What is microlearning and can your staff benefit?

Get the Basics…

  • Microlearning is education or training delivered in short bursts, anywhere from 15 seconds up to 15 minutes.
  • There are numerous advantages to microlearning, but it will probably not replace all forms of formal and informal education.
  • Microlearning can easily be implemented with your staff to help address knowledge or skills gaps in employees.
  • There are a number of existing resources that can be used to incorporate microlearning in your fitness business.

Microlearning is a fairly new term in the field of education and training. It is a method of delivering content and learning in small short bursts using videos, text, or graphics. There a number of benefits of using microlearning in the workplace because it helps meet the needs of the current younger generation of workers.

Microlearning is not necessarily a brand new concept, as organizations may have been using microlearning in some form. But more research is being done on microlearning and evidence now supports microlearning as an innovative tool to help engage and excite learners. While microlearning will not replace all formal and informal types of learning, it can be used in many businesses and organizations to help educate and develop employees and staff.

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What Is Microlearning?

The prefix micro- usually means smaller or less, so if you combine that with learning, microlearning (or micro-learning) can simply mean “smaller learning.” More specifically, it can be learning in short or small segments, anywhere from 15 seconds up to 15 minutes.

Research on microlearning started around 2004, so it is a relatively new innovative term in the field of education, training, and professional development. Some organizations have been using microlearning strategies for years, but may not have been using the terminology. Many experts are recognizing the value that microlearning can add to training and learning opportunities.

Watch the video below for an explanation of microlearning delivered in a microlearning format (less than three minutes).

There are multiple ways to deliver microlearning. One is by breaking a longer training into short focused modules offering “bite-sized learning” that may contribute to multiple learning objectives. The other is by focusing the training on one topic or one learning objective that is covered in a short, directed learning format.

Microlearning can be used to address knowledge and skill gaps in employees and staff. It can be used for both formal and informal learning. It can also be combined in a blended format with short bursts of learning that complement longer or face-to-face learning sessions.

There is some evidence that attention spans range from 90 seconds to two minutes or even shorter for some individuals. Microlearning addresses that lack of focused attention by delivering information and content in short bursts, like 90 seconds to two minutes.

The composition of Millenials (those born between 1981 and 1997) in the workplace is substantially increasing and that change demands new strategies and techniques that work best for this generation. It is estimated that in five years, Millenials will make up the largest percentage of the workforce.

Millennials are avid viewers of YouTube and users of social media, like Instagram and Snapchat. YouTube videos vary in length, but many are shorter than a few minutes. Snapchat uses short “chats,” Instagram stories are short, and Instagram posts are short. The idea of microlearning can appeal to this generation because that is what they prefer and are used to.

Infographics, YouTube videos, short training modules, and mobile apps can be used for microlearning opportunities. Take a look at the following infographic from the American Heart Association on physical activity:

AHA infographic

How long did that take you to review? Most likely less than two minutes. Did you learn something new? This showcases the power of microlearning and how it can be useful in your workplace.

Advantages of Microlearning

There are numerous advantages to microlearning. Humans tend to have a short attention span, so microlearning really capitalizes on this by offering short doses of education and learning in bite-sized chunks.

Remember the last time you sat through a long presentation or educational event? It can be tough to stay focused for long periods of time. Microlearning is delivered in short intervals so it eliminates boredom, daydreaming, or wasting time.

Microlearning can also help manage staff training by cutting back on time needed for half-day or all-day staff development, in-services, or training. There are probably times of the day when you could pull staff away for 5-10 minutes to participate in a microlearning event or they can participate at home, on their commute, or anywhere they wish.

Here are other advantages of microlearning:

  • It can be done anywhere. Microlearning can also be conducted via online training or mobile devices, such as apps or mobile learning.
  • It requires less time and resources. You can use pre-existing resources to deliver microlearning. Why reinvent the wheel when infographics and YouTube videos are already developed for you?
  • Microlearning is great for just-in-time learning. Allow employees and staff to learn what they want to learn when they want to learn it.
  • Microlearning allows for self-directed learning. This puts the responsibility and initiative on employees to control their learning, which increases independence and motivation.
  • Microlearning allows for flexibility on when and where employees and staff can participate. They can complete training or learning from their pajamas in the comfort of their own homes after their children have gone to bed if they want to.
  • It can be fun and casual. Everyone loves games. Game-based learning can be a fun opportunity to encourage learning for all staff and employees.
  • Microlearning can address different knowledge levels also meet learners where they are. You can have a pre-test and then assign learning modules based on results.

Less is definitely more when it comes to microlearning.

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Disadvantages of Microlearning

While microlearning has a lot of advantages, it will probably not replace all types of education and training. Microlearning is not appropriate to develop professionals in a formal educational setting, like schools or universities, although it can be integrated into a holistic approach to education.

While microlearning can be integrated into more complex learning opportunities, it would not be appropriate when a large amount of information is needed to learn and understand certain topics. For example, microlearning could be integrated into lessons to help learn all the muscles and bones of the body, but would not take the place of coursework to learn these more difficult anatomy concepts.

Certified personal trainers must obtain continuing education units (CEUs) or continuing education credits (CECs) every few years to maintain their certification. It can be anywhere from 20 to 60 hours every two to three years. Microlearning cannot and should not replace this continuing education, although it could be incorporated as part of the overall experience.

Microlearning will also not replace traditional professional conferences and expo events. The face-to-face interaction at these events and networking is crucial. Microlearning could be used to complement these events.

Similarly, certified personal trainers and group exercise instructors need to maintain a current CPR/AED certification. Microlearning would not be appropriate for CPR/AED skills-based training.

One question that some experts have is: Does microlearning impact long-term memory and cognition? Typically long-term cognition requires repetition, practice, and engagement with content. Microlearning that offers spaced repetition or opportunities to engage with the information is helpful at increasing long-term memory.

For example, first, you have employees and staff review a short video on customer service. Following the video, staff and employees are instructed to write down two things they learned from the video that they plan to implement with customers, clients, or members. A few weeks later, you follow up with additional content and ask employees to reflect on the strategies they wrote and how they have worked.

Some authorities also question the assessment of learning following microlearning opportunities. To combat this, you can ask for a response, either a post-test, written response, or even a video response as part of the learning activity.

Most businesses are not able to employ instructional designers to design optimal microlearning experiences, so using existing resources is crucial. This may limit the information you are able to provide for microlearning. Using a platform that develops and delivers training opportunities does come at an additional cost.

Why Should I Incorporate Microlearning?

The success of your business begins with effective management strategies, which include training and development of employees. As indicated above, there are numerous advantages to microlearning. A microlearning initiative within your business or organization can begin with a very small investment and this investment is important to train, retain, and motivate employees.

Micolearning can be a great opportunity to engage employees and staff in learning opportunities that are flexible, informal, and bite-sized. Staff and employee training and professional development can require a number of resources, including time and money, so microlearning can help make you a better steward of those resources.

Employee and staff training and professional development can include a combination of microlearning and traditional in-services/training events. For best results, try to find a way to complement these two strategies for the best professional development experiences for all staff.

For example, let’s say you are planning a half-day training event for your staff. Are there ways you could utilize microlearning prior to and after the event to address training topics that are better delivered in short segments? You could have videos, short modules, or infographics that are to be completed before the face-to-face training.

There are platforms available that develop and deliver educational content for businesses. These e-learning opportunities offer employees and staff access to training and education that you make available for on-demand use or assigned training.

These platforms come at a cost but are useful for ongoing professional development. Many of these platforms offer a free demo or trial so you can try the software or platform to make sure it meets the needs of your business or organization.

Best Practices for Microlearning

  1. Ask staff and employees to provide insight on topics they would like to learn about; you would be surprised at the list you could develop from that. This way it also feels more customized to their needs.
  2. Make the microlearning content easily accessible and available, like from mobile devices. It should be available anytime and from anywhere.
  3. Look at current areas where staff and employees might be lacking. You can provide microlearning to address these gaps relatively quickly and easily.
  4. Think about video and visuals. Watch YouTube and view some current infographics to tap into existing resources to get your microlearning practices off to a great start.
  5. Less is more. Avoid using fluff and focus on the learning objective at hand.
  6. Make it fun! Include games, quizzes, self-assessments, discussion boards, etc. to keep learners engaged and excited.
  7. Quality is important. If you design your own videos or visuals make sure they are comparable in quality to other resources available.
  8. Compensate employees for their time investment, especially if they are completing microlearning at home or on their own.

Examples of Microlearning for Fitness Businesses

There are a variety of ways that fitness businesses, health clubs, gyms, and personal training studios can use microlearning with their employees and staff. Consider developing a resource library where the content that you use or develop is available to learners anytime they wish to access it.

– Customer Service

Strategies and tips to improve customer service are helpful in any business setting. Videos, games, or short quizzes can be used to educate and assess a variety of customer service topics.

The four-minute video below is a great example of an explanation of why good customer service matters. This YouTube video can be watched from any device, is less than five minutes, and has great information that can resonate with staff.

– How to Use Fitness Business Software

Let’s say your business has recently started using a new all-in-one fitness business management software. Instead of scheduling a full day for training, you can use microlearning to help staff and employees learn how to use the software.

If the software company provides training videos, you can allow staff to choose the order of the videos they watch outside of work while they track the time spent watching the videos. Or if no videos are provided, you can develop short training videos of yourself interacting with the software with verbal instructions.

Managers can track these microlearning opportunities by providing a few assessment questions at the end of the learning opportunity or a brief post-test.

– Membership Sales

Membership sales are always ramped up at the start of a new year. Prior to this craze, how about using YouTube videos or short modules to help train staff on effective membership sales?

For example, let’s say you have one staff member who always kills it with membership sales and is your leading membership sales professional. Have them record a short video or develop a short quiz (less than five minutes) with their best tips or strategies for selling or upselling memberships. Make this video available for all membership sales staff to use for a microlearning opportunity.

– E-Commerce

Upselling membership, packages, or other services is a vital skill for all front desk staff and personal trainers. Some staff may not be well-trained or knowledgeable about sales and marketing, so include training for all staff on e-commerce options and how to best implement practices that will increase your revenue.

– Health and Fitness Information

Some of your staff and employees may be lacking in their knowledge of basic health and fitness. They should not be providing fitness expertise to members and should be referring members to the qualified experts, but having some basic knowledge of health and fitness is helpful.

You would be surprised at how many FREE toolkits and resources are available from educational and governmental organizations, like the United States Department of Agriculture, United States Health and Human Services, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Here’s where you can use Infographics or YouTube videos for short educational opportunities, like MyPlate’s 10 Tips: Build a Healthy Meal resource or the YouTube video below on the physical activity guidelines from the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Network.

– Social Media Engagement and Marketing

Social media engagement is one of the most effective and inexpensive tools to help increase your revenue and ensure the success of your business. There are a variety of quick and easy ways to help train staff in using social media effectively for your business.

– Daily emails

How many times do you open an email, see how long it is, and then close it to read later? What about emails that only have a few sentences, a few pictures, or promise a one-minute video?

A daily email with helpful tips, videos, pictures, or innovative concepts can be sent to staff and employees. Make sure the email can be read in less than a few minutes and has some interesting or useful information. You could also provide a giveaway, prize, or another incentive to those who read the email by hiding a fact or statement in there for staff to find.

– TED Talks

TED Talks are usually a little longer than most microlearning opportunities, but do a great job at keeping learners engaged. There are popular TED talks on leadership, motivation, productivity, creating a happy work environment, and stress that would all be beneficial to employees and staff. You could have employees and staff view a TED talk prior to a staff meeting or in-service event, then allow for discussion during the face-to-face meeting or event.

The Bottom Line

Microlearning can provide an opportunity to engage staff and employees in learning opportunities. While there are numerous advantages to microlearning, it will probably not take the place of all staff learning, training, and development. There are many existing resources available to being a microlearning initiative within your business and creativity is key.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

– What is the easiest and quickest way for me to incorporate microlearning with staff?

Use existing resources like YouTube videos, Infographics, or other media as a trial to see how microlearning works for encouraging an engaging learning environment in your organization or business. You can also survey employees using a quick online survey to see what topics they would be most interested in or would benefit the most.

– Why should I incorporate microlearning in my fitness business?

Investing in your employees is one of the best ways you can manage your business and ensure that your gym, health club, or fitness facility is successful. Microlearning is just one learning tool you can use to encourage self-directed, just-in-time, and fun learning opportunities for your staff and employees.

– What is the biggest advantage of microlearning?

The biggest advantage is that microlearning is flexible enough that many different types of businesses can easily integrate some type of bite-size learning activity into their employee training and development.

Microlearning can be beneficial for managers as well as for staff and employees, so it’s a win-win for everyone. Ready to see how Exercise.com can help you grow and manage your fitness business? Schedule a free demo today.

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Meet Timothy DiFrancesco, Founder of TD Athletes Edge [Interview]

Get the Basics…

  • Sustainability over Intensity
  • Healthy Lifestyle Mentality over Hardcore Boot Camp Mentality
  • Educated Coaching over Extreme Calorie-Burning

When starting your own business, you must be driven by pleasure in the work and/or the prospect of wealth; otherwise, you won’t have the resolve to persevere through the inevitable challenges.

Today, we’re talking to Timothy DiFrancesco who is passionate about helping others to move better and feel better through exercise and healthy habits. He explains how he and his team created a community of educated clients through compassionate coaching. His attention to detail has helped him sustain a successful fitness practice.

If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, schedule a demo today.

Meet Timothy DiFrancesco, Founder of TD Athletes Edge


Schimri Yoyo: Welcome back. This is Schimri Yoyo with Exercise.com and we are continuing our interview series with fitness experts. And today we have the pleasure of having Tim DiFrancesco, the founder of TD Athletes Edge with us.

