Create Raving Fans with 1 Step!

You need testimonials and lots of them for marketing initiatives and to promote your business throughout your community and online. But what if you don’t have a lot of documented testimonials and success stories?

Here’s an easy way to get a ton of really amazing testimonials.

Host a Before/After Success Contest.

Promote the contest for about 6 weeks to your clients before you launch so you get people really excited. Make it simple, low maintenance, and make it FREE to enroll in order to ensure you get lots of participation. Have clients take a before photo. Then have them follow your program for 6 weeks. Then have them do an after photo. Create a list of questions you will have each participant complete. For example, ask them to record their training program, their results, and why they love training with you. You could have a prize of say 5-10 sessions for the individual chosen as the best success story. Be sure that everyone understands and signs off that you will be using their photos and success stories in your promotional initiatives.

Voila – you’ll now have a ton of really amazing success stories to use as needed. You can schedule a challenge like this once a quarter so you always have fresh new faces and happy fans who will rave about your services! Plus clients love the extra boost of motivation to help them achieve incredible results.

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan

A tip to help you hone your skills as a Fitness Pro

Hey Fitness Pros,

This month in our business we perform On-floor reviews on our team. It’s such a helpful tool to ensuring we’re constantly growing and developing as fitness pros. So if you manage a group of fitness pros I would suggest you adopt this system into your business. Perhaps try it once a quarter. If you are a solo fitness pro, I would suggest you have a friend or colleague evaluate you based on some pre-determined criteria.

Here are some of the things we look for when evaluating our Personal Trainers to help give you some ideas.

*Arrives early and prepared for session
*Appropriate attire, hygiene and speech
*Gives a warm greeting to client
*Checks with client on the status of their workouts/fitness routine
*Has client sign in for session
*Finishes session on time
*Teaches exercises using an appropriate style (explain, demonstrate, client practices, quizzing)
*Session is dynamic and interactive
*Offers regular and appropriate eye contact
*Body language demonstrates focus and attention on client / Hands-on spotting
*Offers regular positive feedback and regularly looks for and acknowledges client success
*Uses client’s name
*Offers at least one new exercise, a new fitness fact, or provides written literature for client
*Spends the last few minutes of session stretching/nurturing
*Announces upcoming events/seminars and Encourages Participation
*Gives something for client to work on until next session
*Client exercising at correct training level
*Client demonstrates full control and excellent technique during session
*Exercise choices are safe and exercise sequence effective – Displays an exceptional knowledge of anatomy / biomechanics of movement / equipment usage / modifications
*Method of tracking client progress is professional and effective. I could cover your client and based on the current file, would have no problem knowing exactly what to do with them and how to train them safely and effectively.

We also discuss strengths and areas to focus on to help them hone their skills.

I hope this helps you take your skills to world-class levels – my guess is that most of you are already there since you’re reading this blog 😉

xo

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan

What are you doing this weekend for YOU?!

Hey Fitness Pros,

TGIF! I have a question for you. What are you going to do this weekend to give back to YOU!

In our industry we give and give and give. We have to be positive and upbeat at all times. And at the end of the week it can be exhausting. The burn out rate in our industry is high so you have to figure out what it’s going to take to keep you fresh and excited for what you do. For some trainers, all they have to do is take a short holiday once every 3-4 months to just rejuvenate. Others make sure their schedule is balanced so that they only say, work early mornings 3x/week and evenings 2x/week and they take the weekends off. Others refuse to work split days. Some trainers enjoy a massage once a week to help them relax. Others meditate or pray. Some stay excited by attending workshops or conferences. Figure out what it’s going to take for you and do it.

For me, I’m going to go for a short run on Saturday morning with the kids. Watch Brianna’s soccer game in the afternoon. And then take the kids to my friend’s house Adrienne for dinner and some great friendship time. Sunday I’ve got a 12 mile run planned with my girlfriend Toni. Then soccer game with the kids. A massage to help recover from the run and then some downtime in the evening. Notice – there’s no work scheduled. Yahoo. Just a nice mix of exercise, time with the kids, time for myself and time for friends. Now it doesn’t always happen that way on weekends but I definitely try to find balance in my days and weeks.

Take a moment to think of the things you need to do to avoid burnout and then this weekend, try to do at least one of them.

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan

It’s time to close out the month…

Hey Fitness Pros.

It’s October 1st. If you’re like me, you’re wondering where the heck did September go?

