Is Fitness Just Easy Money..? Ask a Wannabe!



Can you imagine how great it would be if the fitness offering was the same as a bar?



“What will it be gentlemen?”

“Give me a Bud.  And, the same for my buddy here.”

“O.K. that will be $7.00.”


(If a Club operated like a bar):


Front desk person:

“What will it be gentlemen?”

“I’ll take 3 sets of dumbell curls on the preacher bench.  And, the same for my buddy, here.”

“O.K. that will be $7.00.”

Man… that would be easy money.. right?


Welcome to the Real World


But, of course, our business proposition is different.  Way different!


Have you ever thought about our business proposition?


We’re asking people to pay us money to do something they inherently don’t want to do (eat right and exercise).


It’s a Tough Gig…


It’s not easy to sell our proposition.  “Eat right and exercise.” 


It’s a tough one. 


And, certainly nothing like pitching a couple of beers!


That’s why it amazes me how many non-talented, non-skilled, “weekend-certified” trainers enter this business. 


I mean, I understand there is almost no “barrier to entry” in opening a club, studio or independent fitness business.


And, yes, I know the numbers are alluring.  After all, look how many people are unhealthy.


But still….  Did they ever stop and ask themselves how difficult this business might be?  


How many hours they’d be working?  


And, that they’d be competing with professionals with way more experience, twice the skills and marketing “know-how?”



Or… Was it by Default?


And, then, I wonder if some people get into the fitness business because they couldn’t think of anything better to do.  As if it was by default


A last resort.  Uggghhh…!


Let’s Just Call ‘Em What They Are:  “Wannabes”


After being in this business a while, I’ve become pretty good at spotting them.  In fact, I can typically identify a “wannabe” within two minutes of a conversation.


You’ve probably run into them, too.


The very first thing I notice about wannabes is how it’s “all about the money” as opposed to being “all about helping people.” 


Not only is it all about the money… but, they often don’t care how they get it


That means “bait and switch” sales tactics, over-promising and under-delivering of services and some weird kind of “disconnect” with their own clients – as if they don’t really like them.


Listen, I’m not against money. 


All businesses need to make money. 


But, to be successful in the fitness business, the TOP PRIORITY must be about helping people. 


Helping others is the essence of who we are and what we do.


Luckily, They Wash Out  –  But….


Most of the Wannabes wash out of the fitness business within a couple of years… if not sooner. 


And that’s a good thing. 


But, not before they do some damage.


How many people are permanently “turned-off” to personal training or won’t join a club/studio because of a bad experience with some Wannabe who just wanted to “close the deal?”   


The good news is that it is happening less and less.  And, there is NOT a bright future for the fitness Wannabe and his/her used car salesman tactics…!


Consumers are Getting Smarter…


Over the next 5-10 years it’s going to be much harder for Wannabes to even get into the fitness business. 


And, even if they do, the industry is going to flush them out quickly.


First off, there is more and more of a push for mandatory certification


Next,  consumers are starting to get smarter


They no longer fall victim to false promises, mandatory food and/or supplement purchases or any type of up-sell packages that have nothing to do with their lifestyle goals.


This is especially true of the affluent, well-educated baby boomers.



Take This Example to the Bank!


Here’s an example of one of country’s biggest “Wannabe / In-it-For-the-Money” companies that got taken out like “David and Goliath.”


One of our fitness partners  is a small training studio in Virginia that’s used our materials for many years, including Journals and ONBOARD 101. 


This little studio totally took over the corporate wellness program that was being administered by Weight-Watchers at a local company. 




Because the Human Resource Director started learning more about health, health coaching and what goes into a healthy lifestyle program


One day, she’d simply had enough of:

  • The pre-packaged foods being pushed on to the employees
  • The false metrics of pounds-on-the-scale
  • The lack of basic knowledge coming from the administrator of the program


The studio owner showed the Human Resource Director how the MAP System worked with food exchanges, then demonstrated theONBOARD 101 website and then took the HR Director on a little field trip to the grocery store — where it was explained that part of the Studio’s program is to TEACH people HOW TO SHOP!


BAM….!   Just like that… WW was out — and the Studio was IN!


This same situation is going to play out in all kinds of variations and scenarios as more people become EDUCATED and more RESPONSIBLE for their own health.


Where This is Going…


There will always be Wannabes in every business. 


However, in the fitness business, they will primarily attract the “magic wand” people who seek an “instant gratification” solution… even if it’s totally impossible to deliver on the promise.


In a warped kind of way, perhaps the Wannabes do us a favor by skimming non-serious clients out of the market.  In fact, they deserve each other. 


Unrealistic expectations meets impossible deliverables!


For the serious health and fitness professional, however, the future is incredibly bright


Especially for those who continue to expand their roles from “personal trainer” to “health coach” and/or “lifestyle coach.”


The Morphing Studio


Just like the David & Goliath example above, we’re already seeing a fast growing movement among small clubs and boutique studios to approach clients with more than physical fitness. 


It’s a more holistic approach. 


A lifestyle approach. 


An approach that addresses “balance” in all things from movement and nutrition to stress, emotions and handling the “real world” events people navigate throughout their lives. 


It is all CONNECTED.


Another Reason to Expand Your Skill Sets


There are lots of reasons to expand your service offerings to include health coaching.  For one thing, you can offer some of it online via membership website content, videos and podcasts


Next, it differentiates and elevates your business above that of simply a Club or Studio.  You can position your business as a lifestyle learning center.


In addition, your referral base will expand.  Family practices, hospitals and other medical professionals are much more apt to refer to a health/lifestyle coach than to a personal trainer.


On the revenue side, a HEALTH COACH not only has more services to offer, but a “Certified Health Coach” can usually charge more. 


Plus, as the overall U.S. healthcare system changes, it’s only a matter of time before many  “HEALTH COACH” services are covered by insurance – either directly or by reimbursement to the client.


Being a HEALTH COACH may not necessarily translate into EASY MONEY.  But, it will keep your priorities straight


And, if implemented and marketed correctly, the money most certainly will follow.


Lots of it!


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