Home Posts tagged "Pete Dupuis" (Page 7)

Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 12/10/15

Here's this week's list of recommended strength and conditioning reading; it's got a big CSP-feel to it!

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Walking Before You Run: Managing Fitness Facility Growth - Here's another excellent piece from my Cressey Sports Performance business partner, Pete Dupuis. A lot of people recognize that starting a business is challenging, but very few recognize that managing growth is equally difficult.

My Favorite Exercise Combinations: Installment 8 - CSP coach Miguel Aragoncillo outlines some great exercise progressions for dealing with those who struggle with single-leg drills.

Pitch-a-Palooza Brain Dump - I spoke at this great event in Nashville last weekend, and CSP Pitching Coordinator Matt Blake wrote up a thorough recap. 

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How to Stand Out in a Crowded Fitness Industry

Today's guest post comes from my Cressey Sports Performance business partner, Pete Dupuis.

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I’ve decided it is time to add an additional component to our internship program. As it turns out, Cressey Sports Performance (CSP) has been doing a disservice to its interns for a while. We’ve been sending extremely prepared coaches out into the world with a lot to offer and no idea how to sell it!

A former intern currently coaching at a commercial gym recently admitted that he had regrets about how he’d approached his time with us. He explained that he’d like to go back in time and spend more hours in my office during his internship at CSP. In his words:

“I learned the hard way that being the best coach in your gym is irrelevant if you’re unable to convincingly sell your personal training services. I walked through the door thinking that my superior coaching skill-set would translate to a full client roster and ended up watching meat-head trainers pack their schedules and even turn away clients as I scrambled ineffectively trying to fill my book of business.”

It’s officially time for me to put some thought into preparing our interns for the realities of the personal training world beyond the basis of coaching.

Pay Attention to those Who Sell Effectively

I should start by acknowledging that I have never been a personal trainer. I am, however, the business guy at a fitness facility that has employed a number of fantastic strength coaches. I’ve seen the difference between the good and the bad, and know that every successful coach has at least one redeemable quality outside of their coaching skill-set. More specifically, my staff members with the infectious personalities are always the ones who draw people in.

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In a recent post, I discussed my new initiative of training alongside our clients to improve my “feel” for our training environment and client experience. It was during one of these afternoon training sessions when I realized we have a team member who routinely puts on a clinic when it comes to client interaction. His name is Matt Blake, and he’s actually not even a strength coach here at CSP. Matt is the CSP Pitching Coordinator and also the only guy in the room who doesn’t count on me to fill his coaching schedule. Much like your typical personal trainer, Matt’s time spent mingling on the training floor and in the offices of CSP ultimately drives his earning potential.

Since Matt routinely has his winter pitching instruction schedule fully booked by late October, our interns could stand to benefit from paying attention to how he handles himself in the gym. Here are four valuable lessons any current or future personal trainer can take away from Matt Blake:

What you deliver off-the-clock is often just as important as what you do during a session.

On the surface, Matt sells pitching instruction here at CSP. As far as the general public is concerned, there’s standard one-on-one pitching instruction, and there’s video analysis sessions where the mechanics of one’s delivery are broken down step-by-step. What they don’t realize is that Matt actually offers what he casually refers to as a “suite of complimentary services.”

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More specifically, Matt over-delivers with his clientele by making himself available in an informal setting outside of the pitching cage to discuss the complicated college recruiting process, the intricacies of the word of summer/AAU baseball, the importance of strength training and manual therapy as it relates to pitching, and more. He makes time “off-the-clock” to help his athletes understand that the effectiveness and usefulness of his pitching instruction is ultimately going to be driven by a variety of factors lying outside of the pitching cage.

Matt explains:

“In my field, if you’re going to charge a premium rate for your services, you need to be able to justify the price-point by delivering more than an agreed upon block of time in your schedule for the week. When I under-promise and over-deliver, parents and athletes are quick to spread positive reviews of my services.” -MB

As a personal trainer in a commercial gym setting, you have the perfect opportunity to replicate Matt’s efforts. I’m sure you see your clients executing unsupervised training sessions outside of your regularly scheduled appointments, so why not approach them on the training floor (in front of other gym members) to give a quick deadlift refresher free-of-charge? Why not catch them by surprise by saying, “I was thinking about how your shoulder was bugging you last week and tracked down a really fascinating article for you to read about addressing the issue with manual therapy.”

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz often says that while coffee is the product, his company is in the “people business.” Personal training may be your product, but make no mistake; you are in the people business. Differentiating yourself from other trainers (or pitching coaches) is essential to building and sustaining a career in this industry.

