Personal Fitness Professional Spring 2021

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PFP ONLINE Visit VOLUME 23 | ISSUE 1 president


chad griepentrog | publisher

josh vogt | editor

erin eagan | audience development manager

rachel spahr | national sales director

josh vogt |

The Most Effective Two-Letter Word: “No” The Nature (And Nurture) of Competition We are constantly walking the tight rope between encouragement and forcefulness, motivation and insult, and failure and success By Andrew Gavigan

By saying no to opportunities that do not serve personal and business goals, it creates time to pursue ones that do By Shay Vasudeva

creative director

kelli cooke | contributing writers

CarolAnn, Greg Justice, Kim Kisner, Robert Linkul, Pat Rigsby, Amy Boone Thompson featured columnists

Dean Carlson, Vito La Fata, Sean Greeley, Nathalie Lacombe, Rodney J. Morris, Kelli Watson

P.O. Box 259098 | Madison WI 53725-9098. Tel: 608.241.8777 Email:


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Lindsay Vastola

Greg Justice

QUESTION TO PONDER How will you reinvent yourself in 2021? We offer some practical ideas on page 20.

Farel Hruska

Tel: 608.241.8777 E-mail: Fax: 608.241.8666 Website:

Joey Percia

VIDEO Visit our website to view for instructional videos and other training tips, including Exercise of the Week, Fitness Business Insights and Functionally Fit by Brian Schiff.

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Digital Print Subscription Information Digital Subscriptions to Personal Fitness Professional are free to qualified recipients and may be ordered at Reprints For high-quality reprints, please contact us at 608.241.8777 All material in this magazine is copyrighted ©2021 by MadMen3 All rights reserved. Nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Any correspondence sent to Personal Fitness Professional, MadMen3 or its staff becomes property of MadMen3. The articles in this magazine represent the views of the authors and not those of MadMen3 or Personal Fitness Professional. MadMen3 and/or Personal Fitness Professional expressly disclaim any liability for the products or services sold or otherwise endorsed by advertisers or authors included in this magazine. Personal Fitness Professional (ISSN 1523-780X) is published quarterly: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. [Volume 23, Issue 1] Published by MadMen3, LLC C/O Chad Griepentrog 708 Mohawk Trail DeForest WI 53532-3035 Tel: 608.241.8777 Periodicals postage paid at DeForest, WI and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Personal Fitness Professional | P.O. Box 259098 | Madison WI 53725-9098.




The branch has broken There’s a saying that goes something like, “A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because its trust is not in the branch but in its own wings.” This is a fitting lesson for many life situations, but especially timely for many fitness professionals. If the bird represents you, the fitness professional, the branch represents the fitness industry or perhaps the business you own, or the company you work for. The last year has shown us that the branch — the fitness industry, the business or the company — is not as reliable or predictable as it once was. Up until a year ago, while the industry has always swayed with the winds of trends, technology and consumer behavior, there was a level of trust that it would always hold firm and be the strong foundation we needed in order to feel safe in our careers. For fitness professionals who have relied on the stability of an industry, in the last year we have been faced with making one of two choices. One choice is to put trust in an industry, a business or a company, and hoping the comforts of business-as-usual will return. The second choice is to put trust in our own “wings” — our knowledge, skills, experience and potential — giving us the flexibility and agility needed to move to whichever career “branch” we choose. By trusting in ourselves, we will never have to rely on one single industry, job, company or business to determine the trajectory of our success. Most of us have been faced with significant career decisions. Many decisions — especially of recent — that are extremely difficult and even heart-wrenching. The last year has shown us, even with all its uncertainty, is that WHY we do what we do remains unchanged. What has changed is HOW we do it. When we no longer depend on the “branch” to support us, and instead trust in our own “wings,” the options and opportunities to successfully pursue our passion and purpose truly become limitless.

Congratulations to Alexis Batrakoulis for being named our 2021 PFP Trainer of the Year!

Lindsay Vastola is the founder of VastPotential, a professional development company helping fitness business owners, managers and success-driven fitness professionals develop and apply the Emotional Intelligence (EQ) required for personal and professional leadership. Lindsay is the founder of Body Project Fitness (2007) and served as the editor-in-chief of Personal Fitness Professional (PFP) magazine from 2011-2019. She serves on several fitness industry advisory boards and is a speaker and educator across industries.

Read more about Alexis on page 10 in our Journey to Success article. And check back here throughout the year to hear directly from Alexis on topics like education, business and technology in his “Follow the Trainer of the Year” column.


Volume 23 | Issue 1





Alexis Batrakoulis Educating the Masses on a Global Level Erin Eagan

Help your clients become more body-aware and move more mindfully using Pilates cueing techniques





A Q&A with fitness expert and leader Amy Boone Thompson

Industry veterans offer practical strategies and advice to help you adapt to the new normal



Why your well-being is essential for your success By Kim Kisner



Do the research and find the right insurance coverage for you




The branch has broken

Lindsay Vastola



How to create an agile mindset and pivot your fitness career

Sean Greeley




Should you quit your fitness job?

Nathalie Lacombe




Understanding career agility



Dean Carlson

Vito La Fata


The latest trends in fitness equipment

Kelli Watson


Flexibility, agility and opportunity



“How am I going to stand out?”


DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION It’s time for a reset on how we think about diversity, equity and inclusion

Rodney J. Morris


How to create an agile mindset and pivot your fitness career


hat mindset do you need to be agile in your fitness career? To set the stage, your answer really matters right now… because the fitness industry has been rapidly evolving in the past 15 months, and the stakes have never been higher. And while the industry is shifting, you have to be able to move quickly to adapt to changing conditions. That means everything from moving online service delivery, to creating online/hybrid offerings, to moving your workouts outside when weather permits … and adapting your business model (and everything that goes along with marketing, sales, operations and more) to the changes. Here’s the good news… we’ve seen lots fitness professionals and business owners make changes and succeed, including many that have had their best months ever in terms of client success and revenue during the pandemic. One key for all of them was they learned a specific mindset: All of them, regardless of how afraid they were, decided to commit to adapting.

Being agile in your career means being willing to try new things and FAIL. Now that’s easy to say, but what does it mean? Being agile in your career means being willing to try new things and FAIL. It means trying to grow in new directions and MAKING MISTAKES. It means falling in love with the process of failing until you succeed. Here are some suggestions for creating the career-agile mindset that will take you through the choppiest waters: 1. Recognize lack of confidence is the normal starting point. So many people are scared of making mistakes and want to be perfect before they go and take action. People lack confidence. We can talk about going online, but people are still scared. You may lack confidence to grow in a new direction. After all, you don’t know the new directions. You may make mistakes. You may fall flat on your face. And that’s especially true if you’ve been doing it the old way forever and have always done it that way. But guess what? That’s exactly the starting point. It’s just like taking a trip you’ve never taken. The first few times through you don’t know the way, and then with practice, you do.

What you can do is: Get a map. Review where you’re going. Talk to those who’ve been there before. Take chances, take risks and commit to the process. And then once you start moving, the fear goes away. If you stop being afraid of failing, your mindset will strengthen and you’ll embrace the process of failure as a process of learning. And as you learn, you’ll gain confidence. 2. Get very clear about your purpose and mission — This one is the most relevant to career agility: Know WHAT you stand for, WHY it’s important to you, WHERE you want to go and HOW you are going to get there. That is, get very clear about your purpose (your WHY) and your mission. When you are clear on what you are trying to accomplish, the steps you need to take become a straight line to that. If you are seeking to assist your clients in meeting their health and fitness goals so you can provide for your loved ones (for example), then you’re willing to take the steps, gym open or gym closed, to help them. That might mean online. We know one gym owner who moved his spin classes outside in the parking lot for social distancing. That’s agile thinking. The key is to create the steps you need to take to get where you want to go. 3. Surround yourself with people who will support you — “Oh, that will never work.” “No, let’s just keep doing it the way we’ve always done it.” Do not carry naysayers along for the ride. Attacking challenges, making mistakes and embracing failing until you learn and grow, that’s a difficult enough process. You need support. You want people who will inspire you to go grab a compass and explore. To summarize, career agility means falling in love with taking risks; bringing focus to your risk-taking by clarifying your purpose and mission; and finally, surrounding yourself with people who will support and inspire you to take risks, help you when you stumble and cheer when you succeed.

