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Raising the Bar! (not barbell!) Fitness Industry Standards!

[caption id="attachment_209" align="aligncenter" width="547"]We're calling the fitness industry to raise the bar when it comes to certification requirements. We’re calling the fitness industry to raise the bar when it comes to certification requirements.[/caption]

Tomorrow is Labor Day!  We are about 6 weeks away from the 4th Annual Personal Trainer Summit at the Club Industry 2014 Convention in Chicago.  This is a perfect time to reflect on where we are as an industry, and a profession—and how far we still need to go!
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Facebook: Not Just for Friends!

shoestringThis month we’ve been talking about marketing strategies—but specifically, how to market on a shoestring budget.    As we discussed, we may not have much time or money to focus on our marketing efforts, but without at least some investment, how can we expect any return?  The key is to come up with ways to market to your clients and prospective clients in a way that helps meet your business goals, while staying within your time and funding budget.

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Fitness Marketing on a Shoestring Budget

[caption id="attachment_188" align="alignnone" width="625"]Shoestring marketing is easier than you might think! You just need to have a goal and create a plan. Shoestring marketing is easier than you might think! You just need to have a goal and create a plan.[/caption]

Most fitness professionals start their mornings by getting dressed and lacing up their shoes. They live in a world dominated by sneakers rather than loafers and heels. Those shoestrings are important for more than just getting dressed for the day however; they also tend to represent just about every aspect of fitness marketing. Shoestring budgets, shoestring staffing and shoestring timelines are all part of the plan for everyone from management to trainers.

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When You’re Selling: You’re Educating!

[caption id="attachment_171" align="aligncenter" width="625"]From start to finish-- personal trainers are EDUCATING their clients From start to finish– personal trainers are EDUCATING their clients[/caption]

This month we’ve been focusing on different ways to improve our selling skills. We may be the best personal trainer in our club or community; we may know every muscle in the human body and how to strengthen those muscles; but if we don’t know how to sell and get clients to use our services—all of our knowledge will go to waste.

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When You’re Selling—You’re HELPING!

[caption id="attachment_171" align="aligncenter" width="625"]Keeping in mind your goal in gaining customers is to help them reach their goals can make it easy to push yourself toward being a better salesperson. Keeping in mind your goal in gaining customers is to help them reach their goals can make it easy to push yourself toward being a better salesperson.[/caption]

In our last blog we discussed overcoming our phobia of sales and recognizing that sales is actually about helping and educating. As fitness professionals, many of us followed this career path because we want to HELP others. So, by realizing that we are not “selling” in the traditional sense of the word, but HELPING, we can become more comfortable with this essential part of our job.

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So You Think You Want to be an Entrepreneur?

Think about when you decided to become a Personal Trainer or a Group Exercise Instructor?
What did you do?

My guess is that first you did some research to find out what was required.
You then found out that you had to become certified. So you then researched the different certifications available.
After comparing and contrasting, asking around, finding the best ones for you, you signed up!
You then took a class, studied, practiced, and then took an exam!

So, now that you are certified, you begin your amazing career. You either work at a club, or another type of facility—or maybe you decide to start your own business. If you’re like most, you then realize that there was nothing in your fitness training certification that prepared you to be a successful business person. You struggle, you feel discouraged, you wonder if this was the right career path for you.

Please don’t get discouraged! You are not alone. So many of us struggle with trying to figure out how to make money doing what we love!

My suggestion: Take the same approach as you took when you wanted to become a fitness professional.

1. Research: Talk to successful entrepreneurs. See what has made them successful. Learn from them. Ask them to become your mentor.
2. Educate: Educate yourself on what it means to be an entrepreneur. Take a class on business management, finance, sales, and marketing.
3. Research some more! Once you have some guidance and education, research the business opportunities, define your business goals, and develop a strategic plan.
4. Commit: Commit, commit, commit! Your time, your energy, your resources! It takes blood, sweat, and tears!

You have what it takes! You have the passion!

If you are already a success business person and entrepreneur, please share your ideas and tips with us! We’d love to hear from you!

To find out about the W.I.T.S. Fitness Business Institute (FBI) and online courses in sales, marketing, business, and management, visit http://www.witseducation.com/business-institute/

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Safe Today Healthy Tomorrow!

May is Older American’s Month and this year’s theme is “SAFE TODAY HEALTHY TOMORROW!” W.O.W.! What an perfect match for the fitness industry and Personal Trainers, Lifestyle Wellness Coaches, and Group Exercise Instructors who work with older clients! Actually, it has application for those working with clients at any age!! By keeping safe (and preventing illness and injury) we can enjoy a healthy, long, independent life!

In previous blog posts, I shared with you some of the health challenges my mom is facing as she approaches her 70th birthday. It’s clear to see that so many of these problems could have been reduced, delayed, and possibly even prevented—had she lived a “safer” and healthier lifestyle in her younger years.

