Who’s It For?

When you built your gym, who chose the equipment?

How often do your favorite exercises appear in your programming?

Who chose your class schedule?


Twenty years ago, I was a treadmill salesman. Every few months, I’d get a visit from a brand rep to coach me on sales. One of them was excellent (Joe Marcoux–he’ll be on the Two-Brain Radio Podcast in a few weeks.) He didn’t tell me how to close better, or generate more referrals. Instead, he asked me:

“Why is your store open from 9am until 5pm?”

I said, “That’s when all of the local stores are open.”

He said, “When do your customers visit?”

I said, “Usually on their lunch breaks or on the weekend.” We sold high-end stuff, so most of our customers worked during the daytime.

He said, “Why don’t you open in the evenings, when your customers are actually available?”

I said, “I’m already working 55 hours per week! I can’t work all night too.”

He said, “Why are you open during the day at all?”

I started to see the picture: that the treadmill store was set up around my schedule, not my clients’ schedule, and that was hurting business.


Whose schedule is your gym built around?

Whose needs led to those equipment purchases?

Whose priorities determine your programming?


Your clients’ needs are probably different from your needs.

You probably aren’t your ideal client (you love exercise; they might hate exercise. They can afford personal training; you might not. You love group training; they might not. You know how to read a nutrition label…the list goes on and on.)

The secret to building a great coaching practice is to escape your own biases, expertise, likes and dislikes.

Tyler reminded me of this simple truth this week:

I’m guilty: when I discovered that my hang clean was higher than my full clean, the gym’s programming changed to include more pulls from the floor. Is that what my best clients needed? Um….

My gym has a dusty reverse hyperextension in it. Do clients use it? Uh….

I used to have a pirate flag hanging in the corner. Do my clients understand the inside joke? (Actually, I forget why I had the pirate flag now.)

To serve others, we have to know what THEY want, and give it to them. Our gyms are not our personal playgrounds; our programming isn’t our personal brand.

What do they want now?

(I can’t resist linking to this post by Seth.)


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