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Jul
31

Online CECs – Keeping Education Updated

Personal Trainers: Stay Up-to-Date With Online CECs

When it’s time to renew your personal training and/or group fitness certification, I think we can all admit that it could be somewhat simpler.  But that just isn’t the case, and unless you have a lot of time to spend on sifting through all the ins and outs, the re-certification process can be time consuming and confusing. So let’s break it down and try to simplify.

Online “continuing education units” (CEU) can be obtained through several bodies, such as the National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA).

One CEU is ten hours of participation in an education program.

Several years ago, we had to attend conferences and classes to as well to accomplish the same goal.  I still believe that is a great way to keep up with industry innovations and news, however online CEUs are becoming the norm now, for maintaining certifications.  Pretty much all the major certifying agencies have online CEU courses, so you really don’t have to leave the comfort of your laptop to stay current.

How Much Does it Cost?

Based on a summary review of available course sites shown below, the price for one CEU ranges from $150 to $250. NASM and ACE require 2.0 CEUs every two years, which will set you back between $300 and $500.

NASM claims to have a re-certification for life option, but you still have to pay for the 2.0 CEUs every two years, as well as your CPR certificate which is around $12-17.

NASM does waive the application fee for life and provides some discounts for courses.

                            All CEU Requirements Are Not Equal

CEU requirements and values are not the same.

NASM’s 2.0 CEUs or 20 hour requirement is more than AFAA’s 15 hours of education or 1.5 CEUs.

Consequently, a course that offers .10 CEU’s for NASM will offer 1 CEU for AFAA.

It’s confusing in that 15 of these courses will satisfy the AFAA requirement, while 20 will satisfy the NASM requirement. So, you have to calculate how many CEUs you’re really getting for the intended re-certification and that can often be tricky.

Check That Your CEU is Accepted

Be sure that the online CEU you purchase is accepted by your agency. According to their website, NASM does not accept CEUs from Continuing Education although they can be petitioned, which involves a fee.

Even if your agency accepts a course from any of the below sites, they may not accept all the course offerings.  So be very careful when reviewing which courses will count for your agency’s re-certification and how many credits it offers.

Some agencies also place more value on specific courses than others.

Sites Offering Online CEU Courses

Continuing Education ACE, ACSM, NSCA

ACE Fitness ACE, ACSM, NASM, NSCA, NFPT

Health & Fitness Continuing Education  ACSM, NSCA, NASM, ISSA, AFAA

IDEA Health and Fitness Association All

NESTA NESTA, NASM, NSCA

NASM  NASM

Fitness Mentors  NASM, NESTA, ISSA, AFAA, NCCPT, ACE. NSCA, ACSM

In addition to online courses, Exercise ETC., Inc. offers webinars for CEU credit and is accepted by almost all agencies.

So there you have it, a brief synopsis to help you continue with your education.  It’s time to open the pocketbook to stay current, but your clients will thank you in the end!

About the Author

Benita PerkinsBenita Perkins is a widely acclaimed health and wellness branding expert focusing on the fitness needs of women and the special demands they must overcome to step into a lifetime of healthy living through fun, interactive lifestyle events. Her company, Bennie Girl Health & Wellness Branding & Events, works with businesses and organizations to associate their brands and products with a healthy lifestyle, by identifying opportune events to participate in and activities that will best define and communicate the organization’s mission.

Jul
24

Why Your Clients May Not Be Shifting Weight

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What To Do When Some Clients Just Don’t Lose the Weight.

Are you clients stuck?  Has a client ever told you that no matter what he or she does, they are just not losing weight? They are on the same dietary suggestions that your other client is on. You train them the same way, yet they just don’t seem to be shifting enough.  Besides struggling with fat loss, some even lack energy and complain of not feeling up to par.  You are puzzled and frustrated as a trainer, because you see how hard they work. You do feel that they are eating well and are being honest, yet you see for yourself that the weight is just not budging, nor is there any shift in body composition.

I get it because I have been there too. Before studying naturopathy, I used to shake my head in amazement, thinking for sure that my struggling clients were not being true to themselves and were just simply closet eaters.  I now know better and would like to share this knowledge with you.

