How to market a fitness business in December and January

December is a tricky month for fitness entrepreneurs.

Even though as fitness professionals we know that by beginning an exercise program now, even if you’re eating all the delicious treats and having the occasional alcoholic beverages, that metabolically you’re far less likely to gain weight through the holidays.

Even though we know that, it’s a tough sell for our would be customer.

They are worried about paying for something they won’t use. They’re worried about the cost with so much additional expense coming through the holidays, and usually some time off work meaning small or missing paychecks.

And that’s my point, whether it’s December or January or any month of the year, and whether it’s a fitness business or something else you have to, as they say, condition yourself to, “walk a mile in their shoes.”

Always consider what your audience is feeling in that moment.

How can you make it easy for them to begin working out in December?

Truth is the only way is to mitigate the cost for them.

They will sporadically make time the best they can as long as they feel no anxiety about losing money or wasting money on services they haven’t used effectively.

After all isn’t that how you would feel?

Now I’m not talking about your existing, well-conditioned clients with committed and good habits, but new prospects in the month of December.

I would suggest in December you use a long trial promotion (like a 30 day trial) for your most aggressive price point, one that makes it feel as though they are getting the month almost for nothing.

In fact it can be creative and work well to run a “2 Months for the price of one” to lock them in for January too.

Many people will logically see, that they may work out a little in December, and now they’re all set for their New Year’s Resolution start and that they won’t need you after that (you and I know otherwise but we have to help them get started to see that.)

Early January is tricky for us in boutique and premium fitness, because the consumer still feels the financial constrains of the holidays, and even worse they’re governed by the “clean slate” mentality.

They are so inspired to workout on their own, and price sensitive that the inexpensive gym membership is much more appealing.

You know this to be true, as you’ve undoubtedly been faced with the “February Rush” of new clients that are frustrated and struggling. And the objection of, “well I don’t know if I can afford it because I just committed to this 2-year gym membership.”

So what do I suggest?

fitness marketing calendar

I just create a spreadsheet with the months and 4 weeks and begin to pencil in promotions in different mediums. Then goto work create all the needed resources in advance.

Here’s the action plan I’d recommend for marketing your fitness business through Christmas and into the New Year:

  • Extremely low cost trial or 2 for 1 special in December using PPC and small but steady daily budget.
  • Use a “Membership Giveaway” as a big budget optin through the holidays. Because of their price sensitive nature everyone would love to win and will trade an email, it’s a great chance to grow your list.
  • Run a New Year’s 6-week challenge. This is my favourite time to run a 6-week challenge as it fits the discounted, aggressive, start and stop mentality of the consumer and gives me the time to show them the value and need to stay.
  • Toward the end of January get your regular marketing calendar back on track and run a big budget short term trial to capitalize on the 91% of resolutioners that are now frustrated and looking for help.

Like any industry the fitness industry has ebbs and flows by the season, and coupled with unpredictable local and global economic factors those ebbs and flows will vary which is why you need a long-term plan. By having a set plan you can more effectively react when the plan doesn’t meet your expectation.

Wishing you the happiest of holiday seasons and much prosperity in the coming year.

Draw your line in the sand and don’t cross it!

Draw your line in the sand and don’t cross it!

What is the value of your time?

What is the value of your time?

What is your time worth? This is a very serious question and one you need to answer for yourself. What’s more I’d suggest you re-evaluate it about every six months; that is if you want to grow your fitness business as fast as possible. Let me explain.

No matter whether you’re just starting out or have been operating for years chances are your business began as one man (or woman) show. In the early days, and maybe still, you were doing everything. You were the head trainer, chief salesman, sanitation engineer, accounts receivable clerk, lead marketing consultant, web developer, and well you get the picture.

Do you ever notice how difficult it is to switch between two very different tasks? You wouldn’t be weird if you have. Not only that you likely notice there are tasks that are on your “to-do” list that somehow never seem to gravitate to the top of the list, in fact it’s like gravity keep sucking them down to the bottom. We all have tasks that we detest so much that we just consciously or subconsciously avoid them.

You probably have other fears like I had. Thoughts like, “why pay someone to paint the studio when I can do it this weekend?” It seems logical, and seems to make good financial sense, but does it really?