Tim, thank you for joining us.

Tim DiFrancesco: It’s great to be here.

Schimri Yoyo: Alright, let’s jump right into it. Give us a little background about how you first developed your love for health and fitness.

Tim DiFrancesco: Yeah. So I think from my end, it became part of the puzzle to figure out how I could prepare myself for sport. And not exactly being genetically gifted athletically, I was always trying to find ways to get that edge. And that’s not really a coincidence that the name of what my vision playing out now is TD Athletes Edge in terms of helping those athletes out there find an edge.

And when I say “athletes,” it’s not what people typically think. People think the word “athlete” means you have to play on a roster of a sports team and you have to play formally a sport of some sort. And we look at it differently. I think we see the idea that all humans are athletes and all athletes are humans.

So it really was, early on, me solving my own puzzle of trying to put that together. And then really enjoying that process and enjoying the fruits of that process and then being able to do that for people for my career.

Schimri Yoyo: And, that’s awesome.  You’ve been able to internalize your passion and then begin to share that passion with others. That’s pretty cool.

Tim DiFrancesco: Yeah.

Schimri Yoyo: So what sports did you play growing up?

Tim DiFrancesco: Well, I played basketball primarily. That was my real love. And then I ran cross country. I played baseball as well. And those were the sort of roster sports that I played. But I would always be up to something if I wasn’t playing those sports. And I think, for me, it was when I got to Endicott College. I went down to Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts to get my undergrad in athletic training.

And this is a small Division III school and there wasn’t a designated or full-time strength and conditioning coach. So it was tasked to me early on to come up with a strength and conditioning program for our team. And so I had, like I said, been putting this puzzle together for myself, just one person and my own needs.

But to put together a comprehensive strength and conditioning program for a team of people was a different ballgame for me at that time. And I just remember getting to the end of that process and taking my team through a program that I would hate to go back and look at right now.

But it was my first attempt at a comprehensive program. And having those teammates come up to me and say, “Hey look, I don’t know how you did this, but I feel really as ready for a basketball season as I’ve ever felt.” So for me, that was sort of the moment that, when I look back, galvanized the path for me.

Schimri Yoyo: Oh, that’s great. Good hands-on experience. Now, as you continued to pursue this passion as a profession, did you have any mentors or anyone you looked up to that helped you to progress in the health and fitness space?

Tim DiFrancesco: Yeah, I think so. I mean, I think I really took a little while—I came up in a little bit of an unorthodox way through the strength and conditioning space. Your traditional path is: Okay, you spend time in either a high school or college weight room for years and you chip away. And you have these head strength coaches that are your mentors and are your leaders in the path and then maybe dabble into some pro S&C settings or that kind of thing.

But the point being, you’ve spent time in the trenches in these weight room settings for years and years early on. And I did a little bit of a different, a reverse role on that, where I came up through athletic training and then sort of that first responder position of the entire sports medicine umbrella.

And then from there went to get my Doctorate in Physical Therapy. And then from there is where I fell in love with and tried to start to get my weight room experience.

So one of the people that I really looked up to, and leaned on as much as I could, and was able to, was Brijesh Patel, who’s now head strength coach and has been for a long time at Quinnipiac University and is doing it, in my opinion, at the highest level. And so he’s a person that definitely stands out for me.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s cool. And so now when you’re not coaching and training, what are some things that you like to do for fun?

Tim DiFrancesco: So I would say on that end, hanging with my daughters. I have a three-year-old and a six-month-old. And so that is something I look forward to all the time. And reading, for me. I just really enjoy gaining insight into how experts have gotten to where they’re at and different topics and whether it be leadership or self-development and that kind of thing.

So I think those are—in the winter, I get excited about things like cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. That’s something that growing up in Vermont, you are immersed in whether you like it or not. It’s kind of in my bones.

Schimri Yoyo: Well, that’s good. Spending time with your family, your daughters. That’s good. I have a six-year-old son, a five-year-old daughter, and a two-year-old son. So I know that’s always fun to have time spent with them. And reading is a big part of what we do together as well. So, that’s fun.

[Editor’s note: The video below illustrates the fun and diverse worlds, characters, and experiences brought available through reading.]

And I grew up in Brockton, Mass. So I know the winters and even though I’m not much of a skier, I went on many skiing trips with youth groups from the church and things like that. So it’s always a good time around. I’m not a big cold-weather guy, but I enjoy it. I enjoy the ambiance, the atmosphere in the lodge.

Tim DiFrancesco: No doubt, no doubt.

Instilling Lifelong Fitness Habits

Schimri Yoyo: Now speaking of thinking of your philosophy and methodology of training, what would you say is the best word that would describe or encapsulate what you do?

Tim DiFrancesco: One word. I would say sustainable. So to define that a little bit further, the way that I look at training or preparing your body to either achieve results, goals, or solve nagging injury issues or things that have limited you, is finding the plan and the program that you feel like can be sustainable.

And so it should be a plan that you look at and say, “Hey, I could do some variation and progression series of this style of plan for the rest of my life.”

And that excites me. And I think it’s doable. And so I do think a lot of people get into this, “I’m going to change my body in 30 days” attitude. And sometimes it’s the professionals in the field and sometimes it’s the end-users. But either way, getting into that mindset, I think, sets you up for failure.

I think that it is often exciting in the first 10 days and then you realize that, “You know what? If I had to play this out for the rest of my life, I don’t think I could.” It’s so intense and so much volume or so much of what is in front of you. And so I really enjoy helping people to get out of that mindset.

And our team here at TD Athletes Edge is exceptional, in my opinion, at helping people get out of that mindset, step out of the cycle that a lot of people are in of jumping into fitness boot camps or fitness change-your-body challenges and things like that.

Or non-program based, just simply working out and just random workout sort of approach to it. And jump out of that cycle, which ends up usually including an injury here or there. It ends up usually including a sort of defeat of not being able to keep up with the randomness or the intensity of the situation.

Getting out of that mindset and getting into this mindset of it doesn’t always have to be bigger, faster, stronger. And a workout that can be valuable, whether it’s a real aggressive one or not. It doesn’t always have to be at the highest intensity. All that kind of stuff. It’s what is going to make this a sustainable process.

Schimri Yoyo: No, that’s a great answer and thank you for elaborating. It’s funny, you’re actually the second interview that I have done today and you both chose the word “sustainable” as your fitness philosophy.

Tim DiFrancesco: Wow.

Schimri Yoyo: Yeah, exactly. Which is crazy. And you both have doctorates, so maybe that’s the common trait.

Tim DiFrancesco: There you go.

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Schimri Yoyo: So now, you have experience training amateur athletes as well as professional athletes. What are some of the differences that you see?

Tim DiFrancesco: Well, I think the differences are more in the environment. The difference is not in a human being, whether they get paid to play sports or they just recreationally do or they don’t really play a formal sport. They are working with us to feel better and move better.

But the difference is in the environment. The pro sports environment is one where you have often young athletes that have been guaranteed a lot of money and they’ve arrived at the position they’re in without, often, a lot of attention to detail in the physical preparation department.

Whether that could be the weight room or conditioning exercise, you know? Drills or that kind of thing. But a lot of times they’re extremely talented at what they do and they’ve risen to the top of their craft.

As the head strength coach of the LA Lakers for six seasons, we drafted a lot of 19-year-olds and 20-year-olds who didn’t really spend a lot of time making the weight room their habit. And yet they were in the NBA. And number one, number two, number three picks. And so the difference is really in the environment.

I find that the actual humans in front of me—a lot of the same patterns and dysfunctions and areas of limitations that we see when we do an initial assessment on every member that we have here at TD Athletes Edge, a majority of which are not pro athletes, is very similar to the dysfunctions that you peel out when you’re doing an assessment on enter the name of whomever—enter, X name, for whatever number two pick.

You know, we had a few of them when I was there. And you have some very similar patterns of dysfunction and limitation to iron out with them and also not having a ton of weight room experience. And that’s common in both environments, in both parts of those audiences as well, where we have a lot of people that have not had really good, great coaching and time in the weight room or a strength and conditioning setting. I’m sure they may have been to a gym, but that’s different than getting really high-quality experience.

So, I think it’s just as in that environment. And it’s a matter of being able to help those young pro athletes who make a lot of money, make sure that it clicks with them early on. That this time in the weight room is really what’s going to help them to—back to that word “sustainability”—sustain a long career.

Schimri Yoyo: No, that’s good. So now we sometimes hear about athletes having serious heat-related illnesses. What can athletes and fitness professionals do to prevent this from happening?

Tim DiFrancesco: Well, I think the biggest thing is just knowing the environment of where you’re training. So you know, whether it’s a fairly warm day and I’m doing an outdoor workout or something a little bit more with a little bit more oversight attached to it, in my opinion, of going into a sauna and doing some bike work to lose some weight or something like that.

I think just using better judgment. Understanding the time of day that you’re doing this on, making sure you are hydrating ahead of time. But even then, if you’re very well-hydrated, if you put yourself in the wrong part of a day in the middle of the sun and a very hot day, [that’s not wise]. And I just think it’s using better judgment on that kind of stuff is really what it comes down to.

Schimri Yoyo: Yeah, a lot of situational awareness that’s needed.

Tim DiFrancesco: Yeah. And I know sometimes it’s the athlete. A lot of times it’s the coach who has this mentality that you’re going to create this toughness by making somebody work out in a challenging environment. And I just don’t—I don’t think that’s the way you create toughness.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s well said. Now, how do you help your clients to be proactive, both in their training and also in their rest and recovery from training?

Tim DiFrancesco: Right. So we have actually a part of a location in our gym that we call Recovery Island. And this is where we do the recovery portion of our workouts. And so that, I think, is one way. We just really bring it to the forefront of the process and really highlight it as a part of the process, all the way to having a separate room and space for that.

And just being able to, I think, from there, putting out and sandwiching our training prescriptions and coaching within our training programs and that kind of thing with discussion and dialogues about recovery. And we do every four weeks a recap meeting with every member before we build their next four weeks of training. And in that recap meeting and survey, we talk about the things you’re doing outside of here.

So I think that’s just bringing people’s awareness to “This is not just in a vacuum. This hour session that you walk into TD Athletes Edge and set into a workout and then whatever happens outside of here is irrelevant. It is relevant.” It’s very relevant. How you slept last night and then the week before you coming off of a time zone change in jumping into this workout in the morning. That’s absolutely going to change your experience.

Schimri Yoyo: Makes sense. Now how do you have the conversation or how do you incorporate nutrition as part of the discussion in your coaching?

Tim DiFrancesco: Yeah, so we offer a nutrition coaching service here at TD Athletes Edge, and we basically start that conversation right from the assessment and we talk to them.

And our assessment is not just about a movement assessment, it is about gathering information, ask questions about “Grade yourself on a letter grade scale in your nutrition and eating habits.” And we talk to them about, “Hey, would you be interested in learning a little bit more about our nutrition coaching service?” Because it just brings it—We will ask them, “Are there any multivitamins or any supplements, minerals?”

Sometimes people are taken aback. They, sort of in their head, were thinking, “Okay, I’m getting ready to go to the gym. I’m going to do this movement assessment.” And so all of a sudden there’s this question about nutrition and it just reigns them, anchors them down to the conversation.

That is very overlapped into what is important here is we can do all the best training with you in the world, but if there’s not attention to detail in the right details of your eating habits, then that is going to either help you or hurt you in your ability to achieve what you want to.

Creating a Culture of Coaching and Community

Schimri Yoyo: Okay, that makes sense. Now we’ll give you an opportunity to brag about your team at TD Athletes Edge a little bit. What makes you guys unique?

Tim DiFrancesco: The thing that makes us unique is that we are unified in one agenda. That is to help as many people as we can feel better, move better, perform better. And so the other side of that coin is that we have some very—we have a great variety of backgrounds and experience levels.

And so the nice part about that is we have this ability to compile that experience into one service that is seamless and is fueled by many different levels and types of experiences. So it just becomes a much more vast service because of that.

But I think it is back to the idea that every team member walks in here looking forward to seeing how we can make people’s gym experience be something they’ve never dreamed could be the case or existed. And we talk about a couple of things. We talk about being able to—we talk about coaching our faces off. And I think that when you talk about the gym experience, there’s not a lot of really detailed coaching going on.

There are boxes being checked, sweat being dripped, burn being created in the muscles, and calories being burned. That can all be done without any coaching. And so for us, it’s making these sustainable programs that are just founded on coaching—nuanced, detailed coaching. And that’s where I think people don’t get in their gym and fitness and workout experiences most of the time. So it’s kind of weird that that’s the case, but it’s just what I’ve found.

Schimri Yoyo: So it seems like you guys have spent a lot of attention to detail to try to create a culture of coaching and education there. So that’s pretty unique. Again, I want to thank you again, Tim, for your time. I want to be respectful of it. So one final question here:

Do you have any resources that you would recommend to our audience, whether it’s books, podcasts, magazines? And it could be directly for fitness-related or business-related, or maybe philosophy or whatever you think would be beneficial to our audience.

Tim DiFrancesco: Yeah. You know, I think that if there’s a book that I almost always recommend people read, it’s The ONE Thing by Gary Keller. And it’s something that, for me, it’s basically based on this one question: If you’re asking it to yourself before you embark on a goal or a project, it will make the goal or project very, very effective and efficient.

The question is: “What is the one thing that if you did complete it now, it would make everything else on your list easier and/or unnecessary?” And so I think that just applies to literally everything in everybody’s lives. And so it’s such a great book.

You know, I think there are some great podcasts out there. The one by Mike Robertson, who does a great job, and I don’t want to screw up the name on that. But, you know, Mike does an excellent job. You know, there are so many good resources. There are so many good people out there putting out quality content.

[Editor’s note: The name of the podcast that Tim is referencing is called the Physical Preparation Podcast.]

We try to do that at TD Athletes Edge and you can follow us at team_tdae, and you can follow me at TD Athletes Edge on Instagram. Especially on our website, we carry out a regular blog and try to promote information to people around those channels. So definitely check out what we’re doing.

Schimri Yoyo: No, that’s awesome. Well, thank you. I definitely think those will be valuable resources to our audience, and obviously, your passion for coaching and education is very evident. And I hope that people will check that out. So we want to wish you continued success, Tim, there in Massachusetts. And I would definitely want to circle back to you later on and see how everything’s doing as you continue to grow.

Tim DiFrancesco: I’ll be looking forward to it, Schimri. This was a pleasure. So thanks so much for the opportunity.

Schimri Yoyo: Have a good one.

Tim DiFrancesco: Okay, you too.

If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, schedule a demo today.

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20 Gym Event Ideas to Boost Business

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  • There are numerous creative options to host or create events to engage with current members or get potential new members.
  • Some events have a low or minimal cost but could generate new revenue for your fitness business.
  • Partnerships with local events, local businesses, or local professionals are also great ways to boost business.
  • Referrals for new members from current members are one of the best ways to boost business, which can result from events.
  • The All-in-One software from Exercise.com can help ensure successful events with calendar scheduling and workout delivery options.

Gyms, health clubs, and fitness facilities should think creatively in order to create additional sources of revenue, boost business, engage with current members, and gain potential new members. Special events, partnerships, and activities are a great way to boost business by selling more memberships and engaging with members.

Marketing your gym, health club, or fitness facility is an important part of growing your membership base. There are a number of things you can do to market your business and fun events help keep gym members engaged and bring new potential members in the door.

Referrals from current members are going to be one of the best ways to boost your business. If your current members are engaged, satisfied, and loyal, they will pass the word along to friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors. This is an important asset to tap into with your current membership base.

Here are 20 gym event ideas to boost business and generate additional revenue for your facility. Ready to see how Exercise.com can help you manage your gym or health club? Schedule a demo of our All-in-One-Fitness Business Software today.

#1 – Social Events

Social events outside of the facility are a great way to engage with current gym members and potentially add new members. A “no-shower happy hour” is one idea for a get-together after a popular class in the evening. A new gym member social is a great way to have a meet-and-greet when you have a lot of new gym memberships, like in January. Or even a back-to-school social event for parents to celebrate their children returning to the school year.

Exercise.com provides all-in-one software which includes options for calendar scheduling, so it’s easy to schedule social events for all members to view and book. Members will see these upcoming events right on the calendar with your classes and activities from the dashboard or mobile app, including special instructions or information about the event.

#2 – Guest Celebrities

Celebrities can be a big draw to bring people to your facility. If you have local professional sports teams, you could bring in professional athletes for a meet-and-greet. Ask the local mayor to compete in a cycling class or boot camp class.

You could also bring in a celebrity personal trainer to train a few clients or lead a few group personal training classes.

Bringing in a celebrity for any type of special event is bound to draw bigger crowds. This is the time to capitalize on the celebrity appearance and show off your facility, your classes, membership specials, or unique equipment. If you can get the celebrity to wear or sign branded or logo apparel, even better.

Even local celebrities can draw traffic into your facility like the school principal, a favorite business owner, or a local basketball coach. If you live in a larger city, you may want to partner with other gyms or other businesses to bring in celebrities.

#3 – Guest Instructors

If you are a gym owner, consider bringing in well-known instructors to lead a group exercise class, like Zumba, boot camp, yoga, or functional fitness. This would work well for classes that are in high demand in your studio.

You would be surprised at the amount of interest you can draw from bringing in a guest instructor to lead a special class. This can also bring in significant revenue, even after you pay for the guest instructor. The video below shows an example of an event featuring a guest instructor.

Let’s say you have a great interest in your Zumba classes and these classes are always full and in-demand. You could work with the Zumba instructor to bring a Master class taught by a well-known popular national instructor or maybe even Beto Perez, the creator of Zumba,

An additional idea would be to bring in a well-known yoga instructor to lead a special session for members. You could also promote this to non-members for an additional fee. The e-commerce options within Exercise.com allow you to process payments for special events such as classes with guest instructors.

#4 – Workout Challenges

Workout challenges are a great way to motivate and engage with members. You can charge a fee for participation ($25) and provide a workout plan, incentives, or drawings for free items for participants. Constant communication throughout the workout challenge is important to help keep participants motivated and on track.

There are so many different options for workout challenges, like running challenges, most calories burned challenges, walking challenges, or most gym visits challenges. You could survey members and ask what type of workout challenges they would be most excited to participate in.

Here’s where Exercise.com can save the day. This All-in-One Fitness Business software enables you to set up single or recurring workout challenges for your members. You can automate reminders, workout delivery, or notifications to your mobile app or dashboard.

Madeline Moves Tighter together Workout Challenge

You could also plan a celebration event at the end of a challenge that lasts six weeks or longer. This can be a great way for members to celebrate meeting their health and fitness goals and be recognized for their accomplishments during the challenge event.

#5 – Social Media

One inexpensive way to engage with current members and potential new members is through social media. Facebook posts, Facebook live, Instagram posts, and Instagram stories provide a great opportunity to have social media contests. The possibilities are endless, but a few options could be:

  • A contest for members and followers to “like” or share certain posts.
  • Use Instagram to post a short “teaser” of an upcoming specialty class.
  • Encouraging members to comment on a post with their fitness goals.
  • Include a weekly or monthly post with a “member of the week” or “member of the month.”
  • Announcing the monthly referral winner via a live Facebook video.
  • Meet the trainers, instructors, or staff.
  • Posting members’ workout summaries on social media.
  • Market and share a hashtag or hashtags that your gym and members using social media can use in their posts.

#6 – Themed Holiday Workouts or Classes

There is some type of holiday or theme almost every month of the year to develop and deliver special holiday or themed workouts or classes. This will keep member enthusiasm high, increase loyalty with current members, and potentially add new members if they see how fun fitness can be.

For example, for Thanksgiving, you could offer clients a high-intensity interval training class early in the morning designed to help get a good calorie burn. For the 4th of July, you could encourage participants to wear red, white, and blue to help celebrate the day. You could do a special couples workout on Valentine’s Day.

If there isn’t a good holiday or theme for a particular month, here is where you can be creative. “Crazy Socks” day, 80’s day, or “Wear a Race Shirt” day are all fun ideas. If you start doing these holiday or themed events, you will find that members look forward to them and ask when the next holiday or themed day will take place.

These types of events may not directly generate revenue, but they will keep members loyal and may potentially bring in new members. Exercise.com makes it easy to add these holiday workouts or themed classes to your calendar, which is viewable from the mobile app or dashboard.

#7 – Offer Training Programs for Local Races or Events

If your area has any big local races, like 5ks, 8ks, 10ks, half-marathons, marathons, or triathlons, you could offer training programs to prepare for these events. For events like mud runs, Spartan races, cycling events, or anything else, you could offer training programs specific to prepare for those events.

Most large cities have race weekends with multiple running events, like 5ks, 10ks, and half marathons. You could offer your members a training plan for any of the races that starts eight to twelve weeks before the race. The training plans could have shorter individual runs that the members do in the fitness center or outside on their own and one longer weekly run lead by a trainer or volunteer.

The All-in-One fitness business software by Exercise.com makes it easy to automate the delivery of workouts to your members, including training plans for races. One simple setup and the training plans can be automatically delivered to members on a set schedule with no extra effort on your part.

sunset run

#8 – Host Specialty Courses or Continuing Education

All personal trainers and group exercise instructors need continuing education, so partnering with professional organizations to offer these can help bring more people into your facility. You can talk to the personal trainers in your facility to see what topics they would benefit the most from and what professional organizations they are affiliated with.

For example, ACE (American Council on Exercise) Fitness allows you to set up a workshop for your staff led by an ACE Master Trainer. The available workshops are listed on their website.

This may not directly result in new memberships, but it can bring professionals in to see your facility.

#9 – Start a Running Club

This is an opportunity to partner with a local business to offer a weekly running club. Running stores, fitness apparel stores, or local bars/restaurants would be great partners. One option is to offer running club free to members and charge a nominal fee ($5) for non-members.

The partner businesses could offer giveaways, prizes, discounted food or drinks, or other goodies for participating. You could also offer a bigger incentive for participants who complete a certain number of weekly runs, like a t-shirt or free appetizer for those who complete six weekly runs. This is a win-win for everyone involved.

#10 – Partner With Local Races or Events

Not only could you offer training programs and plans for local events, but you could also have a booth or table at the expo or post-race events. If you do have training programs for races, you could advertise these at the event for future events.

Most large cities have race weekends that gather large crowds. The expo, packet pick-up, or the day of the events provide great opportunities to have an informational booth or table.


#11 – Bring in Local Running Stores, Fitness Equipment Stores, or Fitness Apparel Stores

These local businesses can bring products to your facility like shoes or apparel that might appeal to your members. Fitness equipment stores can bring smaller items like resistance bands, weights, benches, or foam rollers to share with your members. They could set up a table or small booth to catch members on their way in or out of the facility during high-traffic times.

This is beneficial to everyone involved. Members might get a coupon or special offers, the businesses may have new customers, and hopefully, this leads to referrals by current clients.

Grow and manage your fitness business better with Exercise.com

#12 – Tasting Events

This is a great opportunity to partner with local businesses, local grocery stores, or local restaurants to have tasting events inside your facility. Healthy meal planning or delivery services can offer samples of their meals, local grocery stores can bring samples of their new products or healthy deli options, and restaurants can bring samples for clients.

This is a great idea for these restaurants or businesses to get new customers, provide new opportunities for current members, and potentially bring in new clients. As with other events, these can easily be added to your calendar with the all-in-one solution by Exercise.com.

#13 – Educational Workshops

Exercise is an important part of overall health, but there are other areas of health that overlap with exercise and physical activity. Hosting an educational workshop that is open to community members is a great way to expose those potential new members to your facility. Here are some ideas for educational workshops that might be interesting to your members and non-members alike.

  • Healthy cooking class hosted by a local registered dietician.
  • Chronic disease self-management program hosted by local health educators.
  • Senior health and wellness classes, like balance or flexibility, geared toward older adults.
  • Classes focused on helping women have a healthy pregnancy by local health educators.
  • Nutrition classes for children by local nutritionists or dieticians.

Ask for some time at the beginning of the workshop to introduce information about your facility. You could mention personal training, classes, or other services that would be of interest to the group at the workshop. Offer participants in these workshops a tour of your facility at the beginning or end of the workshop.

#14 – Retreats

Fitness or health/wellness retreats are a great option to increase revenue and boost business. They take a lot of planning but can pay off if you have a successful event. For example, you could have a weekend retreat in the spring focused on getting your beach body ready for summer.

Other options include a stress management and relaxation retreat, a retreat focused on functional fitness, or a youth fitness retreat focuses on a specific sport.

#15 – Anniversary Party

An anniversary party is a great time to let current members bring a friend in for a free workout. You could also offer special promotional membership deals for new members or allow gym members to try out two free group exercise classes over the course of a week.

You can have healthy food options available for attendees or you can invite local restaurants or businesses to bring samples of their products to share with attendees. You could also invite a live DJ, offer prizes, raffles, and giveaways. You could have a special themed workout class, have an outdoor boot camp class, or have a bar with “healthy” alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

It’s very important to market the event to current members but also to the community. It’s important to bring in potential new members to show off your facility, classes, or unique offerings, plus see how fun and inviting your facility is.

If your gym, health club, or fitness facility is new, a grand opening is a must. If you have had renovations, added new services or equipment, or had any other major changes, then a grand re-opening would be a great idea.

#16 – Pop-Ups

Offer a free pop-up class somewhere outside of the facility. Make large signs so that community members can see the fun, bring class schedules, and provide handouts with membership details.

Take some resistance bands to a local park and offer a boot camp or circuit training workout. Your dance fitness class could meet outside in a safe area of your parking lot during nice weather.

You could also encourage personal trainers to take their clients to a local park or walking trail. If they are wearing branded apparel or clothes with your logos, community members will see this and may show some interest.

#17 – Charity/Volunteer Occasions

There are numerous opportunities to partner with local charities, organizations, fundraising events, or non-profits year-round. A charity event or event benefitting a local non-profit organization is a great way to engage with current gym members and show that your facility cares about a healthy and happy community.

One idea is to provide a free class or personal training session if members bring a donation of food or a monetary donation during a specified time. You could also provide a place where members can adopt a foster child for their birthday or for a holiday.

This may directly generate revenue but will build spirits and involvement within your gym, health club, or fitness facility. Members will feel loyal and may bring new potential members to join as well.

You could also host a class that is strictly donation-based for a local charity or organization. The proceeds from the class will be donated to a local organization.

#18 – Member Appreciation Week

Designate one week each year to celebrate your members. It could be one of those times of the year when things tend to be slower or there seems to be a lull in membership sales. Member appreciation week is a week to celebrate the accomplishments, contributions, and loyalty of your members, so make it fun!

This is a time when you could have a special referral promotion for members to bring in new potential members. You could give away branded apparel, have gift card prizes, or provide complimentary healthy snacks after a workout.

#19 – Parents’ Night Out

If you have the equipment, facilities, or classes that are geared toward children and youth, your facility could host a parents’ night out. You could market this to members only or charge members a discounted price if you open it to the community.

Your facility could have a schedule of kid-friendly activities like sport and fitness activities, movies, food, or open gym. You will obviously need to generate enough revenue to pay for the staffing, materials, and supplies, but this could be a good revenue generation opportunity.

