On demand fitness classes, bikes and mirrors at home and other reasons fitness professionals have to fight to survive.
Starting a career as a fitness professional or personal trainer in today’s market must be crazy. To think that you are beginning a life in an industry which is trying its best to be commoditized in every way possible is daunting.(we will touch on this more in the next section)
As a personal trainer, strength coach, studio owner etc. how do you challenge the competition today? Do you know who you are competing against and the resources they have at their disposal? And do you understand that you are willingly putting yourself into a situation to lose?
Let’s look at the numbers and explore a bit:
- The wellness industry is a 4.2 trillion dollar space.
- Digital health closed roughly 14 billion dollars in VC funding in 2018 — this would be your Classpass, Strava and Mirror of the world.
- Gympass alone raised over 300m from Softbank over the past year, with a valuation of over 1 billion dollars.
- Aaptiv a leader in audio-guided fitness classes has over 200,000 paying members.
- Peloton is about to IPO
- Name-brand studios including Rumble, Fhitting Room, Physique57, and Pure Barre all now offer on demand streaming options.
Investors are realizing that there is a great opportunity to tap into the fitness category, because consumers are spending a lot of money on these services, along with associated products, such as apparel and adjacent services such as nutrition.
And barring any major economic downturn, it doesn’t look to be slowing down.
Okay, okay, but how did I put myself in this situation?
In business, commoditization is defined as the process by which goods that have economic value and are distinguishable in terms of attributes (uniqueness or brand) end up becoming simple commodities in the eyes of the market or consumers.
In laymen’s terms, when an industry is commoditized, the consumer and the market set the value of the commodity, regardless of brand differentiation.
‘In the long run, everything is a toaster.’ — Warren Buffet
Now, let me ask you; when all your classes or memberships are being sold as “credits” or packaged into a “all in one” membership by 3rd party vendors, will the market perceive your product any different than the rest?
And will all that knowledge go to waste? 💁♂️
That advanced degree be useless? 🎓
That bespoke assessment with corrective applications have any value? 🏋️♂️
Or the fact that you deeply care about your clients really matter? ❤️
Will you just be a toaster? 🥯
I understand that the intention was always positive growth, and that we planned to help more people by acquiring more clients and opening more studios.
We wanted to GROW BIGGER.
But by focusing on growing bigger, did we lose our businesses during the process?
Did we willingly sign up to be turn our livelihood into a commodity?
We need to GROW BETTER.
We need to stop focusing on how fast we can scale to twenty studios.
And start focusing on how we as fitness professionals can work together to make every single person healthier.
We need to wrap our minds around the idea that we are much more of a preventable health coach than a personal trainer or class instructor. And that a mirror on the wall or bike at home can never duplicate what we can do as fitness professionals.
We have value.
We can help a lot of people.
But we have to understand that we are making decisions everyday to reduces this value in our industry.