First a personal story. Years ago, when I was competing in natural (drug tested) body building competitions, I seemed to struggle more than a few of my colleagues with losing those last few pounds (especially around the belly). I was following the typical body building diet–high amounts of lean protein, no fruit or refined sugars, some low glycemic vegetables, some carbs and good fats.  The point that I want to emphasize with this type of “diet”, is that I was eating small meals throughout the day. I must say that I looked pretty good, but I did not feel great most of the time. I was constipated for the first time in my life. This period of up and down stomach issues, combined with losing my mother quite suddenly, led me to search out a naturopath for personal growth and awareness. I was so enlightened with what I learned about our miraculous bodies, that I decided to go back to school and become a naturopathy practitioner.

2022180Contrary to the popular belief that we are what we eat … we are NOT. We are what we DIGEST and actually, we can even take it another step and say that we are what we eat … eats.

Digestion is the process used to convert protein into amino acids, carbohydrates into glucose, and fats into fatty acids. Cells are microscopic, so they can’t absorb big structures – they can only absorb the elements found within these converted structures. It is not until protein, carbohydrates and fats are broken down that vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are released into the blood stream.

Understanding Digestion

For the sake of this blog, I am going to only focus on protein digestion … why? Because everyone is overly concerned about protein and too many trainers emphasize protein with their clients when in reality, most people have a hard time digesting protein and here is why.

The breakdown of protein into amino acids takes place in the stomach. The stomach has two functions to perform once the food arrives. First, it acts like a blender. The powerful muscles of the stomach squeeze and release the food into what we call “chyme”.  Think of it as an internal smoothie. This action takes place only in the stomach, so if you see undigested food in your stool, it indicates the stomach walls are weak. Although some foods, such as corn, do not break down, beware if you see broccoli, mushroom, or potato pieces in the toilet.

2022193The second function of the stomach is to produce hydrochloric acid (HCL), peptides and intrinsic factors. For a protein to break down, the stomach cells need to produce HCL and this is where many people suffer. Many people do not produce a good quality HCL making protein digestion difficult.

When the food enters the stomach, the body has already started to produce gastrin (a hormone that stimulates production of HCL). As the gastrin begins to move into the bloodstream, it signals the release of HCL and the other gastric juices needed, to convert protein into amino acids.

The chyme then leaves the stomach and enters into the first part of the small intestine called the duodenum. This is another important stage of digestion as these acids coming from the stomach need to be alkalized before further digestion can take place.

The liver, gallbladder and pancreas, all have digestive secretions needed to make the chyme alkaline. The liver makes bile (an alkaline mineral needed to alkalize the chyme) and stores it in the gallbladder. The longer the bile remains in the gallbladder, the more concentrated it becomes. Most livers never have a chance to concentrate their bile because people eat far too much acidic (cooked) food. And when we eat every three to four hours, the liver does not have time to process what it has already received. This is toxic for the liver. Added to this, I want to say that for the liver to make a “good quality bile”, it requires minerals such as sulphur, sodium and chloride, yet most diets are deficient in these minerals.

If a diet is deficient in minerals, we experience digestive problems.

Digestion should take place with ease. As a naturopath, we do not see this happening in most people today. Instead, we see gas, bloating, constipation, bowel issues, intolerances, etc. There is much more I can add to the path of digestion. It is a huge process, but for the sake of this blog, I want to focus on a few points that could be hampering your clients from progressing and seeing results in their programs.

When digestion, the first pillar of health, is weak, absorption is compromised and cells become hypo active. This means they do not have enough nutrients to do their work.  If the thyroid gland doesn’t have enough nutrients, then it cannot do it’s job properly.  The job of the thyroid gland is to create a hormone called thyroxin which regulates body temperature which is the rate of which the body burns calories.  Some people call this metabolism and say that their slow metabolism is to blame when in reality, it’s the poor digestion and lack of nutrients.   All of these compounding issues will lead to none-weight loss.

Now You Know, What Do You Do?

