Total Gym InsideLatest Information about Total Gym


Why is Circuit Training Great for Your Gym?

Bridging the Gap Between Selectorized Equipment and Functional Cages. 

In a market where, since 2008, gyms are competing for the attention of 41 million American health club members, every gym owner needs to understand how to attract new members. Why do people go to the gym instead of working out at home and how do you keep them once they walk in the gym doors?

Total Gym Elevate Circuit

Total Gym Elevate Circuit

The primary reason people leave the comfort of home is the availability of exercise equipment. Another reason is that it’s lonely at home. The gym provides a social atmosphere that helps with motivation. Since all gym franchises offer exercise equipment, from free weights to machines, sharp marketing is especially important to attract potential clients.  And awareness of trends in this business helps. For example, the age demographic for gym members has shifted from 18-34 year olds to include both children (due to the childhood obesity epidemic) and those over 50 (the Baby Boomer generation). The ideal gym needs to invite people of all ages to exercise within their abilities in a safe, enjoyable environment with useful equipment to improve physical health.

Press Trainer

Explosive Plyometrics


Chris Stevenson, owner of Stevenson Fitness, faculty member of the California Health and Longevity Institute and founder of Stay Strong Consulting, looks for fairly simple-to-operate equipment that members can use by themselves. He weighs the benefits of a piece of equipment against its features. Does it provide social interaction? Does it use body weight, weight plates or weight stacks? “It’s important to engage your members, while asking the question ‘How is this going to increase my revenue?’” Small group training has evolved to be a perfect fit for utilizing personal trainer staff while providing customer satisfaction. Trainers can even help shape customer loyalty to particular pieces of equipment in which you have invested by consistently using these machines in small group sessions.

As a fitness provider, Stevenson also believes it’s essential to offer education and motivation. And the key to motivation lies insocial interaction with both the gym staff and other gym members. “It’s important to create a welcoming atmosphere where members feel like they’re part of a gym family and where they can bring their families.”


The Total Gym Elevate Circuit, targeting both group and individual training in the functional fitness trend, is the first line of functional bodyweight resistance single-station machines. Simple in design, each piece is intuitive to use and offers workouts for all levels of fitness. There are six pieces: the Core Trainer, Leg Trainer, Pull-up Trainer, Press Trainer, Jump Trainer and Row Trainer, which can be used individually or together in a circuit to perform over 80 exercises, from basic to challenging.

Total Gym Row Trainer on the cardio deck

Total Gym Row Trainer


Circuit training has gone through a number of iterations, from 30-minute light-weight, high rep sets, to 4-minute high intensity interval training (HIIT), such as Tabata. The most basic circuits involve selectorized equipment because of the necessity for speed and ease of changing weights between users. Selectorized equipment using weight stacks has always been touted as a “great way to do circuit training” because it targets beginner and intermediate gym-goers.  The load is controlled and the body is positioned ergonomically. Plate loaded machines are the next step up in resistance training for those who max out the weight limits on the selectorized weight stack.  The workouts are generally anaerobic though, which means users need to do cardio exercises separately to get a complete workout.

Total Gym addresses this dichotomy by incorporating full body motion in every Elevate Circuit machine using body weight, gravity and (at times) bungee-type bands as resistance. In particular, the Jump Trainer provides low and high impact, highly effective plyometric movement that’s accessible to all.  Plyometric exercises can also be performed by using explosive pushing action on the Press Trainer, forceful pulling action on the Pull-up Trainer and explosive jumping on the Jump Trainer. These actions allow the user to get an airborne feeling by releasing the hand grips as they move up and down the rails. The body stays safely anchored on the glideboard, with no chance for falling or landing too hard. More importantly by using only a percentage of bodyweight, a user, who may not have previously been able to perform certain exercises, can now jump, or a do press up, or a pull-up. 

Row Trainer small group class

Row Trainer small group class

The Total Gym Row Trainer, emulating a rowing pattern, integrates an upper and lower body component into a traditional cardio machine and is the latest addition to the Elevate Circuit.  It enables a smooth consistent load through the entire range of motion due to loaded concentric and eccentric phases of the exercise while providing low impact on the joints, especially the lower spine.  And it is built for multi-planar movement including exercises such as biceps curl and an alternating side to side row.


On the other end of the spectrum of gym trends is CrossFit, which tends to appeal to competitive athletic types who enjoy variety and challenge. Gyms that focus on this type of workout use a cage or “power” cage with performance station set-ups in small group training, which, as mentioned before, is a great way to encourage members to buy sessions.

The cage footprint can be from 4′ by 4′ to 24′ or larger, and there’s a lot of equipment that is normally used with it—barbells, dumbbells, weight benches, resistance bands, rings, medicine balls, TRX bands, etc. To first-time gym goers it can be intimidating. Deconditioned people, older members, and injured members have a difficult time using functional cage setups on their own.

