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personal training

Has the Fitness Industry had enough of deal sites?

Two years ago the deal site craze hit the fitness business and like many others we went along for the ride. There are many horror stories out there and I am sure there are equal success ` s too. When we first opened up we ran a very successful promotion for our  personal training, we had a a huge response, but in essence we were giving a fantastic deal, not only did we sell a lot but our website traffic went up tenfold for about a week. So we got business and a lot of advertising. So how did it pan out? DEAL TIME

In a way the  sales "success " is related to how much you want to " lose " per client initially and how much you think you can then flip into full paying customers is how you return on your investment. However you don't always attract by discounting what is right for your business long term.... I think some people would be shocked to hear we had clients asking " why can't I come at 6 pm?" and not understanding that someone was already in that particular slot and wasn't going to be moved just for them. Some people saw the deal  as a quick health fix on the cheap.. trust me this doesn't happen, devaluing  your health is always a strange way to look at life,they  could not understand that we were part of a lifestyle change process, or it didn't appear so.I don't think some people " got it" , failing to turn up on time or at all, not seeing anything other than " cheap" , pressuring for times that were not available , wanting workout plans  ... almost looking at our business as " cheap", maybe you get what you ask for?

Other people however just wanted to check us out, find their place and are still with us now( 18 months later), a remarkable conversion rate meant we kept and retained  a high % of our new found guests.So our first deal venture went well , produced long term clients and got us a lot of publicity.We were probably too generous and at the time deals were selling in abundance..I guess we would call it a success...One thing we were determined to do was to treat our deal clients the same as any other full paying client. I had read many stories about second rate service, failing to deliver on the deal promise, we didn't want to do that, it didn't seem right.

DEAL PART TWO

Roll on one year and we did the whole thing again , different deal company , this time we only offered bootcamps, it appeared that the appetite for a deal was undiminished and we sold hundreds of coupons, the phone rang for what felt like a week...most of the questions were .. well,, what can I say... less than smart. We were giving 20 classes for $49 dollars ( we get 50% of that) .. less than a dollar a class to the business....or $2.50 per class for the client .. for a fully equipped bootcamp you couldn't beat it, deal on.

We had to add extra classes and as such staff to help appease everyone... it just ended up being a headache. Never would you have thought so many issues could have surrounded such simple piece of business.....you would have thought that we were stealing from these people ( ordinary price was advertised at $189)...the amount of abuse we had to endure... people became oblivious to the goal , which we thought was to get healthier , and kinda made it feel like ..well... just about the deal and not much else... I could go on but I was almost ashamed to be part of the whole thing so the less said the better.Just as an example " Deal Expires 10th August" in our advert, people still calling us to " start " on the day before and get irritated that we tell them that it expires tomorrow, like its our fault, phew.However we got through and everyone was catered for.

As the deal came to the end we emailed all (250) the new clients to see who wanted to continue, offering them yet another deal ( basically half  our full advertised price... this gave people bootcamps by the hour for around $8 bucks, by far the cheapest in the city) . Amazingly only one person took us up on the promotion, it was still a great deal, but it came from us ( and not a deal site) and it didn't have the same impact on the psyche of the buyer. We had managed to capture only one customer from 250. The only thing that changed is the price...sadly the value placed by the customer  on  health was lower than $8 an hour, we were absolutely gobsmacked.

I wondered what these people were doing now? Moved on to the next deal? This was a year ago and its interesting to see ( I don't look often) how many fewer fitness deals are now being offered.

In summary we weren't unhappy with our returns , our first training deal was amazing and paid big returns, our second summed up our general feelings on " deals"  that the audience you are trying to attract long term may not be attracted by short term economic means.

Our bootcamps are full and thriving right now....

Another Day in the Life of a Personal Trainer....

Occasionally we are going to do a snap shot of a day in the life, today is the second in a series , its hard hitting and nothing in here is untrue or spiced up to sensationalize . Read on. Its Friday , for most the last day of the week, for me its day 5 of 7 this week....trainers can get worn out too!! The day starts early, 5.30 am , I eat before I leave, this never changes even if I am running late, its cold as I hop on the bike, probably about minus 5 degrees but its only a short trek to the studio. First up its bootcamp ( BC for short) now it our third year and still full up 3 x a week. It takes a lot of effort to attend at that time of the day and we are still rolling with a full house, today is a station circuit , 50 seconds per station, 10 second rest, 3 sets per station , ( we do a working set, an isometric set and a working set back to back depending on the exercise) we work hard , we still have a laugh . Three bootcamp members (later) today are starting a journey to become personal trainers , which is awesome , I am going to be more than happy to help them grow and develop as they work towards their goals. I am proud of them...

