Tag Archives: fitness professionals

The Fitness Industry Landscape and How It Impacts Your Health and Body

Fitness trends are always fun to talk about…like is the bosu ball dead and is HIIT still hot? But, these are easy, high-level topics to explore. Today, I’d like to take you deeper. I’m using my inside knowledge of the industry to explain how the overall landscape impacts you, the fitness enthusiast. These are not trends, they are industry truths, and they have stronger implications for your health and body than the latest craze or funky piece of exercise equipment.

Fitness Landscape 3

Market Competition is High but Barrier to Entry is Low

Opening up a fitness business isn’t the most complicated thing in the world. Personal trainers and “fitpreneurs” open their own studios all the time. In urban hubs it may even feel like new gyms pop up every season…and just as quickly shut down. Startup costs for a gym or studio space don’t have to be astronomical, especially for exercise formats like yoga and dance which don’t require costly equipment. This makes it easy to enter the fitness industry market.

Although, just because it’s easy to play the game, doesn’t mean it’s easy to win it. Most studios and gyms have to make a solid return on investment within the first two to three years to stay fiscally fit. Marketing dollars must be spent wisely and word-of-mouth reputation counts a lot towards success in this industry. A lot of fitness professionals turned small-business owners lack marketing and IT support, and spread themselves too thin trying to learn new skills to grow their businesses. In short, if a gym isn’t growing, it’s probably going…down the drain, that is.

What does this mean to YOU, the consumer?

If you’re in love with a gym or studio, invite friends to work out with guest passes and/or invest in a special training promotion from time to time. Even the most impressive establishments can go belly-up in this competitive industry. Success almost entirely rides on how well an establishment is supported by the community it serves (and vice versa). Unfortunately, the less financial flexibility a gym has, the longer it will take to refurbish worn out equipment and the less likely it is to offer fun membership perks and add-ons which can enhance your experience and encourage you to attend more regularly. And regular attendance is key to your fitness goals’ success! 

Industry Concentration is Low

As much as the household names of Anytime Fitness, Gold’s Gym, Planet Fitness, Equinox and CrossFit are top-of-the-mind in the fitness community, these companies don’t entirely run the show. The top 50 fitness companies have less than 30% market share. This means that there are a LOT of individually operated businesses or “one-offs” and small chains. It’s hard to project what direction the industry is headed, but it’s interesting to know that right now even the top dogs are battling to get ahead.

What does this mean to YOU, the gym member? 

There are going to be more fitness establishments with less brand recognition than there are well-known chains to choose from. This means that you need to do your due diligence and research them wisely. Your fitness decisions should be made based on convenience, cost, time, enjoyment, motivation, efficiency, community and/or professionalism and knowledge of instructors/trainers. I know, that’s a LOT of information to process. 

Your body and health will benefit most when the majority of the aforementioned factors are satisfactory or excellent in your eyes. You won’t reach your goals very quickly if you hate the workout program you’ve committed to. You will quickly lose out on a fitness community if you invest in a gym outside of your budget and quit it within six months. You won’t be intrinsically motivated to participate in group classes if you lack respect for the instructors who are teaching them. You get the idea. Do your homework on both the well-known chains and lesser-known “mom and pop” studios so that you find one that will harmonize with all (or at least most) of your needs. That’s the first step to ensuring you stick to your fitness aspirations.

Fitness Landscape 4

Boutique Studios Rival Big-Box Gyms

Over the last five years, the fitness industry landscape has undergone a major overhaul. Big-box gyms with all-inclusive monthly memberships were rivaled for the first time by boutique fitness studios specializing in exercise-specific formats. Boutique studios opened doors for fitness fans eager to participate in everything from barre class to pole-dancing and Zumba to trampoline workouts! The studio offerings grew more diverse and expansive by the season (or so it seemed).

Studios offer fitness enthusiasts low-commitment participation. In other words, people can usually pay for a single class pass (instead of a monthly membership) or a discounted bundle of classes, without any other fees or obligations. This is highly desirable to the growing crop of millennials who seek diversity in their workout regimens. This trend has given rise to ClassPass and has forced big-box operators to carefully consider investments in technology and marketing campaigns to remain competitive. Small studios, with their lower overhead costs and pay-as-you-use plans, have certainly stirred the pot.

What does this mean to YOU, the exerciser?

For starters, you definitely have a LOT of options these days when it comes to fitness. No longer are you relegated to the treadmill. With so many choices, some individuals enter “decision paralysis.” They have a hard time deciding which environment and type of exercise is best for their fitness goals. While it’s definitely worth checking out a couple of studios and comparing pros/cons and overall costs to their big-box competitors, it’s also a good idea to make a firm commitment. Choose carefully and wisely, but at the end of the day, choose!!!

In order to see results from your sweat, you need to be in a consistent routine. Oftentimes, a consistent routine is best established when you have a “home base” or at least a written plan of how you will juggle time split between the private yoga studio down the block and the 24/7 all-access gym at your office. Don’t be dismayed by the options at your disposal – be empowered by them! Give any routine at least three months of solid effort to see if it works or if you need to scrap it and capitalize on some more free trials at other gyms (always fun).