As a trainer, the first thing you can do if you see a client stuck in their progress is ask a few questions about how they feel after eating.  They might not be thinking about it. Often, I see clients who are so used to the way they feel, they don’t realize it is not right.

Here are some sample questions you may ask:

  • Do you feel like your food is just sitting in your belly?
  • Do you ever feel bloated?1957620
  • Do you ever feel tired?
  • Are you burping?
  • How is your elimination?
  • Do you see undigested food?
  • Are your stools too loose, too hard?

These are all signs that digestion is weak.

Referring your clients out to a licensed naturopath can be the best way for you to get your clients out of their rut if they are stuck!

To find out more, check out France Michaelson’s soon-to-be-released book.  Let’s Practice Health. Learn Why Your Gut is the CEO of Your Health.

About the Author

Frances Michaelson, N.D.Based in the West Island of Montreal, Frances Michaelson, N.D. is author of several publications including her upcoming book, Let’s Practice Health: Learn Why Your Gut Is the CEO of Your Health.

With over three decades of experience and a broad knowledge base, Frances is widely recognized as a leader in the health and fitness field. She is the former owner of Muscleup Inc., an exercise product distribution company, which she founded and operated for over 20 years. Frances is a licensed naturopath in Quebec and has been a personal trainer for the past 17 years. She is also an avid health and fitness blogger and a frequent conference presenter.  She can be found on her website www.livethewow.ca

Live the Wow

Jul
17

Total Gym Strength Training for the Over 40s

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Understanding Your Demographic – Teaching Total Gym Strength Training to Your 40+ Clients

We all know that as we age our body changes, and the need for strength training and overall fitness becomes ever more important for a higher quality of life and long term durability.  But as a fitness professional, we do not always understand this concept to most effectively service our over 40 clients.

5 components of wellness for the 40+ age group

A comprehensive program for overall wellness in our 40+ clients should include:

  • Strength training
  • Cardiovascular training
  • Mobility (increasing range of motion)
  • Nutrition
  • Supplementation

As a 40+ person myself, I can speak from personal experience that ALL those areas are important, not just one or two.  Here’s why:

The body drops muscle mass at a rate of 1% per year after the age of 40, so the need to create and implement an overall strength training program is vital to support the kinetic chain and maintain muscle on a person’s frame.

Why Strength Training Works

To feel strong physically transfers over into all parts of life.  Endorphins released after training can boost self esteem, self confidence and an overall feeling of well being. Performing daily tasks becomes easier and doesn’t require as much energy compared to someone who does not strength train.

Best Total Gym Strength Training Exercises

I will focus on 7 primary movements as a foundation for the strength program on a Total Gym machine. They include plank, hinge,  pull, push, rotate, squat and lunge.  Plank and hinge are not specific exercises, but rather are the foundation for the major strength movements for the program. Plank – this is the foundation for all movements.   Hinge – the ability to flex and extend at the spine is vital to safe and efficient movement and also to avoid injury.

Reps and sets – all exercises- 3 sets with a reverse pyramid design of 5/6/8 reps.  Drop 10% of the weight for consecutive sets.

See video for demonstration.

squat

Squat

Squat – The position offers partial weight bearing closed chain exercises as well as dynamic cable exercises for both upper and lower body muscle groups.  The incline plane provides optimal intensity levels to develop power in the lower extremities with closed kinetic chain plyo-metric exercises.

Upright Prone - Pull Up A

Pull-Up

Pull Up – The LAT bars are used to provide partial weight bearing exercises for the back, shoulders and arms.  This allows any client to perform a pull up exercises.  The lower intensity is also ideal for developing power in the upper body by incorporating plyo-metric exercise variations.

Chest Press

Chest Press

Chest Press – This position provides training and conditioning of the anterior shoulders, chest and arms.  Trunk stabilization is integrated into the exercises, as the upper body is upright and unsupported.

Inverted Shoulder Press

Inverted Shoulder Press

Inverted Shoulder Press – This position provides training and conditioning for the shoulders, arms and trunk.  With the inverted body position, the degree of incline will inversely affect the strength and stability components of the plank and push up exercises.  A lower incline emphasizes proximal stability whereas a higher incline emphasizes upper body strength.

