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Raising The Bar

January 23, 2019


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.

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