It's been 6 months since I have been diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia. These are my thoughts and experiences 6 months on.
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Pain can be classified broadly into two types: acute and chronic pain. Although acute pain is more severe in intensity, chronic pain can be very difficult to manage. Chronic pain is a type of pain that will persist in a certain area for a very long period of time. Chronic pain be be on its own or come with other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, etc…where the pain will persist and the recovery period for this type of pain is also very long or never ending. There are many ways in which you can manage chronic pain. Physiotherapy is a very popular choice. Controlling pain through medicines is another option, but managing chronic pain with high dosages of medication is very difficult not only because of what the long terms affects of the medication can do to the other parts of your body but also the emotional dependency that one has to deal with too. However, I know that some people have no choice to go this route, but if you do have a choice and want to try another way to independently manage your pain, try exercise. One of the top ways of controlling chronic pain and have a higher quality of life is through exercise. Here is an insight into how chronic pain can be managed by exercise.
Why is Exercise Effective?
The causes of chronic pain can be broadly classified into two types. It can be caused by the weakening or damage of the muscles, or other constituents of that particular area in which you are experiencing pain. Another reason might be an injury or the stiffening of the bone, muscle, or cartilage in the affected area. In both cases, exercise will definitely help. In case of damage, exercise will help in improving the blood flow and cell activity in that area, which in turn leverages the healing power of the body to relieve the pain. In case of stiffening, exercise will help in stimulating the muscles or body parts to be mobile and reduces the pain.
Type of Exercises
It is always better to take the help of a professional when you are deciding on the exercise that will relieve you from chronic pain. The bottom line is that the exercise you do should affect the area in which you experience pain and should help in healing or strengthening that area. A physiotherapist or even a professionally qualified doctor can give you advice on the type of exercises that can help you in managing chronic pain.
Intensity of Exercise
A factor that you should keep in mind when you are performing exercises to control chronic pain is that you are stimulating a damaged region of your body. So, the exercise must not be too intense or hard. The exercise should be sufficient to cause a certain amount of stress on the affected part to stimulate growth. At the same time, it shouldn’t be too intense as it can cause further damage to the already damaged part and further aggravate the problem you have. Again, consult with your doctor.
Persistence is the Key
Many people have this habit of starting off the exercise and then abandoning it because it doesn’t produce results quickly. The fact is that exercise is a very slow process and it takes a lot of time to actually give you some relief. But you should persist with the exercise and ensure that you stick to the exercise schedule. In the initial stages, you will experience a little discomfort but that is a part of the process.
A Parting Word of Caution
You should be very careful when you are exercising to get relief from chronic pain. Keep in touch with your doctors/physical therapist/or qualified professional and report any pain or discomfort immediately. The doctor will warn you if it is a cause for worry or if it is the normal reaction to the exercise. Remember, the doctor’s word should be followed to the letter.
Personal Experience with Chronic Pain and Exercise
A loved one of mine deals with chronic pain. She finds relief in the consistency of exercise. I hope you too can find relief with the right type of exercise qualified by your physician. This post is just an encouragement to seek expert advice in this area if you have not done so already. If you have, and have found a way to manage your chronic pain with exercise, it would be great for you to share how and offer words of encouragement for others who may be in your similar situation.
One of the problems that people face when opening a gym or health club is the plethora of equipment choices. Although there are new and interesting, like the shake weight, it is ideal to stick to the classics. Here are the top 5 popular equipment pieces that every gym should have.
Although unassuming and seemingly simple, a stability ball is a vital equipment that should be present in every gym. There are a number of reasons why the stability ball is so popular in the gym. First, it can be used by anyone and everyone, irrespective of the level of fitness you possess. The exercises that can be done using the stability ball can range from very simple warm-up exercises to serious fat burning and strength or stability building exercises. Also, it can be used anywhere and is very easy to carry around as well. These are just some of the reasons why the stability ball is at the top of the popularity chart.
Just like a stability ball, the number of exercises that you can do with a rack of dumbbells is many. You can train for strength, stability, muscle mass, or even rehabilitate using dumbbells. The range of weights on the dumbbell rack should also be more as it will give you a choice of exercises. Also, you can train different parts of the body separately using dumbbells, like biceps, triceps, thighs, calves, chest, and others.
One of the best forms of exercise is running and the best place to do it in a gym is the treadmill. You can walk, jog, and run depending on your preference and the physical condition of your body. Modern-day treadmills have been improved and give you a range of settings that program the running schedule in such a way that you can burn fat, increase stamina, and strengthen your lower body. You can also elevate the ramp on which you run to increase the effect of running on your body and make you stronger.
A bench press can be used to strengthen the whole of your upper body if you know how to use it properly. There are different exercises that you can do using the bench press. Even the normal bench press affects your arms, chest, back, and sides. Also, you can vary the weight to ensure that all parts of your body get a proper workout. Most trainers recommend bench press to beginners also as it has a low risk of injury and maximum effect on the body. However, care must be taken by beginners to ensure that they get assistance while working out with the bench press for the first couple of weeks.
Just like a treadmill, an elliptical trainer is also a very popular piece of gym equipment for the simple reason that it can be used by anyone and everyone. The arms, upper body, and lower body get a good workout from exercising on the elliptical trainer. Also, the exercise setting gives you a comprehensive cardiovascular workout if not anything else.
Hitting the gym has its per-requisites. There are a few people to look out for, who may interrupt your workout routine. Here you will find some methods by which you may spot them, and more importantly how to avoid them.
The Beefy Guy in Tights
Some people love to show off their bodies. They may go to the extent of wearing clothes too small for them. The entire purpose for the clothes is to catch your attention, which they will successfully do. Spotting them is not the problem. Unfortunately, this category of people also will try to chat you up.