Seated Lateral - Toroso Rotation A

Shoulder Rotation

Seated Lateral Shoulder (Cable) Rotation – This position provides training and conditioning of the truck, shoulders, chest and arms.  The line of pull provides a transverse plane resistance with a constant challenge to lateral trunk stability.

Lunge

Lunge

Lunges with external weight (med ball, dumbbells, kettle bells). – This position provides functional stability and balance challenges to the entire body while strengthening and conditioning the lower body.

Knowing your clients’ needs and wants is vital to helping people achieve their fitness goals.  Staying true to the initial intent and purpose of a workout program will sustain a client/trainer relationship and provide results for the client.

With the 40+ age group, keeping that perspective in mind is the best way to being an effective and trustworthy fitness professional.

About the Author

Neil MallisonNeil Mallinson is a Master GRAVITY Instructor, Master TRX Instructor and holds numerous certifications through NSCA and NASM, and has presented domestically and internationally for decades.

He studied Kinesiology and Sports Medicine at the University of Maryland College Park and specializes in sports performance training with a focus on mobility and recovery.  The ability to change a person’s life through fitness education and living a healthy lifestyle are what keeps Neil passionate.

Jul
11

How to Project Your Voice in Group X Class

Woman gesturing and shouting

Protect Your Vocal Chords, Project Your Voice

Music with rockin’ beats draws energy to fitness classes.  It’s a form of instant motivation when you hear the tunes as the instructor belts out commands that move to the beat.  It’s like performing a ‘movement concert’ in a room filled with an audience that follows your every lead.

As an instructor, there’s an energy you get from your students that inspires you to vocally command the room while dishing out a great workout.  This is a wonderful attribute we possess, but sharing our skills with good cuing over the loud beats is a recipe for vocal chord damage that could occur over time.

Voice Health

Instructors, you should understand the importance of projecting your voice during your classes. A projected voice, especially for high-energy classes such as boot camps, spinning and kickboxing, will bring out your passion and confidence, and will get your class fully engaged.

The vocal cords should function like a synchronized beat, just like the music.  When they become strained, the cords strike at uneven times creating a vocal health hazard.  This can be quite painful.  The voice can become raspy or it could develop into no voice at all.   Seriously, this is not a fun experience.  Especially if you like to talk.

It’s absolutely critical for you to know that projecting your voice the right way is not to shout louder.  Incorrectly shouting while you teach can eventually strain and can ultimately damage your vocal cords.  To protect your voice health, you must learn the correct use of your diaphragm to project your voice effectively.

The diaphragm is an umbrella shaped muscle, which lurks at the bottom of your stomach above your belly button. The strength of the speaking voice is marked by the amount of air that can be steered by the diaphragm through the lungs to the vocal cords.

Tips for Vocal and Class Communication

Learning about vocal cord damage from someone who has experienced it creates the awareness of its hazards.   Speaking is something we just do, right?  Unless you are a trained singer or speaker, no one really teaches you how to properly use or project your sweet vocals.  We just carry on doing what we do best; teach skillful movements, cue the class, and give our students a great workout.

Here are a few tips and suggestions I believe have helped me along the way, especially since I have experienced this dreadful and serious condition.

CaptureCREATE LABELED SIGNS

If you teach a high intensity boot camp or interval circuit style class, I suggest taking the time to make labeled signs of the exercises performed in the workout.  This is not only helpful for you to quickly explain the exercises once for the workout, but it’s also helpful for your students to remember what you instructed them to do when they cycle through the stations.

Chances are, when you initially explained the workout, they probably didn’t hear you or weren’t paying attention to what you said.  So, stations with labeled signs will help you instruct the workout and keep it flowing while providing personal attention without having to scream to the whole class.

PROJECT YOUR VOICE

Learn to speak efficiently and effectively by projecting your voice across the room.  Sounds travel and can be lost as your position in the class changes.  Therefore, be sure to speak to the students, not to the walls.

VOICE TONE

Have you ever taken a class where the instructor uses their voice as if they are telling a story?  The deflection of how the words are spoken can be inspiring to the student.  This is an important skill that comes with practice.  Calmer classes such as yoga, Pilates, Barre or stretching workouts work best with this type of voice tones.