On the first of every month, a reminder pops up in my Outlook to perform a variety of month-end tasks to close out the prior month. This is so helpful for me to keep the pulse on our business. So whether you’re a solo fitness pro or you manage a number of other fitness pros, it’s a good idea to assess how you did last month. It’s the best way to determine what works and what doesn’t.

Here are some of the things that you might want to measure and review:

*# of initial client sessions & # who purchased – then calculate closing %
*# of clients who renewed – therefore retention ratio
*# of clients who canceled
*# of phone call/web inquiries – calculate closing % to appointments scheduled
*Where are all your new clients coming from (phone, ads, facebook, google etc)
*# of outgoing motivational and sales phone calls
*# of referrals asked or gift certificates given out
*# of cross promotions and business alliances developed
*Revenues generated (total and for each department)
*Expenses
*Profit and cash flow
*Class participation numbers

Hope this helps you analyze your business and create a plan to success beyond your wildest dreams.

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMiillan

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Start planning now for Winter Sports programs – help your clients and cushion the bottom line.

I know you probably don’t want to hear this (unless you’re a winter sports buff) but winter is on the way. So it’s time to start planning for any Ski Conditioning or Winter Sports Conditioning programs/clinics that you are going to host.

Here’s some tips to designing a private or group program for any Winter sport. If you manage a group of trainers, forward this to them to file and use as a template for all future program design.

You don’t need to be an expert at a sport to train someone to excel in that sport. You just need to understand physiology, anatomy and ask a lot of the right questions. Here’s a system for designing a Winter Sports Conditioning program for any type of activity:

1. Define the goals of the client – how you train a recreational versus highly competitive athlete will be very different. Your expectations will be different as well as the types of movements you incorporate. Obviously a client who wants to be able to ski the greens without getting exhausted by the end of the day will require a different approach than one who wants to aggressively ski the diamonds, moguls and jumps.

2. Define the commitment of the client – Find out how long, how frequent and how hard your client wants to train before designing the program. Adherence will falter greatly if your expectations fall outside of what the client is willing or able to do.

3. Define the demands of the sport/activity – avoid the “one size fits all” approach – See more info below.

4. Identify strengths and weakness of the client related to the demands of the sport – This is where the ‘personal’ in Personal Training comes in. Customize your program based on the client and any imbalances that you assess.

5. Design a program to increase muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular fitness, agility, power, balance and flexibility – avoid overemphasizing one area when another area may be more important. Most athletes will benefit from addressing all fitness components with a primary focus on those specific to that sport.

6. Avoid overstepping your boundaries! Avoid exactly mimicking a certain sport movement with a heavy resistance which can be detrimental to performance and cause injury. Work in combination with the coach if possible.

Let’s review a system for easily defining the demands of the sport/activity.


Step One:
Start by determining the predominant metabolic energy system and CV needs. Does the sport utilize primarily the Creatine Phosphate, Anaerobic glycolysis, Aerobic glycolysis, or Fatty acid oxidation or a strong combination of all systems. Ask yourself questions such as for how long will my client have to perform at any given time – is it seconds, minutes, hours? Are there Intervals, Periods, Shifts or a consistent energy output? This will determine how you design the cardio program and any intervals you incorporate into the training program. If the sport requires intense bursts of activity lasting about 45 seconds, guess what you’ll be doing in the training program?!

Step Two: Analyze the lower body, upper body and torso movement patterns and determine the specific muscular strength and endurance requirements. For example, does the sport require Skating, Jumping (one or two legs), hopping (one or two legs), Squatting, lunging, rotating/swinging, pushing, pulling…Watch the body during the activity to determine where your focus will be. That said, most athletes are going to benefit from a full body program and a strong core.

Step Three: Analyze the object to be moved. Will the athlete be on a board, skis or sled? Will be they be required to push against an opponent? Addressing some of these demands will be very important in the program.

Step Four: Determine movement patterns, agility, speed and power needs. A sport that requires an athlete to move straight ahead from point A to Z as quickly as possible will require a different approach than an activity that has the athlete moving quickly side to side, backwards and forwards.

Step Five: Determine balance needs. Most winter sports incorporate a high level of balance – some more than others and some just in different ways that others. For example, how you train a figure skater will be different than how you train a bob-sledder. There are differences even within a certain type of sport. For example, the balance requirements for a solo skater are different than a pairs or speed skater. Or you’ll train a freestyle boarder different than a boadercross, alpine or slalom boarder.

Step Six: Determine flexibility needs. Clearly a figure skater will require a higher level of flexibility than a cross country skier.

