Dollars and Sense

Apr 01, 2008


With so much economic news swirling about, finance is a timely topic. It is also highly relevant to fitness professionals, who more than ever are seeking to work for themselves. (Early data from the 2008 IDEA Personal Training Programs & Equipment Survey reveal that more than 60% of personal trainer respondents are self-employed.) In light of these facts, we have devoted two features to frank discussion and practical instruction on money matters.

In her feature, “Managing Your Money Before It Manages You,” author Kay Cross, MEd, a veteran personal training business owner and life coach, talks about taking the personal finance bull by the horns and wrestling it into submission. Cross reports that in early December 2007, a news story indicated that, for the first time, Americans’ number-one goal for the New Year was fiscal fitness, not physical fitness. To catapult you along the road to financial independence, her article will provide you with a fiscal fitness program that works by tackling ignorance (no understanding of finances) and poor planning (lack of a proper budget). Of course, we also need to address our weakness for self-indulgence, about which she says, “You must begin applying what you teach your clients in regard to weight loss and fitness: sacrifice and discipline.” She offers many suggestions on how to manage funds coming in and going out and how to develop a healthy attitude about the life tool we call money.

The companion piece to this article, “How to Finance a New Fitness Studio” by Joe Schmitz, covers how to create a business plan that will have investors lining up to fund your start-up fitness venture. A former personal trainer and small-health-club operator, Schmitz has been providing financing for existing and start-up fitness centers since 1990 and has a lot of practical insight to offer on the subject.

He points out that for every good reason you can conjure for opening a business, there is a downside. The trouble is that too few business novices—especially those whose background is fitness, not finance—ever consider the whole picture before taking the plunge. “Too often, personal trainers or group instructors, dissatisfied with their current situation, decide to open a business without fully understanding the challenges that owning a business can bring. You can open a fitness studio and actually attain your goals—in due course. But you need to know something about yourself and your financial solvency in order to secure financing well before you hang out that shingle.”

So, with that said, we invite you to dive into this issue to begin training those fiscal muscles.

In good health,

Kathie and Peter Davis

P.S. Please note that we have moved the date of our IDEA Personal Trainer Institute™ conference from the fall of 2008 to February 19–22, 2009. The fitness event will take place in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside Washington, DC. For more information go to



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