Her current challenges include:
Severe back pain: Which could have been prevented with exercise, strengthening her core, proper ergonomics, proper shoes.
COPD: Which could have been prevented if she hadn’t been a smoker (she did quit!!) and participated in cardiovascular exercise.
Heart disease: Which could have been prevented/delayed if she had a regular routine of exercise and ate a healthier diet.
Osteoporosis: Which could have been prevented/delayed if she participated in weight bearing exercise.

W.O.W. Had she lived a “safer” life in her younger years, I imagine her quality of life now would be much improved.

What has been your experience with working with older adults? What are some ways you have been able to motivate your older clients to make the necessarily lifestyle changes, live safer, and enjoy greater health and independence?

To learn more about Older Americans Month and tips on how you can help older clients live safer and healthier lives, visit:
http://acl.gov/NewsRoom/Observances/oam/2014/Index.aspx

Also, be sure to check out W.I.T.S. Online classes: Older Adult Fitness Foundations and Exercise Program Design for Special Populations! These classes will help you better understand the physiological and psychological issues that your older clients may be experiencing. Get your CECs at your convenience—from your home or office—-24/7!!!

Visit: http://www.witseducation.com/store/Store.htm#WITS

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“How are you doing?” “I’m SO Stressed” April: National Stress Awareness Month

adultstressstress

 

 

I find that if you ask most people how they are doing, the common response is “I’m so busy” or “I’m so stressed.”  It’s so common, in fact, that we can often become desensitized to how dangerous chronic stress can be to our physical and emotional health, our relationships, and our careers.

We all know some of the physiological signs and consequences of stress:  Chronic headaches,  Neck and back pains, Muscle tension, High blood pressure,  Elevated heart rate, Sleep deprivation, Fatigue, Can’t get pregnant,  Losing or gaining weight, Dizziness and Nausea.  These symptoms and conditions are very real, and over time, can be extremely dangerous.

We are also aware of many of the stressors in our lives:  family, health, finances, jobs, relationships, caregiving, aging, and having too much to do and not enough time to do it!

What is interesting and creates challenges for health and fitness professionals working with “stressed out” clients, is that it isn’t necessarily the “stressor” that creates the “stress” and the physical and emotional symptoms and outcomes—but it’s our PERCEPTION of the stressor that has the greater impact.  You can have two different individuals who are confronted with the same stressors—but their reaction and the impact on their health can be completely different.

By helping clients maintain an active lifestyle and regularly engage in safe, effective exercise–we are directly addressing many of the physiological effects and causes of stress.  Exercise alone can be extremely beneficial in managing stress and minimizing the negative impact stress can have on our health.  But what is less clear and direct is how we can help them change their PERCEPTION of stress and their confidence in their ability to manage stress and be resilient.

Lifestyle and Fitness Coaching is a growing field and many fitness professionals incorporate coaching strategies into their Personal Training sessions.  W.I.T.S. new Lifestyle Fitness Coaching Certification provides Personal Trainers with the tools needed to help clients in adopting healthy behaviors including stress management.

What are your experiences with “stressed out” clients?  Are you noticing an increase or change in the prevalence of stress?  What are some of the tools and strategies you use to help your clients with managing and minimizing stress in their lives?

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

 

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Should Personal Trainers Give Diet Advice?

Most clients come to us with the same goal:  To Lose Weight!  In pursuit of that goal, we try to help them make healthy lifestyle choices and make physical activity and exercise a part of their daily lives.  But how can we help them meet their goals without talking about Nutrition?  And how can we talk about diet and nutrition without exceeding our scope of practice?

March is National Nutrition Month so I thought it would be a good time to discuss these controversial issues.

In our Nutritional Concepts, Personal Training Certification, and Lifestyle Fitness Coaching classes, we clearly communicate that prescribing diets for our clients is beyond our scope of practice. Unless a personal trainer is also a Registered Dietician, a Registered Dietician Nutritionist, or hold a valid credential, they should not be prescribing a special diet for a client.  But what about providing advice, guidance, and education?  Would you be neglecting your responsibilities and duties to your client if you didn’t try to steer them in the right direction.

When I look around at the people closest to me, I see one person who makes all of the wrong (unhealthy) food choices; another who has gone strictly vegan (their version of vegan) and admittedly includes no healthy protein choices in their diet;  another who skips meals regularly and ends her day tired and famished.  Others watch and limit sugars only—another only eats “organic” and another had recently decided to eliminate carbs–but ingests high fat meats.

None of this seems healthy to me—  What do you think?

As a personal trainer, what do you believe appropriate for you to address when it comes to your client’s nutritional habits?   Where do you believe the “scope of practice” line should be drawn?

And another question, how good are YOUR eating habits?  Take this quick quiz!

http://www.eatright.org/nnm/games/quiz/index.html

 

I look forward to hearing your thoughts!