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The business of fitness — why studios and gyms need your help

By | Business

By Emily Slaneff

Pretty early into quarantine, I saw this article on Medium about how restaurants in 2020 are screwed and said to myself “yep — sounds familiar”.

Because I own two boutique fitness studios in Calgary, Alberta, and like restaurants, my businesses were designed to prioritize community, connection, socialization, and closeness — which are now prohibited by our government.

And listen — I get it. I understand and respect our duty to flatten the curve and prevent overwhelm of our healthcare systems. I dutifully closed both of my studios on March 16th and pivoted to online classes and an online challenge that same day. Because I have made it my life’s mission to build communities around health and fitness, and I felt a responsibility to carry forth my vocation, despite the closure of my physical studios. And I was not alone — I couldn’t open my Instagram account without seeing a dozen free online workouts happening from instructors and studios around the world.

But here’s where the issue begins — would you do your job without getting paid, for months on end?

Ask almost any studio owner or fitness instructor why they do what they do and they will tell you that it is because they are supremely passionate about it. They feel motivated to inspire others, and they enjoy being surrounded by wellness, health, and positivity. They truly believe they are making a difference in the lives of their members. I share these sentiments 100% (I left a six-figure salary to start a business and not take a pay cheque for the first two years for the exact purpose of doing something I am passionate about). With that said, I also realize that I am running a business; not a charity. I have personal and family goals that require an income. I have team members who rely on me for their livelihood. And that requires a certain level of financial responsibility.

I recently read a book called “Building a badass boutique” by Emma Barry that stated that 40% of boutique fitness studios worldwide are not profitable. While this statistic struck me, it didn’t surprise me. Similar to the restaurant industry, the fitness industry is a highly-competitive and narrow-margin industry, where our customers have been groomed to believe they can (and should!) expect a five-star experience for less than $20 a pop (and are often ready to hit up the Intro Offer across the street if they don’t like what’s offered). This is the issue with consolidators like ClassPass — although for customers they are awesome (more variety at less price — yay!), they are forcing studios to compete on reduced price and increased service — which squeezes anything resembling a profit margin even further, if it exists at all.

Meanwhile, the costs of commercial space, property taxes, and labour costs are all increasing. So suddenly, that 40% statistic doesn’t seem so surprising.

And then a pandemic hits.

Businesses are forced to close, while rent payments continue to be auto-debited. The Commercial Rent program will be announced, but it is dependent on your landlord buying in, and you are still responsible for 25% of the rent, and relief takes months to arrive. If you can wait that long. If you are REALLY lucky your landlord may give you some relief, or if you are a franchise giant you may have the power to tell them that you aren’t paying. Most small businesses aren’t lucky. I continue to pay $21,000/month in rent across two leases.

You have to make the difficult choice to either lay off your entire team and leave your members homeless, or pivot to an online model and hope that someone sees value and will pay you for it (even though your iPhone Zoom class is competing against Hollywood studios in the online fitness world). I choose the latter, and manage to maintain about $6,000/month in revenue. Thanks to the Emergency Wage Subsidy program, I *almost* break even on my payroll costs, but I know I am investing in developing my team and community. It’s a long-term strategy. Although CEWS will eventually end — even the Canadian government doesn’t have bottomless pockets.

And then there are the regular costs — business loans, equipment leases, utilities, software subscriptions. Some payments are deferred for 3 months (but not forgiven). Because nobody planned for this, and it’s not the bank / leasing company / utilities company’s fault that you operate an “unsafe business”.

So you scrape by for 3 months, and are finally given the green light to re-open. And you are happy about the news, because you have to stop the bleeding. Something’s gotta give. Except that, with physical distancing guidelines, the studio that could once fit 30 members now fits 10. Let’s do the math.

Monthly revenue pre-COVID: $20/class x 30 clients x 5 classes per day = $90,000

Monthly revenue with social distancing: $20/class x 10 clients x 5 classes per day = $30,000

You’ve exhausted your savings, payment deferrals and government assistance are ending, and you already operate on a skeleton team working 60 hours per week. Costs are up (disinfecting the studio every hour takes a lot of product AND elbow grease), but revenue is less than a third of what it was, with no foreseeable end in sight.

You are left with two options:

  1. Say screw it and walk away from your lease and maybe even your business. Hopefully you have enough in the bank to cover your personal guarantees, or the legal costs of defaulting on your lease.
  2. Exhaust every possible option to reduce payroll costs, monetize online options, and increase revenue per head.

I, along with many of my fellow studio owners, chose the second option. My instructors took a pay reduction, and my members were informed that our price structure is changing, and we will still barely break even if we are lucky. I am in the business of helping people, of making fitness, wellness, and community accessible, and so this decision physically pained me. But at the end of the day, I cannot be in the business of helping people if I don’t have a business. My credit card cannot be paid in well wishes or sweat equity, as much as I wish this were true.

