Stronger Sundays

Dominate your fitness business with this weekly collection of strategies, tips, and tricks.
By trainers, for trainers.


Quote of the week:

"When a veterinarian says your animal is overweight, do you put them on keto, intermittent fasting, or a detox? No, you don’t. You reduce their consumption, increase the quality of their food, and exercise them more. Read that again."
                                                                                          - Phil Trujillo on Facebook
Watch for this newsletter from the Personal Trainer Development Center each Sunday.

In this issue:

  1. "Better" beats "bigger" every time   
  2. Maximum pain, minimal gain
  3. The wrong time to tweak a diet
  4. It's us vs. Netflix
1. "Better" beats "bigger" every time

Let’s say this up front: We’re all a little insecure. We all have a touch of imposter syndrome, and we all grasp for external validation wherever we can find it. It’s harmless most of the time, and may even help keep us on top of our game. But it becomes a problem, writes Eric Cressey in this blog post, when we "chase status over wealth" in our major business decisions.

Cressey cites gym owners who build supersized facilities and then struggle to fill them with "a bunch of low-price-point tire kickers" who don’t respect what the gym has to offer. "Remember, there is generally an inverse relationship between price point and complaints," he writes. "The less people pay, the more problems they find."

The takeaway: "Personally, I think you're better off taking home 50 percent of a $500,000-a-year fitness business than 5 percent on $5 million a year," Cressey concludes. "Don't be big for the sake of being big. Be big because it fits with your lifestyle and it builds actual wealth."

Go deeper: When you have more than "a touch" of imposter syndrome, you need to deal with it head-on. As we explain in this article, no one knows exactly what they’re doing. We’re all making it up as we go along. You can increase your confidence by focusing on the clients you know you can help, and then slowly expanding your scope of practice.
2. Maximum pain, minimal gain

In a recent PTDC article, we listed 11 diet and fitness trends that aren't actually new. . Number four on the list: high-volume training.

Its latest incarnation is the 1,000-rep challenge for arms: five sets of 20 reps of five different exercises for both biceps and triceps, all in a single workout.

"It reminds me of the One-Day Arm Cure that did the rounds back in the ’90s," writes Christian Finn. "[It] involved training your arms up to 15 times a day, with the promise that you’ll gain up to an inch on your arms in less than a week."

Does it work? Absolutely not.

"While your arms are going to swell up temporarily for a few days after the workout, any increase in size is caused mainly by a buildup of fluid, which isn’t going to last," he says. "You'll just end up creating an apocalyptic level of muscle damage, which is going to prolong your recovery time without necessarily stimulating any additional growth."

Go deeper: High-volume programs get one thing right: If the goal is hypertrophy, more is usually better … as long as you’re talking about four to six sets per muscle group per week, compared to two or three sets.

That’s what James Krieger concludes in this PTDC article. In a 2017 study, he and his coauthors found that each additional weekly set increases the size of the muscle group trained by 0.38 percent. "There must be an upper limit," he writes, "but we don’t know exactly what it is."

All anyone can say with confidence: It’s nowhere near 25 sets of 20 reps for a single muscle group.
3. The wrong time to tweak a diet

Bryan Krahn firmly believes people mess with their diets way too often when they’re trying to lose fat. "By doing the same damn thing over again, odds are you'll do it better," he says. That’s because the stress associated with being on a diet is a bigger obstacle than the actual hunger you get from eating less.

Krahn’s post led to this anecdote from Jeff Snow, which begins with a client asking him why he hasn’t changed up her diet.

"You’re still losing weight, right?"

She is.

"You’re still feeling good, right?"

She is.

"Why would we change your plan if it’s still working?"

"Because I paid for you to change up my diet when I needed it."

"But you’re still making great progress."

"So you’re not really doing anything then."

"Do you want me to make you more miserable by reducing your calories for no reason?"

"Well, I don’t want to be miserable."

"How did your last diet work?"

"It didn’t."

"I’m so happy you’ve found something that works!"

That final comment was met by silence.

Go deeper: Trainers too often wonder why clients remain skeptical of their advice, even when it’s clearly working. The problem usually comes down to marketing, as we explained in "It Tastes Awful. And It Works."
4. It’s us vs. Netflix - Jonathan Goodman

The real enemy isn’t other trainers. It’s Netflix. It’s the couch. It’s inactivity.

For the good of your bank account, and the good of the world, we all need to fight this common enemy. Stop thinking about how you can beat other trainers. Make your own market by getting butts off couches and moving and sweating and coming back the next day for more.

You need to elicit this action by fostering belief in your followers. Lucy’s pulled the football away from Charlie Brown one too many times. Fitness consumers are tired of being misled. They don’t believe you or anybody else. But most of all, they don’t believe in themselves.

Almost everybody you’re trying to sell a transformation to has tried and failed in multiple attempts at that same transformation. Your marketing must provide hope—or, as we teach as a core principle in Fitness Marketing Monthly, a new opportunity.

**Thanks for reading. What to do next**

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