If you took the time to come to this blog you’re probably looking for some answers and are willing to do some work to get them.
The fitness industry is pretty unique. Can you think of another industry that features things so diametrically opposed as the Shake Weight, Jillian Michaels and Crossfit?
In 2019, according to Statista.com, the fitness industry was worth over $96,000,000,000.
It’s also an industry that allows pretty much anyone with an Instagram account to proclaim themselves a “Fitness Influencer/Coach/Brand”, and they get extra special street-cred if they have lots of followers that they most likely bought.
What that means to all of us is this:
Super profitable industry + low barrier to entry = a lot of less than qualified service providers
This plays out in lots of ways and, as usual, mostly hurts the people that are actually trying to help.
Gyms Started Changing
About 15 years ago something started happening.
For reasons we won’t get into here, gyms started changing. The local big-box gyms started closing and smaller studios started popping up.
Smaller studios obviously didn’t require the sizable financial investment of a big-box gym so personal trainers started to see the possibility of starting their own businesses and building a career out of their passion, which at its heart is about helping people.
What they found was that running a business was very different then what they thought.
It was a little harder than:
- Get certified.
- Open a gym.
- Make bank and change the world.
It was more like:
- Work both before and after “normal” people do, meaning very little sleep or time with family and friends.
- Worry every time a client’s session package was coming to an end.
- Feel like no one really valued you as a professional.
- Feel emotionally and physically drained after having to supply motivation to unmotivated clients and demonstrate exercises for hours on end each day.
- Spending most of your time not training a client feeling like you didn’t know what you had to do first to keep your business going.
- Wondering what you had gotten yourself into.
- Watch lousy personal trainers, who happened to be good marketers, rake in client after client while you scratched and clawed for each one of yours.
It’s no wonder that according to ClubIndustry.com, personal training as a career has an 80% turnover rate.
The ones that were determined to stick it out were faced with a choice:
Either approach this as an actual business instead of a hobby or…keep doing what you’re doing and be burnt out and miserable.
The start of Fitness Business Coaching
This opened the door to “Fitness Business Coaching”.
And this is where human nature kicks in.
There’s a reason why diet pills, detox teas, and “lose 25 pounds this week” exercise plans make money.
People want the easy answer.
If you’ve read this far, I feel it’s safe to assume that you’re someone who knows a little something about training and nutrition, and you know the shortcuts I just mentioned don’t work and are made solely to rip off desperate people.
You know those things because you’ve studied training and nutrition…but if you haven’t studied business that leaves you vulnerable to the business coaching version of these things.
Just like there’s a low barrier to entry among trainers, all it takes is a social media account and $40 worth of bought followers to look like you know what you’re doing as a fitness business coach.
You know how much goes into being a good trainer. How much you have to know about posture, form, programming, psychology, nutrition, and who knows what else.
There’s just as much that you have to know when it comes to running a business.
Other than acting like a second-rate Warren Buffet, I want to let you know 2 big red flags to look for when looking for, or just following, a business coach.
1. Are They Teaching You How to Think?
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Chinese proverb
One of – if not THE most valuable thing you can ever learn from a coach is how to think. Notice that I said “How” to think, not “What” to think.
“WHAT to think” involves one particular situation.
“HOW to think” involves an overall mindset and strategy.
We like to say ‘we don’t tell you what to think, we tell you what to think about’. We want to help you be a good decision maker. Not make decisions for you.
It’s like giving a client a chicken-and-broccoli 6x a day meal plan vs. teaching your client how to eat at home, at a restaurant, or if they just ran out of chicken.
This is easily discovered if they are selling you some kind of 1-Size-Fits-All plan. Would that plan have covered what the heck to do when the entire world shut down last March?
As that situation showed us, you’re never going to know what’s around the corner, but if you have a solid grasp of HOW to think about your business that’s going to get you through anything.
We didn’t have one of our clients’ gyms go out of business due to the pandemic, while almost 30% of all gyms closed in 2020. That may sound like a plug, and it kind of is, but it’s also a testimonial that among all our clients all over the country, with everything that was going on, they were able to adapt to a situation that was near impossible to adapt to well enough to survive, and in many cases have their best year! That’s rock-solid proof.
