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5 Fitness Business Mistakes that are Killing Fitness Pros

Five Fitness Business Mistakes that are Killing Fitness Pros!

By Alwyn Cosgrove


1.) Most trainers don’t understand they are running a BUSINESS.

Most fitness professionals are running a hobby and trying to make money at it. That will never work long-term.

Of course, being a great trainer is imperative in today’s market. You aren’t going to succeed unless your skill-set is of a high enough level. However, it’s not just training skills – that’s only part of the big picture – the “client fulfillment” portion.

It’s also business skills. Michael Gerber – the author of The E-myth – calls this the seven essential skills: Leadership, Marketing, Money, Management, Lead Generation, Lead Conversion and Client Fulfillment.

You have to understand how to lead and motivate your team: Leadership.

You have to understand advertising and marketing to attract new customers (all the time): Lead Generation.

You have to have good sales skills – which converts leads to customers: Lead Conversion.

Then, you have to get good results so that you fulfill the client’s needs and retain them long term: Client Fulfillment.

You have to be able to understand money – cash flow, base operating expenses, billing etc before you can create a profit.

You have to have strong agreements or contracts in place so you can predict cash flow into the future and grow your business.

Make sure you’re studying each business area (not just training) equally. A good first step is to spend at least 50 percent of your study or professional development time on your business skills.


2.) Not understanding the power of systems.

It has been said that the word SYSTEM is an acronym for:






Have you ever eaten a hamburger that tastes better than McDonalds? I’m sure you have. Some of you may even be able to cook a hamburger that’s better. So why then are people not giving you hundreds of millions of dollars for YOUR hamburger recipe?

Because it’s not the recipe – it’s the entire business system.

Whether you like McDonalds or not, you have to understand that it’s the most successful small business in the world as a result of a turnkey business system. If you walk in and ask for a Big Mac you’ll get one. The same. Every single time. No matter what time of day or which McDonalds in the world you walk into. And every time the next question will be “do you want fries with that?”

That’s the power of systems. Systems are just recipes. Follow the steps.

It’s not your fault that your fitness business isn’t making the money that you want. It’s just likely that you haven’t beentaught the right recipe of how to put all the steps together.

Regardless of your training philosophy or equipment – you need to generate leads (marketing), convert leads to clients/customers (sales), deliver great results and keep these clients (client fulfillment). That’s the same system.

And when that client arrives to train with you or your staff, they need to have a standardized experience. It shouldn’t be a different workout if they train with one of your staff as opposed to you. Yes, I know this is difficult to do, but it’s imperative to growing your business that you understand systems so you can replicate yourself.

3.) Not understanding the mindset of the prospect or client.

“If you can see John Smith through John Smith’s eyes, you can sell John Smith what John Smith buys.”

Ask yourself these questions if you’re a trainer:

  • Do you think a good fitness professional is a valuable investment?
  • Do you think a good fitness professional can get someone to their goals faster than they can get there on their own?
  • Are you personally in the greatest physical condition of your life right now?
  • Are you ecstatic with your own strength levels and conditioning?

I bet that 80-90% of those who answered will say – yes, yes, no, no.

So – extrapolating from that – what is YOUR trainer’s name? Why did you hire him or her?

I bet most trainers don’t even have training partners – never mind a coach to help them with programming and getting to the next level.

In other words – if you tell me right now that you DON’T have a trainer – despite not being in the best shape of your life, not being ecstatic at your own fitness, and believing that a good trainer can get you there faster than you can alone, and is valuable — then deep down, you don’t believe a trainer IS valuable.

What I’m getting at is WHY, despite all the knowledge and beliefs and goals, most trainers haven’t hired (or used) another trainer to help them?

It’s the same reason prospects aren’t hiring you — they aren’t in great shape, and maybe don’t know (as we do) how much a trainer can help. Lawyers hire other lawyers. Barbers hire other barbers. Doctors see other doctors.

We’re in a young profession where most of us never had a trainer that we actually hired prior to becoming a trainer. However, all school teachers had a school teacher, all karate instructors had a karate instructor… We’re in the business of trying to sell something that most of us have never invested in ourselves. You’re selling something that perhaps you don’t truly believe in yourself.