Step Seven: Determine areas that hold a high risk for injury and associated strategies for minimizing risk. Find out how athletes in the specific sport usually get injured and program to accommodate that to lessen the risk.

Step Eight: Determine which exercises, tools and drills will address each need – be sure to assess your clients’ strengths and weaknesses. This is the fun part!

Here’s how we might approach a Ski Conditioning program:

• Energy system: Anaerobic Glycolysis/Aerobic Glycolysis
• Lower Body tucks and squats, Lateral weight transfer, torso stabilization and rotation, quiet upper body
• Moving the body on skis
• Requires linear and lateral movement strength, agility, speed and power
• Requires high level of dynamic balance
• Flexibility requirements low for performance (high for reduced risk of injury)
• Risk areas – knee, back
– Requires Hamstring/Gluteal strength, Core stabilization and flexibility
• Exercises/Tools/Drills
– Balancing on a ProFitter/Wobble Board, BOSU Trainer using two/one legged dynamic/static positions, Slide training, Squats, leg presses, lunges, plyometric leg training, Rotational throws with a medicine ball, rotation/pushing with exercise tubes, agility training through cones, one or two leg jump training, AT/sprint training, stepping while holding a full glass of water

Putting it all together. Here is what a workout template might look like for this type of athlete.

• Warm-up
• Compound lower body exercise
• Compound upper body exercise
• Compound full-body movement
• Upright torso movement
• Agility/speed/power drill
• Balance drill
• Repeat 6-10x with different exercises
• Cool-down and stretch

Here is a list of useful training tools for Winter Sports Conditioning:
• Cones/funnels
• Rope/tubes
• Coloured tape for agility marking
• Steps
• Wobble boards/Extreme Balance boards/Bongo boards/BOSU Trainers
• Foam Rollers
• Medicine balls/Stability Balls
• Profitter/Slide
• Stairs
• 2 x 4 balance board

Here is a list of effective agility drills for Winter Sports Conditioning:
• Stop/Go drill
• Right/Left/Backwards/Forwards drill
• Square drill – shuffle, sprint forwards, shuffle, sprint backwards 10xR/L
• Figure 8 running
• Carioca drills
• Good ole “Suicides”
• Lateral side to side drills
• Shuffling drills – add medicine ball
• Reaction Time catching
• Step drills
• Hurdling over Steps – one leg/two legs
• Jumping over the step – one leg/two legs/on the spot/moving
• Fast out and in
• Fast tap ups
• Over the step (1/2/3 fast)
• Ski jumps onto step – on the spot/moving forward
• T-Tape/Tube drills – one leg/two legs, out/in, jumping one leg/two legs
• Cone drills
• Bouncing balls in/out cones
• Jumping over followed by sprint
• Agility ladder drills

Here is a list of effective power drills for Winter Sports Conditioning:
• Vertical jumps
• Bounding
• Step Power lunges – forwards/backwards + adding lateral movement
• Power jumps up/down onto step
• Knee tucks
• Broad jumps
• Exercuff tube drills
– side to side steps
– side to side jumps
– hip extension
– knee lifts
• Treadmill running against tubed resistance
• Partner Resisted Runs/Pulls

Here is a list of sample balance drills for Winter Sports Conditioning:

• One leg drills – eyes open/closed/bouncing a ball/catching a ball
• BOSU Trainer / Wobble board drills – 2 feet/1 foot/performing exercises
• Extreme board drills – squats catching ball
• Bongo board drills
• Profitter drills – add medicine ball
• 2 x 4 drills
• Balance drills are effective as warm-up, cool-down or recovery exercises

Sample Torso Exercises for Winter Sports Conditioning:
• Throwing drills with medicine ball – forwards/overheads (single/double)/sideways
• Torso rotation with tubes/med balls
• Table top/Plank variations
• Tripod/Dipod variations
• Push-ups on medicine ball/wobble board
• Full sits with medicine ball
• V-sits with medicine ball with rotation
• BOSU/Stability ball torso exercises

I hope this provides you a system for being able to help any type of winter athlete.

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan

A couple Fall programming ideas…

Hey Fitness Pros,

It’s almost the end of the month! Where did September go?

Anyways, fall is upon us and it’s such a good time to start planning for some of the upcoming fall holidays.

Let’s start with Halloween. Perhaps you could schedule a special Costume Class. Ask everyone to dress as their favorite athlete or fitness instructor. Or perhaps, you could plan a special Client Costume Dance Party.