Total Gym Elevate Circuit - Core Trainer & Pull-up Trainer

Core Trainer & Pull-up Trainer

Total Gym bridges the gap between the novice equipment user and advanced athletes who like to circuit train. In fact, the Elevate line also saves money in the equipment budget while capitalizing on space, and it allows for greater revenue by providing a way to offer small group training with personal trainers. This bodyweight circuit is for every body. And, as such, it should be positioned as a transitional circuit.


Each of the six pieces in the Elevate Circuit can be used as part of a circuit or individually. The exercises can be progressed from beginner to advanced fitness levels by increasing the incline at which the work is done and incorporating plyometric variations. The Jump Trainer and Row Trainer also have bungee cables to add more resistance than gravity and body weight alone.

The equipment can be grouped together or by body part, intermixed with traditional selectorized equipment. Note that if you put the Core Trainer with an ab-crunch machine, clients will quickly see which one offers more diversity and quicker full-core results. The same goes for the Leg Trainer, which can take the place of the glute machine, the quad machine and the hamstring machine.

Total Gym Elevate Circuit - Certainly Feels Like Fun

What Does Fun Feel Like?


Exercises are intuitive and the equipment is user-friendly with placards illustrating exercises on how to perform the circuit. A quick scan of the QR code opens numerous videos demonstrating even more options. All the machines are more fun to use than selectorized or plate loaded equipment because you’re actually moving your body up and down incline rails with your physical efforts. “Riding the rails,” so to speak, is a great way to build body awareness. Research has shown that exercising one limb at a time can allow for heavier weights to be lifted by the single limb compared to when both are used at the same time. This can increase the stress placed on the muscle and help exercisers get better results*.  Each Elevate unit can isolate one limb or body part for effective strength gains. What client doesn’t like fast results and efficient workouts that are fun?

Another positive experience factor involves the circuit part of exercising with the Elevate Circuit – it brings people together, allowing them to be more social in the gym setting, or a small training program setting.  It bridges the gap between selectorized and functional cages. Selectorized machines are very isolating; and though people work out with others in the cage, it tends to get extremely competitive. There’s nothing in the middle—until now.  The Elevate Circuit, when used as a circuit, is designed to be followed by number. Six exercises for six machines. A trainer can lead six clients at a time for a full-body cardiovascular and strength workout. Every participant does exercise number one on each unit until they’ve cycled through the six machines. Returning back to the first machine they started on, every participant starts on exercise number two, and so on, until the group has completed six exercise on each unit. For some clients, this is a way to engage in effective body weight training for the first time.

Cardio and sculpting needs are both addressed in the Elevate Circuit. Plyometric and low impact options are easily interchanged. And you can even stretch on the machines—no separate space or equipment necessary for a special “stretching machine.”

The exercises can be regressed when a client is injured. The fully-supported body position options are useful for therapeutic exercise programs. This helps retain members who would otherwise quit due to injury, boredom and being unsuccessful.

MONEY TALKSTotal Gym Elevate Circuit

According to IHRSA, every gym owner wants equipment that is cost effective, requires low maintenance, is visually pleasing, and helps members see great results. Gym owners capitalize on the ease of use and appeal to non-athletic or inexperienced people (think Curves or Orange Theory) who are intimidated by free weights or plate-loaded equipment. The Total Gym Elevate Circuit is aligned with what gym owners are looking for. They are simple to lift and move since they are on wheels, which means you can change the configuration of your gym as you see fit. And they only take up just over 200 square feet of space. The machines are modern with sleek lines, which attract the eye of discerning clients. Total Gym Elevate Circuit is revolutionary:  for less than $11,000, you can update your gym with the latest equipment design in fitness that is guaranteed to drive sales and member retention while satisfying the clients’ needs for functional training and that’s fun and engaging.

*(Cresswell AG, Ovendal AH.,2002, Hakkinen K,,1997)

For more information email or contact 858-764-0034.

About the Author

Jodai SaremiJodai Saremi, DPM, BS , is a freelance writer, AFAA certified trainer, and fitness model. She has written for American Fitness, SPIN fitness,  Your Health Connection magazines, and other online publications. Her articles have also been featured in textbooks. She enjoys an active lifestyle and lives in Ventura County, Calif. with her husband and two children.


Spotlight – GRAVITY at the YMCA | Total Gym

GRAVITY Classes – Part of The Y Community.

Today the YMCA is more commonly known as “The Y”, but back in 1844 when the Young Men’s Christian Association started in London—England, it began as a social outreach for unhealthy, overcrowded living/working conditions at the end of the Industrial Revolution.

