241.8777 E-mail: Fax: 608.241.8666 Website: Digital Print Subscription Information Digital Subscriptions to PFP are free to qualified recipients and may be ordered at Reprints For high-quality reprints, please contact our exclusive reprint provider. ReprintPros, 949.702.5390, All material in this magazine is copyrighted © 2017 by RB Publishing Inc. All rights reserved. Nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Any correspondence sent to PFP, RB Publishing Inc. or its staff becomes property of RB Publishing Inc. The articles in this magazine represent the views of the authors and not those of RB Publishing Inc. or PFP. RB Publishing Inc. and/or PFP expressly disclaim any liability for the products or services sold or otherwise endorsed by advertisers or authors included in this magazine. PFP is published five times per year Winter (February), Spring (April), Summer (July), Fall (October) and Solutions Guide (November) PFP (ISSN 1523-780X) [Volume 19, Issue 4] Published by RB Publishing Inc. 2901 International Lane, Suite 100 Madison WI 53704-3128, Tel: 608.241.8777 Periodicals postage paid at Madison WI and additional offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to: PFP | P.O. Box 259098 | Madison WI 53725-9098.



Lindsay Vastola

Jim White

Big leaps or baby steps?

A vision of success


Our 2017 Trainer of the Year, Jim White, shares insight into lessons learned, obstacles and opportunities as a fitness business owner and entrepreneur.

hen I started my fitness business 12 years ago as a solo at-home personal trainer, I so keenly remember sitting in my Volkswagen Jetta, looking down at a check I received from my first client and thinking to myself, “Wow, someone is actually paying me for doing this… and we haven’t even had one session yet!” The feeling was exhilarating. That same exhilaration lasted for the first few years of business. Possibilities seemed limitless, and taking actions and risks that felt like big leaps at the time, I took without fear of failure. Maybe it was because at that early point in my business it seemed like there was not as much to lose. As my business grew, so did the stakes; especially once I opened a studio. Employees, payroll and staff management. Rent checks, landlord issues and facility management. Bigger marketing campaigns, greater expectation for sales and ongoing member management. Growing budgets, increased expenses and more complicated money management. What was once my simple, one-person operation with relatively simple management, became a far more complex web of management and challenges. But as my business evolved and matured, those “big leaps” became more difficult for me to take. The stakes were much higher and there was much more to lose. As an entrepreneur, we’re often told by coaches, mentors and influential voices to “just take massive action,” because big risk yields big reward, right? While I know this has merit, instead of being excited about taking “massive action,” the thought would paralyze me to indecision and inaction. When I lifted the pressure of feeling as though I had to take big leaps of massive action in order to experience success, and stopped downplaying the importance of taking baby steps, I felt momentum immediately shift forward. And perhaps more importantly, that once exhilarating feeling I had from my “simple” business returned, and operating my “more complex” business felt a whole lot easier. This issue is all about keeping your pace moving forward, whether you take big leaps or small baby steps: Joe Drake talks to us about the realities of business partners… the good and the bad and deciding if it’s a fit for you. Success in fitness can’t come without effective marketing and sales. Lynn Coffey and Mike Gelfgot share strategies for web marketing and overcoming prospect objections. Long-time PFP contributor and industry veteran Greg Justice shares a heartfelt tribute to the life and legacy of Fred “Dr. Squat” Hatfield in our Journey to Success profile. Ultimately, how you get to your goal, whether baby steps or massive action, it really doesn't matter as long as you're keeping pace and moving forward. Don't we tell our clients the same thing?

P.S. Be sure to keep handy our annual Hot Companies section included with this issue as you plan for 2018. We’re featuring the best companies for equipment and services to help you prosper!

Where are you currently seeing the most success in your business? Corporate wellness. We are seeing more corporations investing in the health of their employees. They are beginning to understand the ROI of bringing fitness in the workplace. This includes fewer sick days, lower health insurance premiums and overall improved employee morale. Over the last few years we have been conducting more corporate fitness bootcamps, challenges, lunch-and-learns and incentives. If there is one thing you would have done differently at any point in your business, what would it be? I would have created an employee retainment and recruitment plan when I started my business. You are only as good as your staff, and finding qualified trainers that can fit in a team are hard to come by. We used to hire without any type of structure. This led to employees that didn’t mesh well with our brand. We have now built a program to help us recruit better staff and ways to incentivize them to become long-term team players. What advice would you give on how to effectively grow a new fitness business? Have a 5-, 10-, and 15-year business plan and vision. We are all taught to have micro goals (1-3 years) which are very important. But most businesses fail because many entrepreneurs lack long-term vision. Start dreaming big and set the goals long-term and work your way there. Try to be as detailed with these goals as possible and revisit them each year with changes until you reach them.


Volume 24 | Issue 4





Living a passion, leaving a legacy Remembering Fred “Dr. Squat” Hatfield Greg Justice

Shift your sales conversations for greater success Mike Gelfgot





Assessing the value of a business partnership Joe Drake

5 simple hacks to get the most out of your website Lynn Coffey




Big leaps or baby steps?

Lindsay Vastola



MicroFit Just Celebrated 30 Years as a Partner in the Fitness/Wellness Industry



MINDSET & MOTIVATION Understanding client mindset



That’s none of your business

Shannon Fable



Culture is king!

Melissa Knowles



Three reasons you jump

Robert Linkul

Brian Grasso





Do I really need to purchase instructor liability insurance?

K&K Insurance



Amanda Vogel



Understanding breast cancer and exercise

Andrea Leonard










The only option is different

Pat Rigsby



MicroFit Just Celebrated 30 Years as a Partner in the Fitness/Wellness Industry


ounded in 1986, MicroFit, Inc. has remained the leader in fitness/wellness assessment technology solutions. When asked recently about the key to our survivability, I quickly responded, “You need to keep innovating to remain relevant.” Time in the saddle is not enough to survive in business, nor is a lot of investment capital. Good ideas need to become better and so do the people who take the time to learn the “best practices” of our profession. Those who think that they have 30 years of experience may, one day, discover that what they really have is only one year repeated 30 times! Very sad and this is why I applaud you for taking your time to read this short overview of our company, as well as your regular weekly messages from PFP and other industry related resources to become better informed on how to develop more productive skill sets.

