HUGE Problem In Our Industry

HUGE Problem In Our Industry

Posted on 24. Jan, 2013 by in Marketing Fitness

The other day I received a message from a close friend of mine.

Has this ever happened to you….

See below

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Hey Sam! How are you?

Hey quick question.

I need to know how to deal with something on an
emotional level and maybe you can help me.

Over a year ago I had a really great trainer.

He worked with me for probably about a year and a half.

He left, opened up his own place, solicited all my clients on FB
and has been shmoozing them getting them into his business.

I give 100% to everyone with follow ups, emails, good fitness content,
texts, FB messages, phone calls, lunch dates, etc.

Some more than others, but I give it my all.

Some of my clients graduate from my program which
I get and then I find out they are with him.

Some even leave in the middle of my program and go to him.

I’m a girl and I’m sensitive so it hurts.

Throughout the years I have gotten stronger and way better
about people leaving, but going to him it bothers me so much
and makes me feel like I’m not good enough.

I do my best to let it go and know that
I helped them even if they had to move on.

I try to stay positive, but sometimes
it’s just SO hard because it’s HIM.

My clients become a part of my family.

I just found out another couple that were my clients
who I became close with, we played softball together
on the team I put together and we did a lot of fun
things outside of training.

They ended their program, got weird and then I found that out.

How do I deal with that? Do you have experience with that?




My answer…..

I am so sorry to hear that.

dollarI wish I had a dollar for each time this happened.

It hurt me the first hundred times.

The first time it hurt me so bad.

It felt like the first time someone broke up with me.

Which sounds like the case here.

Let me explain something to you.

Unfortunately personal training profession is commodity profession to begin with.

Here is what I mean…

Basically, anyone that can find a corner can claim they are the best trainer/boot camp instructor in the world.

Like my man Steve Cabral said before

It’s a very low barrier or no barrier of entry profession.

Simply that you don’t need a lot of money to become a trainer.

In some cases NONE.

Find a park and call yourself

Insert your town [fitness expert]

Best bootcamp in the worldI mean is there a personal training governing body? Police?


Have you ever heard of a personal trainer going to jail for practicing without a license?


You can’t practice physical therapy, dentistry, chiropractic or medicine without a license.

It’s considered a felony.

So here is what you need to do in a profession that is a “commodity”

Specialize. Educate yourself and be a specialist not a generalist.

Offer unparalleled service. Nuff said

Go the extra mile. For some reason everybody talk about it but no one does it.

STRIVE to have a better relationship with your clients than ANYONE of your staff. This is CRITICAL.

STOP looking at his D***. Ok, I was just making sure you’re paying attention. Don’t be concerned about what someone else is doing. Keep doing what you do best.

Treat your staff like GOLD. Always praise them and let them know you appreciate them in a genuine way. If someone is truly values your friendship, they (hopefully) think twice about stealing clients and competing with you.

They say that when you’re a commodity, you have to compete on price. I STRONGLY disagree. You can overcome that by providing world class experience.

Coffee is a commodity. Starbucks is NOT.

STOP acting big. Big companies are trying to get more personal. That’s your only competitive edge. Seriously….

I saw a trainer with 60 clients send an email from

Really, Really…. REALLY

Makes sense.

I hope this helps,


PS- See you soon at the Weekend With Sam

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24. Jan, 2013

this post is absolute gold – if people could follow these lessons to a T, no one would need your coaching help anymore Sam – they’d be guaranteed to have a successful business – I agree with your advice – don’t worry about the other guy and make yourself the absolute best.

Tom S

13. Feb, 2013


It’s been a while since I visited your site and responded to your blog. The last time we emailed it was about the issue with the man or XYZ basically doing something similiar to you and you guys having a falling out.

Now, you mentioned something above about have you ever heard of a trainer getting in trouble operating without a license. Well, the truth is, you can and it does happen because I have seen it.

I try to “pay it forward” and even helped your friend Luka when he first started out letting him know it’s required to have a City Business License, he’ll probably remember talking to me and our past emails years ago. We never met, except briefly when I said “hello” at Tough Mudder in our State.

Well, anyway bro, the issue of improper licensing of fitness businesses is running rampant in the US.

I have discussed with with many folks and I am going to try and get our industry REGULATED so maybe one day, just like you as a former or current doctor of chiropractic, there are numerous rules/regulations, exams, licensing, insurance, etc… that one must adhere to.

I see being the BEST of the BEST, requiring all trainers or facilities, no matter how big or small, following basic ethical business practices, just like I use to teach to many of my former college students before starting my own small military style fitness boot camp.

1. State Business License, with proper registration with Secretary of State if LLC or Corp.

2. Registered Trade name if applicable
3. Necessary City Licenses for ALL cities your business is running in and making money
4. Proper levels of Liabilty Insurance
5. Pay all Excise, B&O, any other taxes as required, including Federal
6. Do your research for any trademark or copyright violations before getting your brand registered, especially if going out of State or Nationally. Huge problem if someone tries to sue you.

These are just a few of the ethical business making decisions that many trainers who think they KNOW how to run a business forget about when all they are focused on is fitness marketing or enhancing their craft.

The above steps are for any type of business and you should know this before illegally operating in your town or trying to use a park or school to run your bootcamps. Using private or public property owned by the Parks & Rec or by the school districts is a big NO-NO and could cause you to get fined or kicked out, ruining your fitness business and put a bad light on you by your customers.

In the end, if you set up your business CORRECTLY and most important, ETHICALLY, you never have to look over your shoulder and if someone does leave your business and go to the competition, at least you know you are doing what is right morally and ethically and you can look yourself in the mirror that you are following your core values and beliefs of are a person of integrity, which is someone that is hugely missing in our fitness industry.

Eventually, if our fitness industry becomes REGULATED, then not only will the aforementioned be required, but maybe a National Board Exam, with a degree in the health sciences and maintaining CEU’s just like you have had to do as a chiropractor, this will be required of all trainers or coaches (like the ATC policy for coaches) in the fitness industry to run a business, sell a book or product, etc… not just everyone can become a trainer and it will weed out all the weekend certified folks or those that can’t pass a REAL nationally level boarded exam.

In the end, if we don’t start changing our industry to make it better and safer for the consumer, then eventually the government will step in and we as fitness professionals will have to follow the same policies and procedures of the Board Certified doctor, Physical Therapists, Chiropractors, LMP’s, etc…. before we can ever open a legitimate business.

Take it easy and maybe this is something you can address the next time your mastermind group gets together and get their thouhts on the topic.



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