One of my biggest pet peeves…

Hey Fitness Pros,

Just returned from Spring Break in the Dominican Republic with my kids. I did another teaching vacation in exchange for free accommodations, food and drinks for myself, a guest and my 2 kids. It’s the best gig ever! World-class resort and I get to meet amazing people from all over the world!  Here’s the link again to apply to be one of their resort instructors.  You just have to ensure you’re fully certified and then you get to decide where and when you get to go on your next holiday!

Okay, so now on to one of my biggest pet peeves…

Read the rest of One of my biggest pet peeves…

Don’t make this mistake!

Hey Fitness Pros,

In the fitness industry, because people are investing in something that is intangible, they often suffer from buyer’s remorse after the purchase. They may have just invested $1,000 and their new trainer sends them away with nothing to show for it. It’s not like they can see the positive changes yet. So you have to do whatever you can to convince them that they’ve made the right decision. Start by affirming the client’s decision. For example:

“Sally, you should be so pleased with yourself. Most people just think about starting an exercise program their whole life and actually never do anything about it! You are going to be so pleased with the results!”

Next, be sure to send your clients away with a resource package that will help to quiet their concerns. Inside a folder include educational articles, testimonials and other promotional information. This will give them something to show for their investment. They can go home and look through all the material and maintain their excitement.

At Northwest Personal Training, we give all clients our NWPT Results Manual that includes excellent information on Cardio Training, Muscle Conditioning, Nutrition, Lifestyle coaching and more. It’s a great way to launch a new client’s program and ensure they have all the information they need to experience incredible results. It also demonstrates an extreme level of professionalism. We also use this manual for our Annual Spring Makeover challenge, Corporate Fitness challenges and more! Here’s a YouTube link explaining how and when we use our Results Manual.

The good news is you don’t have to invent your own manual. We offer the license to utilize our manual as your own and save you tons of time and energy! And if you purchase by the end of the month, you get $100 off. Just click on the link below and enter FRM20 at check out to get the discount.

I love making a trainer’s job easier. Trust me, you will use this manual in so many different ways and forever!

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan

More info on launching a $20,000 Six week Weight Loss challenge

Hey Fitness Pros,

I’ve had a lot of questions since our last post regarding launching a successful Weight Loss challenge.  Our program lasts 6 weeks and has generated $20,000 in that short period of time.

Read the rest of More info on launching a $20,000 Six week Weight Loss challenge

Launch a successful & profitable Spring program for your clients.

Hey Fitness Pros,

Spring arrives next week and I can’t wait!  I love this time of year when days are getting longer and summer is just around the corner!

Hike with Clients

Start a Hiking Club for clients

It’s also an exciting time for our business and we definitely take advantage of our clients’ renewed sense of energy and try to give them a ton of various programming options.  There is something available for everyone!

In the next month, we have the following programs starting:

  • Cycling Club
  • Walking Club
  • Running Clubs – 5km, 10km & Half Marathon
  • Triathlon Training club
  • Fat Loss program
  • Spring Makeover Challenge
  • Golf Conditioning program
  • Hiking club

Clients on a Cycling Adventure

It’s a fun time of year for everyone, trainers and myself included!  If you are interested in learning how we launch these programs, contact our Fitness Education Director, Kari Schunk at  Also, if you are part of Personal Training Master Mind group, you get access to all the fliers, training programs and more. Make life easier for yourself by using our templates.  Contact Kari and she will take great care of you!

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan

4 things to reach Million Dollar Personal Training success

Hey Fitness Pros,

There are a few things that I believe are critical to the success of any Personal Training business.

1.  Clients – Well, let’s state the obvious right?!  You need clients in order to be successful.  And of course, you want amazing, fun awesome clients.  So guess what?!  That’s exactly how you have to be to attract these type of people to your business.  Plus, you need a solid internal and external marketing plan that lets your community know who you are, what you do and entices them to come and try out your services. Our best way of attracting new clients into our business is word of mouth referrals, community outreach & business alliances and all of the events that we host.