MicMIC IT UP

Teaching with a reliable microphone is a game changer for you and your classes.  It’s the perfect solution to be easily heard without having to scream over loud music.  It allows you to float around the room cuing and correcting without disrupting the classes flow.  Not only is it better for your students to hear you, but it’s also better for your vocal health.

Personal Story:

I used to teach outdoor water aerobics to a group of women.  They would chitchat, bounce around, and be more into their social discussions than into the exercises. It was tough for me to project my soft voice over 24 chatty women out in the open.

Over time, I developed vocal chord nodules that became quite painful.  I had the option to get surgery and heal for 4 months or to completely rest my voice and not speak for 4 months.  I chose to not speak and go to vocal therapy after.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do and yes, I had to take a break from teaching.

I am sharing this story with you because this is very common with instructors.  They tend to ignore the issue or fight through it without stepping back to realize their body is breaking down and needs rest.

There are many different types of microphones on the market now that are wireless and portable.  I highly suggest investing in your own so that you are always prepared and your health is prioritized.   I also suggest carrying your own batteries in case the microphone quits mid class.

VOICE CHANGER

Woman shouting into a megaphoneHave you ever taken a class where the instructor’s tone of voice went through different vocal points throughout the workout?  For example, the class starts with a strong burst of happy energy, then as the class picked up, the vocals got louder and that sweet happy voice turned into a screaming drill sergeant dictating your every move?  Then, as the class concluded, the voice turned into an extra sweet, soft whisper that was calmer to the personality of the instructor?

This does occur and if you are one of these instructors who tries to give different energy throughout the class, be aware of how you sound to your students.  There is a way to fluctuate your voice in different tones without changing it drastically to reflect a certain enthusiasm of the class without sounding like a multi-personality nut.  (I mean this kindly).

Personal Story:  I love to take other peoples classes. It allows me to move with purpose without having to think of what to do. But it can be frustrating to take a class that wastes my time and I end up feeling like I need to do more.

One class in particular I enjoy taking is Barre.  The class, music, and instruction is always good, but I have to say there are some instructors that do this ‘multi-personality’ voice tone thing and I know they don’t even realize they do it.  If you can relate, just be mindful that it is a real ‘thing’ that occurs.  Perhaps only instructors pick up on this, but I bet our students do too!

To enlighten myself, and possibly you too, I have categorized these personalities that occur during some classes.  Take note, be aware, and have a little laugh…

The Whisperer: calms his/her voice to an unrecognizable tone so that you almost cannot hear them. It’s a completely different voice and tone than the actual workout.

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The Screamer: yells out commands at a super high pitch and demands certain movements. If a microphone is used as well, this can be very disruptive to the workout rather than motivating.

The Drill-sergeant: bossy, direct and on a mission to make you work and work hard. The participant is almost scared – if they don’t do their best they will be sentenced to 20 push-ups.

The Singer: the instructor seems to be having their own dance party on the microphone by singing the song and trying to instruct. Let the music be sung by the artist and use the beat to create your movement art.

The Rapper: this instructor cues to the beat of the music as if they are rapping the instructions. If you have experienced this, you know what I’m sayin’…1700684

The Counter: counting down is a great form of motivation and can help transition into the next exercise. But when the majority of the class is spent counting, it can be daunting and boring, plus the tone of voice can get drawn out.  Finding the right balance of instructing and counting comes with practice and teaching experience.

I find that the most effective instructors are those who communicate by using deliberate words that the class can hear, understand and be motivated to follow.  The more you talk the less the class will listen, so choose your words wisely, deliver important points and stick with those points throughout the class. It is amazing to see how well a class responds when it synchronizes with your clear message.  The way you speak during your classes will allow your students to be engaged with your every word.

Cranking up the music to get the energy going definitely motivates and provides a great class experience. But if no one can hear what you’re saying and your own health becomes jeopardized, how effective is it?   Hopefully these tips will help you safely and effectively execute a great class in different settings but by protecting your health first so you can teach for years to come.