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Know More Than You Need To Know

“The general working knowledge of pitching mechanics is very superficial, so I stepped away from the commonly used jargon and lazy coaching cues during instruction and began to focus closely on the fundamental movement patterns involved in throwing a baseball.” -MB

The message Matt is sharing here is actually very simple: If you continue to do what everyone else is doing, you will continue to get the results that everyone else is getting. He’s taken the initiative to step outside of his comfort zone and obtain a working knowledge of cutting-edge arm-care protocols, the basics of self-administered manual therapy, and more. Matt sits in on every one of our CSP weekly staff in-services and doesn’t receive a paycheck for it. His dedication to understanding fundamentals outside of his niche not only helps him “talk shop”, but also inherently improves his craft by broadening his relative knowledge.

Differentiate by Association

Matt is smart enough to know what falls outside of his scope of practice. With a comprehensive network of qualified professionals, he is quick to refer out to when appropriate. He knows who his go-to physical therapist is in each part of New England. If an athlete complains of throwing-related pain, he has the contact information needed to get a fast-tracked appointment with one of the country’s best orthopedic surgeons. He can get an athlete in need of nutrition assistance in front of a qualified professional in minutes. Matt’s referral network has become one of his most distinct assets.

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Manage Expectations without Selling a Dream

“I’ve created a model that is focused on long term incremental gains. I don’t place a huge focus on the use of radar guns. I don’t count balls and strikes on a daily basis. That certainly has its place, but I put a lot more focus on mindful effort and understanding the process of throwing. My clients throw a baseball with a purpose and a plan.” -MB

The personal trainers who promise “10lbs of fat loss in just four weeks” are destined to lose clients in the long-run. The pitching coaches who guarantee specific velocity gains are destined to be replaced by the next flavor of the month instructor when results don’t reflect expectations. His initial message may not be as sexy, but Matt sells attainable and sustainable results. He explains that his clients are asked to embrace a process-oriented mindset and stop worrying about short-cuts to improvements.

If you can get your clients to appreciate the process of creating a healthier lifestyle or mechanically efficient pitching delivery, you’re likely to see them get excited about their incremental gains. It’s hard to value (or replicate) where you end up if you can’t remember how you got there.

Time for You to Take Action

Eric recently mentioned on Twitter that the best way to improve within your industry is to look outside of it. You can apply this concept immediately by emulating one or more of Matt’s habits outlined above. As you’ll soon see, it doesn’t require an extraordinary amount of effort in order to differentiate yourself from the rest of the trainers within your commercial gym.

About the Author

Pete Dupuis (@Pete_Dupuis) is the Vice President & Co-Founder of Cressey Sports Performance. Please visit www.PeteDupuis.com to find additional fitness business blog content and to learn more about his Business Consulting Services.

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Register Now for the 4th Annual Cressey Sports Performance Fall Seminar!

We're very excited to announce that on Sunday, September 13, we’ll be hosting our fourth annual fall seminar at Cressey Sports Performance. As was the case with our extremely popular fall event over the past three years, this event will showcase the great staff we're fortunate to have as part of our team. Also like last year, we want to make this an affordable event for everyone and create a great forum for industry professionals and fitness enthusiasts alike to interact, exchange ideas, and learn.

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Here are the presentation topics:

Pete Dupuis -- Empowering Your Fitness Team

This presentation will serve as an introduction to the Cressey Sports Performance method for leveraging each coach's unique skill-set in an effort to create a superior training experience. In this presentation, Pete will discuss the importance of cultivating distinctive assessment skills, personal brand development, and the importance of employing a broad spectrum of personality types on your fitness team.

Greg Robins -- What Matters Most

One of the characteristics that makes the fitness industry special is the variety of approaches. However, it can also be a bit noisy. Constant access to new ideas and the plethora of free information may leave trainers, coaches and clients a bit confused. In this presentation, Greg will reflect on what he has found to matter most, both in getting you and your clients where you want to be.

Chris Howard -- Referred Pain: What is it and what does it tell us?

Practically every fitness professional has encountered an athlete or client dealing with referred pain whether they knew it or not. In this presentation, Chris will discuss what referred pain is, what it tells us about our clients, and training modifications to alleviate our client’s pain. Whether you are a strength coach, personal trainer, physical therapist or athletic trainer, this presentation will provide a new perspective on your client’s pain.

Tony Bonvechio -- Creating Context for More Efficient Coaching

Coaches put endless focus into what they say, but this presentation will illustrate the importance of how they say it. Creating context with your clients goes beyond internal and external cueing, and the ability to create "sticky" teaching moments will get your athletes moving better and more efficiently. Tony will discuss different cueing approaches, how they resonate with different learning styles, and how to say more with less to help your clients learn new movements with ease.

Tony Gentilcore -- Spinal Flexion: A Time and Place

Spinal flexion is a polarizing topic in the fitness world. Spine experts have illuminated the risks associated with loaded spinal flexion, leading to crunches and sit-ups getting labeled as taboo. In this presentation, Tony will discuss when encouraging spinal flexion - specifically on the gym floor - can address pain and dysfunction in our athletes and clients while also improving performance.