Avoid small talk, bring your iPod and headset, and pretend you are very particular and focused about your workout routine. If they come to flaunt their muscles right next to you, completely ignore them. If they persist, tell them politely that you are on a “tight” schedule and do so with a straight face. Although these people are not the best at taking hints, they will learn that you are not interested soon enough.
The Gym Freak
This is the best of the lot. These personality types are so involved in their exercise that they seem to have blinders on. You can usually spot them because the majority seem to endorse major sports companies by wearing branded sports apparel from their socks to their sweat-bands.
Also, these pervasive personality types seem to hog the workout machinery. They jump from machine to machine and behave as if you are wasting your time when you are using the equipment. If their routine needs the treadmill when you are using it, they stand right beside you and start running on the spot. To avoid them, try and follow their routine by a full set behind their last set. If this doesn’t work then change your timing and stay an arms length behind.
The Workaholic Supposedly Working Out
Unfortunately, many people bring their mobile phones with them to the gym. Usually it is businessmen, who may end up shouting over the phone and disturb your exercise routine. Again, the solution is music. Never forget to take your i-pod or headphones when you go to the gym. More often than not, the solution to a productive workout session is the music.
If you are the type of person who loses their temper easily, then try and use that adrenaline to push yourself further in your workout. If you find it unbearable to have these businessmen conducting business while working out.
The Pesky Stalker
Most the time, these types are guys, however, there has been the occasional lady who seem to get bent out of shape when Hugh Grant is in the house. Regardless, the guy or girl, seems to end up in the gym only when you are present, or continuously glance at you through the mirror. Having a stalker is one of the biggest reasons for people discontinuing their gym presence. What is worse is that they try to make small talk whenever possible, and seem to run into you on the way in and out of the gym quite often.
The concern is when the stalker starts to ruin a perfectly good exercise plan. If possible, for women, join a gym that is for women only or has sections dedicated to women only. Alternatively, men do not have much of a respite and must confront the stalker or make them feel uncomfortable to get them to stop. Perhaps one way to do this is to ask loudly, why they are staring, in front of a few others to call them out.
It is quite common to find bookworms sitting in gyms and reading. People come to the gym to exercise. When you are not allowed to do so because someone is sitting on an exercise bike and reading, something must be done. It is usually as simple as saying ‘excuse me’, and suggesting that you need to use the equipment. Be firm, and they’ll generally get discouraged from sitting around with a book in hand after a few times.
What are other quirky gym personalities you have encountered?
Different states have different legal definitions of what a franchise is. However, under Federal Law, three elements must be present in order for a franchise to be recognized. The three elements are the following:
1) Franchisee has the right to use the franchisor’s trademark;
2) The franchisor has significant control or
Unusual fitness equipment has its advantages in both attracting new customers to your fitness business and retaining current members.
Encouraging New Gym Goers Join Your Gym
When new customer walks through your door that has never had a gym membership, emphasize why the variety of your gym equipment is important to their overall fitness regimen. Inform them that gym equipment is scientifically designed to ensure that when you use it, you are actually burning more calories as well as increasing the strength in your muscles.
The reason why personal trainers and fitness instructors emphasize the use of the equipment is because they are required to tap into the body’s true physical potential. In order for you to lose weight and maintain an overall fit state, you will have to perform activities that exert your body’s energy which in turn burns calories. These calories are then converted within your body’s system to improve your physical attributes.
Spiking New Customers Interests & Keeping Current Members Interested
Now that you convinced your new customer that utilizing gym equipment is beneficial, like any relationship, you still have to keep things spicy in order to maintain their interest in your facilities.
In order for people to continue to like going to your gym or fitness club, it is incumbent upon the gym or club to keep things fresh and attractive to their members. Keeping things fresh does not just include overall health club cleanliness and gym maintenance, but also providing your members with a revolving piece of equipment that looks (and is) fun to try!
Many people judge gyms and clubs based on the equipment that they provide. Quality and effective fitness equipment will lead to more customers joining your health club as well as help to retain existing ones. Gyms that provide facilities beyond the customer’s expectations will be more attractive to them than those who provide regular, mundane facilities. It is important for gyms and clubs to increase the interest levels of the members and be on the lookout for those equipment pieces that are both intriguing to the eye and effective to the body.
Here are a few pieces of fitness equipment to consider for your gym business.
Jacobs ladder is an awesome piece of cardio fitness equipment that I would personally like to add to my gym soon enough. This conditioning equipment replicates the same effectiveness that one can achieve while doing high impact aerobics without the joint damaging impact. You literally climb a tilted ladder set to your own speed. The faster you go, the faster the ladder goes, and vice verse.
Getting your certification as a personal trainer can propel you into a new and satisfying career. But before you launch your website, start your Twitter feed, and begin to look for clients, there is something you need to do first.
Pass your certification exam.
Okay, so that may seem as easy as doing 50 one-armed pushups. Which exam should you take? ACE? ISSA? NASM? AFAA? ACSM? Or one of the many other accredited personal trainer certification exams? What should you know before you take the exam? What’s the exam like? Where should you start?
A Beginner’s Guide to Personal Trainer Certification
As a gym owner, you would already know that the music you play at your gym defines the ambiance and affects the level of motivation for your members. With different personalities coming to your gym, you are probably having a hard time trying to keep everyone happy with the type of music you play. While hardcore bodybuilders are likely to prefer rock and heavy metal, others might be more comfortable listening to pop and blues. The choice of workout music can also differ a lot according to each type of exercise.
When deciding which music or radio station you should play throughout the gym, your safest bet at pleasing everyone is to take a poll. Every member can submit their vote on their favorite workout music genre. You can even try using the most voted genre for 2-3 months and then hold another poll for the next cycle. However, playing a uniform music throughout the gym may not be the best option especially if your gym offers a wide variety of exercises.