Its founder, George Williams, a sales assistant in a draper’s shop in London assembled the first YMCA to substitute a Bible study and by 1851 there were 24 YMCAs across Great Britain and its reach had crossed the big pond.  The YMCA community idea, was unique in its time, as it bridged the gap between the different churches and social classes in England and it was this originality that latymcaer opened the doors for all people of different religions and races as well as women and children.

Back then, YMCAs were mostly supported by volunteers and it wasn’t until the 1880s that the more recognizable YMCA of today started to take shape.  At that time, gyms and swimming pools were added to the hostel-type accommodations along with bowling alleys and huge auditoriums.  Income from the rented rooms funded much of the YMCA activities.

The YMCA organized summer camps, student activities, sports games, and fundraising campaigns and by the time the First World War had ended, its missionary and humanitarian outreach was huge and and by the end of World War II the YMCAs had changed their focus to youth programs.  

Believe it or not, by 1975 healthier life-styles started to increase and so did the demand for the Y to update their buildings.  Over the next decade health and fitness; camping and residences was a major source of income as youth focus took hold again and by the ‘90s character development was key.

GRAVITY Class Set up at the Y

GRAVITY Class Set up at the Y.

Today the Y holds a deep respect for its traditions, a love of what it stands for as well as a desire to help the community.  Millions of people have been introduced to sports through the Y and in turn over the years, the Y has introduced sports to millions—literally—professional football began at a YMCA, racquetball was invented by a Y member, volleyball and basketball were invented by Y instructors, softball is called softball because of the Y.

Nowadays, YMCAs run all types of programs from senior activities and skateboarding to Zumba and CPR classes.  Some of the most successful are camping, swimming and child care.  At the Mission Valley YMCA, San Diego, GRAVITY Classes are very popular. 

“We teach GRAVITY classes almost every hour at the Y, I love teaching it, because it works.   I can really get involved in the success of my Clients and the whole point of the YMCA is giving back to the community.  With GRAVITY we are giving people their fitness back,” YMCA GRAVITY Trainer and Tennis Coach, Cara Beltran, explained.

GTS at the YMCA

Far right, Cara Beltran – GRAVITY Trainer at the YMCA San Diego

GRAVITY offers a full body workout that targets all muscle groups using a percentage of one’s own bodyweight on the Total Gym GTS. With over 250 exercises to peak interest, GRAVITY class attendees are loving their sessions. 

“I have been attending GRAVITY classes at the Mission Valley YMCA for about 2 years now.  I joined because I wanted to increase my strength and overall fitness.  I do one or two classes a week.  I like the abdominal workouts the best – roll ups and crunches.  It really helps to have the individual instruction and encouragement in a small group class.  I have gotten stronger since I started GRAVITY and my balance has improved.  I think I also have more energy.  There are so many benefits—I know I will keep doing GRAVITY classes for years to come,” said Gay H., YMCA member.

Eric & Gay Hybertson with a Total Gym GTS.

Eric & Gay Hybertson with a Total Gym GTS.

Gay had seen the GRAVITY signs posted in the lobby of the Y and was curious but didn’t really know what it was all about until she received a free session one day for being a regular class attendee at the Y.  And she went.  Gay was so pleased with the results she encouraged her husband, Eric, to join her.

“I have been going to GRAVITY classes for about 4 months.  My conditioning had been getting slowly worse: I had difficulty in tying my shoes.  After a class I feel a little tired but way more flexible with less stiffness and much better posture.  I am impressed with the workout because it includes stretching and exercising all muscle groups and is very safe and injury-free.”

Eric continued.  “I am glad Gay pushed me to go.  She’s a big Y goer.  I didn’t want to do organized exercises, but the core work is really helping me with my daily activities.  Within a month I felt stronger.  I prefer GRAVITY to water aerobics – I go twice a week now with Gay and I’ve lost some weight too.  You know I am not really a person to gush about these things and I am surprised I am saying all this but I really have a positive attitude about GRAVITY and the positive impact that it has on my life.   I feel so much better.”

“We’re fitter thanks to GRAVITY”.

Today there are 2,700 YMCAs in 10,000 communities across the United States and they serve more than 45 million people in 119 countries.  The YMCA’s strength is borne from their communities and they are a testimonial to their mission statement: “We know that lasting personal and social change comes about when we all work together. That’s why at the Y, strengthening community is our cause.  Every day, we work side-by-side with our neighbors to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive”.

Get Involved

Joining the Y isn’t just good for you, it is a way to give back too.  By connecting, you are helping the community thrive.  There are other ways to give, not just monetarily, you can volunteer or get involvedFinding a balance in life is not always an easy task to manage so connecting with a YMCA will help you and your children find a safe and positive environment where children can learn good values, social skills and behaviors, as well as have fun and stay fit.