Miguel Aragoncillo – Cardio Confusion: A Deeper Look at Current Trends

Designing the cardiovascular aspect of a comprehensive exercise program often leaves us with more questions than answers: Is it helpful for body composition or performance? Should you run or should you sprint? Are there other ways to improve cardiovascular fitness? In this presentation, Miguel will discuss the trends and evaluate existing research of various conditioning methods. Finally, he’ll offer practical strategies for immediate application with your Monday morning clients.

Eric Cressey – Bogus Biomechanics and Asinine Anatomy

The strength and conditioning and rehabilitation fields are riddled with movement myths that just never seem to die. Drawing heavily on case studies, scholarly journals, and what functional anatomy tells us, Eric will “bust” some of the common fallacies you’ll encounter in the strength and conditioning field today. Most importantly, he’ll offer drills and strategies that can be utilized immediately with clients and athletes in place of these antiquated approaches.

**Bonus 2:30PM Saturday Session**

George Kalantzis and Andrew Zomberg-- The Method Behind CSP Strength Camp Madness

Group training is rapidly overtaking one-on-one training as the most profitable fitness service. However, an effective group fitness system is often difficult to create and sustain. In this session, George and Andrew will take participants through an actual CSP strength camp. The training session will be accompanied by a brief presentation and handouts that dive into the components of programming, coaching and marketing strategies to drive new business and client retention within a group training model.

Location:

Cressey Sports Performance
577 Main St.
Suite 310
Hudson, MA 01749

Cost:

Regular Rate – Early Bird $129.99, Regular $149.99
Student Rate – Early Bird $99.99, Regular $129.99

The early bird registration deadline is August 13.

Date/Time:

Sunday, September 13, 2014
Registration 8:30AM
Seminar 9AM-5PM

**Bonus session Saturday, September 12 at 2:30pm.

Continuing Education:

0.8 National Strength and Conditioning Association CEUs pending (eight contact hours)

Click Here to Sign-up (Regular)

or

Click Here to Sign-up (Students)

We’re really excited about this event, and would love to have you join us! However, space is limited and each seminar we’ve hosted in the past has sold out quickly, so don’t delay on signing up!

If you have additional questions, please direct them to cspmass@gmail.com. Looking forward to seeing you there!

PS - If you're looking for hotel information, The Extended Stay America in Marlborough, MA offers our clients a heavily discounted nightly rate of just under $63.00. Just mention "Cressey" during the booking process in order to secure the discount. Their booking phone number is 508-490-9911.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 7/13/15

It's Monday, so let's get right to a week of content with some featured posts from around the 'net.

10 Conversations to Have Before Signing Your Gym Lease - My business partner, Pete Dupuis, did somewhat of a "brain dump" for all the potential gym owners out there. Be sure to read this if you're considering opening your own place.

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Diet or Deception: The Problem with Nutrition Secrets - Adam Bornstein is a fantastic writer who always delivers "no BS" content as an entertaining read. This is an awesome example.

Technique Tuesday with Tony - We've started some new weekly features on the CSP-MA Facebook page, and on Tuesdays, Tony Bonvechio goes over some coaching cues with a 2-3 minute video. This week, he talks about how to keep your elbows under the bar while squatting.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 6/16/15

I'm a day late with this week's recommended strength and conditioning reading, as we were hosting another one of our Elite Baseball Mentorships at Cressey Sports Performance. I've still got some good reads for you, though:

Minimizing Key May Risk While Scaling Your Business - Pete Dupuis, my business partner at Cressey Sports Performance, recently started his own website, which focuses on the business side of fitness. This is his most recent post, and includes some great lessons for fitness entrepreneurs. I'd add this website to your regular reading list.

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Probiotics and Depression - The folks at Examine.com offered this free preview of their Research Digest resource. I always enjoy these updates and would recommend them if you're looking to stay on top of up-to-date research in the world of nutrition and supplementation.

10 Ways to Crush It at Your First Powerlifting Meet - This was a great article from Cressey Sports Performance coach Tony Bonvechio. It's a great read if you're thinking about competing in powerlifting. I also published this interview on the topic about ten years ago, but Tony's post definitely adds some great insights.

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Cressey Sports Performance Just Turned 7!

Today's guest post comes from Cressey Sports Performance co-founder and vice president, Pete Dupuis.

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Lost in all of the excitement surrounding yesterday’s announcement of Cressey Sports Performance’s soon-to-open second facility, is the fact that our business officially turned seven years old yesterday! It was on the 13th of July way back in the summer of 2007 that Eric, Tony and I decided to dive headfirst into an entrepreneurial lifestyle.

Rather than recycle the same old song and dance covering a list of our seven proudest moments, I will be taking a new approach in the 2014 edition of our annual birthday post. This time around, I’m going to outline the seven reasons that we are in a position to begin expanding our business and brand to other parts of the country.