Sean Greeley, Founder and CEO of NPE, has an unrelenting passion for inspiring fitness professionals and business owners to realize their unlimited potential. Since 2006, NPE has helped over 45,000+ fitness professionals and business owners in 96+ countries grow their client base, take home more money, and have the freedom to enjoy it. Don’t go it alone. Join the Private NPE Facebook Group and get access to LIVE Q&As, Fitness Business Case Studies, and Free Training at




Nathalie Lacombe

Dean Carlson

Should you quit your fitness job?


aybe you should quit your leadership job in the fitness industry. We are all being asked to come face to face with the true reasons we became fitness leaders, and for some of us, the passion has shifted. The pandemic caused tremendous turmoil in our industry which made space for innovation. We created brand new ways to provide services to our clients and audience and blew up past misconceptions about how the public could access what we do best. Opportunities in fitness are evolving rapidly and we’re digging deep into our willingness and ability to adapt and persevere. If what’s required of you to lead yourself and your team in fitness no longer motivates you, it’s perfectly reasonable for you to do what’s best in order to provide for yourself and your family. If you’re considering quitting your job in fitness, please keep in mind:  You may simply be in the wrong job title, or with the wrong gym/studio, or serving the wrong clients: It’s critical you figure out which one! Workplace culture has a major impact on drive and motivation, and determining if your own professional brand is a good match for your current job is the first step in knowing if you need to make a change.  Most leaders in the fitness industry genuinely care about their team members: Being honest about your challenges will most often result in compassion coming your way. Let your employers know if you’re craving growth and development as they might have the perfect new challenge for you to sink your teeth into that will propel your career.  If you do leave, do so respectfully: Keeping your working relationships healthy up to and during your departure will open doors to other opportunities, as well as potentially coming back to it at a later date. Taking the time to reflect on our current career path or a change in direction will ensure we thrive and therefore best serve others.

Nathalie Lacombe, M, Sc. blends her 25 years of international fitness experience with her degrees in psychology and exercise science to passionately connect with fitness professionals. Nathalie dedicates herself to coaching fitness professionals and leaders towards incredible success in their careers and businesses. Visit for your FREE access to Top 10 Tips to Better Coach Through a Camera and improve the impact you have on clients today!



Flexibility, agility and opportunity


s an entrepreneur and business owner who wants to stay in business, your responsibility is to recognize shifts in the marketplace as they occur, create and update systems and roles to serve the shift, and have a team culture that embraces new challenges as they come. If all that was easy, everyone would do it and nobody would go out of business, but we understand that is not reality. Successful entrepreneurs are agile entrepreneurs. Recent history gives us an example. In our industry, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a massive disruption. In-person training has been limited, group sizes are smaller, cleaning protocols are heightened. Small gym owners find themselves in direct competition in the online space with big players. Remote coaching is not going away, as many clients enjoy the convenience and flexibility of online offerings. This has provided opportunity for the agile entrepreneur. Instead of looking at competition from the Peletons and Mirrors of the world as all negative, consider the fact that they are investing millions of dollars as proof of concept. Remote training is here to stay. No gym owner I know has millions of dollars to directly compete. The good news is you don’t need that much, but you are going to need some. And that’s where cash management comes in. If you are buried in debt and barely breaking even, you are not going to have flexibility and agility to respond when opportunity knocks. If you are struggling with your current debt load, borrowing more money for video equipment, better lighting or upgraded sound is probably not wise. The good news is you can take simple action today to create a more agile business. Small steps add up. Recently, while on a yearend review call with a client, she was amazed that she had almost $2,000 in her dedicated profit account. Her allocations into that account were small, just 1%. We started that way on purpose; that amount was not going to affect day-to-day operations, but over time even 1% starts to make a real difference. And once you achieve even a small level of success, it opens your eyes to the possibilities. What if you increased the allocation another percent or two? What kind of flexibility and agility would an extra $5,000 in savings give you? What opportunity could you take advantage of? Here’s a challenge. Save 1% this year and find out!

Dean Carlson is a Profit First Advisor and in 2016 founded Fit For Profit, providing fitness business owners with the coaching and tools they need to manage their cash easily and keep more of their hard earned money. His experience as a gym owner came full circle in 2018 when he sold his award-winning gym Get Fit NH for seven-figures. He is passionate about helping fitness entrepreneurs stop worrying about finances and start building the business of their dreams.



Kelli Watson

Vito La Fata

Understanding career agility


generation ago, embarking on a career meant getting a job and staying with it until it was time to retire. There might have been promotional ladders to climb during those years, but for the most part, people spent decades doing the same job. That scenario hardly seems feasible now because the world has changed so dramatically. Today, people need to be much more agile in their careers in order to be successful. As personal trainers, we understand the concept of agility (the ability to move quickly and easily). To help our athletes perform at the top of their game, we incorporate agility into our sessions, training clients to change direction quickly, improving acceleration, deceleration and balance. This same concept can be applied when we think about our career. In order for our businesses to survive, we have to be able to accelerate, decelerate and know how to change direction quickly. In 2020, the pandemic quarantine forced us all to pivot. In order to thrive going forward, however, we need to more fully understand the concept of career agility. According to Marti Konstant, “An agile career is a self-reflective, incremental career path, guided by response to change, evolving job roles and designed to optimize creativity, growth and happiness.” These are qualities we can train in ourselves in much the same way we train our athletes. 1. Foster a Growth Mindset — To begin, you must have a growth mindset. Being curious opens the door to more opportunities, and as you create more experiences, you continue to learn. Success requires continuous growth. 2. Build Your Confidence — Confidence is based on your belief in yourself, and it impacts the decisions you make. Confidence builds with practice, reinforcement and experience. 3. Keep Moving — Agility requires action and movement. In order to keep growing, you need to keep moving. Look ahead to anticipate what’s coming as you continue to take action toward your long-term goals. To grow in your career, continue to anticipate opportunities and adapt to setbacks. Charles Darwin said it best, “It’s not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.”

Kelli Watson is a best-selling author, coach and presenter. She coaches fitness professionals and business executives through the Todd Durkin Mastermind Group and the Todd Durkin IMPACT Coaching Program. In 2017, she co-founded Scriptor Publishing Group, a publishing company dedicated to helping people share their stories and publish their books. With more than 15 years of industry experience, she specializes in business and personal development, helping fit pros and business owners discover their keys to success. Email

“How am I going to stand out?”