2.  Incredible Personal Trainers – Another obvious need right?!  You need trainers on your team to grow a 7-figure Personal Training business.  And of course, you want amazing, fun, awesome trainers. So guess what?!  That’s exactly how you have to be to attract these types of people into your business!  Are you sensing a theme here yet?! The key to success in any part of your life is to surround yourself with amazing people!  And once you have them on your team, take care of them!  Remember this, how your treat your team is how they will treat your clients!

3. Strong Business Skills – If you don’t think you’re running a business, you’re probably not!  Get it?!  You have to understand how to market and promote, sell, track revenues and profits, control expenses, maintain efficient and effective administrative systems and maintain a clean and functional facility.

4.  Have fun! We work so hard to ensure our fitness and training environment is fun.  We fully understand that for most people, exercise is a chore so whatever we can do to mix things up and keep things light and fun is going to help a ton!  If you can get clients smiling that goes a long way towards client loyalty and retention.  Every month we’ve got a ton of stuff going on at the studio…whether it’s specialty holiday classes, a crazy cool event or just everyday initiatives, we strive to ensure our clients are working out regularly, achieving fabulous results and laughing a ton along the journey! Here’s some photos from an event we just hosted this weekend!  What a blast!

Crazy for March Muddy Madness

Crazy costumes at March Muddy Madness

Wall climb

Putting functional fitness to use

Flipping Tires has never been so fun

Flipping Tires in the mud has never been so fun!

Boys will be boys!

Boys will be boys! Clients bring their kids and it becomes a family event!

Mud crawl

We make it a family event


Do you like the finisher's medal. We also gave out socks and gloves with our logo on them too!

Read the rest of 4 things to reach Million Dollar Personal Training success

Launch a wildly successful Weight Loss Challenge

Hey Fitness Pros,

Spring is on the way and people start thinking about getting in great shape for summer.  The days are getting longer and people have a renewed sense of energy! So it’s the perfect opportunity to launch a “Spring Makeover Challenge” or a “Biggest Loser” competition.

Our Spring Makeover Challenge is one of our most successful programs of the whole year.  We generate $15,000-$20,000 directly from this one 6 week program.

Here’s some details from our program:

  • People register in advance for a variety of different program options based on their needs. For example, some people just want the friendly competition and that is enough to motivate them to do what they need to do so they pay only $47 to enroll.  Others want more private instruction and will enroll in the program that includes personal training two times per week for $997.
  • People sign up to various trainer’s teams.  Each trainer is responsible for recruiting team members up to a maximum of 15 people per team. Teams compete against each other and trainers get bragging rights if their teams win.
  • We schedule a launch date.  This year our program launches on Wednesday April 13th. At this meeting, we do a review of the program expectations including workouts and nutrition and then each team meets with their trainer. Our programs are typically 6 weeks long.
  • We do baseline measurements the first week, weekly weigh-ins are completed and then final measurements are done.  Team progress is reported weekly so teams can see how they are doing.
  • We host a big party at the end of the program where winning teams are announced.  Results are calculated based on team with greatest % weight loss.  (Total Team Weight Loss / Total Team Starting Weight)
  • Each participant receives a gift.  Past years we have given t-shirts or gym-bags.
  • Each participant also receives our ‘Fitness Results Manual’.  This is the resource that we use to guide each participant throughout the program.  It has all the information they need to ensure success and document their progress including logs.  We actually sell the license to utilize this manual for all your programs.  It will be the most valuable resource you use in your business and will save you tons of time and money trying to create your own.  You can email and she can provide you with more details or click on this link to order I have set up a discount of 20% off the cost of this manual for all my blogging buddies.  Use Promo Code  FRM20.
  • We promote this program on our website, in our enewsletters and on Facebook.  We also post fliers at our studio and throughout our community.  Each program attracts approximately 200 participants so it’s well worth your time. In addition, many non-clients participate in the program, get introduced to our studio and how cool our trainers are and then become regular clients so it’s a fabulous marketing initiative also!

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan

The #1 Problem in the Fitness Industry

Hey Fitness Pros,

I just returned from the IDEA Personal Training summit in Washington DC.  It was a fabulous event and the attendees were awesome!

