The Future of the Fitness Industry?

I will not sugar coat this email and tell you it will be easy to grow your gym over the next few years.

I will also not fear monger you into the fact that brick and mortar gyms are going die a death like blockbuster video…. instead I will give you some solutions to guide you.

I am a brick and mortar gym owner and have no plans to sell it or leave the industry based on the events in 2020.

In fact, I’m more excited about my gym today than I have been in years.

After following my own advice of more from less, the pandemic has made some wonderful changes to my business.

While there are many less clients we are currently serving, our revenue per client has gone up dramatically and our business has been much easier to run.

I also coach brick and mortar gym owners too and have seen many (but not all) of my clients thrive through this pandemic.

At the end of the day you need to decide what you want. 

If you want to stay a brick and mortar gym owner…do it…I don’t think continuing to do something you love and is making you money is like putting a blindfold on and walking off the plank. 

If you want to pivot on-line…GO…but don’t just do it because that’s what people are telling you to do…trust yourself and your own instincts….and before you jump in with both feet consider that running a hybrid type business is a very smart decision. 

If you want to leave the industry…Good Luck with the suit, tie and waiting on the bus line… for me I’d rather have a LOT less money and enjoy the freedom and lifestyle owning a gym brings me. 

I had a meeting with a VERY wealthy client that serves the International Markets…Big Money….

…But he has to set an alarm and get up at 2 AM to check what happened in the markets.

…No thanks….it’s not always better on the other side. 

Once you make that call…go do what is best for you and your family…no matter what any guru tells you…even me.

For me…I will continue running my gym….I will continue to coach gym owners.

And if you want to do the same thing…I’m happy to help you (see link below).

If I get wind that brick and mortar gyms will be extinct… I’ll let you know.

For now, there’s some great opportunities pending you do some things differently.

There are no absolutes here…take Covid-19 for example (unofficial stats 🙂 )

33% haven’t left their home due to Covid  
33% don’t care
33% are in the middle 

100% of people will not buy a Peloton….not even close.

Small gyms will NOT be like Blockbuster Video or Boston Market and literally have one location per state (I always get excited when I see a Boston Market, amazing meatloaf).

The difference?

We are a service based business not a commodity like Blockbuster…there will always be a need for in person services for several reasons that you know of already…

…It’s why you still exist today.

A pandemic and an explosion of on-line fitness options has not broken you. 

And the good news for you is that the Peloton stock dropped like an anchor once the vaccine was announced…. People much smarter than me know something.

But here’s where it does get tricky for many gym owners.

It’s no secret that the market size of clients we can draw from has shrunk.

It’s likely it will stay this way in the short term but I am no fortune teller that can see the future.

How long people will stay working out in their living room remains to be seen.

I happen to think enough people will get sick of it over time. 

There are a few things gym owners will need to be successful given the drop-in market share.

1. Focus on the new buyer

I don’t know many 60-year-old men that own Pelotons or are setting up a gym in their living room. 

Nor would I be comfortable for my 60-year-old out of shape, knee replaced uncle getting the things he needs from a bike in his living room.

There’s a better chance of him crashing on the couch and watching his favorite Peloton instructor with a beer…My brother-in-law has mentioned he does that sometimes.

The same brother-in-law that just put a SICK gym in his SICK new house…that he hasn’t touched …and just called my wife begging her for 1-1 pilates sessions (yes he owns a Peloton too).

Back to my arthritic uncle…

He needs your help.

He needs to lower his blood pressure, use good form, be held accountable, etc. 

So, one of the ways to battle what everyone else is doing is to focus on a market that you know is NOT a good fit for all the changes coming with virtual fitness, in-home and on-line. 

There’s a MASSIVE difference between the buyer that spends $40/month on an online subscription and someone that will drop $400/month for a personal trainer.

Focusing on that buyer will be a key to success for us.

But that comes with some challenges:

1.     The courage to charge higher prices
2.     The willingness and marketing chops to explore a new market

Playing a volume game now and in the future for small personal training gyms is a losing game.

There’s been a huge focus on the moms looking to lose weight.

While that’s a huge slice of the fitness pie….These are the ones that are most likely to stick a Peloton on their living room or jump from Orange Theory to Barre to Barry’s Bootcamp.

The way to win is more from less.

Higher prices, premium service, very targeted client base…. completely different than anything out there. 

2. The transformation from trainer to business owner MUST happen…yesterday.

If you’re try to navigate today’s landscape thinking the workout will separate you anymore you’ll be climbing up hill with a weighted vest on.

I’m not talking about learning how to run Facebook ads either.

I’m talking about you becoming a leader….a REAL business person. 

A leader that manages their time well, knows how to recruit good talent, pays attention to the data, understands the industry, builds a great culture….

….and most importantly controls your emotions…especially when you read something announcing the death of an industry.

There’s a lot of panic in their air right now and the ones that are panicking are being reactive and will make stupid decisions.

I witnessed this panic first hand when people started closing their gym and going “online”.

Now the 7 online clients they got when Covid was at the peak is down to 2. 

They’ve got no marketing system to bring in new leads and now their not even able to pay their personal bills.

The price of being reactive is high.

Here’s another hard truth. 

If you’re going to be in business for yourself…you need to learn this stuff no matter what.

As someone that runs a brick and mortar business and 2 online businesses…an online business is NOT easier.

You still need to understand the same stuff.

It’s not magic and rainbows and piles of cash in the on-line world…. it’s still business. 

To wrap this email up that’s 3x longer than my typical daily’s…

The best advice I can give you is to make your own decisions.

To not be emotional and be swayed by everything you read.

And if you still want to grow your gym and need some help in 2021…

…I’ll be here when you’re ready

Vince Gabriele 

P.S. If you’d like to discuss further you can book a call at the link below

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