The 4 Personalities in Your Gym—and 1 Huge Mistake

Four cartoon avatars on a fitness background with the words "I've made a huge mistake."

“Fine. Do whatever you want.”

I said that once to a client who was pushing back on the load I recommended for the next set.

I regret saying it, and I probably could have avoided the situation if I had read Chris Cooper’s new guide on the four personalities you’ll find in a gym.

A head shot of writer Mike Warkentin and the column name "Pressing It Out."

Coop’s newest free resource lays out four personality types and explains how to sell to them, coach them, and lead them.

You can request the guide in the Gym Owners United group.

Had I read the guide, I would have realized my client was a fact-based introvert, and I could have taken a different approach with her.

She was intense and analytical. She wanted data and explanations. And she had her own opinions on loading because she had read all kinds of articles. She was an introvert, so she wasn’t totally sure how to communicate all that, and her pushback came off as hostile when I gave her an instruction without any explanation.

I should have framed my instructions with more info: “You missed your third rep last week at 95 lb., so it’s not wise to try 100 for 5 reps today, when you just came off a long shift at work. I know you’d like to hit a PR today, but I want to make sure you get all 5 reps and feel great about that. Let’s throw 80 lb. on for 5 and see what that looks like, OK?”

If she questioned my detailed suggestion, I could have taken a breath and asked her why she had another number in mind. I could have evaluated her reasoning and either accepted it or provided her with additional reasons I was suggesting a lighter load.

Instead, I shrugged and walked away angry. I’m sure she was displeased with the interaction, too.

Flexible Leadership for the Win

It’s obvious: Gyms are full of very different people.

But coaches and gym owners still paint everyone with the same brush at times. It’s much easier to think “people need to adapt to me” than “I need to cater to others.”

In the worst cases, you’ll see my-way-or-the-highway football coaches grabbing facemasks and screaming at people. But if you watch closely in gyms, you’ll also see lots of honest mistakes where well-intentioned people just fail to communicate in the right way.

People too often forget that they need to be flexible leaders if they want to connect with various people. And some people just need to improve their people skills. In either case, the solution is to learn more about the people around you and then adjust your communication style to get the best results.

You can start doing that today so you get better results in your business tomorrow.

Get Chris Cooper’s new guide and start really connecting with prospective clients, members and staff people: “The 4 Client Avatars: How to Sell, Coach and Keep Them Forever.”


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.