How to Rise Above Your Competition



Is the personal training business beginning to look like this?


Everyone fishing off the same pier  with the same equipment…. for the same fish the same way!


Sometimes, it feels like it.  Do you think so, too?

  • Right now, there are thousands of trainers pitching all kinds of  “Low Barrier Offers” just to get new clients through the door.


  • Right after New Year’s Day, hundreds of thousands of trainers always market  “Body Transformation” programs.


  • And, then, there are the deadbeat trainers who market  “Fat Blast” Weight-Loss programs with such unrealistic guarantees that it would even embarrass Jillian Michaels!


Why is this?


Are there are just too many trainers? 


The short answer is YES!


However, you’ll notice I didn’t ask, “Are there too many GOOD trainers?”


Ahhhh…. yes.  There’s the rub.   Right..?


Low Barrier to Entry


Our industry still suffers from the low-barrier or no-barrier to entry.  And, frankly, it’s getting even worse.


There was a time when most trainers in a given market area knew each other and held mutual respect.  Sometimes, they even shared ideas despite the fact they were competitors.


And, if a non-certified trainer rolled in and set-up shop with bogus low-ball rates and stupid programs…. well, the “good trainers” would literally run-em-out-of-town!


But that’s not the case anymore.


What the Hell Happened..?


We can debate dates and triggers… but, from my observations a major shift occurred starting in 2008.  Yes, exactly the same year the economy tanked.


There are a ton of contributing factors, but, I attribute the shift to three (3) different fitness business models that emerged through the economic rubble.


These will be familiar to you:

  • Commodity Fitness:  These are the 24/7 big box clubs like Planet Fitness and others who aggressively market PRICE POINT strategies.  They offer a “no contract,” $10/mth membership, with no frills.  Basically, a room full of equipment.  This model often includes bootcamps and other generic outdoor group programs.


  • Specialty: Another model is the “boutique” specialty operation like CrossFit, Yoga, MMA, Pilates, Kettlebells and other specialty studios as well as in-home mobile training services.  This model generally employs a  VALUE PROPOSITION strategy.


  • Online Fitness:  Still in its infancy, the introduction of “ONLINE FITNESS” offers CONVENIENCE to busy executives, stay-at-home moms and others who benefit from a “service” that does NOT require them to travel and can be accessed anywhere.   The most successful tend to be “SUBSCRIPTION” models.


It’s a “Buyer’s” Market…


One of the outcomes of all this diversification and specialization is the range of choices now offered to consumers.  Almost every type of workout imaginable is available for any kind of budget.


And, nowhere is this more evident than in the “Specialty” and “Online Fitness” models where there is NO BARRIER TO ENTRY.  


A trainer can set-up a studio, boot camp or online platform over the weekend and be open for business on Monday!  Sure, it usually takes longer.  But, you get the point.


As a result, the market place is flat out “crazy competitive.” 


What’s Does it Mean?


Whether you are a big club, a studio or an independent personal trainer  —   if you want to SUCCEED in this hyper-competitive environment  —  you should imprint and burn these two words into your brain and recite them to yourself everyday:   RISE ABOVE.


What does this mean? 


  • RISE ABOVE means you significantly differentiate yourself from the plethora of new, unqualified and non-certified competition.


  • RISE ABOVE means you refuse to participate in the price wars.  Period.  That doesn’t mean you don’t have LBOs.  But, you DO NOT depend on them to sustain your business.   You have way more to offer your clients – including $2,000 to $5,000 super-premium packages. 


  • RISE ABOVE means you stay ENGAGED with your members and clients through all the communications vehicles available including email, push media, social media and your website.


  • RISE ABOVE means PERSONAL INTERACTION with clients and members by knowing their names, greeting them and genuinely caring about their progress under your watch.


  • RISE ABOVE means you seek out social proof via written and video testimonials as well as business review platforms like Yelp.  (Guest post next week by Al Morentin on how to leverage these platforms ).  You also pay attention to your SEO rankings.


  • RISE ABOVE means you conduct marketing OUTREACH.  You get in front of groups and deliver your presentations on weight-management, sport specific training and other specialties.  (Believe me, the wannabe trainers do NOT public speak).


  • RISE ABOVE means you VOLUNTEER and GIVE BACK to the community you serve by helping out with various charity organizations and non-profits.  And, you even get your members and clients involved.

Go Big…

And, if you’re a big box club operator with a bigger budget, then, RISE ABOVE means you do all of the above… plus, significantly increase your value-proposition with offerings such as:


  • Seminars on various topics


  • Classes for personal development and academic improvement.


  • Social mixers for business, communities and clubs


  • Holiday parties (businesses, families, community groups)


  • Off-site events, hikes, cruises, tours, etc.


  • Web-based promotions


Too Many Trainers…?


So, to answer the question:  Are there too many trainers?  Yes!




How many RISE ABOVE TRAINERS?  Less than 1%


Position yourself to RISE ABOVE and you’re going to have an incredible Business!!!


Here’s the Most Powerful Welcome Letter Ever Written… for YOUR NEW CLIENTS!


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