Cheers to strong vocal health!

Maria

About the Author

MARIA HEADSHOTMaria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Masters Degree in Performance Enhancement/ Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a free lance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, news letters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work.

http://www.groovysweat.com

http://www.groovysweatstore.com (purchasable workout videos)

http://www.youtube.com/groovysweat (workout clips)

Jun
27

Total Gym Workouts – Perfect For Kids & Teens

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How to Motivate Underachieving Kids and Teens in Sports, with Total Gym Exercises

GRAVITY Sessions at Fitness Republic

GRAVITY Sessions at Fitness Republic

An interesting thing happened to me a few months back…

I am the type of person who is always planning new workouts, combinations, music,  and so much more, at my studio, Fitness Republic in Vero Beach, FL.  At the beginning of February, my 13 year old daughter told she had to run a mile for gym class.  In Florida, the state standard for a 13-year old girl to run a mile, is 8:13, which is a pretty good pace for many people.  My daughter came home with a “C” on her report card for gym.  Being that fitness consumes my world just about every day, I was shocked.  I asked what had happened, and she told me about the mile requirement. I asked her what her time was.  She said “18 minutes.”

“Excuse me?”  I said,  “Not on my watch.  Lace up your sneakers RIGHT NOW!”

We hit the pavement.  I told her that no matter what, we were not going to stop running that mile until we were done.  We came in at 13 minutes … not bad for a first attempt at progress.  I told her this was just the beginning and after we finished that first mile together, I asked her what her teacher does to help condition her class.

“Nothing,” she exclaimed disappointingly. He just tells us that he can run a mile in 6 minutes, and we have to try harder.   Have teachers lost their passion?

My daughter has two really good friends. Like many teenagers, they all have an element of laziness tucked in there, so I thought she’d need some buddies to help her on her new journey.  I told her to get them ready as well.

“For what?” she asked.

“Because we are going to flip this.”  I said.

For the next six weeks, the three of them met me twice a week for strength training.  I had them doing two workouts a week on the Total Gym GTS.  And they loved it.  My goal was to get their fast twitch muscles activated and enhanced.

This is what we did:

  • Plyo Alternating Leg Squats
  • Plyo Pull-ups
  • Plyo Shoulder Presses to get their big muscles firing.
  • Then, Cardio Pull to get their tickers up.
  • Static Equilibrium Chest Press,
  • Static Equilibrium Rows
  • Upright Supine Pull-downs.
  • Leg Cables finished the workout.
Total Gym workouts with family

Work out with your kids. Good for you and good for them!

We started off gently with lesser reps and time and slowly built up to about a 45-minute workout.  Over the 6 weeks, their incline levels increased slowly but surely.  Their stamina and muscle growth really improved, and their flexibility and range of motion was so much better. And, the best part of it all was that were having FUN in the process and really enjoying themselves.  Now, isn’t that what it is all about? Making gains and having a ball while doing it.  Maybe that’s not what it’s about for their gym teacher, but it certainly is for a Dad.

In addition to the workouts on the GTS, we ran four days a week.  And when it was time to run the race, she crossed the finish line in … wait for it … 8:02!  Fantastic! She laid it all out there on the track.  The gym teacher offered up a brief smile and said a meek “good job,” realizing that young woman had just cut her time in half and he didn’t have anything to do with it!

She came in 4th place out of 22 kids and was the first girl to cross the line in her class.  She couldn’t thank me enough for helping her, but any parent knows that we will stop at nothing to help our children.

So much can be achieved with the right motivation.  If we can just put the right people in the right places, we can ensure success.  For her, it is Dad, for me it is the knowledge that I have access to a great piece of fitness equipment.  The GTS.

And now, even thought the race is over, my daughter and her friends are still training on the GTS with me, because they enjoy it so much!   You can’t been quality time with your children while getting them fit!

To talk more about training on a Total Gym GTS contact 858 764 0055 or CLICK HERE.

About the Author

Jon D'AllesioJon D’Alessio has been a Certified Personal Trainer since 1995 and a GRAVITY Master Trainer since 2005. With his wife Brandie, together they own their own a private training studio, Fitness Republic, in Vero Beach, FL. Through a tailored approach of regular fitness activities, guided fitness programs and education, Jon helps his clients accomplish anything, no matter how big or how small. 

