Tax season may have just ended, but that doesn’t mean preparation should take a vacation. Here’s news that every fitness professional who runs his or her business from a home office or uses a home office for management chores will be happy to learn: The Internal Revenue Service has announced that beginning with the 2013 tax year, a new “safe harbor” will allow qualified taxpayers to deduct as much as $1,500 in home office expenses—while reducing the administrative, recordkeeping and compliance burdens of claiming this deduction.
In 2013, more than twice as many midsized corporate employers intend to offer wellness-based incentive
programs to employees as did so in 2010, according to
a survey conducted by Fidelity Investments® and the National Business Group on Health. This represents a
significant growth opportunity for fitness professionals with a wellness background. [Editor’s note: For more on corporate wellness career opportunities, read “Health Is Wealth: The Rise of Workplace Wellness,” by Shirley Archer, JD, MA, in the May 2012 issue of IDEA Fitness Journal.]
In the Clearwater/Tampa Bay, Florida, region, there are a large number of competitors in the Pilates industry. Competitors are other Pilates studios, gyms that offer Pilates mat classes and even personal training studios that offer other exercise modalities such as yoga, TRX® and CrossFit®. I feel it is part of my job as a studio owner to be constantly evaluating the competition. My assessment includes comparing services offered (privates, duets, trios, group equipment sessions, mat classes or other offerings, such as barre classes), as well as products and clothing sold on-site.
For many professionals in the fitness industry, being self-employed is a dream come true. You get to “run the show” the way you want to run it and “clock in and out” of work as you choose. That’s not to say that being your own boss is a breeze; most fitness pros work really hard to attain self-employment success. And while the benefits are plenty, there are also downsides.
In much of the working world, people are expected to be on the job for 40 hours or more every week. People seem to respect you when you say you’re really busy. However, when putting in a hard day’s work goes awry, it translates to “crazy busy” or “I’m swamped.” And “crazy busy” is not conducive to the good health and well-being we aspire to for ourselves, our families and our clients in the fitness industry.
Jason is a busy fitness professional. He generally leads 35 one-on-one sessions and five group training hours per week, splitting his time between two fitness facilities. Jason also runs a Sunday boot camp at the local park. In his spare time he develops client and group fitness programs, answers emails, returns phone calls and tries to keep up with a weekly blog. Jason is married and has a young son, but time with his family is limited owing to his busy schedule. Despite his efforts, he struggles to pay his bills each month.
For group fitness instructors, the future is looking bright! “Employment of fitness trainers and instructors, is expected to grow by 24%” this decade, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Its report goes on to state, “As businesses and insurance organizations continue to recognize the benefits of health and fitness programs for their employees, incentives to join gyms or other fitness facilities will increase the need for workers in these areas.”
Weight loss contests are not reserved for the bright lights of reality television. When properly executed, these contests help fitness pros slim down community residents while beefing up the bottom line. In five steps, you can promote, run and celebrate a community-wide Thinner Winner contest. You can tweak details, but results will be the same: Your current clients will stay happy and engaged, you’ll attract new clients, you’ll generate buzz in your community, and you’ll amass a wealth of transformational stories to fuel your business.
“Pilates has changed,” says Nora St. John, MS, education program director for Balanced Body®.
Today, she explains, many Pilates teachers are well educated in biomechanics. “An understanding of both anatomy and the mind-body connection makes you a better teacher and certainly a better problem solver.
“In the best situation, Pilates is taught with the idea of, ‘Who is the client in front of me? What are his or her goals? How can I use this environment to help the client achieve those goals?’ I think this is a good contemporary view of Pilates.”