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Five Brutal Facts of the Fitness Life
Originally Posted 04/13/10

Someone challenged me to write a short blog, which is supposed to be the idea behind these things. So here it is, a look at five nasty facts that are now part of the club culture in this country:

1. Physical plants attract but they donít do anything for retention: You can build the most incredible physical plant in the industry, but besides keeping it clean there is very little it does to keep members. It is sort of like checking in to a beautiful hotel and finding out over your weekend that the place has lousy service. Or it might be like dating a really good-looking person who also happens to be dumb as a rock (Imagine dating Sarah Palin: "So, how is the fishing today?Ē. The look may have attracted you but it wonít keep you. As I have mentioned in the last several blogs, itís all about retention and mediocre clubs that can get results and master service can take on beautiful clubs that have no depth.

2. Marketing sucks and it is just going to get harder: There are simply too many companies screaming to be heard for the average consumer to process. Adapt a delivery theme and consistent look you can live with, couple it with a trial membership of some sort, and pound the message and over and over in your market until the member is forced to recognize you.

3. The client is smarter than we are: There are a number of great fitness books on the market, supported by television shows such as the Biggest Loser, that are arming the consumer with information that puts him ahead of what a typical mainstream club offers these days. I have said for years the most clubs are 5-7 years out of date and we are losing ground. The important note here is that we have given up all of our verticals. This means that the kid in the garage took your young aggressive market and has them doing Crossfit. This means that the neighborhood circuit club took your deconditioned members. This means that the low-priced guys took all your entry-level members. If you want to make money, take back your verticals and recognize that you need to throw out that old line of fixed equipment and move on.

4. Members without a relationship in your club will walk away for a few bucks: They are always going to be loyal to their banks accounts first and if you do nothing but rent equipment and ignore the client, then they will cut your throat for about $10 bucks.

5. Most owners are 20 years or more behind in their personal fitness education: I think it is negligent, criminal, laughable, pathetic and downright bad business that most owners have no understanding of functional fitness and have never tried kettle bells, sleds, dynamic warm ups or any other fitness technique from this century. Circuits with cards, trainers with clipboards, plate loaded bodybuilding equipment, fields of single joint selectorized and ancient aerobic queens still teaching cycle classes in darkened rooms chanting to candles is so last century.

Hey, itís short and too the point, but the longer rants are so much more fun.

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