Jun
20

Fitness Studio Owner? 7 Tips To Start You Off

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Is Owning Your Own Fitness Studio As Easy As It Looks?

I have met hundreds of fitness professionals, trainers and general population who share an interest in opening their own studio.  Whether a person is in the fitness industry currently, and thinks that opening their own studio is the best option compared to working for a corporation, or a person switching careers and getting into fitness for the first time, I often hear the same story.  The expectation is expressed like this.  “I want to open my own gym/studio so I can make more money and have more free time to do what I want.” Or, ” I want to hire other trainers to work for me at my own studio so I can increase my earnings.”

Melissa Rishel - Owner MBS Fitness, Sonora, CA

Melissa Rishel

I always support people with a vision and a dream.  To be an entrepreneur and business owner takes tremendous focus and resolve.  The challenges and pitfalls that arise will test a person’s commitment and dedication.  I spoke to Melissa Rishel, Owner of MBS Fitness Studio, Sonora Calif., who shared some interesting insights into her experience as a gym owner.

Location, Location, Location

The location of the studio can make or break you.  Melissa took time to find a space that was visible to passing traffic and was centrally located to prospective members.  If a studio is hidden inside a building or business park, it’s possible that nobody will know that the studio exists.

Know Your Demographic

Melissa wasted money and time on marketing the studio.  A few months after opening, she realized that word of mouth was the best marketing for her area.  However, marketing CAN be a vital way to business build (social media, newspaper ads, flyers and open houses are all great avenues).  Do your research.

Research Your Membership Plan

Be attentive to the needs and wants of the membership.  If a gym offers Yoga, Pilates, GRAVITY, TRX and Personal Training, for example, be sure to offer all at a high standard. Most large corporate gyms can handle high turnover in membership. However, if a small studio under-delivers on programming and customer service, it will quickly go out of business.

Money

Beware of Hidden Fees

Every small business has to pay taxes that you may not be aware of. Melissa was charged taxes on all parts of her business: licensing, square footage and many other taxes a new business owner rarely knows about. Her business insurance was also a large expense.  Some landlords and insurance companies require mandatory security systems that increase costs. Know the ins and outs of the location before signing a contract or lease.

Utilities – know the rates.  Melissa was shocked in her first month with a heating bill of over $500!  Water, gas, electricity and cable/internet are all added expenses to the business.

Hiring Staff

Hire quality/qualified staff and pay them well!  Build a relationship of trust.  Although you may trust your staff, nobody will care about the studio as much as you, the owner.  Always know that whatever happens in and around the studio, the owner is ultimately responsible for everything and everyone.  Being the boss brings great responsibility.  Be prepared for everyone to come to you even if you have the appropriate staff on sight to handle a situation.

Man on ropeAppreciate Your Membership

There is a plethora of fitness outlets from the large “big box gyms” to the small boutique and everything in between.  The cost of a monthly membership can vary from $10-200+ per month.  What keeps small fitness businesses afloat is a sincere appreciation for the membership and clientele. Offer incentives to long term members, host member appreciation events and create a positive and motivating culture at your facility to create longevity for the business.

A studio can represent a person’s “third space.”  One space being their home, second being their place of employment.  To create an inviting and positive studio/gym takes a solid foundation and a solid staff.

Create a Culture

Lastly, have a mission statement that encompasses why your business exists and display it boldly for everyone to see.  If everyone in the studio knows why the space exists, it will create a strong culture and ultimately create a thriving fitness business.

When choosing to create and own a fitness studio there are many factors to consider.  The rewards can be tremendous and rewarding, as you can impact so many lives positively through fitness.  However, be aware and extremely diligent when you do decide to open your own business.  Planning your strategy and learning from others who have gone before you can save you time, energy, money and most importantly your own sanity and health.   This blog offers a small glimpse into the pitfalls of studio ownership that I was glad to share with you.

Special thanks go out to Melissa Rishel for her contributions.

