Spending Time with Dane Robinson. Pro Coach, GRAVITY Master Trainer and Fitness Guru
One of the best perks of my job is getting to meet and hang out with the most influential (and truly inspiring) leaders in the Fitness Industry. Such is the case of Dane Robinson.
Dane has been there, done that and then some. He is open, honest and passionate about his work and has a long list of accomplishments that he is way too modest to talk about. I did my research; he morphed from a college football star to Pro defensive lineman on both the AFL and IFL. He was the 2014 Coach of the Year and is the Head Coach for the Atlanta Steam, the professional female football team. And yes, it’s full-on contact!
Like all of the best, he started from the ground up (yes, this seems to be the common thread). Front desk, cleaning equipment and working on the gym floor – those jobs where we work the hardest, earn the least but learn the most.
Here are some of the key points we discussed.
In your opinion, what does the future hold for the fitness industry?
Dane: “Man, our industry is BOOMING! And it shows no sign of stopping. From the insertion of the boutique studio to the dominance of wearable fitness tracking technology, people are taking their health seriously. I think we are at a crossroads, where the more high-end, high-touch small fitness studios will start to siphon off the big ‘box’ gyms. In the future, I also believe you will see a trifecta of rehabilitation, body maintenance and performance training all under one roof.”
Tell me a bit more about the team you coach. How did you get involved with “The Steam”?
Dane: “It was the players who gave me a vote of confidence. I had no intention of becoming the coach of anything that first season but I dove in and accepted the challenge and here we are five years later impacting the lives of women throughout the sport of football: encouraging them to be the best football players they can be. What these women do, week in and week out, is phenomenal. They enrich my life so much and the product they put out on the field is pretty damn good too. It is endlessly rewarding to continue to encourage them to be the best football players, people and women they can be.”
What makes your studio stand out in the community? Why are your clients loyal, how are you different than the competition?
Dane: “We stand out because our emphasis is on personal touch and creating a relationship-building atmosphere every day. We know your name, we know what your emotional energy is for that day, and we always try to tailor the experience so you leave feeling better than when you came in, physically, mentally and emotionally. We are confident in who we are and we do not try to be everything to everybody. We have a unique Total Gym program called GRAVITY that make the studio special and drives members.
Being different to our competition is our modality and with GRAVITY being so unique, our members and clients achieve success and we see profitability in our studio. If your client is somebody that is missing a component of strength training and is looking for an all-inclusive workout that’s engaging, while providing massive impact they can feel right away, we know GRAVITY is the answer.”
How did you get involved as a GRAVITY Master Trainer?
Dane: Becoming a GRAVITY Master Trainer was something I wanted to actively pursue after I took the first GRAVITY educational workshop. I thought ‘Hey, I could do this and probably do it really, really well!’ I love coaching. I love teaching. I love motivating and helping people help themselves. So it became my goal. Then when I got an opportunity to train in Buffalo, New York I got lucky. I happened to fall into training the GRAVITY program when the current instructor couldn’t. When I moved to Atlanta I knew there was one thing that I could do REALLY well; teach GRAVITY. The popularity of my classes led to developing my own program in a club in Cumming, GA. That program took off, allowing me to change course to a Gravity Studio full-time!
What is your best advice for someone who wants to become a full time trainer with or without their own business?
Dane: “My top three advice tips for anyone entering the fitness industry:
#1: If you’re looking to do it FOR the money, this is the wrong job for you. If you would like to MAKE money, that’s fine but be prepared to serve people at an all-time high.
#2: Find a way to learn from the best. Surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to do, at their pinnacle. Learn from them, be a sponge, and try to reenact their actions.
#3: Learn to balance your dynamic, engaging, loving personality with your smart, educated, nerdy side of you. If you can bring the two together, you’ll be a deadly force.”
How have you managed to keep your trainers and/or what do you see as the secret of longevity in the fitness field?
Dane: “We hone in on the five things that all trainers want:
- Feeling Valued
- Competitive Compensation
We like to build a team of special individuals; not just be ‘a trainer’ but a true fitness professional in every sense. This stems from the hiring process and trying to find people that are intrinsically motivated to serve. I’ve used that term a lot but it means A LOT and it really shows character, strong values and a commitment to what we do in the small studio market we are in.”
What is your favorite exercise within the GRAVITY program and why?
Dane: “It has to be any variation of pull-ups/chin-ups with or without plyo!
Yes, these are very male ‘ego-boosting’ movements but damn… you feel so strong, massively confident and fluid doing them. The GTS maximizes the pull-up and the chin-up very comparably to a regular pull-up bar, only better. It’s also very adaptable to the client.
After progressing to the the dynamic versions, it is actually a little more exhausting when you do the plyometric pull-up and chin-up. It doesn’t get any better than those movements for me!”
For a fitness professional looking to offer GRAVITY, what is the best way to incorporate it into a facility?
Dane: “I think one of the ideal ways to implement GRAVITY is to include the program with other offerings you already have. It makes a great addition to Barre, Boot Camp or H.I.I.T training for example.
If you don’t have other team training options, then running the GRAVITY program as a standalone is best executed as a small group offering and you need to make sure that your trainers are GRAVITY-educated and are innovative standouts that can bring it to life.
We have different formats of GRAVITY to focus on strength endurance, strength building, or metabolic conditioning. Our main focus is to increase our recurring memberships for which we have two tiers: unlimited or 8 sessions per month. We also rely on package renewals whether it be a 5, 10, or 20 class package they can use within a certain period of expiration.
Our personal trainers love GRAVITY because you can have a top-level athlete or deconditioned first timer, and everything in between, in the same session so it is easy to schedule and a great instructor can really maximize the unique multi-range of exercises available to all levels of different clients at the same time.”
What have you learned from your mentors over the years that has helped you to grow?
“I am so fortunate for not only the successes but for the failures I’ve encountered along way. I really try to hinge on the fact that I have been able to replicate my success based on my personality, my hard work and my drive. As an collegiate athlete in football you are just one part of a system of a team. I can’t do my job successfully without the support of other people around me. We all have to work together for the common good: the team. I transcend that into my job in the fitness industry in situations where people are not used to being in a team atmosphere to stand out. We can all stand out when we all shine.
You can find Dane Robinson-BS, PES, NASM-CPT, Fitness Director at GRAVITY Studio Atlanta at gravitystudio.com/Atlanta 678.515.4006 (studio). Take a class and feel the love.
For more information on GRAVITY contact Ralph at 858 764 0078 | email@example.com
About the Author
Deborah Beck is a six time Ironman athlete, coach and personal trainer. For over 25 years she has combined her love of sports and fitness with her passion for travel and adventure. Her early work as a Fitness Director moved her throughout Asia, the Middle East and the UK. She holds multiple certifications and is currently working towards her 500 hour Yoga Medicine. Her training philosophy incorporates Pilates, yoga, Gyrotonic and strength to produce a balanced, unique approach to high endurance training. This fall she is launching a global training and lifestyle company and online community. When not traveling, she splits her time between Quogue NY and Telluride Colorado.