FREE PASS to the Fitness & Nutrition Expo - Over 300 Top Brands Sign Up

Feedback From the Field: Handling Competition

Mar 13, 2008

In a previous issue of Inner IDEA Body-Mind-Spirit Review, we asked: How do you handle competition in your area?

“I have managed to grow as a small business with Curves across the street. Not only that, Gold’s Gym opened a personal training studio 3 kilometers away and there are boot camps everywhere. I have been teaching for 20 years and I am certified in Pilates, personal training and group fitness. I have a good reputation for building beautiful, healthy bodies without injuries. I have a lovely studio and do tons of functional training without all the gym equipment. I am very grateful, passionate, always learning, happy, enthusiastic and I believe it shows in my work. That is how your business grows.”

-- Michelle [last name withheld], Vancouver British Columbia

“I have my own business/clients in a small community outside New York City. I have been incredibly fortunate in my second career as a personal trainer, having trained at an excellent gym in New York that offered great ongoing education and then venturing on my own 6 years ago. Many of my clients have been with me since the beginning. Word of mouth has kept me as busy as I want to be.

“My philosophy about competition has always been if [you are] knowledgeable and caring, there is always enough business to go around. During their first session, after hearing them describe their own goals, I tell my clients that my goal is for them to be more educated and motivated to exercise on their own. I encourage my clients to work out not only with me, but on their own and in different ways. I introduce them to Pilates, yoga, the Lotte Berk Method and indoor cycling classes in the area. We often go together. We set weekly exercise goals. If they have one, two or three sessions with me, we agree they will get back to the gym, out for a run or to a class on their own. If they agree to exercise on their own, especially for new clients, I make sure to provide them with a workout they understand and can accomplish.

“I know for a fact that many trainers, teachers or studio/facility owners feel threatened and protective. That attitude usually backfires eventually. Clients want someone on their side. If a studio or teacher does not offer a time slot that works for patrons, I have seen some ugly behavior when a client heads off to another class at another place. I have been asked to leave a class when I returned to a particular studio after a hiatus due to injuries. I steer my clients away from that studio.”

-- Kathie O'Callaghan, Pelham, New York

Find the Perfect Job

More jobs, more applicants and more visits than any other fitness industry job board.