What if You Already Know Enough About Fitness?

A smiling personal trainer helps and older client perform dumbbell chest presses.

What if you only need one coaching credential?

I know, I know. More is better, the one you have is the best, “that other credential” sucks, and people who only have 1st Level are so much worse than those who have 3rd Level.

I’ve said all that, too. Many times.

But what if we’re all missing the point?

What if a basic coaching credential is fine and we actually need to spend time learning about other aspects of entrepreneurship?

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

Let’s be clear: I’m not saying continued fitness education isn’t needed. Learning and evolving are important.

But when I was busy adding letters behind my name as a young gym owner, I only learned technical fitness stuff—program design, exercise technique, coaching progressions and so on.

I never took a course that taught me a thing about:

  • Behavior modification.
  • Motivational techniques.
  • Communication, including public speaking.
  • Interpersonal relations.
  • Business and sales.

I picked some of that stuff up along the way, but for many years I never actively worked to improve those skills. Instead, I learned new muscle-up progressions and cues.

You can see where I’m going here: I invested all my time learning technical stuff. Technical education is fine, and even necessary to a degree. But I never worked on the other skills. At all.

You might suggest that the other skills aren’t as important as teaching someone how to squat safely. You might be right.

But what if you can’t connect with a prospective client and convince them to sign up? Or what if you can’t get that person to show up to squat workouts? What if you can’t get the client to understand your cues?

What if the client just doesn’t like you?

What if your fitness business goes under because you can’t pay the bills?

Complete Self-Improvement

As the owner of a fitness business, you should be technically competent so you can get results for clients and keep them safe.

But consider what might happen if your next course doesn’t involve an in-depth analysis of mesocycles and training adaptations.

Perhaps you learn why some people struggle to make positive changes and can then provide effective behavior-modification strategies to clients.

Maybe you realize why some people wince a little when you bark cues at them, and you learn to soften your approach to help seniors feel more comfortable in your care.

Or maybe you learn how to confront objections in the sales office so a person who badly needs your help signs up to receive your help.

Would you be a less irritable, less stressed coach if someone taught you how to make sure your business exists for 30 years and allows you to retire someday?

There’s nothing wrong with collecting fitness credentials. But technical knowledge is just a small part of being a great coach and gym owner.

Try this today: Instead of asking “what fitness course should I take next?” ask “what should I learn to make me a better overall coach and business owner?”

You might settle on a fitness course. And it’s OK if you do.

But if you really consider the question and want to become a more complete gym owner, you might decide on another course of self-improvement. Perhaps it will involve Toastmasters, a psychology seminar at the local college or even business training.

If it’s the latter, head here.

The point: As a gym owner, you’re more than a fitness coach. You’re a CEO and entrepreneur.

So what do you really need to learn next?


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.