Highlights from the IDEA Convention

Hey Fitness Pros.

I just returned from IDEA. My sessions were a blast and I also took a number of sessions. For those of you who couldn’t be there, I wanted to share with you some of the things I learned. I’ll try to post something everyday over the next little while to pass on any nuggets of info that I think you would benefit from. However, it is summer and CanFitPro is this weekend, so I’ll do the best I can. 🙂

Also, FYI, you can purchase numerous DVDs of the live sessions so you can still be a part of the event. Here’s the link. Two of my sessions were filmed if you’re interested “Partner Tubing” & “Fun Games and Drills for Small Group Training”.


Highlights from the IDEA KeyNote Presentation:

I attended the keynote with Matt Weinstein, a motivational speaker and author. He said the problem with all the self help books is that they’re too hard to remember – the 8 secrets, the 7 Habits etc…So he’s come up with the 4 unforgettable keys to a Successful Life. He promises that you will never, ever forget them! I thought I’d share them with all of you in hopes that it will help you live your dream life.

#1 Key to an Incredible Life: ‘ Row, Row, Row your Boat’
This is your boat – your life! And if you want something, you’re going to have to work at it – you’re going to have to row, and row, and row some more. You’re going to have to put some muscle into it. Rowing can be a challenging activity but you can direct which way you want that boat to go! This is your life to create!

#2 Key to an Incredible Life: ‘Gently down the Stream’
Go with the flow. Don’t fight so hard. It’s so much easier to row your boat downstream rather than upstream! You’ve got to Focus on your strengths – that will make everything so much easier.

#3 Key to an Incredible Life: Can you already guess it??!! Yep – “Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Merrily”
Be positive. Be content. Focus on what you have versus what you don’t have. Look for the good in everything. Notice everyday miracles. Incredible opportunities come to those with a joyful spirit. No one wants to be around or offer opportunities to those who are negative! Why? They are just going to complain about it anyways!

#4 Key to an Incredible Life: ‘Life is But a Dream’
Life should be a dream – a pleasant, beautiful, wonderful dream – Not a nightmare. Reality happens first in your mind. Dream big for your life. Make the life that you want so vivid in your mind that it’s easier to make it come to fruition!

That’s it! Four keys that you will probably never, ever forget. Simple but powerful messages! We’ve all heard it before and now all we have to do is live it! I hope it gives you a little boost for your week! Maybe you could share these tips with your clients and members. Stay tuned for more IDEA highlights…

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan

Be a Lover of Knowledge and Win!

“Empty the pennies from your purse into your mind and your mind will fill your purse with dollars and keep it full forever.” Ben Franklin

It is no surprise that those that seem to spend the most on continuing education are also those that tend to earn the highest incomes in the fitness industry. So invest in yourself and reap the rewards.

Education comes in many forms…

1. Academic knowledge…Associates, Bachelors, Masters, PhDs
2. Experience – learn by doing
3. Conferences and workshops – in person (the most fun!), online, correspondence
4. Articles & Books
5. Mistakes & Trials – sometimes your best learning opportunities
6. People – surround yourself with amazing people and glean from them!
7. Stepping out of your comfort zone – the sink or swim model..you may not know it now, but jump in and you’ll learn it quickly!
8. Doing what you preach – it’s hard to grow when your life doesn’t line up with your message.

On that note, just getting ready to head out to IDEA and then directly afterwards to CanFitPro – the Top Two largest and most amazing fitness conferences in the world. If you’ve never been, you have to promise me that you’ll put it on your list of Must-Dos. It will absolutely change your career and open your eyes to so many opportunities and possibilities.



Yours in health, fitness & business,

Sherri McMillan

Think outside of the Box!

Hey Fitness Pros,

Do things differently. Get clients laughing. Make workouts an experience.

Check out the following video clip. Notice how clients are laughing, interacting, and smiling all while getting a great workout. Also notice the bonding that happens at the end of the workout – when clients are friends they will never want to leave you because they’re not just leaving a trainer and their workouts, they’d be leaving all the friendships they have developed.

So host fun outings, client appreciation nights, awesome adventures and specialty classes. Give clients something to talk about! You can’t buy that kind of word of mouth advertising!