ithout a doubt, the #1 question we hear (and fear) is…”How do I stand out and make myself unique and different from others in my same industry?” The answer is: you pivot from generalist to specialist. General fitness, what the average person is being sold by big box gyms, personal trainers and in private studios is getting commoditized and saturated by companies like Peleton, Beachbody, PopSugar, Apple Fitness+ and the giants that can outspend you and sell their services for $9.99/m. The opportunity is for you to carve out your specialty and niche! But how? 1. Choose a specific audience/niche — You can choose niches like chronic yo-yo dieters, lap band patients, female soccer athletes, people suffering with chronic pain, CEOs, baby boomers who want to rock the second half of life, etc. An audience is not: “I teach pilates, strength training, yoga, etc.” Those are modalities and FREE online from here on out. You’re going to have to look at your story, expertise and journey and go deeper to keep fine tuning your IDEAL audience. 2. Choose the specific pains/struggles you solve and the desired outcome you deliver — The market will pay top dollar for outcome and result. If you want to stand out in the market, make a claim! Let the market know you can deliver a specific and desired outcome and solve their struggles and pains. Here are a few examples: “I help people suffering with chronic pain for 3 months or longer get pain-free in 4 weeks.” o Specific audience/pain = people suffering with chronic pain 3 months or longer. o Outcome = get pain-free in 4 weeks. “I help baby boomer women struggling with their health, feeling old and fearful of losing their independence become lean, energized and confident they can rock their boomer life. o Specific audience/pain = baby boomer women struggling with their health, feeling old, and fearful of losing their independence. o Outcome = become lean, energized and confident. Want to get more steps on how to be distinct in this new era of fitness we live in? Check out a recording of “The Distinction Formula: How to Build A Unique Business, Design World Class Programs & Charge Ritz Carlton Prices” at As an internationally recognized speaker and writer, Vito La Fata has contributed to IDEA WORLD, IDEA PTI, IHRSA, MindBody BOLD, Australian Fitness Health Expo, and Canfitpro. He is the co-founder of The Visionary Planner, and CoCreator of Vision In the Vineyard and Creator of the Hard Chargers United.




Journey to Success

Alexis Batrakoulis AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS 2021 PFP Trainer of the Year 2020 NSCA Personal Trainer of the Year 2020 MedFit Professional of the Year Finalist 2019 IDEA China Fitness Innovator 2018 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year 2018 Panhellenic Graduates of Physical Education Union Award Recipient 2018 Panhellenic Fitness Clubs Association Award Recipient 2018 Apollonian Award Recipient 2017 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year Award Finalist 2016 NSCA Recognized Certified Personal Trainer Emeritus

EDUCATION AND CERTIFICATIONS BS in Physical Education and Sport Science MS in Exercise and Health PhD candidate in Exercise and Health NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist NSCA Certified Special Populations Specialist NSCA Certified Personal Trainer ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist ACSM Certified Personal Trainer ACSM Exercise is Medicine Level 2 NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist NASM Weight Loss Specialist ACE Certified Medical Exercise Specialist ACE Certified Health Coach ACE Certified Personal Trainer ACE Youth Fitness Specialist ACE Senior Fitness Specialist ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist ACE Weight Management Specialist ACE Therapeutic Exercise Specialist EREPS Advanced Exercise and Health Specialist EQF Level 6

By Erin Eagan



lexis Batrakoulis, our PFP 2021 Trainer of the Year, is a distinguished educator, speaker, author, technical expert and exercise physiologist in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the United States. “For as long as I can remember, active lifestyle has been a big part of my life, inspiring me to get involved in the health and fitness industry,” says Batrakoulis. Our industry is undeniably better off for his continued involvement. In the last 25 years, he has made a profound difference in numerous lives and amassed an impressive list of achievements. Batrakoulis was the Personal Training Education Director at the Greek Athletic & Fitness Training School, which is an accredited vocational training provider and the national leader in fitness certifications in Greece. Working there for over 14 years, he focused on individuals with metabolic disorders (e.g., obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome). “As an experienced personal trainer, my mission is to optimally help every client achieve personal goals, but also give all necessary efforts for a better fitness culture and behavioral regulation in exercise through active living and health promotion,” he says. “Honestly, I feel blessed to have the opportunity to systematically work with clients struggling with various chronic lifestyle diseases by helping them through fully supervised, structured adapted, and science-based exercise training programs. He holds a BSc in Sports Science with an emphasis on Fitness, he has an MSc in Exercise and Health with an emphasis on Exercise and Obesity, and he is currently preparing to earn a PhD in Exercise and Health. For his doctoral dissertation, his focus is on the effects of a 12-month



non-traditional, high-intensity, interval-type neuromuscular training program on body composition, health and performance in previously inactive women with obesity. He explains, “It is proof that when science meets application, the fitness industry can make serious steps of progress implementing feasible and evidence-based practices.”

“The critical difference between top- and mid-level fitness professionals is just one thing — lifelong learners stay hungry and humble.” Batrakoulis has also earned numerous professional credentials through ACE, ACSM, NASM and NSCA. He is a subject matter expert and an International Master Trainer at the American Council on Exercise and is also a member of the Professional Standards Committee of EuropeActive, which leads the development of educational standards, oversees the accreditation process for all courses and registers qualified exercise professionals for all occupational roles in the European fitness sector. “I have been always trying to combine academic and professional qualifications aiming to develop a competitive portfolio of knowledge and skills supporting me to be adapted to any changing landscape and to overcome potential barriers or insecurities,” he explains.



In what he considers his greatest achievement to date, Batrakoulis founded the International Obesity Exercise Training Institute (IOETI) where has been teaching a comprehensive, science-based, interactive curriculum in almost 40 countries across five continents, aiming to create a global community of qualified fitness professionals who seek to work at the forefront of the battle against obesity. Through this broad spectrum of activities and occupational roles within the industry, he has established himself as a respected leader, shaping the industry of tomorrow. Learning Is a Lifelong Endeavor Alexis’ career is characterized by the attitude that learning never stops, proving that there are no limits in professional development and excellence. “I’ve been continuously educating myself for over 25 years and always staying hungry for learning by getting the most respected academic and professional credentials within the health, fitness and wellness industry at global level,” he says. “The critical difference between top- and mid-level fitness professionals is just one thing — lifelong learners stay hungry and humble. Lifelong learning is the pathway to evolution and success.” It is through his education, especially while studying exercise science at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, when he realized how critical it is to stay active for ensuring better health, optimal performance and high quality of life. “I believe that exercise is the magic pill for everyone. From that point [at Aristotle University], the dissemination of that message became a lifetime mission for me.” Since then, he has inspired and motivated clients, students and colleagues promoting that movement is life. “From my point view, physical


performance focusing on aesthetics is nothing. On the other side, health is everything. Thus, my mission is one and only. I want to become a real ambassador of the global initiative focus: “Exercise is medicine.” Creating a Global Reach As an educator, he aims to spread the message worldwide that personal trainers change lives and create mindsets aiming to fight against the greatest global public health challenges of inactivity and obesity. “I teach and prepare qualified fitness professionals who will be able to blend science and application in order to make a real difference in the fitness industry,” he says. “Working as a global fitness educator, it is something really special that has helped me to realize how the health and fitness industry runs in different regions. Teaching courses on exercise and obesity for over 1,500 exercise professionals across five continents in the past three years… it has been a productive pathway to understand the gap between theory and practice among peers who work around the world as well as to get familiar with the current status of the industry worldwide.”

PFP would like to congratulate Alexis Batrakoulis and thank him for his commitment to the fitness industry. Because of his efforts, he has created meaningful and lasting change. SPRING 2021 | WWW.PERSONALFITNESSPROFESSIONAL.COM | 13

FEATURE ARTICLE Amy Boone Thompson

THE STATE OF THE INDUSTRY A Q&A with fitness expert and leader Amy Boone Thompson 14



Q&A There’s great value in exploring our hierarchy of values like emotional development, economic goals, etc. While self-care is an important first step, how do we navigate the process? One of the biggest blessings of 2020 was the ability to slow down, to reflect and to take inventory. Are you still connected to your purpose? Are you still passionate about the work you are doing, and are you making progress toward your goals as it relates to your role or to your business? If you are still committed, still connected and still aligned to the work you are doing, start there. Recommit yourself emotionally, mentally and intentionally. There are many businesses that saw a great deal of success in 2020, so I wouldn’t want to assume that everyone needs to recover and rebuild. But what I would suggest is to think carefully about your business model and how will you need to evolve to meet the needs of the consumer moving forward. Map a strategic plan taking into consideration all that we have learned and begin steps to follow your plan.


t feels a little strange trying to assess the state of an industry that has been completely turned upside down — and with so much uncertainty still looming. So, to provide some insight into where we stand and what lies ahead, we turned to a prominent figure in our industry. Amy Boone Thompson is VP & GM of IDEA Health & Fitness Association, thought-leader and respected author and presenter. Here, she offers some guidance and advice as we prepare for the year ahead.