Those who think that they have 30 years of experience may, one day, discover that what they really have is only one year repeated 30 times! MicroFit has worked with several thousand customers representing a wide range of users and many have found that our fitness/wellness assessment solutions help them to: 1) increase their revenue by charging a “fee for service” and 2) increase their retention and referrals from satisfied members who are getting the results they expect when hiring a qualified personal trainer. This is not rocket science; it is based on a sound understanding of what it takes to grow any business. I have personally been very blessed to participate in such a dynamic industry and I am learning new things everyday. One of my first MicroFit contacts purchased our system for his health club in Virginia (1988) and again most recently for his latest project. I learned most of what I know about MicroFit “best practices” in the health club industry from him. Here is his recent review of MicroFit and our contribution to the success of his personal training program:

“MicroFit has proven to be an invaluable tool in promoting personal training services to our members for many years. We use MicroFit to establish an individual’s baseline and design a program for them to reach their fitness goals as quickly and efficiently as possible. MicroFit has always proven to be a major key for retaining our personal training clients. They can actually see a quantitative analysis of their gains and our personal trainer can make adjustments to their program based on these results so they continue their progress. The assessment is easy to administer, the results are printed in an very understandable format, giving our personal trainers the ability to motivate clients to continue utilizing the training services. MicroFit provides a format of professionalism that helps us stand out from the competition.” Chuck Wilson, Partner – The Fitness Equation – Ashburn, VA Our industry is changing rapidly with more emphasis on wellness and individualized or small group instruction. The A.C.S.M. “Exercise is Medicine” theme is catching on and the demand for more “evidencedbased” outcomes have become a reality. If you are interested in quality assessments, tracking results, and serious reporting features, I invite you to visit our website and be sure to mention your PFP affiliation in the “comments section” for preferred pricing on any of our product offerings through the remainder of 2017.


Understanding client mindset


ow many times have you heard the phrase, “If you’re not assessing, you’re guessing?” Do you agree with it? I do. I think one of the most important evolutions we made in the fitness industry over the past several years is when we decided to start taking the idea of assessing our client's basic function levels more seriously. How can we possibly design an effective training program if we don’t know where we’re starting? How can we even think about engineering a nutritional makeover if we don’t have any clue where clients currently sit with their daily food intake? The funny thing is that although we understand, agree with and put into practice those terribly important ‘assessment’ realities, we completely ignore the other critical assessment paradigm. Do we actually think that a one-size-fits-all approach to communication and coaching is going to work with every client, every time? That every single person who comes walking into our facility is starting with the same mindset? The same fears? The same belief systems? The same perceptions or expectations? And that all we have to do is help them set ‘goals’ and they’ll find long-term success? Not possible. Individual mindsets are no different than the individuality of biomechanics, nutritional profiles or strengths and weaknesses. And if we’re not assessing, we’re guessing. Explicit Mindsets are found in people who feel stuck, overwhelmed and helpless. Inspirit Mindsets are found in people who range from excited and optimistic to negative and pessimistic within the same week or month. Mentor Mindsets are those individuals who are constantly positive and upbeat, but often lack follow-through in consistently achieving their goals. Ambassador Mindsets are the rare clients who come prepared for every session and constantly follow your instructions for them, even when they aren’t training with you. Understanding each of these unique mindsets is the first step in helping your clients create permanent results. Be sure to assess, not simply guess.

For 20 years, Brian J. Grasso has been considered a revolutionary force within the fitness industry. In 2002, he founded the International Youth Conditioning Association and Athletic Revolution. In 2011, he created the Mindset Performance Institute. Brian has traveled the world as a guest lecturer and Performance Coach for elite level athletes of various sports.



LEADERSHIP Shannon Fable

That’s none of your business


hether you train under someone else's roof or you are responsible for your very own brick-and-mortar, you are operating a business. Running a business requires a plan beyond selling packages and serving clients. We become trainers because we genuinely love people and we love to exercise. Spending hours researching behavior change, the latest and greatest training techniques, writing programs and standing on our feet for 12 hours a day helping motivate others to get fit seems like a gift. But the work that must be done to ensure we have clients to train seems like a chore and one we're often not too excited to tackle. To thrive in this industry, you must be willing to spend equal time working on your business as you do working in your business. In other words, you must set aside a good chunk of time each week, month and quarter to assess your business, plan for growth and tackle projects to move you forward. Yes, off the floor, in front of a computer, and possibly not in workout gear. A good rule of thumb is to begin by setting aside a minimum of 10% of your total hours each week for this type of work. The time should be in large blocks versus short clips interspersed between clients and at a time and place where you can think freely and be productive. For example, if you plan to work a total of 40 hours each week, find two 2-hour blocks or one 4-hour block each week. As you can, you should increase the time you set aside to 6-8 hours per week. While this is a few more hours each week you are not billing, the time spent on your business will quickly turn into cash with your proactive planning. Place your block at a time where you feel fresh and energized; perhaps at the start of the week versus saving it for Friday afternoon after a week's worth of clients. And do not leave this time to chance. Put it in your schedule and treat the shift as sacred. Use this time to connect with clients, previous clients, potential clients and strategic partners. Spend energy dreaming about new products and services. Concentrate on developing content and informational products that can be repurposed well into the future. This time is not for record keeping, scheduling clients or billing. This time should be reserved for big thinking, big planning and big doing. Yes, it will take discipline and faith; but know the more you can invest in time spent off the floor, the more money you can earn on the floor.

Shannon Fable is a fitness business and programming consultant who has helped impressive brands such as Anytime Fitness, Schwinn, Power Systems, ACE and BOSU over the last 20 years. As an experienced educator and certified Book Yourself Solid business coach, she helps fitness entrepreneurs navigate the industry and make more money.




Melissa Knowles

Robert Linkul

Culture is king!


ulture is king! Company culture is a hot business topic right now, and rightly so as it is proven to have a direct impact on success. Here are a few key steps to assist with the process of creating a company culture. Who are we right now? Start with an audit of where the organization currently stands. What culture has devolved organically? An easy way to do this is to ask the staff. Managers will walk away from this exercise with insight not only for the business’s culture-project but several process improvement projects! What do we want to be? If the snap of the fingers could create the perfect culture for the business, what would it be? Culture is like a personality. It is made up of the values, beliefs, underlying assumptions, attitudes and behaviors shared by a group of people. It’s the culmination of all the team’s effort boiled down to its essence. Find the disconnect. If there is a big gap between what the business wants to be and what it currently is, what needs to change to fill the void? What tools are missing? Are there systems in place that nurture the business’s core values? It’s one thing to proclaim that the member experience is a priority, it’s another to roll up one’s sleeves and make it happen when the business isn’t quite hitting the mark. As the adage says, “Actions speak louder than words.” Work at it daily. A great culture isn’t magic. Realizing this is empowering in and of itself. Each day is a new chance to define what the “culture of the day” will be. Nothing in business is ever perfect. What matters is planning and effort. Make sure that all team members realize their impact. Change starts with one person in one department and it spreads. While the leadership team may be at the helm of the ship, it’s the crew members who provide the momentum. Acknowledge good examples of team members who exhibit the desired culture and seek buy-in from the entire team! Make it authentic. There are some great examples of companies who do culture well. A quick Google search will yield, well, Google! While taking inspirations from companies like Google, Zappos or Southwest Airlines is smart, a business’s culture should be entirely its own. Maybe free lunches, pajama Fridays and open work spaces prove successful, but maybe not. Make your company culture unique.

