Diet? Yup. Exercise? Yup. Tried that, triedall of it. Nothing works.

That's, if not a fair conclusion, certainly an understandableone when itinhabits the belief system of any individual who has attempteddiets andexercise without finding a sense of reward. The reality, atleast as you recognizeit, runs counter to the belief. You, as an educated fitnessprofessional,understand that the attempts were flawed. People pursue dietsbecause it'swhat people do when they want to lose weight. It's conventional.If peoplepursue diets as weight-loss solutions, they're following aconventional pathwith a disheartening end.

Calorie deprivation is certain to lead to frustration, whatever "diet"it'sdisguised as, and misguided exercise attempts are breedinggrounds forinsufficient challenge or overtraining, both of which will leadto a flawedconclusion (i.e. "nothing works").

In order to change the individual, you realize you have tochange mindset.You have to tap into the damaged belief system and ignite somenewempowering thoughts, beliefs that will lead to adherence and athrillingoutcome. You get that. I know you do. That's why I want you toaccept thefollowing statement as having at least some resonance of truth:

If you are not finding the reward you desire and deserve fromyour fitnesscareer, you are holding tightly to some flawed beliefs, andbefore youfacilitate outward change, you have to examine your presentmindset andidentify imposed limitations.

"Whoa, hold on Philly-boy, I'm OK withcritiquing my clients' mindsets,but not mine! I'm a master of mindset! Iwake up every morning filled withpassion and positive energy."

The passion is great, as is the positive energy, but let's goback to mystatement. If you are positive and elated and finding the rewardyou wish for,you're on a wonderful path. The statement applies to those whoare fallingshort in matching actual outcome to desire. The statementapplies to thefitness professional who believes any of the following:

"I'm a great trainer, but my clientsaren't motivated."
"As soon as the economy changes, I'llbe able to pay my bills."
"I have to work for this company untilI'm ready to go out on my own."

I've read many articles about "prospering in this economy,"and most ofthem urge you to either stick to those foundational practicesthat encourageyou to work harder and smarter, or they ask you to compromiseyour ratesto accommodate what is perceived as a reduction in disposable income.

While working harder and smarter are both valid snippets ofwisdom andlong-standing direction from advisors of all levels, there are afew importantfactors that you might consider carefully if you're fallingshort:

The entire playing field has changed (more fitness options,scarcitymentality).

Reduction in disposable income is simply a reconsideration ofvalueand need.Be Bett

erIf the marketplace is competitive, it's vital that you'reclearly betterthan other perceived alternatives, or it's imperative that youseparateyourself from the usual.

Diets are conventional. They fail people.

Reducing rates and waiting out the economic storm areconventional.They will fail fitness professionals.

Get your mind out of convention.

I've conducted scores of workshops for fitness professionalsduring thiseconomic dip, and I hear the usual thoughts that dictate what isconventional.When I ask why trainers are reducing their rates, I receiveglobalanswers. "Nobody can afford it."

I have a different belief, and it serves me well. I believethere is greaterneed than ever in history, and those who need personal fitnesstraining (theydon't always know they need it until they understand your power)can't affordnot to commit.

Conventional advice is, "Don't sell the big package withthe big price tag,but just sell a few sessions." The belief is, "It'seasier to sell less."

Again, I have a different belief. I believe that withoutcommitment I cannotguarantee results, and although there are cases where "afew sessions"would be enough, I cannot make that determination until we beginon acourse of action, a course of recurring action.

If there are more perceived fitness options than ever, it'simportant to recognizethe shortcomings in many of the promises. Although the consumeris often blind to it, you, as a fitness professional, recognizethat magic berries,vibrating infomercial offerings and run-of-the-mill programs arebuiltmore on hype than on substance. If you're going to shine, youhave to bebetter. You have to know you have the power to bring about theoutcomespeople seek. More than ever, outcome is imperative.

So how do you dismiss these limiting beliefs and move on to findnewprosperity while the nation moans about money? You start bygetting yourRAS, your Reticular Activating System, to focus on somethingother thanconventional thinking. You challenge yourself with somedifficult but vitalquestions. You invest energy, not in doing more of what isfailing you, but ina new way of thinking.

I'llprovide you with three questions; three questions that will tug at yourRAS,tug at your mind's flawed but stuck position, tug you away from "doingwhatyou do because it's what you do."

Here'sthe first question:

How, in one sentence, can you describe whythe population you target"needs" your service?

"Need" is the pivotal word here. Why do peopleperceive they need whatevermedications they refill monthly? Why do people perceive theyneed autoinsurance? You're not going to change a need, but rather uncoverit, attach toit and ingrain it into your belief system so "people needme and the service Ioffer" becomes an indisputable repetitively circulatingthought.

The first question will take time, introspection, and at firstyour mind willbring you fluff. It'll say things such as, "they need mebecause I care," or "becauseI can help them get results." Review those thoughts andconfront them.

Wouldn't any fitness professional make those claims? Think itthrough. Takesome time. Talk to the clients who have found extreme value inyour relationship.Once you can answer the question in a single sentence, you havea newpromotional power, one that makes you pretty close tounstoppable.

Once you can communicate your offering in relation to "need,"there'sanother important step:

How, in one sentence, can you explain whyyou are the best fitness optionfor someone with whatever goal or need youdeem your specialty?

CanI answer this for you? Nope. I can answer it for me, but if you'regoingto be significant, if you're going to be extraordinary, you better learnhowto articulate your uniqueness.

Finally,to accommodate the knee-jerk "affordability" issue, I encourageyouto have two options, neither of which compromises your value.Thefirst should be a "many people all contributing to your hourly value"option(a camp, a forum, a recurring workshop or a group) where peoplepaya fee significantly less than your usual hourly offering, but it's clearthatthe sum of all payments leads to justifiable compensation (charge 20people$7.50 each and collect $150 per class or group).

Thesecond option would be what I've learned to call your "premium"offering.Theyget you, one on one, commanding your full attention, and theyrecognizethe value in that connection. Do not compromise your fees forthis.Make it an enviable product. When you establish the "need" you meetandmaster the presentation of the virtue of your service, you'll find a committedclientelewilling to invest wisely in the value you deliver.

So,the final question:

What are your two options?

OptionA: More affordable (doesn't mean cheap and doesn't compromiseyourvalue)

OptionB: Premium value, premium investment

Ofcourse, you can dismiss this article and decide I'm out in thestratosphere,removed from what you do for a living. That would be theconventionalthing to do.

Phil Kaplan is committed to helpingfitness professionalsfind ongoing betterment. He's established aFacebook Group, "Every PersonalTrainer Needs toKnow" and invites you to join. Findmore info