IMPORTANT NOTICE: You Are No Longer a Personal Trainer…

I hope the headline got your attention.. because it’s TRUE!

But… before I explain what this means, allow me to “set the table.”

Winds of Change…

If you are a fitness business owner, trainer or health entrepreneur you are aware the fitness business is changing.. rapidly.

Yes, I know it’s always changing… but this time the changes are much more significant.

I am talking about fundamental shifts in fitness business models that will change our industry… forever.

Here are some examples of the shift. 

For more than 50 years there have always been 3 main tiers of clubs.

  • Price-point clubs with super low sign-up and low monthly dues $10-29
  • Middle tier clubs $199-400 sign-up and monthly $40-70 monthly dues
  • Premium clubs $499+ sign-up and $90+ monthly.

There has always been room and enough business for these 3 tiers to co-exist.  But, today, the middle tier is getting squeezed… and squeezed hard

 It’s More Than Economics…

Technology is also having a HUGE impact and effect on fitness businesses.  We’re well beyond the “Cardio Theater” days.  Almost everyone working out at a big box gym has a set of ear buds hooked-up to their mobile devices and are either listening to, or streaming, their own particular playlists.  But, it’s more than that.

Look at all the new virtual group fitness programming that require no onsite instructors or trainers.   Companies like Fitness on Demand and Wellbeats are aggressively marketing to clubs, resorts, corporate wellness sites, etc.  These services make total sense for the fitness business that is struggling to meet payroll.

There are even a couple of personal training companies who serve as “third party” service providers offering customized personal training programs and “real time” sessions with members using Skype!   Look at this ad from Craig’s List….

Why Am I Telling You This..?

Seriously… I am NOT trying to bum you out or invalidate you in any way.  In fact, I see all of this as a HUGE OPPORTUNITY for all career-minded, credible fitness professionals.

The reason for shining a big bright light on these changes is simple.  If you plan to be a financially successful fitness professional… it’s TIME for you to start thinking about your “POSITIONING” within the industry.

  You Need to Become HIP..!

Yes… I’ve even come up with an acronym for this new positioning:  Health Information Provider.  (Clever..? Well, maybe not!)  Perhaps you can come up with your own  “Title” or description of your services.  It’s really important and here’s why:

The term and perception: “personal trainer” is rapidly becoming devalued and converted into a commodity item.  In fact, the word “personal” doesn’t even seem to resonate any more.

How in the world can an iPhone app be “personal?”   

Look to the Past to See the Future

To gain a better understanding of this morphing perception and, in some cases, actual declining relevance, just take a look at other industries.

  • Bank Tellers became obsolete and were replaced by ATMs
  • Travel agencies have largely been replaced by websites like Orbitz, Priceline and Travelocity
  • In the 80’s electronic drum machines and synthesizers replaced thousands of musicians
  • Apple computers completely overhauled the graphic arts industry
  • Look at how we “checkout” at the grocery store
  • Holy cow…. look how we shop online…!!!!

How to Take Advantage of the Opportunity..!

When I consulted as a marketing strategist and was confronted with this exact same situation… there was a solution that worked 100% of the time.  Here it is:


It’s as simple as that.  If the world is going to devalue the perception of “personal trainer” by demeaning the profession to a commodity distributed via mobile apps, web applications or third party off-site service providers…. then: DON’T BE A PERSONAL TRAINER..!


If I Were Your Marketing Coach….

Listen, if I were coaching your training business, club or studio I would offer up these nuggets.

Step #1:  Replace the term “Personal Training” in all of your marketing materials and media.  Find a substitute that describes you or your business such as:

  • Private Fitness Coach
  • Private Wellness Coach
  • Private Fitness Studio
  • Health Expert
  • Health Solutions Expert
  • Health Solutions Provider
  • Health & Fitness Professional

And, be sure to use descriptors like “hands-on”  “One-on-One”  “Face-to-Face” as a way of showing the potential customer that he or she will be working with a REAL PROFESSIONAL in person!


Step #2:  Identify and expose the PROBLEMS with “commodity personal training” applications in all of your marketing materials.

For example:

  • Do apps really know who you are?
  • Can apps watch your actual technique?
  • Are they using pounds-on-the-scale for measurement?
  • What happens if you injure yourself?
  • Can they make relevant recommendations?
  • Can they provide any nutritional guidance?
  • Do they really understand your lifestyle…?
  • Do they LISTEN…??????

Then, YOU become the SOLUTION to all of these problems.

Again… all of this (problem vs. solution) needs to be reinforced in your marketing materials, website, social media, sales pitch, etc

This is a Marketing 101 TRUTH:   Identifying and exposing these issues is IMPORTANT… because, most people buy on price without ever considering any of the consequences.  And, by the time they figure it out, it’s too late.  They already paid-in-full for some bogus system!


Step #3:  Become an EDUCATION PROVIDER.  The dirty little secret about much of the new fitness technology is that it has been developed by non-fitness people  who understand databases, coding, streaming, etc. — but know nothing about human physiologyEducation is one of many areas where YOU can differentiate YOUR BUSINESS from being a commodity type (reps & sets) personal trainer.

As your coach, I would encourage you to:

  • Public Speak at every opportunity (Apps can’t do this!)
  • Conduct Seminars
  • Offer Fitness Education or Weight-Management Classes (yes this is shameless plug for this... 
  • Establish Your Leadership Role as a HEALTH INFORMATION PROVIDER


Think About This…

Just as “content is king” for websites… the same truism applies to your business.  As a health and fitness professional (trainer, instructor, club owner, studio owner, coach, etc.) your future clients, members, patients and students will be looking to YOU for CONTENT.   And, the more credible, results-oriented CONTENT you can provide… the more clients you will have.  The more success your business will experience.

Meanwhile, your competitors will continue to struggle because they never became MORE than a personal trainer!

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


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