We believe in what we offer. We know how much we know and yet for most of us, we’ve never invested in a trainer or coach ourselves. Why not? See yourself through the prospects eyes. Why wouldn’t you join your gym or hire you as a trainer?

List the reasons why you didn’t hire a trainer personally. Time? Expense? I can do it myself?
That’s why people don’t hire you. And that’s the WHY you need to figure out for your next career move: the client mindset.

You need to understand that point of view before you can effectively sell your services to a prospect.

4.) Not focused on marketing.

Have you ever had a client tell you, “I’m definitely going to hire you as my trainer, but I’m going to lose ten pounds first!”


I’m sure you have. But while we think it’s crazy, it’s a sign that you don’t have weight loss TOMA in your area. TOMA is Top Of Mind Awareness. Are you the first person or business that jumps into a client’s mind when they think “weight loss?” Or “sports conditioning?”

Quick, name a soft drink company…

I bet it was either Coca-Cola or Pepsi.

What’s the number one sneaker brand?

I bet you came up with one of three names: Nike, Adidas, or Reebok.

The goal with marketing is to position yourself, in your area, for your target market as the “top of mind awareness” obvious choice for that particular topic. So when your topic comes up (getting strong, getting leaner, weight loss for weddings), you’re automatically the first person or business that the prospect thinks about. The only way to do that is through constant marketing and advertising. This can mean articles, blog posts, newsletters for clients, email fitness tips, direct mail etc. You have to constantly focus on generating new leads for your business.

What do you want to be known for?

Marketing expert Dan Kennedy has said that marketing is all about the 4 ‘M’s

Right message to the right market using the right media at the right moment.

The right message? Are you doing weight loss? Sports Conditioning?
The right market? If you’re selling a hardcore powerlifting gym/program – then your message being seen by senior golfers doesn’t work. It needs to get seen by your target market.

The right media? For most of us this is going to be print-based (newsletters/ads) or internet-based (websites etc). It’s unlikely that we can afford or get much return on television ads or billboards next to the freeway

The right moment? You never know when the right moment is – so you’ll need to market continuously.

This is the power of a correctly (note the word) executed direct mail campaign. You get your business in front of your target market, give them a strong offer and call to action at precisely the right moment.

5.) Not masterminding with like-minded individuals.

I was at a seminar recently and while on a break I wrote two seminar outlines and changed one of our business models. I also had a new idea for a product. The energy created just by being around like-minded people is intoxicating. Whether it’s in person, on the phone, via email or forum – you need to get around other people with similar goals.

“All successful individuals have coaches.” – James Malinchak.

Think about this: boxing and MMA are probably the ultimate “one-on-one” sports. Two guys, with no equipment (or even shirts!) face one another.


But when you look back to the corner – there are usually three or more guys helping them. They include a coach (known as the “chief second”) and several other teammates.

To me, a mentor is nothing more than someone who is climbing or has climbed the mountain before you, and has reached back to help you up, way faster and easier than you can climb yourself.

One of the fastest ways to success in any field is to find a mentor who will help you, and a “mastermind” group of likeminded people with whom to network. The key phrase there is “likeminded.” We’ve all had the situation of asking a family member or friend for feedback on a project and being shut down when they don’t realize or understand the big picture. You need to be around people who are thinking the same way as you.

You can’t do this alone – it’s very rare to find a rich hermit.


Alwyn Cosgrove is one of the sharpest fitness business owners 

in our industry.


In fact, the National Fitness Business Alliance (NFBA) states 

the he runs the most profitable gym per square foot in the country.

Not only does he know what it takes to build a great 

training business, he is also a great guy and friend who is 

willing to share his blueprint to success.



If you want to create a business that supports the


 lifestyle you *want* to live, Alwyn’s new program


 will show you, step-by-step, how you can make it




 Results Fitness University


Don’t train another client, spend another dollar on

advertising or make another move in your business 

 until you experience Alwyn Cosgrove’s

Results Fitness University. 

Go here 
NOW! http://georgettepann.com/AlwynResultsU 



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