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan

ps. I hope to see you at either IDEA or CanFitPro conferences in the next few weeks. Please find me and introduce yourself. I love putting faces to those I’m working with to inspire a healthier world!

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Create Moments of Magic for clients

Hey Fitness Pros.

I’d like to encourage you to have all your clients complete a Fitness Bucket Wish-List…all the fitness related adventures they’d like to do before they die.

And then help them train for these events and/or adventures. It will solidify your relationship with them, and create moments of magic that they will never forget which will drastically enhance client retention.

At Northwest Personal Training we like to get our clients together as often as possible. By doing this they feel part of a family or community. We host a variety of events to encourage them to mingle together such as running clinics, hiking clubs, biking treks or indoor rock-climbing events. By providing an environment that fosters the development of friendships, they will want to continue training with us because if they decide to discontinue our services, they just won’t be leaving us as their training company but also, they will be leaving all the friendships they’ve developed. And on top of that, when they participate in a beautiful, magnificent hike or snowshoe or bike ride, when we get to the top of the mountain, they’ll always remember that we were the ones who helped them get there. In fact, when we’ve been invited to clients’ homes, we’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many framed photos on our clients’ walls were from events or adventures that we hosted. You know the memories have to be pretty special for them if they are going to frame and post the photos in their house. We create and facilitate these ‘Moments of Magic’ and that develops a sense of loyalty. These activities also give our clients the opportunity to get to know each other. It cracks us up to watch how the conversations always seem to eventually center on their workout sessions. They start to compare notes and we’ll hear things like “Does your trainer make you do those crazy lunges too?” or “Don’t you love that new piece of equipment” or “He really can’t count can he?!”

In addition, hosting events and adventures can be a profit center for your business. For example, we just got back from taking 14 of our clients to Crater Lake for a hiking, camping and biking adventure. Each paid $149 to attend and that only included our organizing and fitness tour guide time – they were responsible for all other expenses including food, travel, rentals etc. So do the math – 14 people x $149 for a weekend of fun! At the very least, we get a wonderful free vacation out of the deal. Here’s a video clip of that trip to give you some ideas for what you could do with clients. And remember, we were ‘on the clock’ for this trip – gotta love it!

So start by having clients write down anything they have ever thought of achieving with regards to their own individual health and fitness. Which goal, if they achieved it, would make this year unbelievable? Have they ever wanted to hike the Grand Canyon, complete a marathon or triathlon, cycle through France, learn to Scuba Dive or inline skate or rock climb, cycle the Oregon coast or would they just be happy with working out 4x/week consistently? What are their health and fitness wishes? The only rule with this wish list is that none of their goals can be related to their body. Have them stay away from listing a goal such as losing 10 pounds or 4 inches off their hips. Keep this list positive and focused away from body image.

Many clients take this approach – ‘As soon as I lose the weight/get fit, then I’ll start doing the things I’ve always wanted to do”. But we take the opposite approach. Let’s set the goal and in the process of training for the event or activity they’ve always wanted to do, then they lose the weight and get fit! And it’s such a positive, motivating focus. For example, let’s say a client sets a goal of finishing a 10km fun run. Setting this kind of goal, because it has a deadline, provides a compelling reason to stick to the program and not miss workouts. In contrast, if the goal is to lose 10 pounds in 2 months, if the client gets off track, they can negotiate with themselves and say, “Well, I guess I can wait an additional week or two to achieve my goals.” But if they get off track with their training program while preparing for an event, they can’t call a race organizer and ask them to postpone the event because they aren’t going to be ready. A client knows that every workout or skipped workout with either positively or negatively affect their performance and their ability to achieve their goal. In addition, once he/she crosses the finish line, that’s something no one can ever take away from them. They will always have their medal, t-shirt and photos crossing the finish line. Whereas, with weight loss, someone could lose the weight and then gain it all back next month and feel like a failure. There is a lot of status associated with conquering a tough challenge or finishing a event and so a client’s confidence and self esteem receives a huge boost providing them with the belief that they can achieve the next goal. We have also found when someone succeeds at a goal such as this, they then inherently look towards the next goal – it’s just human nature. So they make then desire to attempt a half marathon, full marathon, a challenging hike, biathlon, triathlon etc. It’s a positive spiral. Whereas, with weight loss, it’s a negative spiral. They lose the 10 pounds but they are still not happy. They then desire to lose another 5 pounds and get rid of this fat and so on and so on. Some of our clients who have had the most ‘perfect’ bodies have been those that struggled with their body image the most! For all these reasons, we try to keep the focus away from Body Image and instead focus on behaviors, events and actions.