What are the biggest challenges for fitness professionals as we head into 2021? Consumers are now conditioned to have fitness where and when they want it. They can find the modality and professional of their choice to meet with them anywhere in the world. To find and retain clients, you’ll need to consider how your business expands to offer tiered options for your clients where they can meet you online, in-person or simply follow your advice, coaching or program without meeting you at all. Diversify your approach to meet people where they are. Following the pandemic, our clients, families and communities will need mental health support. Fitness professionals can partner with allied health professionals to have trusted referral systems in place. You can also take specialty courses and certifications to give you additional expertise for early identification and strategies.


“Fitness professionals can partner with allied health professionals to have trusted referral systems in place.” Amy Boone Thompson What do you believe fitness professionals need to STOP doing in 2021? Rethink the narrative and the marketing messages we use, and the story we tell in order to give fitness the essentialism it merits. This means sharing, highlighting and telling the stories of how we are improving health and how exercise improves life quality, mitigates disease and reduces mental health issues. Let’s tell more stories about how exercise makes you feel and move, and less about how it makes you look. Where do you see opportunities for fitness professionals to invest more time, money and energy? Find strength in knowing we are in this together; give yourself and others grace as we overcome, persevere and adapt. Reach out to other fitness professionals, club chains, studios and business owners and let’s unite so we can collectively welcome more people to our profession, and then, share the gifts of health & wellness with more people. That is how we can inspire the world! That’s the kind of change we need right now. With the increase and appeal of fitness technology options, how do you see the role of the fitness professional evolving? I view these as powerful tools to assist fitness professionals in facilitating results for more people. What has not changed is that ultimately clients need motivation. It doesn’t matter how many apps, streaming



SUBSCRIBE TO PFP HERE services or at-home equipment a person has; if they lack motivation to use it or to use it effectively to meet their goals, it is all useless. What skillset(s) do you believe fitness professionals need to develop in order to adapt and succeed long-term? Given the acceleration of online fitness and accessibility, the market is saturated with services to put fitness in our homes. Any fitness professional has access to tech to meet their clients anywhere in the world. But many trainers still lack foundational skills, they lack business skills and they lack confidence to enter a crowded space and survive. On top of all that, now fitness professionals need a new skillset of coaching remotely, intake, assessment, technique, cueing, they need business building strategies in social media for marketing/ promotion, content delivery and platform, and they need more training in behavior modification/health coaching to address nutritional and mental health needs for holistic views of clients. How do you see the current changes affecting the industry 5 years from now? I don’t see us going backwards in terms of accessibility or availability. I am hopeful that these variables will attract more people to adopting healthy lifestyles and beginning or returning to exercise routines. If we can make it easier for someone to find something they love and will adhere to, then we can finally move the needle of more people exercising globally. There will be more and more technology available to help you achieve better results for your clients. More wearables to provide intelligence and more sophisticated equipment to appeal to more people. Seek to embrace these while providing the motivation and social connection your clients need. What is your advice to newcomers in the industry? We need every new fitness professional who wishes to enter the industry. No matter your path or entry point, you can grow from there. There’s a lot of advice I can give to help you enjoy long-term success in the fitness industry, but I would offer these two top tips in your first year. First, try to work with as many different types of clients as possible to gain experience. When you are faced with a new challenge or challenging client, research, learn and grow through the experience. Always be learning! Second, find a network of like-minded fitness professionals who will support, uplift and inspire you. Seek mentors and credible influencers who can provide guidance and motivation for you. Amy Boone Thompson is VP & GM of IDEA Health & Fitness Association. Over the course of her career, Amy has gained more than 26 years of experience in executive leadership, fitness programming, personal training and health club management. She is co-founder of the national women’s basketball league, fitness professionals networking group and a premier yoga studio. Amy’s gifts of connection, vision and leadership continue to inspire her journey and success — professionally and personally. Her entrepreneurial spirit combined with her rich experience as a business and media executive are the catalysts to her leadership. Amy fully embodies her tagline, “fitness is my business,” always seeking to empower and elevate others while creating global impact. She is the recipient of IDEA’s fitness Leader of the Year award and Advisory Board member for California Fitness Alliance. Amy holds a B.S. in Physical Education & Athletic Training from George Mason University where she competed in Division 1 basketball and volleyball. She is a certified health coach (ACE). Amy’s most important role is that as mother to Nia and Boone and wife to her husband, Sean.



fitness instructors can apply this technique in their client sessions to help them move more mindfully. What makes Pilates cueing unique and what can fitness professionals learn from it? Merrithew™’s STOTT PILATES Matwork and

APPLY A PILATES CUEING LENS TO YOUR VIRTUAL TRAINING Help your clients become more body-aware and move more mindfully using Pilates cueing techniques


ueing effectively is one of the most important yet underappreciated skills of a qualified fitness professional. Being able to accurately describe and communicate to a client how they should set up and get in position, and connect and move their body to achieve the optimal movement pattern, can make or break a client’s workout experience. Too much cueing and you over-


whelm them; too little and they won’t know what to do. With so many fitness professionals now teaching virtually, sometimes through pixelated screens and with delayed audio, the art of cueing effectively is that much more important. Taking a page from the detail and specificity of STOTT PILATES® cueing, we’ll explain how personal trainers and group


Equipment courses introduce students to the STOTT PILATES Biomechanical Principles. These are the foundation of the STOTT PILATES method of exercise and are key to performing exercises safely and effectively. The principles start right from learning how to breathe properly to finding the best alignment and body position, allowing each individual to achieve the best possible results. As a client becomes more bodyaware, they’ll gain a deeper understanding of how to apply specific cues to benefit from each exercise. A summary of the principles:  Breathing – optimal breathing patterns enhance mind-body awareness and efficient muscular recruitment and activity  Head and Cervical Placement, Scapular Movement and Stabilization – observe how they interact with the rib cage and spine  Rib Cage and Pelvic Placement – they are directly related to the curvature and alignment of the spine  Hip, Knee, Ankle and Foot Placement – interact to affect posture, alignment and the effective transfer of forces through the body These principles provide instructors with a guide for when they’re cueing and correcting clients. The more detailed and specific a cue, the more connected the client will feel to the exercise. Performing a quick static and dynamic postural assessment will help instructors establish a starting point, and provide them with information to help with programming and principle focus. “If any of these principles are compromised, the instructor knows exactly what to cue/correct,” explains Merrithew™ Lead Instructor Trainer Sarah Jarvis. “For example, if a client is not showing enough lateral


movement in the rib cage during the inhale phase, the instructor has a number of techniques they can use to get more movement. With the use of imagery, ‘imagine your ribs are like an accordion widening to the sides, or ‘like a balloon inflating, or an umbrella spreading as you inhale,’ clients have a visual representation that guides them towards the movement we are looking for. If this doesn’t work, a tactile cue of the hands around the client’s ribs. Or, if teaching virtually, ask them to use a prop, like a Flex-Band® or Mini Stability Ball™, around or at the side of the rib cage to provide a focal point for the movement. With the prop in place, the instructor can then cue the client to expand their ribs into the prop, feeling like they are pushing out on the prop as they inhale.” How to apply Pilates cueing when teaching virtually With online training, the instructor must be as specific as possible, especially when explaining the start position. “Explain to them where and how their legs and arms should be positioned, what muscles they should be focused on, where their gaze should be and how they should be connecting with the prop, floor or wall. Before they move, cue what muscles they should use to initiate,” Sarah says. “Imagery can be added as the next layer to assist in correcting, or to enhance the client’s learning, understanding and mindful connection to the skill/exercise they’re performing.” Instructors should observe their client for compensatory movements and check in to make sure they’re feeling the movement in the right areas and understand the directions. Props, furniture and certain positions can provide further support, feedback and facilitate modifications. Positions that ground or anchor body parts, such as with a foot or hand pressed against a wall, can facilitate stability and proper connection. Using a Flex-Band or resistance tubing to mimic the spring tension on Pilates equipment, such as the Reformer, also provides more tactile feedback, encouraging the client to work muscles in both concentric and eccentric phases and giving them something to concentrate and focus on.

