Booming PT Profits
Have you ever seen the show “Duck Dynasty “? It’s about a
down-home country family in Louisiana that run a multi-million
dollar business out of their backyard, basically, making
and selling duck calls (used by hunters to attract ducks).
The show is absolutely hilarious. These are good old country
folk who like hunting, fishing, 4-wheeling, momma’s home
cooking and fit about every backwoods country stereotype
there is. But, the difference is they are multi-millionaires.
There is nothing cool or glamorous about their business or
their lifestyles but my guess is that most of us would
switch places with them in an instant. Making duck calls
might not be cool but, to most of us, running a highly
successful and profitable business is VERY cool and something
we are striving for ourselves. Think about it.
Someone is getting rich off renting porta-potties (not cool);
cleaning septic systems (stinky and gross); or even training
seniors (no glamour there). Think senior fitness is about
as cool as porta-potties? Most of the fitness industry thinks so.
According to “them”, if you aren’t training a professional
athlete or a celebrity then you just aren’t that cool
(since when did the name of my client become the measuring
stick for my abilities?). You might not think senior fitness
is cool but you don’t really know what cool is? Let me tell you.
Senior Fitness is…
made in senior fitness. I’m not saying that money should
drive you to training seniors because if you don’t have a
passion for them in the first place then you will fail anyway.
The passion must come first but if you have it then the
money will follow. This is a huge market and older adults
control about 80% of this country’s financial resources.
Plus this new wave of boomers and seniors have more
disposable income to devote to “non-essential” pursuits such
as hiring a trainer.
in staying fit and healthy so they are looking for trainers
that can work with them and will understand their needs.
Most of them realize they aren’t 30 years old anymore and
don’t want to be trained as if they were. In fact, a
significant amount of our business has come from clients
that were training somewhere else and just weren’t satisfied
with their trainer because they felt the trainer didn’t
understand their wants and needs.
trainers who really know how to work effectively with older
adults so there is little competition for those trainers
that specialize in senior fitness. We opened our first gym
in a small city that already had 3 large gyms, a YMCA, a
YWCA and a good number of personal training facilities.
When you looked at it on the surface most people would say
that there wasn’t any need for another gym. And that is true
for a generic gym but we recognized that no one was serving
this group adequately.
The ranks of seniors are going to continue to grow FOR THE
NEXT 20 YEARS (while the younger age groups are either
shrinking or not growing)!! Talk about job security. You
establish yourself now and you will have more clients than
you can handle.
Think about these first four items on the list: a huge and
rapidly expanding potential client base that wants and needs
your specialized services in an industry in which there is
low competition. If that is not the makings of a home run I
don’t know what is. The opportunity just does not get any
better than that in any industry.
and WANT to go to work? To become financially independent
so you can support your family, enjoy a nice lifestyle and
be able to help other people out generously when they need
it? Training seniors is rewarding. They are easy to get
along with, funny, appreciative of your efforts, have great
life stories (and lessons), and when they make progress it
is meaningful. You are helping them not just look better in
their jeans but feel better, move easier and enjoy a fuller
permeates most of the fitness industry? Me too. I’m sorry
but a compulsive narcissism seems to have a strong hold on
many trainers. I really don’t want to see your washboard abs
or admire your breast implants or hear that your body fat
dropped to -3%. Training seniors is real and trainers that
train seniors seem to be more real. Grounded. Balanced.
We’re not all in it for the looks and while seniors do care
about their looks their goals are usually more meaningful.
anyone that starts and continues even a basic fitness
routine will experience good results (without a trainer).
Does it really take that much knowledge, skill or ability
to train a 20 or 30 year old to become more fit? I don’t
think so. That stuff is a piece of cake. But how about
training a 70 year old with significant bilateral
osteoarthritis of the knees, hypertension, a stiff shoulder
and some gait impairments who is on 5 medications? Do we
really want just any trainer working with this person?
I sure hope not. But this is a great challenge that makes
training interesting (at least for me).
So maybe senior fitness isn’t cool and sexy from most of the
fitness industry’s perspective. But then again cool and
sexy is completely misunderstood.
Cody Sipe, PhD is a recognized leader in senior fitness.
He is an Associate Professor, facility owner and recipient
of the IDEA Program Director of the Year award. He speaks
and writes regularly on topics related to senior fitness
throughout the industry.
Mike Whitfield is a boot camp workouts and metabolic resistance training expert.