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Stuff I Will Never Understand
Originally Posted 02/28/11

There comes a time in a manís life when he has to admit that he hasnít got a f@#$%in clue about certain things. Some of these might be called the big picture, meaning of life ideas, but most things that baffle me are the everyday stupid things I see and donít understand.

Here is my random list for this month. It could change by next week when another club person calls me with yet another idea that I just canít comprehend. Maybe I am not meant to know everything, but it would be nice to at least have a reasonable thought abut a few things.

Why does every club person who goes bad, has an affair, breaks up his marriage and destroys his business do it with a front counter girl? Boinking staff is without a doubt the dumbest thing you can do and you will without fail lose your business and your family. How do you think you wonít get caught? It is an employee you fool and the day your wife finds out, and she will because the other staff will rat your cheating ass out, you will then be sued for wrongful termination, sexual harassment and several other nasty things that will cost you money once the boinkee realizes you arenít leaving your wife, or your business, for her. This will cost you everything you have, and will ever have, when caught because you have no defense whatsoever. If you intend to do this, just hang a sign on your penis that says, "Owned by a very dumb man.Ē At least you are giving people warning that you are an idiot. By the way, say goodbye to your kids too because you will also lose them you horney dummy.

Why do club owners let themselves get really fat? I know losing weight is hard and staying in shape, as you get older, might be one of the more difficult tasks in life, but you own a fitness business and being fat is making a strong statement that your product doesnít work. Would you take weight loss advice from a fat doctor? Would you listen to a financial planner that has less money than you do? Being fat and owning a gym is the same thing. You donít believe enough in your product to even use it on a regular basis and if you canít help yourself you canít possibly help me. You are a role model, people do look at your as a representation of the product and fat owners make poor owners.

Why do owners insist on running a business into the ground before changing? If what youíre doing isnít working, but you refuse to change to something different, you deserve to fail, but why do you have to drag out the agony so long and hurt so many other people in the process? If you look at the key performance indicators in your business and you see a downward trend that lasts at least six months, then you need to change your business plan because what you are doing isnít working. It isnít going to come back on its own. It isnít going to change in the spring. It isnít going to get better next month. You are failing and you need to get a better plan while you still have enough money to make change. Ride it too long, and you wonít have enough money to paint a wall. Change early if the numbers donít support a long-term growth.

Why do so many owners fight the storm? If you are charging $49 and you get three competitors that are low priced and hurting you then bitching, moaning, complaining, yelling, calling your bank, screaming in articles in fitness magazines, and sitting in a bar drinking heavily and whining to whomever will listen will not change the outcome. The only thing that will change the outcome is to change the income. It doesnít matter that you think it is grossly unfair. What does matter is how you react. Reaction to stress in the market might be the biggest definer when it comes to determining who will, and who wonít survive in a market. Stop bitching and go to work, get a new plan and fight back with a business concept, not with a barrage of meaningless words.

What the hell is Zumba? Never saw it coming, donít really understand it, and donít know when it will leave. Enough said.

Why do so many fitness professionals cling to the past? I once had a heated discussion with a PhD about her opinion that Nautilus equipment was the only true way to train someone. This is especially sad because this happened just recently. Why is she locked into 1977? Why is someone with so much education so limited in solutions? But this is also true of owners who still buy plate loaded (who is the market for that equipment these days?) or the ones that havenít yet purchased more than one small rack of med balls. Technology changes and how we train people changes depending on research. It is also important to remember that it is not the tool people; it is the carpenter that builds the house. In the 80ís, we became equipment dependent. In other words, we stopped selling help and guidance and replaced our service with lines of equipment. At some point we simply let equipment become our brand at the expense of helping people or getting results. So put down your phone with the cord, turn off your pager, cut your mullet southern boys and get into what works now and then still be willing to adjust as we learn more and more about training people in the future.

Why do we not understand the most basic element of fitness? Most fitness businesses exist to sell memberships. These clubs were never designed to help people get into shape but merely exist as vehicles to sell the maximum memberships to the maximum number of people and then replace them when they fail. It is all about getting people into shape. Get results and people will stay longer and pay longer. Change your club to meet that criteria and you will make money.

Why do so many people that hate working with people open clubs? This is the worst part of our business; we are service intensive and no matter what you do as an owner you are wrong to many of your clients. But that, on the other hand, is the nature of being in small business and is no different than being in a restaurant, bank or any other service business. Making people happy, getting results and making money from that combination is what we do for a living whether you like it or not. Miserable members donít pay. Happy members refer and pay. Pissed off members will get even. Members who just lost five pounds will tell everyone in their office. You being miserable and hate being in your own club will lead to miserable members who will suddenly find themselves happier at a club down the street.

I feel better now, how about you?

Original Comments:

Matt-

Itís been a while since youíve rant, I can see it being inspired on you early 2011 travels.

Change is hard, but each day itís pretty amazing to see the response. While our trade area has gotten 4 new clubs and multiple bootcamps since we open. It seems besides cross fit they are all doing the same thing. Equipment based memberships with no help & limited groupÖ meanwhile people crave coaching. We are accommodating the demand. I hope my competitors remain stubborn and lazy, Iíll remain all ears. Keep preaching it Tom, some of us are listening.

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Bwiningar-

I was thinking of adding your comment about why dose things go wrong. How about when they add something and donít think about what the out come will be. You are so right about the person that just reacts to his situation. The things that get implements dew to the reaction may be a band aid but in the end it will blow up in your face.

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Frankkole-

Donít forgot your tubro sticks that come along with the Zumba program. Lol!

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Bwiningar-

What brought this one on?

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Frankkole-

Well I took a big deep breath after that! Thanks Thom that was good!

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Becky Miller Fitness-

Love your blog Tom! Especially your comments on equipment and Zumba!

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Jeff B-

Much better now Thom!

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Robert J DeVito-

Thom,

Great as usual!

Many of the points you make are what drove to completely change the direction of my business from club consulting and Programming to Physical Therapy and Wellness centers. These issues can still arise there, but, it is much less frequent and the programs are results driven.

Have a great day!

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Arlene Alpuerto-

First of allÖthe cheater? Who is it? I agree with you in every point! Especially the cheaterÖI think he wanted to get caughtÖ not to mention what a huge potential sexual harassment suit it could turn out to beÖ love the blogs! Keep them coming.

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