Have any of your clients and friends recently asked you, “So how is business going during this recession we are in?â€❠I chuckle at this question, and my response is often: “I have chosen to not participate in the economic situation that the media tells us we are in.â€❠I personally have decided to not let negativity about this situation infiltrate my mind. My mental game will not weaken to where I start playing tight and overlook the many opportunities that do exist. A better, more positive question to ask would be: “What are you creating to bolster your business and improve your revenues during this time of opportunity?â€â

We as personal trainers have the unique opportunity to change the way people think, feel and act every day. The quality of our mindset is absolutely imperative at all times, and our attitudes are the one thing that we can control daily. Now, more than ever, is a time we must invest in fortifying ourselves, our staffs, our clients, our services, our systems and our mindsets. Here are my top solutions to ensuring that your personal training business not only survives but thrives in this “tough timeâ€❠that many of us may be facing:

Train Your Mindset Daily
Invest in yourself and your staff as far as creating a positive mindset. You can protect your energy and invest in yourself by reading good books, listening to books on tape, surrounding yourself with positive people, being part of a mastermind group, attending educational conferences and being sure to get quiet time every day. It is said, “Your thoughts determine your words, your words become your flesh, your flesh becomes your actions, and your actions become your character.â€❠Therefore, your thoughts ultimately determine your character. So protect your mindset, and invest in it.

Put the Oxygen Mask on First
It goes without saying that we must take care of our own physical conditioning before taking care of others. Sometimes trainers are so used to putting everyone first that they neglect their own health. This includes making sure you schedule your own workouts in your book, get adequate sleep, eat right and get a massage at least once a month. We need to be armoured up for the battle, and it is imperative that our own conditioning is a priority as well.

Connect with Your Staff
Have meetings or educational workshops once a week or once a month. This is a great way to reignite the passion of your staff, increase energy that will translate into more positive sessions and help build camaraderie and teamwork among the staff. Other ways to positively connect include staff workouts and outings (e.g. softball games, hiking, barbecues or even a staff retreat).

Connect with Your Clients
There is nothing more important than the people that walk through your doors. Make your place the fortress where people can come build their spirit, burn off stress and improve the quality of their lives with top-notch conditioning and superior service. Simple but highly effective ways to connect include making sure you “walk the floorâ€❠and talk to people, sending clients cards and/or gifts during special occasions, offering workshops or events and making sure you just simply say “thank you.â€â

Ensure Systems Are in Place
Systems are important all the time, but it is during challenging times that you need to tighten your systems even more and make sure everything is as efficient and organized as possible. Those businesses with the tightest systems, best staff, highest energy and most positive culture will survive.

Be Creative
Now is a great time to listen to your clients’ needs and create programs and sessions geared around them. Some of the hot trends in fitness include boot camps, semi-private and group sessions, circuit training, cardio kickboxing and yoga. Or create “continuity programsâ€❠for your existing clientele to offer them more than just your sessions. For example, we had over 100 clients and fitness enthusiasts around the country participate in an online program conducted via email and teleseminar. I was able to “touchâ€❠100 people at one time. What can you create that would deliver great value? The best thing to do is ask your clients for feedback and then provide great service geared around those ideas.

Top 10 Quotes on Attitude and Mindset
“Your attitude determines your altitude.â€❠— Unknown

“Your attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.â€❠— Mac Anderson

“Attitudes are nothing more than habits of thoughts, and habits can be acquired. An action repeated becomes an attitude realized.â€❠— Paul Myer

“You become what you think about.â€❠— Earl Nightingale

“First we make our attitudes. Then our attitudes make us.â€❠— Dennis Waitley

“Nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm.â€❠— Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Be the change you desire in the worldâ€❠— Gandhi

“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.â€❠— Gandhi

“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.â€❠— Vince Lombardi

“Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.â€❠— Vince Lombardi


Be a Leader
A leader is anyone who influences other people. Whether you are the owner of a facility, a manager, a staff trainer, front desk receptionist or administrative support, if you influence anyone that walks through the door, it’s time for you to step up your game. Take ownership of situations, treat the facility as if it was yours, and be the change that you desire at your place of work. It’s easy to point fingers and blame everyone but yourself, but if you accept responsibility, you’ll be amazed how that positively affects the energy and culture in a facility.

Trim the Fat
If there is anyone on your staff that is not overwhelmingly positive, has a bad attitude, negatively affects the precious energy of your culture or just isn’t performing at a level that is satisfactory, it is time to remove them from your team. You must protect your energy in your work environment and your brand quality. It is critical that they are contributing to the team in a positive way and that their professionalism, service, attitude and energy represent what you desire. If you’ve done everything you can to counsel an employee, motivate him or her and help coach them to success, and it’s just not working, it is typically best to part ways.

Have a “Purge Partyâ€â
A purge party is a good old-fashioned cleaning. Removing the clutter from your life allows you to think clearly, be organized and efficient with your time and feel good about your work or home environment. Additionally, add plants, waterfalls, positive quotes, bright colors, good music and pleasant scents into your clean environment, and your mood and mindset will be enhanced.

Eliminate Negativity
This pertains to all areas of your life. This may mean that you don’t hang out with people that bring you down, don’t watch the news anymore or don’t read the newspaper. Going on a media strike, along with training your mindset for positivity, can be powerful methods to help you and your team create an energy that is dynamic and refreshing.

Believe in Yourself and Your Team
Teamwork is essential during tough times. Remember that we must continue to work together and keep our positive mindset sharp at all times. Here are some tips to improve communication and camaraderie:

· Thank your teammates and your clients more often.
· If you want more out of your life, you need to give more.
· Take ownership of all situations and try to be the answer to people’s needs versus someone else on your team.
· Do everything in this article "and then some", and you will be over-delivering with value, service, friendliness, compassion, genuine concern and with positive attitude.

In a time when people are anxious, scared or even depressed, it is imperative that we protect our most valuable asset: our mindset. Remember to be the impetus for the change and create the positive energy that each of us desires. If each and every one of us trainers adheres to these measures and stays committed and focused on helping our clients physically, mentally and emotionally more than ever during this time, we can continue to thrive and play a major role in people’s health. There are many people needing our services right now, and only a chosen few who will be able to deliver what is needed. It’s time to step up and “play big!â€â

Todd Durkin, MA, CSCS (www.todddurkin.com) is the founder and creator of Fitness Quest 10. He has produced 26 educational DVDs for trainers, trains dozens of professional NFL and MLB athletes and conducts an ongoing Mastermind Group for personal trainers looking to elevate their business and personal success. He was selected Personal Trainer of the Year by IDEA (2004) and ACE (2005) and is the Head of the Under Armour Performance Training Council.

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