Do you “ONBOARD” your new clients or members?


If you answered, “No,” you’re not alone.


In the fitness space, I only know of:

  • 12 health coaches
  • 4 big box clubs
  • 23 studios


… that actually have a real and profitable “onboarding” program for new clients.


I’m not talking about the onboarding process where a new client or member learns the layout of the club and other various amenities and services available to them. 


To me, that’s a simple club tour.


I’m talking about learning the basics of physical fitness — as in onboarding someone from a sedentary existence to a healthy positive lifestyle – and what exactly that entails. 


In other words, the RATIONALE behind “eat right and exercise.”


Fasten your seat belts because for-profit new client onboarding programs” are becoming a “thing” for marketing savvy fit pros and health coaches. 




Because it’s a WIN-WIN for both consumers and health professionals.


And, it generates so much pure net profit!


I only know of these four onboarding programs because they use ONBOARD 101 as the core of their onboarding programs.



What is onboarding?  Here’s how Wikipedia defines it:

Onboarding is organizational socialization. It refers to the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members and insiders.


We could substitute certain words to fit our industry:


Onboarding is organizational education. It refers to the mechanism through which new clients/members acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to make positive lifestyle choices and become healthy.


The term, “onboarding” has been around for awhile and mostly used by Human Resource Professionals.


Lately, however, the term has been appropriated by a ton of software and application providers who see this process as a valuable asset.




The more I study the new use of “onboarding” the more I realize it’s just a fancy new word to describe an old concept.


Back in the day we simply called it an “initiation.” Or, an “introductory course” or even, “training!”  I have to admit, though, “onboarding” sounds way more sexy and perhaps a bit more sophisticated!  


hpd_challenger2If you’re an old “motor-head” like me, you may remember a time when the purchase of a high-end, “hot-rodded” Dodge Challenger came with a week-long training course at Bob Bondurant’s racing school (Bondurant).


I’m sure it was included in the price of the car, but what a treat!  Today, it would be called “onboarding” for the new Challenger!


harbHarald Harb, (Harb Ski Systems) considered one of the world’s top ski technique innovators and instructors, runs week long ski camps for ski enthusiasts — like me.


During his camps, he assembles the “campers” inside the base lodge each morning. There, he draws whiteboard diagrams in order to explain what they will be learning out on the hill.


He could call it ski prep, or ski turn analysis, or, yup, you guessed it — onboarding!  And, it’s “baked-in” to the price of the ski camp.


Oh yes — I could give example after example of “onboarding” for all kinds of things, but, I’m sure by now you may be wondering why I even bring this up and HOW does this relate to YOU and YOUR BUSINESS.




O.K. so let me get right to the point by asking you a simple question.


How many people come to you for help with their weight, overall health or something specific… without the foggiest idea of how their own bodies even function?


The number is probably over 90%right?


People just assume that since they know how to stuff food into their mouths and can walk and chew gum at the same time — that they have a basic understanding of nutrition and exercise.


But, not only do they NOT have a clue, but, in most cases they are operating on FALSE INFORMATION.  


I mean really bogus stuff.


Think about the millions of people who embark on restricted calorie diets that slow their metabolisms, compromise their immune systems, agitate their central nervous systems… and that’s just the start.


Or, how about the 50 year-old weekend warriors who decide to jump into High Intensity Training (HIIT) workouts without knowing anything about the movements, technique, weights, range of motion and a host of other protocol designed to keep from being injured.


Seriously, if ever there was a business where ONBOARDING is really necessary, it’s HEALTH and FITNESS.




Yes, this is blatant plug for my own product, ONBOARD 101 – (of course you can develop your own) but, I can’t think of a better way to demonstrate an onboarding program.


Especially since it generates so much pure net profit!



Jamie Simpson is a private health coach and licensed sports nutritionist.


She specializes in helping clients with their nutrition, lifestyle practices and personal development.  


All exercise and activity is outsourced to a select group of six personal trainers who understand and reinforce her protocol.


During the initial sales interview Jamie presents clients with her onboarding program ONBOARD 101.  She informs all potential clients that it’s crucial to understand the basics of human physiology before working with her.


Jamie tells her clients this:

“I don’t know what’s already in your head regarding your health.  But, I do know that we both need to start on the same page.  

For example, it’s crucial that we both agree on the importance of metabolism and understand the delicate balance between food and activity.  

And, the only way I can guarantee you are prepared for our journey together is to ensure you are “onboarded” at least two weeks prior to our first appointment.”


A potential client is immediately charged $99 for the onboarding program ONBOARD 101 and an appointment is scheduled for exactly two weeks later.


If the client refuses, then, she doesn’t take them on.  Simple as that.


The 12-chapter curriculum must be completed in two weeks.


For Jamie, this “paid” onboarding process is the first step in evaluating a potential client’s level of motivation.


And, since ONBOARD 101 can be set-up to be 100%  automated and self-guided, there’s no labor cost whatsoever to Jamie.


It runs on auto-pilot.


So Jamie’s onboarding process is a profit generator before she even takes on the new client.


And, even if the client decides to not work with Jamie, both have received value.  Win-Win



In the big box health club environment, onboarding can be handled several different ways.


  • For example, it can be included in the initial membership price (but broken out internally as a profit center).


  • Or, it can be added to any personal training package, weight-management package, nutrition program or other custom services where a basic human physiology knowledge-base is considered a marketable asset.


The big box club that uses ONBOARD 101 for its onboarding process recently scored a huge corporate account with a manufacturer (over 1,000 employees) by offering to onboard all employees for a “FLAT RATE” of just $1,000  — on top of the membership package.  That’s $1,000 of additional net profit.



  • Do you see how helpful it would be if your clients and members had a basic understanding of their bodies BEFORE they started working out?


  • Do you see how ONBOARDING would help upsell into nutrition, weight-management and personal training programs?


  • Do you see how LUCRATIVE YOUR CONTENT can be … on several different levels?


  • Do you see how much more SUCCESSFUL your clients and members could be if they first studied YOUR CONTENT before embarking on a program?


If you position and present “knowledge-based” ONBOARDING as a crucial step toward success —  as a head-start toward health, fitness and the achievement of goals, then you’ll knock-it-out-of-the-park.


You and I already know that every day millions of people throughout the world enter our “Universe” and flounder around on equipment without the slightest idea of what they are doing.

And, we both know that this lasts approximately six (6) weeks  — and then they quit.

Just imagine the:

  • Cash Flow
  • Retention Rates
  • Referrals
  • Client Success Stories





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