Thomas Plummer: The Future of The Fitness Business

This article is an excerpt from The Soul of a Trainer

The future of the fitness business belongs to the people who hate us most.

About 19% of the people in the United States, and fewer in most other countries, be­long to any type of fitness facility. This means 81% do not belong to gyms, have had bad experiences and have quit gyms, or are so afraid of going to a gym, they don’t even try.

Just some perspective on what 81% of the population looks like . . .

What this really means is that 81% of the people in this country see no value in what we offer, or have tried our services and hate us.


It’s because we can’t speak “beginner,” and are so far removed from being beginners, we can’t understand them.

We over-train the first few visits, leave them sore and humbled, talk about nutrition as if it is black magic voodoo, put them into groups too soon and with people who are far ahead of them, and then set unreasonable attendance goals that only the purest 25-year-old trainer could achieve.

We staff our gyms with people who have never been out of shape and have no true em­pathy with someone who struggles with weight and personal image issues. We say the right words, but our actions never match those words.

Young and perfect coaches dressed in workout bras and tight shirts aren’t role models; they represent everything the potential new client hates about us.

We are an egotistical group, full of selfie-taking fools who would rather talk about them­selves than help anyone new.

This viewpoint of the client isn’t wrong.

Most importantly, our potential clients and the public in general hate us because we assume the reason they are fat is they are lazy. Maybe a few are, but the vast majority need:
Gentle guidance,
Early success, and
Reframing . . .

Through a long-term un­derstanding of fitness and how to live a healthy life in motion.

So many want help, but we blame their inaction on them instead of considering maybe, just maybe, they simply need a plan and some support.

The fitness industry won’t grow until we grow up.

This field will not expand until we understand that gyms have to cater to those who need us most, but who don’t fit into the model we currently offer.

If you want a more successful business, start with the idea that the things you believe are best about yourself are what is keeping the world away.

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