What kind of business owner do you want to become? You need support from someone who is going to help you learn to think and act accordingly.
2. Is it their profession, or their side-hustle?
You know what my favorite “IG Trainer” post is?
Their before and after.
The post is usually pretty lengthy about how they decided to really dial in their nutrition and work super-hard so they can inspire their clients and …blah, blah, blah.
Reading the post you’d think they used to look like Kodos or Kang from The Simpsons.
Then you take a look at the before shots and realize that 99% of the world would eat boiled grubworms and lightbulbs to look like they did BEFORE they dialed in their diet.
What does that really mean?
Are they genetically gifted or did they really work their a$$ off to get in that kind of shape?
Does either one mean they know how to train people?
They know what works for them I guess, but do they know what works for your clients?
Again, this is no different than building a business!
Even if a gym owner did build a thriving business (and kudos to those who have) does that mean they know how to build a business around your Vision, in your market, with your ideal clients?
Running a gym doesn’t qualify someone to be your business coach anymore than being in shape qualifies someone to train a 78 year-old grandmom who just had knee surgery.
And it doesn’t matter if their intentions are good. I think a lot of them do have good intentions. They’re just wanting to offer what they know and try to help.
That still doesn’t qualify them.
Being a professional coach involves not only knowing how to do something yourself, but knowing:
- When situations call for giving solutions vs enabling discovery vs actively mentoring, and being able to adapt accordingly
- How to recognize and tell the client things that other people can’t or won’t
- How to help the client keep one eye on the future and what they need to prepare for next
- Where to find the answers that they don’t have
- How to listen and understand LISTEN to figure out what is REALLY going on with someone
- How to lead a client to discover their answers to things they have to decide for themselves
- How to communicate that to other people with different personalities and methods of learning
- Which different principles and methods to apply depending on individual situations
A good, sustainable business is built using sound fundamental principles that apply whether you’re running a Crossfit with 300 members or a 900 square foot facility that focuses on better movement for seniors.
This really comes down to how you answer these two questions:
- Do you want to build and run YOUR business, or do you want to try to copy and paste someone else’s version of your business?
- Do you want your livelihood in the hands of a pro, or do you want it to be someone’s side-hustle?
What do YOU need from a coach??
When you own a gym, you have stuff coming at you left and right and it doesn’t stop.
You’re trying to keep your clients happy, your staff happy, pay the bills, and who knows what else. You’ll make both good and bad decisions and try to find the time to learn and develop as a person and business owner along the way.
That’s why we believe that every business owner needs a support system, and that support system should include a business coach.
What you should look for and expect from a coach is up to you, and is largely determined by what kind of business owner you want to become. That should inform the qualities you’re looking for in a coach.
Here are a couple of good examples of what expectations of a coach might be. Yes, these are aspects of coaching that we at FR think are important, but that’s not the point. The point is giving you some practical examples.
I’m not telling you what to think, I’m giving you what to think about.
This is Troy Van Spanje explaining how he’s been treated working with FR:
And Anna Woods talking about the impact of her coach helping her discover her true motivation:
Hiring a coach can be a big deal. And if you’ve had a bad experience, then it can feel like an even bigger deal.
Take the time to think about what you’re trying to accomplish and what you think you want from a coach. Then have conversations and get input on the subject.
You don’t have to figure out everything about your business on your own. There are good support options out there. You just need to approach it thoughtfully, not blindly.
Success Coach, Fitness Revolution
P.S. Listen, if you’re a good fit for us and vice versa, we can help you and we have a 15-year record to prove it.
The first step is finding out a little bit more about each other to see if we could be a good fit for each other.
Just like you probably have prospects go through an assessment of some type before you can prescribe a program to them, we need to do a quick assessment on your business.
When you take our
Needs Assessment™ you will receive a report specific to your business, giving you an instant snapshot of your challenges, possible solutions, and what the future might hold for you.
Your report will be available immediately. Taking this step is really a no-brainer. It will take less than 2 minutes and unless you’re not even in the fitness industry, you will get value from it.