Music for Different Types of Exercises
If you have a dedicated room for each type of exercise in your gym, you can play a different kind of music in each room. This way, you can ensure that a majority of the gym members get optimum motivation through the music your play. Here are a few ideas:
• Endurance training – According to researchers at Brunel University, working out to the right music genre can result in a 15% increase in endurance. Since endurance training involves high intensity exercises, your gym members will benefit the most from music with 135 or more beats per minute. Choose fast tempo music genres such as techno, upbeat pop music, or hard rock. “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons, “Applause” by Lady Gaga, “Lonely Boys” by The Black Keys, “The Fixer” by Pearl Jam, and “Everybody Talks” by Neon Trees are some of the popular options for endurance exercises.
• Strength training – For strength training exercises such as weight lifting, look for songs with repetitive rhythm and about 115 to 135 beats per minute. Try playing songs from artists like the Black Eyed Peas or AC/DC, as their music usually comes with repetitive tempo that is ideal for weightlifting and other strength building exercises. You can also try songs like “Appetite for Destruction” by Guns ‘N’ Roses, “Let it Go” by Dragonette, and “Feel so Close” by Calvin Harris.
• Balancing/stretching – Balancing exercises and other low-impact exercises require calm, soothing music with minimal or no vocals. This would include music with 90 to 115 beats per minute. Genres like rhythm and blues, alternative, indie rock, and soft rock are highly recommended for these exercises. Try “It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons, “Come Together” by The Beatles, and “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap.
• Cardio – Like strength training exercises, cardio exercises are also effective with powerful, quick, and repetitive beats. You can find some of the best cardio workout songs in genres like pop and heavy metal. Try “Domino” by Jessie J and . Electronic dance music and pop remixes are also your ideal choice. “Nothing bu the Beat” by David Guetta and “Alive” by Daft Punk are great choices for this type of exercise.
• Swimming – Many gyms fail to play music in the area that needs it the most – the swimming pool. Playing the right music in the swimming area can minimize the distracting echo and noises to keep your gym members motivated. Try music with at least 90 beats per minute but don’t go over 130 bpm. Try “Titanium” by David Guetta and Sia or “Shake it out” by Florence and the Machine.
These are just some of the recommendations for the types of music you can play at your gym. Always remember to prioritize on the preferences of your gym members but make sure you still have a strong voice, so everything stays in order.
Over to you…
How do you handle member requests for music genres?
What are some other good songs for each type of workout?read more
There was a lot of information that I left out of the Moscow Subway article because it was getting too long. For example, there was an interesting article on The Daily Beast Blog about how short bursts of vigorous exercise has a more stimulating effect than a cup of coffee. An intense burst of exercise such as dropping for pushups for thirty seconds has been shown to be more effective at generating the kind of focus and mental stamina of which coffee drinkers can only dream. That’s all according to the study cited in the Daily Beast article. Here is the reason I think it’s worth writing a blog post about it.
The author, Gregory Ferenstein, took the time and made the effort to do some tests to measure his hypothesis experimentally. These days it seems like everything comes down to how you can measure it, monitor it or get feedback from it. I guess that’s from my experience as an entrepreneur that I see everything in that light. Of course, if you don’t know where you are, how can you plan to get where you want to go?
Squats May Have Been Involved
Exercise definitely gets me thinking and I was thinking about the Coffee article while I was doing my workout the other day. The point that it’s stimulating is pretty obvious (sorry) really but the fact that someone thought to measure it provided me with a different sort of insight. In fitness generally and certainly in the profession of fitness training there is an unspoken value that most of us share. That is the value of measurement.
That’s right, measuring where we are presently is the only way that we know what our progress is towards our goal. And, yes, I do think that is a value in the same sense as the core values in last month’s blog on the topic. It may sound strange at first but if you think about it, modern society is built to very fine tolerances. There is an entire industry built around quality control called Six Sigma, which attempts to ensure that business processes never fail. Systems like that are based on making measurements.
The complexities of life may not be easy to measure and value but business performance can be broken down into metrics that will tell you exactly how you are doing. It’s human nature to avoid unpleasant realities and pretend that everything will be okay when hazards approach. Metrics need to be valued because they will help you to face the facts and respond to challenges that arise.
Business consultants and MBAs will look at your gym as a business and attempt to measure the success and performance based on the performance of specific metrics. When you set up a gym management software system like Insight you do so specifically because you want to have an accurate measurement of how your fitness center is performing.
Sports are a science and a very rewarding one at that. Sports science, sports medicine and all of the other disciplines you can study, and for which you can get certification, are all testaments to the importance of measuring and recording results in fitness. It may be one of the few ways in which the general public comes into direct contact with science.
On the other side what happens when someone gets caught cheating or doping? The natural response is to be disappointed in them and angry. The outcry when professional athletes get caught in the act is all too familiar. I think that is because we expect authenticity, which is the same as being “real”. The way to judge if something is real or not is to measure it. That is what makes measurement such a fundamental value: It helps to determine what is authentic.
That’s a good thing in my opinion because if you’ve got any experience dealing with members you know how much it can raise them up when they see the measurements start to change in the right direction. That’s one of the best things about this business and it’s why I say that measurement is a core value that is so deeply held that we don’t even realize it’s there.
Taking Your Reputation Forward By Asking For Testimonials
If you have a system that currently gets testimonials and positive reviews from your membership that is a gift! If you can get testimonials easily, you’re golden. If not, join the club! It’s not usually easy to elicit praise from customers on the record, even when they are completely happy with your service. The secret is to ask, and to ask at the right time.
Two Words Explain Why Customer Testimonials Work
So, the question is: What do testimonials matter? Getting testimonials and positive reviews from your membership is worth a lot of advertising. That’s because of the way that consumers judge the word of third party opinions. The concept in play is something called social proof. It is the natural human tendency to follow the actions of others, the instinct to copy.