I know, in my heart of hearts, that far too many fitness studios will not see the end of this pandemic. The better capitalized studios, the larger chains and franchises backed by private equity or international ownership groups will be better off. But if you are a member of one of the thousands of locally-owned small fitness studios in Canada, and want your community to be open to you when you return, then I encourage you to help in one of these ways:

  1. Show up! (But be safe and follow the rules!) Fitness studios are very safe places to be and have taken cleaning protocols and physical distancing very seriously. In a grocery store you don’t know who has touched the head of lettuce or washroom door, but in fitness studios all surfaces are disinfected every time they are touched. The combination of verbal screening, scheduled arrival and departure times, strict member protocols, and increased immune system function should mean that you are able to feel very comfortable returning to your studio (assuming you are not, or do not live with a high-risk individual).
  2. Support with your dollars. On average, studios are now running with 30–40% capacity, so you should expect the same. If you were once attending 6 classes per week, expect to pay the same for 2 classes per week, and take advantage of the other days for outdoor workouts, online classes, running, biking, or rest days! (Your body will thank you for it)
  3. Stop bargain chasing. If you hop from Intro Offer to Free Class to heavily discounted membership or class pack, you are not supporting small businesses. You are milking small businesses. Pay full price.
  4. Attend class or the gym during off-peak times. The busiest times are 6am and 6pm. If you are working from home or have a flexible schedule, show up at 7am or 10am or 4pm, and bring your friends! This leaves space for someone with a less flexible schedule.
  5. Write to your MLA or regional representative and request additional support for small businesses, and reconsideration of physical distancing limitations.
  6. Be kind. If you don’t like a schedule change or a decision that was made, understand that there was likely a reason for it. Ask questions to understand, but remember that this is a difficult time for everyone — including the front desk staff and studio owners who are on the receiving end of your emails.
  7. Share! Feeling lit up or strong after a class or a hike? Share it on social, and tag us! We have always lived for your testimonials, #sweatyselfies and success stories (see: why we do what we do) and now our Instagram feeds need the positivity more than ever!

We are in this together, whether we like it or not, until physical distancing limitations are removed. Let’s make sure that we come out of this pandemic stronger than ever!

About Emily Slaneff

Emily Slaneff is the Owner + Chief Goal Officer of CrushCamp, a boutique HIIT, Yoga, and Strength studio in Calgary. Founded in 2017, CrushCamp is proud to be the first SKILLMILL studio in North America, and a home to goal crushers striving to improve their performance both in-studio, and in life. Follow CrushCamp on Instagram.

Kettlebell Functional Training

By | Movement

By Jodi Barrett

We all want to move pain free in our daily lives, though we often forget that the best way to accomplish this is training through functional movement. Training functional movements is to apply basic training of movements that mimic day-to-day living that allows your body to work efficiently as one unit. We do not walk without using our upper body or only rotate on one singular plane the whole day, so we should not train that way to be functionally efficient. Using compound exercises allows you to train multi-movements and muscles on different planes which will allow you to increase balance, strength, mobility, and body awareness that will undoubtedly help you avoid unnecessary injuries. An example may be if you are putting away groceries in a high cabinet and you do not have the strength or mobility to complete this task without pain or you are unable to complete the task at all. Implementing my favorite training tool, the kettlebell (KB), we can train an overhead press to work on the strength. As you progress, we would implement rotation with the press to mimic an individual putting their groceries up in a high corner cabinet, possibly twisting as they reach.

We look at functional movements such as getting up and down from the floor or simply getting out of bed in the morning. There is an exercise that we use in our training program that basically enlightens clients and opens their eyes and minds to functional training. The exercise is to get up and down off the floor alternating from your stomach and then on to your back. The exercise sounds simple, but after 60 seconds people become very aware of how challenging this may be.

Whether or not training has been a part of your life, movement is definitely a part of your life. We all move. We walk, jump, crawl, twist, and enjoy what our bodies are capable of. When we sit for long periods of time and become tired in our daily lives, we often forget that our bodies were created to move! I believe functional training has become much more important because our lives are more sedentary than our parents’ and our grandparents’ lives were. Even to this day, looking back at how active my parents were compared to people today is quite different. In school settings, by the time our children reach high school, they no longer have mandatory physical activity classes. Thus, the importance or awareness, above all, is that we need to take action to train our bodies functionally! Since longevity is often overlooked in trendy, high intensity routines, it is important to circle your training back to what matters most—building, strengthening, and preserving the body – not breaking it down. By following this guideline, we can maintain a healthy, physically abled body.

Kettlebells for Functional Movement

When training with the KB, the first thing people need to understand is that you must “link your body” together into one strong chain of action. This principle ensures that you will not be placing any stress or pressure on any single joint or muscle, which goes back to our definition of exercise – injury prevention and performance enhancement. Additionally, it will secure the total-body principles kettlebells are built on: linking your body by applying proper form, engaging alignment and center of gravity, and executing each move with a flow of motion.

