Old School Vs. New School Vs. Real School…!


It’s a funny world. 


Things come and go… and then come again.


A few years ago I received a promo about an upcoming concert in the desert — Coachella, CA.


It was one of the biggest concerts, EVER!   And, look who it was!


Hell, I’m 66 and first saw the Stones on the Ed Sullivan Show when I was 10-years old!


Yet, despite all the changes, trends and fads in the music business, here they are — again!




Because they are the “real deal.”


Look at the line-up.  They all are the “real deal!”

Real Deal Products and Services


Here’s another one.  A kids toy that almost disappeared is not only incredibly popular but has its own theme park.  Legos!


And, as long as I’m talking about kids… how about Marvel Comics and the Muppets.


Here’s the take-away.  When a product really works… is credible… and “connects” with people…  then, it has the ability to stick around or make an incredible “come-back.”


Competing with the Glitz


So this brings me to the virtues of a hand-written log and, in particular, our own Daily Journal.  We first introduced it in 1989.  And, for years it was our #1 best-selling product.


But, then came all the health, fitness and personal trainer apps.  They became increasingly popular especially starting in 2009 —  and continued to grow.   I know the timeline because our sales trend lines clearly showed the start of a sales decline for the Daily Journals in the same time frame.


For clubs, studios and personal trainers, apps seemed like a “no-brainer” since it allowed them to pass those costs on to their members and clients.


I eventually accepted that perhaps our “core product” had run its course and was now an “old school” product.  That it was destined only to be in the hands of the technology challenged!


Old School Vs. Real School


But, starting in 2014 a funny thing happened.


Sales of the Daily Journal started to pick-up.  At first, I was skeptical.  But month after month the sales were accelerating.


Of course this made me happy.  But, I wanted to know why.  I came up with all kinds of theoriessuch as:

  • The apps were highly inaccurate in energy expenditure and other calculations
  • They continually flashed “upgrade” ads with messages to “ditch your personal trainer”
  • The mobile devices, themselves, became distractions during training sessions with calls, texts, etc.


But, as it turned out, it was none of my theories at all.


The more I spoke with personal trainers, studio owners, fitness directors and club owners, the more the real answer became obvious.


Tim Reid, owner of Freeport Fitness told me that hand-written log books are NOT “Old School” but rather, “Real School” because they get results.


“We used several different apps for a while but there was the issue of bringing the devices out on the floor during group sessions.  Or, if they didn’t have their devices with them, they would have to remember what they did and input the info later.  In the end our clients got better results when they used a hand-written journal.   I have the numbers to prove it.”



Davin McNaulty, a personal trainer and athletic coach for high school athletes forbids the use of apps during workouts and training.


“I tell the athletes that they can use apps on their own time.  But, when they are with me, I want them focused and writing down every little thing.  And, if they perform at a new level or have a breakthrough, I want them to go back 14 days and assess their workouts, nutrition and every little nuance of their training that led to it.”



Shelly Ossining owns and operates a woman’s studio that specializes in weight-management, lifestyle and personal development.  She designed her own Life Journal and made it the CORE of all of her programs:


“I believe there’s a huge difference between a little screen full of buttons and actually taking the time to write down how you are eating, moving and emotionally feeling.  Writing things down allows the brain enough time to process what just happened.”



Candy Reichardt:  “We use all kinds of technology to run our business.  But, for our members, we use our hands, hearts and souls — and that includes a personalized journal.”


It Ain’t Sexy… But it Works


Like I said, it’s a funny world!


I am in the middle of development for all kinds of digital products including videos, online learning programs and even a revamp of our MAP System.  So, I am by no means a techno-phobe who fears technology.  I love this stuff.


But, at the end of the day, it’s important for us as a company to make sure we continue to offer the “real deal.”   The stuff that really works and gets results for people who are serious about changing their lives.


So, if it’s a physical product that’s not very sexy.  So be it.  It works.

One Last Thing…


I discovered something else as I interviewed many successful health and fitness professionals — most of whom have been customers for a long time.


Most of these career health and fitness professionals have been in business for more than ten years... and are, themselves… the REAL DEAL. 


They have navigated the ups and downs of the economy, the shifting trends of the fitness business and fended off their competitors by offering the right value proposition to their particular markets.  It’s a huge achievement.


If that describes you, then congratulations.   You, too, are the REAL DEAL! 


Mick, Paul, Bob and Neil and the rest of the “real rockers” would be very proud of you.