A trainer I�ll call �Wilma� applied to be a part of my training team at my health club, Fitness 21. She was fit, athletic and articulate, and she went through Fitness 21 Academy, our trainer-training program, with an expressed desire to excel and make more money.

Wilma had been training at a commercial health club chain with little financial reward, and she understandably felt it was time to find due compensation. She had all of the passion, desire and knowledge any fitness director would seek out in a trainer, but she was so fixated on taking care of clients that she missed the target on taking care of her financial growth. She was disheartened by competition, didn�t feel comfortable challenging the fraud and deception that steers so many fitness-wanters away from their desired outcomes, and she couldn�t find comfort in what she perceived as �selling.�

Wilma felt a deep commitment to the few in-home clients she had, clients that grossly underpaid her, and her commitment to these sessions restricted her ability to market and to gain a presence in the club.

I hate to see a trainer with potential fall short, but it was clear that her self-imposed limitations were going to prevent her from becoming a thriving member of the Fitness 21 Team.

Unfortunately, there are many Wilmas, all with different faces and names, but they all share a commitment to help people find fitness with an unfulfilled desire to turn passion into a financially secure profession.


The PTBA�s Intent to Change That

The PTBA intends to fulfill the desires of those with passion and desire, and in working for years to establish a course of action, I�m committed to seeing the PTBA succeed by shining a spotlight on and cultivating a new level of fitness professionals.

If you haven�t yet connected with the PTBA, you�re probably wondering what it is. Wonder no more! It�s called the Personal Trainer Business Alliance, but it might just as well be called the �Personal Trainer Betterment Alliance�.

Trainers hate the word �business.� I understand. I really do. I am not a businessman in the conventional sense of the word; I am a personal trainer who has learned how to earn a living by bettering the lives of others.

The mission of the PTBA is to help you, a dedicated and passionate personal fitness trainer, to gain respect as a true professional and to be compensated handsomely, provided you deliver extreme value by improving the lives of others.


So Why Is �Business� in the Title?

Because in order to gain respect as a professional and find just compensation, it�s important that you realize that your fitness pursuits are your business. It isn�t a word you should fear but, rather, a word you should embrace and take pride in. Business for you involves marketing, positioning, attracting and thrilling clients and finding financial peace without need to ever second-guess your career choice.

As our industry matures, �Personal Training Business� will no doubt become an integral part of the curriculum that leads someone from desire to career fruition. For now, although the word itself might bring to mind a suit and tie, a cubicle or meetings around a conference table, our business involves fun, interpersonal contact, empowerment, medicine balls, bands, balance boards, machines and a sensibility about establishing value in a society that hasn�t yet fully grasped our power.

For me, the PTBA is a vehicle for connecting like-minded trainers and for leaving a legacy by sharing the mindset, strategies and practices that have allowed me to make my own fitness dreams come true. If you�re ready to turn your dream into reality, no matter how grand or how far from your present reality, I guarantee your PTBA membership will prove to be the best career investment you�ve ever made. I hope this article serves as a vehicle to help you connect to the underlying mission of this grassroots organization.


Taking Care of What Matters

A few months ago, Rolling Stone magazine ran an article about Curtis �50 Cent� Jackson entitled �Taking Care of Business� (TCB). The article goes beyond describing the PR-driven rivalry between 50 Cent and Kanye West to express that Curtis Jackson is a consummate businessman, thriving on going head-to-head with competition. 50 Cent, Curtis, or whatever he opts to call himself today, has mastered his relationship with his audience, and he delivers what they�re looking for.

Many �artists� would sacrifice financial return for preservation of the �art,� but here is a clear case of a commitment to prosper without the abandonment of delivering beyond customer expectation.

I�ve heard trainers compared to artists in that the purity of our intention goes far deeper than financial reward. The reality is that there are tens of thousands of musical artists capable of putting out music that would entertain, tranquilize, inspire or move millions, many who may be more talented than 50 Cent. If, however, they never find a way to link financial survival or, better yet, financial prosperity with their art, the population misses out on being exposed to the music.

