Sunday, December 16, 2012

What Business Are We In?


What Business Are We In?

I was in Chicago last week meeting with a couple of customers. As I walked through the airport, I caught a glimpse of a local Chicago "style" magazine with the title "Meet Chicago's Hottest Trainers."  I stopped, grabbed it, and stowed it in my pack for the trip home.  What was going through my mind when I grabbed it was, "Hey if these are the hottest trainers in Chicago, this might be a good list for the early introduction of ViA Performance System products."   "The hottest trainers would undoubtedly be interested in the state-of-the-art when it comes to fitness technology"  As I started to read the article on the way home, the realities of our industry gave me a big slap in the face.

The first featured trainer, under the banner of "Flex Symbols," is a young lady whose featured class list included: "Sexy Sculpt, Bikini Boot Camp, Hottie Body Boxing" and "Rear Attitude."  The trainer featured on page 16 listed her classes as: "Pole Dancing, Video Vixen, Chair Striptease and House Music Honey's."  Really, this was the list of classes.  This is what is being featured as leadership  in our industry.  Hello, when the list of classes taught by our "hottest trainers" can be confused with this season lineup of the HBO series Cat House, I believe we have a problem!  (Cat House is a series on HBO about a house of prostitution)

I'm not saying we need to have work environments and workouts that resemble doctors offices and prescriptions.   I actually think that’s as big a mistake as clubs featuring "Chair Striptease."  But I do think we need to recalibrate as fitness consumers, professionals and as an industry.  What exactly are we offering our customers and what is it that they can walk away from the experience we provide that can be referred back to as an authentic measure of our expertise? As we develop as professionals, this authentic difference is the ability to provide evidence to our clients.  Evidence that our customers can use to measure the difference in fitness progress they make training with us versus someone who's masking fitness as pole dancing.

Authentic evidence is evidence of what's important!  In the fitness business, evidence is the measurement of progress.  We have to do more than just measure what's easy, our client’s weight on the scale or the size of their jeans.  Weight can be lowered and the size of your jeans can shrink through doing unhealthy things.  Those things won't make you stronger. Those things won't give you more energy.  They won't put more "life" in your clients’ lives.  I'm talking about and challenging the professionals in our busines to start measuring the things that are important.  The things that make a difference in what your clients can do, what theyaspire to do.  The measures that motivate them to live more – to continue enjoying fitness and achieving!

authentic [aw-then-tik] 
not false or copied; genuine; real.
having the origin supported by unquestionable evidence; authenticated; verified
entitled to acceptance or belief because of agreement with known facts or experience; reliable; trustworthy:

evidence [ev-i-duhns] 
noun, verb, -denced, -dencing. –noun
that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof.
something that makes plain or clear; an indication or sign.

to make evident or clear; show clearly; manifest.

Giving credit where credit is due!

The first (and only other to date) person that I’ve heard use the term of authentic evidence is Beth Kirkpatrick.  Beth is a legendary physical education teacher from Grundy Center Iowa and she is truly a special person.  I worked with Beth at Polar and if there was anyone who should have the title of “Evangelist” it’s Beth.  Beth’s passionate and relentless advocacy for quality daily physical education is what we built our education strategy on at Polar.  Her vision of what physical education could be through the integration of technology into her phys ed classes out in the middle of Iowa was amazing.  I really appreciated all she did for me and if you’re ever looking for a true educational hero, stop in Grundy Center and just ask for Beth.

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