business race on a blue track

Starting your fitness journey can be a pretty overwhelming task for anyone.  No matter what your ultimate goals are there are about a million and one different factors that will effect your outcome.  Your always being pulled in different directions by the media, s0-called ‘experts’, and popular gym belief.  It’s no wonder so many people fail to succeed in getting the results they want or in many cases any results at all…

For the average person who works a typical caffeine fueled 9-5 desk job or any non-fitness business really, all of this can be extremely tough to figure out on your own.   I mean, most people are not fitness geeks like myself and  read biomechanics books and scour for leisure.  (My wife questions our relationship sometimes…)

Most of my clients have, however, spent many years at their profession either learning business or running a business of their own.  I’m sure we can all appreciate the amount of hard work that goes into running a successful business whether it is a small start-up or Apple.

Currently being in the process of starting my own training facility in downtown Boston I have really started to notice some uncanny similarities between one’s fitness and starting a business.

Here are a few of the things I noticed that may help you apply your business knowledge to your fitness endeavors:

1. No one goes into business to fail.

No one goes into business for themselves under the assumption that they are going to fail.  I mean, there are plenty of businesses that do fail but that’s more often than not due to other factors.  Poor planning, poor skills, they got into this for the wrong reasons, glorified expectations, and basically lack the overall work ethic to bust their ass day in and day out to get it done.  Those businesses tend to fail within the first year.

Fitness begins pretty much in the same way.  I think it is safe to say that you don’t start working out and expect to get fatter, weaker and less fit than you are now.  What would be the point?

Most people begin all gung-ho and will pay for a new gym membership, read a few magazine articles, throw away the junk food, go on a crash diet and hit the workouts hard…. for a week or two.  Then they will start to slow down.  Have a cheat meal here and there.  Then fall back into old patterns and make excuses about driving 5 minutes to the gym.

Then there are many that continue to grind it out and still fail to see the results that they want.  I will compare this to the business works their ass off to just stay afloat and pay bills.  In both cases this is due to poor planning or lack of knowledge or even setting unrealistic goals.  Both endeavors then become a dead-end job.

Believe me, it’s more common than you think.

2. Education is paramount.

Anyone who has gone into business for themselves understands that high school and college were only the beginning and what you learned there barely scratched the surface of the real-world knowledge necessary to be successful.  You probably had to attend conferences, continue researching on your own, get training and basically spend some time in the trenches.  If you have a really good business then you probably continue to do this.

When you train it is a good idea to have some sort of idea of what you are doing to not only get results but to prevent injury and in some cases serious injury.  Would you dump your life savings into your poorly planned business to go bankrupt?  Probably not.

As an example, the Russian philosophy to strength training is to apply equal parts of physical training and education to a successful program.  I think they are on the right track.  Instead of spending useless hours on that hamster wheel why not use some of that time to read a book on training basics or find a few good blog to follow?

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I’m not saying you must spend countless hours reading every book on fitness and nutrition but a little bit of self-education will go a long way if you want to be successful!


3. You must start with a plan.

In order for a business to run smoothly it must not only have a clear vision or goal but it has to have a plan to get there.  This can include a primary business plan, business model, and operations manual.  Without these you might as well be a blind man pissing into the wind.

I don’t know the average time that should be spent business planning but I started plans for AMP Fitness back in January.  So far that is about 7 months of careful planning that has gone into my business so far and there are still a few more finishing touches.  I can tell you that if I just jumped into a lease and opened back in February I would not have lasted too long.

“By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

I see countless efforts of people who have no clear direction in the gym set themselves up to fail.  The best course of action for these people is to take a step back and do some planning.  What training program can you do that will provide the best results?  What road blocks will slow you down?  Is nutrition your downfall?  Planning ahead will help you avoid these pitfalls.

4. Hire a coach.

There are very few people who are savvy enough to go into business on their own and not at least consult with a specialist in their field.  There is just no way to know it all, especially if this is your first go at things.   A good coach or business adviser will provide you with an unbiased and impartial view of your business and share clear guidance and and insight into what you should be doing to become successful.

Being a strength coach myself, I understand the value of why hiring a coach is so important.  I have even hired other trainers to write my own personal programs when I have found myself in a slump.  More importantly, I hired a coach and mentor group to help me get my business up and running.  I have already found significantly more value than I can explain and I am still about a month away from opening!

Besides education, this may be the second best investment you can make whether it is only for a few consultations, a program or weekly sessions.  A good trainer or coach will give you a proper assessment and/or screen, develop a sound program (both long-term and short-term) for you, set bench marks and provide you with the tools you need to succeed.

Just make sure you don’t hire someone who assumes you are like everyone else, gives you a cookie-cutter program, works session to session, stands there counting reps and just beats you into the ground.  That is NOT coaching and you wouldn’t hire someone like that to advice your business would you?

I hope some of these associations were able to help you start understanding how to take your fitness success to the level of success you have achieved in your business or career!  This post turned out to be a little more epic than anticipated so there is going to be a part 2 coming later this week.  Stay tuned!


Written by Steve