Let’s revisit getting out of bed in the morning and break it right down. First, you roll onto your side, maybe press your hand into your mattress, flip your legs out, and sit up. The Turkish Get-Up is one way to train this. You roll to your shoulder, to your elbow then onto your wrist, working your way up using your core to help you complete the exercise from bottom to top, then top to bottom in a controlled manner. Now, your clients may only be able to perform the first three steps, and that is okay, as that is their starting point. As you teach, it is your job to not only help get them stronger, but to make that connection of the importance of the movement so they can see the benefit that lies beneath the exercise. The benefits of training KB with mobility allows you to have a solid strength and conditioning routine that builds fundamental movement patterns, enhancing the functionality of each set of moves and workout as you progress.

Basic Kettlebell Exercises for Functional Training

  1. Full Mobility Swing

The hip hinge should be trained! Learning how to properly train the posterior chain  will benefit a person’s daily movements.

How to train it:

  • Lean over the KB and grab it by the handle.
  • Push your hips back and pull your shoulders back.
  • Drive/swing the kettlebell back above and behind your knees.
  • Thrust your hips forward, squeeze your glutes, and stand up straight. Do not backward bend at the top of the motion! Be sure to create a non-stop fluid motion as you swing – with the KB going behind the knees, then up to shoulder level.
  • At the top of the swing, the KB should go no higher than chest level. Do not raise the KB with your arms. Your arms – as well as the KB – should remain weightless through the entire motion.

Note: The hinge remains a constant even though everyone swings a bit differently.

  1. Kettlebell Press (with and without rotational press)

Think about how many times you lift something overhead or reach with rotation.

How to train it:

  • From the rack position, squeeze the KB handle (the handle should lie across the hand with the lower part of the handle on the heel of the hand).
  • As the KB is pressed, the elbow rotates slightly out.
  • The forearm should remain vertical throughout the lift.
  • At the top, the arm should be fully extended.
  • The latissimus dorsi is engaged, the shoulder remains in the socket. If the latissimus  dorsi is engaged there should be a gap between the shoulder and the neck.
  • During the lift, the core is engaged and glutes are tight.
  • The feet grip the ground.
  • During the lowering portion of the lift, pull the KB down with tension back to the rack position.
  • Repeat on the other side, adding in rotation once ready to progress.
  1. Turkish Get Up 

Getting off the floor (or out of bed) we roll to the side, we use our hands to push up to standing.

How to train it:

  • Start by lying down with the KB in your right hand, right leg bent, left leg extended at a  45 degree angle.
  • Push yourself up to your left elbow.
  • Push yourself up to your left hand.
  • Lift your body up by pushing your hips up to the sky.
  • Swivel your left leg under your body and bend it so that you are now supported by your left knee, right foot and left hand.
  • Come to a kneeling position by pushing off your left hand.
  • Come to a standing position with the KB secure overhead in right hand.

Note: Your TGU is not complete until you go down the same way you came up!

  1. Kettlebell Squat

Think how many times you sit and stand. You should know the standard squat form first before adding weight or performing the different variations. In a standard squat there is your dominant level change, the knee bend.

How to train it:

  • Start with your legs slightly wider than hip width apart, push your hips back while keeping your chest up and shoulders back, as if you were going to sit in a chair.
  • Keep both heels on the ground as you ideally sit to where the line of your hips goes below your knees. Depending on flexibility, skill, and body mechanics, different people will go to various depths in their squat.
  • As you come up, push through your heels and keep your upper body in line with your lower legs, finishing at the top with your hips forward, squeezing your glutes and standing straight up, making sure not to over arch your back.
  • Add in the kettlebell when you can successfully perform a squat, hold it in a mid-rack position (bending at the elbows, holding elbows by your sides and grabbing the kettlebell by the horns).

I challenge you to be mindful of your motion today and consider how functional training can be beneficial.  We ultimately want to train for quality of life, and at the end of the day our goal is to move pain free by functionally training!

About Jodi Barrett

After 13 years of being a stay at home mom, Jodi Barrett found Kettlebell Kickboxing!  That journey took her to complete her KBIA-Master Level and MKC Certifications. Jodi teaches classes and certifies trainers across Canada. Connect with Jodi at kettlebellkickboxingcanada.com or on Instagram at @kettlebellkickboxingcanada

 

Movement of the Month: Flow from Home or Outdoors

By | Movement

By Coach Kennedy

July is here, summer is well on its way, and we are now some four plus months into our “new reality”, if you will, since COVID hit back in mid-March.

This month I wanted to once again offer up something that we could easily perform indoors as well as outdoors, and most importantly, benefit your fitness and health.