#20 – January Resolution Party

January is the time of the year when membership numbers are greatly increased because lots of new members are joining to get started on their resolutions for the New Year. Why not offer a fun event near the end of January or in February to help keep your members motivated?

Most people start off their New Years resolutions strong but they start to falter after about four to six weeks. To keep motivation high and keep members engaged, offer an event around this crucial time.

This also keeps members coming to the facility and from canceling a gym membership after they fall off the wagon. This is a win-win for everyone.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

– How do gym events boost my business?

Gym events are a great way to see how fun and exciting your facility can be, an opportunity to get potential new members in the door of your facility and get your name out there in the community. All of these things can increase membership which improves your bottom line.

Some of these ideas require no extra revenue like social media contests and activity, workout challenges, and partnering with local businesses. For educational workshops, the group or organization conducting the workshop could collect the revenue.

– What are other ways to market my facility besides offering special events?

If events are not your thing, check out this article on 30 creative fitness marketing ideas to market your health club, gym, or fitness facility.

– I own a small personal training business, what events would work for me?

Many of these events would still be beneficial to boost your business, including social media contests, pop-ups, training programs for local race events, or partnering with local businesses. Creativity is key.

Not all of these ideas will apply to every health club, gym, or fitness facility. Choose a few of them to implement at first or work on improving or expanding the events you are already offering. Find partnerships in the community, amp up your social media presence, or find ways to interact with members to keep them loyal and engaged.

Ready to see how Exercise.com can help you grow and manage your fitness business? Schedule a demo today.

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Avoid These 16 Critical Mistakes for Gym Owners

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  • Don’t get in over your head on overhead costs
  • Research your geographic market, provide something that’s currently missing
  • Focus not only on customer acquisition but also retention
  • Implement employee development to upgrade your operation
  • Use the right technological tools that make running your business easier

One can get started in owning a gym with relative ease compared to some other businesses but keeping it going and making it profitable are another story.

According to Forbes Media, 20% of small businesses fail within their first year and only 50% will make it to year five. Gyms are no exception as they open and close with alarming frequency in most markets.

If you own a gym or aspire to, how can you make your gym not only survive, but thrive and provide a comfortable living for you? The answer is to avoid the common mistakes that gym owners make which hold back their business or make it part of the unfortunate statistic above.

This guide provides you with the 16 most common gym owner mistakes and advice on how to avoid them. Here you’ll find each topic divided into Facility, Marketing, Staff, Sales, Services, and General applications. Don’t get caught saying, “If only I’d known!” Learn about the pitfalls so you can stay out of trouble!

At Exercise.com, our software is helping gym owners grow their businesses and gain financial security with diversified streams of revenue. Learn how we can help your gym grow by scheduling a demo with our team today.


#1 – Too Much Overhead Cost

There’s no quicker way to doom a business than to strap it down with huge debt and bills that exceed its potential revenue. Take extreme care not to make financial commitments that you can’t guarantee you’ll have the money for.

This is particularly true of your biggest expenses: rent and bought or leased equipment. Not only do each of these represent a huge chunk of money, but they also involve irrevocable agreements that you can’t just cancel if you realize it’s unaffordable.

Once you buy equipment there are no returns and once you’ve signed a lease it’s a legally binding document your business will be held liable on.

Err on the side of being too conservative; you can always add or expand later as your gym grows and you have a clear knowledge of what you can commit to financially.

#2 – Locating Where a Previous Gym Closed

Let’s face it, the gym business is tough. It’s also one that’s appealing to a great many well-meaning people who unfortunately don’t have the business acumen to make their passion profitable. Thus, there are constantly gyms going out of business and leaving vacated space for lease.

At first, moving your new gym into the space of a previous one can seem like a good option that will require less renovation and let you open for business sooner. But beware, this can backfire and leave you in a hole in public relations.

The majority of people in your community will not distinguish between your company and the old one. To them, it’s just that gym on First Street and you could inherit some negative publicity you don’t deserve. They may have had a poor reputation. For example, they may have shut down and absconded with members’ prepaid dues.

To be safe and make sure you control the message about your new business, go for a fresh start in new territory. Only if you have thoroughly vetted a gym with plans to buy it out should you take over its space.

#3 – Locating in an Oversaturated Market

We all believe our gym is not like the others, its got something special and the public will recognize that. It’s good to have that faith in yourself but some realism is also in order; if you open a gym in an area where a multitude of fitness businesses already exist, you’ll be in an uphill battle from day one and might not win.

Particularly if the area already has all the options from health clubs, to yoga studios, to powerlifting gyms, you’re competing for a very small piece of the pie; which even if you can claim, is not enough to make your business lucrative.

Do your research and select the smartest location for your gym based around filling a gap in the market. Map out where potential competitors are located and make sure you don’t go too near one that fits the same niche as you.

Here’s the pro move: pay attention to the residential real estate market and learn what areas are beginning to take off and you can get into first.


#4 – Trying to Be a Fit for Everyone

Given how vast the differences can be in different types of training, bodybuilding versus marathon running, versus speed and agility training, you can’t be all things to all people and shouldn’t try to be.

If you’re new to training or just trying to get a business off the ground, there can be intense pressure to sell your service as the solution for everyone. In the short term, this yes-man style may indeed net a handful of clients, but it hurts you in the long run by muddying the waters of your marketing and making it hard for customers to identify what it is that you do.

When potential clients can identify what you do best and see a history of dedication to that thing, they are much more likely to recognize your gym as the go-to place for that goal. Conversely, if your marketing message and identity are always in flux and you seem subject to the prevailing wind of what’s trendy, you will never develop credibility and get noticed by quality clients.

#5 – Failure to Retain Current Members

While we normally think of marketing as an outward effort to acquire new customers, just as much emphasis needs to be placed inward on keeping the customers you have; many gyms fall woefully short in this area.

Here’s an obvious but often ignored truth: a business can’t get ahead if all it does is cycle in new customers to replace old ones.

When gyms focus only on incoming clients, even if they’re successful in obtaining them, they have people leaving out the back door just as fast as they’re coming in the front. As a result, they hover around the same member count and revenue month after month and may even be taking a loss by virtue of paying a sales commission to staff on the new sign-ups.

Increase your focus on the gym community you have already. Host social events and competitions. Take time to meet with clients outside of training sessions when they need extra motivation to stay on track.

It takes an active effort to keep people engaged but that effort is an investment; you’ll keep more clients long-term and will likely gain more by referrals because people will love your community.

#6 – Changing the Marketing Plan Too Often

In fitness training, do you get better by forming a goal and sticking with it or hopping around between different goals? Obviously, the former.

The same is true of your marketing strategy. Constantly changing your objective or bouncing between strategies doesn’t give any of them time to work. What’s more, you may shoot yourself in the foot if every ad campaign portrays your business differently as this won’t allow a brand identity to develop that the public will recognize.

You’re at the right level of variety when you keep a consistent message but show it to the audience in multiple ways. Hence the common practice in digital marketing of running multiple versions of an ad to find which images and verbiage get the best reaction and effect.

According to Zach Williams, CEO of the marketing agency, Luckless Digital, “Successful marketing plans are developed over time. Just as fitness results are correlated to a repetition-based process, marketing initiatives require consistent effort for testing a multitude of variables before you can deduce the success or failure of a plan.”

#7 – Using Price-Cut Promotions

Free, Cheap, and Easy. You may expect these words to attract people to your gym and sometimes they will, but what happens every time is that these promotions lower the perceived value of what your gym offers. Think about it: If you ascribe a cheap price to something, what are you telling customers about the value of it?

It’s not that you shouldn’t give a trial class or a reward for referrals, but don’t make it so often or so easy that people get the impression it isn’t worth much. If you do that, particularly as their introduction to your gym, it may be impossible to raise their opinion or their price of membership up to the level it really should be down the road.

What’s more, you need to consider who you’re attracting. Low price or No Commitment advertising attracts people who either don’t take fitness seriously enough to invest in it or people who are already looking for a way out as soon as they start. These members are of little value to your gym as they don’t contribute to the community, don’t refer others, and are the most likely to give you payment collection problems.

Focus your marketing on enhancing the perceived value of your gym and its services with testimonials and videos that show off the quality of your programs and atmosphere.


#8 – Hiring Friends and Family

It’s an age-old mistake that happens in small businesses of every stripe: mixing personal and business relationships, and it almost never goes well.

You start up a gym with your best friend because that’ll be awesome right?
Another friend’s son needs a summer job so they want you to hire him for the desk.
Your sister’s boyfriend is “really into working out” and she wants you to hire him as a trainer.

Inevitably, the stress of running the business puts a strain on your friendship, the friend’s son is constantly late to work because he just doesn’t care enough, and your future brother-in-law looks at you as a buddy rather than a boss.

Don’t get on this slippery slope or, if you are already, get off now! Choose business partners based on their capability and what objectively beneficial traits they bring to the table. Hire staff on merit and how well they fit your vision, not as a favor.

At the end of the day, no friend or family member cares about your gym as much as you or has as much to lose by it failing. It’s therefore up to you to put the best interest of the business first and mitigate the risk of getting involved with subpar employees.

#9 – Lack of Employee Development

It’s important to the success of an organization to have capable employees and keep them around. You can’t rely on chance to make this happen; great employees may be hard to find and the ones you do have could leave for greener pastures if you don’t develop loyalty. This is where employee development comes in.

You should create an organized path for employees to learn new skills (an example of which is shown in the video above), upgrade existing ones, and stay inspired to improve. This is particularly relevant to anyone who works as a coach or salesperson.

If your business can afford it, it’s great to send trainers to seminars or contribute money to pay for a certification. Because of the expense, gyms that do this often set requirements on the trainer to ensure they’ll benefit from their investment. For example, a minimum of twenty PT sessions per week and at least a year of employment.

But don’t think that the learning experiences have to be formal and end with a certificate; you can create content yourself and give bi-weekly or monthly presentations on business, fitness, and leadership that will greatly benefit staff who have the desire to learn. You can also involve them in the process by having them share skills with each other.

This education combined with one-on-one mentorship will level-up your employees and promote loyalty. After all, talented employees are much more likely to stay with you if the environment of your gym supports their growth and development.

Grow and manage your gym better with Exercise.com


#10 – Lacking a Consistent Process

It’s the sign of a mature business and professional ownership to have standard processes around how you contact leads, set appointments, and conduct the sales consultation.

Small businesses like single-location gyms often go through a tough learning process on the sales front:

In an effort to set themselves apart from the corporate health club world, they shun standard operating procedures in favor of informal interactions that they believe will give their gym a more personal, human feel. It sounds great but inevitably problems arise; you lose track of prospective customers and fail to contact them again or you can’t close sales consistently because your pitch is different every time.

You need to apply big business efficiency to your small business; form consistent practices for customer interactions like appointment setting and sign-ups. Standardize them across all staff members so that what works gets applied consistently.

These things don’t need to be scripted; just have a framework that keeps staff on track and puts the customer’s mind at ease knowing they’re in a business that has its act together.

#11 – Too Many Enrollment Options

Ever go to a restaurant with an enormous menu you must peruse until you’re crosseyed? Then, when you do find something to order, you still feel uncertain whether it was the best option out of so many.

You can create the same issue with gym membership pricing too if you’re not careful and the indecision you’ll cause will be even worse given that a membership or training agreement is a much bigger commitment for the client. The result is the prospective client being much more likely to have to take some time to think about it – the phenomenon is known as choice paralysis, as seen in the above video.

You can avoid this pitfall by making your pricing and package options easy to understand; give them two or three good options. For example, rather than tiered pricing for personal training sessions (1 per week – $70 each, 2 per week – $60 each, etc.) decide on the single figure your training is truly worth and charge a flat fee. With monthly memberships, a simple month-to-month or 12-month contract (with 12-months being slightly discounted) is all you need.

#12 – One-Off Agreements, Inequity Between Members

Unfortunately, it’s common practice for gym managers and salespeople to let their hunger for the sale override their sense of fairness and give some customers discounts or added bonuses while charging others full price. For both moral and practical reasons, this is bad business.

When members know they’re not being charged equally, it drastically reduces their respect for and trust in your business. In turn, they won’t recommend you to anyone they know and likely won’t even consider renewing their own membership down the road.

What’s more, it is incredibly taxing and stressful for a staff member to keep secrets about the different prices people are paying. As a manager, you and your staff will be much happier and more satisfied working in a place with no secret deals where you can openly answer any question that arises concerning pricing.

Now you may be thinking, “What about sales and special promotions? When someone joins under those, can’t I give a discount?”

Yes, you can, but do so carefully and pay attention to how your full-price members will view the deal new members are getting. The last thing you want to do is alienate members who’ve been loyal supporters.

If you want to offer a new member discount, make it only on their initial costs at sign-up, not their ongoing monthly fee as this is what existing members will tend to compare most. It will sit a lot better with them knowing they only missed saving money once, not permanently.


#13 – Lack of Professionalism

For every fitness professional, it seems like there are five jokers who are in the fitness business just because they thought it would be cool to work in a gym. There are personal trainers and gym managers who care more about their own workouts than their clients’ workouts, who wing it on a daily basis, or just don’t seem to take their job seriously.

If those behaviors are allowed to go on continuously, it can hurt the gym significantly by causing client turnover and developing a poor reputation with the public. Professional behavior, on the other hand, secures client loyalty and enhances peoples’ perception of your business not to mention resulting in better client results; the bedrock of the gym or training business.