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This isn’t going to be a seven-point bullet list of “how to add additional locations to your existing model”. Instead, this is going to be my way of highlighting the importance of employing good people who genuinely care about their clients, care about each other, and make it a priority to have fun every time they show up to work. I don’t think that Eric or I currently do enough to illustrate how much we appreciate our team, so this piece is a long time coming.

Gym owners with book smarts are useless without a good team

The first discussion point I like to cover during our business consultations here at CSP is the fact that the foundation of our success is quality customer service. Who really cares if you’re exceptionally talented at assessing athletes and designing individualized programming if you’re socially inept to an extent that people can’t bring themselves to spend 90-minutes with you?

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With this in mind, it should make perfect sense that I believe the seven “reasons” we’re in a position to expand are actually the collection of faces that our clients see on a daily basis. We couldn’t possibly open a second gym AND continue to operate our showcase facility simultaneously without an exceptional team of individuals who are dedicated to making both places special.

To give you a feel for what I’m talking about, consider this…

Over 3,000 athletes have now trained at CSP. That means 3,000+ assessments, some multiple of that number in individualized programs, and just a shade under 100,000 supervised training sessions executed since 2007. It is probably going to blow some people’s minds when I tell you that Eric didn’t assess every athlete and write every one of these programs himself. In fact, assessment and programming responsibilities are spread evenly throughout my staff of strength coaches here at CSP, and each one of them has their own unique specialties under our "umbrella."

What I think makes our staff amazing

This piece serves as MY perspective on what makes our entire staff unique, inspiring, caring, talented, ambitious, etc. There are, in fact, exactly seven of us who qualify as full-time staff here at CP. Since I happen to be one of the seven, you’re all about to get cheated out of a seventh “reason”, because I’m most certainly not covering what I like about myself!

Here’s a look at six people who I believe qualify as the crème of the fitness industry crop, beginning with our newest team members:

Stacie Leary – Office Manager

While Stacie is not a coach here at CSP, she is the first person that every single client through the door encounters. Stacie started as a client in 2013 and fell in love with the training environment. When our last Office Manager Paige departed (CP Hall of Fame staff member, by the way), Stacie was the first to inquire about the position.

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In the brief time since she’s been a part of our team, I’ve had more than a few clients find their way into my office to tell me that she’s doing an exceptional job. Her attention to detail borders on psychotic, which is EXACTLY what we need at the front end of our business.

Most importantly to me, Stacie genuinely cares about doing her job to the best of her ability. This is reflected on an almost daily basis as I receive text messages and emails from her making suggestions for improving the customer experience here at CSP. All of these messages roll in during times when she is “off the clock.”

Andrew Zomberg – Strength and Conditioning Coach

There are a lot of characteristics about Andrew that I appreciate, but my favorite happens to be the way he came to be part of the “CSP Family.”

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Back in the beginning of 2012, we decided to hire a new full-time strength coach. We chose to open the opportunity up to candidates from all different backgrounds and Andrew submitted an application. When the dust settled on the close to 100 candidate materials we reviewed, he happened to be in the final three candidates for a position that ultimately went to Greg Robins.

Fast-forward to the spring of 2013, when I found Andrew’s name at the top of the applicant pool for our coming summer internship. While this may not have been the most shocking occurrence in the world, I really appreciated the fact that he was eager to earn a spot in an unpaid internship program a year after just barely missing out on a paid opportunity with us. Not to mention the fact that Andrew and his wife were expecting a child, and settling in to a new life in New Hampshire after having recently relocated from Philadelphia.

Long story short, he genuinely cared about becoming a better coach. His decision to put in hundreds of unpaid hours to accomplish this over the coarse of that summer ultimately resulted in a full-time offer being extended his way. I’ve been thrilled by his contribution. And, his devotion to continuing education still remains strong; he spent his last "day off" observing elbow and knee surgeries.

Greg Robins – Strength and Conditioning Coach

As noted above, Greg became a member of our team back in the spring of 2012. Since that time, he’s coached thousands of hours of training sessions, assessed countless athletes, and designed more programs than he probably ever imagined he would. He’s also been a regular contributor to EC’s website, and helped me to build a thriving bootcamp program here at CSP.

Outside of being a well-liked coach on the training floor, Greg is undoubtedly the quirkiest individual I’ve ever met. He sings loudly (completely off-tune) at unexpected times, has survived entirely on the brisket he smoked in his backyard for multiple weeks at a time, and has a strange fashion sense.

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This past spring, as we were transitioning our Office Manager role from Paige to Stacie, I asked that each of my coaches work a single day of the week at the front desk so that they could gain an appreciation for the front end of our services. I think that our coaches tend to underappreciate this piece of the client experience, so this seemed to be the most effective way to educate them.