Let me ask you if you decided to play handyman in your business this coming weekend and spent 8-10 hours on both Saturday and Sunday at your business do you think you might be less enthusiastic for your first clients come early Monday morning? What if instead you had a fun weekend with your family, would that leave you more refreshed and excited to see your clients come Monday morning?

Sometimes by doing a variety of tasks saves us money in the short-term. But long-term these tasks can catch up to us in a variety of ways:

  • Straying from our primary tasks serves as a distraction making it hard to stay focused and become increasingly proficient at our main task. (ie: client results through continual research or business growth with a full-time focus to marketing and growth.)
  • It takes time to mentally and emotionally “shift gears” to different tasks, this leads to longer days, procrastination and burnout.
  • Cutting corners on “me time” or family time leads to resentment toward “work” which will quickly stunt your business growth.
  • Narrowing your task list allows you to become a “pro” quickly and accelerate your business growth. It only stands to reason if you spend 8 hours a day on 1-2 tasks as opposed to 5-10 you’re going to quickly get better at doing those 1-2 things.
Draw your line in the sand!

Draw your line in the sand!

Draw your line in the sand, what is your time worth? Now in this context this is a practical question, it might help to also think of it as “what can I afford to have others do?”

For instance if you have tasks like cleaning, filing, calling to confirm appointments, posting updates on your facebook fanpage, tweeting, or creating a new blog post on your website, these are all things you can hire someone else to do for likely minimum wage. Here in Alberta that’s about $10/hour, so I might start by saying my “line in the sand is $10/hour” any task I can hire someone else to do for $10/hour I should and will in an effort to keep me more focused on a narrower set of tasks.

You have to trust me on this, relief from these tasks will instantly pay for itself and as a result your more narrowly focused efforts will actually yield instant growth causing you to ask yourself again, “what is my line in the sand now?”

FEAR is Ruining Your Business, 9 Steps to Eradicate Fear!

FEAR is Ruining Your Business, 9 Steps to Eradicate Fear!

hwbtWhen I was walking into security at the airport the other day the security person seen my shirt (HARD WORK BEATS TALENT) and asked, “do you really believe that?”

I said, “100%”, she said, “how do you know?”

I said, “I’m living proof!”

My morning routine is I listen to motivational speeches/programs and there’s one thing that stands out, successful people are ones that keep working at it, and when that’s not enough they make a new plan and try harder.

I know this is hard to believe, as I didn’t for a long time.

There’s only one thing that ever holds you back from greater success.

Your FEAR.

You get in your own way.

Even today I responded to multiple emails from clients that stated: the economy is affecting my business, the videos and images I was using are attracting the wrong clients, the word boot camp gives people an impression to expect it cheaper.

We’re logical people, trust me, I’m the worst in this fashion.

And all of those things are logical “validations” for the simple truth, your fear is holding you back.

You’re afraid that you may not be that good at sales and need to reinvent yourself.

You’re afraid to ask for more because you’re not sure you’re worth it.

You’re afraid that they may be disappointed.

You’re afraid that the fancy new place down the street might actually be better than you.

Be honest with yourself, you’re afraid of many things, so am I.

It’s a battle every single day, and how you fare will be the real indication of what you achieve.

  1. Start each day off in the right mindset, do what makes you feel good. For me it’s motivational speakers, sometimes while I’m working out, other days it’s loud music, my favourite song or spending my first 15-30 min reading a book I love.
  2. Surround yourself with role models. It’s true about hanging around with people more successful than you, consciously or subconsciously you will begin to emulate them. (Heck I hung around with my mentor for years until he finally hired an immigration lawyer to import me to give me the reigns of a company to build an international brand.)
  3. Not your muscles, your vision, read big thinker books. I love reading about Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, and books like The Big Leap and Psycho Cybernetics.
  4. Set big goals then work backwards down to the simple daily step.
  5. Embrace simple math, with this and step 3 I’m convinced you can create plan for success no matter what.
  6. Review your goals and metrics regularly.
  7. End each day with the three most important things you will work on tomorrow.
  8. Realize that anyone you look up to really is no smarter than you, then you’ll realize just how awesome you are.
  9. Most importantly make someone else’s life better today, you can’t help but feel better about yourself.