I was fortunate enough to attend TRX Education Director Fraser Quelch’s session “Changing the Game”.  The content is one that all Fitness Pros need to be aware of and take action on immediately!

The basic concept of the session was that the fitness industry is seriously broken. Consider these stats…

  • Only 17% of our entire population owns a gym membership
  • Of that 17%, only 10% of these gym members, actually use their membership once per week or more

So what that means is that we are positively impacting only 2% of our entire population.  Ouch!  That’s not a lot and definitely not enough.  Obesity levels continue to rise.  Health issues are out of control. And we can’t figure out how to motivate people to participate in our services so that we can actually help them!

Fortunately, Mr. Quelch didn’t leave us completely hopeless. He believes the biggest solution to our problem is that we have to make exercise enjoyable. We’ve got to bring the play and the fun factor into our programs.

Making Exercise Fun

Having fun with Duck, Duck Goose

Read the rest of The #1 Problem in the Fitness Industry

Fitness Resort Travel and Teaching Fitness classes for Fitness Professionals

Hey Fitness Pros,

If you are like me, I’m already planning spring vacations.  Gotta get some sunshine!  I’m taking my kids and my niece to Dominican Republic and can’t wait!

So as I’m pulling all the details together, I wanted to encourage you all to try a Fitness Resort teaching contract. Teaching classes at a resort has been one of the most rewarding and fun travel experiences for me. I’ve been in the fitness industry for over 20 years and I’m so surprised that it’s only been in the last year that I’ve tried this approach. I guess I always thought, “Who wants to work when you’re on holidays?”  Well here are the reasons that I will continue to travel this way from this point on:

FREE Accommodations, Food & Drink: Well, this is probably one of the biggest perks you will enjoy.  You and a guest get to stay for free!  And for the family resorts, you often get to bring 2 kids for free too!  The resorts I’ve stayed at so far cost an average of $400/person per night so teaching 2-3 classes per day in trade is a sweet gig! Many of the resorts also give you discounts on additional services such as massage and spa treatments.

Meet people from all over the world: People who are going to take your classes while they are on vacation are probably pretty cool people with similar interests to you. It’s an easy way to engage in conversation and really get to know and connect with people including the staff at the resort. I have made life long friends on some of these trips.

Commitment to your workouts: Let’s face it, it’s easy to get lazy when you’re on vacation.  But you’ll be forced to stick to your workouts if you have to be there to teach!  And you will feel so much better and enjoy your holidays if you are still taking good care of yourself. Plus most of us would workout anyways and love to teach so it definitely doesn’t feel like work!

Beautiful Venues:  Many of the companies that contract out professionals offer opportunities around the world at amazing exotic locations including Cuba, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Mexico and so much more. All of the resorts I have stayed at have been world-class with incredible amenities.

Although this is an amazing industry perk, there are some expectations that you should be aware of.

  • Apply: You have to complete an application and submit a copy of your certification to the travel company. I have submitted applications to a few separate companies to keep my travel options open.  All have been extremely professional and easy to work with.