Have you ever had a choice of restaurants, one busy and the other empty, and instinctively felt drawn to dine at the one that was busier? That is social proof. It’s one of those things that have been used by marketers for many years. It is the reason fashions catch on and why pedestrians cross against the light, following the person who impatiently stepped off the curb first.
Even if members are happy with you all the time, they’ll be much more willing when they feel good because they just hit a challenging fitness target. If you have personally trained clients successfully, you’ll know that there is a point at which they experience a peak state of satisfaction with their results. That is the time to ask, in a friendly and respectful way. In fact this is easier to judge in our industry than in others. If you have been working with a client or they happen to mention at the front desk that they are thrilled with the results those are the times to ask.
Finessing The Upside
Share the victories and handle the challenges in private. Once again, it’s like you have to be like a swan on a river, apparently coasting along while paddling furiously below the waterline. Testimonials must be handled in an authentic way that doesn’t undermine their value but at the same time you share in the victory and do the hard things out of sight.
Your front desk staff should be alert for the right time and if they can secure a short written statement from a member they should be just as eligible for a reward as the training staff. Be careful that it doesn’t become a competition, where trainers and desk staff become adversaries. Remember, they’re doing your marketing work for you so even if you have to double up on the bonuses you’re paying to encourage teamwork; try to keep the dynamics of the incentives positive.
It might be that the trainer put the thought in the customer’s mind, and the client then returned and innocently mentions it at the front desk. Conflicting incentives are a dangerously effective way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory every time.
Incentivize Your Staff
When a staff member brings one in you have the perfect opportunity to verify it by approaching the customer to personally thank them. Once you do confirm it make sure you follow through and give out the reward, what ever it may be, in a timely manor. Staff members also appreciate it when you recognize them for having gotten the testimonial. This is another case where social proof can be won by making an example of desired behavior.
The Practical Side Of Testimonials
How can you determine the value of a testimonial? There is a value based on the publicity and social proof that good testimonials can give. If you have an explicit marketing budget, and you should, assume that the customer who gave you the review or testimonial is the ideal customer. Then you can match the testimonial to the cost of gaining one ideal customer.
The fact is that small successes can be multiplied and major successes can be celebrated. After all, most people are happy for the success of other, especially in the fitness profession. The best part is that if you manage the good times properly they are circular; good feelings lead to good results, which in turn lead to feelings of well-being. This applies for customers and staff in equal portions.
Fagan, Lawrence. How Health Club Management is Like a Swan on a River. https://blog.gyminsight.com/759-how-health-club-management-is-like-a-swan-on-a-river/ (accessed November 16, 2014).
Robbins, Anthony. Awaken The Giant Within. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1991.read more
There are lots of interesting ways to do promotions. Once again, with the holidays upon us, I think it’s time to take another look. One of the most accessible is selling gift cards as part of your retail operation. Even if it means just a desktop display at your reception you can boost your return on investment by offering this popular, high margin product to your membership and the general public.
Promotions With Gift Cards
Sell gift cards in your gym
Sell gift cards at the local sporting goods store
Distribute them through your trainers
There is a reason that you see so many different types of gift cards at the grocery and drug store checkout. Consumers love them. People like to give and receive them. They are inexpensive advertising. Once you have mastered the process behind this stream of income and it’s paying for itself you might consider using it for promotions and marketing in more creative ways.
Apart from putting them on a shelf in your merchandise section you can sell them at a discount to businesses such as locally owned sporting goods stores. You’ll be getting cash up front and it brings people in so you can help them figure out what they really need.
Alternatively, offer the cards on consignment; give them out with an agreement to share the proceeds and collect the leftovers the next month, along with your share of the revenue. You can do the same with your associated trainers and local studios that specialize in such things as yoga and boxing. It helps your peers because they can provide expanded service, it helps you by bringing customers to your door.
There are so many things a small gym or fitness center owner needs to be aware of, most of which are not directly related to the gym business. Hopefully, articles such as this one will help you to keep up to date and informed about the state of the industry. I have some pretty good sources on the inside of the tech industry and I like to think that I can help gym owners learn what they need to know. So, here is a quick overview of what is in the works and what we are going to be dealing with sooner than you might expect.
The Pursuit Of Authentic Search
It all comes back to search and Google has the objective of improving it to the point that the absolute best result for what you want will appear, as if by magic, every time you search. This is a stated aim in the company’s mission statement. Essentially, the point is to create a search for the authentic search engine results page.
Google may be at the top of the pile right now but like most smart tech companies they realize that it can change overnight. They are pinning their hopes on the belief that the best search result is the most authentic. That is what most people are looking for: We want what we want without being manipulated or distracted by someone’s agenda.
The really clever part about it is the way that Google and the rest of the companies on the leading edge are going about it. They are looking at the associations between what searchers are seeking and the common traits and meaning behind it. Keywords don’t tell that much about the context of the search it’s what goes on in between. A keyword index is just a big list, like an extended dictionary.
The future of search lies in the knowledge that surrounds the keywords and what is really needed. That forms something called a knowledge base. A thing I am proud to say that Insight is developing right here, relating to our software. That’s not so impressive in itself (but hopefully useful all the same) it’s a fundamental requirement for the service moving forward and we are doing everything we can to keep our clients supported with the best available service.
When Everyone Has A Knowledge Base Google Wants A Knowledge Vault
Google has begun adding information from its own knowledge base to the search results that they post. First you will find that it responds better to natural language questioning, you can even speak your question, given the right prompt. Presently, most of the information in Google’s knowledge base has been collected and aggregated by humans.
They’re developing a machine-based advanced version that they call Knowledge Vault, which uses logic and diverse sources including the existing Google knowledge base to match up search and learn the associations and connections contained within the data, without human help.
