#029: Building a Better Business with Fitness Certifications and Community

#029: Building a Better Business with Fitness Certifications and Community

Giving your coaches the gift of continuing education can be an incredibly powerful way to increase their longevity with your gym and improve your gym’s culture as a whole. As we see so many coaches and trainers burn out after just several months, working fitness certifications into their contracts may be something you want to consider.

Our guest, Sam Pogue Director of Strategic Partnerships for ONNIT and co-host of Fitness Break Room Podcast, specializes in fitness certifications of all kinds and is a go-to resource for how to work these into contracts, which certs will make the most impact, and how you can introduce this knowledge to your members. Keep your coaches excited. Evolve the fitness culture of your gym. Increase your perceived value. There are so many benefits to encouraging your coaches to dive deep and never stop learning.

Join us every Friday at 10 a.m. PT on The Network where we’ll be airing live. Be sure to stick around for the live Q&A session at the end of the show so we can answer any questions you have.

This show was recorded live in The Network on Friday, April 27, 2018. 

Table of Contents


Fitness certificationsImage Credit: Fitness Break Room

3:00 Why should gym owners care about continuing education for their coaches?

Most of your clients coming into your door aren’t going to care about what certifications you have or what education background you have. However, continuing education and different experiences can change the perspective of your coaches and give them more tools to be able to provide value to your clients. The more tools you can provide you clients, the better experience they can create for your members which means high retention rates.

You can also refine and differentiate your gym’s culture with the help of more specializations and fitness knowledge. Your members are going to naturally turn to your coaches as role models so if you have different coaches bringing their unique flare to the functional fitness space, that makes the culture just that much more enticing.


Fitness certifications

Image Credit: Fitness Break Room

The methodology of this examination was to look at current practices of preparing educators to utilize sound, video, and PC technology in their homerooms and to learn the helpfulness of that preparation. An initial step was to distinguish the suppositions about preparing and how preparing impacts the utilization of innovation. A subsequent advance was to analyze how these crucial presumptions can be tried and how they are actualized in the improvement of preparing projects and exercises. Since innovation is changing so quickly, and in light of the fact that this is an exploratory exertion to decide if a need exists to lead further look into on preparing and usage all the more completely, a survey of the writing concentrated on discoveries and reports distributed inside the most recent five years; and, all the more significantly, depended on chosen interviews. Student tend to click to find out more about how these meetings were led with the analysts, ‘designers, suppliers of preparing, and school professionals to discover what had been realized, to distinguish research and showing ventures that were probably going to create significant data throughout the following year or two,, and to recognize the territories that need further investigation in reviews and research. Today’s teacher training programs and their next-generation improvements are based upon a set of often unstated assumptions. In examining the underlying basis for preservice and inservice training in education, it is useful to state these assumptions explicitly and then to differentiate between those assumptions generically associated with teacher training and those assumptions that are technology-driven.

7:00 How does continuing education for coaches affect the culture?

You can create micro-cultures within your gym. Solace New York is a great example of a gym who does this well. They have a barre class, yoga, functional fitness, a Starting Strength program, gymnastics, and so much more. It allows them the opportunity to share other ways of fitness with the same community flavor that’s uniquely their gym’s. Boxes are great at giving people a place to belong which is why they all seem to say that their community makes them succeed. But the “community aspect” will only take you so far. There are so many other awesome ways to get fit and the more diversity you can bring to your community (within reason) the better so they can enjoy changing things up once in a while without having to leave your gym.

Functional fitness doesn’t have to be exactly what HQ says it is. You can add any piece of equipment into a workout and call it a WOD. With that in mind, you can start to expand your offerings slowly with a new piece of equipment here and there and really refine what your gym is known for.

There are some gym owners that are old school. And that’s great for the right type of gym. Then there are the gym owners who may just have their blinders on – not noticing that there are all of these other interesting things you can incorporate into your programming. The gyms that are truly known for their programming and culture and the ones that are asking themselves, “What’s new? What’s interesting?” They are always learning and are taking apart things they’ve learned and make it work for them.

As you meld all of these different certifications, styles of training, and modalities together, that’s when you create your own brand of fitness which is a true differentiator.


Fitness certificationsImage Credit: Fitness Break Room

15:00 Differentiating your fitness education elevates your perspective

With so many ways to do fitness coming together to create really interesting mashups of fitness styles, it would be good practice to offer differing perspectives that aren’t exactly of the L1 flavor. From a business standpoint, it’s not a great approach to just specialize in one thing. i.e. just having an L1. It pigeonhole you into being just another box which is a problem in a space where there can be several gyms on the same block.

Bringing a non dogmatic approach to how people can get strong, lose body fat, and have fun doing it is a great way to widen their horizons and elevate their careers.


Fitness certificationsImage Credit: Fitness Break Room

21:00 Happy coach, Happy Life.

If you’re thinking about sending your coaches to a fitness certification – first off, great job. An appreciated and challenged coach means they’re a happy and fulfilled coach. Sam suggests that you should also request that as a part of the deal, they come back to teach what they’ve learned to the rest of your staff. This is a dynamic way to keep your team energized and also improve the service and product.

Also knowing that they’re going to have to re-teach what they learned to a group of their peers also means they pay extra attention to the nuances they may not have picked up when they were planning on just learning for themselves. As they execute the lesson back to your staff you’re developing a coach to be a leader, a better speaker, empowering them to be better than they were.


Fitness certificationsImage Credit: Fitness Break Room

32:00 what sets apart ordinary gyms from extraordinary gyms?

What are some other ways gyms around the country are standing out as remarkable?

The number one thing Sam sees in all of the top gyms and training facilities he’s visited is an attitude of servitude and community. “They’re opening their arms. They’re welcoming me, not because of who I am and what I do in the industry. They do it because that’s what they do every single time.” It shows you what the owners’ character is like. And when the leader’s character is well developed, the entire experience tends to be great.

It’s this constant pursuit of excellence and knowing that if they ever stop learning, they’re regressing.


 Fitness certifications

Image Credit: Fitness Break Room

About Sam Pogue

Sam Pogue is the co-founder of Fitness Break Room, an online fitness community that specializes in telling the stories and strategies of some of the industry’s most successful players. Sam specializes in helping fitness trainers and fitness professional pivot into the industry.

He is also the Director of Communications and Senior Coach for the Onnit Academy Education Team. He spent the last nine years in the fitness industry as a membership councilor, personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and fitness educator. Originally from Portland, Oregon, he was in search of personal development, which led him to his current HQ of Austin, Texas.

Sam Pogue was tired of seeing countless internet marketers lying to aspiring trainers chasing their dream and convincing them this industry is easy to make hundreds of thousands of dollars write workout programs online or generate new leads for your in person training business.

Sam helps people not only get into the fitness industry and chase their passion but helps provide realistic expectations and strategies to help build a successful career.

He believes that “Fitness is about community” and that we should give back to those who are starting out. We all have a mentor or someone that helped us out along the way. And while the fitness industry is very rewarding, it’s also filled with challenges. He believes that by bringing the fitness community together, we can help the industry thrive. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

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Jessica Depatie About the author

Jessica is the marketing maven here at Gymwright. She's a business consultant and holistic marketer for fitness businesses. She specializes in the decision-making psychology of what makes everyday people want to optimize themselves. She dives deep into how people seek out growth in the pursuit of living happier and healthier.

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