  • Registration Fee: Most of the fitness resort travel companies charge a small registration fee per trip of about $300-$400 total plus some ask that you bring a gift to the resort hotel (about $150 gift fund).  Still an incredible deal considering you will receive accommodations, food and alcohol for free for you and a guest for the entire week.  And remember, you still have to pay for your own flights.  Fortunately, many of my trips, I’ve been able to use frequent flier points so my vacations end up costing almost nothing!
  • Promotion: A resort is not going to see the value of continuing a guest instructor contract if no resort guests are attending the classes.  So it is expected and extremely important that you have fliers listing your classes and time slots posted throughout the resort in high-profile locations. It’s also important to personally invite people to your classes.  If you do a good job, your class numbers should build throughout your week.
  • Variety: It’s helpful and often required that you teach a variety of classes for the resort.  So you might teach a morning Cardio and Muscle Bootcamp class, an afternoon Aquafit class and an evening Yoga or Pilates session.  Many of the resorts will allow you to customize the class schedule based on your specialties but most require some variety. Each resort will list specific requirements but most like to see a yoga/pilates option, an aquafit class option and a cardio/muscle class format.  Dance classes like Zumba are also becoming a requested class format. I have never taught at aquafit class before but had a blast teaching this format at my last resort vacation. I’m sure Charlene Kopansky from Canadian Aquafit Leaders Alliance would have cringed and given me some critique but I gave my group a great workout and it was a ton of fun.  Sometimes, you just gotta fake it till you make it!
  • Customer Service: You are still recognized as one of the staff so be ready to answer questions and be able to direct guests to an actual staff person who can help them.  Get to know people’s names and where they are from.  Encourage people, applaud them for working out on their vacation, foster the development of friendships among participants and create a fun, inspiring environment.  I will often finish my yoga sessions with a little foot massage for some extra TLC or finish a workout session with a group huddle and cheer or have them stop for a few moments to long around at the beauty all around them and to have them appreciate how lucky they are to be able to enjoy such a wonderful location.  Bottom line: We’ve got to act professionally and take really great care of people so we can enhance their vacation.

Fitness Resort Travel is definitely an industry perk that I hope you can take advantage of in 2011!

Happy and fit travels!

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan

ps.  Leave a comment or tip if you’ve ever traveled like this. And if you decide to book a resort teaching contract, let me know how it goes!

5 critical steps to business success as a Personal Trainer

Hey Fitness Pros,

I hope you’ve survived the January rush and business is still flowing in.  It’s been one month since many of our clients have set New Year’s Resolutions and of course, it’s our job to provide the guidance, support, education and kick in the butt that our clients need to keep them on track so they experience incredible results.  Well, I think of this blog as the kick in the butt that many fitness pros need to ensure they enjoy a prosperous career.  So I’d ask each of you the same questions that I’d ask my fitness clients.  Are you on track for your 2011 business goals? If not, ask yourself what you need to start doing?  What do you need to stop doing?  What do you need to keep doing?

If I were to sum up everything you need to do to guarantee business success this year, it can be broken down into 5 critical steps:

1.  Market and promote – If you provide a great service, it does you no good if no one knows about it.  Be sure that you have solid internal and external marketing plans in place. Host aggressive word of mouth referral programs. Use social media to help spread your message.

2.  Become masters of influencing someone to commit to their health and fitness – If you spend a ton of time and money marketing your business, if you and your team can’t sell what a waste!!!  Know exactly what do say and what not to say in your initial interactions with clients. Learn how to connect and develop repertoire with clients so they trust your judgment and suggestions.  Figure out how to help someone to take action and invest in your services.

3.  Control expenses – Determine where you can cut costs while still providing the exceptional service your clients expect.  Do your homework on cost cutting initiatives.  Get 3 quotes for any services or work you are having done for your business.  Fully understand critical budgeting percentages.  For example, lease payments should be no more than 15% of your total revenues. Your marketing and advertising budget should be about 3-5% of your total yearly revenues.  Payroll ideally should be no more than 40-50% of your total revenues.

4.  Take care of your clients – Your clients are you and your team’s bosses. Conduct surveys every 3-4 months to ensure you are meeting needs.  Listen to what your clients have to say. Get to know them. Show them how much you love and care about them.  Host fun events and client appreciation get-togethers.  If you provide an experience that your clients can’t get anywhere else, they won’t go anywhere else!

5.  Take care of your team – Your trainers and your administrative support are your number one asset!  So be sure to host team get-togethers, purchase small gifts for birthdays and company anniversaries, and provide lots of praise and recognition!

BONUS: Take care of you!  You have to be the positive influence, the visionary, the director…You have to always be ‘up’ and the one to motivate others. So it’s easy to get burnt-out if you’re not taking care of yourself. Be sure to take time out to recharge yourself whether you go on vacation, get a massage, read, take a bubble bath or watch a funny movie. And it goes without saying, practice what you preach.  Carve time out of your busy life to exercise and eat well!