One hour later we are done and off people go to work ,get the kids ready for school,and the next client comes in. We will call the client DP We have been working together for over 4 years and have a fantastic relationship, always smiling and sharing a similar sense of humour  aids to the session flying by. DP missed the first session this week so we pull back a little on the resistance levels paying close attention to a couple of injuries , we always do something new, I like to challenge each client mentally and physically. The client is having with breaking or changing some food habits and we agree to have a sit down hour in the coming week to go over some issues and hopefully we can find some agreed solutions.

Next up come a couple who are relatively new to Inspira. Last week the gentleman came on his own and felt the after affects of solo attention for a few days. From a training perspective its not nice to get feedback that points to me overloading the client and we agree to lighten up today. I regularly check in during the session to see if we are aggrivating any part of his body that was bothering him last week.We regularly rest as required. The session goes real fast and we swap  coaching ideas ( he is a lifestyle coach...always full of pearls of wisdom that I rebound back on to my clients)...we always do an educational component to each session , usually about movement patterns, what does what and why  in the body. I encourage them to get at least one session done before we meet next..

Back on the bike for a 20 min cycle south, its still colder than I would like, I guess its good for the complexion...and it burns a crap load of calories.I have pre written the next clients programme but H has just come back from an injury so we have to see how it goes, for example one row motion hurts the elbow, a quick switch doesn't help so we search for an alternative exercise. Ok thats better and the client can continue without pain... H is another long term client who always makes time to ask how I am and we swap a few stories health related along the way. Its all good at the end, I must remember to follow up on that elbow situation in a few days.

Moving again to another long term client, I arrive and SC seems bit down and quiet , it takes me at least ten minutes to ask and I find that she has been diagnosed with arthritis in her big toe,( she has been in a lot of pain probably from running and has other foot issues) this is a big problem as she is running a 30 k at the weekend and worse is leading a team of Running Room entrants ( and doesn't want to let them down at the last minute) . In short we are going to have to modify many exercises ( those that use the big toe to push off , bend , generally use...did not realize that even eccentric part of the squat was also a problem) ..so we have to think quickly, do some mental reassurance and show some quick " foot box" exercises for the ankle to try and take the pressure away from the painful area...( I found out 2 days later that the race was run and the soreness in the toe probably changed the gait pattern and caused some grumbles in the hip musculature..but hey we got there...)  We did discuss the possibility of not running especially as the " pain" and other potentially related injuries seem to be increasing with time and usage.

A quick 20 minute cycle back uphill and into the wind ( cold, cold, cold..) to the last client of the day,,,we have been training frequently just recently , working at increasing strength and at the same time introducing new and different exercises. We have been training over a year and progressing nicely . K was a complete gym and weights virgin a year ago , now she can do many many things that make me proud...her skill set has gone through the roof and she is probably only one of a very select few who has never sworn at me during a session. Soon..maybe soon.

Its bloody cold but I go home, exhausted, change clothing and pop out for crushing 30 min run in the cold, hard but enjoyable, have to keep in shape, have a 10 k coming in May so have to start training earlier if I want to beat last years time....,I am tired ,its early to sleep tonight.

Compliance...why can't people just do it?

This is one of my favourite topics. I talk over the " compliance " issue more than any other subject and with a massive wide variety of people. For me its one of the hardest factors to "make sense" of, because really in black and white terms failure to do something that has been suggested to you as health beneficial is only going to cause your problems later down the line. Its sad in a way and frustrating for both client and trainer and I still have trouble understanding the root of this issue. I heard a recent story about a recovering heart attack patient who was not taking his prescribed medication because he didn't like pills,  compliance here was a potential  life and death issue  .I  guess people are so complex there is no one particular reason why this situation existed. Maybe he just didn't see the benefit, to most it appears black and white, take the pill, live, don't take the pill , potentially die.

However, there is growing consensus among researchers that the behavior of the health care provider has a significant influence on patient adherence. Specifically, the health care professional’s ability to communicate and explain information while expressing warmth and concern for the patient appears to be associated with increasing patient adherence. Which from a personal training perspective makes the job just that little bit harder. Some people just don't see the benefit of " extra " anything  or indeed " less " of something , getting them to even go to bed 30 mins earlier is like asking them to amputate an arm...we have become so stuck in out habits that all change however small is resisted. However small amounts of change can bring big returns.

