We live in a fast-paced world. Ideas, inventions, trends and tastes all come and go at lightning speed. What's hot is soon... not. Pagers to cell phones, cell phones to Blackberries, email to instant messaging and blogging to tweeting. In our world; aerobic dance to step aerobics, which evolved into group exercise. Remember The Slide?

    In nutrition, we have heard about food combining, high-carb, low-carb, no-carb, vegan, vegetarian and even the "caveman meat diet." In personal training, favorite exercises and tools become "contraindicated" or old- fashioned. Sometimes they make a comeback, but usually, they don't. The trick is to be able to figure out if something hot really has value, like kettlebell training versus the Ab-Rocker.

    As a trainer growing a business, you will experience trends and ideas that come and go. Your job is to investigate them and decide which have true value and staying power and which ones will become the latest fad to fall by the wayside. You don't ever want to look like you are out of the loop, but on the other hand, you don't want to look like you are jumping on a bandwagon.

    As the owner of a private training studio, I have been approached frequently by those with an agenda, and some wanted us to stock the latest nutritional products. Others wanted us to add yoga, Pilates or even MMA training to our current offerings. We are presented with alternative ways to do business, such as extended hours, volume discounts and self-guided (no trainer) workouts. After a while, you start to question just what it is that you believe in and what you stand for.

    The thing that has served me well has been to be very slow to decide on any of these things. Remind yourself that there is no hurry! If what you do and what you offer is truly of value, then you don't "have" to add any of the things mentioned above. Be very picky with what you do decide to add to your arsenal. In our case, we have always stuck to what we do best: personal training. It is our bread and butter, and we respect that. After about six months of investigation, however, we did decide to add boot camps to our business as a profit center, and five sold-out camps later, it has proven to be a wise decision.

    I would suggest that you occasionally take a step back and do some thinking about your core beliefs, values and philosophy in general. When you do this, it will allow you to look at the latest trends in a more level-headed, rational way. It will also give you the ability to decide whether something fits in with your idea about fitness and if it is something that you should be integrating into your business.

    In the end, always think in more global terms of what you do and what you want to become.

    Ernie Schramayr is an ACE-Certified Personal Trainer and the owner of All Canadian Fitness, a private training studio in Hamilton, Ontario (www.allcanadianfitness.com).

    We live in a fast-paced world. Ideas, inventions, trends and tastes all come and go at lightning speed. What


    What is your average annual income for your fitness-related work/business?