The landscape of health and fitness has changed since I started as a personal trainer nearing a decade ago at a well-known gym, Charlotte Sports & Fitness, in North Carolina. My career, alongside the industry has evolved growing from a trainer, to lead trainer, to sales manager, general manager and now finally the owner and operator of my own fitness service - VS2 Fitness. Like all my fellow entrepreneurs I've dedicated countless hours and resources to study my industry in which my research determines the survival of my livelihood. Hopefully, needless to say, I love what my brand of fitness offers for the greater good of the health and fitness industry.
The gym, fitness and health club market is valued at $84 billion, a 32% increase from 2012
($27 billion). The total number of gym members in the U.S. alone stands at just over 50 million.
That's a 22% jump compared to 2005 when around 41 million people had active memberships.
There was a dip when the recession made everyone revisit their spending habits and cut out
anything that wasn’t a critical necessity. This gave birth to new low budget group training
franchises (Fit Body Bootcamp, Burns Bootcamp, Orange Theory, CrossFit) that would
challenge big box gyms (Gold's Gym, Lifetime Fitness, Fitness Connections, Planet Fitness) to
provide affordable result based fitness services to a growing fitness population.
There are three areas of focus I've come to value as a fitness business coach and physical
trainer. From my view, as a person who's had a lifestyle transformation due to building better
fitness habits, losing and maintaining a 284 pounds body fat weight loss and now a business
owner, I believe these are what the fitness industry lacks and the principles and value we need
to use as a standard of service to our industry.
1. DIRECTION - The problem isn’t that people don’t have enough information; it’s that they have
too much. Conflicting theories and everybody claiming they have the answer makes it
impossible for the individuals seeking to address their challenges with weight gain issues and
obesity symptoms (high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol) to view fitness as a lifestyle
and not a destination.
A. FITNESS COACHING - The reality is that most clients will be putting their faith in our coaching
abilities to choose what’s best because they don’t want to make that decision themselves. Coaches role change from an information provider to information make-sensor. The best answer might be to detail all the available diets and programs and allow individuals to make an educated decision.
2. SUPPORT - Average gym goers are left to build support systems that supply mountains of
content, however, delivers no substance to their overall goals. This lack of empathy from gyms
leaves individuals to tools like social media, vision boards, and fitness apps to keep them fired
up to reach their goals in hopes of becoming a carbon copy of their favorite social media influencer.
B. COMMUNITY - Cultivating a culture and environment of support (i.e. the nobody gets left
behind mentality) creates a community within our coaching programs where everybody grows
together. While using tools that fitness members are accustomed to motivating themselves our
coaches focus is to build successful individuals that will connect to others and engage in
building relationships that will add open lines of help and support.
3. ACCOUNTABILITY - Besides low-cost memberships, unlimited fitness classes, and
one-time fitness orientations with personal trainers, gym facilities have few systems set in place
to hold members accountable to their set health and fitness goals. Driven gym goers build a
relationship with some gym staff (normally front desk) because the motivation, information, and
accountability are free versus the fitness expert - the personal trainer. The standard success
rate is 18% of January's new members continuing after 5 months with only 12.7% of them
working one on one with a personal trainer, leaving members with an 80% fail rate in reaching
desired fitness results.
C. IDENTIFY VALUES - “YOUR GOALS ARE OUR GOALS." From a member's first fitness
consult to their last day of physical training with a coach the results members value help build
towards a lifestyle change in their health and fitness levels. Coaches identifying members
values are important. The way they believe in living, work and play determine their priorities of
personal health and wellness. As a coach, we use our member's values to measures if their
health and fitness program delivers the results they have worked hard for.
My prediction is over the next decade we'll see the fitness industry evolve inside the network of
IoT (Internet of Thing). Especially as new technology beyond smartwatches (Fitbit, Apple,
Garmin) become the driven force of smart wear fitness clothing. Gyms, fitness health clubs, and
personal trainers will face a new challenge to compete with smart equipment apps (Zwift,
TrainerRoad, Peleton) that reinvent the individual gym and workout experience with a guided
journey and a group class connection. However the market goes, I will always revisit my days
from Charlotte's Sports and Fitness where my belief in the fitness industry and the rewards its given me for sticking to my principles and values.