Find The Best Personal Trainer | Total Gym

Finding The Right Personal Trainer

“How do I find great trainers for my new studio?”  This is one of the first and most asked questions by a new club owner when putting together their plan to start a new fitness studio. Just like any new business owner, you can have a great idea and purchase all of the bells and whistles but having a great team will determine whether or not your business will stand the test of time.

Hiring your team  is an extremely crucial part to the growth and success of your business. However, there are times when hiring your team can be a detriment to the growth and success of your business as well, which means that you have to be careful when creating your team.

Total Gym Personal Training

Engage Your Members

You have been planning every detail of your business for months, you have a great concept for your new studio, you know that people will love it; you know that you are about to change lives, and that success is waiting for you. But now it is time to create your dream team to help you carry on your vision because you only want the BEST working for you and representing your business in your community.

Highly qualified Personal Trainers and Instructors are everywhere these days and it is up to you as the head honcho of your new business to find them because chances are, the best ones will not just walk into your new studio looking for a job. They are out there either working independently as their own boss and maybe they are looking for a change. Some are doing in-home training sessions, some are already working at other fitness facilities, and some are newly certified and/or fresh off an intense internship program and just waiting for the opportunity to start their fitness career, show off their knowledge, and change lives!

So, how do you attract these highly qualified fitness professionals? How do you get them to even consider joining your team?

Put yourself in their shoes. If you were a highly qualified fitness professional and already employed, what would it take for you to leave your current situation and join a new studio? Would it be money, health benefits, the club owner’s vision for the mission, the excitement of joining a new club, their brand or management opportunities? Think from the standpoint of the fitness professional and try to be what you think they need while also staying true to your mission statement and vision.

Total Gym Group Class

“Passionate, dedicated and loyal”

Internships – This is one of my personal favorite ways to find great trainers because as the fitness industry becomes more and more saturated with fitness professionals, I believe that the newly certified trainers are looking for ways to stand out and are hungrier than ever. They are extremely passionate, dedicated, loyal, and are looking for ways to not only gather experience but also potentially showing their new employer that they are ready to start from the ground floor. It is very common nowadays that these new trainers are better than some of the more experienced trainers and have the passion to match it, since they are so new to the industry and are excited to get started.

Internships are often used as a “courting” period where you can really see the work ethic of an individual before you commit to hiring them. The internship process kind of reflects the old adage, “slow to hire, quick to fire” because it is often said that the easiest way to fire someone, is before you hire them. So it is best to do your homework thoroughly when you’re looking to hire a new trainer and what better way to not only do your research and also see their work up close, than an internship. You can create your own in-house internship and just market it locally to whomever passes your criteria for admittance OR you can partner up with your local community college or University to offer your internship to various majors such as Kinesiology, Physical Education, Physical Therapy, and Nutrition. As I stated above, this option is great and one of my favorites because if you find someone who has the great personality but possibly lacks the experience, then you can train them to be phenomenal and under your brand.

Total Gym Group Teaching

“winners want to be around winners”

Word of Mouth – Word of mouth is always a great way to recruit people to your business as not only a new customer but also for your staffing needs. Word of mouth is huge and in a lot of ways, it screens the fitness professionals who are truly interested in being a part of your brand. There are lots of ways to create your word of mouth buzz but nowadays, the most common consist of community. Hopefully with you starting a new studio in your town, you have already been living in (or around) that city for a while and have somewhat of a network created so that you can put the word out to people that you know for qualified leads. However, if you don’t have a network in the community that you are starting a studio in and don’t know many people, then NOW would be the time to go out and shake a lot of hands and introduce yourself. You can do this by joining the chamber of commerce, getting involved with a local non-profit or rotary club via a committee or board of directors, and/or donating your time at a local school or church. The more people that know what you’re doing, know what you’re building, and that you’re looking for people to carry out your vision, the better chance that you will have to reap the benefits of penetrating their circle of friends and eventually meeting and/or getting introduced to potential employees and customers.

Social Media – It has been said that no other industry has benefited from social media more than the fitness industry. There’s a reason for that; social media allows you to broadcast your business in various ways from fitness videos, to motivational talks, quotes, fitness pictures, and even for staffing needs. Most people want to know who they are doing business with and with the reach of social media, prospective employers and employees are able to see one another before they even meet. As an employer, it is your job to make sure that your brand is accurately reflected across the board and especially online where it can get viewed by the masses. Winners want to be around winners and if you can create the kind of brand and image to attract quality trainers, they will definitely find you, keep an eye out, and eventually look to join your team when the time is right for them. But on the other side of that, a lot of great trainers will have their own personal (or business page) as well on various social media channels and you can follow and even reach out directly to them to create a networking relationship as well, just to let them know that you exist. The only thing that I would recommend is that you be careful for the ones who are already employed by other fitness facilities as you don’t want to break the code of ethics and try to recruit from your competitors. That’s almost like trying to date someone that is already married and we already know how that movie ends. So just respect the boundaries and stay in touch with these great trainers.

