May 13, 2009

Make A Fortune in the Fitness Industry

Grab it while the grabbin's good!
Photo: Steve Wampler

So here’s my idea of how to be a fitness industry millionaire. And you know what? You’re welcome to use it for free! This is because (a) I’m too lazy to actually set up a fitness business, and (b) it’s kind of a stupid idea.

But just watch! Someday someone’s gonna do it and it will make a lot of money, and you’ll be totally mad that it wasn’t you.

So I can’t help noticing that despite my attempts to make fun of it, “Functional Fitness” continues to get more and more popular. Whether it’s CrossFit or one of those Boot Camps or whatever, everyone now seems to want their workouts to start incorporating more “real life,” functional movements.

So it’s all “goodbye fancy fitness club” and “see ya later, big-ass weight machines” and instead everyone is running off to meet in parks and playgrounds and stripped-down garages to work out with the bare minimum of equipment.

Yet oddly enough, sometimes these bare-bones functional fitness workouts end up being more expensive than the fancy gym, because they require people to instruct you and yell at you on an ongoing basis. (Those who are thrifty and do their own research and supply their own motivation can, of course, do it for cheap or free). But many folks are busy and stressed and are naturally willing to pay for some direction.

So you get buffed personal trainers and sculpted boot camp instructors doing what your our chain-smoking P.E. teachers in baggy sweats used to do: yelling at students to do a bunch of different exercises whether they feel like it or not.

“Run four 100–yard sprints! Now do 25 push-ups! Balance on that bosu ball while you...whoops! Well, just go ahead and wipe that up, it’s only blood. Now run up those stadium stairs! Jump rope for 4 minutes! Deadlift 150 pounds!"

The pay-off is, exercisers get much better at the very movements used in real life. Because you never know when you’re going to fall face down on the floor and need to push yourself back up 25 times in a row, or break out into a set of burpees, or avoid a fast-moving rope coming at your feet... 400 times in quick succession.

Sadly, though, as much as we want our moves to be functional, we’re not quite there yet, are we? We don’t tend to swing big iron weights with built-in handles around all that often--yet it might be handy to be able to schlep an armchair up the stairs when you move to a new place, or haul 80 lb bags of mulch when it's time to spruce up our yards.

Are you starting to see where this is all headed?

Yep, as a “Super- Functional Fitness Trainer,” you can train, motivate, and empower your clients to perform astounding feats of fitness! All you need to do is create special protocols and “challenges” for them and invest in a little bit of equipment.

This mobile, adjustable weight-training device improves balance
and recruits pretty much every muscle in your body!

Who in the class can take the biggest pile of raked up leaves from one side of a big yard to the pickup truck waiting out front?

Who can beat the "club record" for carrying three forty pound kitty litter containers and four cases of sparkling mineral water up to a 3rd floor walk-up apartment?

Who can haul the largest number of humans the furthest while sharpening reflexes and improving balance in busy urban thoroughfares?

It's just like spinning class, but with sunshine!
Photo: PaulS_

Your clients will be so excited to climb into your mobile fitness van and don their special matching workout outfits, knowing that each day they will be delivered to a whole new "real life" gym to play in for 2, 4, 8, even 12 hours at a time!

These clients are getting a first-class functional
workout, and wow are they psyched!

Photo: Caro's Lines

And, well, if you just happen to run another company besides your fitness business that supplies temporary workers who are fit and strong and skilled in moving, hauling, delivery, yardwork, and other valuable labor? That's just the can-do American entrepeneurial spirit! Your “fitness” clients don’t really need to know you’re getting paid at both ends do they? They'll just be looking forward to the next Super-Functional fitness challenge you can devise for them.

Dig in, this is gonna be FUN!!!!
Photo: AdamCohn

So seriously, is it just me? Or does anyone else find that it's much more appealing to think about exercising when an instructor tells us to rather than when that request comes from an employer or a spouse?