I’ll be performing a series of three movements, animal flow based, and then I’ll show you how to combine them for some really fun, effective, purposeful animal flows!  I’ll be performing:

  1. Static Beast
  2. Crab
  3. Side Kick through
  4. A flow combining all three movements.

The benefits of these movements and flow include functional strength, muscular endurance, stability, core strength, body awareness (proprioception), inter and intra muscular coordination, connects the right and left brain, nervous system activation, myofascial tone and last, but not least, it’s a ton of fun when you start to flow them together!

EXERCISE EXECUTION:

Due to the complexity of each movement and the flow in this section, I have provided complete videos for your ease of use and instruction.

Static Beast:

Crab:

Side Kick Through:

Flow combining 3 movements:

EXERCISE PROTOCOL:

Each movement can be used on its’ own for prepping or as part of the exercise program. You can perform 6-8 reps per side or use a timed approach, 10 to 30 seconds. Perform 1-4 sets depending on its intent.

ALWAYS regress and progress as required. Not sure how?  With this movement consider the following: coupling time, strength bands, advanced toners, weighted vests, unstable surfaces, and pause holds.  Need more help? Connect with me at: kennedy@coachkennedyonline.ca.

Catch more Coach Kennedy at the canfitpro 2020 Virtual Series!
Register now.

About Coach Kennedy

Coach Kennedy (Kennedy Lodato) is a 29-year advocate of health and a 14-year veteran of the fitness industry with a thirst for knowledge and a passion for teaching and running his own one on one coaching programs, consulting, live education, workshops and lectures. Coach Kennedy is also an educator for canfitpro and EBFA- the Evidence Based Fitness Academy (www.ebfafitness.com).

Before pursuing his true felt passion for mentoring trainers and coaches, he occupied the positions of Personal Trainer, Sport Conditioning Coach and Personal Trainer Manager.  Kennedy is a three-time recipient of the canfitpro PRO TRAINER of the year award as well as the 2019 Canadian Delegates Choice Presenter of the Year Award.  Coach Kennedy is also a cofounder of QHI- Quantum Health Institute.  www.KennedyLodato.com and www.quantumhealthcollective.com

 

A Safe Return to the Gym

By | Movement

By Claudiu Popa, PTS

For many, the prospect of returning to the gym is accompanied by mixed emotions. Aside from the obvious concerns over invisible viruses anxious to make us their next hosts, we now have to get used to exercising in a public setting all over again. Even people who have applied themselves to a light-to-moderate exercise regimen while waiting for gyms to reopen are finding it challenging to return to their previous routine. Here are my seven tips for a safe and successful re-acclimation.

  1. Don’t rush.
    Give yourself 4-6 workouts to get back into the groove. There’s no hurry. Chances are no one’s watching you anymore. People are distancing, minding their own business, and engaging in much shorter workout sessions. Take your time, but hurry up, as the saying goes.
  2. Expect a lower energy level.
    A lack of conditioning and a reduced audience will have an impact. Don’t force your first few workouts. Trust your muscles to recover, just not instantly. Give them a chance to remember.
  3. Safety above all.
    After taking germs and their respective countermeasures into consideration, you are your own biggest risk factor. Spend time warming up, don’t go back to huge weights, and avoid explosive exertion, at least for the first little while. Your joints and muscles will thank you.
  4. Muscles don’t forget, just give them time to remember.
    In addition to warming up, remember to reintroduce muscles to the equipment you will be using going forward. Strive for high reps as opposed to heavy lifts, at least during the first couple of workouts. Either way, you will see significant improvement from one workout to the next, provided you have not injured your tissues too much.
  5. Focus on a split routine.
    Avoid full body workouts and isolation exercises. Your safest options are compound movements that give muscles a chance to collaborate and ‘spot’ each other in ways that isolation exercises do not. Split your weekly exercises into thirds and try to gravitate towards one area, making the most of the equipment you have already disinfected.
  6. Leave some for later.
    Work on prioritizing exercises that require gym equipment over those that do not. This offers an opportunity to complete your workout later, perhaps with lighter weights, outside the gym. The combination of equipment vs natural resistance also serves to trigger muscle memory and begin the process of conditioning the tissues.
  7. Keep it simple.
    The new routine means that staff, trainers, and clients may be hyper vigilant and distracted for a while after gyms reopen. The dilution of focus on exercise not only reduces workout effectiveness, but increases the risk of injury. Remember to stick to simple exercises, trust that you have done everything to be safe in your immediate space, and focus on the exercise. The usual techniques of breathing, visualization, and proper contraction may initially feel awkward, but that’s only because of our distracted mind being concerned about external factors. Practice them during every set of every workout and your muscle memory will do the rest.