Melissa Knowles is Vice President of Gym HQ, providing corporate services including accounting, payroll, HR and customer service for the fitness industry. In more than 14 years of industry experience her expertise includes strategic operations, staff training, cost savings analysis, reporting development and implementation, fitness department overhaul, client retention systems and corporate management.



Three reasons you jump


hen should I jump?” This is a question many personal trainers (CPTs) ask themselves during challenging points in their careers. They see steps for progress, opportunities for growth and job security just on the horizon. But then something happens; three main issues occur and they get their first taste of frustration. This frustration builds and leads to a dangerous (but potentially rewarding) thought of, “Maybe it’s time, maybe I should open my own place.” Threeprimary reasons push them away from their current situation (whether as employee or contractor) and leave them pondering the idea of opening their own facility. 1. Opportunity for financial growth Most fitness facilities limit the number of hours a personal trainer can work, typically restricting them from earning a full-time schedule (and disallowing qualification for health benefits). Trainers are often limited in the number of clients they can train on an hourly basis, severely capping their potential for growth and greater financial gain. 2. Health and retirement benefits Of the current full-time personal trainers (contractor or employee) working in the industry, more than 65 percent of them do have health benefits, although most must purchase them out-of-pocket. This leaves a staggering 35 percent of CPTs with no health benefits whatsoever. Retirement options are limited unless the trainer is offered partial ownership of the business. Any other options are purchased at their own expense. 3. Potential for career progression CPTs have little opportunity for promotion since most businesses offer only one head personal trainer position and one fitness director position. Most trainers are hired (contractor or employee) on a commission basis because salaried CPT or management positions are limited. There are many challenges that come with opening a business but the potential for financial growth, security of health and retirement benefits and to develop as a business owner are vast.

Robert Linkul is the NSCA’s 2012 Personal Trainer of the Year, committee chairman of the Personal Trainers Special Interest Group and Career Development columnist for Personal Training Quarterly. He speaks internationally and mentors new personal trainers on business strategies, client retention and professional longevity. Robert owns and operates Be STRONGER Fitness in Sacramento.



Do I really need to purchase instructor liability insurance?


urchasing insurance is often at the bottom of our to-do lists, but working as a fitness instructor without insurance is a risky business practice. You do need insurance, but coverage options can be complex and not all insurance programs are alike. And remember, if you are working as an independent contractor at one or more health club facilities, know that independent contractors are often excluded from the facility’s insurance. It is important to understand differences in coverage, what optional coverages are offered and coverage limits when choosing your insurance. So what types of coverage should fitness instructors look for? Let’s start with some basic coverage descriptions: Commercial general liability is coverage that protects the insured against liability claims for bodily injury and property damage arising out of operations. This might include: } Legal liability to participants protects against bodily injury liability claims brought by persons participating in fitness/ exercise activities under the direction of the insured. } Professional liability provides protection against negligent or wrongful acts (breach of duty, neglect, error, omission, misstatement or a misleading statement in the course of fitness/exercise activities) that occur under the operations of the insured. } Products-completed operations generally protects the business from claims related to the manufacture or sale of products to the public. However, some policies might exclude the making of or distributing nutritional supplements. } Personal and advertising injury covers an injury to a third-party brought about by the insured business advertising its goods and services, usually by copyright or trademark infringement or due to libel, slander or invasion of privacy. The occurrence limit on your policy is the maximum amount the insurer will pay for each incident; a limit of $1,000,000 per occurrence is the most common limit required by facilities, although some do require higher limits. Look for coverage from a reliable, financially secure provider that does not mandate deductibles. The lowest price product may not include the types of coverage you need to be fully protected. Even if the coverage is comparable, lowcost policies are not a bargain if charges for certificates of insurance or for adding additional insureds to the policy are applied. Extra charges can be as much as $50 per certificate and can add up quickly if an instructor works for several health clubs or facilities.

To reduce the cost of insurance, check to see if your insurance provider offers discounts for fitness certification; some companies reward fitness professionals who participate in educational programs. Discounts are also available for instructors who purchase two-year policies.

Low-cost policies are not a bargain if charges for certificates of insurance or for adding “additional insureds” to the policy are applied. Purchasing coverage online is a quick option available for your convenience, 24 hours a day. K&K Insurance is able to generate the certificate of coverage immediately when paying with credit card, providing nearly instant coverage. Get your quote for affordable coverage online today at

Journey to Success

By Greg Justice


In this world, there are men – and then there are giants. rederick C. Hatfield – known to most in our industry as “Dr. Squat” – was always destined to be part of the latter group. No matter who you were or what you were hoping to accomplish in your life, Fred had a way of firing you up to work toward your passion. After spending just a few minutes with him, you believed that the impossible is merely just an obstacle; that the world can be conquered with enough hard work, passion and dedication.


Fred left a legacy before he left us – and if my suspicions are correct, I have a funny feeling he’ll continue to inspire generations of athletes with his inability to be held down by the laws of nature. Ask most people in the fitness industry if they knew “Dr. Squat,” and chances are you’d hear an incredible story about Fred. Perhaps my favorite is how nonchalantly he would talk about what is arguably his most incredible life achievement: being one of the first men to squat over 1,000 pounds in com-


petition (more accurately, he squatted 1,014 pounds with a body weight of 255 pounds). I once asked Fred, “What made you think you could do something like that?” and he replied, “First, you’ve got to believe. But what made me believe? It was a very simple operation…I did a line of best fit on my 165-pound lifts, my 181-pound lifts and my 198-pound lifts, and I extended that line until the line crossed 1,000 lbs. I saw that I needed to weigh at least 255 lbs. to squat over 1,000 pounds, and I did it.” He also told me that once he made up his

LEAVING A LEGACY FRED “DR. SQUAT” HATFIELD mind, “It was a foregone conclusion, because I planned it that way, and I made it happen.” Of course, being known as Dr. Squat, he would get asked about his legacy all the time, and he’d respond in the same way that you would if you were asked what kind of car you drove. But that’s just it – Fred didn’t need to boast or brag about his accomplishments. That isn’t where he sought a sense of satisfaction. Instead, Fred gave back through a variety of ways: with mentorships, in universities and on athletic teams.

