One of the personal trainers that worked for me (at a multi-purpose club) was trying to build his business and wasn’t have much luck. I told him that he needed to get on the training floor, strike up conversations, and get to know the members.

Trainers need to find out what people are training for, if their current workout is giving them the results they were hoping for, and, if not, invite the member to sit and discuss what might be missing in their program. This opens up an opportunity to recommend personal training if appropriate.

Later, when I asked how the personal trainer was doing, he said he wasn’t having much luck. When I checked to see what the personal trainer was doing, I realized something important about the task I charged him with. It was too generic. He was talking to members, BUT, the members he was talking to were to the louder, gregarious members that were confident in themselves and their workouts. Sure, they’re easy to talk to, but they are less likely to use personal training services.

ShyThe real market, individuals that need the most support and assistance, are the members that are not engaging with others. They may be shy, introverted, and/or intimidated. They are quietly trying to figure it out themselves and may well be struggling and on the verge of quitting. Get to know them.

We, as personal trainers, need to help individuals feel comfortable, confident, and successful in their workouts. When you’re on the training floor, don’t just talk to people because they’re fun to talk to. Seek out the ones that look timid, unsure, and may be seeking help but are afraid to ask. They are the ones we can help the most.

Hi. I’m Mark Nutting, CSCS*D, NSCA-CPT*D

The 2015 elections for the NSCA Board of Directors begins on May 1st and runs through July 11th.

I’m running for the BOD as the personal trainer representative. Naturally, I am writing this post in the hopes that I can convince you and your friends to vote for me. Now, I know that I must give you reason to select me over my opponent, so here’s my story.

MNutting BsmI was born in a small town… OK, maybe I won’t go that far back. I have been a personal trainer and health club manager for 35 years. In fact, my wife and I will be opening a personal training and group fitness studio in Easton, PA this summer. Personal Training has always been my passion and I’ve spent most of my career promoting it and trying my best to help other trainers as well as improve the personal training profession.

Back in the late 1990’s I realized that I needed to expand my knowledge base. A long-time member of ACSM, my mostly clinical approach was not enough to maximize benefits for my clients. The NSCA’s view and more functional take on training needed to be my next direction. I joined the NSCA in 1998.

Within a couple of years, I realized that I could help what had become “my organization”. When my family and I moved from NYC to Maine in 2001, I took on the position of NSCA Maine State Director. I loved being able to represent the NSCA locally by creating educational and networking opportunities through state clinics. I held that position for 6 years and, in fact, was named State Director of the Year for 2004-2005.

I then went on to become the NSCA Northeast Regional Coordinator and Served on the State/Provincial Director Committee for 6 years. Along with this position, I sought out how I could more specifically help the personal trainers within the organization. I served on the council of the Personal Trainer Special Interest Group for 3 years and 3 more years as its Chairperson. I was asked to serve on the NSCA-CPT Exam Development Committee and worked with some the best and brightest on that committee for 7 years.

I have also, through the years, been asked to serve on various personal trainer ad hoc committees/groups and I have loved helping out whenever I could.

I have seen the NSCA go through some tough times, in which, many of the names that were synonymous with the NSCA, left the organization. I am still here because I have always believed that this is the best organization in the strength and conditioning/fitness world. Our original research journal fuels the evidence-based programming of our practitioners and our local state/regional chapters provide live educational opportunities unlike other organizations.

With all that I know and love about our organization, I know the NSCA can do better. I have spent the last decade mastering business, sales and marketing skills, both for my own business and to pass on to other trainers. With that knowledge in hand, I believe the NSCA must continue to pursue new marketing avenues:

– To reach new potential members through social media, connections with industry employers, and through educational institutions.

– To support our members and certified professionals in their pursuit of a successful career by contacting and educating potential employers as to what holding an NSCA credential means, by continuing to create professional development resources (webinars, podcasts, and written material) on, and by including more career building sessions at our conferences.

– To help the layperson connect with the professionals and the information that the NSCA provides. The more the NSCA becomes a household name, the more demand there will be for NSCA professionals. One thing I would like to see is a free-access, layperson-friendly article library or blog on that is written by NSCA certified authors.

