Stop Blaming the Competition

I’ve managed personal trainers for almost 40 years. Within that time, I’ve had to frequently battle a belief many trainers held that they don’t have enough clients because there was too much competition (from other trainers and/or from other clubs). THAT is simply not true. There are plenty of potential clients running around and they are not training with us because we are failing to be able to engage them. Here are a couple of interesting facts:untitled design (22)

  • Over 1/3 of the US population is obese. (That’s in the neighborhood of 110 million people. Think about how many of those people need a fitness professional’s help.)
  • According to, people don’t exercise because they have:
    • No Time
    • No Energy
    • Competing Interests
    • Haven’t Developed the Habit
    • No Motivation
    • Too Overwhelming
    • Poor Diet
    • Current Physical Condition
    • No Access
    • Lack of Results

(Shouldn’t we be able to help them overcome these obstacles?)

  • Of the people who DO go to the gym,
    • Only 12.5 percent of gym goers use personal trainers. (Many people don’t understand what personal trainers do or how they can help. We can do a better job showing our value.)
    • 80 percent who joined a gym in January 2012 quit within five months. (Maybe that’s because they didn’t receive the help and guidance that they needed.)

There is not a shortage of potential clients. There is an inability to communicate and engage. Instead of holding an attitude of competition with other personal trainers or facilities, get together with them, cooperatively come up with better solutions to getting more people to take part in exercise and healthy activities.

Join forces and everyone benefits!


Pre-Mortem: Know How You Failed Before You Start

Most of us know what a post-mortem examination is, an autopsy, finding out the causes of a person’s death. Few of us, however, know what a pre-mortem is. In a pre-mortem,


project planners (maybe that’s a team or just one person) imagine that the project has already been launched and it either failed or, at least, failed to deliver as anticipated. Then, you dig into why that might have occurred.

Say you have created a new weight loss program. Before you launch it, sit down with your team and imagine that, in six months time, the program has not taken off and you’re sitting there having to look back on what could have gone wrong. Maybe your marketing was not reaching your target market. Maybe the market you focussed on was the wrong market. Maybe you weren’t clear about how it would benefit the consumer. Maybe it was launched at the wrong time of year. Maybe, maybe, maybe…

The point is to think about potential weaknesses and pre-think the solutions. By diminishing or even eliminating the weaknesses, your project will have a much greater chance at success. So, before you launch your next program or product, imagine it died and then find the reasons (and solutions) in a pre-mortem.

PS. This can also help clients succeed in their programs. Take them through a pre-mortem, find their obstacles and pre-think the solutions.