How to adjust cueing for different clients’ learning needs There are auditory, visual/spatial, verbal, kinesthetic, social, logical/mathematical and solitary learners — so not every client will respond to the same cue. “I can verbally cue one client to drop their shoulders and they respond positively to that, while the next client will need a tactile cue to make the action happen. A third client may need me to show them what to do first, and then they’ll respond,” Sarah says.

The more detailed and specific a cue, the more connected the client will feel to the exercise. “The job of a STOTT PILATES instructor is to get to know how each client learns and responds. STOTT PILATES Instructor Trainers have to provide all of this when we teach our courses. Although patience is a characteristic most teachers must exhibit to last in the fitness industry, if more trainers were equipped with a plethora of cues and had a better understanding of the different learning styles, they would likely be better able to connect to clients and see a quicker response,” she adds. Depending on the client’s exercise level and body awareness, you may have to adjust your cueing, opting for layman’s terms rather than anatomical or muscular cues. You can gradually teach them the names of muscles, bones and anatomical movements. Often, using pictures can help. Instead of ‘laterally flex your torso,’ try ‘imagine your spine going up and over like a water fountain’ or, rather than ‘lengthen the spine,’ use ‘try to touch the ceiling with the top of your head.’

Tips for improving your cueing — using Pilates principles  Know your exercises and their purpose. Is the exercise appropriate for the client’s level? How is it going to benefit them? Does the exercise fit their goals? Should a modification be used first or how can you break an exercise down into steps (this is needed even more with virtual training). How does each STOTT PILATES Biomechanical Principle apply to the exercise? Will your client need more cueing with a principle they are challenged by?  Experience the exercises in your body first. The more in-tune you are with your body, the more likely you’ll be able to relay the correct experience to a client.  Understand how your client learns and moves, and make the cues fit the client. Remember who you’re working with. If the client is challenged by balance exercises, for example, make sure they have a chair or wall to hold.  Know what the optimal movement pattern looks like. Watch your client move and then cue/correct them accordingly, using the principles and your knowledge of proper biomechanics.  Keep choreography and cues simple but effective. Remember that your clients are moving, watching a screen, and trying to listen to you at the same time.  Prepare before your Zoom session and anticipate modifications. Have a plan for the workout before starting your virtual session, so you can make use of props and space in an organized manner. E.g. start seated on a chair/ottoman, progress to standing using the chair to help with balance, then move the chair out of the way for Matwork. Switching from the chair to the floor too many times would break the flow.  Find mentors and keep learning. Take workshops, watch videos and expose yourself to as many trainers as possible in all different modalities. Everyone has unique cues, tips and techniques that you can add to your repertoire. Find training near you at


REINVENT YOURSELF IN 2021 Industry veterans offer practical strategies and advice to help you adapt to the new normal

While business as we knew it before 2020 is a thing of the past, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re willing to reinvent the way you operate. Greg Justice, CarolAnn, Robert Linkul and Pat Rigsby each share ideas and strategies you can implement in the areas of corporate fitness, online training and in-person training.




Corporate Fitness/Wellness Greg Justice CEO, National Corporate Fitness Institute and PFP Advisory Board Member A big reason as to how a pandemic becomes a pandemic is lack of preparation and foresight. Granted, preparing for something as catastrophic as COVID-19 would have taken a colossal, collaborative effort of dozens upon dozens of countries for years leading up to 2020. At some point, a handful would have backed out (and did), wondering if this “pending pandemic” was really a possibility. Like the Mayan predictions of the world ending, governments aren’t spending time and money constructing elaborate bunkers until it does.

folks have not stopped working out. As we all know, many have simply shifted to breaking a sweat in their living rooms or patios, and online trainers and tutorial videos have understandably exploded. On the corporate side, businesses are beginning to catch their footing once again. During the summer and fall, folks were homebound, unsure about the future, and literally living day-to-day. We now understand that even with a vaccine, this will be a long road back to “normal,” whatever that may be. But with that said, there are a handful of areas trainers and fitness professionals can smartly integrate themselves into this new reality. Meal Planning Pre-COVID, many companies invested a considerable amount of resources in maintaining healthy food options at work. The literature was trending positive in terms of healthy eating habits being equated to happier employees (and more productive employees). Employers are concerned, as are most health professionals, about the long-term effects of folks working where they wake and go back to bed. As such, this is an area that is actively being addressed. Offering individual consultations, personalized meal plans, check-ups and using apps to monitor caloric intake, etc., is an easy way to carve out a niche for yourself in any company. Much of this will take place over video, so having the technology in place to track client behavior is critical.

have been increasing, and while necessary, many times, the lack of exercise and healthy eating can exacerbate mental health-related issues. Addressing one will naturally minimize the other. Virtual Health Fairs Health fairs are a fantastic way to bring teams together through fun, online educational sessions. Examples are classic fitness classes like cardio boxing, yoga, bodyweight boot camp, or Pilates. You could then move to health talks where ergonomics and mental health are popular topics. And finally, integrating meditation, classes on how to reduce anxiety and stress, maintaining perspective and mental focus are popular. A fair like this could last an afternoon and take place once per month. Your physical presence as a fitness professional was (and still is) important. But the current circumstances are what they are. Reinventing yourself and adapting to this climate is possible, as the demand is there. But best yet — companies are wide open to suggestions!

WE NOW UNDERSTAND THAT EVEN WITH A VACCINE, THIS WILL BE A LONG ROAD BACK TO “NORMAL,” WHATEVER THAT MAY BE. Well, so much for that. We’ve lived through an awful year, and while things are looking up, for the fitness industry among others, major challenges remain. By October 1, 2020, an estimated 480,000 fitness related jobs had been lost. Contrast that with 2019, when the US fitness industry was valued at a whopping $85 billion. Brick-and-mortar studios were the norm, and “group trainings” were rated the number three trend by The American College of Sports Medicine. Social-distancing has put that to rest, but

Health Education/Coaching Similar to meal planning, overall health education/coaching, where you can blend in exercise, is another area of interest for many firms. YouTube videos have been great, and they’re widely used. But their effectiveness depends 100% on the user. There is no follow-up from the trainer and as has occurred with other training fads (although video workouts will likely continue), unless there is a trainer present to monitor and politely push, long-term, positive results are unlikely. Most HR departments understand this and will grab onto fitness programs with “monitoring and follow-up.” Mental health interventions

Online Training CarolAnn Health & Fitness Entrepreneur, Author, Educator For the past year, you have been inundated with information on how to transfer your in-person fitness business to online. However, you still may be struggling. Online training is here to stay; therefore, there is time to sharpen up your skills and shift your business


acumen. The state of the current fitness landscape is a wide-open opportunity for you to reinvent yourself in the online training world. You don’t have to be Peloton (the most successful online business of 2020) to create massive impact on one’s life. The product is you. Here are four strategies you can implement to reinvent yourself, generate money and move forward with your health and fitness business.

on the same topic. For social media to be successful, you must be consistent. Create a social media calendar with weekly topics. Choose a day once a week to create your content. After every post, create a “call to action” (CTA). Once your prospect follows the CTA to register or buy a product, make it easy for them to sign up. Finally, if someone slides into your DMs, that means money! Get Organized After you develop the nuts and bolts of your business, i.e., technical equipment, software platforms, etc., you are ready to execute your online training business. There are many benefits for training online, but that doesn’t mean that an online business is easy. You may be transitioning from being an employee to being your own boss with more business responsibilities. Your clients expect you to be professional running your online training as a business. If you are teaching group fitness, develop a program schedule with days, times, and types of classes. Develop a fee structure that is simple, clear, marketable and brings in revenue for you. Ensure that you have a digital means to collect payment via PayPal, Venmo or Stripe. Have in place policies and onboarding procedures like an intake form and liability waiver. Always protect yourself with professional liability insurance.