I also believe that our organization can do a better job of supporting our local State/Provincial Directors (SPD) while they volunteer their time and effort to build the NSCA. Having been a State Director and Regional Coordinator, I know the challenges they face.  A few areas that could be addressed include offering greater aid in organizing local clinics. (In this day and age, I can see an app that would be able to help the SPD with task timelines and obligations). They could receive more help in locating more potential presenters and even developing a new presenter-training program to create a greater pool of potential presenters. The S/PDs should also receive more recognition publicly at our conferences and, while that isn’t why they serve as directors, a little more appreciation would go a long way in helping them feel more pride in the work they put into building and supporting the NSCA.BTS HS

In the last few years the NSCA has added new certifications, the Certified Special Population Specialist (CSPS) and the Tactical Strength and Conditioning-Facilitators (TSAC-F), to the well-respected CSCS and NSCA-CPT certifications. While I believe that these new certifications are well-developed and have value, the NSCA must proceed cautiously. As certifications are added, they have the potential to dilute the NSCA brand. I would like to see the NSCA promote these four certifications and hold off on any future ones.

This is a little about me and some of my feelings and why I am choosing to run as the Personal Trainer representative on the NSCA Board of Directors. I would love to answer any questions you may have and would appreciate your vote. You can email me at

Thanks  for taking the time to read this. #NSCApride

So, I’m in the midst of writing a chapter on creating your business plan, and I realize that you should really have a name for your company picked out by now. But, it’s not as simple as you may think. Choosing a name should take some careful consideration.

nametagThere are a couple of different ways of naming your business:

Using your name in the business name. I could name my club Nutting’s Gym. There are many examples of this in the fitness world, from classics of Gold’s Gym, and Vince’s Gym, to the more contemporary Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning, and Parisi Speed School. When your name is part of your business name, it is a constant reflection of you personally, so you must live your philosophy. You should also consider that if you want to sell your business, the buyers will most likely want to continue to use your business name and the reputation that it carries. If your end game is to build a business to then sell, how will you feel about selling your name?

Name by location. Whether it’s 72nd St. Fitness or the 92nd St. Y, these names make it easier to locate them. Easier to find is always a good thing. However, what if you need to move or add other locations? All of the name recognition that you’ve built will be lost if you change your name, and you would want to change your name. 72nd St. Fitness now on 34th St. would be very confusing.

Choose a name that says what you are. For me, this is the best bet. Come up with a business name that speaks to your target market. i.e. if you are targeting the baby boomers, you may choose “Forever Fit” or “Fit Again”. Or, you could name it based on your training philosophy as in “Full Function Fitness” or “Hard Core Lifting Club”. Of course you want something that is unique. Watch out for existing names or one’s that are very similar.

Once you choose a name, claim it as a web domain and register it with your county clerk or with your state.

I’d love to hear what you’ve named your business. Write your business name in the comments section below. Happy naming!

Starting to work out, eating better, or taking better care of yourself are all personal resolutions you hear proclaimed every year. Let’s put them aside for now and talk about your business. What resolutions have you made for it? We should be going into the new year with changes in mind to better our business.


Not unlike personal resolutions, these should not be a simple wish list, but a list of what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. Hmmn? Kinda sounds like creating a S.M.A.R.T. list of goals, doesn’t it? That’s really the key in a nutshell with the added layer of how you’re going to accomplish them.

Just like any goal, these need to be defined as Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time bound. So let’s take a goal that you may have. Let’s say you want to increase the profitability of your boot camps. Let’s define that

Specific: Increase the profitability of your boot camps by 25%

Measurable: Through use of a Profit/Loss worksheet

Attainable: Yes (let’s assume)

Realistic: Yes (again, let’s assume)

Time bound: By the end of the first quarter, March 31st, 2015

This is where the real work begins. We’ve defined our goal. We know precisely what it is, but how, again specifically, are you going to get there?

Can you define the reasons your boot camps are not doing as well as you’d like? It could be lack of space, equipment, or instructors. Let’s, for the sake of an exercise, say its lack of space. Your class is at capacity for the size of the room. What options do you have to increase profitability?