If you are unwilling to step up and accept that TCB is a link between your passion and your ability to find prosperity, those who may gain from your skills, gifts and talents will miss out on the empowerment you can provide.

As a population, we admired Muhammad Ali as we admire Donald Trump. They have both proven mastery of the idea of TCB. Even Elvis Presley understood the value of those words, as illustrated by the ring he wore, which was adorned with lightning bolts and the letters TCB.

In 1973, an unknown band called Bachman Turner Overdrive hit the charts with three chords and four words, �Taking Care of Business,� which continues to be heard everywhere from an episode of �The Simpsons� to Office Depot commercials.

Here�s the question: if we as a population respect the importance of TCB and admire those in the public eye who have learned to live by those words, why do personal trainers have such an aversion to the �B� word? I know the knee jerk reaction: �I�m not averse to business, I want to be successful.�

Upon a bit of exploration, in most cases, if the discussion turns to marketing through personally initiated contact, travels through the mention of selling and addresses the idea of asking for more money, trainers move toward the fetal position. If you think I�m being unrealistically harsh, or if you feel that there isn�t as much of a gap between competent trainers and the willingness to adopt business concepts as I�m suggesting there is, you�re in one of two categories. You�re either one of the few who have come to mix business and passion with an enviable outcome, or you�re deluding yourself and blaming outside circumstances for your failure to earn the money you deserve.

The PTBA promises to be a member-driven force that spreads the power of the necessary intertwining of business and personal training mastery. The PTBA promises to turn passion into professions without ever compromising integrity. It exists to preserve the essence of �what we do� while allowing us to find the professional respect previously reserved for professionals in other fields. It is built upon a foundation of experts who have lived by and proven the value of the principles the PTBA shall espouse.


Back to the ABC�s

We use ABC as an analogy for a learning platform. Before you master the English language, you begin by understanding the elements upon which written language is built. If we accept that there is a language of professionalism that shall find its place as a staple in the future of personal training, the analogy of ABC fits perfectly.

The elements upon which a fitness-based training business is built are Activation, Betterment, and Contagiasm � a word I coined as a mantra that my training team lives by:


�         Activation � our responsibility, if we are to accept the challenge of initiating physical improvement in others, is to put in motion a strategy that has the power to positively impact physical function and cellular development. In other words, with every client we have to formulate a plan and activate that plan by providing instruction and inspiration so the client can understand and apply enough to facilitate progress.

�         Betterment � once we activate a strategy, we must accept that each client will face obstacles and challenges, and we must coach every such client through the forces that may interrupt progress. Our commitment is to stimulate betterment, and unless we recognize the importance of ongoing guidance, much of what we activate will fall flat.

�         Contagiasm � once we establish that we have the power and ability to better the lives of others, we can only grow if we create and build upon a contagious enthusiasm with an ever-growing reach and impact, driving greater numbers of individuals to seek out and benefit from our services.


If that sounds a bit too complex for a foundation, I�ll simplify:


�         Activation � Get Clients

�         Betterment � Thrill Clients

�         Contagiasm � Get More Clients


With the foundational concepts established, allow me to introduce the next level of ABC, the platform that allows you to go from competence and confidence to a thrilling level of professional compensation:


�         Ask for what you deserve

�         Build your enterprise by design

�         Commit to prospering only by bettering the lives of others


My intention with this piece was to help you grasp the mission of the PTBA without getting anyone stuck on the word �business�.

If you have a desire to grow and meld your professional competence with the promise of a secure future, visit the PTBA site and enroll. For less than $10 a month, you�ll learn to adjust your mindset, modify your actions and find a comfortable marriage between the integrity of what you opt to do for a living and the reward that, deep down, you know you deserve.

Phil Kaplan is a personal fitness trainer, author and health club owner, and his newest projects, the Be Better Project and the Personal Trainer Business Alliance, promise to build new platforms upon which fitness professionals worldwide can achieve their greatest success. For more information on the Personal Trainer Business Alliance, please visit www.ptbaonline.com.