Thoughts on Finding a Niche in the Fitness Industry
“So what do you specialize in?”
This is a question that I still struggle with.
Because I don’t know.
I know that I am good at motivating people to lead a healthier life.
I know that I am good at helping people get stronger.
But I’m not sure how to put that into words because I feel like people are always looking for a “sexy” answer, like,
“Oh, I specialize in kettlebells.”
“The Shake Weight. I use it with all my clients.”
I’ve just always approached training as “whatever is best for the client”. And that involves an approach to programming and coaching that is a strong mix of what’s been proven in research and what the top coaches are finding to be effective.
Exciting, I know.
But I was thinking the other day as I continue to define what Essers of Los Angeles is and what it stands for that THAT is a niche.
The fitness industry has become such a smorgasboard of disciplines and fads that I honestly drive down the street now and see some of these facilities and I don’t have a clue as to what is happening on the inside.
It appears to be exercise, but it also looks to be entirely over-complicated.
And that’s probably a result of everyone trying to separate themselves with a niche and get people to say, “Hey, what’s that?”
I can’t fault them for the hustle.
Going back to our training approach at Essers as an example, what we are doing would be considered so “old-school” that it essentially separates us from everyone else.
In Los Angeles at least, I don’t know of any facilities that offer a high-quality coaching staff and individualized programming with a 3x/week pre-set training frequency in an intimate environment.
But to see the best results possible, you’re going to need high-quality coaching, individualized programming, and you’re going to need to train at LEAST 3x/week to see a significant difference. Those qualities weren’t born out of trying to be unique.
Outside of that, the “innovation” we provide is sound strength and conditioning practices. The fact that we consider ourselves professionals, actually plan out training programs, and place a huge focus on proper coaching is not the norm these days.
I remember getting introduced by a client to one of their friends like this,
“This is my trainer Kasey, he’s really big on technique.”
I almost LOL’d. Seriously? Is that a thing now?
That’s like introducing a dentist by saying, “he/she is really big on getting cavities out.”
Yeah…that’s their job.
But it only serves to highlight the above.
However, I’m learning that a niche isn’t just what you do. It’s who you CHOOSE to work with.
A guy came in to Essers the other day and was asking questions and I was giving him the run-down before he stopped me and said,
“Yeah, I’m really big on variety, do you guys do boxing and (insert 2 things I had not heard of)?”
“No actually, we don’t.”
“Well, do you have any 2x/week training options?”
“No, just 3.”
I could tell by the look on his face that he was taken aback that I wasn’t bending over backwards trying to sell him. The conversation ended shortly thereafter.
And some people might respond to that with the same response as him, “How come you didn’t try to accommodate him?”
Because we have our standards at ELA and we don’t adjust them for anyone. We have a very clear picture of our “ideal athlete” and it starts with someone who understands the value of our model.
The accountability of the training frequency…the motivation of training around others…the trust of being able to turn everything over to a coach.
That’s the type of athlete we are looking for.
It’s no offense to anyone who is not right for us, but it would be inconsiderate of someone’s time and money to get them to sign up for something that they will ultimately not like.
We have other standards, as seen in the below video with a few of our founding athletes.
Based off of our growth to this point, there is a market out there for just being a well-rounded fitness professional who doesn’t take on everyone just to make a buck.
I wanted to write this because I feel like there are a lot of fitness professionals out there who are doing great work, but maybe not getting recognized because they aren’t promoting the coolest and latest training fad.
It’s ok. Don’t feel pressured into being something you are not. Stick to your guns, do incredible work, be selective with your clientelé, and your niche will start to define itself.
If anything, just promote the type of people that you work with. It can obviously be a range of attributes, but by just sitting down and thinking about who you enjoy working with, you can let that do the talking for you.
And then over time, if you gravitate toward a specific training style, feel free to sell that. Just don’t force it.
Be you. Do you.
Dominate All Life,