Fitness Landscape 2

Loose Industry Regulations

Some industries are tightly regulated…the fitness industry is not one of them. While this affords professionals and businesses some degree of flexibility, it carries implications for quality assurances. For example, CrossFit, a gym with over 10,000 affiliates that boast unique high-intensity workouts, is a licensed operation, not a franchise. What this means is that at one location you may have outstanding fitness professionals who know how to design excellent exercise programs and who are capable of coaching proper form for Olympic lifts (frequently used by CrossFits) and at another location you may have inexperienced or underqualified professionals. There are many governing bodies, doctors and exercise physiologists who are concerned by these discrepancies in professionalism and, in Washington, DC, these concerns have spawned discussions to enact regulatory measures on fitness operations. But, it’s not just a “CrossFit problem,” it’s the whole industry…

A lot of boutique brands train their professionals in-house, harvesting new instructors from their most loyal members. By training and converting devoted members and exercise participants into the leaders of the workouts, the fitness businesses are keeping pace with one of the most challenging aspects of operations; staffing. Unfortunately, this means that the instructor coaching you through a superset may only have a month’s worth of training under his or her belt, and the level of sophistication of that training is questionable too. As a professional who has held eight different widely recognized certifications in the industry, I can tell you firsthand that it’s too easy to get certified….way too easy. I’m ashamed to say it, but it’s true.

What does this mean to you, the gym rat?

I’m not sure that widespread regulations are the perfect answer to tighten up who operates in the fitness industry. I believe there are a lot of professionals out there who share this sentiment too. So, in the near term, it’s likely going to be left up to individual business owners to properly vet and monitor their instructors and trainers. While some will do a good job of this, others won’t. This puts the responsibility on you.

Gym rats and group exercise participants have every right to demand excellent instruction. If you don’t feel like you’re getting a safe and high-quality experience in your exercise setting, let a manager hear your complaint or concern. Don’t be afraid to speak to the instructor about their choices during or after class too. They will probably be happy to explain things and educate you! If they flounder in the face of a tough question, they probably aren’t very experienced or qualified and it becomes your responsibility to decide whether or not you can live with that. Personally, the second that I can tell an instructor is underqualified, I’m out the door. My hard-earned cash can go into someone else’s hands!

Fitness Landscape 1

Personal Trainers Lack Stability 

Personal trainers are rarely salaried employees. The vast majority of these professionals are compensated by the hour, based on commission. While some experienced professionals can pull six-figures in less than 30 hours of work a week, most professionals have challenges keeping a steady income. For example, a trainer can project that he is going to train 25 hours one week. Let’s say he only has a couple of years’ experience and is compensated $30/hour for his clients (his gym is skimming a lot more off the top from what the client pays). Based on these figures, he seeks to earn $750 for the week. This equates to a salary of $39,000 for the year, not including bonuses or performance incentives. Let’s pretend that he puts in a full 40-hour work week (not very commonplace in the industry). At full-time, he seeks to earn $1,200/week or $62,400.

To put it simply, the vast majority of trainers struggle to maintain schedules of 20+ hours of clients a week…and what happens when two or three clients who train twice a week each go on vacation? What about the fact that training under 30 hours a week leaves these professionals without time-off and health benefits? As you can see, while trainers are often envied for their “cool” jobs, they lack a lot of stability. For this reason, the turnover of professionals at any given establishment is pretty darn high.

What does this mean to YOU, the client?

To be honest, there isn’t a whole lot you can do except express a little bit on empathy and understanding. If you’re a paying client, try to show respect for your trainer’s time just as they show respect for yours. If you’re leaving town for a few weeks, give them as much advance notice as possible so that they can try to fill your training time slot with another person.

Moreover, as someone who pays for personal training, you have to decide whether or not you’re comfortable placing your investment into the hands of a newbie. As mentioned, the turnover of trainers is outstanding (in a crazy, not-so-wonderful way). Ask yourself if you want to give a worthy, aspiring professional a leg up or if you feel more comfortable with a professional who has been working in the industry for at least a few years. The choice is yours. Ultimately, if you find someone you jive with and respect, the decision should be seamless, in spite of how long they’ve been a fitness pro. For the record, I will always appreciate the people who were willing to take a chance on me when I entered the industry. 

Yours in health and wellness,

Maggie

wellnesswinz blue sea

 

Advertisements

3 Elite Trainers’ Advice for the Holidays

Give

It’s the holiday season and sharing is caring, right? Today, I’m hosting three awesome trainers on WellnessWinz. They are doing us the courtesy of sharing their go-to tips for the season (which we all know can be a challenge to juggle…both in terms of shopping and decorating agendas and figuring out how to approach the holiday buffet spread). Enjoy these three pros; they’re keepers.