THE NUMBER ONE MOTIVATING WORD CLIENTS LOVE TO HEAR IS THEIR “NAME.” USE IT GENUINELY AND OFTEN. Appeal to Your Avatar You cannot be everything to everybody. Be hyper clear of who you are, what you offer and why it matters to your future client. When you know how to convey that message, your audience, or your “avatar” (perfect client), will show up. Also, go to where your avatar hangs out in online social groups. For example, if your avatar has multiple sclerosis, visit and interact with those in multiple sclerosis Facebook groups. Specializing in a fitness area differentiates you from other online trainers and is the key to your success. Eventually you will be known as the medical fitness trainer or the restorative health trainer. Other areas of specialization include specific athletes, youth, stroke survivors, pre/ post-natal and boomers. To be successful is to create value for your clients. You may need to achieve a specific certification or attend CEC courses to elevate your value to your avatar. Get Noticed… Go Social Social media is extremely valuable in finding your tribe, building your audience and converting them into paying clients. Target your avatar with media vehicles that include videos, articles, webinars and podcasts. Repurpose your fitness content so you are not enslaved to creating new social media content endlessly. One example is to create a weekly, short, one-minute video. Transcript the video to create an article. Then, strip the audio from the video to create a podcast. You can then create a webinar once a month


We all witnessed the explosion of online training in the year 2020 and it is here to stay. However, with the reopening of studios and gyms, in-person training will return. At the very least, studios are moving to a hybrid model (a combination of online and in-person training). This may be the time for you to reinvent yourself in the virtual training space and be your own boss. Change is difficult and painful sometimes. You even say it to your clients, “You know that burning sensation you feel right now? It’s called change. And change is a good thing!

Online Training and Other Services Robert Linkul Owner,

Sharpen Your Soft Skills As health and fitness professionals we learn hard skills like anatomy/physiology, specific exercises, assessments and program design that make us proficient trainers. However, it’s the soft skills that elevate a proficient trainer to a successful coach with a huge following. Soft skills can either be innate or learned. They include communication, passion, empathy, friendliness, patience and leadership. When applying effective soft skills to the virtual training world, everything needs to be amplified. For example, communication is key in virtual training. Sometimes the message gets lost in translation through the virtual world. Therefore, one needs to be noticeably clear and concise in verbal and non-verbal cueing, because tactile cues are nonexistent. The number one motivating word clients love to hear is their “name.” Use it genuinely and often.


Thursday, November 19, 2020 is a date that I’ll never forget. It was the day that my business partner (and wife) Keagan and I decided to close our in-person studio gym after six years (as independent owners) and 16 years training clients in that area. This was due to the government restrictions on small businesses in California and not being able to open and operate our gym in over nine months. Financially, we were digging a hole that would soon be too deep to get out of if we didn’t take action and pivot. We removed all our equipment, turned out the lights, hugged each other, cried a little bit and then locked the door behind us for the final time. Did I mention that November 19 was also my 40th birthday? Like I said, I’ll never forget that date because I was emotionally “reborn” as we literally closed one door, another door opened,


and we weren’t planning to look back any time soon. First, we immediately reinvented our business 100% into online training for older adults and continued education for fitness professionals. Second, we used the last bit of our savings to convert our garage into a stateof-the-art training and recording studio. Last we rebuilt our (TOA) website to host multiple courses, certifications and monthly continued education membership services. We also rebuilt our online training website to specifically target our older adult demographic clientele and made signing up for and using our services as simple as possible. We started with 12 very loyal clients who didn’t know online training was even a “thing” and have built it up to 40 diehard clients who all train with me three to four times per week. As we built our service, we took note of some key features that we want to share with you to assist you in developing your online training service. Though this whole experience has been extremely difficult, we also recognize and fully embrace the opportunity to pivot and transition our business into something even better. Thank you for letting me share our story with you. I hope my message finds you and gives you some direction in a time in which you might need it. 1. Personalize Your Service — We want our customers to feel special and we achieved this by creating a template that highlights their personalized warm-up, workout and cooldown routine based on their personal needs or training outcomes (goals). No cookie cutter workouts here, personalized and detailed programming is why our clients come to see us. 2. Provide Multiple Services — Our average client trains virtually live with me three times a week; however, they perform up to five workouts a week with our pre-recorded and specifically designed workout library that they can click on and perform any day of the week that they prefer. These are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and change weekly to allow our clients challenging workouts whenever needed. 3. Keep Your Service “Personal” — Text or email your clients after workouts at least once a month, ask how they like their experience, what could we do better, what do you like most and what else could we do to

improve your experience. It’s efforts like this that keep the “personal” in personal training and provides you data on how to constantly improve the quality of your service.

In-Person Training Pat Rigsby Fitness Business Coach After a year in which people spent months cooped up at home and fitness businesses were forced to pivot to delivering services virtually or in limited-capacity formats, many in-person trainers and coaches are ready to get back to ‘business as usual.’ However, the fact is that business as we knew it before 2020 is a thing of the past. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re willing to reinvent the way that you operate. Here are a few ways that you can adapt to where the fitness industry is headed.

training business going forward. In addition to that, the use of software or apps that allow coaches to better facilitate training programs, provide more accountability and foster an increased sense of community when clients are in the gym will be the norm in successful businesses. In short, supporting clients during the 165 hours they’re not in the gym each week will be a bigger part of business than ever before. Fewer Clients Per Session. For the past decade, large group-based training has been the biggest growth area in the industry. 2020 finally slowed that trend offline, but it served as an accelerant for businesses delivering online group training. As we go forward, franchises and the major players in online fitness will continue to gravitate to the large group model, but that has created a huge opportunity for in-person fitness businesses to deliver more personalized services like 1-on-1, semi-private or small group training. Some clients are likely to be less eager to be in large group settings; many people want to feel like more than just a ‘face in the crowd’ and self-care will be more of a priority. This confluence of circumstances will lead to prospective clients seeking out premium services that provide more personalized attention. More Than Weight Loss. For decades, the fitness industry’s main marketing message has centered on fat loss, with washboard abs and bikini-ready bodies being the advertising images of choice. Consumers are becoming more interested in overall wellness and are looking for support & coaching to help with stress relief, mindset, nutrition, longevity and more. If there has been a silver lining during the pandemic, it’s been the attention given to self-care and the number of people who have begun taking steps to improve their health — which is just accelerating the opportunity for some to go from being perceived as ‘workout instructors’ to coaches who facilitate improved wellness and quality of life. These are just three of the things that you can expect to see more of going forward and they each provide significant opportunity if you’re willing to reinvent the way that you do business.