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan

ps.  Valentine’s Day is 2 weeks away.  You should be promoting gift certificates, hosting V-Day specials, offering special V-Day classes like Couples Bootcamp, Couples Yoga, hosting seminars on Partner Training and more fun seasonal events.  Remember, if you are part of our Business of Personal Training Master Mind group, you will receive all of these templates and fliers in a timely fashion so it’s easier to execute.  If you haven’t got anything planned yet, it’s hard to pull it together from scratch at this late date.  Contact our Fitness Education Director, Kari Schunk, for all the details at

pps.  SuperBowl is on Sunday.  Are you hosting special SuperBowl workouts and/or a fun, friendly game of Flag Football before the big game?  One of the keys for business success – point #4 above – is keeping it fun and exciting for your clients. Always keep it fresh and new!

Lessons from Jack LaLanne for Personal Trainers and Fitness Instructors

Dear Fitness Pros,

I am so excited to relaunch my Business of Personal Training blog. It’s got a new look and feel with functioning that should make it more user-friendly for you and easier to interact and post comments. My goal is to blog two times per week and provide you with technical, practical and business information that will enhance your career as a Fitness Professional.

I’m sure many of you have heard of the recent passing of Jack LaLanne age 96, fitness industry pioneer. Well, I thought it would be fitting to relaunch my blog with a post highlighting what we can all learn from Jack LaLanne and his incredible career in the fitness industry.

Jack LaLanne, Fitness Pioneer

Lessons from Jack LaLanne:

Be passionate: I was fortunate enough to serve on a committee with Jack LaLanne and it was endearing to watch him spread his message about the benefits of exercise and eating well. No matter where we went, he was telling someone about the importance of taking good care of yourself. He 100% believed in his message and was so passionate about inspiring everyone to adopt a healthy lifestyle. He knew firsthand that exercise and good nutrition can change lives. He himself was a scrawny, nervous, shy little kid at age 15 until he started working out. He understood that he could positively impact his whole life – physically, mentally, emotionally, financially – through the benefits of working out and eating well.

Brand yourself: Jack LaLanne became a household name before the term branding was even popular. There’s a saying “You gotta know what you’re doing. You gotta know you know what you’re doing. And you gotta be known for what you know!” If you can position yourself as an expert in your community, people will come to you because they perceive you will have the answers to their questions and be able to help them. Jack understood the power of TV and radio and media and he used these venues to educate and inspire. In today’s day and age, he would be a master YouTube star, blogger, twitter and facebook poster! A high-end, world-class trainer/instructor knows how to market, sell and promote. If you don’t think you’re running a business, you’re probably not! (Get it?!)

Be a risk taker: Jack LaLanne opened the first ever modern day fitness club. There were no other successful models to mimic and no guarantees that it would work out. But he believed enough in his dream to make it a reality.

Live on the Edge: Jack was always trying something new and challenging himself physically and mentally. Once he did more than 1000 pushups in 23 minutes. For his 60th birthday, he swam from Alcatraz to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco handcuffed, shackled and towing a boat. When he turned 70, he did the same in Long Beach harbor. I challenge you to live life the Jack LaLanne way. Step out of your comfort zone. Do something new and exciting every 90 days. It will keep you feeling young, vibrant and alive!

Stay on the Cutting-Edge: Jack invented the first modern day piece of strength equipment. He created the ever so popular Jumping Jack. He opened the first modern-day fitness club. He understood the importance of progressing, being innovative and striving for excellence in all that you do!

Have a magnetic personality: Jack was a charmer. He was witty and fun and made people laugh! People are drawn to others that challenge them, inspire them, build them up and provide support and guidance. Success followed Jack wherever he went because he knew how to communicate with others and understood how to make people feel good about themselves. He provided a positive energy and was a joy to be around. If you expect people to pay you money for your services and/or attend your classes or programs, you’ve got to be the type of person that people want to have in their lives.

Make your primary purpose to serve: Jack was always sharing information. He was the kind of guy who early in his career would show up anywhere to spread his message. If you first ask yourself, ‘How can I help?” you can’t go wrong? What is the need and then fill it! Be prepared to do free guest TV or radio appearances, write articles for free…Do what you can to spread the message and success will follow you!