Allison Blake 1

Alison Blake is a NASM Personal Trainer and an Arbonne International Independent Consultant. Alison has trained for bikini competitions and recently got married! One of her group exercise classes is a favorite of mine – she knows how to work the glutes, let me tell ya!

Alison’s Advice: Give to Yourself

“During the holiday season we spend a lot of our time with family and friends. We get to see relatives that may only come around a few times per year. Many of us travel to stay with relatives or host them for days at a time. Many great memories are shared, but it leaves us with very little alone time.

Waking up an hour early, maybe even before the others are awake, and using that time for exercising, stretching, meditation or prayer can make a big difference around the holidays. We can re-charge our batteries and give something good to ourselves, since most of the day will be spent giving to others.

By beginning the day with a healthy mindset, we help ourselves make healthy choices throughout the day (like resisting the urge for the second helping of mashed potatoes or pie). One example is to go for a walk or a run. If the weather keeps you indoors, try push-ups, squats, lunges and planks. The bit of effort that exercise takes can give us a greater appreciation for the moments we share with others. ‘Tis the season of giving,’ but we cannot forget to also give to ourselves.”


 

Kevin deadlift

Kevin Mullins is back, folks! Last year, Kevin was a guest on WellnessWinz, writing the very popular article: Men’s Health Next Top Trainer Weighs in on Women. Kevin offers fantastic content for fitness enthusiasts via his blog: Kevin Mullins Fitness. Oh yea, did I mention that Women’s Health recently named him one of America’s 10 Hottest Trainers? Get it, Kevin!

Kevin’s Advice: Choose What Matters

“During the holiday season our social calendars can burst at the seams with calorie-bombing events. Weekends become full of holiday parties, happy hours, and dinners and drinks with family and friends. This time of the year is beautiful for its ability to draw us closer to those we love, and for that reason, I often coach my clients to relax and enjoy the holiday spirit. This does not mean exerting a blatant disregard for their training and nutrition habits. I often ask my clients to point to the one or two holiday activities that mean the world to them and tell them to enjoy. Even I look forward to a couple good whiskeys with my father every Thanksgiving, and a few stocking-stuffer candies on Christmas. These are my ‘gives.’

For everything else, we should put it through the test: Is it worth setting us back from our goals? Is there a way to do it without going overboard? Can I train that day to help offset the calorie loads?

Overall, I recommend working out over the holidays and eating most meals as you normally would. You’ll be better prepared to say ‘no’ to deserts, another round of drinks, or a late evening with friends when you keep your habits consistent.

For the indulgences, choose what matters most to you and enjoy, but be sure to pick what actually matters. Don’t just say ‘yes’ to everything!”


 

Jessica B 1

Jessica is a former collegiate swimmer who knows a thing or two about hard effort in the pool – and the gym! Jessica is a Certified Personal Trainer who lives in Utah and enjoys a spectrum of outdoor activities (her Instagram pictures make this city girl very jealous). Also, Jessica recently started a blog: JBrauzFit.com where she offers lots of creative workouts and tips, especially for strength training. Fun fact: Her cat is named Pinot Noir. Yes, a trainer with a cat named after wine.

Jessica’s Advice: Hydrate – Move – Relax!

“As the holidays are approaching, many people are busy doing last minute shopping, decorating and tidying up before their loved ones come over for all of the festivities…But what are these people doing to prepare for their health?

Some people may be freaking out, cursing left and right, ‘ah, hell. I haven’t been eating well this past week so I might as well just let it go for the holiday parties too…’ It doesn’t have to be this way if you plan ahead. Proper planning will keep you from feeling out of control towards the year’s end.
Here are some tips that I have found helpful during the holiday season:

1-Drink water! I know, I know. We all want to indulge in some amazing holiday cocktails (and I do too!) but it won’t hurt to have a glass of water for every cocktail/wine you consume. Plus, your head will thank you the next morning. Quick tip: Stick with wine or light beers if you’re concerned about calories. These beverages won’t have as many as specialty cocktails and heavy brews.

2- Work it out with a 20-30 minute workout in the a.m.! I like to do more metabolic resistance-type training during the holiday season; combining strength and heart rate boosting to torch fat!;) Here is a MRT workout to try:

Barbell pyramid complex:
-Do the following reps for each exercise: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2. (ladies be mindful and start with the barbell if you have never done this before, or complete it with dumbbells)
-Exercises: Deadlifts, Bent Over Row, Front Squat, Military Press, Reverse Lunge
-For added intensity, complete burpees over the bar in between each set!

3- Don’t deprive yourself. If Grandma just made some amazing Christmas cookies, or your mom made her favorite peanut butter balls, enjoy and have a couple of bites! You don’t need to stuff yourself silly, but sampling at parties is just fine. Enjoy the holiday! Laugh with family and friends and don’t stress too hard if you slip up. It will be okay!”


 

HUGE thanks to Alison, Kevin and Jessica for taking the time to share their professional advice with WellnessWinz readers! You guys are awesome.
Yours in health and wellness,
Maggie
wellnesswinz blue sea