1) Charge participants more for the class

2) Reduce the overhead:

-what you pay for the space

-what you pay the instructor for the class

-what you pay for the equipment used

3) Increase the capacity of the class so you can take more participants by:

-Be more efficient in the use of the space that you have

-Rent a larger space

-Take it outside in a park

Which of these suggestions or combination of suggestions can you implement that will get you to your profitability goal? If you choose to increase rates for participants by $2/class, negotiate a lower facility rental agreement, and increase capacity by using activities that require less space, would that get you there? When will you implement by to reach your goal?


This is the process to create real resolutions vs a simple wish list. It is your game plan for building your business for the upcoming year. Spend time on this.

I’d love to hear what the top resolution is for your business in 2015. Please share what it is in the comments below.

If you look at what’s happening in fitness industry, you’d be hard pressed not to have noticed the “cult-like” following that surrounds some brands such as CrossFit and Zumba.


CrossFit is “Forging Elite Fitness” though constantly varied, high intensity activities that includes everything from Olympic Lifts to kipping pull-ups. Zumba, on the other hand, wants you to “Ditch the Workout and Join the Party” a Latin dance based workout system. Could these two styles of training be further apart? While they are very different (and Crossfitters even make fun of Zumba participants), what they have in common is the blind devotion of their followers. How does that happen?


In The Power of Cult Branding authors Matthew W. Ragas and Bolivar J. Bueno present the Seven Golden Rules of Cult Branding:
1. Consumers want to be part of a group that’s different.
2. Cult brand inventors show daring and determination.
3. Cult brands sell lifestyles.
4. Listen to the choir and create cult brand evangelists.
5. Cult brands always create customer communities.
6. Cult brands are inclusive.
7. Cult brands promote personal freedom and draw power from enemies

Think about CrossFit and Zumba.
1. They are very different than other modes of exercise.
2. The creators were committed to their way of training.
3. They are absolutely selling a lifestyle through various branded products, and shared experiences. Zumba even has a magazine called Z-Life.
4. The participants feel a part of the organization, feel like they are appreciated and are encouraged to spread the gospel.
5. Crossfitters and Zumba enthusiasts are all about their community. This may include their own language (WODs, poods, and ”Uncle Pukie” in CrossFit) or outfits, bags, and other apparel as can be found in the Zumba store.
6. Both are inclusive. Everyone is welcome to drink the Kool-Aid, including kids and seniors.
7. Both CrossFit facilities and Zumba classes are as different as the instructors. They are free to structure them as the individual instructors see fit. Differentiation from the competition is often an integral part of the marketing plan. “We are not…”

This type of community can be yours too with whatever type program you offer. Think about how you can utilize these rules to create your own fitness cult.

The 80/20 principle, also known as the Pareto principle, states that, for many events, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Whole books have been written on this. It’s applied to every conceivable scenario and the concept is simple. We all waste a lot of time and effort on things that are unproductive. If we can focus on those few things that create the greatest results, we will achieve so much more in less time. A couple of tools I find useful are as follows: In his book, “First Things First”, Steven Covey describes a grid of four boxes. In one box are those things that are urgent and important (must be handled now and is important for reaching my goal). In a second box are things that are urgent and unimportant (the typical things that pop up day-to-day that, because of it’s urgency, we feel like it must be important, but it won’t help us reach our goals) You’ll be amazed how many actually fall into this category. These are the real life-suckers that can leave us too fatigued to do the meaningful stuff. A third… not urgent, but important (envisioning your future and how to attain it or maybe planning/taking some down time to recharge your inner batteries). A fourth… not urgent and unimportant (wasting time).


Write out your list of things to do and label them as fitting into one of these boxes. Then stick to the two “important” boxes and either delegate or toss out the rest. (I love this exercise.)

Take that one step further with a tip from “The 4-Hour Workweek”, by Tim Ferris. It discusses the inefficient use of our time and how multi-tasking helps us work at many things and finish none of them. Ferries believes in locking yourself away from distractions and working on only one task at a time until that task is finished. (I’m a big believer in this one.)