The force that’s driving this is the competition in consumer markets. If a company isn’t prepared in advance of a customer making a purchase they will lose out to the one that’s anticipated the customers next move before even the customer knows they are going to decide to buy. When it comes to big-ticket items such as cars this is where the state-of-the-art is headed very fast.
This will also spill over into the marketing of gyms and fitness studios. I am confident that smart gym owners will be able to fight back against the big box chains and franchises. The big guys can throw money at the problem but there are thousands of start-ups out there that are likely to disrupt the status quo. Gym Insight will be right here to pass along the latest tips and hints to help you out.
The Solution Is Simple When You Know What To Share
So, the thing to focus on in your blog, website and social media offerings is the content. Don’t worry about the keywords or the format so much as just attempting to concisely express the point you want to make. For a gym owner that is likely to be a discussion about the services, facilities and knowledge you can offer. The way that things are moving forward the searchers will find you because of the quality and authority of your offerings. Just like the business model for your gym the most important thing to offer is authentic service.
Google. Our Products And Services. https://www.google.com/intl/en/about/company/products/ (accessed December 1, 2014).
Hodson, Hal. Google’s fact-checking bots build vast knowledge bank. August 20, 2014. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22329832.700-googles-factchecking-bots-build-vast-knowledge-bank.html#.VCSKWildXBd (accessed December 1, 2014).read more
When you own a twenty-first century gym you really should support it with all the up-to-date media resources you can get. In my opinion, using the available tools of the Internet is the best way you can leverage even the leanest budget; many of them for free or less than the cost of an ad in the Yellow Pages.
Podcasting is one of the most intriguing of these potential resources. It’s under-utilized as yet but it could be a really powerful voice for your business. It’s a way to connect with likeminded business owners and gym aficionados. Even if you don’t want to make one yourself it makes a great source of information that make the best use of long commutes and your half hour on the elliptical machine.
If you haven’t had the experience yet, podcasting is a recorded format that’s a cross between talk radio and audio books. They are great for periods when you are physically occupied but your mind is free. Working out is one of those times to which the medium is suited. If you listen to industry related files you can pick up a lot of knowledge and ideas from what others have tried, what works and what doesn’t. It’s amazing how freely podcasters will share information about their experiences.
Podcasts About Business And Marketing
There are thousands of great podcasts about business in general. For example, the Entrepreneur On Fire podcast is a high power production that gives out vital information and business insight. Another is the Marketing Lifestyle Show by Amy Schmittauer, a great source of information on marketing and how to promote a business.
Fitness Business Podcasts Of Note
The SpartanUp Podcast is the talk show component of Joe Desena’s Spartan Races Empire. Desena leads the show himself, posting new episodes every Tuesday, all of it great stuff! The Barbell Business is a no-holds barred podcast about the experience of operating gyms and people in the industry as guests. This doesn’t even scratch the surface for what’s out there. If you check out some the directories for podcasts such as iTunes and Stitcher.com you’ll find almost any topic in fitness covered in detail and they are relatively easy to produce yourself.
Do Your Own Podcast
You can do a basic podcast with some simple equipment but you may find that to get the sound quality you really want you might want to get a good quality mike and digital recorder. Just recording a Google Hangout or a Skype conversation can set you up with material that is compelling enough to pick up an audience over time. What would you talk about? Well that is up to you, who you know to interview, and your innate creativity.
You might want to post a podcast to your website but it actually requires a special form of hosting. It is the one thing that tends to be excluded by your hosting company’s terms of service, even if they don’t readily admit it. But once the server detects the traffic pattern of podcast downloads they will shut it down fast. You need to use a service like Stitcher.com or Libsyn.com to host podcast files posted on your website. These services are configured specifically to handle the sudden bursts of traffic from a podcast that’s picked up a following.
A headset will work if you are on your own and recording audio from the web or Skype. Alternatively, you can get good USB mikes such as the Snowball for under $100. For even better equipment you will likely pay $400 for a professional quality mike alone. Cliff Ravenscraft is the guru to turn to for advice on equipment, although there are plenty of other good sources.
No Limitation But Imagination
What you say and with whom you say it is entirely up to you. Whether it catches on and helps to market your gym business depends on if it’s entertaining and relevant to your audience. The best way is often to find people who interest you, actively show your interest by asking questions and giving them the space to answer. Above all, make it fun because if your audience knows you are having a good time they will find it much more enjoyable to follow along. After all, to be successful in this business, you have to make people feel good just as much as look good, to build their minds as well as their bodies.
Greenfield, Rebecca. The (Surprisingly Profitable) Rise Of Podcast Networks. September 26, 2014. http://www.fastcompany.com/3035954/most-creative-people/the-surprisingly-profitable-rise-of-podcast-networks (accessed June 3, 2015).
Ravenscraft, Cliff. Podcast Equipment. http://podcastanswerman.com/equipment/ (accessed June 3, 2015).read more
I was just reading the results of a really interesting small business survey, and the discussion about it, on the Club Solutions Website. The point was that community and reviews lead as the driving forces for growth across the spectrum of small businesses.
Of 6,000 survey respondents, eleven percent were gym members. The survey showed that there is growth in the economy, small businesses get the most return by providing community, and that small businesses, including gyms, get a lot of mileage from reviews posted by members. The article went on to say that these reviews provide highly valued, third party validations that consumers look to as trusted information.
Transactional Stranger Danger
Initially, you engage in transactions but these will become valuable to you when they begin to blossom into relationships. This strongly supports the sort of things I have been thinking and writing in the Gym Insight Blog since… well, since the beginning.