Fred was always looking for opportunities to teach. He co-founded the International Sports Science Association (ISSA) and always considered himself “the professor.” You could definitely spot him in a crowd. His face belied his imposing, still-muscular body. His face would always break into a beam whenever he smiled at his students. No matter what the day or the weather, he was always positive; a welcome ray of sunshine in a world sorely needing it. Fred was never content to stop giving back to the community. He was intent on changing

lives – even the lives of people he didn’t know. Throughout his career, he managed to find the time to write 60 books on everything from powerlifting to performance nutrition. What made this incredible is that Fred has every right in the world to write those books from the perspective of an expert. You know the kind of books I’m talking about – the ones that seem to forget that there are real people hoping to gain wisdom from these books. With so many records and accomplishments under his belt, he could have been as conde-


scending and out of touch as he wanted to be. But he wasn’t. Read just a single paragraph in any of his books, and you’ll discover that every word is carefully chosen and created to inspire and motivate. There’s no ego. No desire to protect his fitness secrets and provide watered-down advice to the masses. He was achingly earnest. He wanted people to read his books, adopt his advice, and come to challenge his title. He wanted to see a new generation of bodybuilders rise and transform the field. What was once mysterious, he wanted to make accessible. That was just the kind of person Fred was. I think Fred was in his prime when he was coaching others who were on their own athletic journey. He took many athletes under his wing and taught them the power of passion and perseverance. He wasn’t the kind of coach that would stand in your face and yell at you to do more – unless you responded to that type of training. His style was more en-


couraging, but nevertheless just as powerful. There was just something magnetic about his personality; you wanted to achieve more with every lift. You wanted to achieve your PR with him looking on. It’s no wonder Fred coached so many professional and world-class athletes. He just had the amazing capability of helping someone achieve their full potential, whether they wanted to beat their own personal record or

It wasn’t just athletes that Fred coached. I first became aware of Fred when I was in college in the early ’80s. Shortly after, I opened my own fitness studio (long enough ago that several people couldn’t understand the concept of paying to exercise). I was going through multiple challenges then: How would I find customers? How could I help my clients achieve their fitness goals? Was I in over my head?

FRED WAS A DREAMER, A GIVER, A DOER. HIS ENERGY LEVELS WERE BOUNDLESS; HIS CAPABILITY FOR INSPIRATION, ENDLESS. qualify for the Olympics. Nothing was too big or small for him to help you. All he wanted to see was an unquenchable thirst to dig deep and discover the passion within.


These questions haunted me at night, but as I began to research and learn from the pioneers of our industry, like Fred, I knew I would find the kind of advice that I needed.

Nothing seemed too trivial for Fred. We’d just talk it out, and before I knew it, I had a million different ways of approaching a problem that had previously seemed impossible to overcome. I knew Fred both on a personal and professional basis. As a mentor, Fred helped me through some of the most challenging periods of my career. As my friend, Fred continuously inspired me to look at every impossible goal I could ever dream of and laugh at it right in its face. Fred was a dreamer, a giver, a doer. His energy levels were boundless; his capability for inspiration, endless. He influenced thousands of people throughout his too-short life. I only wish he was here now to see just how many people are sharing their own stories of how Fred made a difference in their lives. There are no words to say how much I’ll miss Fred. Everything feels so inadequate for such a larger-than-life man. How do you say goodbye to the man who set World Records

while inspiring so many others? How do you create a tribute for a man who touched the lives of so many and revolutionized the fitness industry as we know it? That’s why words don’t seem enough. Not right now, not ever. But if there’s one thing Fred taught me, it’s that success begins with passion. So, I’ll conclude this tribute with a quote, in Fred’s own words, about passion. “Passion is not your need to achieve. Instead it’s a burning desire to exceed all bounds. It is not commitment to excellence. It’s utter distain for anything less. It’s not endless hours of practice. It’s perfect practice. It’s not your ability to cope. It’s the total domination of every situation in life.

It’s not setting unrealistic goals or vague goals. Because goals all too often prescribe performance limits. It’s not doing what it takes to win. It’s doing what it takes to exceed the bounds of mere convention. Most of all it’s not the force of skill or muscle. Rather, it’s the explosive, often calamities force of will. Now, if you believe in and practice these things, then for you, winning is neither everything, nor the only thing…for you, winning is a foregone conclusion.”

Thank you, my friend, for living your passion and leaving a legacy.






f you haven’t attended a presentation with Amanda Vogel at one of the major industry conferences, then you’ve likely read an article or feature she’s written for Fitness, SELF, Women’s Health, Prevention or Reader’s Digest Canada (to name just a few). And even if you haven’t “seen” her or read one of her compelling books or articles, you’ve likely experienced her expert work without even knowing it. Her company, Active Voice, is a writing, editing and consulting service for the fitness industry. She’s a sought-after consultant helping some of the most respected names and brands in the industry increase business with her talent for relationship marketing, crafting compelling copy and for generating a massive social media presence. Here’s how Amanda successfully shares her message... My ideal client is a health/fitness brand, public figure or company that understands the value of smart, carefully strategized social media marketing and professional writing. My clients range from business-minded personal trainers to big brands in naeed of guidance and support with social media, blogging and/or article writing. Even though I work as a consultant, I like to feel as if I’m involved in a team effort with my clients. My message has always been about staying relevant or a little ahead of the curve—for myself and for my colleagues/clients. The fitness industry is always evolving, and I enjoy exploring how to remain optimally relevant through every progression in exercise, technology and business. If I had only one way to share my message it would be through writing blog posts and magazine articles. I’ve been a professional writer in the fitness industry for more than 15 years. Writing has been a rewarding way for me to help fitness consumers with health/fitness and inspire fitness professionals to excel in their careers. If I could choose a second favorite way to share my message, I’d go with presenting at fitness conferences, where I welcome the opportunity to connect with a variety of fitness professionals face-to-face. (Instagram is a close third. I love to create eye-catching images.)



Successful messaging is anything that values your audience/followers and ultimately resonates with them. People follow me because I provide content and information they can use to improve their own lifestyles, businesses and interactions with clients.

Join our Channel



TO PARTNER OR NOT TO PARTNER? Assessing the value of a business partnership


ith over 36,000 gyms open in the U.S. alone, there is no shortage of competition. Survival can be challenging enough, considering that small business fail rates eclipse 80%. A constantly changing industry landscape and consumer expectations requires businesses to supply not only great training and results, but a unique experience that can evolve and grow with clients. Considering these challenges, the question must be asked whether entrepreneurs should travel the path alone or if partnering can increase success. Partnerships offer massive opportunity for accelerating growth and reach, but failure rates across industries are reported to be as high as 70%. Despite the negative press that partnerships get, they are not inherently bad. The decision is one that an entrepreneur must explore in depth to determine what is right for them.


financial risks, there is also something to be said about the collaborative nature of success. Burnout is common in the fitness industry, especially among in-person training models and small businesses where the solo-preneur is attempting to wear all hats. Partnerships can spread out some of the time burden associated with launching a successful fitness business while still maintaining social and family relationships. Partnering may mean giving away a piece of the pie, but it could increase the likelihood that entrepreneurs have time to enjoy that pie along the way.