You do these nine things and I promise you, you can’t fail!




Meet Brandon Schulmeister, my General Manager and Program Director at One-to-1 Fitness in Red Deer. Without him I could not do what I do. He’s grown from client, to trainer, to leader. I’m exceptionally proud of him and think his analogy on teamwork is one that can benefit us all as we strive to grow the productivity and efficiency of our organizations.

Take it away Brandon…

Brandon "on set" during production of the first episode of Changing Limits

Brandon “on set” during production of the first episode of Changing Limits

Like many of us, I grew up playing team sports.

I was always taught that in order for a team to be successful everyone had to put in a full effort.

We have all heard the slogan catchphrase of athletes when asked why their team won that night…

“We went out and gave 110%” said the media savvy athlete (for those of us Canadians that watch the best sport on earth 🙂 this is why they say hockey players aren’t smart…)

Over the past couple years my mentality of a team has come full circle. Yes hard work is key to success but that hard work needs to be placed in the appropriate areas or performed by the right people.

When you look at a hockey team it is composed of 3 forwards, 2 defensemen, and 1 goalie on the ice at a time.teamwork

The main job of the forwards is to create and maintain pressure in the offensive zone in order to create scoring opportunities and inadvertently stop the opposition from gaining that same pressure in their zone.

The defense will aid in the above but their main goals are comprised of mitigating the pressure created by the other team’s forwards. Whether that is from stopping them from entering their defensive zone or gaining possession of the puck to exit the defensive area.

And, lastly the goalie is there as the last line of defense. When the 5 players in front of them aren’t successful in their positions it is the goalies job to mitigate the risk accumulated.

But here is the problem.

When a forward is more worried about defense than keeping pressure in the offensive zone, will they create opportunities to score?

Furthermore, when a defensemen is more worried about scoring and decides to pinch in the offensive zone to assist the forwards, does this lead to more risk of the other team taking advantage of this player out of position?

This is obviously overly generalized but I wanted to paint a clear picture of how taking on other tasks or worrying about other players responsibilities can over extend us and take us away from what we are good at.

Which take us away from being more successful as a team.

A team is a sum of all of its parts. When each part is performing their top 2-3 tasks at a high level they are actually helping others succeed in their positions. But the second a forward gets overly concerned about what the defenseman is doing it pulls them away from their responsibilities and leads to more issues for the team to deal with.

When a personal trainer is getting their clients success, it will make the person in the marketing roles job that much easier. It will create less stress on the support team because of customer service related issues and create more time for them to worry about cleanliness of the facility and overall client experience.

If a personal trainer is more worried about cleanliness, financial obligations, creating a new promotion, etc. it takes time away from them doing what they do best.

For our American friends, the quarterback (in the bigger picture the whole offense) is one of the most important members of the defense.

The guy that doesn’t touch the field when the other team’s offense is working…

Stay with me for a second. If the quarterback can stay on the field for an extended period of time it will allow for the defense to rest. Then, when they are called upon, the likelihood of them perform at a higher level goes up. The quarterback will also help put points on the board so the defense doesn’t have as much stress when on the field. Again leading to optimal performance.

Moral of the story…

Place yourself in the areas that you are skilled in.

Place your employees in the areas that they excel in.

And, if everyone focuses on those 2-3 tasks… success will increase, stress will decrease, and everyone will have more time to do what they like/excel at, etc.

It is a win-win.

Now go out there and give a 110% (in what you do best!)


Brandon Schulmeister


After graduating from the University of Alberta with a BComm Degree, Brandon decided he didn’t just want to be a paper pusher and went after his dream of working in hockey. Although limited in skill on the ice he was able to use his role in Sales and Marketing of the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels to build a bigger and better fan base to create an infectious environment to help his team succeed. During this time his desire to help people lead him to a career change and a new challenge… Personal Training. A few years into the game he was able to combine his love of fitness and his business IQ by taking on the Sales and Marketing responsibilities at a premier personal training and boot camp facility and now manages a dozen other top fitness professionals. He has been invited to a number of fitness/wellness speaking engagements with organizations of all sizes in an effort to spread his message to a greater audience. With his unique business background and his love for fitness he wants to use his knowledge to reach many more fitness professionals in an effort to help even more people!