When you have enough clients who want to do the same type of adventure, organize a group event. I encourage you to start with one adventure and see how it goes. For those of you who already do this on a regular basis, feel free to leave your comments for others to read and be inspired by.

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan

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You are so fortunate!

Hey Fitness Pros.

“If you love what you do, you never have to WORK another day in your life!”

Today, I just wanted to build you up by reminding you what a blessing it is to do something that you’re good at and that you love! You’re making a huge difference in a lot of people’s lives and that’s worth millions! Just remember that what we offer the world is SO much more than just an exercise program.

Plus, your job could be a LOT worse. Check out this photo!

Keep making a difference and helping people reach for their personal best!

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan

Social Media your way to PT Success

Hey Fitness Pros,

So I’m quite the dinosaur when it comes to social media and new technology. However, I am open to learning and have made a strong commitment to utilizing tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, and You Tube to help grow our business.

I even went online and purchased a number of resource books so I could learn how this all works. I’m such a dork but it has been helpful.

So I got myself a blog – you’re reading one right now 🙂 I also have a blog for our clients “Shape up with Sherri”. I read a book all about the ins and outs of blogging. Still don’t quite understand who has the time to read all my blogs plus all the other millions of blogs out there but I’ll keep going with it. Some of our clients really like it and email me to tell me it helps them stay motivated. Others just unsubscribe…

I also posted a personal and business facebook page and am slowly developing our fan base. It’s created quite a little community amongst our clients. This has actually been quite fun and can be addicting so be careful. It’s easy to get pulled in which can negatively affect your productivity.

I’ve been twittering but I totally don’t get this. I post a twitter usually once per day but who has the time to read about what people are doing multiple times per day? But apparently this is a really fabulous way to grow your business outreach. I’m not sure how so I bought a book on Twittering. Will read and keep you posted on why you need to Twitter.

Last, YouTube has been fun to post testimonials, exercises, footage of events etc. This was surprisingly easy to learn to use so this is a definite keeper.

So my suggestion is yes to Blogs, YouTube and Facebook….the jury is still out on Twittering.

Are you an expert in this area?? Please leave comments so we can all learn. I’m no pro at this stuff and would love to learn more!

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan

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Surveys help you grow stronger!

Hey Fitness Pros.

It’s time to start planning for fall. Remember the saying “Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail”. But before you start deciding what your clients want, remember to ask them first.

We just posted our Client Survey online at Survey Monkey. They are a professional, cost-effective option for small businesses. Plus, it’s a service that is super easy to use! Then we email our clients the web-link and post on our website to collect feedback.

We host surveys three times per year; mid-summer to help us plan for Fall, mid-November to help us plan for the January rush and mid-spring to help us plan summer programming. It’s also a wonderful way to assess how you’re doing as a company. Clients will offer both positive and negative critique – all which will just make you a stronger business.

Click on our survey below to give you some ideas for your survey.

Click Here to take survey

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan

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Film yourself in action!

Hey Fitness Pros.

One of the best ways to improve your skills as a Personal Trainer or Fitness Instructor is to have someone film you in action. It’s really impactful to see yourself as others see you!

Once per year we film our entire team – it just happens to be this month. Then next month, we sit down with our team and evaluate the footage. We don’t have to say much – the instructor or trainer is always their worst critic! They will often pick out things like “Wow, I can’t believe I say the same thing over and over again!” or “Why do I do that weird thing with my hair?!” or “Wow, I look kinda bored – I need to make my sessions more interactive or dynamic!” or “I can’t believe I didn’t pick up that incorrect technique in my client. I need to check them out from all angles when I’m spotting them!”