Different individuals are faced with the task of regaining previous levels of conditioning at different rates based on their age, health, and other factors. Proper rest and nutrition play key roles in the recovery process and must be adopted with the same discipline and rigor as the workouts themselves. A great way to do it is to keep a “Post-Pandemic Diary” and log all the important variables that can be easily measured, from daily calories to hours of sleep. It will not only help to maintain consistent effort while juggling many variables, but also serve as a great account of a gradual recovery to enjoy going back to and reviewing in the future – because sometimes even our muscle memory can use a bit of extra help.

About Claudiu Popa, PTS, OAS

Claudiu Popa, PTS, OAS, enjoys strength training and fitness conditioning, specializes in older adult fitness, appreciates working with exceptional clients and collaborating with outstanding professionals. Claudiu is the founder of Workout Smart and can be reached in confidence at Claudiu@WorkoutSmart.ca.  Be sure to follow him at twitter.com and on www.WorkoutSmart.ca.

Facts, Not Fear

By | Nutrition

By Carol Harrison, RD

With worries about our health and the economy running high during this COVID-19 crisis, your clients do not need more concerns to add to their list. Knowing the facts about pesticides can help to ease their minds and help them focus on the health benefits of eating plenty of vegetables and fruit, such as supporting a healthy immune system.

Fact: More than 99% of Canadian fruits and vegetables test well below acceptable pesticide levels set by Health Canada.

Not only that, but these limits that Health Canada sets – even if we were to eat a certain fruit or vegetable every day for our entire lives – are between 100 to 1,000 times lower than what would cause any impact on our health.

When clients express concern about headlines related to pesticide residue, it might be helpful to let them know that scientific testing is so advanced, we can now detect minute amounts – the equivalent of a single drop in an Olympic-sized pool – but their mere presence isn’t a hazard. For example, an adult woman would have to eat 850 apples in one day before pesticide residues pose any safety concern.

Fact: “To date, there is no scientific evidence that there is a health risk from eating conventionally grown fruits and vegetables because of pesticide residues, or that organic foods are safer to eat than conventionally produced foods,” says Health Canada.

Before a pesticide is approved for either organic or conventional farming, it must pass a thorough risk assessment, involving over 200 studies, and comply with health and environmental standards. The tests consider many factors, including short- and long-term toxicity, carcinogenic potential, and risks to sensitive groups such as children and nursing moms. Pesticides are also reassessed at least every 15 years, to ensure they meet current standards.

Fact: Without the use of pesticides, our veggies and fruit would cost 50% more!

Pests and weeds are a nuisance for home gardeners, but on a farm they can devastate crops and that can affect food cost, quality, and availability. If farmers didn’t take advantage of what we’ve learned from agricultural science, families would pay $4,000 more per year for groceries – a burden many Canadians would find hard to shoulder. The judicious use of pesticides helps to keep healthy food affordable.

Recipes to share with clients:

Bell Peppers 4 Ways

Carrots 4 Ways

Spaghetti Squash 4 Ways

Broccoli 4 Ways

From Farm to Food

Find out more:

Pesticides in Canada, Government of Canada

What are Pesticides, CropLife Canada

Pesticide Residue Calculator, Safe Fruits and Veggies

Chemical Residues in Food, Government of Canada

Catch more Carol Harrison at the canfitpro 2020 Virtual Series!
Register now.

About Carol Harrison

Carol Harrison is a registered dietitian who loves her daily workouts! She has a food nutrition communications company in Toronto. Follow Carol on Twitter and Instagram.

Ability and Beyond

By | Business

By Jeff Tiessen, Executive Director, ParaSport Ontario

Disability knows no prejudice. It does not discriminate by demographic… by race, religion, socio-economic status or gender. It does however, categorize by ability and appearance, not only within our general society but even within the disability community itself. Preconceived notions of inability and misguided attitudes are monumental barriers to inclusion of persons with a disability. Historically, these systemic predispositions constructed the battleground for equitable opportunities led by community advocates and disenfranchised individuals themselves.

The generalization of the “disability community” is a broad-brush delineation of Ontario’s largest and most indiscriminate minority, often painting a picture of limitations and debility. But in fact, our community of individuals with disabilities is a canvas of fine-strokes, a compilation of countless physical and intellectual distinctions and diversities, and abilities.

For 40 years, ParaSport® Ontario has promoted and provided inclusive and adapted sport opportunities for people with disabilities. Our core values encompass the importance of diversity and inclusion of all people. We recognize, and are learning more about, how systemic racism impacts persons with disabilities in complex ways. It is our mission to ensure that there are parasport opportunities available to participants and athletes with disabilities in all cultural communities and of all ability levels… and that a welcoming and quality first-introduction experience is provided to attain and sustain the participation of such a diverse population.