WHY PARTNERSHIPS WORK Partnerships allow entrepreneurs to pool

Even for those who may be capable of both, time limitations only allow for so much focus on each aspect, ultimately leading to underperformance in one aspect or another. Entrepreneurs must be self-aware of their strengths and weaknesses to identify where they need support and ensure potential partners are truly complementary. Different skillsets may also bring the benefit of seeing different perspectives to challenges. This decreases the likelihood that an entrepreneur may be hindered by their ego or skewed views. While it may not always come easy, collaboration results in new outcomes that neither partner would have thought of on their own. A great example of this can be seen in operation of Cressey Performance and Mark Fisher Fitness, two of the fitness industry’s fastest growing facilities. Partnerships also allow for shared risk and costs. Depending on the scale of the business project, partnering could be necessary to make the jump and get started. Many entrepreneurs may individually lack the start-up

complementary skillsets. It’s rare to find a fitness professional who is skilled in both the front-end (including working with clients and serving as the face of the company) and the back-end of the business (including managing financials, marketing and long-range planning).

capital needed to launch their vision and are unlikely to qualify for standard business loans as a non-existent business. Pooling resources can be the key to obtaining the leverage and stability needed to successfully weather the first year of operation. Aside from leveraging partners for skills and

may serve as an advantage but if long-term goals and vision are too inconsistent, it can lead to detrimental friction and resentment in the relationship. Entrepreneurs often have strong visions and feelings about the way things should be accomplished and it’s essential to establish


OVERCOMING PARTNERSHIP OBSTACLES Partnerships present one of the most common ways to achieve success in business, but many of the advantages also serve as the biggest challenges. Differences in vision, for example, could easily lead to the demise of a business or partnership. Entrepreneurs tend to be strong-willed and have their own picture of the future, but a partnership requires compromise. Slightly different viewpoints


early on that all parties are looking to move in the same direction. This means taking time before entering into a partnership to lay out individual goals and objectives for the future in detail. These should be put down in writing and discussed, not just in the beginning, but ongoing. Vision and goals may change over time so monthly and annual communication is the only way to remain consistent. Along with vision, it is also essential that partnerships begin with an accurate and clear understanding of roles within the business. Initially this means communicating openly about expectations among partners, as well as clearly detailing the responsibilities of each partner. Partners that struggle to focus on their area of expertise and lack trust in their counterpart are far more likely to fail. Issues can arise when leadership and communication styles are out of sync. Partners can work to understand one another and themselves better through tests and resources like those on www.builtforgrowth. com. Too similar views and approaches can

be just as problematic, leading to group think or lessening the need for both partners. Partnerships that are formed around friendships and loved ones should remain conscious of this problem as individuals may be too similar to reap the complementary skill potential that partnerships offer. In addition, the difficulty of maintaining separation between business and personal relationships can strain the ability to maintain open and frank communication that must happen for partnerships to succeed. Making decisions and discussing finances can be challenging enough without the stress of how it may impact personal relationships. Before entering into a business partnership, individuals should clearly understand why each party wants to engage in the project. If one party is purely looking to make money and the other is motivated to create social change and impact a community, there may be inconsistencies in how partners go about making decisions. This requires far more communication to increase the

likelihood that the partnership lasts and the business can prosper. Much like having a life partner, there may be more to accomplish and enjoy through the collaboration with others, but not every marriage was meant to be. Jumping into a partnership without time to address and discuss the items laid out here may be the cause of such a high partner fail rate. It all comes down to spending time asking the right questions and facilitating open communication. Partnerships thrive when they continue to invest time into the relationship and work together to craft a clear vision of the future.

Joe Drake is a personal trainer, fitness educator, and co-owner of Gravity + Oxygen Fitness in South Florida. He also co-owns and runs a fitness academy helping fitness professionals find success. When Joe isn’t working with his team and changing lives, you can find him somewhere on a paddleboard or off finding new ways to include peanut butter in every meal.




TO OVERCOME OBJECTIONS Shift your sales conversations for greater success


our prospect just told you they have been thinking about getting in shape for the past 10 years and today is the closest they have been to do something about it. Then they say, “I need to go home and think about it.” Or, “I need to talk this over with my spouse,” after your prospect shared with you that their spouse is 100% supportive. When working with prospects, the behavior we often experience is although a person may be seemingly convinced that they desperately want a specific result, an objection will always exist that keeps them from committing. For more effective sales, the art of overcoming objections needs to be practiced by challenging status quo responses through reflection and asking better questions. More specifically, you must structure your sales process in such a way that it feels more like collaboration between two experts. Your prospect is the expert of him/herself and you


are the expert in fitness. Together the two of you come together to figure out what needs to happen to achieve the desired result. This is not something that you do to your prospects. This is something that you do with your prospects. When executed properly, the process seems more like a dance where the dance instructor (fitness professional) is guiding and leading, while the dancer (your prospect) is following and responding, all the while feeling like they are actually in charge. Every sales process generally follows the basic steps where a sales person prospects, builds rapport, qualifies, presents solutions, shows rates, asks for the sale and does something after the sale to make sure the client is properly set up for their first session. The idea behind the process is three-fold. One, as long as you follow the process, in the event that you don’t sell a program, you can then go back and figure which part of the process you need to improve. Two, a sales process is


important to have so one can replicate it and teach it to others. And finally, a sales process is necessary to overcome objections. If you’re doing any sort of sales, you have probably asked, “How do I overcome objections?” Warren Berger, author of A More Beautiful Question, would say this is the wrong question to ask. “A more beautiful” question would sound like this, “How can the conversation go in such a way that inspires the individual to change because they want to, not because I am telling them to?” To shift your sales conversations to limit prospect objections, try using the 4-step GROW model (Goals, Reality, Options, We). The concept behind the GROW model is to “grow” with your prospect in such a way that in the end you can tell a compelling story. The kind of a story that tells you what your prospect is looking to accomplish. The kind of story that tells you about their current and past situation, specifically why this prospect

Most people don’t change behavior because they have very little or no sense of awareness. They have no clue why or what has held them back. One of the most important steps in “R” is to figure out what the problem has been in the past. This is also the step where we talk about people’s behavior with time and money; not what they spend their time and money on. The difference is you are not judging or criticizing them for spending their money on fast food and soda. What you are is an empathetic listener and a fitness expert. Be very cautious with the tone of your voice and what you are emphasizing when asking questions.