SUPPORTING CLIENTS DURING THE 165 HOURS THEY’RE NOT IN THE GYM EACH WEEK WILL BE A BIGGER PART OF BUSINESS THAN EVER BEFORE. Hybrid Is the New Offline. While many people are eager to get back into the gym and work with a trainer or coach in-person, live and on-demand virtual training sessions as alternative options that allow clients to train more consistently or conveniently are almost certainly going to be part of a successful



THE SHIFT FROM OUTWARD IN Why your well-being is essential for your success | By Kim Kisner


s fitness professionals, we are an industry of caregivers. The very crux of what we do is help others toward fitness and wellness, physically, mentally and emotionally. Now ask yourself, are you currently at the top of your own game in these areas? Or are you eating “burnt toast?” The Burnt Toast Theory asserts that a woman/mom will fix her whole family toast in the morning, and take the worst piece and save it for herself, and she will do this on every level: take the worst seat, buy the economical car, etc. In short, she makes certain everyone else gets the “good stuff” and she takes the rest. We, as fitness professionals, mirror this behavior. It’s the plumber who’s too busy


working on everyone else’s faucets to fix his own leaky one. The examples go on and on. Now, layer in the current environment — dealing with COVID. As professionals we are faced with our livelihood as we know it literally being pulled out from under us. We can’t “do” what makes us who we are due to hygiene protocols and regulations. So we are scrambling to pivot any which way to carry on and make a living and help our clients. Now, layer in that our clientele is more in need of us than ever before. They are clamoring to stay healthy and are stressed and fatigued. They need us — and we need to continue to try to find ways to give and give. All of these ingredients make for the perfect storm of us as professionals facing absolute fatigue and burnout.


Yet, we are still likely eating the burnt toast. More than ever, it’s imperative that we all take care of ourselves. There it is. Self-Care. It’s an overused term to be sure. It’s one we all clearly know is important. We literally coach others to be better caregivers to themselves… to seek wellness and a state of being well… so why don’t we take our own advice? Beyond the fact that we don’t think we have time, or are too tired, there could be some psychological and behavioral things at play here. According to Psychology Today, you might feel that being self-compassionate is akin to being selfish, self-centered or even narcissistic. It may also be uncomfortable or not “natural” to us to turn our focus — and care — inward toward ourselves, when what we do every


to remember that no one has an unlimited amount of focus or mental energy, and more is quite often NOT better.” Think of it this way… when a client overtrains and strains a muscle or gets a stress fracture, it’s a huge setback. That muscle or bone needs to heal in order to perform again. When the mind is similarly overworked, it too becomes fatigued, making cognitive tasks increasingly difficult and eventually impossible. Debility is analogously progressive: soreness, limping, infirmity for the leg — irritability, insomnia, loss of concentration and productivity for the mind.

day, all day is focus this energy toward others. And finally, because a lot of us are Type A — perfectionists — we feel that success means to work harder, don’t let up, continually push ourselves. It may not be in our makeup to slow down and take our own well-being into account. Sound familiar? Be very careful, because this can quickly turn into self-sabotaging behavior. Pushing yourself without letting up, without recovery, can take you from bright light to burnout not only physically, but more importantly, mentally. And when mental capacity dims, your livelihood could become jeopardized. Just like physical fatigue, cognitive fatigue is a very real thing,” said Andrew Gavigan, Fitness Educator and Behavior Expert. According to research, we only have the ability to make so many decisions and take on so much information in a day. Mental overload can lead to poor choices with nutrition, movement or even the things we say when our children or family need us. It’s important

We literally coach others to be better caregivers to themselves… to seek wellness and a state of being well… so why don’t we take our own advice? Now, if that client trains in a healthy way while allowing proper time to recover and rebuild between workouts, he or she is likely to achieve positive results. The same holds true for the mind. Work it in a healthy way daily, then give it a break. The body and the mind need rest and care. Taking care of your own well-being — selfcare — whatever we call it, is equivalent to training smart. Learn to stop before you get that “fracture” or strain. We’ve explored the negative effects of fatigue and burnout, now let’s look at the why and the how. As you can imagine, the list of benefits of self-care is endless. Study after study shows that self-care can increase your resiliency, decision-making process and energy level. Self-care reduces stress and with that comes

improved sleep, productivity and a stronger immune system. Beyond that, as trainers and educators, it’s critically important to exemplify behavior that we want our clients to practice. We know our behavior influences clients, so we must practice what we preach to be good trainers/coaches. So how do we make the shift to focus inward versus outward when it comes to care? You have the tools. Now, you need to make the shift to utilize those tools inwardly — for yourself. Again, this may feel unnatural, but consider putting the following sequence of steps into practice, that Wellness and Human Performance Specialist, Greg Niederlander has conceptualized and developed: 1. Connect — With yourself. How are you “living?” How do you feel? What do you need to feel better? 2. Surrender — To the notion that your well-being is a critical piece of the equation, an essential part of being successful in your career and in life. Hold yourself accountable as you do your clients. Because ultimately, you are your #1 client, and if you are not 100% you can’t give 100%. 3. Transition — Take ownership of your well-being and engage fully with it and with yourself. 4. Resilience — Stay the course and remain vigilant. As fitness professionals, we understand fully the importance of consistency and developing habits. Try putting the above into practice, stick with it and you might just find that turning your skills inward and becoming a fair and passionate coach to yourself could be the best move you’ll make in your career.

Having launched over 100 fitness products, DVDs and infomercials to market, Kim Kisner has also designed and led content, marketing and programming strategy for premier brands such as Pepsico/Gatorade, Beachbody, BOSU, Technogym, Gaiam and more. With 25 years under her belt, she has the distinction of having worked beside some of the most renowned presenters and trainers in the world. These days, Kim is focusing on copywriting, content development and content strategy for fitness brands.


ARE YOU PROTECTED? Do the research and find the right insurance coverage for you

Life is unpredictable, as evidenced in the last year, and we’ve had to accept that some things are beyond our control. But now more than ever, we need to have protections in place for what we can control. An important, yet often overlooked, area of protection is with proper insurance coverage. As fitness professionals, we are constantly at risk for liability claims which can be very costly, threatening both our business and our personal assets. Some questions to ask yourself: What type of insurance do I need? Am I already covered by my health club/employer? If so, do I need any extra coverage? Does my insurance policy cover virtual training? When does my policy expire? The following resources are available to answer these and any other questions you have and will be there to help guide you along in the process:

Make Sure Your Business Is Protected with the Right Coverage Insurance coverage options can be complex and not all insurance programs are alike; if you’re shopping for coverage it is important to note differences in coverages, optional coverages offered, and coverage limits when choosing your insurance. The lowest price product may not include everything you need to be fully protected. Commercial general liability, products-completed operations, personal and advertising injury, legal liability to participants and professional liability are all specialized coverages that fitness professionals should consider. Now more than ever, virtual training/ instruction is an important coverage consideration; make sure that you look for insurance that includes virtual training under your direct supervision including live online instruction as well as recorded training sessions that your registered clients can access. If you are working as an independent contractor at one or more health club facilities, don’t assume that you are covered under the health club’s insurance plan; independent contractors are often excluded. Fitness professionals should always have their own coverage as well as additional coverage for any studio or fitness facility they own. A homeowner’s policy will most likely exclude coverage under a “business pursuits” exclusion; be sure to check with your insurance agent before assuming coverage is covered under the homeowner’s policy as a studio or other facility policy may be required for proper coverage. If you have taken the time to participate in educational programs, some companies reward fitness professionals for training certification with discounted rates. And if you have any questions or concerns about the coverage needed for specific situations, always make sure to call your insurance representative for clarification.

Accidents Still Happen — Whether In-Person or Online Everything has gone virtual — even your fitness class. But accidents and injuries are as real as ever. While your fitness instruction may not always be inside an actual brickand-mortar gym, your fitness instructor insurance needs to be as flexible as your teaching. Even online classes pose a risk. Any injury resulting from an exercise under the supervision of a personal trainer could result in a lawsuit — and you could be held legally liable. Find specialized coverage for both on- and off-premises at Philadelphia Insurance Companies (PHLY). Our one-page application can be completed online in minutes. Access to PHLY’s fitness expertise is at your fingertips, whether on a computer or a mobile device. We offer broad coverage for several fitness categories,

such as dance, martial arts, swim, and yoga. We have over 20 years of experience insuring fitness studios, personal trainers, and health clubs. Fitness is a part of our culture and our employees are passionate about health and wellness. With a 96% customer satisfaction rating, it’s no wonder fitness trainers trust and renew their coverage with PHLY. To learn more about PHLY and get insurance coverage online in minutes, visit Email us at or call (877) 438-7459 Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. to speak with a representative.

