• Dr Susan Baxter

Is the other gym your competition?


So today's topics are a little bit different.


It's talking about how we may perceive other industries within the fitness industry or the facilities within the fitness industry and other people within the fitness industry. I started working in the industry a long time ago, like maybe 15 years ago. When I started, first of all I was really focused on myself and the complexity of it because it's quite hard, people are trusting you moving their body moving it correctly. There's a lot to focus on. It's not just a conversation with people, and you want to get it right and you want the best for your clients. But as you get a little bit further down the track, that all becomes autonomic. It's in that subconscious and you're able to hold a better conversation / information gathering while you're still checking someone's form for squats. You may also have a few clients that they're technically correct quite a lot of the time. You're helping to push them or you're helping them with, their programming or with selection, or in general bouncing ideas off them, more like high level functioning and coaching for them. Maybe some mindset as well. When that comes along, then sometimes you can slip into this slippery slope, which is, what is with this competition that's out there? Are they going to steal all of my clients? Maybe a new trainer comes to the gym that you're working at? Or maybe there's a whole bunch of new facilities that are popping up just down the road from you, and you start to panic a little bit and kind of think like, what if my client sees that or what if my client decides that they don't want to work with me anymore?


It might sound really silly, but I feel like this is something that people don't verbalize enough. They do have these worries and scares, but I'm here to tell you now that other people in industry, they're not you and what you bring authentically you, the drive that you bring, and all of those things that you bring together are so uniquely you. There will be people that are super attracted to your energy, what you bring, the complexity that you bring or the non complexity that you bring, the key components of all of those things together that you bring to the table and there's enough room at the table for everyone.


What it does is, it helps us strive to be our best because humans are designed to not waste much energy, to reduce the amount of energy that we are expending on things: we see that in all of our adaptations as we're getting fitter, so we should know about this. So what happens is, if we don't have any competition, if we're the only person in town that is running a fitness facility, the thing is like we can get very lax, like potentially we start to think to ourselves, does it matter if I'm punctual, you know, these are my friends, they don't mind if I'm sitting down for a part of the session, etc etc when in fact these are still your clients and you might be quite friendly with them and that's fine as well.


Competition helps you stand out because if you know exactly who you are, and you've done your marketing correctly, in terms of how it's authentically you and how you're different, and you know all of these things really firmly. Well, if the other places are trying to copy what you're bringing, they're not going to be authentic as they do that and people pick up on that pretty quickly. For instance, if you do have a couple of clients that are like “oh my goodness, what this person is bringing wow, I need to move to them”. Well guess what? Those people need to get the heck away from you because they are not your true clients. They are not attracted to all the fibers of your being as an exercise professional that make you so uniquely you and why would you spend any time with these energy sappers that are getting in the way of you being yourself in your role in the industry?


When it comes to competition, we shouldn't be worried or scared. In fact, we should be really happy about it. Because these new facilities in the area will be spending more money on the things within their facility like equipment. So it might help to drive down prices of those particular things when there's more demand. On top of that, they'll be spending more money on advertising. So it will be helping to generate more interest and excitement when it comes to exercise. Say someone did get initially attracted to go into one of those fitness facilities that was not your client to begin with. But they realized that that's not really their cup of tea. They realized the things that facility does that just make it not their cup of tea, and then all those things that they provide that you're like, this is not me.


Well, they're now looking out for someone who has you there. They're finding that person that provides exactly what the Studio does not because I've just realized, hey, it's not really for me having that loud blaring music that's trance music at 6am in the morning. On the sidenote, that's not really a dig at anyone because I'm all for trance music, and I'm all for neon lights and stuff like that. But for some people, it's just not their cup of tea. So for everybody to find where they are happiest working out and where they will work out more often because we want to help people, we want to make sure that we get everybody active. We want to get everybody experiencing all the benefits that we know exercise can bring them and the only way to do that is to have more of us out there because one gym cannot facilitate all the number of people out there and you may not want to. You might have some people that are absolutely energy sappers for the type of energy you're putting out there. And gosh get rid of those people like that, let them go to the other facility. It can make room for all of the great people that want to be exactly where you are. So don't be too worried about people coming in.


The other one is, as you know there's a lot of facilities that I go to, because I do mystery shops as part of the services that I provide. There's a lot of places that I go to that if you were to come out and say that you work in the industry they almost treat you like you're you've got leprosy or something. The thing is, that's super weird, because for me, it would be the biggest tap on the shoulder when someone's like, I work in the industry and my gym is freaking killing it for a lot of people’s desires of fitness but I don't want to be there. I want to be at your gym. You think that they're gonna steal from you. It's not true. Like, they can't steal your energy. They can't steal your culture. That's all with you. So these people that come and try at your facility, they're people that are actually drawn to you. In fact, I would think that that's like really good advertising to other people.


