Thursday, April 22, 2010

Changing the way fitness is done. Period.

This past week our manager of Results Fitness, Cameron Hedges (who is a rock star by the way) sent out a team email to our team at the gym and at the end he said- "We are changing the way fitness is done. Period." I loved this and have been using it ever since because that is truly what we are passionate about is changing the way fitness is done and encouraging more people to get "hooked" on fitness the way it is done and should be done now.

The first person to start to shake this industry up and tell people- "Aerobics Classes are Dead!" "Machines are no more!" "Personal Trainers as you know them are done!" "This industry is changing!" was Thomas Plummer.

It was over ten years ago and Alwyn and I had just opened our doors of what was then called Cosgrove Fitness and Sports Training Systems, now known as Results Fitness. We were the trainers who had gone to every certification, had every training book, had every letter we could get after our name and were not happy with the industry we were in. The gyms we worked at had very poor standards for their trainers and for their business as a whole. We did not see a long term career for ourselves working at any of the gyms we were at and had to figure something else out. What did we do?

Opened a Business! We had no idea what we were doing, no idea how to run a business, not a clue on what profit and loss was, or what it meant when our clients would ask us- "Are you in the black?" All we knew is that we could get people in shape and we hoped that was enough. But 6 months in to it with our first two employees working for us we had no money, were working insane hours and our employees were living the life, buying new cars while we could not even take a day off for a vacation and scrounged every month to pay the bills. Up to our ears in personal credit card debt, owned an old used Dodge that we shared, lived in an apartment that was a half hour away where the rent was less expensive(and in a neighborhood that we got broken in to and robbed 7 months after opening our business). We were feeling like there was no way out and knew this was not the long term plan for our life.

We went looking for an answer- We had heard of Thomas Plummer and had one of his books and saw he was having a seminar coming up. Could we afford to go? Could we take the time off? ....Looking back, we could not afford not to go. I went by myself because at the time we couldn't afford for both of us to go and take time off because someone had to keep the gym open and train clients.

At the time Thomas Plummer HATED trainers. He told a great story about a trainer who holds a stick while he trains his clients and Thom saw him hang his client upside down doing bicep curls yelling "Squeeze!" and Thom ended up getting in an all out brawl with the guy. This story was hilarious (especially Thom telling it) and very typical of what was out there in our industry and exactly why Alwyn and I decided to open our own gym because we did not want to be on the same team with the guy hanging his clients upside down yelling "Squeeze!" But we also did not want to be a slave to our business for the rest of our life.

I was the trainer in the front row of Thom's seminar who as Thom says, by the end of his seminar had my arms folded across my chest because "WE ARE DIFFERENT..."  Thomas Plummer has a way of inspiring you and pulling out the best in you, a true coach with an innate ability to get your wheels turning of what is possible. Leaving this very first seminar was life changing in so many ways. Although most of his advice was for big membership based gyms, I took what he taught and applied it to our small 1000 square foot personal training gym at the time. I had many Aha's and a list of action steps we could take leaving the seminar. I came home and stayed up all night writing our first employee manuals, figuring out our numbers, working on our marketing plan, coming up with our systems and for the first time working ON our business, not IN our business. Thom had introduced us to the concept of having an "Exit Strategy" which has ever since been built in to everything we do.

I discussed with Alwyn having a system of him writing all of the programs and that our trainers would do the programs he wrote with our clients. Alwyn looked at me like I was nuts and couldn't believe how this seminar had driven me to get as much done that week on our business as I did. And he couldn't help but get hooked into the contagious drive Thomas Plummer had ignited to work on our business and make it work. Both of us went to work applying what I had learned.

We became Thomas Plummer followers. Whatever Thom told us to do we did it. We took his advice, didn't question it, just did it, applied it to our small gym and made it work. We attended his seminars, his advanced seminars, read his books over and over again and went from being trainers to owning a business. That first seminar with Thomas Plummer was a turning point for us in our business and our life.

Thom is not afraid to say it like it is and make you think. We always appreciate that no matter how much we implement and get done, Thom always has something else to pull us just an inch further to be even better. He has been our coach throughout the ten years we have been in business and has pulled the best out of us and our business and continues to do that.

We are celebrating ten years since we opened the doors of Results Fitness next month having just closed our most successful quarter ever.  That first seminar with Thomas Plummer and every seminar, conversation, phone call, email, article of his, and book since has changed our mindset and our direction forever. He got us hooked into business and hooked into studying and reading business books, studying other companies like Starbucks, Zappos, and Virgin Atlantic opening our minds to what we could learn.

We were no longer just trainers, we are now business owners, thinking like business owners, reading business books and studying other businesses and our turning point was meeting Thomas Plummer 10 years ago. It is amazing looking back because now 10 years later we have come full circle and have trainers who are in the same position we were in 10 years ago asking us for business advice because we have been able to set up a gym that runs on systems, generates a profit and is not dependent on us. We have found a new passion in studying and applying business concepts to the fitness industry, coaching other fitness professionals and changing the way fitness is done all because of that first turning point of meeting Thomas Plummer.

So naturally when Thom's newest book came out, Where did that member go? We had to get a copy and I have to say of all the books he has written this book sums everything up and really is THE source every gym owner should have and should buy for every one of your staff. I have purchased one for every team member on our staff and it will be our training manual for our staff trainings the next few months.

Thom has always taught us that member service is what makes us different and that we need to really use that and be the best at having legendary customer service. We always thought our clients came to us for our scientific training programs and our cutting edge fitness philosophies - but Thom taught us that our clients come to us for the experience and our legendary customer service. We embraced the mission statement Thom gave us - We Are The Best Part of Our Member's Day Everyday! And our entire team yells this as a team cheer on a regular basis and lives by this mission statement. Thom encouraged us to focus on the customer service aspect of what we do and the experience we create for our customers and it has led to a busier and busier gym, with more people absolutely "Wow'ed" by our customer service. Just last week one of our newest members asked one of our front desk team(we call them the "We Got Your Back Team") how all of us remember everyone's name and if we had a trick. She was amazed that everyone on our team remembered every single member's name and that we actually don't have a trick. The key is that we really do care about our members and focus on getting to know them, who they are, what they are about and providing customer service like they have never experienced. Our gym truly becomes their home and we welcome them to it everyday as our "guest." Thanks to Thomas Plummer and his concepts of treating your members like your guest and the mission statement - We are the best part of our member's day everyday!

We will continue to nurture the environment we create for our members by training our staff and living by one of our core values which is constant learning and never ending improvement. Our text book will be Thomas Plummer's new book-

Our goal at Results Fitness is to "Change the way fitness is done. Period." and thanks to the advice, ongoing support, books, seminars and ideas from Thomas Plummer we are able to take on that as our mission helping our clients, helping other trainers and living the life we want to live. If you are a trainer, a gym owner, or work in a gym or are thinking about working in the fitness industry or you have a trainer you can get it for do yourself a favor and buy the above book and learn the concepts Thom teaches and apply them and join in the movement to change the way fitness is done.