Stronger Sundays

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


Quote of the week:

"The most dangerous person in the world is the one who has found the correct answer to the wrong question."
                                                        - Psychologist and baseball analyst Russell Carleton on Twitter
Watch for this newsletter from the Personal Trainer Development Center each Sunday.

In this issue:

  1. The scourge of bogus business coaches
  2. Training clients on Zoom is not online training
  3. I miss handshakes
1. The scourge of bogus business coaches Jonathan Goodman

The 21-year-old trainer reached out to me on Instagram. We ended up talking on the phone for 30 minutes.

The conversation left me boiling mad.  

Before contacting me, the young trainer spoke to an online business coach who tried to sell him a $6,000 program.

There was no assessment of the trainer’s baseline knowledge or training skill. It was just a hard sell: "I'm going to make you rich if you give me a lot of money."

When the trainer said he couldn't afford it—it was more money than he’d ever seen in his life—the coach pressed him to take out a loan, telling him only losers think that way. Winners take risks.

And I haven’t told you the worst part.

When the trainer asked about a guarantee, the coach said the plan was battle-tested. It’s the trainer’s fault if he wasn’t successful.

Let me say two things in response:

1. Telling a young trainer to go into debt is evil

It’s an abuse of your perceived status to pressure a young, inexperienced coach into making a bad decision. His goal should be to get out of debt, not take on more of it.

Especially when you’re selling a 90-day program with no guarantee of success. Which brings me to my second point.

2. It’s your job to guarantee success

If you can't guarantee success, you either have no confidence in your program, or you don't have the confidence to sell it to the right people.

Either way, you shouldn't be in business.

At the Online Trainer Academy, we offer a 10-year guarantee. If you aren't happy in your first 10 years of working with us, we'll refund you. And if you don't make at least $1,000 extra within 90 days, we'll refund you.

We take that risk because we're confident. We’d be out of business if we didn’t take care of our students and support our graduates.

Want to know the number-one reason why an aspiring online trainer doesn’t join OTA?

It’s because they were ripped off by some aggressive business coach whose ads are filled with unverifiable endorsements from "Steve B in Baltimore" and "Jessica A in Albuquerque."

They extract their money (usually $5,000 or more) and leave their victims with a ton of debt and no income to pay it off.

The takeaway: That 21-year-old I spoke to? He decided to test out the new OTA Essentials plan for $87 a month. Which, I’m happy to report, he can afford without going into debt.

--> Click here to learn more about the Online Trainer Academy Level 1
A quick back-and-forth with the aforementioned 21-year-old trainer soon after enrollment.
2. Training clients on Zoom is not online training Ren Jones

Ren is an Online Trainer Academy mentor and OTA Level 2 graduate.

A lot of trainers, by necessity, are using Zoom to coach their clients.

But don’t kid yourself. Coaching a client on Zoom isn’t online coaching. It’s a pivot, a new way to exchange your time for money.

Imagine if you wrote a book, but only sold it to people who paid you to read it to them an hour at a time.

Sure, they pay decent money to listen to you, but it’s not scalable. You’re still limited in the exact same way you were in the gym training people in person.

Online coaching is providing a solution to many people simultaneously.

It’s not a pivot. It’s an innovation. It’s like selling your book to as many people as possible, knowing they'll read it at their convenience.

Don’t get me wrong: Zoom is a useful tool for a unique situation. But I hope it fades away when gyms reopen, and coaches and clients who prefer to train in person can return to it.

Because coaching online is not online coaching.  
3. I miss handshakes Lou Schuler

If not for COVID-19, I would be flying home right now, following a long, invigorating weekend as emcee of the Fitness Summit in Kansas City.

I attended my first Summit in 2004, and almost immediately it became the most important event on my calendar. I can’t count the number of future colleagues, coauthors, contacts, and compatriots I met there, including Jonathan Goodman in 2012.

Each relationship, every connection, began the same way: with a handshake.

Even if I forget the person’s name a moment later (and I probably will), the good intentions of that initial contact remain.

The handshake may be the most important form of nonverbal communication we have. It signals openness or reticence; trust or fear; confidence or wariness.

And in the fitness industry, a strong grip with a callused hand offers proof of time in the weight room. It’s the ultimate flex.  

Next year at this time, unless something goes disastrously wrong, we’ll return to our favorite conferences and seminars, where we’ll catch up with acquaintances and make new ones.

But how will we greet each other? Public health experts will tell us not to shake hands, and we’ll probably comply.

It’s the right thing to do, but it’s also a loss. I miss handshakes already.  

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

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