3 OPTIONS “O” stands for the options or solutions to the problem(s) discovered in “R.” This is a collaborative effort. The key here is offering several suggestions. In one way or another, this should highlight your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). This conversation should feel very liberating because a prospect is finally getting a real solution to a real problem that they have been dealing with for most of their life.

4 WE

hasn’t already accomplished what they want. This focuses on a real solution to a real problem your prospect has faced most of their life and offers a happy, inspiring ending.

1 GOALS To begin, you need to talk about what your prospect hopes to accomplish and understand their expectations if they were to join your gym/ studio. Everyone has some sort of expectation when they start exercising. The key here is to keep your conversation positive; ask open-ended questions that yield positive answers. When asking open-ended questions, you’ll want to look for leverage. In this case, leverage is something that’s so important to them that if you take it away, they would be willing to fight to get it back. Leverage is typically someone else. People are more likely to change behavior for someone other than themselves. Read that last

sentence one more time. What that means to you is you must figure out what or who it is that the prospect is willing to change for and why. When that happens, you now have leverage to inspire and motivate them to take a step in a different direction.

2 REALITY “Goals” focus on the future; “Reality” focuses on current and past experiences. The key is to start shifting one’s mind from “I should do this” to “I must do this.” This conversation is a bit more guided. Each question builds on another. Syntax is important in this part of the GROW model. In this step, the idea is to get prospects to understand what rock bottom feels like. Most people are likely to avoid pain. Talking about what rock bottom would feel like is one of the most critical aspects to changing behavior. This conversation is more negative and very real.

The idea of “we” tells the prospect they are not going to do this by themselves. Your focus is to raise hope and instill a sense of security. The key here is to highlight what they are good at and ensure they have support, guidance and accountability. Your objective when using the GROW model isn’t to get anything from your prospects (money) or make your prospects take a specific action (buy or close the sale). You are in the fitness industry because you enjoy giving and helping. The GROW model allows you to piece together a story that’s very clear, articulate and real. When done with passion and genuine care, a true relationship is formed that’s based on trust and authenticity. As a result, objections from potential clients are less likely to be a hindrance to growing your business and impacting lives.

Michael Gelfgot has been in the fitness industry for 15 years. His expertise comes from over 10,000 hours of face-to-face interactions and countless hours of reading and listening to books on what makes humans tick.



IS YOUR WEBSITE HELPING OR HURTING BUSINESS? 5 simple hacks to get the most out of your website


ebsites are misunderstood. Most websites are nothing more than an online business card or at best an online brochure. It is imperative that you make your website standout, connect with your visitors and capture more leads. Here are 5 hacks to making a fitness website that can have a direct impact on your business.

HACK #1: DEVELOP A MARKET-MATCH OPT-IN. One of the main points of a website is to grow an email list. That means that someone visits a website and fills in a form in exchange for something they want. This is called the free offer. The free offer must provide a specific solution to a specific problem experienced by a specific segment of people. It must be something the website visitor actually wants and it must connect with them emotionally.


No one wakes up in the morning wishing they had another free report. No one wants a 5-day video series. No one wants a newsletter. They want one of their main problems solved. An example target market is active older adults. The free offer should be something that immediately helps this target market with one of their pain points. Here’s an example: aging seniors tend to wake up and feel stiff and achy. They’re frustrated that they’re in pain every morning. A website done correctly would offer a free opt-in that solves this problem (see Hack #3 for headline examples). When this concept is followed, your conversion rates will increase.

HACK #2: A SIMPLE HOME PAGE IS BEST. Here’s something that most webmasters will not share – a flashy and intricate design


doesn’t really matter! A website must look professional, but it does not need to have flashy color palettes, custom designed graphics, or lots of stuff filling the page. This is how most webmasters make their money. They do a lot of stuff, but this stuff doesn’t convert to leads or make any real difference in the lives of a website visitor. Does a website visitor care that the website they’re on has a slider gallery? Not at all. In fact, if that gallery offers no value to them then it’s nothing more than clutter. What has been shown to work over and over again is simplicity. A home page should have a small logo in the top left corner, a basic navigation bar in the top right and a single area on the home page that includes a stellar headline (see Hack #3), on-message copy (see Hack #3), and a market-match offer (see Hack #1).

That’s it. The more polluted the home page is the more people get lost and don’t take the action of opting-in. The more stuff on a home page, the lower the conversion rate.

HACK #3: HEADLINE AND COPY MATTER. A LOT. This one has a hard-core feel to it

Most fitness websites will look different from one another, but very few of them actually connect. Most are boring and act as nothing more than an online business card. A headline (for a free offer, for a blog post, or for an ad) is critical. Let’s use achy-back seniors as an example. Here are three headlines that would work: “The 2 simple stretches I give my clients to relieve their achy back muscles in the morning.” “Learn how I helped my client, John Doe, relieve his back pain and soreness for good by watching TV.” “How I restored my achy back to health without invasive surgery.”

And this one has a softer feel

These titles solve a specific problem experienced by a specific group of people. Specificity (also known as niching) is critical for increasing opt-ins and generating sales down the line.

HACK #4: DON’T BE COMMONPLACE. Hack #3 mentions how most fitness websites have nothing remotely interesting about them. A properly done website will be a living, breathing asset. Fitness business owners can insert personality into their website by adding images of themselves, their staff, their clients or their facility. Stock photos are never recommended because they give no value to the website visitor. Video is another great way to connect with website visitors, but again it should include the personality or branding from the business. Video is one of the best ways to connect with website visitors that have yet to come into a facility’s door. People buy from people they know, like and trust. A website should work to promote a connection between the fitness business and the potential client. This is best done by being a real human and connecting with people through stories, images, video and copy. Don’t believe a website can have a personality? Take a look at these two images. They are the same exact layout, but the colors and background image give two distinct vibes.

Something as simple as a personalized picture, colors and text can make a difference when connecting to a target audience. Fitness businesses should focus on what makes them different from their competition, not the same. One easy way to do this is to be real, talk directly to a target market and insert personality into the website.

HACK #5: FOLLOW-UP – MASTER A LOST ART. A common problem that many fitness business owners face is that they spend time and/ or money driving traffic to a website or landing page; people opt-in; and then nothing. No sales. As Hack #1 mentions, one of the main reasons to have a website is that it grows a list of interested people. But people don’t immediately look at a website and purchase something, particularly a service like personal training or health coaching. No one immediately buys from every website they like. When someone opts-in, they are holding up their hand and saying, “I really like what you’re doing and want to know more.” Following up with that interested list on a regular and consistent basis will nurture a relationship over

time, and when the interested person is ready to buy, they will naturally think of the business that they’ve come to know, like and trust. This follow-up process should follow the same hacks already outlined. Emails should be simple (black text on white background with one or no images included). It should have a great subject line to get people to open it. The content should have personality and connect with the audience. These five simple hacks will lead to increased conversions on any fitness website. Your business will stand out, you will more effectively connect with your visitors and capture more leads and ultimately set your business up for limitless potential.

