#JTInTheRaw Show 59: The Australian Fitness Industry Is Killing Itself

There’s a funny thing about work: we spend more time with our work mates than with our friends and sometimes even more than with our family!  Yet more often than not, our work mates don’t understand us or know us because being honest with them is scary! 

What do you think of a work mate who acts and looks disorganised?  

Or a boss who says your work is fine and you are expecting them to say “great.” 

We find out about the people we work with through trial and error in communication and their response to our actions.  And very rarely, if EVER, through conversation! 

To stop this shit happening in your work place, build a User Guide for every team member!  And today I’m going to explain what needs to be in your individual user guides. 

Welcome to #JTInTheRaw show 59 where I chew the thin on business.  I’m no expert in business but I have plenty of war wounds from trying and failing.  And #JTInTheRaw allows me to share my learnings so you have a better business. 

Hey this week, I wonder what you are an expert in? 

As I shared a few weeks ago, I am an expert in eating red frogs.  Allens red frogs are just too small and too sugary.  It’s the larger frogs that you get at most sporting fields, they are my confectionary of choice!  And I know red frogs! 

What about you . . . other than what you do for a career, what are you an expert in?  Tell me in the comments below! Go . . . lets have some fun! Go . . . 

Today’s show I’ll be sharing how to build a creative, collaborative and trusting team by having User Guides for you and each staff member! 

And then I’ll finish off today with a rant on the ridiculous state of the Australian Fitness Industry in regard to registration bodies and snipers at the peak body.  I’ve been sitting on this for awhile and I have a feeling that today, I may just blow a gasket! 

First today, I want to do a shout out to my rugby club.  I am on the Board of Directors at Norths and tomorrow our 4th grade team will be playing in the grand final and our first grade will be also be playing.  Last year we won the 1st grade GF for the first time in 41 years, so we are aiming for back to back!  It will be a tough game and a shout out to all the boys and to spur them on, no matter where in the world you are watching today – live or on replay – in the comments please pop in “Go Norths” and if you are clever enough use the red and black dots do it! 

The Power of A User Guide 

This week I read about Igor Krughrud, the CEO of QuestBack, who said he developed a one page user manual so people could understand how to work with him. 

He started using this as he noticed staff were treating everyone the same, despite their individual needs, quirks and traits.    

The concept of the User Guide is to help people adapt to each other as they understand each other better.  

If we can understand how people like to communicate or be communicated to do, that’s gotta help – wouldn’t you agree?  Hit the thumbs if you agree. 

If we know how to bring up problems, issues or challenges with our boss, that’s also gotta help. 

And if our boss knows that we are not the energiser bunny and love private praise rather than public recognition – that’s gotta help too – right?  

A User Guide is a start to streamlining your relationships with a description of your quirks, values, communication styles and more! 

Here are six suggested segments for your User Guide that comes from Abby Falik, the CEO of Global Citizen Year: 

  1. My Style 
  2. What I value 
  3. What I don’t have patience for 
  4. How to best communicate with me 
  5. How to help me 
  6. What people misunderstand about me 

Falik suggests that you then add 3 to 5 bullet points under each of those headlines.   

Remember, these are specifically designed to minimise – if not get rid of altogether – conflict owing to differences between our team members and us! 

These categories help ensure team mates just don’t understand you but also how to productively and positively engage with you. 

The most creative and collaborative teams are the ones where team members openly and honestly share without fear of judgement.   

The better your team know each other the easier it is to navigate conflict, empathise, critique, share and even praise. 

Do you want those 6 segments again? 

  1. My Style 
  2. What I value 
  3. What I don’t have patience for 
  4. How to best communicate with me 
  5. How to help me 
  6. What people misunderstand about me 

Who’s up for writing a User Guide to save hour and hours of annalysing and predicting what your teammates like or don’t like! 

Feel free to share these tips by hitting share the video or tagging anyone in the comments below. 

If you missed the 6 segments, you’ll be able to read them on the Active Management blog on Wednesday next week. 

Before I enter my rant, the question of the day is “Other than what your career is in, what are you an expert in?”  Pop it in the comments.  Remember, I’m an expert in red frogs! 

#JTRant 

If you are not from the fitness industry, you may enjoy my rant and you maybe able to offer thoughts from your industry but this is very specific in regard to current happenings in the fitness industry. 

I first need to get a few things off my chest: 

  • The reason I do what I do is because I want to reduce the health care costs across the globe.  To do that I believe that people should move more and move often.  I believe that movement should be in a quality fitness facility and with – either directly or indirectly – a qualified and registered fitness professional. 
  • I love what I do and love the fitness industry.  For 15 of my 30 years I volunteered to make the industry stronger and more professional.  Let me say that again volunteered.  As I knew a stronger and more professional industry would help the gym that I owned. 
  • There is no hidden agenda with me.  What you see is what you get and what you’re going to hear today is my opinion – which I am entitled to – in the hope that it may have an impact on fit pro’s, gym owners and others in our industry.    

In all honesty, I have no idea what % of the fitness industry TODAY know about the topic of my rant.  I guarantee if we continue in the current direction, then everyone in the industry will know about this topic within 12 months. 

Here goes . . .  

Fitness Australia is the peak body for the Australian Fitness Industry.  I passionately and responsibly believe that fit pro’s must register and gyms must support Fitness Australia, if we are to have an industry that can improve the health of our nation.   

When we have the new player on the block Fit Rec and Physical Activity Australia positioning themselves as a registration body it erodes the credibility of the current national registration system and confuses the market place.  

