Posted by: Sales Makers | July 29, 2017

Back to the Addendum – page 10

Hope you enjoyed my diversion into history there. Many more of those stories in the actual book.

Where I left off was in the latter part of the nineties and when the Industry was finding out the brutality of the stock market. Don’t get me wrong, quite a few people made a ton of money off of taking their companies public and so did quite a few of their staff. The people that were on the short end of the stick were the members (who were getting very little support in the clubs – thus the beginning of the Retention plague) and the initial investors who lost money when the clubs underperformed and the stock values dropped. And not all of the people who cashed in on the stock boom won – one ex-client friend of mine who sold at .27p for his group had to cash out at .03p. Another Norwegian chain lost 95% of the share value, in less than one year.

As the Clubs were struggling with the programming issue – the pre-packaged programming solutions in the form of BTS and Les Mills entered the market. Previously, the instructors made their own tapes, created their own classes and there was a lot more interaction in the studios. This started with the Step and really came into it’s own with the introduction of the Body Pump programme that came out of New Zealand. (One interesting bit of trivia: the original plastic weights that were produced in New Zealand were supposedly filled with volcanic sand or rock. I used to joke they were exporting New Zealand – one pound at a time.)

Another key change in the Industry was the growth of the Personal Trainers, the schools and the qualifications. All of a sudden all of the fitness staff had goals of becoming a PT. They didn’t quite realise that you didn’t just take the 40 hours you were being paid to work in the gym and replace it with 40 hours of high paying clients that were going to continue with you forever. They would pay for a two week course, where they learned the basics and then got a piece of paper that said they were qualified. (Basically, it was a receipt of payment), not that they understood anatomy, physiology, nutrition or anything to do with how to sell and service the clients. This caused a lot of people to waste a lot of money, time and energy with the end result they moved out of the Industry because they couldn’t make a living. The PT’s were charging more for one session than the clubs were charging for the monthly dues. The members didn’t see the logic, the value or benefits. Some clubs used it as an income stream, when they took rent from the trainers (like at Fitness First). Some clubs tried to make money from a commission with the PT’s – the end result normally being that the total contribution was about 1% of the total income. A lot of the Club owners just didn’t get that they were losing their members because they didn’t get any service, thus results. They also didn’t get that they were not joining because of the same thing.

And then something really interesting occurred at the turn of the century.


  1. Love this account of the early history of our industry
    Keep the updates coming !!!


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