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Greg took the role seriously, showing up for his first day at the front desk wearing a blazer. When I asked what inspired him to clean up his look, he told me “I wear gym clothes in the gym, and office clothes in the office. There’s no in between with me.” As you can see above, I requested that he pose for a picture. Since he insisted that we figure out a way to incorporate the plant and a baseball bat, I opted for a nice spread of images.

Never a dull moment with Mr. Robins, and I love it.

Chris Howard – Wears many hats

Other than our co-founders, Chris is by far the longest tenured CSP staff member. He completed an internship with us during the fall of 2008 and ultimately joined the team as a full-time strength coach just over a year later upon completion of a massage therapy program. Chris is a strength coach, licensed massage therapist, nutrition guru, and internship education coordinator here at CSP. He does it all.

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I know for a fact that Chris cares as much about this place as us owners do. I say this because he makes his way in to my office at least once a week with one or more ideas of how we can improve our systems. He is single-handedly responsible for recording and documenting all of the content delivered in our weekly in-services and for creating an on-boarding manual for our incoming interns which essentially has them arriving on day-one ready to coach. Most importantly, he takes the initiative to systemize, organize and distribute all of this material on his own.

Earlier, I mentioned that my staff members care about not only our clients, but also each other. Chris clearly illustrated this concept just a few short weeks ago when he and his longtime girlfriend Jess volunteered to drive to my house on a Saturday night and babysit my three month old son so that my wife and I could escape for our first date night as parents.

Much like the rest of my team, Chris is as much a friend as he is an employee.

Tony Gentilcore – Co-Founder & Strength and Conditioning Coach

Tony is the most humble personality in the fitness industry. As one of the faces of CSP, Tony is a prime example of the continuity our clients look forward to in their training sessions. What these clients usually do not realize is that outside of the walls of our facility, Tony has thousands of loyal readers, Twitter followers, and fans in general who rely on his training insight on an almost daily basis.

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One of the problems with being as nice as Tony can be, is that he is vulnerable to relentless verbal assaults from people like Matt Blake, and often finds himself the subject of our “Quote of the Day” featured on the CSP Facebook Page. To this day, the most “liked” quote I’ve ever shared came from a 14-year-old female client who said:

“You know what, Tony…at first you appear to be a pretty intimidating guy with your big arms and shaved head. But then you wont stop talking about your cat, and I realize that you’re painfully soft.”

As much as it is fun to bust on his gentle nature, this underappreciated style is what makes him such an effective coach and talented writer. He was standing right there alongside me with a broom in-hand seven years ago as we prepared a brutally hot empty warehouse to be our first gym, and for that reason will forever share a bond with Eric and me.

Eric Cressey – President, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Future Exhausted Dad

Given that you are reading this on Eric’s website, I obviously do not need to outline his resume.

All I will say is this: Eric literally cares about every single aspect of how this business operates, from the program design, to the equipment selection, to social media, and everything in between. He eats, sleeps, and breathes Cressey Sports Performance.

One of the more common questions I receive from industry professionals considering opening their own facility is how to go about finding a business partner who clicks with you on both a personal and professional level. Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer to this question. I say this because Eric is truly one of a kind. Not only is he the smartest person in every room he walks into, but he also happens to have a work ethic that does not exist in anyone else. It is for this reason that I expect CSP to be uniquely productive and successful for years to come.

How’s that for a competitive advantage?!?!

Pete Dupuis – Vice President & Business Director

This guy shows up, answers calls, writes a few emails, and calls it a day. His report card reads: “Meets Expectations.”

Note from EC: in working in some humor, Pete has failed to give himself the tremendous amount of credit he deserves. Without him, the trains don't run on time at CSP, as every hour of training requires an hour of planning that goes on behind the scenes. And, logistics aside, we have Pete to thank for the unique look of our facility, witty "Quotes of the Day"on our Facebook page, and the fact that every training session is actually a social experience where clients feel right at home. We wouldn't be where we are without him and the immense amount of intellectual and emotional "capital" he's invested in the business.

Here's to seven more years of fun!

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Aspiring Fitness Professionals: You’re Already Coaching Inspirational Athletes

Today's guest post comes from Pete Dupuis, my business partner of seven years at Cressey Performance. In addition to serving as our business director, Pete oversees our internship program and has a great perspective on how many aspiring fitness professionals see themselves, and where they want to be.

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Now that your “busy season” is coming to an end, and all of your pro athletes have reported to spring training, do you guys basically throw it on autopilot and count the seconds until next September when the minor league season wraps up?

An intern applicant asked me this question earlier this week.  His mentality actually wasn’t all that far off from that of many other previous applicants. In fact, I ask every single candidate what his or her long-term career goal within the fitness industry is, and the response is almost universally inspired by this attitude. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that at least 90% of the responses I receive when asking the career goal question specifically mention working with either “elite” or “professional” athletes. 

