Sunday, December 16, 2012

Younger Next Year and Fitness Bank Accounts


I was driving yesterday, listening to our local public radio station which is in the middle of a pledge drive.  The incentive for contributing that hour was a copy of the book"Younger Next Year" by Chris Crowley and Dr. Henry S. Lodge. The subtitle of the book is "turn back your biological clock." The interview was with Chris Crowley.  This caught my ear for a couple reasons. First, the discussion was nearly entirely about fitness!  And secondly, I spent most of the last decade selling a product called BodyAge. BodyAge is a fitness assessment and programming tool that gives fitness professional  a wonderful opportunity to tell your clients how they can be 5 years younger on their next birthday - rather than just telling them they're fat and out of shape. 
But what really got my ear was a statement that Chris made during the interview.  He was talking about habits and said that when someone starts an exercise program, their emotional brain will help them stay motivated for about the first three weeks.  But then, in order to succeed, the person needs to make it part of their routine.   He went on to talk about how - like saving money or investing in retirement - we needexercise to be routine. 

I agree; but routine alone is not enough!  This is where our industry is missing the boat.  In general, we have not invested in credible tracking tools that our clients can use to monitor their progress - a big part of what encourages us to "continue to invest".  Who in their right minds would continue to contribute to a savings account without credible feedback, authentic evidence of getting ahead?  We want to see that the account balance is growing!  Would you accept "Don't you feel better since you've been depositing money in your account" from your banker? I like to anticipate the day that personal trainers no longer use that line to justify the exerciser's investment.  
For the past few years,a lot of us have watched our contributions to retirement funds shrink, but we all understand what is happening.  We may have changed the modality of investment, but we continue to invest.  We invest because we understand how important it is to do so and prepare for retirement.   Progress in fitness is cyclical too!  We need tools to track our progress and make adjustments.  While some of us will exercise because we love it, most of the world knows it needs to invest in health,  they just haven't had the tools to track the value of their fitness investments. "Younger Next Year" is one of the best books I've seen when it comes to explaining the benefits of exercise and all the other tools necessary for a long vigorous life.  I cannot make a strong enough recommendation for this book.  Mr. Crowley has another book “The Younger Next Year Journal,” which by its own description is a “fill-in book with prompts that help you keep meticulous track of your workouts, your heart rate, your diet, how you feel.”  This is essentially a bank book for recording your habits.  No offense intended, but how many of you would continue to do business with a bank today that used a hand written bank book to track your deposits?  I understand that self tracking and self reporting are the number one predictor of change of habit.  But we live in the 21st century!  We need to be using systems and technology that provide immediate feedback of authentic changes in  a client's fitness.  Fitness professionals need to understand that they are competing for the minds and dreams of clients and members.  And you're competing against the spectrum of junk on infomercials and very good books that sell for $9.30 on Amazon.  
The good books and junk on tv are winning.  We need to assess our value as an ally and an asset to our clients and to those who aren't yet our clients.  We also need to avoid the reflex response of the race-to-the-bottom of pricing.  
Your services can be worth what you're profitably charging.  Your clients just need to be able to "see" what their contributions to you, their investments in their own wellness are doing for them.
We live in a time of instant access to precise information.  We retrieve our bank balances and our minute to minute portfolio performance on our cell phones.  These things are nearly universal.  Our fitness account information access needs to get to the same place.  This is a huge missing link in our industry. We're not keeping up with our clients - and therefore we're struggling to add value to their enduring pursuit of wellness on a broader scale.  
It’s important to always ask ourselves, “What is the incentive we provide our clients and members for their contributions to our business?"  We've focused on developing and adding technology based feedback systems at my studio, Lemonade Fitness,and with our ViA Performance Systems products.  This is what I think about all day.  This is where we're going and how we're growing.   Let me know if you have questions and want to know how to get on the wave.

Thanks again for your time,


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