Last month I had a brilliant few days of fun and education at a Fitness Business meetup in Reading. As is often the case with a lot of these meet ups there is nearly as much learning and idea sharing going on between the official lectures as during the course itself.

While it was a Business event, with so many fit pros at it there was always going to be a load of fitness lessons for me as well – below are just some of the things I took on board:

EVERYONE HAS A STORY: There were people on the course from all over the UK, Australia, the US, Sweden and Germany. Each person had their own story and some of them were really interesting, like beating cancer while running a fitness business at 28, one having a fitness business set up but dropping it to go home and look after his sick mum and one having been through 2 divorces but still building a business that allows him to travel when and where he wants.

Everyone has a story and it’s important that when you’re going after your fitness goals that you realise you’re doing it for yourself and your story. You might have recently seen someone losing 3 stone for example, but that doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Unless your goals will work to compliment your own values, you won’t be compelled to go after them.

Also don’t let your story and any struggles you’ve been through so far stop you going after your fitness goals. One of the most eye opening comments made to me in Reading was when Matt said that his cancer almost had an advantage for him as it made him build connections with other PT’s and taught him loads about building a business that he doesn’t have to be there all the time for.

THINK SUMMER AND WINTER: We were advised to work on different aspects of our businesses at different times, making marketing a “Summer period” followed by a “Winter period” of focusing on structure and systems. Obviously you need to look at your training with a similar structure, maybe even breaking it down further. For example if you have a stressful week coming up maybe get your workouts done in the evening or ask your trainer to shorten them for you. Or even change them upto more stretching and mobility work for the week. Or if you have a holiday coming up you dial in your nutrition and exercise even more tightly then ease yourself back into it on your return. Doing this will help keep your training routine fresh, prevent injuries and keep you training long term instead of having a boom and bust mentality towards exercise.

BUILD ON STRONG FOUNDATIONS: Our winter periods in the business are considered the times we make sure that our structures and systems are strong in them. We were consistently reminded of thinking about the long game and building sustainable businesses, hence the winter periods.

Too often people who are starting out with their health and fitness regimes go head first into thinking that they are in the Summer season and they don’t realise that good foundations need to be put in place. For example they will look to supplements to help them burn fat from the stomach even though everything from their sleep to nutrition to their stress levels is a mess.  Seriously if you are starting out, work on a couple of habits at a time and play the long game with your health and fitness.

DON’T GO IT ALONE: On the last night there were 3 of us at the bar and we were discussing the different aspects of running a small business. One of the things discussed was how despite dealing with people so much it can be a lonely place at times. All 3 of us admitted that at one stage or another over the last 18 months that we had considered giving up the game and “getting a real job”. We were all glad we didn’t and a major factor was joining groups like the one we were on and getting help with our business.

If you are at a sticking point or getting bored with your fitness routine, one of the things I would highly recommend is joining a group/getting a PT/training partner. Not only can they help you with advice and systems to make it more effective, they will also remove any potential boredom and loneliness from your workouts.

ALL ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES: One of the nights two of the lads were having an intense talk about all things fitness and ended up going back to one of their rooms sitting up until 3am to discuss the industry. Both guys are married and both have kids – couldn’t have been an any more innocent situation. This didn’t stop everyone else giving them awful grief about how dodgy it seemed that they went to a hotel room until 3am together and how it could be misconstrued as something more sinister as a consequence of their actions.

Sometimes people don’t realise that their actions are being very detrimental to their fitness goals. Like the glass of wine/beer/bar of chocolate every evening after work which doesn’t seem overly sinister but can grow to things like a drink dependency or a lot of unhealthy calories and something like diabetes over time. Also not taking action can have consequences when it comes to things like not going to the gym or getting your weekly shop in.

I’m not saying that you need to be absolutely paranoid about everything you eat and work out 5 times a week religiously, but being aware of what you’re doing and how it will affect you long term is vital…

Anyway to finish there are 85 days left in 2018 and a lot of people will have had big goals coming into the year. Start implementing the tips above and not only can you have a strong finish to 2018, but you’ll also give yourself a really strong foundation to build on going into another New Year…

Shane is a Coach (and Owner) at the Christchurch Fitness Centre. An experienced fitness professional who has helped numerous people lose weight, tone up and develop their confidence, Shane has a strong interest in continuous education and is doing /has completed mentorships/courses with (among others), the Irish Strength Institute, Body Development, Training for Warriors (level 2), Precision Nutrition, Steve Maxwell, Sigma Nutrition, Zuu, Darby Training Systems and Mike Mahler, TRX, and the Advanced Coaching Academy.