About the Author

Mike Z. RobinsonMike Z. Robinson is the owner of the highly successful personal training facility, MZR Fitness as well as Mike Z. Robinson Enterprises which features & highlights a myriad of options to help fitness professionals grow their businesses and careers. Mike was the 2015 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, is the author of the E-Book: “Fitness Up, Everything Up”, and he is also a Media Spokesperson for both the American Council on Exercise & IDEA Health & Fitness Association.


Mike Boyle talks about Unilateral Plyometrics in a Rehab Setting

Total Gym Jump Trainer – You Owe It To Your Athletes To Try it.

Mike Boyle

Mike Boyle

Mike Boyle is an expert in the field of Strength and Conditioning and truly cares about providing clients and athletes the best comprehensive performance enhancing training, reconditioning and personal training. Over the years he has served as Strength and Conditioning Coach for Men’s Ice Hockey at Boston University, for the Boston Red Sox when they won the World Series in 2013, the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League, for the US Women’s Olympic Ice Hockey Team: Gold Medalists in Nagano and 2014 Silver medalists in Sochi, and has served as a consultant in the development of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program, to name but a few.

As co-founder of two MBSC Strength & Conditioning locations, one in Woburn, MA and the other in North Andover, MA, Mike trains junior high school student athletes to All Stars in almost every major professional sport.  He is a world renowned speaker, lecturer and author and has produced numerous instructional videos on strength and conditioning.

Plyometric Jumping on the Total Gym Jump Trainer

Plyometric Jumping on Total Gym Jump Trainer

For athletes recovering from an injury or surgery, Mike and his extensive staff at MBSC Strength & Conditioning offers a vast training experience coupled with noticeable results.  It is his goal to move you far beyond your own goal. 

Mike’s Blog shares a wealth of knowledge on performance enhancement information and equipment reviews.  Here’s a piece he recently wrote on Unilateral Plyometrics in a Rehab Setting using the Total Gym Jump Trainer.


Around the World – Total Gym in the Ukraine

One Man’s Journey – Finding Functional Bodyweight Training with Total Gym

“Helping Millions of People Get Healthier.” That’s our mission at Total Gym and we know that healthier isn’t necessarily easier. It takes discipline and determination to make it a lifestyle. If you are willing, there are thousands of people around the world who want to help YOU succeed on your journey to fitness. Vlad Khlopkov, Owner of Fitnessolution Ltd., is one of those jewels helping a nation discover a new way to exercise on the Total Gym® Elevate Circuit™.

We interviewed Vlad on how he came to discover functional bodyweight training and what his thoughts were on the Total Gym Elevate Circuit. Here’s what he told us.

Vlad Khlopkov

Vlad working out on Total Gym GTS.

“My story starts in 1968. I was born in Baku (City of Winds), the capital and largest city in Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea. There, I began my journey and spent the next twenty-four years of my life.

Soon after graduating from high school, I studied engineering for five years at the Azerbaijan State Oil Academy. In the summer of 1991, the year that Ukraine declared its independence from Russia, I went to Kiev to visit my younger brother and something unexpected happened.

I remember it like it was yesterday; I was walking on the Bogdana Khmelnitskogo Street and suddenly I heard somebody calling my name. It was an old acquaintance of mine from school in Baku. While we were talking, he offered me a job to work with him in Kiev to which I agreed right away.   And would you believe it, it took me nearly twenty years until I visited Azerbaijan again? I’m glad my life turned out to be this way. Even if I could go back and change it, I wouldn’t change a thing.

So, that’s how I ended up staying in Kiev and starting my career in the fitness industry. It was at a time when the first sports clubs just started opening in Ukraine and I was selling sports equipment to a totally new market.

It was a completely new industry back then and to acquire all the necessary information I needed, I had been actively attending exhibitions and trainings abroad.  I found out about Total Gym from a commercial I saw with Chuck Norris in 2000. Later, at FIBO (International Fitness Wellness Expo), I saw a Total Gym booth and for the first time, I worked out on the machines.  I really liked them and immediately realized the potential for Total Gym in the Ukraine sport club arena.

In 2008, I established my own company for sports equipment and three years later I became the Total Gym distributor in Ukraine. I was introduced to the Elevate Circuit during one of the Total Gym distributor meetings in San Diego in 2014. I could really understand and physically feel the capability of these machines and realize their potential.

