“Special Populations” is Not a Niche!

There are a lot of fitness professionals that are “special population specialists”. There are certifications in which you can earn that designation. The problem is that “special populations” includes prenatal/postpartum women, older adults, youth, obesity, adults with specific diseases or disorders, injuries, and those with multiple health conditions. So, if you include all of those categories, you never get in depth in any one area. Not only that, but, it means that the majority of the population is deemed special.

And, as the saying goes, if everyone is special then nobody is special.

The benefit of choosing a real niche, a specialty, is twofold.

One, it allows you to get very specific in your education and really know that one area. i.e. Cancer Exercise Specialist & Training the Older Adult.

Two, it allows you to own that space with that specific target market. This means that to that specific audience, you are the expert in that area, the go to person for safe, effective training that is appropriate for them and their specific circumstance. If you need brain surgery done, you don’t want to go to your general practitioner. You want someone who specializes in brain surgery. The same is true for seeking out a fitness professional that specializes in training those with Parkinson’s or joint replacements or prenatal/postpartum.

Now, I’m not saying that knowing a little more about a lot of areas isn’t beneficial. However, it doesn’t give you enough in any one area to be “the specialist” in that area. Home in one specific specialty and own it!

Let Me Entertain You. Let Me Make You Smile.

Much of the time, fitness is either marketed by using high intensity, sweaty, sexy bodies and promises that you too can have a hot body, or, it is portrayed as a science-based health solution that makes you want to take a nap because it’s so dull. What is often missed is the point that people are more likely to start a fitness program if they think that it’s going to be fun, and, if they are having fun, they are also much more likely to stick with it.

Untitled design (6)

The idea of entertaining your clients while working with them is not new. Richard Simmons has been entertaining fitness audiences since the 1970’s. But, even before it

richard-simmons-07

Richard Simmons

was used to promote fitness, the idea of using entertainment to educate has been around for a long time. “Learning through entertainment dates at least to Ben Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanack, which amused and instructed colonists with its mix of maxims, weather forecasts, math lessons and puzzles.” according to Greg Beato’s New York Times article, Turning to Education for Fun. More recently, programs that combine these two elements have been dubbed “edutainment”.

While still being a source of entertainment, another variation is taking tasks and turning them into games… not unlike Mary Poppins did. “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and snap, the job’s a game” This adding of game elements is now dubbed “gamification”.

Fitness-Marshall-Dance-Cardio-Videos-2016

For some dance fitness entertainment, check out The Fitness Marshall

So, does this mean that you should always try to entertain your clients and that workouts always have to be fun? No, of course not, but adding a little levity and fun elements to workouts can make the difference between drudgery and something they can look forward to. Imagine if your clients consistently leave workouts in a better mood than when they came in. What a great reinforcement for coming back for the next one.

(Yes, BTW, the title is a quote from the musical, “Gypsy”. I can’t help it. It’s little things like that, that makes me tick.)