We also recognize the importance of equitable representation of women and persons of colour, particularly those with a disability, in our workplace, and on our teams of Ambassadors and Advisors and Board of Directors… and importantly too, in our depiction of those we serve in our media assets, editorial content and awareness materials. For us of course, this extends to the challenge of representing various disabilities in a variety of physical activities. With a lens on the implications of stereotypically defaulting to the super athlete – the Paralympian – commonly showcased in mainstream media, it is our responsibility as leaders in the disability community to emphasize that there is a sport or physical activity for everyBODY!

Standard semantics within the disability community call for “person first” language. That is, not “the disabled” but rather “someone with a disability” or “person with a disability.” It is a theoretical concept intended to emphasize the importance of identifying a person for who they are, and not by their physical circumstance. In practice, it’s more about attitude or mind-set and when that is intrinsically established, relationships are strengthened and inclusion and participation are optimized. And when it evolves from ritual to routine, it transcends all differences, and embraces diversity in any of its many forms. Good in theory and even better in practice.

ParaSport® Ontario supports all members of the disability community in finding their sport or activity of choice. There is a sport for everyBODY!” For more information on ParaSport Ontario, or for inclusion resources, visit www.parasportontario.ca or email jeff@parasportontario.ca.

Falling Into the Expertise Trap

By | Movement

By Justin Tamsett

When you’re an expert you can charge more. You have an unequivocal new level of professionalism. It can be associated with being a high performer. It can separate you from your competition. It can also lead to arrogance and a blinkered view that will be detrimental to your success as an expert. For true expertise, enjoy what Buddhists call ‘beginner’s mind.’

Let’s explore these five behaviours that will inhibit your success:

  1. Using jargon
  2. Blinkered vision
  3. Not looking for fresh ideas
  4. Losing your curiosity
  5. Reluctance to making/admitting mistakes

Using Jargon

You may have every qualification on a specific area of training and can explain cause and effect strategies, but your prospect or your client can not. While it will sound impressive using jargon, it can be confusing for your clients.

I have heard trainers explaining various training cycles, movement patterns, nutritional guidelines, and more to their clients. They are too busy espousing their knowledge to notice that their client’s eyes are glazing over.

The best experts are the ones who can take the most technical and scientific information and translate that into language that the average person can understand.  When we are explaining anything we must use the language that they would use. By using their language they will see that you care about them. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

You Have Blinkered Vision

Every day around the world there are researchers working to find better ways for us to exercise and new information is shared for us to help our clients. Often, as an expert, we don’t read this material, we don’t acknowledge the new research, and we are not open to doing new things.

Often, as an expert, it is just easier to keep doing things the way we have always done them. We are comfortable. We know what we are doing. But we are blinkered and narrow-minded.

Challenge your assumptions. The best experts are the ones who are open to learning. They want to explore new ways of doing things. They want to give their clients the latest and the greatest training technique as that shows their clients they are continually researching to get better.

Your narrow mindedness will lead to over confidence and even arrogance. This is the beginning of the end for an expert. When you think you know everything, you have become like an apple that has fallen from the tree: ripe and rotting. Stay green and growing and you will be successful.

Look For Fresh Ideas

When you are an ‘expert’ you often become insular in your thinking. Harvard Business Review terms this as ‘intellectually cloistered.’  Your peers don’t, and sometimes can’t, challenge you as they used to because you know it all.

Some suggestions to always seek new ideas include:

  • Have a trusted circle of people who you value their thoughts and insights. This circle allows you to present ideas to for feedback, or ask questions to and then be open to their ideas.
  • Find new people in and out of the industry to become a source of ideas for you.
  • Develop a peer who also has a similar expertise and the two of you can support, learn, and grow together. It’s a hyper-connected world – this peer could be local or international.

Losing Curiosity

Curious means you really want to know something! It eats away at you and you have an unwavering focus to find out the secret sauce!  When you are curious, you ask loads of questions, explore more, and learn to a greater depth.

An expert can still be someone who asks questions. An expert can still be someone who is curious about the secret sauce. This curiosity strengthens you as an expert as you learn and look at many things from different perspectives. Curiosity is a powerful trait to maintain.

Reluctance to Making/Admitting Mistakes

None of us remember learning to walk and yet we are all now walking experts.  When we initially learned, we made many mistakes as we lost balance, fell, got up again, fell, got up again, and perhaps repeated this many times. This experimentation did not scar us for life; it helped us learn a new skill.

Often, when we consider ourselves an expert, we don’t experiment or try new things.  We even fail to admit making a mistake. We simply stop taking risks for fear of failure. For us to grow and get better, we must push limits and try, even if it means falling on our face as we did as child!

The real learning for most leaders comes from making mistakes. Outstanding leaders acknowledge a mistake and learn from it.  They identify actions that lead to that mistake or can clearly articulate the lessons learned. In fact, every month why not have an audit where you write down everything you have tried in the month. This number could be a new KPI for your business and personal development.