Box Jumps on the Leg Trainer

Box Jumps on the Leg Trainer

But back to my story—in 2015, in the wake of the popularity of functional training in the Ukraine, I got this idea to open a separate functional training studio, where the Elevate Circuit would be the basis of training, since it’s easy to understand, easy to use, very effective and popular. The studio opened, simply due to the Total Gym Elevate Circuit!

Our studio and everybody who comes to our studio loves working out on the Elevate Circuit. It delivers huge results while taking minimum time and minimum effort. With our busy lives and crazy schedules, it’s what people need nowadays. It’s good for any body type, age or fitness level etc. Most importantly, and this is a good thing, people don’t tire of it or get bored.

Our members are impressed with how the Elevate Circuit uses bodyweight as resistance and how exceedingly effective training sessions are.  Without even asking our members, I can assure that the most popular machine in the Elevate Circuit is the Total Gym Leg Trainer. Girls simply love it! They love working out on it and love what it does with their butts. Their most favorite exercises are the lunges.

Igor Obukhovskyy

Igor Obukhovskyy in the red hat.

A famous trainer, Igor Obukhovskyy, from Zvajeni and Schastlivy, the Ukraine counterpart to The Biggest Loser TV show, visited our studio to personally check out the Total Gym Elevate Circuit and consider them for purchase, for his trainings on the show. Mr. Obukhovskyy was extremely impressed with how effective the workouts were, even though they looked easy, and he was definitely recommending them for the show.

Our studio is not the only Total Gym Elevate Circuit representative in the Ukraine. The Fitness Manager of “Sky Fitness, one of the biggest Ukrainian sport clubs, Sergey Putsov, loves the machines for their comfort, effectiveness and thinks they are an ideal as a tool for personal training, as the foundation for a group training program. He is amazed how the Elevate Circuit has opened up a variety of totally new and interesting exercises for their members.

Now looking back at my childhood, I can say that I’ve had a “thing” for sports as long as I can remember. When I was about 10 years old when my mom took me to the track and field.  Those classes, and taking part in competitions, have implanted a love of sports and fitness in me forever.

Planking on the Core Trainer

Planking on the Core Trainer

I love what I do and it is definitely not just a business for me, it’s much, much more. When I was young I always thought about living in a world of physically and emotionally healthy people; happy people—strong, confident, young looking and beautiful people.

I think in particular, physical activities must be in our daily everyday life and we should teach our kids to be the same way. Here they say, “With training your body, you train your mind,” and roughly translates to “A sound mind, in a sound body”. I strongly believe that people should be developing themselves in all different ways, including physical and spiritual development because it is necessary for a happy and full-fledged life.

Health is not only an integral part of every human but the essence of life! Unfortunately there are still a lot of people who don’t think about the way they eat or live in general and I really want that to change.  Just like the saying goes ‘Wealth is nothing without health’, right?”


How to Open a Personal Training Studio | Total Gym

8 Tips for Opening a Successful Personal Training Studio   

by Frances Michaelson

Over the years we see personal training studios and gyms come and go. Some personal trainers jump in and open their own facility but starting any business is never as easy as it looks and involves careful planning.

When I decided to open my own place, I trusted my gut, but I was very careful with my finances, took my time with purchases, and sought the advice from others who were already successful. Here is my story.

In the late 90’s I was enjoying training very seriously for body building competitions and my body was changing drastically. I co-owned a small fitness center at the time, and members were in awe as they watched my body go through serious transformations.keys Even though I was lifting massive amounts of weight, I was getting smaller, leaner and of course, stronger.

I was not certified at the time, but enjoyed helping clients learn more and train in the gym instead of just attending aerobic classes. Gradually, I realized that personal training (which had started to become very popular in the States at that time), was the way to go. I started traveling to all the IDEA events and eventually got certified.

I knew that a personal training studio would be the right move for me. I did have a small clientele and knew some interested trainers who had clients ready to move out of the big gym and on to something more specific. I approached them and they loved my concept and agreed to bring their clients to my studio once it opened. I was lucky because several years ago, there were no other personal training studios. I was not planning to charge a membership. The conceplocationt was that clients would buy a block of sessions in 12, 24 or 36 blocks. There was an incentive to buy more, as the bigger packages were slightly cheaper. As long as they trained with their trainer once a week consecutively each week, they could use the facility on their own with no extra fee incurred. This worked perfectly.

Location, Location, Location
From past experience, it was very apparent that location was everything. You could be the best at what you do, but if your clients have to drive further than 10 minutes, you may as well not open. It is also essential that the location you choose is visible, easily accessible, has ample parking and good signage. There is nothing worse than clients having to look for parking spaces when rushing to get to their session.

You cannot ever rely solely on the clients you have at the time–people move on. You always have to think about the future. The clients that you may have been training for a while with and that you have formed strong relationships with are one thing, but new people who do not know you, will not go the extra mile to get to your facility. It has to be easy for new comers. You must also choose a location that is accessible by public transport and is handicap friendly. Today there are many people that may be wheel chair bound that are encouraged to come to work out and we need to support this population.