Have some good one-liners to spread your message: Here are some quotes directly from Jack LaLanne. Lots of incredible insight here!

“The only way you can hurt the body is not use it.”

“Inactivity is the killer and, remember, it’s never too late.”

“I’ll tell you one thing, you don’t always have to be on the go. I sit around a lot, I read a lot, and I do watch television. But I also work out for two hours every day of my life, even when I’m on the road.”

“How do you build up your bank account? By putting something in it everyday.Your health account is no different. What I do today, I am wearing tomorrow. If I put inferior foods in my body today, I’m going to be inferior tomorrow, it’s that simple.”

“I never think of my age, never – I could be 20 or 100. I never think about it, I’m just me.”

“It’s a lifestyle, it’s something you do the rest of your life – How long are you going to keep breathing? How long do you keep eating? You just do it.”

“Do you know how many calories are in butter and cheese and ice cream? Would you get your dog up in the morning for a cup of coffee and a donut?”

“Focus on your problem zones, your strength, your energy, your flexibility and all the rest. Maybe your chest is flabby or your hips or waist need toning. Also, you should change your program every thirty days. That’s the key.”

“I do it as a therapy. I do it as something to keep me alive. We all need a little discipline. Exercise is my discipline.”

“I only eat fish – no chicken, no turkey, just fish. I get all my protein from fish and egg whites.”

“I’d rather see you drink a glass of wine than a glass of milk. What’s the good of living if you can’t have the things that give a little enjoyment?”

“So many people drink Coca-Cola and all these soft drinks with sugar. Some of these drinks have 8 or 9 teaspoons of sugar in them.”

“If you’ve got a big gut and you start doing sit-ups, you are going to get bigger because you build up the muscle. You’ve got to get rid of that fat! How do you get rid of fat? By changing your diet.”

“Look at the average American diet: ice cream, butter, cheese, whole milk, all this fat. People don’t realize how much of this stuff you get by the end of the day. High blood pressure is from all this high-fat eating.”

“Millions of Americans got up this morning with a cup of coffee, a cigarette and a donut. No wonder they are sick and fouled up.”

“Remember this: your body is your slave; it works for you.”

“So many older people, they just sit around all day long and they don’t get any exercise. Their muscles atrophy, and they lose their strength, their energy and vitality by inactivity.”

“The only way you get that fat off is to eat less and exercise more.”

“We don’t know all the answers. If we knew all the answers we’d be bored, wouldn’t we? We keep looking, searching, trying to get more knowledge.”

“What you need to do is get that tape measure out, and start measuring that gut. Then you start working out and you start eating properly till that gut gets down close to it was when you were in your 20’s. Then you’ll find out what your weight should be.”

“Yes, exercise is the catalyst. That’s what makes everything happen: your digestion, your elimination, your sex life, your skin, hair, everything about you depends on circulation. And how do you increase circulation? Exercise!”

“Now the medical profession is saying something different. Every one of the doctors without exception is saying, “Build muscle.”

“Everything you do in life, I don’t care, good or bad – don’t blame God, don’t blame the devil, don’t blame me, blame you. You control everything! The thoughts you think, the words you utter, the foods you eat, the exercise you do. Everything is controlled by you.”

“You don’t have to call it God or Jesus. That’s religious humbug to a lot of people, but you’ve gotta believe that nature and spiritual things surround us. That is what put us here! I thank the universe for that every day of my life.”

“I can’t die, it would ruin my image.”

Well, Jack, you have passed but it definitely hasn’t ruined your image. It’s just caused us all to reflect what an impact you have had on so many of us. Thank you for paving the way for the rest of us! Boy, I sure do hope heaven has been conditioning and preparing for your arrival. You sure are gonna shake things up up there! Rest in Peace Jack.

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

Ps. Here’s a YouTube video of Jack spreading his message. Do a search on YouTube for other Jack LaLanne clips. Tons of Pearls of Wisdom!