I get it.  Professional athletes are living the dream.  Why would you want to coach soccer moms?  General fitness population is boring you to death.  The lawyer you train isn’t concerned with getting in to “beast mode” every time he hits the gym.  Seriously, I get it.

Before you go and make a career change to coach professional athletes, or abandon a successful personal training business at your local commercial gym, I have a question for you: have you made an effort to REALLY get to know the people surrounding you every time you go to work?  More specifically, do you realize the goldmine of networking opportunities you are letting pass by on a daily basis as you dream about prepping a D-1 athlete for the NFL combine?

I’m not here to tell you that you have to “pay your dues” before you can start setting the bar that high (although, you do).  I’m here to tell you that in some cases, the least interesting clients we have at Cressey Performance can be the professional ballplayers.  In short, the season is so long and draining that when the off-season rolls around, most of them really don’t want to talk about baseball – which is the stuff you may find “cool” and discussion-worthy. While their in-season periods are very much abnormal as compared to “typical” jobs, they’re normal people in the off-season.

So, what do I tell an intern applicant when he or she asks me what the best thing is about working with so many professional athletes? 

Sometimes I’ll tell them that we have one client who dresses up as Santa Clause and jumps out of an airplane with multiple other Santa impersonators every December to raise funds for charity. 

He also happens to own one of the most successful roofing companies in Massachusetts, as well as property in Costa Rica that he kindly offered to EC for his honeymoon trip in 2011.

I’ll occasionally tell them that we once prepared a client for the FBI entrance exam, and he demonstrated the art of subduing a suspect by taking Tony Gentilcore to the floor and handcuffing him in less than 4 seconds…in the middle of a crowded gym…while dressed in a Halloween costume…in between his sets of deadlifts.

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Maybe I’ll tell them that we have one former intern whose favorite part of his time with us was the hours he spent coaching and socializing with the 7th employee at Facebook. 

Sometimes I tell them to look across the gym where we have not one, but three engineers from Bose who like to soak up the unique training environment while they’re not at their office designing some of the best audio equipment the world has seen.

Most importantly, I tell them that they’re going to miss out on a truly amazing learning experience if they spend their time with us (or at any other gym) only concerning themselves with chasing the “elite” athletic population.  There are some amazing stories just waiting to be told right there on the training floor.  You’ll inevitably find yourself on the receiving end if you step out of your comfort zone and appreciate the fact that many of the “average” people you interact with have experienced some pretty amazing things.  The clients who show up for training sessions on a year-round basis, as opposed to during an off-season, are the ones with whom you have the chance to make a life-long impression.

There will be times in the future when you’ll need to consult the people around you as you encounter difficult decisions.  Some of your best career, life, and business advise is likely to come from the network of individuals you’ve worked hard to develop in this gym setting.  This type of insight is almost certainly NOT going to come from the guy who has spent the last six months riding buses around the country and surviving entirely on sunflower seeds and fast-food.  It is also unlikely to come from the ones who are accustomed to bypassing airport security to step on to their chartered flight to the next MLB stadium.

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Whenever it is that my CP days are behind me, I’m obviously going to look back fondly on seeing close friends make big-league debuts, or maybe even compete in the summer or winter Olympics.  What I’ll absolutely cherish, though, is the fact that a couple of casual Saturday morning conversations with one of our general fitness clients eventually led to an introduction to the girl who is now my wife.  It’s a good thing I didn’t pass on chatting with her so that I could spend more time watching the pro guys argue over who had next on the ping-pong table.

Looking for more fitness business insights?  Check out the Fitness Business Blueprint, a detailed "how-to" guide for those interested in starting up their own businesses in this industry.

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3 Tips for Finding a New Space for Your Gym

Today's guest post comes from the Vice-President and Business Director of Cressey Performance, Pete Dupuis.

Since opening during the summer of 2007, Cressey Performance has called three different pieces of property “home”. In just over five years of operation, we have seen our facility footprint expand from just over 2,000 square feet…to a 6,600 square foot unit, which eventually became a 7,600 square foot space…to our current place of business, a strength & conditioning playground that measures to just a shade over 15,000 square feet.

As the Business Director at CP, I have had the (mostly enjoyable) responsibility of identifying potential new property, envisioning its potential, and ultimately executing on our visions. This past summer I had the pleasure of attacking the project of a full-on facility relocation for the second time since CP opened its doors.

Since our Grand Opening in late August, the dust has settled, and in the blink of an eye, we find ourselves six months in to our new lease. We have survived another “busiest baseball off-season” in the history of our business, and I now have the time to reflect on this big step that we chose to take in doubling our space and expanding our staff by two full-time employees.

So, we’ve built three gyms; what did I learn? With a little reflection, I came to three quick conclusions as it relates to finding the right piece of real estate for your business in the fitness industry. 