Being professional as a trainer or gym owner includes:

  • Being on time or early for opening the gym, training sessions, any kind of appointment
  • Keep conversations with customers focused on them; they don’t pay to hear about you
  • Workouts are always planned in advance, never thrown together on the fly
  • Showing dedication to a client’s goal and caring about their achievement of it

Notice that nothing on this list precludes staff from enjoying their jobs or anyone in your gym community from having fun there. As the gym owner, setting a high standard for professionalism starts with you. Set the example of how staff members conduct themselves and hold the line.

#14 – Lack of Consistent Principles

While the methods employed in group classes and PT sessions should be flexible enough to be adapted to a variety of clients, those methods should be firmly rooted in principles that are upheld by every staff member in the gym at all times.

If you still train clients as the owner, have employed personal trainers, and group fitness instructors, it won’t do for everyone to have divergent beliefs on how training is done. If Johnny tells members it’s all about progressive overload of a movement but Jane tells them they should be doing constant variety, you have a member base that gains no real understanding of training.

Even worse, it indicates an environment where it’s every man for himself with staff essentially running their own independent, competing programs. As the owner, it’s up to you to decide what your gym is going to stand for and make sure your staff is on board with a set of underlying principles.


#15 – Underutilizing Useful Technology

Custom app for MBSC

Are you constantly chasing after clients to collect monthly dues?
What about using worn-out spiral-bound notebooks to record workouts?
Does every staff member have a different schedule making it hard to stay organized?

These are common issues in gyms which, fortunately, have a sound solution – if you’re willing to implement it. That solution is Fitness Business Management (FBM) software, a platform that handles all your business and training-related tasks and unifies them in an all-in-one tool.

Exercise.com provides the top FBM software in the industry which not only handles the common, day-to-day necessities but also provides some incredible bonuses that allow gyms to provide brand new services and increase profits:

  • Stand out with a custom-branded app that unifies every aspect of the user’s experience, builds brand credibility, and keeps your brand front-and-center.
  • Modernize personal training by building workouts and recording results digitally within your app.
  • Send automated assessments and challenges to your members to keep them committed and enthusiastic about your gym.
  • Sell digital products like training and nutrition plans online so your business can gain customers anywhere in the world.
  • Unified scheduling system for staff members; employees log work hours, sessions, and availability in one place for easy access by management.

Tools like our FBM software can take many of the hassles and mundane work out of gym ownership so you can focus your attention on where you really want to; service quality and business growth.

#16 – Expecting the Entrepreneur Lifestyle

It seems that everywhere you look someone is promoting how they found the easy way to make money doing barely any work and now spend their days traveling, shopping, and dining out. This is the fantasy of being a business owner and the term entrepreneur has come to be hijacked by people who skip from one gig to the next hoping for a windfall while feigning a charmed, care-free lifestyle.

Don’t be fooled. Owning a business, especially a gym, is hard work that is not for the faint of heart. It often involves long hours, unglamorous chores, and a tough time making ends meet.

When you enter this arena, don’t get ahead of yourself by picturing yourself as a CEO. Go in with a blue-collar mindset prepared to get your own hands dirty making the business work. Clean the bathrooms, coach the 5 AM class, learn to get by with less so the gym can have more.

Comfort comes after hard work.

If you own a gym or personal training business, Exercise.com is here for you. Some of the fitness industry’s most successful coaches and business owners are using our software to make their businesses run smoother and provide better service to their clients through unique, fully-customized smartphone apps created by our team.


Schedule a demo and tell us about your business; we’ll share how Exercise.com can help you manage it better!

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Interview: Anthony Balduzzi, Fit Father Project [Tips + Purpose]

Get the Basics…

  • Overcoming Tragedy with Triumph
  • Providing Options for Optimized Training
  • Creating Processes and Procedures for Business Development
  • Utilizing Documentation and Delegation for Leadership Development
  • Prioritizing Problem-Solving over Pitching Products

Starting your own fitness business comes with a lot of risk and a lot of unexpected moments. Sometimes the unexpected comes in the form of a delightful surprise. Other times, the unexpected manifests itself as a devastating setback.

Today, we are spending time with Dr. Anthony Balduzzi who endured the tragic loss of his own father at a young age and converted the grief and pain of that moment into the fuel behind his triumphant fitness practice. Listen to him share his passion for educating and fathers and families with the tools and habits for a healthier lifestyle so that they can enjoy with one another.

If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, schedule a demo today.

Meet Dr. Anthony Balduzzi, Founder of Fit Father Project


Schimri Yoyo: Welcome back. This was from Schimri Yoyo with exercise.com and we are continuing our series of interviews with fitness experts. And today we have Dr. Anthony Balduzzi of the Fit Father Project with us today. And so we’re excited to have him.

Dr. Anthony, thank you for doing this.

Anthony Balduzzi: I’m pumped to be here. I love it. Exercise.com, what you guys stand for, I’ve been really excited about this video series you guys have been putting together all the amazing interview. So I’m actually honored just to be here and to really contribute to the conversation.

Schimri Yoyo: Well, let’s talk about how you first developed a love for health and fitness.

Anthony Balduzzi: Yeah. So growing up like a lot of kids, I always love to be outside and play sports, but I would say that my actual love of health and fitness as like as a concept happened out of tragedy. Growing up, I watched my dad get very sick, and basically, work himself to death and he ended up passing away at 42 years young. And I was nine at the time, my little brother was six, and to say that it’s shattered our entire world when we lost dad would be an understatement.

And in the months after dad passed, I realized that I got to a certain breaking point where I just, I was so tired of feeling like a victim of feeling like my life was out of control, and just to get some energy out, I guess I started exercising.

My mom gifted me with a pair of my dad’s old dumbbells that didn’t get as much use as they maybe should have. And I had no idea what I was doing, I was only 10. But I started doing my curls and my pushups and squats and sprinting around the block.

And it taught me something at a very young age. And that is when everything else in life is kind of getting spinning out of control, exercise and fitness is one of those things in life that if you control the inputs, how you move your body, how you eat, you can get a tangible output. And through that in my little 10-year-old brain, that was a function of control. And I realized, man, I do this, I get this result.

And it was very addicting in a sense, because I’m like, “Wow, I can take back control of my life.” So it almost started off out of tragedy, and a little bit of spiritual journey. But then I saw that my body started to develop, and I got into high school, and I was the only kid that could do one-arm pushups. And I wasn’t trying to do that, I’d just been training for three years.

[Editor’s note: The video below encourages viewers to continue exercising when dealing with grief and extols the benefits of such a practice.]

And so that passion really rubbed off on those around me who are like, “Man, I want to perform better.” So I started teaching people what I learned about nutrition, which wasn’t much at the time, but it was enough to start getting other people great results.

And I decided in high school and into college that I was going to make a passion out of this stuff, that I was going to dedicate my life to helping people get their health back, especially if they lost it like my dad. And we have these beautiful bodies that are vehicles for our expression here on the planet. So I think we should make them the best they possibly can be. So it came from a little bit of a family tragedy, but now it’s been one of the biggest sources of blessings in my entire life.

Schimri Yoyo: Well, that’s pretty neat. You were able to turn what was obviously a very tragic and traumatic event and use that as fuel and passion to help others. So that’s pretty cool

Anthony Balduzzi: Now, that’s what life’s about, right?

Schimri Yoyo: That’s right. Now as you were growing up and training and using exercise, did you play any sports or teams or anything like that as well or—

Anthony Balduzzi: Yeah, I played a lot of team sports all throughout middle school. A lot of baseball and basketball. And when I got into high school, I fell in love with wrestling. And the reason I fell in love with wrestling is that it was the hardest sport out there, at least in my opinion.

You had to watch your diet, you had to train hard, you had the early mornings. So wrestling was the grindstone through which I really sharpened my willpower, my discipline, and my love of exercise. And it turned out by my senior year I was an average wrestler at best, but I was really fit.


And I learned that I actually loved the exercise more than I necessarily loved the wrestling, although it’s come full circle and now I’m in love with Jiu-Jitsu, so that’s a conversation on a different topic.

But wrestling was one of those sports where it really enabled me to have an advantage with controlling my nutrition and my exercise. And it really all comes down to the mat. You’re there with another guy and your training and your expertise are on the line.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s pretty cool. And now did you have any mentors in the health and fitness space as you were pursuing it as a profession?

Anthony Balduzzi: Tons of mentors. Everyone is standing on the shoulders of giants. Right? Especially people who have been doing this for a long time. My early sports coaches were huge, I think in high school when I really started diving into this stuff, I was reading a lot of these old school bodybuilding books, like the modern encyclopedia of bodybuilding.

So I can actually credit some of the old school bodybuilders, you have your Frank Zane‘s and I’ll throw Arnold in there. He’s kind of one of those bridge figures. That’s some of the wisdom from the bodybuilding community. I mentioned for the call that I went to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and I had a nutrition professor named Dr. Stella Volpe who just blew my mind at like some of the science behind this stuff. So she was a huge influence.

[Editor’s note: Dr. Stella Volpe is now a Professor and Chair of the Department of Nutrition Sciences at Drexel University in Philadelphia. In the video below, Dr. Volpe is giving a Ted Talk at Saint Joseph’s University about the nuances of nutrition and exercise specifically for older people.]

I’ve always loved Dr. John Berardi from Precision Nutrition. I think he’s absolutely phenomenal. And Dan John—and there are a lot of just great strength training coaches. I could list probably fifty. And I think the cool thing now is having surveyed such a wide landscape of these different people.

You pick parts of their philosophies that really resonated as true for you, and then you test them out on the battlefield of your personal experience with your clients. And that’s how we’ve kind of formed our own Fit Father philosophy.

We’re taking all of this stuff and integrating it into an overall philosophy in a health and fitness approach, which is not just about the calories, or the reps or the functional movements. It’s also the behavioral psychology and how to get people to take their action on these things. That’s so important.

Schimri Yoyo: Okay. Obviously we’re going to get into a lot more of the ins and outs of your philosophy at the Fit Father Project. I know obviously one of the main emphases is having fit fathers so they can be there for their families, of course, obviously, hearkening back to your personal experience.

So what are some of the favorite activities that you personally like to do with your own family?

Anthony Balduzzi: At any time we can go outside, just time outside in the sun. So every morning I’m up anywhere between 5 to 6:00 AM, walking my beautiful little dog, Luna. And that just brings a lot of joy to my day when I’m outside in the sunshine, getting my body moving. I love playing sports. I love to go out and do some fly fishing. We have a cool cabin in Eastern Arizona, that’s really a nature—it’s off the grid, we just got cell service last year.

So anytime I can get out and unplug is really fantastic. So I’d say just a lot of casual time outside, hiking, time in nature and I’m pathologically competitive too, so you put me on any sports field, even if I haven’t practiced, I’m going to go 10 out of 10. So, I do that with some of my buddies too.

Schimri Yoyo: Well, that’s pretty cool. Now, when you’re not coaching and training, what other things are you doing for recreation, besides the outdoors, is there anything else that’s non-athletic recreation?

Anthony Balduzzi: Avid reader. I think for the last 10 years, I was consuming a lot of material around health, fitness, nutrition, medical stuff. And recently I’ve gotten a lot more into the exploration of consciousness, mindfulness, some of these ancient yoga practices. And I’m an avid practitioner of, I would consider, old school at the roots’ yoga. A lot of chanting and breathwork, and that stuff’s amazing.

Especially if you’re a health and fitness professional and getting in tune with what you can do with your physiology through your breath and your presence has been incredible for me. So I think obsessing over that and then a Jiu-Jitsu for about a year and a half, two years now, it’s basically human chess. It’s incredible. A good way to challenge your mind.

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Exercise That is Accessible

Schimri Yoyo: It’s funny, I actually took my son—one of his really good friends in the neighborhood is doing youth Jiu-Jitsu. My son is six and his friend is 11. And we went to our first tournament this past weekend and he was fascinated by it. So that’s definitely—human chess is a beautiful way to describe it.

So now let’s talk about the Fit Father Project and your philosophy and methodology of training. What one word would you say best describes your approach?

Anthony Balduzzi: Sustainable. When I started out coaching people, let’s just say 15 years ago at this point I knew a lot and I would design these like airtight, A+ plans that if someone could follow it, they would get phenomenal results. And I majored in all those little details.

But I think when you get more experienced coaching people, you realize that it’s not that there’s a lack of information with our clients. They know they should probably have the salmon or the veggies versus having the hamburger. It’s a behaviors game. It’s how do we implement this stuff.

So with the Fit Father Project, what we like to do is great nutrition and exercise routines that are as simple and sustainable as possible, so that people can actually execute on them so they can build the habit momentum so they can start seeing results. So that, at a certain point in their fitness journey, that own internal light bulb switches off and they’re like, “I got this, this is me. I’m not following a piece of paper. This is now a lifestyle.” And it’s because they’ve built the kind of habit momentum and the program is designed around behavioral change.

So if it ain’t simple, it ain’t something we talk about. And I think this is really simple and sustainable stuff, and this is because we train untrained guys in their 40s, 50s, 60s. If you train elite athletes, obviously you’re majoring in the minors, you’re doing different kinds of things. But for us, we’re helping like the everyday moms and dads who want to get back in shape. And for them there’s—I love this saying that “Small levers swing big doors.”

And if you can clean up someone’s sleep, you can get them roughly eating the right number of calories from whole food sources. And you can get them moving the body three to four times a week ideally with a combination of strength training and cardio. Are you going to see results? Obviously, yes. So the stuff’s not overly complicated, but you got to find a way for people to take action longterm.

Schimri Yoyo: Makes sense. Not complicated but you got to make it accessible and approachable for them then. That’s right.

Now you talked a little bit about how exercise became somewhat of a spiritual release for you. Can you talk a little bit more about how your faith and spirituality influence your practice?