A transaction is the most minimal and marginal exchange of goods and services for immediate payment. I visualize it as a buyer and seller, each extending their right hands with goods or cash and grasping for the contents of the other’s right hand with their left, in an awkward face-off; both parties driven by fear and loathing to get the transaction done as fast as possible.
Comical as that may sound, it illustrates the basics of trading. The one thing that can make the experience more palatable is the trust that grows in any kind of positive relationship.
Know Plus Like And Trust Equals Relationship
A relationship based on positive experiences, between your small gym business and its members, will help you to build your business and succeed by reducing the cost of each new sale.read more
Do you dream of starting a gym or fitness studio? If so you may have made serious inquiries into what it takes. Like starting a restaurant, founding a gym captures the imagination of people at all levels of experience and qualifications. The fitness industry seems like an easy entry; passion is a great starting point. Running a gym is a consumer service business, and there are many resources available, including software like Insight for Gym Owners.
Visit the Small Business Administration website, determine your strengths and weaknesses, set your goals and outline a plan. The SBA will give you guidance on writing a business plan and point you in the right direction to find financial help if you need cash to make your concept into a reality.
More Details Of What It Takes To Start A Gym
Just to set up a gym as a destination you will need specializations, certifications, insurance, equipment, and a commercial property lease. The key here is to be realistic in your planning and expectations. If you have to start small and bootstrap your gym or get the experience first, then that is what you should do.
Here’s a tech term that you can use as a principle to drive your small gym business empire ahead: In tech jargon, they call it Dogfooding. The expression, to “eat your dog food” is not a literal thing, obviously. I don’t think that trend has gotten off the ground yet thank goodness. However, if you don’t take heed and begin to practice this brand-building principle, you might literally end up sleeping in your back office.
Dogfooding applies most intensely when you’re attempting to make significant changes. For example, when you roll out changes and new services that are untested, glitches will jump up and bite you. Dogfooding allows you to generate feedback rapidly by testing your system on yourself. After all, you’re likely to be more forgiving than your membership when you catch a glitch, right?
Between The Sole Proprietors And Big Box Gyms
It’s easy to walk the walk if you’re a trainer, leading classes and approachable on the studio floor. Large corporation leaders are at a distance from the membership; they don’t have to be seen to be hardcore fanatics about the systems and services they share.
The giants of fitness have so many people and so much cash that things work a little bit differently. Corporate organizations have departments for everything. When your company becomes an institution, you probably have a knowledge base of experience that finds the answers through managerial methods, assuming that it works the way it should. In technology companies, dogfooding is a check on the other methods.
In the realm of the trainer-slash-gym owner, you are too close to the action to avoid practicing what you preach; you’re in there every day working with the customers. You have to use the resources on hand because you’re the only person who can; if you’re not there your doors are shut. When you engage directly with members you can change the policy and process on the spot, there’s no delay, and the lesson doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.
Feedback From Eating Your Own Dog Food
In between giants and sole proprietor-owned studios, there’s a danger zone. Say you operate a single gym and delegate daily operations or you have the good fortune to own multiple locations, you’re involved in day-to-day management, and members recognize you, if not by name then by face.
You can’t be there all of the time. And you certainly can’t be in two or more places at once. Members can see you and engage with you, but you have to delegate daily management tasks to a responsible team member. So you set policies and provide management resources like Insight, you put the best people in charge and you say, “call me if you need me.” They may call you or not, the worst way to discover flaws in your service is to see the membership leaving.
Keep Your Service And Policies On A Short Leash
When you dog food your product or service, it will work better than if you don’t; it helps you avoid expensive mistakes that undermine your revenue by causing cancellations or refunds. If you rush to launch your service or open a gym before you knock the kinks out
Gym Insight has always dogfooded our software. As I’ve said many times before, I initially wrote the software because the gym business I founded needed an application to manage operations, take care of customers and track payments. Since my other career was in computer sciences, I could just see the solution for the situation, and so I wrote it from scratch. Dogfooding meant that I had intimate knowledge of both industries and direct feedback from generating real customer data.
Dogfooding For The Win
There are lots of things you learn in textbooks and classrooms but you only get the deepest insights from doing the real thing. So, of course that approach has drifted into the other side of the equation; my experience architecting a gym management software suite influenced the way that I manage my fitness business too.
I know that I’ll get better results when I go through the process of using the applications to manage my gym step by step and try to experience it from my customers’ point of view. Everybody wins by using the resources of the gym and when you get involved with members. So, eating your dog food in this context is a practice in the workplace not at the dinner table, and it keeps you away from the bowl in the doghouse.
Caplan-Bricker, Nora. If You Want to Talk Like a Silicon Valley CEO, Learn This Phrase. October 28, 2013. https://newrepublic.com/article/115349/dogfooding-tech-slang-working-out-glitches (accessed April 23, 2017).
Fagan, Lawrence. Ease Your Gym Management Burden By Learning How To Delegate. August 8, 2015. https://blog.gyminsight.com/3428-ease-your-gym-management-burden-by-learning-how-to-delegate/ (accessed April 23, 2017).
Mark, Jason. How Proper “Dogfooding” Might Have Saved Facebook Home. June 10, 2013. https://www.fastcompany.com/3012670/how-proper-dogfooding-might-have-saved-facebook-home (accessed April 23, 2017).
Urban Dictionary. Dogfooding Definition. April 14, 2005. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=dogfooding%20%28to%20dogfood%29 (accessed April 23, 2017).read more
The Digital Natives Expect You To Bring Your A-Game
There is a simple logic that justifies marketing to Millennials; it is the fact that, being young people, they will be around for years and years to come. So if you can capture the mood and attitude that appeals to them, you have a shot at building relationships with a valuable demographic.
Millennials are the offspring of past generations that were subject to sophisticated marketing, even if the media was less advanced. This recent generation has grown up within that context, and they are the first generation that is truly native to the digital realms. So this fact is something that you should keep in mind when you seek to acquire and retain Millennials as fitness club customers.