1. Commercial space that meets your needs is not hard to find.

Seeing as how our economy hasn’t exactly flourished since we began this whole entrepreneurial adventure back in 2007, one lesson we’ve learned time and time again is that property is readily available and not hard to find. As a matter of fact, back in early 2008 when I began to entertain the idea of moving out of our first facility to find greener pastures, I simply kept my eyes open during my drive home.

Within the first three miles of my daily commute from Hudson back to the Boston area, I found three separate street-front signs advertising commercial real estate ranging from 1,000 square feet of available space, on up to as much as 30,000. Most importantly, these weren’t makeshift signs thrown up to catch attention the moment the space became available; these were permanent slots on the address boards that rarely changed. This told me that space was sitting vacant long enough for property owners to pay for signage rather than simply throwing a listing up on loop.net. This also told us that we had leverage before we even walked through the door.

Don’t assume that your hunt for property needs to start on the internet. Drive around. Open your eyes to the signs and buildings you mindlessly pass every single day. There’s a lot more available out there than you’d ever imagine.

2. Your landlord is not your most important contact once the lease is signed.

I ultimately ended up pulling into the parking lot at 577 Main Street in Hudson on an April afternoon in 2008, and was unexpectedly greeted by the Property Manager for the building. This gentleman, Bill, was more than happy to walk me through a vacant unit that was in line with the size and dimensions we were seeking for our next space. Without an appointment of any sort, I stumbled upon an opportunity to tour what ultimately proved to be our home from 2008-2012. What I didn’t realize at the time was that my great customer service experience with Bill on day one would actually prove to be an indicator of what I could expect moving forward.

When upwards of 150 people make their way through your gym on a daily basis, things break. Assuming you pay your rent on time, fixes and modifications are made when you request assistance through the previously agreed upon chain of command, as outlined in your lease terms. However, things get done faster when you’re friendly with the Property Manager. Let’s be honest: shooting Bill a quick text is a lot easier than emailing or calling the building owner, who then forwards the message to his Operations Manager, who then pages Bill to come to their office to discuss the fact that the guys up at CP are complaining that their air conditioner is too loud again.

I have come to the conclusion that, in many ways, Bill is, in fact, the most powerful man at 577 Main Street. More importantly, he is friendly with our clients, actively seeks out conversation with our staff, and truly cares about every square inch of the property on which our building sits. When two feet of snow falls on a Saturday evening in February, Bill spends his entire Sunday plowing. When the ceiling springs a leak in our athlete lounge at 5:30pm on a Friday evening, Bill is in his car and back to our space with a smile on his face. Bill simply gets things done, and you don’t have to ask twice.

If you want to eliminate a lot of headaches and frustration over the lifetime of your lease, I would strongly recommend that you ask to meet the person responsible for maintaining it before you ever sign on the dotted line. Trust me: you do not want to be dealing with Oscar the Grouch every time a light blows out or you need to request that a duplicate key be made for a new staff member. Make it your priority to find your own Bill the Property Manager in addition to simply identifying your dream space. You wont regret it.

3. Patience is a virtue.

During our first four years of operation at 577 Main Street in Hudson, business grew at a rate with which we were very pleased. Our clients regularly filled the parking lot, spent their fair share of money at the on-site café, and generally created a level of foot traffic that caught our landlord’s eye. It was for this reason that he spent the better part of the past two years trying to convince us that we needed to make the jump into “this great unit at the back of the building.” 

While we were happy to humor him by walking through the space and having some extremely preliminary discussions regarding costs associated with such a move back in 2010, the feedback we provided could essentially be summed up in one quick sentence: “It is simply too much space for us.” Not surprisingly, walking away from a discussion like that isn’t made easily when the second largest unit in the building has been sitting vacant for months or even years. Our landlord made it clear that concessions could be made. Offers including a month or more of free rent, considerably reduced dollar-per-square foot figures, and more were extended our way.

Fortunately, since the day we started our business, we have agreed that having more space simply because we can isn’t justification for an expansion. We could have been offered the 15,000 square foot unit for the same monthly figure we were paying for 7,600, but the reality is that we wouldn’t have been in a position to generate the foot-traffic necessary for us to A) create an optimal training environment, B) fund the expansion of our staff to meet the needs of supervising such a spread-out facility, and C) create an image of perceived “busyness” necessary to inspire confidence in those who enter our space inquiring about our services (perceived success is important).

Fast-forward to the spring of 2012, and suddenly the timing felt right.

Well, wouldn’t you know it: not only was the space still available, but it was suddenly even more affordable than before. After approaching our landlord to discuss, we ultimately found ourselves with an entire summer of access to the space free-of-charge to prepare for a busy fall opening, access to the building’s loading-dock-height truck for any and all moving needs, unlimited dumpster space for trash removal during the transition, and an anticipated clientele for the fall and winter that actually justified an expansion to double our space.