Lynn Coffey is a website strategist and webmaster who helps fitness professionals use their website to grow their business. Learn more and reach out to her at



Understanding breast cancer and exercise


orking with breast cancer patients is a valuable experience; an in-depth understanding and specialized training of common side-effects, physical implications and comorbidities is critical prior to training patients. The most common issues that plague post-mastectomy patients are upper-crossed syndrome and range of motion limitations in the affected shoulder. As a result of these postural deviations, mastectomy, lymph node dissection, and/or radiation, the chest muscles may become tight, shortened and spastic. This not only exacerbates the postural deviations, but may limit the ability of the patient to move their arm/shoulder through flexion, extension, abduction and external rotation. While this is a general statement, the majority of patients will present these symptoms. This is compounded if the woman undergoes reconstructive surgery. Not only will it further exacerbate upper-crossed syndrome, it will create a muscle imbalance in the area of surgery if either the rectus abdominis or latissimus muscle are used for reconstruction. The most important factor in the safety and efficacy of the exercise program is the initial assessment. At the very least this should include a comprehensive postural assessment as well as shoulder range of motion measurements taken with a goniometer. By selecting the wrong combinations of exercises, the results may not only be undesirable, they may in fact be detrimental. For example, if a client presents with moderate to severe upper-crossed syndrome, performing any kind of “pushing” exercise that would involve the chest muscles (chest press), could worsen the syndrome by causing the pectoral muscles to tighten and contract. Instead, the goal needs to be stretching the chest wall and strengthening the opposing muscles in the back; particularly the scapular stabilizers. Prior to adding load (resistance) of any kind, the patient should have close to full range of motion through the particular plane. Without correcting the range of motion first, the patient will reinforce the negative movement pattern by performing strength training exercises through a limited pattern of movement. Therefore, the initial focus should be on range of motion exercises. These may include very basic exercises that the patient can do on their own; front wall walks, side wall walks, pendulum swings and corner stretch. Once close to full range of motion is achieved, the emphasis can be on strength training. Not only will this help to correct the postural and range of motion deviations, it will help increase bone density and lean muscle mass. Many women will either be of menopausal age or thrown into menopause from their cancer treatment. With estrogen no longer being produced, the risk of osteoporosis increases. Furthermore, the long-term side-effects of



chemotherapy include osteoporosis, diabetes and damage to the heart and lungs, all of which can be avoided or improved through proper exercise recommendations. The last part of the equation is the risk of lymphedema of the affected arm/shoulder. Lymphedema is the swelling of the extremity following the removal of, or radiation to, the lymph nodes on that side. Lymphedema is progressive if untreated and can be very painful and disfiguring. It can happen at any time after surgery; one hour or 50 years. The risk doesn’t increase or decrease with time, however a higher percentage of body fat, infection, age and poor nutrition can all increase the risk once someone is at risk. Following lymph node dissection and/or radiation, the lymphatic pathways do not operate with the same efficacy as they did previously. Therefore, we no longer know the individual’s exercise threshold. It is critical to start and progress slowly. This allows for a gradual increase in exercise frequency, intensity and duration. If at any point there is swelling, advise the patient to stop exercising and see their doctor immediately to determine if, in fact, they have the onset of lymphedema. A typical exercise session should begin with cardiovascular exercise. This, too, should be gradually increased at a rate with which the client is comfortable and to which their body responds favorably. Following the warm-up they should be instructed to do a series of lymph drainage exercises to open up the lymphatic pathways and prepare the body for exercise. Then determine the areas of “need.” Once they have close to normal range of motion, the goal becomes strength training and choosing exercises that will strengthen the weaker muscles and stretch the tight and shortened muscles. Weight/resistance should be very gradually increased and attention paid to any potential swelling of the extremity. If they have undergone reconstruction, focus on correcting muscle imbalances ensuing from amputation. Choose your exercises carefully. No two breast cancer patients are the same. Not only are you taking into consideration their surgery, reconstruction and treatment, you have to also factor in comorbidities. Anyone who wants to work with cancer patients should undergo specialized training. It is very complex and the untrained professional can end up doing more harm than good.

Andrea Leonard is the President and Founder of the Cancer Exercise Training Institute and a pioneer in the field of exercise oncology. Since 1996, Andrea has written fourteen books on exercise for cancer survivors, produced countless videos, and has trained thousands of fitness professionals worldwide to become Cancer Exercise Specialists.







CORE HAMMER With the MostFit Core Hammer you no longer need a bulky tire for sledgehammer workouts. Swing it against the ground, wall, driveway, soft plyo box or cement floor! Plus, the long lever and distally-loaded end provide endless options for unilateral and asymmetrical strength challenges, core exercises and rotational, mobility and stability work. Check out this great, total body workout that can be done in 20 minutes or less.

Stir the Pot Add variety before your workouts with this simple Core Hammer warm-up. Place the head of the Core Hammer on the ground at about arms-length in front of you. Extend your arms forward as you hinge at the hips like a standard forward fold stretch but utilize a stirring motion in order to stretch through the obliques and lats. End each rotation back in the standing position.

Hammer Grip Lunge with Twist Not only do you get the lower body and core benefits of a dynamic lunge exercise but you get the added stability challenge of the twist. Holding the Core Hammer in the hammer grip position (top hand under, tail hand over) step forward into a deep lunge. Adduct the thighs as you twist over the front leg. Extend your arms forward for added challenge. Make sure to do both sides.



Exercises designed by MostFit

Hammer Grip Anterior Shoulder Raise With the Core Hammer in the hammer grip, bend the knees slightly and engage the core. Raise both arms forward to shoulder height and back down with control. Great for the shoulders but also provides an effective stability challenge. Be sure to do both sides.

Core Hammer Lever Pushup This is one of the most unique exercises that can be done with the Core Hammer. A strength, stability, core and grip strength exercise, all-in-one. Starting in the pushup position with the left hand on the head and the right hand over the tail end. Lower into a pushup. As you come back up, pull the tail end away from the ground and stabilize on your left arm. Be careful, one side might be easier than the other.

Hammer Grip Sit-Up Once again, start in the hammer grip position but this time you are on your back. Get an awesome core ďŹ nisher as you tap the Core Hammer to the ground behind you, sit all the way up and tap the ground in front of you. Be sure to repeat on the other side.