The Nature And Behavior Of The Millennial Generation
The concept of generations is a useful construct, made up to determine the characteristics and behaviors of demographic groups. According to Pew Research, Millennials are the group that was born between the early 1980s and early 2000s. They are now the largest part of the workforce and taking the economic clout away from the Boomer generation.
Club Solutions Magazine recently quoted George Foreman III, the founder of EverybodyFights, as an advocate for combining technology with bricks-and-mortar gym facilities to appeal to the millennial market. Young people of the digital generation have never known what it is like to be short of answers; they have always been able to turn to digital reference sources and social networks.
The Principle of Authenticity
The millennial persona might have multiple devices available and be quickly switching channels, judging which is the best solution for the situation at hand. Consumers who have such direct access to data are looking to find the best deal, whether that is a low-cost bargain or an exceptional experience.
The digital realm gives them the tools to research and fact-check all your assertions. So gym owners, if you have not begun to move toward the digital fitness regime yet, you really should start an initiative now. It means using your data to connect to your members socially and build relationships with high levels of authenticity.
Remember millennial consumers are looking for you digitally. They ask their extended networks for advice and recommendations. They read and contribute to review sites like Yelp. They search Google and Facebook for the highest ranked search result for specific keyword phrases. They put together pictures from multiple sources, but you can have an impact on the media that they see.
When you make contact with Millennials, make every step an effort to turn transactions into relationships. Even if they never sign up personally, each new contact can become valuable to you. Get their name for a list. Email them and solicit more information. Always use offers. Give out free merchandise in return for interactions and engagements; perhaps you can acquire a social media vending machine to encourage it.
In a sense, fitness club membership is perfect to match Millennials and technologies. The latest digital fitness concepts capture data about your workout performance and also give you communication channels. You can automate your relationships to make and update appointments with trainers and still appeal to this demographic. Diversity is essential to optimize the workforce in your gym, make sure to integrate Millennials into the team; more on that in a future post I think.
Drop The Avocado And Get Off My Lawn
There is a fad in the media right now; writers love to complain that Millennials spend their money on frivolous things. Such complaints seem to imply that young people act entitled and wasteful, that might grab headlines but the numbers about millennial finances don’t bear that out.
Millennials have higher costs of healthcare and education among other things, so they tend to be more careful in how they spend income. That means that you have to fight harder to get part of their budgets. Their career pressures and sophistication accounts for their selective attitudes, but knowing this you can use it to your advantage.
Millennials are just young people, and that is a set of traits that is common to all human behavior. Gym business owners who deliver high-value offerings and engage with their younger audience members will be rewarded with strong and long customer relationships. If you connect and respond through the digital channels that suit the niche in which you operate you can initiate memberships that last for years to come.
Fagan, Lawrence. Lifetime Customer Value Calculation And Why It Matters. April 6, 2016. https://blog.gyminsight.com/3757-lifetime-customer-value-calculation-and-why-it-matters/ (accessed December 30, 2016).
—. Small Gym Business Owners Get The Best of Both Worlds With Automation. November 8, 2016. https://blog.gyminsight.com/4053-small-gym-business-owners-get-the-best-of-both-worlds-with-automation/ (accessed May 22, 2017).
Fry, Richard. Millennials overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation . April 25, 2016. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/04/25/millennials-overtake-baby-boomers/ (accessed May 22, 2017).
Qiu, Linda, and Victor Daniel. Fact-Checking a Mogul’s Claims About Avocado Toast, Millennials and Home Buying . May 15, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/15/business/avocado-toast-millennials.html (accessed May 22, 2017).
Verbanas, Rick. Tips on Marketing to Millennials. May 14, 2017. http://yourguerrillamarketer.com/tips-marketing-millennials/ (accessed May 22, 2017).
Zabonick, Rachel. Gym Technology: George Foreman III on Tech, Millennials and More. April 18, 2017. http://clubsolutionsmagazine.com/2017/04/gym-technology-george-foreman-iii-on-tech-millennials-and-more/ (accessed May 22, 2017).read more
Someone recently made a very excellent comment on the Gym Insight Blog. The commenter posted that, while walk-ins are great, they don’t just materialize out of thin air, clubs have to work for them.
Yes, that is absolutely true, you are going to have to invest some time and effort to generate walk-in inquiries. The result you want is a new face loitering by the front desk asking questions and taking the tour.
Advertise and Brand Building
The old school concept of marketing is as valid as it ever was, you need AIDA: attention, interest, desire, and action, to cultivate prospects and convert them into paying members. The process moving your prospects along that path are often called sales or marketing funnels. The further down the funnel that walk-ins are when they make contact, the easier it is to close them on a new membership.
To get walk-ins, you need visibility; you need to build awareness and capture attention in your local community. The process is a funnel that starts before prospects walk in, and ends with new paying memberships. Generating walk-ins depends on how far you can extend your funnel out into the local environment.
Bricks and Mortar Signs For Marketing
So the term funnel has a lot of variability, marketers often mean digital media such as web-based advertising and email marketing. Also, we are just talking about bringing people in through your front door. A complete sales and marketing funnel is really beyond the scope of the objective.
However, it is perfectly valid to talk about things you do in the physical world with a funnel as part of your sales system. The point is that you want to get the attention of the general public in your vicinity and build their interest. Once they have developed enough curiosity to inquire, they are likely to walk in.
Signs on the sidewalk – If you can claim some sidewalk space purchase an A-frame signboard or two.
Sign spinners – The guys and gals who dance on street corners with signs will get attention all right. Commission a suitable signboard or hire a local agency.
Be an event sponsor – Connect with your fellow local business owners and sponsor events in the community. Ask that in return, they allow you to display a banner prominently during the activities. Your local print shop will be happy to make up a suitable banner sign for this purpose.