Then Thanksgiving is shortly after (or before if you’re Canadian). Perhaps organize an Exercise-a-thon, maybe a 3 hour fitness sampler including 10-15 minutes of dance, kickboxing, step, bootcamp, core conditioning, yoga, pilates and more. Everyone brings clothing and food to donate to a local shelter. It’s super easy to organize, a ton of fun, a great workout and such a great way to give back to the community together!

Hope this gives you some ideas. But don’t wait to finalize the plans. In order for your ideas to be an overwhelming success, start the planning process now.

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan

Set the Plan on Mondays

Hey Fitness Pros.

It’s Monday – the start of a new week. It’s a great opportunity to inspire those who you influence.

So if you manage a group of trainers or instructors, send out a Marvelous Monday Morning Memo (MMMM). Direct them towards the focus of the week. Provide some praise and thanks to your team. Be sure they have all the information they need to perform at their best. Set the intention for the week. Remember, you are the head cheerleader, the leader from where all inspiration trickles down from.

If you a trainer or group fitness instructor, then you manage a group of clients and participants. Do the same for them. Send out an inspirational email, text or facebook post. Help to provide focus and intention for the week.

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan

Leadership – What’s more important, Skill or Character?

Hey Fitness Pros,

At the recent IDEA conference, I worked with a group of Fitness Directors and we discussed the Top 10 most important traits for strong leadership.

Check out this clip that provides you insight into what I believe is the #1 Quality of Strong Leadership.

If you can’t view the videoclip above, here is the direct link on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8Z90kjXALc

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan

Secret Shop your Business to create an incredible and consistent experience for your clients!

I worked at McDonalds for 5 years. I know, I know… that’s a story for a different blog! Anyways, when I worked there we would get Secret Shopped all the time and of course, you always wanted to get a high score. So you ended up just practicing the correct protocol all the time because you just never knew whether you were being shopped or not. So you became very good at always greeting with “Hi, may I take you order please” and always asking “Would you like some fries with that?” and finishing with “Thank you and have a great day!” We always knew we had to keep busy because “if there was time to lean, there was time to clean!” All large corporations utilize Secret Shops because they know it works to help create the kind of wonderful and consistent experience for their customers.

At Northwest Personal Training and Northwest Women’s Fitness Club, we also use a Secret Client Evaluation process which evaluates our team on whether we are delivering the type of service that we all envision. By keeping it ‘secret’, it ensures that our team doesn’t just shine when they know they are being evaluated but instead, they follow protocol and procedures all the time because they just never know when they are being evaluated. But it’s important to note that our team does know they are getting evaluated, they just don’t know when. Plus we give them the check-list of what they will be evaluated on so there are no surprises and the expectations are very clear.

We have a Secret Evaluation process for all important aspects of our business including an evaluation for the Initial Complimentary Training session, Initial Phone Call, Initial Tour, Ongoing Training appointments, Group Fitness classes and more. We have created a check-list of everything that should happen in each of these scenarios as the ideal vision for the client experience.

When we assign a ‘client’ to perform these evaluations, we have used:
• Actual Clients
• Friends
• Prospective Clients
• Business Associates

We provide them with a Free Personal Training session ($70 value) as a gift to them for taking the time to go through the process and to complete the evaluation form.

At Northwest Personal Training, we strive for world-class consistency and excellence in everything we do and have found this program to be invaluable for us. We hope it helps you too.

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan

ps. If you don’t want to have to spend the time to create your own evaluations and check-lists, we sell the license to utilize our systems. It will definitely save you a lot of time and be ready to implement immediately. If you’re interested, you can email our Fitness Education Director Kari Schunk at kari@nwpersonaltraining.com

Watch this Video Clip on how to Stretch out your Clients.

Hey Fitness Pros,

I’ve written in the past about the importance of spending at least 5-10 minutes at the end of every training session stretching out a client and/or utilizing tools such as stretching sticks or balls to provide a muscle rub-down. There is a reason why we make this a mandatory component of all of our training sessions at Northwest Personal Training – we know the clients love it and that is good for business!

So hopefully, you all understand the importance of this type of customer service initiative. Today, I’m going to give you some tips to take it to the next level.

Watch this Video Clip of my ‘Partner Stretching’ workshop at the recent CanFitPro conference in Toronto Canada. It will provide you an approach that will get your clients anxiously awaiting the last few minutes of their workouts with you!

If can’t open the video above, click on the following link:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXji9yWYMKA

Stretching out your clients is not only good for your clients but also, great for your business and overall client retention!

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan