Feeling Down as a Gym Owner? Read This.

A gym owner with a pony tail smiles as she holds a medicine ball on her shoulder.

You’re doing incredible work—never forget that.

For many gym owners, it’s been a tough two years in which governments have repeatedly forced fitness entrepreneurs to close their businesses or find very creative ways to serve their clients.

The label we all dread: “non-essential.” That’s the one that forces us to the sidelines when COVID cases rise and governments attempt to reduce transmission. It hurts—our pride, our retention numbers, our marketing efforts and balance sheets.

Just remember that nutrition and fitness are essential to health—and you don’t just offer bare-minimum, one-size-fits-all, borderline-effective general activity guidelines. You provide the optimal path to wellness, and you provide measurable results to your clients.

You’re doing truly amazing things with your business even if it seems like our governments don’t recognize it.

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

Every so often, some government or fitness association will talk about “increasing activity.” The most recent example: A Montreal Gazette article on eight strategies the International Society for Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH) recommends to increase physical activity. Read: “Fitness: Here Are Eight Strategies to Get Canadians Moving.”

I’ve got no quarrel with anything that helps people become more active. But “adding bike lanes” and “public education” are the kind of vague, ethereal suggestions we’ve all come to expect from organizations that can’t seem to do a thing to convince governments and members of the public that fitness is essential.

We all know that any increases in general activity are great but nowhere near enough. The world won’t become measurably healthier because a few more people dusted off the Schwinn and biked to work.

That’s where you and your business come in. You’re providing real results to scores of people every day, and you’re having a measurable effect on their lives. The importance of that can’t be understated. And it’s worth remembering anytime you’re feeling disheartened or frustrated.

Your business is doing something no government can: You’re providing a clear path to wellness that includes milestones and accountability. The government says “move a little more.” You say this:

“We’re going to improve your fitness by helping you drop 20 lb. of fat and add 10 lb. of muscle while measurably improving your cardiovascular health. You will see the results of this work in your log book, in the mirror and in the metrics collected by your health-care providers. And we’ll also significantly reduce your back pain with targeted mobility work. We’ll do all of this by combing strength training, conditioning work and flexibility training in 60-minute one-on-one sessions three times per week.”

See the difference? Governments and industry associations look up at the moon and think, “Isn’t that pretty?” You’re already walking on it with your clients.

While platitudes are spewed into the wind from Ivory Towers around the globe, you’re getting real results at ground level.

I hope you remember that—because it’s the stuff that actually changes lives.

Sometimes gym owners forget about all this because we’re hyper focused on day-to-day tasks. We’re doing so many things that we forget to take a step back and look at what’s actually happening in our businesses.

So do that today. Take five minutes and look at your business as a whole. Here’s what I bet you’ll see:

A large group of people taking the exact steps they need to take to accomplish important personal goals and dramatically improve their health.

You’re succeeding where the most powerful entities in the world are failing miserably. Let me say it another way: You’re improving and preserving health in a way no government ever can.

So don’t worry fret over the label “non-essential.” It’s typical broad-strokes bureaucratic idiocy.

Your business is essential to the health of your community, and you have the data to prove it.

No matter what frustrations you feel today, remember that and use it as fuel to keep changing your clients’ lives.


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.