Digital Connections Count More Than Ever
People spend so much time looking at digital media these days that you cannot ignore platforms like Facebook and Instagram. If you have enough discipline to generate a consistent and fun presence, you can win some recognition on social media. Post daily and respond to comments. Encourage your team to use hashtags on social media.
Use targeted advertising on social media platforms as well as physical media to get attention and build awareness. People are very attached to their digital devices now, so you should think of digital and physical ad space as the same.
With a small advertising budget, you can expand your promotions with paid Facebook advertising, which is extremely precise in it’s targeting. You can set your requirements in very fine detail, and the network will only charge you when it shows your ad to members who fit your criteria accurately.
Also, encourage members to share their opinions on review sites like Yelp.com because people trust this information as authentic, more than any slick copywriting you can buy. Make a habit of asking for reviews from members.
The Millennial Generation is an exceptionally valuable target audience, and they jump from one information channel to another without even thinking about it. They will see your signboard and immediately check digital sources like Yelp for more information.
When you work very hard to build something significant, and someone makes what sounds like an unjustified remark, it hurts. If you don’t restrain yourself from attacking it can turn into a circus in all the wrong ways. Ever see a minor complaint turn into a public relations disaster? It seems like it happens all the time these days and companies still miss opportunities to turn customer griping into chances to amaze larger audiences.
Negative Reviews Can Make Your Service Better
When someone makes a complaint in public or gives you a bad review, it’s going out to the whole audience of the platform your member chooses to use. If you respond the right way, it can be a chance to show a small audience your good intentions. React badly, and the situation will escalate until it seems like the whole world is watching.
The great thing about complaints online is that if you respond well you can turn the situation around. You can take a publicity blotch on your reputation and use it as fuel to shine even more than you already do. Pay attention, apply some energy, listen with a sympathetic attitude, and respond with solutions; the rest is just detail.
Through podcasts, you can discover insights for gym owners, stay current with issues in fitness, business management, and any other topics that might help you keep up with ideas and opportunities. Producing a podcast is hard to do but don’t ignore a fantastic opportunity for fitness professionals if you have something to say, just because of a little hard work.
Listening: A List Of Noteworthy Podcasts In Fitness And Others
Here is a quick list of worthy (in my opinion) podcasts, some are fitness-related, and others that are more general interest:
The Six Figure Gym – This industry-centered podcast features Interviews with founders and experts who share their insights and experiences in the fitness profession.
The Fitness Business Podcast – This Australian production features fitness industry thought leaders from around the English-speaking world. There’s something about an Aussie voice discussing the industry that sounds so enthusiastic and cool. More importantly, the podcast is very professional and brings in some influential voices in the industry.
The Twit Network – Leo LaPorte, the tech guy who hosted Tech TV shows such as Screen Savers and Call for help has recreated the old cable channel as a video and audio content network. Twit.tv hosts a broad range of tech and entrepreneur podcasts.
Talk Is Jericho – This WWE veteran wrestler, known for his flair and catchphrases (“I’m from Winnipeg, you idiot!”) has turned out to be a man of many talents. Chris Jericho has twice-weekly guests that include rock stars, actors, and wrestling business insiders, among others, who share their stories and insights.
Spartan Up! Podcast – Joe Desena, the founder of the Spartan Race and his team interview interesting people about their struggles that led to their ultimate successes. What gym owner doesn’t want to know about that?
Podcasting: Producing A Fitness Podcast
Podcasts are all about subscriptions. You can use iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS to get the latest episodes. If you intend to succeed as a podcaster, be prepared to produce episodes at least once a week when you upload them your subscribers will get them automatically.
The point of a podcast is to build an audience who share your interest and who might become customers of your business. Some of the things you might do with it include interviewing your network of contacts to tell their stories and promote their businesses. The one resource you will have to find is the time to record, edit and upload your episodes, you probably have everything else required already.
For a very reasonable investment, you can produce a talk show that can help you establish yourself as an influencer in the global fitness industry, or at least in your local community. Record a conversation in person or across the Internet via FaceTime or Skype. There is a free audio recording application called Audacity that is good enough for spoken-word recordings and editing.
There just might be an opening if you find there is a topic that is your passion and yet no one has claimed as yet. That is a real possibility because there are so many issues that you can cover; they are just waiting for someone with the knowledge and the enthusiasm to produce an episode on a regular basis, someone like you.
Alternatively, you can use it to teach a subject and discuss skills related to your professional practice. Find the combination of purposes that suits your style and goals. Your first few posts will be rough, but that’s OK; you will develop a style and format that works over time.
Double Your Workload And Multiply Your Content Many Times
If you are ambitious or confident in your digital skills, create video podcasts, and reuse the content on multiple channels. Videos take more effort to produce; they require more editing and take longer to upload to your hosting platform.
On the plus side, you can edit long videos down into short clips and repost them as additional content, because shorter videos are often more popular. The soundtrack to the video becomes your audio podcast.
If you transcribe each episode and post them on your blog in writing, they can reach even more people and also improve your standing with search engines. With a little bit of hacking, you can capture the closed caption transcription that YouTube generates automatically and repurpose it as text content to use on your blog and in social media.
The Audacity Of Podcasting – A Talk Show In A Nutshell
Podcasts are excellent sources of information that you can absorb while you drive, workout, and any other activity that’s not mentally demanding. To develop your business skills, you should always seek to expand your knowledge and take advantage of useful insights.
You have a golden opportunity to produce a channel of content that shares your knowledge and experience. With hard work, you can build an audience that will become a source of business and respect in the worldwide fitness community. After all, if you’ve started and built any kind of fitness club, a couple of hours a week to talk to people and then edit the recording isn’t such a big challenge, right?