An area of expertise can be a differentiating factor. It can allow you to niche your service. There is, however, a huge cavern between being an expert and working in a niche. They are completely different and should not be confused. The best leaders may, or may not, work in a niche, but they are those who remain humble and hungry.  You can be an expert, just remain humble and hungry for knowledge, wisdom, and success.

About Justin Tamsett

Justin Tamsett is recognised as an International thought leader to get more people moving and moving more often. JT is a speaker; the star of a weekly Facebook Live show called #JTInTheRaw; owner of The Fitness Business Podcast; and the facilitator of the Active Management Community Facebook page.

Beyond the Crisis and Chaos: Quebec’s New Coalition

By | Business

By Nathalie Lacombe, M. Sc.

Having had the honor of representing Fitness Industry Council of Canada’s Quebec Coalition of fitness clubs and studios through the COVID-19 crisis, here are a few remarkable insights gathered as we worked towards the reopening date of June 22nd.

Coalition = Collaboration

Close to 200 locations joined our Coalition to create a common voice to reassure both the government and public that fitness facilities were prepared to reopen safely. This included club chains, franchise studios, independent gyms, Yoga studios, etc. of all sizes and price ranges.  All of them have unique challenges and concerns, but they came together and contributed with an understanding that:

  • There is much more that unites us vs separates us. Putting our egos and competitive mindsets aside allowed for less anxiety throughout the crisis because they knew they were not alone. Seeing it as a shared experience allowed for much greater empathy and created a support network that will last long beyond COVID-19.
  • The provincial government sees “gyms” as one single category. There was a group in Quebec that claimed, and lobbied, that smaller studios should be allowed to open before “big box gyms” but we knew that wouldn’t be the case. Our Coalition members stood by one another, regardless of their differences, confident that any division would slow down our government relations work and create mistrust in the public opinion. That confidence was founded when our Coalition was the only group informed of the announcement date ahead of time by the Sport Minister’s office about the reopening date; they shared that they were pleased to work with a group that worked collaboratively and professionally towards a safe reopening plan.

Leadership Matters Now More Than Ever

Like in all times of crisis, the cream rises to the top. Owners and operators who communicated regularly not only with their members, but also with their teams are already reaping the benefits of their leadership. Some key best practices that made a big difference include:

  • Any news or decision is better than none: I sadly heard from fitness pros who as of reopening date had still not heard a word from their gyms! People count on their leaders to be decision makers no matter how difficult the situation, and fitness pros are realizing that indecision is actually a decision within itself. In times of crisis no news is definitely not good news and it put all owners and operators under a leadership culture microscope.
  • Reflection allows for creativity: most of us went into a reactive mode when the pandemic first hit, then great leaders began to mindfully reflect on how they could continue to serve their teams and clients. This led to them having the ability to connect with their own and their team’s creativity and pivot towards new offers including virtual fitness, family nutritional coaching, outdoor workouts, online challenges, and so much more.

It is my absolute pleasure to congratulate the following Quebec Coalition gyms and studios on their leadership during closures and wish them all fantastic reopening success!

About Nathalie Lacombe, M. Sc.

Nathalie Lacombe, M. Sc.  Leadership coach and strategic partner.

Joyfully taking your leadership and business to the next level!

Email her at nathalie@nathalielacombe.com.

 

YOUR NEXT STEP: Click here for FREE access to my 4-part video series What Fit Pros Want From Their Leaders and let me know how which of the tips most impacts your leadership!

The GoodLife Standard: Our Commitment to Health And Safety

By | Business

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things – it has changed the way we work, how we socialize, who we can see, and where we can go.

From restaurants to retailers, hospitals to schools, and parks to gyms, everyone has had to find new ways to take care of their employees, their customers and the community.

These past few months have been the most challenging our Clubs, our Associates and our industry have ever faced. Change is hard, as is uncertainty, and since we closed our Clubs in March, there has been plenty of both.

Reopening GoodLife Clubs across the country is a complex undertaking and we are making every effort to make sure it is done with the utmost care. We have embarked on an unprecedented effort to ensure our Clubs are as safe as possible for all of our Members and Associates, and we are proud to share a reopening plan that is caring, informed and consistent.

Our plan is focused on three main areas: ensuring physical distancing, reducing capacity levels in our Clubs, and enhanced cleaning and sanitization practices. We have brought all three of these important considerations together to create The GoodLife Standard, a comprehensive playbook that continues to guide our reopening efforts.

This new standard has been months in the making, and has been developed with guidance from public health authorities and all levels of government, as well as through consultation with experts in healthcare, infection prevention, and cleaning and sanitization.

Our principles and procedures will be updated on a regular basis as we monitor public health guidelines and make any adjustments required to strike a balance between creating the safest possible environment and providing an exceptional experience for everyone in our Clubs.

Below, you’ll find a brief outline of our new Standard. You can read a complete version of The GoodLife Standard, which will be updated regularly, on our website.

