Stronger Sundays

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


Quote of the week:

"Every January [the] food blogs I follow are like, ‘You're not going to believe this healthy delicious ice cream recipe!’, and it’s always just frozen bananas in a blender."
                                                                                          - Journalist Liz Bruenig on Twitter
Watch for this newsletter from the Personal Trainer Development Center each Sunday.

In this issue:

  1. For the last friggin' time, stop wasting your time looking for the best technology
  2. Make things as easy as possible
  3. Harry Potter and the secrets of fitness writing
  4. 48 words to give your clients clarity
1. For the last friggin' time, stop wasting your time looking for the best technology - Jonathan Goodman

It’s easy to forget how young the fitness industry is.

While the concept of strength and conditioning goes back thousands of years (Milo of Croton is the patron saint of progressive resistance training), the modern fitness business really begins in 1968, when Dr. Kenneth Cooper published Aerobics.

For the first time, we could promote fitness as more than a vanity project. It was literally life and death. Today, more than a quarter of the world’s adult population has a gym membership.

The personal training profession, distinct from strength and conditioning, probably began a decade later, with Jake Steinfeld in Southern California.

Three decades later, when I launched the PTDC, the problems with personal training were becoming clear. Annual turnover rates in commercial gyms were approaching 50 percent. Even the best trainers were burning out from working too many hours for too little money with too little control over their schedules, and no obvious way forward.

That’s why, in 2013, I started teaching and promoting online training.

Then and now, it seemed like the obvious solution, especially as the technology caught up to the demand. Online training allows you to set up your business so it works for you, maximizing your effectiveness as a coach because you’ve freed yourself from the parts of the job that don’t require a personal touch.

In a gym, the tools you use to get results might be the most important part of your service, especially if you position yourself as someone who specialize in kettlebells or barbells or body-weight training.

But when you train online, the tools you use for automation are completely irrelevant. They have almost nothing to do with your success as a coach.

Make a list of exactly what you need your software to do. Choose the first product that does it all for a reasonable price. And if it works as expected, don’t waste a minute of your valuable time thinking about it.
2. Make things as easy as possible - Amber Bonem (Online Trainer Academy mentor)

Make everything ridiculously easy for your audience, especially in your communications and the content you provide.

It’s not enough to tell someone where to find information. Find it and give them the link.

When creating resources for readers and clients, show how to do things in as few steps as possible. Never pass up an opportunity to make something simpler or easier in your articles, posts, emails, or status updates. It’s better to take an extra minute of your time if it means saving a minute for your audience.

Those little, almost invisible things add up. Even when they don’t realize what you’ve done for them, the fact you did it increases your value to the people you’re trying to help.
3. Harry Potter and the secrets of fitness writing - Lou Schuler

Fitness writing isn’t the most important topic we cover at the PTDC. But it’s one we care deeply about, and not just because some of us (me, for example) get paid for it. We understand how important communication skills are for any trainer who hopes to build an audience beyond the clients they work with in person.

One surprising way to become a better fitness writer has nothing to do with the subject we write about. "Our lives often revolve around fitness," Andrew Coates writes in this article. "We forget how the rest of humanity treats fitness as a piece of a larger life puzzle."

That’s if they think about it at all. How many of your clients hire you so they don’t have to think about what to eat or how to train?

For Coates, this revelation arrived from an unexpected source: Harry Potter. Yes, he’s late to the party (I say that as someone who read one of the books to my kids), but that’s the point. Listening to the audiobooks helped him shut out the self-imposed pressure to spend every waking hour thinking about his career.

The takeaway: Coates acknowledges the value of enjoying something for its own sake; it’s why "work" and "fun" aren’t synonyms. But enjoying well-told stories also has a professional benefit: "Your writing will improve as you experience great writing."

So where does great writing come from? No matter the topic or genre, the stories we enjoy usually have one thing in common: The authors worked hard to make their work accessible to their readers, as you’ll see in the next item.
4. 48 words to give your clients clarity

How simple can you make health, fitness, and nutrition advice? Yoni Freedhoff, MD, sums it up in just four dozen words:

  • - Don’t smoke (2)
  • - Get vaccinated (4)
  • - Avoid trans fats (7)
  • - Replace saturated fats with unsaturated if you can (15)
  • - Cook from whole ingredients — and minimize restaurant meals (23)
  • - Minimize ultraprocessed foods (26)
  • - Cultivate relationships (28)
  • - Nurture sleep (30)
  • - Drink alcohol at most moderately (35)
  • - Exercise as often as you can enjoy (42)
  • - Drink only the calories you love (48)

Go shallower: "Simple" doesn’t always mean "good." Especially when your simple ideas are misguided, misleading, or frankly moronic. Tom Venuto singles out one of the worst offenders: "The idea that cardio makes you fat is so dumb it’s embarrassing."

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

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