Anthony Balduzzi: Totally. At a very simple level, if we leave religion out of this entire conversation. We all enter this world, and we’re more or less gifted a body. I don’t know, at least in my experience, I don’t know if we just really chose to be here, but we’re here, right?

We’re born, and we have a body, and this is our vehicle through which we’re able to express. And how this body functions absolutely influences the mind. We know this, right? When the body is healthy, it creates the soil that’s fertile for a beautiful mind to grow. And vice versa.

There’s the top-down connection too when the mind is at dis-ease, when there’s stress, it’s physiologic changes with the body. So we have this intimate connection between the mind and the body. So for me, if we view this, this vehicle as a temple, then the decisions we make around our eating, our sleep, our exercise, what we drink, what we put in our bodies is not just about, “What are the macros of this particular food? How is this going to affect my body fat composition?”

This is like, “How is this affecting my body vehicle? How is this affecting my temple?” And then every act that you do when your body becomes inactive consciousness and active spiritual expression, you’re making conscious choices and your life. And I think the more consciousness you add to anything that would be—whether that’s being present with your clients, whether it’s being focused on your business, whether that’s even moving mindfully throughout space throughout your day—is spiritual work.

And that stuff does not have to be relegated to temples and synagogues and churches. It can be the here and now stuff and I will also say this: As you continue to cultivate this awareness around the connection between how you live, how you feel your body, how you move your body and spirituality, everything starts to look different.

You start to see connections with people versus seeing the separateness, and a lot of barriers that are artificial start to dissolve. And this is half of your stuff you’re normally doing. We’re just flipping that switch and seeing it a little differently.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s a great way to put it. Like you said, the more your consciousness is elevated, the greater the opportunity for that connectivity with one another. That’s, that’s pretty beautiful.

Now, as you’re training and coaching, what would you say is the relationship between strength and conditioning, injury prevention, and then also rehabilitation. How are they related?

Anthony Balduzzi: Well, they’re related whether you like it or not. And I’ll give you a couple of anecdotes is that early in my bodybuilding career I was a competitive bodybuilder. Probably, I started actually when I was like 18 and competed well until I was about 25 or so, and I was training without having the awareness of doing enough good mobility and functional training work.

It was just like, “How much can you put up on this particular exercise? How hard can you push yourself in this particular motion?” I was not doing enough stretching mobility, I was not focused enough on body mechanics. And guess what? Over the course of lifting really dang heavy for 10 years with stuff that starts to build up, I had some injuries that accrued. So the point is that I used to think of strength in terms of exercises and now we’ve turned to think of strength in terms of planes of body motions.

Our bodies have this ability to move throughout space and this is why a lot of great strength coaches are designing programs around pushing and pulling and different horizontal and vertical planes because our bodies are meant to move in these different motions. So my point is that structure follows function. Why is the bicep design the way it is? Why does the original insertion the way it is?

Because it’s to execute a specific function. So when you start to think of exercise as functions in motions instead of exercises, then one, you can get a lot more creative with your training. How can I put the body in a particular position that’s going to create resistance through this range of motion that the muscles are naturally designed to do? It also really influences the way you might pair things.

You don’t necessarily have to be by the book and say, “These are the training splits that the people I really like to follow do” or “This is what I’ve done in the past.” You can get a lot more creative and intuitive with your training in many different ways. So, what it comes down to it’s all biomechanics. And what strength training does is providing progressive resistance through biomechanics in a way that’s safe and effective.

And that means that you also have to be able to assess both yourself and your clients about where your biomechanics are on a day by day basis. Because sometimes maybe you took a road trip and your hip flexors are really tight and maybe that’s gonna influence the kind of exercise that you should be doing on that day until you get that psoas lengthened back out, and maybe, it could be more problems. So then there becomes this art of training, not just like the science of writing things to do.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s really cool. So now you mentioned already about the importance of sleep and you also talked about your interest in yoga and breathing and how that affects our bodies.

Can you just get a little more in-depth and talk about how important the concept of sleep and active rest and breathing are in training?

Anthony Balduzzi: Absolutely. In training and in life, I think that we’ve made a couple mistakes in our modern lifestyle and one is because we live in houses that have air conditioning and lights that can flick on with the press of a thumb.

We forgot that we are intimately connected with the cycles of everything that’s going on this planet. Humans, we are these bio circadian beings, guess what? Our eyes are designed to be in direct contact with the sun as it rises and it falls. That’s dynamically changing.

[Editor’s note: The following video chronicles the journey of the human body clock and circadian rhythms.]

Our brain is sensing the light changes and that’s changing neurochemistry and neurohormones that are released. We’ve all heard about melatonin. Melatonin gets later in the data or serotonin precursor to melatonin. All of this stuff is happening dynamically.

So when we talk about sleep, we don’t want to just relegate it to the discussion of what happens after 9:00 PM you know, before 7:00 and 6:00 AM. It’s the whole day. It’s how do we live a life in a way that we’re actually connected to the rhythms of the sunshine.

So a good sleep starts in the morning. It starts with getting outside, moving your body, getting some blood flow and lymphatic fluid flowing, getting some morning sunlight to entrain your circadian rhythm, which is going to help you sleep later in the day. Sleep also comes down to making sure you’re protecting your eyes later in the day from circadian disruptors like blue light, like having too hot of a room at night.

We’ve heard a lot of these things and it’s very true, and I think it’s less important to know the factoids of any one of those individual things. It’s more important to see the big picture of the fact that our bodies are in this dynamic dance with nature. And we need to be very conscious of that throughout our training.

And things are seasonal like that. At the time of us shooting this, it’s wintertime. What’s that mean? And you’ve probably seen this in Philly, right? Is it getting darker earlier, right? These things are happening. So our bodies are flexing when it comes to seasons.

And then we have to regulate our bodies in relation to what’s going on outside, but also what’s going on with the other variables with our training. So, sleep needs obviously go up based on your training cycle. People should be paying attention to your body’s feedback signals, like something like morning heart rate, maybe heart rate variability.

You get some ideas on how stressed is your body in the morning and how’s that going to impact your sleep needs and you’re auto-regulating constantly. The better you get at training, the less rigid you get, the more auto-regulated you get.

You see, “Oh man, I’m feeling a little fried. My heart rate is 15 beats higher than it normally was. I know I didn’t get quite as good sleep last night. This is going to impact the kind of training I thought I was going to do.” It might be a little more like an active recovery session. So again, what is that? That’s consciousness, that is being aware of what’s going on and be able to flow with things versus being very rigid. This is the plan.

There’s obviously a time and a place to have that drive. Anyone who’s really into exercise, knows you need to have that hard line drive to move forward and crush things. But it has to be balanced the yang with the yin, the softness to be able to make the pivots when needed.

Schimri Yoyo: That makes total sense. And in keeping with that, it seems like your approach is very holistic there with everything influences one another. These are not independent disciplines in a vacuum.

So how do you then incorporate the concept of nutrition as part of the coaching? How actively do you discuss that on top of nutrition with your client?

Anthony Balduzzi: How can you talk about exercise without talking about nutrition? Essentially like exercise is drawing on nutrition stores from the body. So we need to know what kind of fuel we’re providing and make sure that it is adequate.

And guess what? Food activates your immune system and creates inflammation for better or for worse. There are inflammatory diets and anti-inflammatory diets. And guess what? That translates directly to how your joints feel when you go and exercise.

How stable blood sugar is, is going to impact how energetic you feel throughout the day and how motivated you feel to train. So, what are we talking about here? I mean, we’re talking about, I guess human wellbeing and performance. So it’s that triad of nutrition, exercise, sleep recovery, mindset. We could probably paint like a more holistic picture across there.

But I guess what it comes down to a lot of people come to us not because they want to, they’re not like, “Hey Dr. Anthony, I’ve really been looking for a program that’s going to help me become a bio circadian being and become really connected with my life.” No one ever says that. Right?

What they say is, “I want to come. I’ve tried diets. I failed 10 plus times. I’m frustrated. It seems like your program might be a good fit for me. Help me lose the weight.” And we do. And I think most people who’ve coached people through the journey of weight loss and fat loss know that nutrition drives the vast majority of those results. We have people lose a hundred plus pounds who never set foot in a gym. They just do daily walking and we dial in their nutrition and it’s the truth.

Our bodies, if we sleep enough and we drink enough water and high-quality water and we eat the right kinds of foods and we just basically move our bodies even as simple as a walk, you can lose a hundred plus pounds. So I would say exercise certainly takes a secondary role when it comes to helping people get healthy because you cannot out-exercise a bad diet.

[Editor’s note: The video below discusses the positive effects of walking on weight loss and healthy living. Walking combined with drinking the appropriate amount of water has many benefits.]

I would much rather get you on a clean diet with less movement than a lot of movements in a very inflammatory, crappy diet that’s causing more problems. So it comes down to foundations. When helping people get healthy, we need to build up their foundations and [improve their] sleep.

The mindset is the number one foundation. Number two is nutrition. And number three is daily activity. And number four is formal exercise. And number five is supplementation. We have to build our way up the pyramid. And I think as exercise professionals who feel good and we move well, we want to be like, “You got to go do this. We’ve got to get you doing some, a goblet squats. And we got to get your piriformis stretched out. Oh, and do you know about thoracic extensions?”

And then we hit people with too much of this stuff when they really need [that other] stuff in the beginning of their journey.

Meet Clients Where They’re At

Schimri Yoyo: That makes sense. Can’t get the cart before the horse. And actually that kind of leads to my next question. What is the conversation that you have or what do you say to maybe a novice client who’s been intimidated by the whole gym culture or personal training? They have goals they want to set, but they’re intimidated by just being overwhelmed with the process of meeting with a strength coach.

Anthony Balduzzi: That’s a complicated one. I think it’s on like an individual by individual basis. What we personally do with the Fit Father Project is we give people options. Options that are going to meet them where they’re at. When it comes to mealtime, it would give them lots of different mealtime accepts. We’re not saying you have to intermittent fast or you have to have breakfast. You give them options. When it comes to the training, we give them options for exercising at home or at the gym.

So they can self-select. The more power you put in the hands of your clients for them to choose their own destiny, that means they’re earning those reps. You’re not just like an artificial prop that’s keeping them propped up and maybe it needs to be a little bit like that from day one. But you should start taking the pressure off as quickly as you can. So then you have a toddler that can now walk versus you’ve been dragging them along the whole time. Right?

So I would say a couple of things. There are some people that are in gravitate. I would probably not call myself a strength coach if someone is not trained. Even if I am a strength coach, they’re not thinking about necessarily strength at that time.

They’re thinking, “Get me healthy and, and help me lose some weight and feel better coach, whatever that’s called.” That’s probably what most people want. So making it not as intimidating. And I would say helping people understand that they don’t have to go 60 miles per hour right off the bat and that’s okay. I think we’ve had a lot of exercise culture where we have these P90X, P90X Insanity, Insanity Version Four. A lot of people have bought these kinds of DVD style programs, and they’re too intense.

So getting people to understand that it can be gentle and having a coach early on to help you to provide that comfort blanket is invaluable because where people struggle at the beginning of their fitness journey, again, is implementing this stuff into habits and momentum. And oftentimes, it’s better to be the athlete if we will, then the athlete and the coach.

So they can just follow your guidance. They’re going to get better results and get early traction, but you got to start peeling yourself away and then propping them from behind [with] you being the wind in their sails. I’m being long-winded here, but I’m just excited. I have two things: I would say give people choices and help them understand that it can be slow and slow is good at the beginning of things.

Grow and manage your fitness business better with Exercise.com

Schimri Yoyo: That’s great advice. And don’t worry about being long-winded. It’s all good content. Speaking from someone who is often accused, rightfully so, of being long-winded. I think that’s all great stuff. To sum it up: You pretty much empower your clients through that choice and individualized, customized approach. And that’s very powerful.

Anthony Balduzzi: I think here’s something that you mentioned mentors. I was at one of these fitness conferences like probably 10 years ago and John Berardi spoke. And you think he’d talk about something like nutrition, right? But he just talked about all about their philosophy at PN (Precision Nutrition) of like how do they help their clients adopt change?

And he would say, “So how do you feel about your ability to get into the gym three times per week?” And if they give him anything less than a 10 at a 10 confident, he’d be like, “Not good enough. How about two times a week?” “I don’t even think I can do that 10 to 10. I’m probably a 9.5.” “How about one time per week?” “Yes. 10 at a 10. I can do that.” That’s where you start. You start with the commitment that they can absolutely know.

Schimri Yoyo: That makes total sense. And actually leads to my next question. You talked about having mentors and seeing different experts speak. How many professional development seminars or workshops do you attend each year, either as an attendee or even as a speaker?

Anthony Balduzzi: Lots. Well, I’m actually going to one tomorrow. As a doctor, you have to maintain your medical license, so they make sure you get your button to seeds and lots of conferences. Going to a great anti-aging one tomorrow in Tucson, Arizona. I would say it’s gotten a little bit less over this last year, but over the last five years, I was probably going to about four or five events a year in speaking at probably two or three of those.

And early in my career, and I think is as fitness professionals, especially those of us listening to exercise.com, we’re not just interested in the training inside and getting results. We’re also interested in the business side. And I think for the last 10 years I went to mostly business online marketing because if you can’t get your message out there and you can’t make it profitable for you and your family eventually the gas is going to run out, right?

So you’ve got to figure out both sides. I think most people listening to this probably have a pretty good basis of their philosophy of exercise and maybe they might pick up a thing or two that challenge their ideas here. But I really focused on the business side of things and I’d probably recommend most trainers do too because if you look out there, let’s be honest, a lot of trainers that are winning out there are definitely not the most knowledgeable.