In one gym that I went to. There were people that were walking around in actual uniforms from from different fitness facilities that are in the area and I thought (because I work in in promo) I kind of thought that that was a little bit cheeky given that, when you work in promotional work, you can't be wearing the competitors clothes, you can't be drinking the competitors drink that there sort of thing. So I thought that was really cheeky. It was almost like advertising. And when I was joking with the receptionist, the guy was like, this is the best form of advertising. They could be working out at their gym, and they're just identifying themselves to everyone in here that they work somewhere else. But they're still here. And they paid to get in here. I thought that was absolute gold. It made me check myself. I'm not ashamed to admit that I was actually quite proud of how the guy at reception had come up with that. Whereas, even me who is more than happy to let fitness professionals come to me. I still have this lense that I'm painted with where I thought initially I had thought that if someone was coming with a T shirt on that says the other fitness facility that that's a little bit cheeky. But now I'm like yes sweet. Wear your T-shirt from somewhere else because all it's doing is showing that either you attended that place or you work there and it doesn't even have to come up in conversation.


So there you have it, make sure that you're welcoming to people that come from other fitness facilities and use the other people that are in other facilities as your inspiration to provide more value for your clients, for you to really knock down and get into what makes you so different. What makes your unique selling point on what is your promotional point of difference like what are these things that you bring that will make people out there go “hell yeah!” and the people that are not your type of people go hell no. Because it is much better to be in the position where people are just flooded with this like exceptionally excited idea of being around you as opposed to being there because they're not quite sure that you offend them enough to not go there.


I'm going to finish this one with a little bit of an anecdote for me which applies to one on one, group fitness and semi private. BACKGROUND:I'm a little bit stage shy. Even though I'm an introvert, I'm really comfortable on the stage because I've just been there for such a long time now, but there's still a part of me that gets a bit upset when someone has to leave early on.


They don't really tell me why they just leave right in the middle of a track and they haven't told me why. I start to think you know, is the music too loud? Was it something I said? I did that sort of thing because like I'm always trying to strive for better but the thing is, (maybe the person is shy and had to go or felt sick), but if they are leaving because its you…. Tell yourself, these people that are leaving they're not my people. If I'm being so authentically myself, detracting people away that are just not my people is a good sign that they know you’re not for them. That's great. Because then all the people that are like, Oh my god, hell yeah, let's get into this energy. Let's make some noise. Let's start singing to the crazy music that's out there. Like those are the people that I want in my class because the energy builds and everybody achieves more together.


I do realize that that's probably not what fitness facilities want to hear because they want everybody to go to all of the classes and that sort of thing. But for some people, you're an absolute legend and you make their day and then for other people, you're just not their cup of tea and that is so fun. The thing is if you were just a vanilla instructor that doesn't rock the boat, you're not overly funny but you're also not overly nice and that you're also not overly angry either. And you provided a really technically good workout, but with no personality. Well, a one size fits all fits absolutely none as we know. So, there may be people that come to the class but you're not going to be pulling the serious numbers. And you're not going to be building that really cool, drawn to you type of energy. That's going to get people into the class.


We want people to come and give their best. We want them to be excited to be there. We want them to be striving a little bit harder to be a little bit better to attempt something that they haven't done before or, or do that silly dance with you because they feel so comfortable. They don't feel like they're going to be judged. They feel like they are there with their people and their people are cheering them on. The only way all of that brilliance happens is if you show up as unapologetically yourself in a session and you don't dim your flame. Don't get upset if one or two people leave because guess what? There's probably 50 other people in the class that are like, this is the highlight of my day. They are searching that time table for your name. They're asking you what other classes you teach. They're getting excited when they hear that you are covering someone else's class because they're going to make sure that they are there and they're gonna make sure they're there early to be an absolute front row. They're going to say nice things to their friends and bring all the friends along. They're going to increase the revenue of the gym by bringing more people which means you're more likely to get a raise or they're going to bring more people to your gym that you own. So you're going to have more flexibility and freedom to be able to hire that other instructor to be able to do more things with your time and be able to pick and choose. You know what, whatever days you work on people are going to flood regardless. It used to be in the industry that like a Tuesday evening or Thursday evening where absolute torture and treachery to try and get people to come to like these days would be times that you'd have like the smallest classes in eighths of the size that you usually would have. But then, if you bring that extra energy, if you know exactly who you are, and people know who you are, then you're going to bring all these extra people along and it doesn't matter what day of the week it is or what day you choose to run your classes on. You can get instruct any session at any time. And that's fantastic.


We do have a number of courses on tapping into your energy, your values on your star quality and bringing it into class so that you can do all of these great things that we've talked about and help you to reach more people and get more people active.


If this is something that you're interested in, please just message us on this page or book in for a phone call with us or check out some of our courses that we have on because we want to help you be able to help more people, and that sounds extremely helpful!



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