The ultimate take away from our experience was that you don’t need to rush to expand your business. Aggressive growth strategies for strength and conditioning facilities are likely to lead to half-empty units with full-size rent invoices in the years to follow. As it turns out, CP is not of the “if you build it, they will come” mentality. Sometimes, slow and steady wins the race.

Considering starting or expanding your current fitness business?  Check out The Fitness Business Blueprint, a product I collaborated on with Mike Robertson and Pat Rigsby. It discusses all the mistakes we made when opening our fitness businesses, as well as the common mistakes Pat sees in the businesses for which he consults. Mike and I complement Pat's business teachings with training-specific information like assessment and program design. For more information, click here.


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5 Overlooked Resources for Making Your Strength and Conditioning Programs More Effective

I know there are a lot of fitness professionals who look to EricCressey.com as a continuing education resource. With that in mind, I wanted to discuss a few resources that have been tremendously valuable to me; hopefully you'll benefit from them (if you aren't already) as much as I have.

1. Video - Video is a powerful tool for coaching and monitoring progress in clients, and it's also very accessible nowadays, thanks to smart phones and digital cameras. Still, I'm always amazed at how few fitness professionals utilize it to help coach. I use it quite a bit in my evaluation process, especially with tough cases where I want to be able to monitor progress in movement quality. It's just as valuable on the training floor to back up coaching cues that you're giving.

Additionally, having access to the RightView Pro software in our facility thanks to our pitching coordinator, Matt Blake, has been tremendously valuable in not only breaking down inefficient mechanics, but also demonstrating the powerful effects a good baseball strength and conditioning program can have on a pitcher's body control and power on the mound.

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2. Related Professionals - A fresh sets of eyes and a new perspective can have a huge influence on your strength and conditioning programs and how you coach. We've learned a ton from rehabilitation specialists, other fitness professionals, sport coaches, business consultants, and folks from a host of other professions.

As an interesting aside to this discussion, have you ever noticed how doctors - who have a minimum of eight years of higher education - refer patients out all the time to other doctors for second opinions? Yet, how often do you see personal trainers - who are a profession with an absurdly low barrier to entry - ask for another perspective from an unbiased third party? Food for thought.

3. Your Clients - I'm sure you'd love to think that you know your clients' bodies better than anyone else, but the truth is that those clients know themselves and how they're feeling much better than you ever could! I made the mistake early in my career of assuming too much and asking too few questions; I was talking 70% of the time and listening for the other 30%. Nowadays, I'm listening 70% of the time (at the very least) and I am a much better coach as a result.

As an example, now is a quiet time of year with all of our baseball guys in-season, so I'm using it as an opportunity to follow up with all our clients from this past off-season. I want to know how they felt during spring training, and how the transition to the start of the season went. All the feedback I get is valuable for not only next off-season, but helping them to tinker with things as needed right now.

4. New Training Equipment - Variety in a strength and conditioning program isn't just important to ensure optimal progress, but also to make sure that clients remain interested. Do you need to go out and buy all new equipment every other month? Of course not! However, adding some new training implements - or even just new uses for old equipment - can provide some variety. And, it's an opportunity for you to teach your client, as they're sure to ask: "What is this and what does it do?"

5. Business Partners/Assistants - When I first got started in Boston, I was doing all the scheduling and billing. While swiping credit cards and watching your schedule fill up is fulfilling at first, it eventually becomes a huge drain on your time, energy, and productivity. I'm a much better coach than I am a business logistics guy - and that's why the first person I contacted to help me start Cressey Sports Performance was my buddy, Pete Dupuis.

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Pete's become a fantastic business director (and vice-president) at CSP, and we've had double digit growth every year since we opened in 2007. He's managed my schedule, handled phone calls, done all our billing/invoicing, and become a liaison between coaches and clients when the clients aren't in the gym. In short, his efforts have made me more efficient so that I can evaluate, program for, and coach clients; review research; interact with other coaches; and do more staff/intern education.

Additionally, business partners, staff, and interns are great for asking the challenging questions that make you rethink the way you're doing things - and often provide suggestions and solutions that help make things more efficient and effective.

These are only five resources to get the ball rolling, but there are certainly many more available to fitness professionals in their quest to deliver a great client experience. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below on what resources have helped to make you better at what you do. 

And, in the meantime, I want to give you a heads-up about a new option on this front that I'm really excited to incorporate in my "continuing education arsenal." It's called the Examine Research Digest. This regular publication features reviews of recent nutrition and supplementation research by an accomplished panel of industry experts, and the reviews end with practical applications. It's a time-saving way to stay on top of the latest research, and it's also very affordable, especially at the introductory 20% off discount. The sale ends tonight, though, so don't delay in checking it out HERE.

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