Now go to your lists in the important boxes and prioritize them. Gather all of the information or things you will need for the first project and lock yourself away until it’s done. If you can’t get it all done in one sitting, then schedule a meeting with yourself each day until you do finish. If we can set our minds to attacking and completing the 20% of things on our list that are really important , we’ll attain the results we’re seeking sooner than we could have imagined.

Good luck, Mark

I know that many trainers get certified and head out into the world believing that they have all of the answers. They may see other trainers as competition and choose to keep whatever knowledge/information they have to themselves for fear of giving away something that will give others a business advantage.

islandThis is a trap that will hold you back from becoming the best trainer that you could be. The times change, the science changes, and you need to change and grow with them.

I have been a personal trainer and in club management for 35 years. I have acquired a great deal of information over the years and have much to share. That said, every time I get a chance to talk with other professionals in the field, I come away with new insight. Sometimes it’s something completely new and sometimes it’s an affirmation that I am on the right track. I example, I just got back from an executive roundtable for fitness directors. Everyone on the roundtable disclosed everything from financials to best practices and I believe I speak for the group in saying that we all came away with new ideas and a better understanding of how to become more successful.

While this example is larger scale and you may not think it is applicable to you, it is. I have had similar discussions with fellow trainers in our club and even with trainers from competing clubs. The key is that almost 70% of the US population is overweight or obese. We sit too much. We eat too much. We are an unwell society. There is no shortage of potential clients.

So go talk to other trainers about their training and their business and talk to them about yours.

You cannot be your best if you isolate yourself.

Share, listen, learn, and repeat.

Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? It’s incredible to me how often I see people in the service industry that just don’t get it. How many times do you walk into a store or restaurant and can’t seem to get anyone’s attention or, if you do, you’re obviously interrupting something very important (like an inspection of their nail polish or a conversation they’re having with a co-worker) because they genuinely seemed ticked off that you’re there. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone cared enough to even fake caring?
For me, it’s like Roy Scheider’s portrayal of Bob Fosse in the movie “All That Jazz”. Fosse wakes every morning up after obvious hard nights, throws some Visine in his eyes, takes a couple of uppers, and says to himself in the mirror, “It’s show time, folks!” and puts on his I-must-deal-with-the-public face.

While that may be an extreme example, the point is that every interaction that you have can make or break someone’s day. It’s no different with Personal Trainers. I always talk about it being “show time”. You need to leave everything that’s bothering you outside of work. Remind yourself you have the power to create positive experiences for others and that’s a wonderful thing. Enjoy that power. Even if life is hard outside of work, you can choose to focus on the positive effects you have on others while at work.
So, smile and pass it on.

“Change is the only constant. Hanging on is the only sin.” – Denise McCluggage

Every once in a while I am astounded by certain people’s resistance to change. In any business or, in fact, any life, change is inevitable.


The world around us is changing so rapidly, how can we believe that we can, or should, escape it? I’m reminded of when my wife Heather and I first joined the corporate team of Town Sports International. We were immediately handed a copy of Spencer Johnson’s “Who Moved My Cheese”. The message of the book is simple, things change and if you don’t accept it and move on you’ll be left behind wondering where it all went and when is it coming back (which its not).

We can always improve how and what we do. How can we help more people? How can we have a greater impact? How can we improve the world? Change has it’s ups and downs but, the yin and yang of it is that without the downs there are no ups. Without the risk of failing, there’s no chance of improving, no growth.

We need to embrace change and go for that ride of what could be. With change the possibilities are endless.

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” – Winston S. Churchill


I don’t know if you’re aware yet, but there’s a new social media site building interest and getting ready to launch. Ello! It is currently by invitation only and is still in beta version. Do we need another social media site? Who cares about one more site?



It’s ad free, does that make you want to join it? Maybe not, but as Facebook posts more and more ads in your news stream, you may change your mind. Ello likes to think of itself as anti-Facebook in that sense.

The marketing rule of thumb is go to where your market is. They’ve been on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Maybe Ello is the next stop for them. You can’t know yet. None of us can predict it. So, don’t wait. Join it when you can and explore it. Create a presence before your competition does. It may not pan out, but many didn’t think Twitter would either.

When you do join, connect with me at Let’s get in there and figure Ello out together.Ello