Making it a Win/Win

The fitness world can be confusing and intimidating.  Consumers can have a difficult time discerning what technique is good for them and who can help them move forward without getting hurt. As a provider, clients often come to us confused and leery about being taken advantage of, like we all feel when car shopping! You have to wonder how it got to feel this way for both parties.

It could be argued that big box fitness facilities have done consumers a bit of a disservice.  They traditionally offer dirt cheap introductory prices to lure you in, and then hope you don’t show.  In doing so, they’ve trained consumers to expect to pay very little, and consequently, they receive very little in return.  

Larger facilities also typically employ new trainers who are paid on selling clients and making quotas rather than helping clients reach their goals (although the trainer may have the best intentions, the reality is that they are not comped on what matters to the consumer).  

So, given that a client’s mind set is potentially jaded, where does that leave us?  The industry has set up this low cost expectation with a high result outcome. The consumer wants change cheap and quick.  Unfortunately for them, the brain and body just don’t work that way.  If we can step back and take stock of a system that really isn’t working, perhaps we can redefine it, or as I like to say, re-contextualize it.

The “get results quick” industry model leaves clients, expecting instant results, feeling unsatisfied and frustrated with themselves, and in the long run, feeling like failures and cynical because change just doesn’t happen that quickly or that easily.  

Perhaps we should turn things on its ear with the following paradigm:

Fitness and Financial Planning

How great would it be if people were encouraged, as part of their planning for the future and even their retirement, to get a realistic idea of health care costs if we maintain our health or not?  I can just picture your financial planner looking at your health records, your workout history, doing a movement analysis to give you an estimation of your needed savings based on your current movement patterns, endurance, and heart health.

Own Your Stuff

By putting in a bit of time, energy and financial resources, you as the consumer can take back your power and figure out the best configuration for you.  Treat your fitness experience as you would any other consumer experience.  Shop around, interview the manager/owner/trainer, find out what their process is. Get a sense of who they are and if it is a fit for you.  Trust your gut.  Use your own best judgement to see if you agree with how they have set things up.  Will it be a win for you and them, or is it just a way to get you in the door?  Are they hoping you sign up and then never see you again? Do you have unrealistic expectations about what they should do for you for very little?  Make sure it is an equitable and sustainable relationship. Go in eyes wide open and be realistic about where you are currently, how long it took you to get there, and the time, effort and resources to turn the ship around.

Have Fun

Finally, as I always preach, make sure you are having fun doing in whatever process you choose.  This needs to be one of the main factors you take into consideration.  After all, it’s your life, your time, your resources.  If you set it up just to be a “work” out, that’s what it will be: work.  Make it a time when you actually get to go to the playground.  Why would you put a bunch of time and energy into something you don’t like doing?  Why wouldn’t you treat it as part of your entertainment budget?

We were built to enjoy movement, seek community, and crave security and support.  As we approach the winter season and you establish a plan for yourself, and for the new year, keep those things in mind.  True fitness and health is an emotional and financial investment, so as you would with anything else, be a savvy consumer.