What Insurance Needs Do You Have for Virtual Training? Virtual training, whether it is live interaction or pre-recorded classes and workouts, has exposure for Professional Liability. This is because what a trainer actually says in the classes and workouts that they provide is held out as Professional instruction. If a participant is injured as a result of performing a virtual workout, the trainer has Professional Liability exposure for what they were teaching. Many trainers feel that they no longer need their General Liability Insurance coverage when they no longer teach or train clients in person and/or no longer have a premises. However, giving instruction virtually carries the same Professional Liability as in-person instruction since the trainer is still teaching.

Additionally, real claims have also been turned in from virtual workouts related to trips and falls inside the participant’s own home. These claims can still be made against the trainer because Professional Liability exposure is triggered when a trainer fails to give instruction that could protect a participant. Trainers should caution virtual participants to clear the space that they will use for their workouts of obstructions prior to beginning. It is important to continue to carry General Liability Insurance coverage that includes Professional Liability Insurance while teaching virtually and all participants for virtual workouts should acknowledge a Liability Waiver as part of gaining access to the workouts, just like they would for in-person training in a studio or health club.

CONTACT INFO K&K Insurance 800.506.4856

Philadelphia Insurance Companies 877.438.7459

Sports & Fitness Insurance Corporation 800.844.0536 ext. 2333


If you are a studio owner and have employees teaching virtual classes from their homes, you and your employees should still be covered on your studio’s General Liability policy for your employees teaching virtually from off-site. Always ask your agent if you are not sure. Studio owners should continue to carry Workers Compensation Insurance to cover employees also. An employee can get hurt from their own home while teaching on-line. Make sure you and your fitness business have General Liability including Professional Liability coverage and Workers Compensation, if needed, for virtual operations!


SUBSCRIBE TO PFP HERE NEW ON THE MARKET The latest trends in fitness equipment


The Flex Cord™ is an innovative approach to resistance bands with its 100% encased elastic tubing. A unique feature is that the cover is meant to stretch with the band as well, something which provides a greater range of motion. I have used resistance bands in my workouts and with my clients for many years so a new option is a welcomed addition to my fitness toolbox! I also really enjoy the flexible loop handles as they feel secure on my hands and feet. Flex Cords™ are perfect for personal trainers, group ex instructors and anyone else looking to add a portable fitness tool to their own workouts. Good stuff!

ISSA's Glute Specialization program provides fitness professionals the knowledge, skills and ability to perfect their clients' lower body to prevent injury, enhance performance, and maximize physique. The course teaches trainers: how to build the perfect glutes; corrective exercises and movement patterns; anatomy, activation, strength and hypertrophy exercises; common hip and glute dysfunctions; and marketing, communication and professionalism for glute training. certified-glute-specialist/



The PRO-PODS™ Release & Stabilization Tools can be used to relieve muscle tension throughout the body and to perform exercises to help improve balance and stability. Measuring 6½” L x 3½” W x 2” H, the oval-contour shape fits under both hands and feet, for a variety of exercises performed standing, in bridge position or plank position. Use with the textured side up for the ideal amount of pressure to help muscles relax, or with the textured side down for added challenge.

TE3 Mobility (TE3 OY) is a Helsinki-based company that brings to the market a new solution to identify and solve the functional bottlenecks of the human body mobility. Their method enables digital measurement and analysis of the range of motion of the body joints. A quick test makes the customer aware of problem areas and gives out the key training moves for the relief and improvement.



X3S™ BENCH The Abs Company has launched a compact and affordable home version of their revolutionary X3S™ Pro. The X3S™ Bench features an open frame and an adjustable bench, allowing for hundreds of exercises not possible on traditional ‘sissy squat’ machines. With its smaller footprint, this machine provides maximum results in minimal space. The X3S™ Bench is available for only $299.


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It’s time for a reset on how we think about diversity, equity and inclusion


o, let’s get right to the point. Customers are getting much harder to come by and to keep. And contrary to what most might expect on the heels of a pandemic, the fitness industry as a whole is entering an era of unprecedented abundance. Fitness seekers and fitness workers have more options to choose from right now than ever before. That’s exactly why it is time for a reset on how we think about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Prioritizing DEI isn’t just about doing what’s right anymore. It is also about doing what’s right for your business and creating sustainability for the future. If you own or operate a fitness business, here are three questions that you should be asking yourself right now: 1. With so many other options out there, what will keep your members, clients and staff “tuned in” to you? 2. As you work to recover from the pandemic's effects, what is going to help you stay on top of emerging trends and anticipate the needs of both your internal and external customers? 3. Looking towards the future, how are you going to develop a business model that is more bullet-proof and can withstand the coming onslaught of new competitors, technologies and potential mandates? Although you might not first make the connection, these questions are precisely why the most resilient fitness professionals and businesses are intentionally learning more about diversity, equity and inclusion. Here are the top reasons why: Diversity helps fitness professionals reach (and retain) more customers.  "Sociological imagination" is the ability to see things socially and how they interact and influence one another. By actively creating and nurturing diversity amongst their members, clients and staff, fitness professionals can exponentially increase their ability to anticipate, understand, empathize with and successfully address customer needs. By fostering better understanding across differences, diversity is the foundation of not just retention but the formation and maintenance of a vibrant community of unique individuals. The future is diverse. Inclusion helps fitness professionals stay “in touch” and make better decisions when faced with new business challenges.  In a Harvard Business Review article entitled “Why Diverse Teams Are Smarter,” co-authors David Rock and Heidi Grant explain why businesses with inclusive leadership teams are better at



navigating through times of uncertainty or conflict. In addition to being more innovative, they argue that inclusive teams are generally more conscientious and can adapt to incremental and sudden change. In contrast, non-inclusive leadership teams often struggle to create and commit to new strategies and “grip” on to old habits. Inclusion builds a bridge to innovation. Equity prevents fitness businesses from losing their best and most valuable employees.  Like any fitness client, employees tend to stick with a trainer (or employer) that gets them results. That is what the idea of equity vs. equality is all about. It's not just about making sure that everyone has "equal access." If your clientele or your workforce is diverse (or aspires to be), it is your job to create pathways to success that are both intentional and proportional to that diversity. In other words, if you were to wake up one day and realize that only your young and athletic clients achieved their goals while working with you, but your older or less fit clients did not, would you say to yourself that you were a "good trainer?" That’s why the best trainers (and employers) meet their people where they are developmentally and commit to helping them achieve success over time. Equity keeps each of us accountable. Ultimately, committing to learning more about diversity, equity and inclusion is really about committing to develop and evolve your mindset. In the aftermath of COVID-19, it has been far too easy to remain insolated in both our thoughts and actions. However, the era of abundance is upon us. At this moment, we have an opportunity to redesign our vision for our creative potential and expand our personal practice of community, diversity, and inclusion. With the slate virtually wiped clean from the turmoil and disruption that was 2020, we have a rare opportunity to reframe how we look at the future and who walks beside us. The road ahead is not easy. It has never been. But the time to act and to step forward, together, is now.

Rodney J. Morris is a seasoned presenter, educator and SME on employee engagement, training, recruitment, workplace culture, inclusion and leadership development within the fitness industry. As an industry veteran with 20 years of experience leading growth and change initiatives, Rodney has a unique and disruptive perspective on the interconnection between organizational culture, the advancement of technology, employee engagement, and the future of the fitness industry.


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