We, as fitness and wellness professionals, pursue a noble undertaking, but if you compare the financial state of wellness of the average fitness professional to the financial state of wellness of the average architect, tennis pro, police officer or limousine driver, it's sad to say that the fitness professional would lag behind — far behind. Searching for your own financial wellness is not extreme nor is it an indication of your self-indulgence. Just as you want your physical body to serve the demands you place upon it, just as you want to enjoy your wellness and perform at your peak, you'll want your financial health to allow you to do what you love, what you really love, and find a sense
of prosperity.

Take Steps Now, and Acquire What You Deserve
After years of marrying financial struggle with my career, I learned, out of necessity, how to prosper doing that which I love. I'll share a few action exercises that can get you moving toward achieving your own financial wellness. First, examine your present beliefs about money, and then, if you find some conflict with your honest wants and desires, consider the following thoughts:
If you deliver more value than people expect, your clients will be thrilled to pay you precisely what you believe your time is worth. Thrilling people is what we most enjoy.

If you position yourself so that you only prosper by bettering the lives of others, your financial worth becomes representative of the number of people you've helped, the number of lives you've positively impacted.
Money is energy flow; money is power; and if your intentions are good, an abundance of well-deserved money gives you a greater power to help other people in ways you might have never had access to without financial wellness.
If those three ideas sit well with you, read them daily. Integrate them into your belief system, and take some specific actions to begin amassing the wellness you deserve.

Action #1: Evaluate Your Finances
Set aside some time, and list your financial obligations — all of them. You'll ultimately determine how many dollars you're already committed to in any given month. But this isn't a simple compilation of your bills. Essentially, your bills are representations of recurring promises you've made in exchange for products or services. You will want to look at every dollar that passes through your bank account and goes to someone else. More often than not, you'll note that some of these expenses have little to do with your conventional business costs. But if your personal income is tied directly to your business, then your business must support the entirety of your personal costs. Your accountant can help you separate these business expenses from your personal expenses, but in terms of dollars in versus dollars out, the equation only works if the former exceeds the latter. Once you determine what, financially, you'll NEED to maintain a sense of fulfillment, you can move toward controlling your income with laser-like focus. Spend an entire week, with action #1, as over the course of a week additional costs will come to mind. After a week, you're ready to get aggressive in increasing your own worth, in more ways than one.

Action #2: Compute Your Real Income
Face reality, and consider your income — your actual income — based on actual bank deposits. Don't look at what you say you charge per hour, but really consider what you bring home in a week or a month. Ask yourself, "How many hours do you work in a week?" Remember, marketing, designing programs, following up on clients and responding to business-related emails all count as hours devoted to your business. Divide your average weekly income by that number to reveal what you're really earning per hour. This will offer a wake-up call for many fitness and wellness professionals. By the time you've completed Action #2, you'll have a very real snapshot of your financial present. Then it will be time to make changes, starting with simple ones, as Daniel did, to make sure your financial pumps exceed your financial drains.
I met Daniel, an active fitness professional, at an industry event, where we went through this exercise together. He explained that he charges $75 per hour and trains 30 sessions per week. However, the reality is while his rate sheet says "$75 per session," he often spends 90 minutes with clients and also sells "10 sessions for $550." In addition, he spends 10 to 12 hours per week working hours for which he isn't compensated, including corporate seminars, preparing workouts and writing articles, which he uses as educational and promotional pieces. Therefore, when we put a pen to Daniel's weekly income, we find that with his client cancellations considered, he trained an average of 22 sessions per week in a given month. For each of these 22 sessions, he was paid $55, but almost all of his sessions ate into the next half-hour. He also schedules sessions 90 minutes apart, which with 22 sessions required a 33-hour commitment. Plus, add in the 12 unpaid hours, and his week becomes a 45-hour week. This isn't unreasonable, by any means, but going through this exercise gave him a new perspective on his actual
income, which was computed by the following:

>> Income: $55 x 22 paid sessions = $1210.
>> Total hours worked: 45
>> $1210 ÷ 45 = $26.89 per hour

If Daniel were content with $26 per hour, the exercise would prove validating. But when he realized he was committed to spending over $5,000 per month, he recognized the need to make some shifts. So by asking his clients to pay what he honestly believed he was worth ($75), he instantly gave himself a raise of over $400 per week. In addition, by keeping his sessions to 60 minutes, he also freed up 11 hours of his week. With just these two simple shifts, Daniel gave himself a pay increase of $25 per working hour to $47 per hour. And if he filled in some of the newly available 11 hours with $75 per hour clients, his hourly wage would move only in one direction — upwards.

Action #3: Plan Your Future Financial Wellness
Determine where you'd like to be. What will make you feel fulfilled, and how much will you want to earn in order to achieve that sense of fulfillment? Those are very important questions few trainers take the time to answer. I'm not asking you to set goals in the millions of dollars, unless that's a need for you. I'm simply asking you to earn a living and find the compensation you deserve doing what you absolutely love.
With clarity, it becomes relatively simple to adjust your actions, your to-do lists, your fees and your policies so you arrive at that place where you find balance between physical and financial well-being.
Phil Kaplan is a personal trainer, speaker and author, and he's developed a program titled, "RESCUE," that helps fitness professionals devote a six-week period to finding financial wellness. Find details at www.philkaplan.com.