There are a lot of Ph.D. exercise scientists and phenomenal strength coaches that have maybe one-hundredth of the following of some Instagram booty models. And one-hundredth of the potential impact and reach, right? So there’s something to be said about this side of the equation.

So I really doubled down on that and became—I would say we throw around the term expert—but a very proficient online marketer, all this stuff. And as fitness professionals got to get—if you’re hung up on the fact that, “I hate that marketing stuff, that seems all shwarmy.” You got to find your sweet spot and you got to get over that. It’s your ability to really connect with people and you’ve got to find a way to spread the message.

Build Out the Steps to Build a Business

Schimri Yoyo:  Well, that’s pretty good. It’s like you’re programming my interview for me, because that’s actually where I was leading to next, talking about the business side of things.

How do you budget your time and energy between being in your business and then working on your business?

Anthony Balduzzi: Well, that’s been a moving target. I’m in a very unique position now to have a successful company. We have like around16 to 20 people on our team But three years ago, it was me and then my other one guy and the next guy, and the next guy.

So it kind of depends on what your stage is at in business. But it comes down to when you get serious about building something like a company if that’s the trajectory that you want—because there’s, you can absolutely have an amazing life being a coach and a transformational coach and working one on one deeply with people.

If you choose to go the route of building a business, you eventually have to start loosening the reigns and giving people responsibility. So finding those early people, I don’t know if there’s a magic recipe for it, but I would say this: If we did anything right, is we built something cool that attracted people to us.

Like our first number one, the guy who’s been with me for four years now, Stuart, he emailed us or me. I was just a dude writing blogs and trying to get my online business going. And he’s like, “This Fit Father Project thing seems amazing.I’m a father. I’m 40, I want to be involved.”

So I’d say if you build something cool if you build it, they will come. I don’t know if that’s true in everything in life, but certainly building a cool brand will start to attract people. And as you do, you start to get leverage and leverage is your ability to exert more influence with less time.

[Editor’s note: Below is the obligatory clip from Field of Dreams to go along with the famous quotation.]

Here’s what I would say for someone starting out: anything that—even if you’re the only person working in your business right now—anything that you find that you do more than once, repeatable things, even if it’s a repeatable type of email or repeatable type of task, even if you’re still the person doing it, write a process for it.

Start writing standard operating procedures for everything. This is the standard operating procedure of how we delete emails. Whatever it is, make those, because eventually, that’s going to be the central nervous system for your business.

Because guess what? People are smart. You get the right people and they can follow your procedures. You’re not the only one who can do these things, but if they’re not documented you can’t even start to get out of the weeds of getting leverage.

So now my life is awesome. I can work as much or as little as I want. I’m very passionate, so I work a ton still, but I have a great team that handles a vast majority of things for me. And now I get to do more fun things like walking my dog and doing Jiu-Jitsu.

But I’ll be honest with you, in the beginnings of our business, which I started in 2012 probably for five years and I was going through medical school part of that time, I was working all day, every day. And probably that’s what it takes, honestly.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s good advice as far as leveraging and especially getting the procedures down and making sure you can reproduce that, delegate that to other people, and anytime you—

Anthony Balduzzi: Document. Document before you think you need to.

Schimri Yoyo: Right, document and then delegate, that’s great. Any time we can get a good Field of Dreams reference is always cool too.

Anthony Balduzzi: That’s good.

Schimri Yoyo: You talked about how you’ve built out your team with some of the successes you’ve had. So I’m going to give you an opportunity to brag about your team there at the Fit Father Project. What makes you guys unique? What’s been the driving force that’s helped you to be successful?

Anthony Balduzzi: I really think it’s probably three things. The first thing is we have a very specific person we’re talking to. As fitness professionals, as medical professionals, there are so many people we could help. But we honed down and became the Fit Father Project early before anyone here. And that was huge because that means that the conversation that we could have online in our marketing and in how we designed our programs, we could be hyper-specific.

[Editor’s note: Successful Business Consultant and Entrepreneur Dan Lok gives advice on how to hone in your specific target or niche market in the video below.]

We could talk to a dad. We could say things that would touch his heart because we weren’t talking to anyone else. And when we design our programs for guys who are 40, obviously, they have different concerns than if it were a teenager looking to get stronger or even a woman over 40.

So we niche down and we’ve got a very specific audience and we built amazing programs that would get that guy successful. So I would say a good target audience, a blockbuster program or process. If you’re a coach, it might be more of a process.

If you’re an online business, it might be more of a program like ours called Fit Father 30X. It’s just an incredible weight loss kickstart that basically runs him through all the stuff we talked about: nutrition, exercise, motivation, accountability.

And we actually keep them accountable throughout the program and it’s like a mix of software. But we have personal trainers and myself that are also on the sidelines helping people succeed. We put them in these, basically, fraternity groups like chapters and they’re all keeping each other accountable. And we’ve had over 20,000 people and nearly a hundred countries all around the world, get healthy with us. And that’s only been over the past couple of years.

Again, at the beginning and no one cared. And then people start to care a little bit. And then there’s an inflection point when you are good at what you do and you have something that really works where it just starts to take off. So bragging would be—we help a ton of guy get healthy and our stuff is really effective and it’s simple and it works.

We also really got passionate about creating amazing online content, like long-form content, not like just Snapchats or your Instagram posts that may be seen once and then they’re kind of gone away. Like long-form on YouTube, like lots of blogs. I think we published over 500 different videos and over 500 different articles. And so we have a lot of people reading the blog, seeing the sites, watching the YouTube channels and that starts to develop.

If you stay in the marketplace long enough, people start to pay attention and I don’t know how long that essentially takes, but that’s why I think that Steve Jobs’s advice is perfect. You have to be rationally passionate about what you do, otherwise, if you’re a sane person, you’d quit. Probably that’s why you have to love it.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome. The passion. It definitely there’s evident that you have it. And it’s great because people feed off of that. So, that’s been pretty cool. You talked about leveraging a little bit and how you’ve been able to do that with your business.

Can you speak directly now, for others who are listening who are also from the business end, to what the advent of social media and the use of technology has meant to your business and helping to leverage and promote it?

Anthony Balduzzi: Well, let’s be honest, we live in the most—without having lived anywhere else—but we live in such a profound time where through a phone—

Let’s look at the flossing kid for a second. The kid made that little flossing dance thing. He’s a middle schooler, and he’s known worldwide, and it’s not about the fame, it’s about the power that we all have.

[Editor’s note: Russell Horning aka Backpack Kid aka Flossing Kid was a high schooler when he performed his now-iconic dance in SNL with Katy Perry]

If you truly become an expert at something, someone who is world-class is producing results for a very specific type of person, meaning you’re a problem solver for a specific type of person, and you consistently publish, people who care about that will pay attention, and you will start to get massive distribution.

Like, that’s crazy, man, that I can shoot a video and someone in the Philippines and someone in China and millions of people have watched it. I think our YouTube channel has over 50 million minutes watched. Like, “What?” You got to pinch yourself.

So I think there’s amazing power and there’s amazing opportunity. And I would say this: Never focus on the social media stats and followers. It’s so tough for people who get caught up with that, especially on Instagram.

That’s why I personally don’t have one. Someone runs the company on Instagram because it’s very easy for our brains to get caught in the cycle of like the status of these things when you need to think of yourself as a problem solver.

I can wake up every single day and I am a problem solver. I’m a problem-solver. Maybe you treat athletes. I’m a problem solver for athletes. I know their 10 problems and I have solutions for all 10 of those. If you can’t rattle that off, like, “I help person X do Y, so that Z with these methods,” and if you don’t know your avatar of the person you’re trying to serve like the back of your hand, if they’re not your best friend, then you’re not going to win in this space.

Because when I shoot video and I’m connecting with the camera, I’m not talking to the video camera, I’m talking to that guy. I’m talking to my dad and intimately knowing what he’s all about. And you can’t fake this stuff. People know that you care.

And so I think that we’re in the biggest age of both the balance between power and ability to reach people and distraction. And I think that attention is ultimately the currency of the future, right? What is advertising? It’s we’re paying to get people’s attention.

The Internet is run on advertising. So a couple of things. As individuals, we protect our attention by cutting out things that distract us. Which may be taking that social media diets so that we have more attention bandwidth, to focus on solving problems. And then we also solve those problems in a big way so that other people choose to reward us with their attention.

That is the economy that we’re now in. And you can’t really even put dollars in price tags on this. Thousands of people buy our a hundred dollars program. But really what I care more about is the fact that we have a brand that people care about who knows what that’s going to be worth in 10, 20,30 years.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome. That’s pretty cool. And you guys got cool T-shirts too so that’s awesome.

Anthony Balduzzi: This one is all slanty and jacked up this actually, no. It doesn’t have to be cool. There’s a print on demand on Teespring. They do a bad job but get a good logo.

Schimri Yoyo: No, it’s good. Listen, I’ve seen them around. So they’ve definitely gotten around. So I’m here in Philadelphia. You’re in Arizona, but I’ve seen them around, so it’s all good.

This has been great, man. I can talk to you all day. I know that we’re both long-winded guys and we’re both very passionate about this, but I want to be respectful of your time.

So just two more questions. One, what do you now know in running your business that you wish you would’ve known when you first started? What have you learned?

Anthony Balduzzi: If you’re going down the route of building—Okay, here’s the deal. I think one piece of advice, just to be short-winded for once, is build one blockbuster product and focus on one thing. One core experience directly that lines up with the customer avatar you want to serve in their main problems. Build one thing and focus on it.

When I started doing online programs and courses, I had like literally 15 different products, and it all eventually collapsed down into one thing, build one blockbuster product that you are so proud of that you’d give it to your grandma, your grandpa, everyone.

You’d be like, “If I don’t give this to you, it’s a disservice.” If you can get that amount of confidence with your blockbuster product, you’re good because you’re going to get over the resistance of selling. And a lot of people have trouble selling things because they don’t really fully believe in their own shit. You got to build something that’s so amazing. One blockbuster product.

And then the two, everything else is tactics that surround the customer journey. So map out to a T from A to Z. What is the journey that your customer avatar is going to go to though? So he’s an overweight father and he’s tried a bunch of diets, now he’s Googling online weight loss for men over 40. He reads a blog, he’s kind of interested. He leaves the blog. He gets hit with a retargeting ad. He comes back, he enters his email. What’s that entire journey from there? Have that all the way mapped out. And if you can do that, then that’s your online business. You’re just creating signposts along that journey to allow people to move to the next step.

That’s all this internet marketing stuff is. That’s all an ad is. That’s all an opt-in page is. That’s all an email series is. It’s all a sales page is. It’s all in respect to the customer journey. Learn your customer journey, map it out, and if you don’t do this work, I don’t think you’re going to be successful in this space. And if you are, it’s by accident and you won’t be able to reproduce it.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s a great piece of advice. And now lastly, what are some resources, whether books, podcasts, magazines, blogs that you’d recommend to our audience. And again, it can be fitness related, it can be business-related, maybe philosophical. What do you think would be a great benefit to our audience?

Anthony Balduzzi: A couple of things. So I’ll give you two. And they’re going to be business and maybe philosophical, spiritual. The business one is take a break, if you know that you know a lot about health and fitness, take a break from that and start learning online marketing. Study digitalmarketer.com. Study Ezra Firestone. Study Russell Brunson with his Click Funnels stuff. Study people that are producing lots of results for other people and learn digital marketing.

Learn how to create all these signposts across the customer journey. It’s going to do more for you with whatever business you get into. Whatever your business takes you, It’s absolutely central. Even if you’re hyper-local, even if you own a gym, guess what? It shows should be doing these practices. So I would say the resources, maybe like a Russell Brunson, digitalmarketer.com. Ryan Dice, and as your Firestone is still really good, e-commerce, Digital Marketer people to study.

And on the spiritual side, I’m obviously very partial to old-school yoga philosophy. But I would say if you’re not familiar with Sadhguru. S-A-D-H-G-U-R-U. Check out that guy on YouTube. He’s absolutely phenomenal. He’s got a great book and a course called Inner Engineering.

Take that course and you’ll learn a lot about like some simple practical stuff to help increase the energy in your body. And I’d say this is the most profound thing for me is I’m an energetic guy as you can tell, no coffee. Only got six hours of sleep last night.

And it’s because, when you start to cultivate these spiritual energies and you’re really connected to your purpose and your body’s functioning the right way, you’re eating the right foods, which is not just defined by macro-nutrient nutrition composition. There may even be a spiritual perspective of this that you could explore. I think a lot of things open up to you that you didn’t really think were possibilities.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s, great advice, man. I definitely feel your energy. I feel that we’re kindred spirits in that way. And I drink a lot of coffee cause I like coffee. It actually doesn’t do anything for me energy-wise. I literally drink a pot of coffee and go straight to bed and it wouldn’t affect me that way. But I am a natural and energetic guy as well.

It’s been great to speak with you because, again, your passion just comes through. And I think that’s what’s, at least from my vantage point, what’s been most attractive and I think it serves you well and serves your clients well.

So thank you again for your time and we definitely will look to see you continue to grow and we would definitely want to touch base with you again with the Fit Father Project because we have a lot of different things coming up that I think we’d like [to have] your input down the road.

Anthony Balduzzi: I would love to. And I want to just do a little self-promotion acquainted with us. Check out our YouTube channel. Just YouTube “Fit Father Project” and then go down the rabbit hole and you can get in contact with me too. You can also fill out the contact form on our site if you want to call her and say hi after this.

Schimri Yoyo: Awesome. That’s perfect. And have a good one, Dr. Anthony. I’m grateful for your time.

Anthony Balduzzi: Alright. You’re welcome.

If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, schedule a demo today.