About the Author

Neil MallisonNeil Mallinson is a Master GRAVITY Instructor, Master TRX Instructor and holds numerous certifications through NSCA and NASM, and has presented domestically and internationally for decades.

He studied Kinesiology and Sports Medicine at the University of Maryland College Park and specializes in sports performance training with a focus on mobility and recovery.  The ability to change a person’s life through fitness education and living a healthy lifestyle are what keeps Neil passionate.

 

 

Jun
6

Spotlight – Total Gym in the South Pacific

Total Gym Down Under – Still Going Strong, 15 Years On

Greg Doherty - HQH

Greg Doherty – HQH

It may be a surprise to learn that people work out on Total Gym machines all over the world.  It’s not so surprising, though, when you learn that Total Gym is present in over 45 countries worldwide and spreading to more corners of the globe, daily.

Greg and Nancy Doherty of HQH Fitness in New Zealand are steadfast Total Gym fans and have been Total Gym distributors, down under, since 2002, just before GRAVITY, was first launched.

Native born Canadians, the Doherty travel bug led them to emigrate to New Zealand, with their two sons in 1983.  They didn’t just emigrate like you and I might, though.  They didn’t just hop on a plane and tah-dah, there they were.  No, Greg decided to follow his sailing passion and cruised his family across the oceans on their 38 ft. yacht!  They visited many different cultures and remote places throughout the Pacific basin for three years, before arriving in New Zealand.  Now that’s the way to move, right?

HQH on a Total Gym Tour in Australia

Watch the video of Greg on Tour

Greg pursued a career as a boat builder and Nancy trained as a professional kinesiologist.  After reconnecting with an old friend, Paul Chek of the C.H.E.K. Institute, they began helping Paul bring his knowledge to Australia and New Zealand.  This is where their introduction into the fitness industry began. Their fitness business acumen grew and in 1998 Greg and Nancy formed HQH (Highest Quality Health).

Chek was already working at that time with Total Gym and it is through Paul that Greg and Nancy were introduced to Total Gym, which was looking to bring GRAVITY into the South Pacific market.

Since then, Greg has combined his traveling passion with his love for improving the health, fitness and wellness of people everywhere.  He straps up a GTS in the back of his van and off he goes, on the road for months at a time.  He’ll take his GTS out into a field to demo it: you name it – he’s been there and done it – demos in the street, the park and the beach.  Check out the video of Greg on tour, above.

The Workshop Gym

The Workshop Gym – small group classes

Total Gym and HQH Fitness continue to build on a strong foundation year after year.  John Pemberton, of The Workshop Gym, a Total Gym studio in Auckland recently expanded his facility.  John, the Owner, purchased his Total Gym GTS units in 2012 and recently felt it was a good time to upgrade to the latest models.

“Having a facility like The Workshop Gym, virtually in the heart of Auckland, showcases the complete Total Gym product line and allows an opportunity for equipment buyers to have a look at the kit in action,” says Doherty.

John also added to his studio, the new ELEVATE Circuit, a series of single-station units that work all muscle groups to give a full body workout in 30 minutes.   John has also been testing the ELEVATE Circuit on kids, as he finds it provides a really fun way to teach fitness to youngsters, ages 6 years and up.

The Workshop Gym - ELEVATE Circuit

The Workshop Gym – ELEVATE Circuit

“By utilizing the ELEVATE Circuit in conjunction with Bosu and skill-based games, we have developed the M.A.D (Mobility/Agility/Dynamic strength) program for kids. We are teaching them M.A.D skills and they can’t get enough!  Getting more kids moving in a non-competitive environment allows even the least confident to improve their strength and fitness,” says Pemberton.

With five GTS units at The Workshop Gym, they can also offer small group training sessions and GRAVITY Pilates. His members love the new units and this has resulted in improved attendance rates across the GRAVITY classes.

Greg, HQH and Total Gym continue to make a great team and as new products develop, the team will continue to keep customers and new clients at the forefront of this ever-changing industry.

For more information on GRAVITY and the ELEVATE Circuit, contact commercialfitness@totalgym.com or call 858-764-0078.

 

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