Lately I’ve been conducting some market research in hopes of getting a better understanding of the area which Iron Performance calls home. Information about the common demographics, annual income and population majority have been really helpful in identifying the local community. What I have gathered (and am still gathering) is an idea of what people want from fitness and what they deem reasonable to pay for it. This information is invaluable to Iron Performance because it helps better understand our customers and what they look to get from our services. So, here’s what we gathered:
Based on a significant number of responses, the majority of people feel their fitness is important and actually spend many hours of the week working to improve it. A comfortable environment with enough equipment, high quality service and space to train was top priority for many individuals looking to invest in fitness. With regards to type of service, the bulk of participants really considered personal training and nutritional support valuable to achieving their desired goals.
Although many people consider fitness and fitness related service valuable, the price point for everyone seemed low. Many people didn’t wish to spend more than a few dollars for memberships or training services. At the end of the day, a major obstacle for everyone was the cost.
Price point was a heavily considered factor for those who responded to the survey. I was concerned that although people valued their fitness goals, their success would be determined by the dollar figure. In other words, I was concerned that cost came before success.
Listen, I am the first person to look at a price tag before even inquiring about what it is I am looking to buy. I can fully appreciate people making strict choices and doing diligence before spending their hard earned funds. Priorities always need to be considered and ranked as what is important now and what can wait for later. The cost of everything nowadays seems to be on the rise with wages struggling to catch up. When people decide to purchase, they want to ensure they are getting the best service possible for the money they spend.
Here’s the issue: you typically get what you pay for. Major franchised gyms offer extremely cheap membership rates and make their money off volume of sales. The problem people face with this option is everyone else purchasing the same membership. This leads to overcrowding, lack of available equipment and an uncomfortable environment. I appreciate a good bargain, but I also appreciate value and the cost to acquire it. It’s like going to the grocery store and buying Miss Vickie’s chips over No Name brand. You want a better tasting chip so you pay the couple extra bucks knowing you will enjoy them more. Ya, you could buy way more No Name brand chips, but then you’re stuck with bags of flavorless cardboard (Sorry No Name fans).
Remember how I said people consider space, quality of service, comfort and equipment a top priority? That means that the majority of participants value those attributes. Is that value not worth the extra cost? I understand there is a fine line for reasonable charge, however if it fits the range why do we struggle to take the leap? Do you hesitate to purchase a good haircut from the salon or a nice meal from a fancy restaurant? If fitness, health and/or sport performance are a priority, why do we have such a hard time investing in something that will improve our life or help us feel fulfillment?
What’s In It For You?
I firmly believe a little education will go a long way when it comes to delivering valuable service. After all, why would anyone pay good money for something they may not fully understand? Fitness and health is a huge industry, especially with rising obesity rates. Everyone is looking to keep their health under control in order to improve quality of life. Athletic performance is another popular market that leads to many young stars looking to get an edge over their opponents. With the increasing rise in technology, performance variables and talented athletes are a commodity worth investing in for their respective teams. The market is there, no doubt about it.
I think people forget the true value of improving health and fitness. Of course the obvious benefits of fat loss, reduced cardiovascular risks and resistance to injury are well known but how does this help them specifically? How does losing fat, improving cardiovascular health, preventing injuries or whatever other benefit you can think of make someone’s life better?
Being able to relate importance is crucial for a trainer. If you can’t paint the picture, no one will invest in your art. Being able to tell the accountant that working with you will improve their energy levels so they can stay later at the office and hammer out more work. This will lead to more free time to spend with friends and family. Educating the mom of two kids about weight training and how it actually enhances fat loss so she can fit into her sexy black dress. Guiding the athlete through a specific program to help put them push past their limitations in time for the big game. It’s our job as coaches to educate society of our profession and relate it to how it will help them succeed in their lives. We all know exercise is beneficial but not everyone cares. Being able to help connect exercise on a personal level is what makes it invaluable.
You Are Worth It
When purchasing a gym membership or fitness services, I ask that you try to adjust your perspective. Fitness and strength training isn’t a short term purchase. It’s not like buying a pair of new shoes that’ll give you that instant gratification. Fitness training (whether for health, looks or sport performance) is an investment for the long term. The gratification comes months down the road when your pants become too baggy or your t-shirt becomes too tight. Gratification comes when you beat everyone on the court or knock down the biggest player on the ice. Gratification comes when you get the call from the human resource people of the police department asking you for an interview.
That fuzzy feeling of success doesn’t appear like it would at a shopping mall. It comes when you least expect it. That stunning moment makes it that much sweeter. The astonishment confirms that the hard work you’ve done has started to pay back it’s dues. Those unsuspecting occasions solidify the trust in your tenacity to keep going and not quit when everyone else would. The rewards are great yet the feeling of self-confidence is even greater.It’s a tough road and many will fall along the way but the few who stick with it are paid back in full.
In closing, I ask those considering investing in fitness to think of what you value most and how you want to succeed long term. Every factor you deem valuable will affect your fitness success. As for cost, you can expect to pay more for better service, facility quality and overall experience. It’s no different than any other purchase you make. The issue most strength coaches have is trying to help people understand the value of improving physical health and relating it to what people value outside the gym. Although some may have a harder time connecting the dots, there are many of us out there who can. If you are looking for a Picasso to paint the picture you wish to see, click here.
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