For this installment of mymonthly column, I want to hit you with a BIG IDEA. Do you want to know thesecret to success for personal trainers and fitness business owners? And on theflip side, what causes more frustration, disappointment and failure than any othersingle factor?

In the trainingbusiness, some trainers struggle working for big box gyms for what averages outto less than minimum wage, while other trainers are booked solid at $100 plusper hour. Why?

For the samereason every Ruth Chris' Steakhouse is successful! In virtually every city inwhich there's a Ruth Chris, there are steakhouses serving steaks of equal oreven superior quality, at lower prices. Why does every city house both starvinggym owners and millionaire gym owners? The answer really comes down to oneword:


I think thisconcept frightens those trainers who are unable to come up with any flair,style, or image of their own. They prefer to believe that just the training iseverything.

In othertypes of businesses, this would be an example of thinking the product iseverything.

But itisn't just the product or the training. It nearly never is. A steak is a steak,a tabata is a tabata, a boot camp drill is a boot camp drill, within a small,marketplace-acceptable range of competence. If you stubbornly insist onbelieving you have (or need) a superior or unique certification, technique,training type or competency, or worse, insist on complaining the injustice ofpossessing such a superiority and still losing out to inferior competitors,you're only hurting yourself. You're closing your eyes toreality and suffering needlessly.

And since we'redealing with the subject of secrets, I'll tell you one of my own. I know thereare trainers out there worlds better than I am who have charged at most $25, or$50, or even $75 for a private session when I've charged $100 plus. And thereare those that have done group training who are worlds better motivators andteachers than I am who have made less than $30 for a group session when I'vemade hundreds more by positioning myself as an expert in mine.

They are more adept than I am,work much harder during their sessions than I do and arguably deserve greaterfees than I command but work for peanuts compared to what I've commanded.

I know of a few,and I'm positive there are hundreds more I don't know about. Why did I get somuch for the work I put in (and even more for the work I didn't put "in," butthat's a different point).

It all comes downto presentation. In this case, not the presentation of the training itself, butthe presentation of me. It's all the little things, likethe self-marketing, positioning, promotion and expectation and frame managementthat goes on with training services that adds up to presentation. It's the 101 thingsthat have nothing to do with the actual training program itself.

I know a lot oftrainers get this internally, but have just been missing the reminder ormotivation to actually consciously focus on it. And talk to any real fitnessbusiness owner that's been doing this for a long time with massive success (notthe long-time struggling complainers) and they will tell you the same thing. I've seenGunnar Peterson, one of the top industry purists, mention the same fact,and I've never spoken to a successful trainer who would argue against it.

So by allmeans, keep the quality and integrity of your training product high, andprogressively make it higher, and be sure to "sharpen the saw" on aconsistent bases. But remember there's a lot more to this game than just thetraining, so make sure you spend A LOT more time learning about that.

Kaiser Serajuddin is the writer of the popular personal training blog, He guides personal trainers through the challenging period of starting their personal training businesses and helps them on the road to six figures. For more information, you can download his special report, The Six-Figure Formula, at


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