Create an OppMarketortunity
I was fortunate with timing as the shopping center I was looking at was about to undergo renovation so when I approached the landlord with what I had in mind, he was quite interested in helping out with leasehold improvements. The location was on a busy highway and right beside a large grocery chain so I knew would have success in a highly trafficked area. Parking was easy and abundant. It was to be the very first personal training studio in the area so he was keen to move forward. I had the idea to have his employees work out at their lunch hour, promising a better working environment and healthy staff, and he loved it. The classes that I was offering to teach would be part of the lease and so it was a win/win situation.

Invest in a Market Study
It is also extremely important to do a market study, looking at the income bracket of the residents in the area and what would they be ready and able to invest in their health and fitness. You need to know what other clubs are in the area, what the population is, their demographic and their income. If the rent is cheap, but the residents are scarce, this will not help you.

When to Buy EquipmentPersonal Training with Total Gym
I know this may be easy to say and hard to do, but try not to buy everything right away. Equipment needs may vary according to the clientele and trends and you won’t know what you need right away. Stay safe at the beginning with less rather than more. It will be easier on your budget.

Staff Your Facility Well
Staff is very important. We are in a business of people. Just because a trainer may be fit looking and have several certifications under their belt, may not make them friendly and passionate about their work. I made a few mistakes, hiring too quickly and not taking the time to ask for references from previous clients. I would also emphasize that their first month would be a trial basis. Unless they are contracted out employees (meaning that they invoice you for their services), I suggest you are very careful before putting them on a payroll. How they speak to their clients, and care about them is more important than their certifications.

Once you see that a trainer is not working out, do not procrastinate, make changes immediately. The longer you wait, and the more clients they might acquire, the tougher it becomes.

Managing Income
All payments for sessions should go through the reception or office and a proper tracking system of appointments is key. When I opened, we did not have the option of all the amazing software opportunities. Now, there is no excuse for not keeping all sessions, classes, etc., on track. The one that seems to be really popular in the fitness business is MINDBODY. I would still rather recommend that if you are thinking of opening your own studio to attend the annual IHRSA Group Workout on Total Gymtradeshow. There you have the opportunity to meet with all the successful software companies in the business and have the chance to try them.

Encourage Members to be Social
Having a juice bar and or boutique for some added income is an excellent way to encourage socializing at your facility. I offered free Espresso after a workout and sold water, juices, some nutrition bars etc. Purchase a good blender such as a Vitamix or Blendtec to make smoothies. They are both powerful and worth the investment. The juice bar space works so well as a hang-out area both before and after classes. Initially, you can have your trainers help out with making shakes and serving clients. This gives them more of an opportunity to chat and get to know them.

Obviously, there will be quiet times, so hiring someone special to work this area might be a financial strain. The other option may be to rent it out completely to a company that can manage it and just pay you some rent. You may want to think about that once you are established.

Personal Training with Total GymTell People About Yourself.
Going to trade shows is a great way to see what is out there. You can meet with the different companies and have the opportunity to try different products as well as advertise yourself.

Social media is a must because it is free! A group page where everyone can chat, post comments about their trainer and workouts is fun and encourages more of a community feel. I would strongly encourage client participation – contests work really well such asking clients to log their cardio minutes. I did this to motivate them to come in on their own for extra workouts just before Christmas for example. It ran for 6 weeks leading up to the holidays. The top 5 clients that did the most mileage would be rewarded with things like a free training session, free smoothies etc. A white board hanging on the wall is a great investment and probably the cheapest to draw attention to the challenges but you can print up posters as well. A white board is fun for shout-out words of encouragement and motivational quotes etc. Everyone loves to see their name up there.

I hope that my tips help you to open your own studio. Remember – most of all make it a fun environment!

About the Author

Frances MichaelsonFrances Michaelson is president of exercise equipment company Muscle Up Inc., a licensed naturopath and a personal trainer. She is passionate about helping people attain optimal health through proper diet and exercise. A self-described health-o-holic, she motivates others to move well and eat well to keep their bodies’ cells dancing and singing. Based in the West Island of Montreal, Frances is a frequent conference presenter, is author of BYOB: Bring Your Own Band and Replenish, Regenerate and Rebuild Your Cells, blogs for Total Gym exercise equipment, and is a regular contributor to IHRSA’s “Ask an Industry Leader.” With her broad knowledge base and over three decades of experience, she is widely recognized as a leader in the health and fitness field. Frances is committed to helping others make positive lifestyle choices that create stronger bodies, healthier minds and more fulfilling lives.