 

WE TALK ABOUT IT A LOT

But on a more individual level I have clients that ask me for " 5 Minute " programmes of exercises they can do daily, how often do they follow through and do it, sadly almost never. I discuss these issues with a Lifestyle Coach and to sum up our joint  thoughts would translate to something like this..instead of me (trainer ) telling you WHAT to do, but that both the trainer and the client should work together to come up with a compliancey solution. Instead of being told what to do we need to find or create new thought patterns,or habits, in affect we have 2 people working on one problem, not one telling the other what to do !

We discuss sleep and mainly the lack  there of. I can find any client 100 articles promoting the benefits of sleep, I can send these articles to my clients..I can find no research ( haven't really looked ) promoting a lack of sleep and its benefits. However, people may still not see the value in sleep and you then may have to look for the reasons... " why" .. ." Why do you not value sleep"? Its the a matter of understanding the clients sleep beliefs and the disregard for it may come from elsewhere in that persons life and history.

It appears that what people value most they do most, when it becomes the most important thing to that person they may end up complying. From a  trainers standpoint we want everyone to comply with what we suggest and if that persons belief system is different to ours  then we have difficulty in understanding why people do what they do. Perhaps the best way forward is to simply say " what can I do today thats going to help me towards my goals?" Do something, small , simple and achievable...

One thought that goes through my head is we just don't love ourselves enough , then I found this quote which sums it all up

"You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of our love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection." – Buddha

SOME INFO FROM THE UK.

I found the following information on Wikipedia to give you some idea of the problem health care faces in the UK
  • up to 90% of diabetes patients do not take their medication well enough to benefit from that medication
  • 33-50% of some cancer patients take less of their anti-cancer medicine than required.
  • only 75% of coronary heart disease (CHD) patients take sufficient medicine for it to be effective.
  • Up to 75% of hypertensive patients do not adhere to their medicine.
  • 41-59% of mentally ill patients take their medication infrequently or not at all.
  • 33% of patients with schizophrenia don’t take their medicine at all, and 33% are poorly adherent.
  • Less than 27% depressed patients adhere to their medication

In the UK, the societal impact of such high levels of non-compliance is significant:

  • 110,000 people per year die prematurely from coronary heart disease that is largely preventable. Death rates are three times higher in manual workers than among managers.
  • If CHD patients adhered to their medication, each year 40,000 – 50,000 fewer people would have a stroke and 25,000 would not have a heart attack.
  • 25% of cancer patients have to cut back on food shopping to cover the extra costs of cancer.
  • 70% of patients with advanced cancer suffer with pain, very often in conjunction with other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, and confusion, amongst other symptoms.
  • 1,400 people die from asthma attacks each year, 90% of which are avoidable

The most common causes for lack of adherence appear  to be aging, lack of education, lack of information about the benefits ( of taking the prescribed medicine) and on, I also read that between 20 and 30 % of prescriptions in the US go unfilled.

Welcome to our new blog,have a positive day!

Having been in the fitness industry over 10 years it felt like the right time to spread the experience and knowledge to a wider base. Have never been really keen on Facebook, Twitter and social media , but as it happens they can be good mediums for sharing information. So we stumbled into this on the basis of simply wanting to" help" more people. After about 5 years of personal  training the reality of "getting results" or not as the case may be was hitting home hard, clients were working hard in the gym, too much so in some cases but nothing was happening to those measurements in either direction.What to do? I kept hearing expressions like " good abs are made in the kitchen" ..." you can't out train a poor diet" . Time to change the outlook as a trainer. Do people really need to get better at squatting? Do they really need to bench more weight? Or do they need help and advice in other areas? In 5 to 10 years time the title "Personal Trainer" will cease to exist in my opinion its already dead and buried,most of what I see in gyms right now is inappropriate for the needs of the client and is centred to much on historical methodology or the trainers own private workout pattern. I have turned away from tradition towards a much more client centred counselling approach, you could call it Lifestyle Coaching, we look at change and how it can be facilitated, after all the person is already coming to the gym but it is outside  of the four workout walls where results are obtained, we encourage small achievable changes that can be easily met, set too high a target and the client will fail and feel like crap.

So today chose to do one positive health thing, and again tomorrow, set yourself a weekly behavioural target , " i will exercise 4 times for 30 mins in the next 7 days"...and maybe one for the month...see how you do , watch out for further posts

In Health