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Need to Sell Yourself as a Personal Trainer? 26 Can’t Miss Tips

Get the Basics…

  • Marketing your unique skills, experience, and education will help set yourself apart as a personal trainer and find new clients.
  • You are competing with a number of other fitness professionals, so you have to make yourself stand out among the crowd.
  • There are a variety of things you can do to sell yourself as a personal trainer, no matter if you are new to the profession or an experienced trainer hoping to expand your client base.
  • Some of these are ideas that are easy to implement, inexpensive, and use little resources, whereas others may require a little more monetary investment and time.

Whether you work for a fitness center or own your own personal training business, you will have to market yourself to increase your client base. If you work at a health club or fitness center, you may be able to market to their members, but you may also need to work to increase your clients beyond just the members.

If you own your own personal training business or are looking to add a few clients for a side gig, you will also need to sell yourself to increase your client base or get new clients. See the video below from ACE Fitness on attracting and retaining more clients as a personal trainer.

The fitness industry is saturated with certified personal trainers. You need to stand out. A successful personal trainer knows how to sell himself or herself without putting a lot of extra time or resources into this endeavor.

Here is a list of the best tips for selling yourself as a personal trainer. If you are interested in learning how Exercise.com can help you manage your fitness business better, schedule a demo of our All-In-One Fitness Business Management Software today.

#26 – Develop Your Elevator Speech

An elevator speech is a quick overview to answer the question, “So what do you do?” This should be a quick one or two-minute speech (something you could deliver in the time you are in an elevator with another individual). This is a great conversation starter with prospective new clients.

You could offer a free boot camp, circuit training, or group exercise class for the community. You might consider handing out “coupons” for a discounted trial session or offer a small raffle prize to those who attend. See the video below for one idea for a fitness boot camp.

If you are planning on holding a fitness class in a setting like a public park, make sure that you check out your city’s Parks and Recreation Department to see if you need to apply for a permit to do so.

#24 – Get Business Cards

There are templates for you to make your own business cards with a personal printer, or you can order them from an online printing company, or you can have a local printing company design and print them for you. Make your business cards unique, yet professional. Keep some cards with you at all times, post to any social media pages or your webpage, and take them to events with you.

#23 – Be Warm and Friendly

Smile at everyone, be friendly and welcoming, and engage in conversation with others. It’s very important to create a friendly, welcoming, and comfortable environment for your clients.

New clients may be scared or nervous about beginning a new fitness routine, especially if they have not been active. They might feel self-conscious about their abilities or their physical appearance. They might also feel like you are judging them, so you must eliminate all of these concerns or clients will not feel comfortable with you.

If they feel comfortable, enjoy their time with you, and are making progress toward their fitness and health goals, they are going to spread the word to their friends, family, or coworkers, which helps build your client base even more.

#22 – Start a Facebook Business Page

Many people are using social media, including Facebook, as the first place they go to find professionals or businesses. Setting up a Facebook business page is free and does not require a huge time commitment. It’s a great way to interact with current or prospective clients and you can post about upcoming events, specials, incentives, photos, or workout tips.

It is important that you are responsive to messages that might come in from potential clients. You should also be posting regularly and monitoring any business reviews to make sure they are legitimate and addressing any issues that are posted.

#21 – Have a Business Webpage

Just like a Facebook business page, many potential clients are looking for information online when they are curious or looking for a personal trainer. Make sure you have your education, certification, and experience on there, plus current contact information, pricing, availability, and possibly some client testimonials or success stories (with their permission).

It’s also great if you can have an easy form for clients to request more information. It’s vital that you respond to their request within 24 hours or so. If a potential or current client has to wait too long for a response, they may seek out another trainer who is more responsive.

#20 – Use Instagram

Social media is a great way to promote yourself and your niche to prospective clients. You can post videos with workout tips and tricks, sample workout routines, or informational resources. The more creative and exciting your posts are, the more excitement you can build around yourself and your brand.

If Instagram isn’t your thing, then try Twitter or Facebook. Social media is a free and efficient use of your time to interact with clients and generate new client leads. See the video below for more tips on how to market yourself using social media.

#19 – Have a LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is a professional networking type of social media. This is a great way to network with other professionals and share relevant information with your LinkedIn network. You can add your experience, education, certification, and any other credentials for individuals to see on your LinkedIn profile.

#18 – Offer a Referral Promotion or Incentive to Current Clients

Word-of-mouth is the best tool you have to sell yourself as a personal trainer. If you have a few clients already, offer them a promotion (bring a friend for free) or incentive (gift card or goodie bag) for referring new clients.

#17 – Develop Your Personal Brand

This is how you can show off your unique skills, knowledge, abilities, or even personality. Aim for consistency with your business cards, social media pages, and webpages to help with branding.

The video below is a Ted Talk about creating your personal brand. This talk is not geared just for fitness professionals but has useful tips to create and develop your unique brand.

#16 – Attend Local Chamber of Commerce Events or Professional Networking Events

This is a great way to get to know others in the community, get your name out there, meet other professionals that may be potential partners, referrals, or generate some client leads. Networking events are also the perfect places to practice your elevator speech (as seen in point #26).

Other professionals like physical therapists, occupational therapists, registered dieticians, and other health care professionals are great partners in the community. They might be willing to recommend their clients who need a personal trainer to you and you can recommend them to your client.

For example, a physical therapist might recommend you for one of their clients who has completed a rehabilitation program and is looking to get back into a regular physical activity routine. Or, a registered dietician would be able to sit down and work with one of your clients on their meal plan, specifically if they are interested in losing weight or have a chronic disease.

#14 – Find Your Niche

If you have a particular audience or age-group that you feel more passionate about working with or if you have specialized knowledge about training certain groups, use that to find your niche. Let’s say you previously worked with older adults and feel passionate and knowledgable about training this audience, there’s your niche.

Is there an audience that you think might be underserved in your area? This may be a potential opportunity for you to get a larger client base. You may need to do some additional education or continuing education (which you need anyway as a personal trainer) to be prepared to train these clients, but it might open up a lot of new possibilities for you.

#13 – Offer a Discounted Trial Session for New Clients

This is a great way to get clients in the door. Once you have them for a trial session, your job is to make them feel excited and comfortable with you. Get to know them and take them through a sample workout. You might need to have a template of some basic exercises or activities, but also allow some flexibility to add activities or exercises that would help the new client meet their fitness goals. 

Grow and manage your fitness business better with Exercise.com

#12 – Send out a Monthly Newsletter

This newsletter could include information about your education, certifications, and experience. You could include short articles about health or fitness, recipes, an “exercise of the month,” client testimonials (with their permission), tips, current trends in exercise, or anything else your clients would enjoy reading.

Your newsletter does not have to be lengthy, one to two pages would be plenty. Make sure to include relevant contact information, like phone, email, webpage, Facebook business page, and links to other social media accounts.

The newsletter could be shared via social media, posted to your Facebook business page or webpage, or be sent out via email. You could also have some copies printed to be put in various local businesses, like waiting rooms or bulletin boards.

For an in-depth checklist to follow when creating your newsletter, check out this resource provided by the content marketing platform, HubSpot.

#11 – Write Blogs or Articles for Local Media Publications

Local newspapers or online publications may allow you to write monthly or regular articles or blogs on health, fitness, or nutrition in their publication. It’s likely that they will not pay you, but this is a good way to get your name out in the public arena. This may be more difficult in a large urban area but may work well in a smaller rural area.

Many older adults and adult audiences tend to read newspapers, so this would be a good way to reach those audiences. Some of these audiences may not use social media and may not search online much, so the newspaper is a great way to reach them.

This is a great and efficient way to get information about your brand out to a lot of readers that you might not otherwise be exposed to. It doesn’t take a lot of your time or expenses and can generate new clients easily. Additionally, many certifying agencies will award CEUs to personal trainers that have authored published articles.

#10 – Consider Investing in Fitness Business Software

Fitness business software does come at a cost but can provide numerous benefits for current and new clients. Fitness business software can save time on administrative and management tasks, which frees you up for more face-to-face time with clients. One area that could really help you sell yourself as a personal trainer is by offering online training sessions or packages.

Custom Exercise.com App SSExercise.com’s fitness business management software (an example of which can be seen above) allows for full customization and a wide range of automation options that allow you to manage your business and your clients all in one easy-to-use, fully-branded platform. Request a demo today to learn more. 

#9 – Volunteer to Supervise Internship Students From a Local University

If you have a local university or college that has students in fitness, exercise science, exercise physiology, human performance, or personal training courses, you could supervise internship students. This is a great way to get to know individuals outside of your normal circle and may lead to new clients.

#8 – Attend Local Health or Fitness Expos, Race Events, or Health Fairs

Some of these events charge businesses or vendors for booth space, but it would be worth it if you could add some new clients. Events like 5k races, health fairs sponsored by hospitals or other organizations, or other local expos are great options. Take some business cards and a recent newsletter and mingle with others in the industry.

If you have a booth, you could even have an area set up with some workout equipment for expo attendees to engage in workout challenges like “Max Number of Push-Ups” (easy prizes are things like branded water bottles, towels, or workout bands).

#7 – Offer Package Pricing

This is a great way to build client loyalty and incentivize your training sessions. It will be easier for you and more fair for all clients if you offer the same pricing structure for everyone. It might be tempting to discount sessions, but if clients are talking to others, they may not be happy about this and it’s more difficult for you to remember who’s paying what amount.

#6 – Use the First Session to Really Get to Know Your Clients

The first session should be about you and your client getting to know each other. Tell them a little about yourself, but take most of the time to get as much information about your client as possible. You might consider having a form of questions that you ask each new client and fill out as you are talking with them.

While talking with them, gather information like:

  • Their fitness goals. Are they looking to improve strength, run a race, lose weight, be more flexible, etc.?
  • Barriers to success. Do they struggle with motivation, time, tiredness, etc.?
  • Are there any exercises or activities that they genuinely love or enjoy? Are there any activities they genuinely hate?
  • Do they have any injuries or orthopedic issues?
  • How often are they looking to train? How often do they plan to work out outside of your sessions?
  • Do they have support at home or a support system?
  • What is the flexibility with their schedule? When do they envision meeting for training sessions?
  • How would they rate their nutrition?
  • How would they rate other areas of health, like mental health, emotional health, etc.?

Also, Exercise.com can help with client engagement and retention by automating parts of the information collection so you can focus on your clients as people.

You can then use this information to develop a workout plan that will be successful in helping your clients meet their health and fitness goals. See the ACE Fitness video below to learn more about making cardio fun to retain more clients.

#5 – Complete Fitness Assessments

Fitness assessments are a great tool to gather baseline data about clients. You can do them the first or second session, share the information with clients about where they are starting, and then use the assessment data to plan the structure of their fitness program and workout routines.

You might also consider taking before and after photos. Clients usually hate this part, but it’s a great way to show progress down the road.

Exercise.com offers a powerful and completely customized assessments. You can gather smart data and engage and retain your clients by applying the information you collect to their programs.


#4 – Train Clients Where It’s Convenient for Them

If you are trying to increase your client base, go to where the clients live or work. If you have a group of clients that work at the same employer, see if you can train them at their office or near their office. If you have clients that live in the same area, go to them and train them near their homes.

You might also be able to market to clients that live in the same residential area, like in the same neighborhood or apartment complex. This is a win-win scenario; it’s convenient for the clients and you spend less time traveling from one location to another.

With Exercise.com you can grow your business where ever you’re at — whether that’s in the gym, in a park, or training remotely.

#3 – Share Success Stories, Before-And-After Photos, or Client Testimonials

Client testimonials, success stories, and before-and-after photos are a great way to build excitement around your brand and personal training business. Make sure you have the client’s permission before using them in any publications or on social media. These are great for marketing and could be added to your Facebook business page, social media posts, or newsletters.

An added bonus is that clients are likely to share your posts with their friends and relatives. This is a free way to market your business. Word-of-mouth is important, especially in the fitness industry. People are more inclined to work with a trainer that has provided their friends, family members, or acquaintances with noticeable and sustainable results.

#2 – Make Sure You Are Listed in the Directory of Certified Professionals for Your Certification Organization

All certified personal trainers should be listed in the directory for the organization they are certified from but double-check this information to make sure it is accurate and up-to-date. If you have moved or changed addresses, this information may be outdated.

#1 – Add a Specialty Certification or Specialization

This is a way to stand out among the sea of personal trainers. As a certified personal trainer, you must complete continuing education credits or units (CECs or CEUs) for recertification, so use some of those to add a specialty certification or specialization.

ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) also has many specialty courses to choose from, like inclusive fitness trainer and autism exercise specialist, plus many others. ACE (American Council on Exercise) Fitness has a number of specialty courses, like senior fitness, functional training, fitness nutrition specialist, or many more. See the video below for more information about ACE’s fitness nutrition specialist program course.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

– Do I have to sell myself if I’m personal training at a commercial gym?

It’s important to sell yourself as a personal trainer no matter if you work at a commercial gym, small fitness studio, or as an independent contractor.

– What are some business tips to be successful as a personal trainer?

This article explains some helpful business tips for personal trainers to be successful in their profession.

– Where can I personal train my clients?

This article details the places and locations where personal trainers can train clients and the pros and cons of each.

– How do I get started with an online personal training business?

There is more than one path to getting started with personal training clients online. Fitness business software, like the All-In-One Fitness Business Management Software by Exercise.com, provides important functions like workout creation and delivery, an exercise library, mobile apps, and automated options that make it easy to personal train clients online.

All personal trainers have to sell themselves to stay competitive in the fitness professional business world. New fitness professionals need to do so to grow their client base, whereas experienced professionals may want to expand their client base or generate additional revenue.

Ready to see how Exercise.com can help you grow and manage your fitness business better? Schedule a demo today to see our All-In-One Fitness Business Management Software in action.

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