Cleaning and Safety Practices

As we reopen our Clubs across the country, we are introducing a number of new cleaning practices and protocols. Updates to our safety cleaning practices include:

  • All GoodLife Clubs will undergo an intensive, deep clean, prior to reopening.
  • Our Clubs will close for 30 minutes after every hour of Member activity to reset and clean.
  • Our Associates will adopt a “constantly cleaning” mind-set, ensuring special attention is always given to high-touch surfaces.
  • All Associates will be required to wear masks, with the exception of group fitness instructors who are actively teaching a class.
  • We have procured a one-step hospital grade disinfectant and contact sanitizer that will be used for frequent touch-point cleaning throughout our clubs.
  • Additional hand sanitizer has been made available, including the installation of hand sanitizer stations at strategic locations throughout the club.
  • We have invested in 300 Victory Electrostatic Sprayers so that each club has its own dedicated device. When combined with our increased touch point disinfection and our industry leading cleaning program, this will ensure all our clubs receive a comprehensive thorough cleaning every day.

Booking & Capacity

With online booking, we are finding a balance between providing the safest Club environment possible and an exceptional experience for our Members.

Booking workouts allows each Club to maintain a pre-set capacity, helping us facilitate physical distancing and reduce the potential spread of communicable illnesses. This new system will also allow our Members to guarantee their workout time.

Using the GoodLife App or the Member portal on our website, Members can book into pre-scheduled one-hour time-slots in the General Workout Area, Group Fitness Studio or Cycling Studio up to seven days in advance. To ensure everyone has an opportunity to work out, we’ve limited bookings to one per day, but Members can access the Club through our walk-in system as many times as they’d like throughout the rest of the day, if space is available.

To create our booking system, we closely reviewed past check-in volumes, Club square footage and provincial government regulations. As we reopen, we’ll continue to monitor the system and Member feedback to update our procedures where needed.

Classes and Training

Personal Training and Group Fitness will continue to be available in Club, and they have been modified to meet our new standards.

In addition to offering a new Remote Personal Training option, we are introducing a number of guidelines to help enhance the safety of our in Club Personal Training sessions. All Personal Trainers will be required to wear a mask when training with clients. To ensure proper physical distancing measures, no physical contact will be permitted unless needed to ensure safety and prevent injury.

Members will continue to have access to an amazing selection of live and virtual Group Fitness classes. Studios and classes have been modified to ensure physical distancing is possible and to keep Members in a smaller general area during the course of the class. To reduce potential touch points, Group Fitness classes will be set-up for Members when they arrive, and equipment will be cleaned and put away by Associates following each class.

Alternative Options

We want to do what we can to support our Members and make them feel safe and prepared while working out during these unique times.

In addition to the robust standards we are implementing, we are also providing diverse options to accommodate our Members, like Remote Personal Training, digital workouts and content on our app and website. If someone is not ready to return to their Club right now, we are offering a free temporary Membership freeze.

COVID-19 has presented a new challenge, but we are up to the task. Together, we can all come out of this stronger if we work in unity to keep everyone healthy and safe. By taking care of those around us, we are also taking care of our community, and ultimately our country.

This pandemic has changed many things, but it has not changed our level of care and passion towards helping everyone in Canada live a healthy good life.

Photo credit: Trainer Academy

Black Lives Matter

By | Healthy Living

Recently, we made a promise to stand up and speak out against racism—not just for the near future, but for the long term.

We at canfitpro believe Black lives matter and that each of us has a role to play in opposing racism, injustice and oppression. We are committed to listening and creating space for Black people and people of colour and in turn, we are firm in our efforts at being self-critical of our business, policies and processes as we continue to strive to be better.

Because we are committed to real change against racial injustice and discrimination we have pledged to the following as a starting point:

  • creating a Diversity & Inclusion Strategy within canfitpro
  • Creation of a Diversity & Inclusion Committee where specific goals will be set and measured. Across the organization, teams will be accountable to uphold these standards.
  • Review all processes including recruitment and hiring practices to ensure we are breaking down barriers that stand in the way of diversity. We are committed to evaluating these practices to make canfitpro a welcoming place to work for everyone.
  • Include practices and create resources that attract diversity to canfitpro and canfitpro’s community
  • Amplifying Black voices. That means increased diversification and representation of Black Creators & People of Colour in our events, videos, webinars, websites, magazines and on our social feeds
  • Create authentic and actionable steps for a more inclusive, long-term content strategy by ensuring diversity and inclusive standards are included in our corporate Culture and Values
  • Continue to make the time and space to learn how to be actively anti-racist.
  • Keep the Conversation Going!

When the hashtags stop trending, canfitpro’s commitment to standing against racism, injustice and oppression won’t end.

We know we haven’t done a good enough job of connecting with our Black community, and we’re going to change that.

If you want to be involved or share your ideas with us, let us know by emailing people@canfitpro.com. We want to hear from you!