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How to Be A Successful Fitness Pro Part 2

sandbag training

We started the holiday season off right a few weeks ago when I shared a great blog post and interview with Douglas Sheppard (you can check it out HERE) about how to actually not just survive as a fitness professional, but thrive! With 30 years of experience and having one of the most successful personal training studios here in Las Vegas, I knew our DVRT audience would be excited to have some authentic and honest fitness business information.

fitness pro

Why did we do it? We don’t make any money on selling fitness business information, but we are serious about creating a platform where people can help filter all the information about the industry. One where you can trust what is being said and from those that have actually DONE it not just for a month or two, but for years! Our goal with DVRT is to better serve our fitness industry and part of that is allowing fitness pros to live the lives they want so they can help others.

That is why I am excited for part 2! You can check out Doug’s interview HERE and he has another great post about knowing who are you REALLY targeting with your marketing and who do you want to have at your gym. This is amazing information and ideas that most overlook. Check it out….


Everyday, hundreds of people decide they are going to become a professional fit pro. Then on that same day, hundreds of people determine they must go and get “a real job”, because they are struggling to pay their bills as a fitness pro. Sometimes the problem is due to their skill level (sorry that is the truth, you have to be able to provide a great service first and foremost!). They needed more time mastering their craft, other times, it’s because they didn’t understand how to attract clients. The worst-case scenario is a combination of both.

A key to building a successful business is to reverse engineer what you’re trying to achieve. Determine the problem, create the answer, and then get in front of those with the problem. Uber did this when they determined how much time cars sat being unused (vehicles are parked 95% of time). They created a system (an app) that enabled a person to generate revenue by connecting a consumer (person needing a ride) with a service provider (driver w/ dormant vehicle). The fitness world should sit up and take note.


Uber pic

It was after years of training clients that I came to understand that many of my clients had a few commonalities. They wanted to work hard but were fearful of getting injured. Many of them associated working hard with injury. They also had a big fear of looking stupid. Public speaking has been cited as the #1 fear of people, so next time you wonder why people are nervous we ALL have things that make us uncomfortable.

Think about being your potential client and walking into a large gym, fearing that you will look like a fool. People know they’re overweight and weak that is why they have made the massive step to even see you in the first place (we can’t underestimate how big of an action step is just walking through the gym doors is for many). They have made the action step of going to the gym and now they get to show everyone in the gym that they don’t know what to do, that’s not motivating. We wonder why only 7% of our population goes to the gym.


fitness pro

Sadly this is how many see a fitness pro and to be honest, there are many out there with this philosophy. It is up to us to change the perception by showing better quality. 


Studio and gym owners need to consider the perspective of their clients when coming up with the layouts of their facility. Natural light and bright colors instead of the traditional grungy “hard core” appearance can be very beneficial to your bottom line. Forget the images of how gyms became accustomed to looking. Make your studio inviting to the non-gym goer. The layout of the facility should cater to the needs and personality of the consumer, not the gym owner.



Here’s a tip that paid dividends to me immediately.

Survey your members. There are companies like Survey Monkey (https://www.surveymonkey.com) that allow you to send a quick, inexpensive 3-4 question survey you can create. The key to sending surveys is that people who complete them tend to be honest. I would recommend sending it via email, to create a sense of being anonymous in their response. Survey’s allowed me to know ideal times to schedule workouts, types of workouts (mobility, strength, HIIT) preferred, and favorite type of music. It goes back to what I said before, find out what they want and give it to them. Sounds simple, but many gym owners make assumptions instead of asking.

It’s a common belief among new gym owners that after they open and their gym is packed with gym goers, they’ll figure out things like their mission, their consumer, and refine their product. These gym owners never reach “product market fit” and quickly fail. The term product-market-fit was originated in Silicon-Valley and has been adopted as a key practice in successful businesses. Figure out your consumer, their fears, and what keeps them up at night, and you’ll be able to give them what they need. Then continually improve that product. Think about the 1st iPhone. How slow it was, lack of memory, and the poor reception. Apple kept improving the product.

Next, I want to address numbers and analytics.

Know your numbers. Here are a few numbers you should track daily, weekly, and monthly.

1.       Monthly Gross revenue/ revenue per square foot

2.       Monthly hard cost (lease expense, phone, internet, alarm service, cleaning fees, maintenance, etc.)

3.       Weekly completed sessions

4.       Weekly cancellations (this is big for retention)

5.       Monthly new members

6.       Monthly terminations

7.       Churn rate (percentage of new members compared to terminations)

8.       Cost for acquiring new member

9.       Life-time expectancy of member

10.   Trial membership conversion rate

11.   Average monthly membership rate

You should not only know your numbers, but also performance indicators like churn rate, retention, average monthly membership, and the average lifetime of member are a few good ones to start with. You should know how much you need to make. What’s a realistic amount you can generate per square foot in your facility? You should know what the industry average is. It’s been stated that Facebook isn’t a social network, but a collector of consumer data. That’s where their value lies. You can’t improve what you don’t measure. There is management software that can track and collect this data for you. For me personally, I have an operation’s assistant that compiles this data weekly. Yes, I have someone other than a coach on my payroll. Hint, hint.

How do you rank? Here’s some data that will provide you some prospective. 38% of all gyms/studios make less than 100k annually. 30% make between 101k- 250k. 16% gross 251- 500k, and 17% make more than 501k. A better number to track is revenue per square foot. Based upon data collected from 2017, the average revenue per square foot for a gym was $89. This means a 3,000 sq. ft. studio that grossed $325,000 has a $108 per sq. ft. average. Knowing and understanding this data allowed me to see J & D Fitness Personal Training produced 163% in revenue compared to the industry average. I share this not to boast, but to provide evidence that we’re sitting in the top 10% of studio gyms throughout the U.S.

I will be hosting a 1-day workshop January 11th (10:30am-5pm) at my Las Vegas studio (4180 S. Fort Apache Rd., suite E, Las Vegas) called the Business of Personal Training. This one of kind event will take a deep dive for anyone looking to make personal training a lucrative business, and how to open a successful studio. Space is limited. The early registration fee of $99 expires in 2 days- December 11th. The fee will be increasing to $149. To register go to www.Janddfitness.com/BusinessofPTregistration .



I’ll see you at the studio,

fitness pros