  1. i hired a personal trainer because i knew for myself i needed that voice. i needed that push, because i obviously wasn't pushing myself, and the fit-lacking family and friends i'm surrounded with were a recipe for disaster.

    plus, i think we're more prone to take the advice from someone we get inspiration from. someone we see ourselves to want to be like. to have that drive, determination and motivation, where we lacked in ourselves.

    i kind of see it as paying for an education.

  2. dragonmamma/naomiMay 13, 2009 at 7:36 AM

    A year ago one of the spin instructors at the Y was changing apartments, and only one person helped her move. I told her she needed to put up a poster saying "One day Functional Fitness Session, only $20!" and she would have gotten at least a dozen people to help.

  3. Cher, I think that totally makes sense! I just think it's funny that I personally would LOVE to have a trainer motivate me to exercise, but at the same time go completely out of my way to avoid any sort of physical "chore!"

    And that's too funny, dragonmamma, about the Y instructor. You were totally onto the idea a year ago--you could be rich now!

  4. I should have paid my kids for going to the metropark after school yesterday. We ran around for two hours, first on the fitness trail, then the playground. If it wasn't for their enthusiasm, I would probably have gotten bored and stayed half as long.

  5. You know, I have had similar thoughts myself! That my great-grandpa must be rolling in his grave watching me do fake axe chops in the gym when I could be doing the real deal and actually ending up with some firewood too;) Our society is funny sometimes!

  6. Okay, now I am totally wanting to go buy some kitty litter - who knew it was a workout! To think I always dread buying the stuff because it's just too darn heavy.

  7. heaving lifting? isn't that what husbands and boyfriends are for? all that nasty manual labor?

    *bats her eyelashes and reverts back to the helpless dainty femme fatale that works it to her benefit* lmao

  8. A similar business idea I had years ago - a virtual cleaning service. The idea is that almost everyone who has a weekly maid/cleaning service picks up/cleans the day before. So, you pay me to come to your house once a week. Your house gets clean.

  9. Some of us are on that functional fitness bandwagon simply for the , uh, functionality of it. *smirk* I'm not willing to fork out huge amounts of money for a gym membership when the closest said gym is 40 miles away. Instead I make my own. Oh, and I'm broke since I'm building a new house. So I try to be creative with what I have.

    But if anyone is looking for a couple days of training, I've got a house I'm painting and a new garden to till up and plant and tend to! You don't even need to pay me - just make your way to South Dakota!

  10. I've never been to South Dakota, but it sounds like there's a lot going on there :)

    Personal trainer? Hey, I paid the German Shepherd Rescue $120 for a personal trainer who gave me twice daily workouts for several years. Forget someone yelling at you to exercise, get someone who looks at you with those pleading brown eyes. Highly effective.

  11. Some in the medical community are looking at functional medicine of which functional exercise is a component. Sort of like in the days of yore when you worked on the farm for exercise and the farmer and his wife gave birth to 27 children so they could all work on the farm too.
    Funny how everything old is new again.

  12. I don't think this functional fitness lark has reached Scotland yet. I might just be able to set up my own empire quick before everyone gets in on the act!

  13. I yell at my husband all the time and I'm not getting any results. Guess this only work for fitness, eh? Or do I need to yell louder? Lemme know....

  14. I like the functional fitness, because it is much harder to cheat using my body weight than it is using handweights or barbell. I would never ever in a million years do any of this stuff if not in my body sculpting classes. But they can yell all they want, I'm nowhere near being able to do 50 straight leg pushups, or 20 modified burpees. I hate all those things, but grudgingly do them.

  15. My sister paid for one of those programs for about a month. She told me if it weren't for the hot african american instructor she would have quit five minutes in and a hundred bucks down.

  16. My sister paid for one of those things for about a month. She told me if it were not for the hot african american drill instructor that she would have quit 5 minutes in and a hundred bucks down.


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