Core Hammer Slam The classic sledgehammer slam without the tire. You can hit the Core Hammer on just about any solid surface. Start in the hammer grip position. As you extend the Core Hammer up and over slide your top hand down to meet the bottom. When the Core Hammer impacts the ground you should be in a squat with your core and lats fully engaged. As the Core Hammer bounces, retract it back in to the starting position and repeat. A little practice will help with alternating from side-to-side. FALL 2017 | WWW.PERSONALFITNESSPROFESSIONAL.COM | 27

NEW ON THE MARKET The latest trends in fitness equipment

LINDSAY'S REVIEW: STRONGBANDS StrongBoard Balance shook up balance board training when they launched their unique training platform with spring technology. They have now upped the ante once again by collaborating with Stroops, creating a unique resistance training system, StrongStrap, that conveniently attaches to the StrongBoard Balance board. With the patented Slastix technology, StrongStraps are durable and provide smooth resistance so an exerciser can add more variety and challenge to their workouts. A seemingly simple addition to your StrongBoard Balance board routine that can completely shake up your training!

ZESA ACTIVATOR TRAINING PLATFORMS OPTP’s product line now includes the new ZeSa Activator Training Platforms. Activators feature rotating platforms on top of half-round domes designed to improve stability, strength, balance and flexibility. Activators are sold in sets of two and can be used singly or together for physical therapy, Pilates, yoga and general fitness. OPTP carries two challenge levels of the Activators for progression in any program.


2-IN-1 FLIP AND PLYO The 2-in-1 Flip and Plyo combines the benefits of a traditional plyo box while functioning as a tire that can be used for flipping, lifting and other functional training movements. Available in 100, 150, 200 and 250 pounds. Each is approximately 46" in diameter. The flat, smooth platform is suitable for users at any fitness level. Reinforced grips around the outer edge allow for partner training exercises and ease of carrying.


SURGE STORM Hedstrom Fitness is proud to present the next generation Surge, the Storm. The sleek new design and restructured handle options provide greater accessibility and comfort while allowing for multiple new exercises and uses. The Surge Storm is 42” in length and can hold up to 65 pounds of water.

ADJUSTABLE SINGLE LEG SQUAT STAND Perform Better’s new PB Extreme Adjustable Single Leg Squat Stand allows you to perform single leg exercises comfortably. It can be used for all single leg work and is great for working your hamstrings, glutes, quads and low back. This new, sturdy design easily adjusts from 9” to 21” (in 3” increments), making it the perfect height for any client or athlete.

EVENTS CALENDAR October - November

OCTOBER 2017 Club Industry Show

October 4-6, Chicago, IL

Integrative Corrective Exercise Instructor Level I October 6-8, Phoenix, AZ

NASM Optima 2017 Conference October 12-14, Scottsdale, AZ

Cancer Exercise Specialist

October 14-15, Springfield, VA

One World Conference

October 20-22, Baltimore, MD

Cancer Exercise Specialist

October 26-27, Bridgewater, NJ


October 26-28, Orlando, FL

NSCA Personal Trainers Conference October 27-29, Anaheim, CA


October 27-29, Reston, VA

NOVEMBER 2017 Trends, Tools & Training

November 3-4, Woodridge, IL

AB – Athletic Business Show November 8-11, Orlando, FL

SCW Boston

November 10-12, Danvers, MA

For a complete listing, or to submit your event, see our online Events Calendar at FALL 2017 | WWW.PERSONALFITNESSPROFESSIONAL.COM | 29


The only option is different


remember the day when I recognized that the “me too” approach wasn’t the path to professional success. I’d been the head baseball coach at a small university in Ohio for two years and the results had been just a bit above average. We won more games than we lost, but when we played the better teams, we got pummeled. It all came to a head one sunny afternoon in May 1997 when the best team on our schedule beat us 13-1 to end our season. It ended a year where I’d worked 80+ hours every week and pushed our team about as hard as someone could push without fear of a revolt. My approach to competing was basically to practice, play and recruit. I approached coaching in pretty much the same fashion as most other coaches, but I’d simply out-work them. This worked well enough to beat the average teams, but it became painfully obvious that it was a recipe for failure in my quest to become a championship program. I couldn’t simply work more and expect a different outcome. I had to approach things differently. I was reading a book by Steve Spurrier where he mentioned that you either had to be better or be different to win. Well, I wasn’t going to be better. I was less experienced than my competition. We had inferior resources and didn’t even offer athletic scholarships. The only option was to be different. I revamped everything. I began studying direct response marketing and selling to change my recruiting. I reinvented the way we practiced and developed players, crafted our culture and even overhauled our style of play. The results were immediate. We became a nationally competitive program the next season and maintained that level of play during my remaining four seasons as coach. When I started my first business, a personal training company, that lesson was still fresh in my mind. At that time (2004) everyone was selling one-hour sessions in blocks of 10 or 12 and training everyone in a one-on-one setting. My business was a community of just 23,000 in central Kentucky, so there just wouldn’t be enough traditional personal training clients to build a successful business using this approach. I offered 30-minute sessions and sold annual programs that were a better fit for the market. The results were solid. In just 18 months we had 420 training clients when the average personal training business in a bigger market was lucky to have 20% that many. This commitment to being different persisted over the development of more than 20 additional businesses and the results were always similar. How do you differentiate yourself? Here are a couple of suggestions: Start with you. Build your business around your values, your strengths and your goals that operate within the guardrails that you



set. Who you are. What you want. There is only one you; it’s your ultimate differentiator. You don’t want to be all things to all people. You don’t want to target and market to everyone. You don’t want to be a poor imitation of someone else. That's not how to build a successful business that you love owning. Good business design begins with you. Develop your brand. 1. Who do you want to work with? 2. What do you want to be known for? If you are clear on those two answers, everything else becomes easier. To build a loyal following you need to know who you want to do business with. It is as important to have a clear idea of who you don’t want as a client. The other component of building your brand is identifying what you want to be known for. It’s basically a statement of who you help and what you do. When you clarify this, it will be easier to create ads and write sales copy and say things that your prospective clients care about. You'll be able to connect with those prospects on a far deeper, and more emotional level. Branding gives you a position you can own in the market. Positioning is the perception that happens in the minds of your target prospects. The story they tell themselves; if you do a good enough job with positioning you render the competition irrelevant. You’re talking just to the people you want to reach and your message is so laser-focused because everyone else is ignored. You essentially become a specialist for the right people. People gravitate to specialists over generalists, and they’ll pay more for a specialist, too. Your brand will give you a position that will: Create a laser-focus on your ideal target prospect. Filter-out who you don’t want. Differentiate you and your business from your competition. In today's “me too” marketplace, this is how you win. It’s why people will chose you above everyone else. Be different.

Pat Rigsby has built over 25 different businesses in the fitness industry from award-winning franchises to certification organizations. He’s helped thousands of fitness entrepreneurs build their ideal business. Visit his website at www.




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