So if you’re a manager or business owner, schedule this into your yearly plan. It really helps your fitness pros to be able to see themselves in action. If you’re an independent fitness pro, ask a friend or family member to come and film you during one of your classes or training sessions. Then watch and learn.

Yours in health, fitness & business,

Sherri McMillan

Always finish a Training Session by Stretching out a Client!

If you want to enhance client retention, spend 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 – we know the clients love it and that is good for business!

After you’ve just given your clients a really tough workout and you let them know it’s time to stretch, nine times out of ten, they’ll say something like “Ahhh, this is the best part” or “This is what I pay you for!”

So just do it – trust us, it works!

Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan

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How to get FREE Exposure

Hey Fitness Pros.

I’ve written previously about the importance of developing relationships with your local media to increase the amount of FREE exposure you get. One way to let the media know about what you’re doing is a Press Release. But many get tens to hundreds of press releases a day so the question is, how are you going to ensure that your Press Release is read versus just deleted within a second. It’s got to sound interesting, news worthy, different…So for example, I just sent out a Press Release about an upcoming seminar I am speaking on. One way to ensure I don’t get any media hits is to have a leader that is very boring. For example, Sherri McMillan presents seminar on July 14th, is going to get me no where. Who cares?

But what if I take a different spin on it…Here is the actual Press Release I sent out. Notice that the spin I take may be very interesting to some – why would they have ME speak to CEOs, Presidents & Business Owners? I hope it gives you some ideas for your next release.

Yours in Health, Fitness & Business,

Sherri McMillan

Press Release
July 2nd, 2009

Sherri McMillan

Why would a Fitness Trainer be asked by the Vancouver Chamber of Commerce to speak to Top Business Executives at Networking Lunch?

What: Sherri McMillan, co-owner of Northwest Personal Training & Northwest Women’s Fitness Club, will present the keynote presentation at the upcoming Chamber of Commerce Business Networking Event.

It may seem odd to some that a fitness instructor will present the keynote presentation to a number of high-profile local business executives. After all what do pushups, lunges and crunches have to do with business success? Most keynote presenters are highly credible and successful business leaders so what can a spandex laden fitness trainer share that will be of interest to these white collar execs?

When asked this very question, Sherri McMillan doesn’t hesitate “There is a reason why most of the top movers and shakers in Vancouver and Portland workout with us. Highly successful business professionals such as Tamara Fuller, Top Commercial Realtor, Lisa Dow – Vice President at West Coast Bank, Rod Cook – owner of Alpine AutoBody, Doug Palin – owner of Infinity Internet, Elie Kassab – Prestige Development and many others come to us to help them look and feel their best. They understand that in order to achieve great things, you’ve got to feel great!

Times are tough and in order to survive and thrive in today’s economy and to help manage the daily obstacles and stressors, you need strength and energy. Working out will help you overcome challenges and reduce any anxiety and stress you are experiencing. It will help you to keep a more positive outlook on your current situation because exercise secretes various endorphins that will make you feel better about everything! Plus, by taking care of yourself, you’ll experience less short and long term health care costs. You’ll end up eating out less which will also save you money. You’ll spend less money on new clothes because you’ll be able to fit in some of those clothes hanging in the back of your closets. You’ll have the energy to participate in family activities that are fun but don’t cost anything like biking, hiking, walking etc.

So my message is exactly what business professionals need to hear. I’m going to teach them how to balance their life so they can be successful in all realms. I will provide them with tools for fitting exercise in when life is already too busy for them. I know I can help a lot of people out there – because we already have for hundreds of others.

Everyone wants to excel in their professional, personal and social lives. Everyone wants to look and feel their best. But few people can attest that they are living their dream life. We will review the principles everyone needs to grasp and the actions steps we all need to commit to in order to achieve our Personal Bests.”

When: Tuesday July 14th, 11:30am-1:00pm

Where: Royal Oaks Country Club, 8917 NE Fourth Plain Blvd, Vancouver WA 98661

Cost: $30 members; $50 non-members. Guests who are signed up by a chamber member, receive member pricing. Golf course dress, please.

How: To register: www.vancouverusa.com, click Events/Registration and July 14, or call (360) 694-2588.


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