The bigger picture

Written by Josh Hoodless

Making a living is great but making a difference is greater!

I have been in the fitness industry for nearly 20 years and have seen many businesses open and close, fads and diets come and go, and even come back again in disguise.

However, one thing that will always remain a constant is that both clients and trainers will always need help.

I get asked for advice by new personal trainers (PTs) and people fresh into the fitness industry every year.

I simply tell them: Go and help people! Do it for free if you can. You don’t need to be the best trainer; you just need to be the best person.

Sounds crazy but the ones who succeed in the fitness industry really want to make a difference in the lives of others, not just make a living.

The financial reward from helping people comes a lot later down the track. It takes hard work, patience, and passion, but what you give you will get back.

It’s a tough and flooded industry. The Fraser Coast has seen gyms pop up and then close down, PTs give up after a few years or sometimes months.

In the gym facility scene, there are numerous options. If you know what you’re doing in the gym and confident there are some awesome big commercial gyms filled to the brim with the latest equipment.

All the way down the scale there are personal trainers operating out of their garage.

What we are seeing these days are new PTs or business professionals wanting a return on investment and focusing on business over client performance.

This has seen the battle of the smaller franchised group training gyms.

They usually consist of a large group of people with less equipment who sign up for unlimited group sessions for a weekly membership price.

We are seeing more and more of these types of businesses with cool names.

The downside: usually owned by people with limited or zero knowledge of exercise science, functional anatomy or progressional overload. Also, you could be following a program written by head office in Sydney and sometimes watching it unfold on a TV screen.

It’s just business and that’s totally fine. If your goal is to workout with a group of people a few times a week and you’re doing that, you’re succeeding.

The upside: The price is affordable and there’s a trainer always leading the group. You can definitely get a sweat and have some good workouts.

For me personally, it’s more encouraging to see businesses actually ‘training’ their ‘clients’ as opposed to doing a random ‘workout’ with their ‘customers’.

My advice; don’t limit yourself to just one particular style and offer clients a more personalised plan based on their goals. If you can’t do that as a business then you should refer them to another great local fitness business who offer that. We should be all about the improvement of others no matter where it’s happening.

Here at LIFT, we like to up-skill so our trainers can help ANY person. We are a centre that focuses on all elements of the client’s health and fitness journey.

What has worked well for LIFT for so many years is to keep it simple; get to know our clients, their goals and what they really want to achieve.

Only then can we prescribe an exercise plan for them that is enjoyable, sustainable and will actually see results.

Another tip for business owners is to invest in the best staff!

We are providing a very personal service, not a product.

Experience and customer service is vital in our industry.

Don’t get me wrong, in order to remain open and provide for your family you must cover the business basics – more revenue than expenses to make a profit etc.

But knowing you are helping your clients be the best possible version of themselves, in mind body and soul, should always come first.

If the client comes first, the profits will follow.