5 Best Equipment Purchases for Your Gym or Studio

Top Exercise Platforms Your Club Should Have

by Mike Z. Robinson

As the owner, director, or manager of a fitness club, you constantly find it part of your daily duties to keep  costs down on purchases made for your facility and it’s no different when it comes to purchasing equipment. When you are looking at making an equipment purchase for your club, there are several things that you have to factor in before you make your investment such as the cost, how much space will it take up, how much use do you think your clientele will get out of it, will it create a buzz of intrigue with your clients, what is the return on investment, and how exactly can you create an additional stream of income by buying this equipment.  Wow, who knew that so many things would go into making a simple equipment purchase?

With so many things to factor in, it’s no wonder that so many owners, directors, and managers have such a difficult time trying to find the right pieces of equipment to purchase for their facility. But you’re in luck because you will not only find the top 5 pieces of equipment to purchase for your facility below, but you will also find the best ones to get the greatest amount of return on your investment.  These are not in any particular order.

Total Gym GTS – TTotal Gym GTS Bodyweight Inclinehis is a great piece of equipment because not only is the Total Gym GTS very convenient, affordable, and functional but it also can be an amazing additional stream of income as many facilities have created their own Total Gym workshops, 6-8-12 week training programs, or customized workout circuits to bring in more revenue. There are literally hundreds of exercises that you can perform on the Total Gym and your clients are guaranteed to like the variety that it provides to spice the workouts up and keep their muscles & minds engaged. Total Gym lives up to its name and provides full body workouts all within one location. Nothing on the market even compares.

TRX – A great piece of equipment that offers versatility and a huge return on your investment. You caTRXn purchase 20 of these for less than $5,000 and create in house monthly/quarterly TRX training programs that nets you a huge return on your investment and a healthy stream of income. TRX’s have become synonymous with gyms, clubs, and training facilities all over the world and members have come to expect to see them at their workout destination, so to say that you need one at your club would be an understatement.

RopesTraining Ropes – Simply put, training ropes are awesome! They came to the mainstream out of nowhere a few years back and took the industry by storm. Although they look very simple and innocent, they come with a lot of functionality and excitement that members love and hate at the same time. Training ropes allow your members to explore and be creative in their workouts. Some people embrace the challenge of seeing what they can come up with during their workout and some people will shy away from it. However, the people who shy away from being creative (and risking injury) will provide your club the opportunity to offer private training and increase its Personal Training revenue as other members will definitely be intrigued by the Training Ropes especially when they see them in action. Some members will want to play with the Training Ropes but won’t want to risk getting injured which opens the door wide open for your Personal Trainers.

Lebert Bars – Lebert Bars are another piece of equipment that has become synonymous with workout facLebertilities mainly because of the affordability, the fact that it does not take up a lot of space, and you can do countless exercises on them. Lebert Bars are extremely light weight but are solid enough to be able to work with members of all sizes. Just like all of the pieces of equipment above, this too can be another stream of income that can be built by creating customized groups classes that focus solely on using and highlighting the Lebert Bars. They have become increasingly popular over the years and that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon.  

rowerWater Rower – Fun, fun, fun! The Water Rower is an old concept with a new twist. Regular rowers have been around for a while but the Water Rower is still fairly new and has been wildly appealing to members who have had the opportunity to use them especially those from the older population. They are very easy to use, no impact, and there seems to be something motivating about the aesthetics of watching yourself and seeing how much force you are generating in the water with every pull. Water rowers are extremely functional and you can do an incredible variety of exercises on them. To create income out of the Water Rowers, you can create competitions, tournaments, training programs, and contests.

If you look at the common denominator among all of the equipment choices listed above, you will see the trend that they are all pieces that focus on not only providing a lot of variety from its usage but also providing a great opportunity to create another stream of income and boost revenue. When you make your purchases for your club, always remember that you are making an investment and treat it like an investment. Confirm that you will not only be able to make your money back but that you will also be able to boost revenue simultaneously and immediately. There are obviously a lot of great pieces of equipment on the market and the list above simply should just help you on your quest to purchase new equipment. However, just remember that if you do want to get something that is not listed above, just make sure that you do factor in the cost, how much space will it take up, how much use do you think your clientele will get out of it, will it create a buzz of intrigue with your clients, what is the return on investment, and how exactly can you create an additional stream of income by buying this equipment.

About the Author

Mike Z. RobinsonMike Z. Robinson is the owner of the highly successful personal training facility, MZR Fitness as well as Mike Z. Robinson Enterprises which features & highlights a myriad of options to help fitness professionals grow their businesses and careers. Mike was the 2015 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, is the author of the E-Book: “Fitness Up, Everything Up”, and he is also a Media Spokesperson for both the American Council on Exercise & IDEA Health & Fitness Association.

Copyright © 2016 Total Gym. All Rights reserved.