Thriving in an Uncertain Economy

by Mary Monroe on Apr 23, 2009

In a time of sweeping global change and a shifting economic climate, fitness professionals around the world are gauging the potential impact on their careers and businesses and adapting to stay on track. We asked fitness pros to tell us about the extent of the economy’s effect on them, and what they are doing to meet the challenge.

Survival Tactics and Success Strategies

Fitness professionals share these tips for overcoming economic challenges:

“If you charge $80 per session, make sure you give $120 worth of value. Reinvent yourself with some interesting packages: 30-minute mortgage buster sessions, group sessions, destress programs or a ‘Wall Street workout’ (high intensity, fast pace). Create a community of common focus with a ‘We’re all in this together’ feeling.”—Darren Jacobson, creator of the franchise personal training concept for Virgin Active South Africa, where he manages over 550 personal trainers in more than 80 health clubs

“Cross-collaborate with other businesses. It’s a smart way to pool talent and resources. Look at companies on your street, and think creatively. For example, a personal trainer could team up with an image consultant to offer a complimentary workshop on enhancing your look and self-esteem to land a new job.”—Diane Y. Chapman, professional motivational speaker and health and wellness writer in Aliso Viejo, California

“Exceed your clients’ expectations. Offer services in the areas of goal setting, nutritional education and healthy eating on a tight budget. Give your clients homework pages that can be personalized, online food-tracking systems and the convenience of online scheduling.”—Diane Vives, MS, owner of Vives Training Systems in Austin, Texas

“Offer small-group sessions for two or three friends at a reduced rate. In addition, I offer an incentive: if they complete the package by a certain date, they receive an additional session for free. I’ve also used any extra time I have to continue my education by attending workshops or classes, so when the economy does turn around, I’ll have more to offer.”—Buddy Macuha, master trainer and yoga teacher in San Francisco

“Empower your staff to be proactive and to reach out to the community. For example, we had a teacher who wanted to bring Pilates to a tennis group, so we wrote a letter personally inviting the tennis players to come to a Pilates class. We have also started to link to runners groups. Encourage your instructors to think about who could benefit from their services.”—Zoey Trap, MSc, Peak Pilates® master trainer and educational director for The InnerSpace in Avon, Connecticut

Choosing Hope Over Fear

Clients are stressed. You’re stressed. So how do you stay positive and help staff, co-workers and clients avoid unproductive fear and pessimism?

“This is an instance where the mass consciousness is being bombarded by the media in a negative way, contributing to a mindset of fear, lack and poverty consciousness,“ says Michele Hébert, master yoga and meditation teacher, natural nutritionist, author and pioneer in women’s wellness and spirituality. “Not that we should ignore what is going on around us—but moment-to-moment awareness of our thoughts and feelings is crucial now. Thoughts are vibration, and depending on their quality, we attract things of a similar vibration into our lives. From the perspective of yoga philosophy and the law of karma, we are creating our future out of our thoughts and feelings in this moment now. By planting positive thoughts of abundance and thankfulness for all that we have, we attract into our lives all of the good, truth and beauty that is ever-present in the universe. Meditation is a practice that is so helpful in maneuvering through difficult times. By going within, we find that place within ourselves that is strong and constant despite the ups and downs of materiality. We are less likely to be thrown off balance by circumstances or attitudes we encounter.”

For more ways to survive and thrive in a down economy, please see the full article in the April issue of IDEA Fitness Journal or read it online in the IDEA Library.

Also, check out the DVD Industry Spotlight Panel—How to Maximize Your Business in a Tough Economy, with Nicki Anderson, Peter Twist, MSc, and Diane Vives, MS, in the online IDEA Store.

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About the Author

Mary Monroe

Mary Monroe IDEA Author/Presenter

Mary Monroe is a freelance writer in the Los Angeles area.