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Fitness Business in Danger? It Doesn’t Have to Be

It’s 2020, the Year of the Cerberus, and we’re living in a pandemic.

The novel coronavirus is here to stay for at least another year, but it’s also possible we experience something like this again. If you aren’t scared of viruses, you should read more about them.

In this article, we’ll hypothesize how the fitness market will change.

The fitness response

The fitness industry as a whole has not been quick to adapt.

Business owners understand the need to change; they have income and expenses that FORCE them to understand. If they have to close their doors, then they’ll just find another way to do what they do.

Clients, however, have been slower to change.

I’ve heard stories of clients crippled by indoor depression. I’ve heard clients say, “Eh, I’ll just take a few months off of the gym.” Even people who LOVE lifting weights. Training at home is just… not the same.

These clients intend to stay active. They start on a new health regimen. They do good for a week or two, then they falter off. ‘Tis the human way. Maybe work gets crazy. Maybe they get hurt during yoga. Maybe they just get bored.

Quarantine has been long enough now that even these clients are realizing they have to find a new solution for their health and wellness.

Here’s an interesting article from The Atlantic about the new era of fitness.

What stories have you heard from clients? What are their hesitations? Where do those hesitations originate?

What people want

It’s important to remind ourselves what people are searching for when they get a gym membership. They are NOT looking for a gym membership. They are looking for the subsequent emotional states that follow a gym membership.

  • They want to look awesome
  • They want big arms
  • They want a sense of internal strength and security
  • They want to not die young
  • They want to fit in their old clothes
  • They want to find a mate
  • They want to operate in peak physical condition

And if we’re being honest, it all boils down to (a) building your ego, (b) finding a mate, or (c) squashing your fears of death and inadequacy.

How can you deliver these features to someone’s life without the aid of a gym? Has your training style changed at all since we’ve been social distancing?

The future of fitness

In the best case scenario for those hoping to “just get back to normal”, things return to mostly normal in about a year or so. The market, however, will be forever changed. People now think differently about video calls. They consider contagiousness and the health of those they love.

Some people will definitely see the value in finding a physical gym with fancy equipment. They will like seeing actual people.

Many people, however, will see the value of working out at home. They will find it convenient. They will appreciate the safety of staying at home and not touching other people’s disgusting germs. They realize they can stay fit and healthy without the assistance of a gym membership. They will realize exercise equipment isn’t as expensive as it appears. They will love not having to commute during high traffic times. They will find new ways to get exercise variety.

Would you prefer for things to go back to normal? Are you prepared to alter your business plan at all?

What to do

If you are a fitness professional without a website, you should have one going forward. It’s your hub, a way to disseminate information for your clients. And more importantly, it makes it easier for them to pitch their friends to become your next new client. Build out a really thoughtful, helpful page for them to send their friends. Train them as a group and everybody wins.

I have been helping a few fellow trainers build their websites during quarantine and I think the piece of it they find most beneficial is the planning. It forces you to sit down and organize what your business is and what you stand for. This is always a good practice, but now it’s more important than ever. Your livelihood might actually depend on it.

Click here to learn more about how I’ve been helping our fellow fitness professionals build their business and website.

At the time of writing — July 23rd, 2020 — my bandwidth is running low, but I can take on one new client. Fill out my application if you want to make moves.

Remembering a Mentor

RIP Frank Engel (Nov 2, 1961 – Jan 7, 2020)

You wouldn’t be reading this were it not for Frank Engel.

Back in 2004… it would have had to be around fall… my hockey coach, Rocky Trottier, told us that we were old enough to start lifting weights. So many of us did.

I had spent countless hours of my youth hurling hockey pucks at garages, nets, brick walls. I had a piece of plastic fake ice. I liked playing with a longer stick because I could really confuse attackers when they came through. I liked taking slap shots because I wasn’t good at wrist shots. I practiced stick handling fast, but never learned how to do it without looking down at the puck. And I spent my other free time playing hockey video games.

I wanted to be a professional hockey player, and I knew that I would need to practice — to get better — if I were going to get there.

So when Rocky recommended we start lifting weights, I was on board. That’s something that athletes do, so I should do that.

I remember walking in the first day. There’s lots of commotion. I’m not a loud guy, but I at least knew a few of the people around. I had no idea how to do any of the lifts I was about to do.

So I walk up to this hulking, scruffy dude who tells me the workout is on the whiteboard. I think he even gave me a notebook to track my workout. He gave me all the weights, told me to walk around to the different pieces and just do the workout. The last one was a trap bar deadlift: 150lbs for 10 reps. “That one’s gonna kick your ass,” he told me.

Continue reading

You’re Not Normal, And That’s Why I Like You

If you’re reading this, you’re my kind of person.

The people who come to this site aren’t just normal humans. They’re the people who are pushing our industry forward.

They challenge their thinking, asking…

Which of my long-held beliefs are no longer serving me?

They push to improve on failures, asking…

Why was I unable to solve this problem?

They even force themselves to re-evaluate things that are working, asking…

How can I make this better?

I just want to say thanks. You’re an inspiration.

What are you working on improving these days? There are a couple of prompts above to get you going. Maybe you want to learn more about movement or get ideas from some new books.

And hey, it’s okay to sit back and enjoy what you’ve done thus far.

Cheers to the future.

Rowing is one of our fundamental movements that everyone should master. It’s relatively easy to find people with a big chest or big legs who are still weak. It’s impossible to find someone with a big back who is weak.

Here’s a playlist of five videos describing the muscles involved in the rowing movement. Namely, the lower traps, the upper traps, the rhomboids, the lats, and a little troubleshooting.

Like these videos? Then you’ll love The Movement Seminar.

If you read my stuff, you probably already understand that the deadlift is WAY more difficult to coach than the squat. People love to use their low backs.

And for some clients, as I’m sure you’ve learned the hard way, that’s just not a sustainable way to do things.

This seven-video playlist is here to help you fix that frustrating deadlift.

Want your clients to deadlift safely? Check out The Movement Seminar.

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