The current registration system in Australia is the envy of countries across the globe.  Other countries want to copy what we have as many countries have 10 to 20 to 30 registration bodies who all compete for fit pro’s to register with them. 

I know like many of you Fitness Australia is not perfect.  You know it, I know it and the Board know it – shit probably even Bill Moore knows what they deliver is not perfect.  In fact let me point out I have never heard anyone from Fitness Australia say they are perfect or parts of their business are perfect.  They admit they are working on getting better to support the industry. 

Now, they have to compete!  Rather than helping Fitness Australia get better, organisations want to compete – they want to cut the peak bodies lunch!   

And exactly how does that help the entire industry? 

I’m not very smart, so here is my simplistic view . . . 

  1. The Australian fitness industry is not the same as the US in regard to sheer numbers of fit pros.  We cannot sustain multiple registration bodies.  There simply is not enough fit pros or fitness businesses to ensure all “registration” bodies are commercially viable.  In fact, if you speak with the US consumer or the US fitness business owner there are SO many registration bodies they have no idea who is who.  And that confuses everyone!!!  One go to body makes perfect sense. 
  2. With multiple registration bodies, each one will spend money marketing to fit pros to register and re-register.  It becomes a buyer’s market for the fit pro and as we know, the competition will start with value adds and quickly move to discount pricing to buy market share.  The fit pro wins but the industry loses!  Less income is being generated to help support the industry and what income is being generated is being ploughed back into marketing to get more registrations. 
  3. There are hundreds of RTO’s in Australia that train fit pro’s.  Each one of them could become a registration body if the current trend continues.  And again we have confusion, competition and the industry will lose. 

From the outside looking in, I get that it appears Fitness Australia in many people’s eyes do nothing!  It appears they have let the fit pro’s down.  I understand they should be doing more to help them.  I appreciate that gym owners are concerned about what they get for their membership.  But just because they have weaknesses doesn’t mean you exploit them by competing with them and watering down the foundations our industry is built upon.   

Oh and can I tell you why people think Fitness Australia are doing nothing . . . because they are fucking terrible at blowing their own trumpet!!!  So part of my rant today is directed to Fitness Australia and start yelling what you are doing and winning with. 

The majority of the industry may not know there are 3 or more bodies that register fit pros. And for many of watchers today, it is not an issue.  And they are right, it not an issue today or tomorrow but this will snowball and will be a massive issue in 2 to 3 years!  And by then we can NEVER go back. 

My gripe is about the confusion for fit pros; employers; health funds and governments of multiple registration bodies present.  

Now consider the sheer commercial side of things with these hypothetical numbers: 30,000 fit pros in Australia each pay 100 bucks for one year registration . . . that’s $3m.  Imagine what ONE body could do with $3m in regard to consumer campaigns to encourage joining gyms or working out with a PT.  But oh no . . . in Australia we have to have 3 bodies, so each body only receives $1m of which 10% at minimum will go into telling you why you should register with that body. 

Wouldn’t it make sense that we spend that income on getting people more active with consumer campaigns?  Wouldn’t you prefer as a gym owner, manager or PT to have people knocking on your door saying I saw a message on TV from Fitness Australia and I want to get healthy can you help me. Instead of spending money on Facebook ads, google ads, flyers or any other marketing?  

This is never going to happen when we have registration bodies scrambling for income and market share. 

It’s just dumb and makes no business sense for anyone.  

So I am putting it out there today . . .  

Bill Moore from Fitness Australia I challenge you to be the leader!   

I am challenging you to hold out the olive branch and meet with Dennis Hoskings from Fit-rec and Ben Cooper from Physical Activity Australia plus any other people who want to have their say in the registration process.  And I am challenging Dennis and Ben and whomever else to come with an open mind and let’s see what together we can achieve.  

And Bill while you’re holding out that olive branch why not invite anyone else in the fitness industry who is sniping behind Fitness Australia’s back trying to undermine the peak body.   

There are a number of individuals peddling fake news, posting cryptic social media messages, making destabilizing phone calls to industry influencers, accusing Fitness Australia of being a boys club (bit difficult when it’s a democratically elected Board but why let facts stand in the way) and other bull shit that doesn’t help the industry.  

You guys and girls are like a bunch of naughty kids behind the toilet block at school who can’t get their own way.  Grow the fuck up!  

Have the courage to front Fitness Australia with your issues and then have the respect to accept the result of the discussion.   

Geez Fitness Australia have pissed me off too many times to count and here I am standing by them still! 

So if I had my way, I would lock Bill, Ben, Dennis and anyone else who wants to snipe around the credibility and integrity of Fitness Australia in a room and not let them out until they had all smoked the peace pipe.   

While you alleged grown ups compete with each other and others whinge and bitch, 1 in 10 Aussies are dying from inactivity related diseases.  This needs to be where we put our energy, enthusiasm and resources! 

Drop your egos.  Forget your personal agendas.  Get your shit together now. Unite the industry.  And lets do some good!   

Remember divided the industry will fail & fall.  United we stand and make a difference. 

I guess we’ll just need to watch this space to see what happens!    

Feel free to share this rant by tagging anyone in the comments below or even share your own opinion in the comments – I have broad shoulders if you want to disagree with me knock yourself out. 

So before I sign off … 

This week’s show included the importance of sharing with your Team how you operate!  Give them a Users Guide to ensure productive communication with you.  Have all your team write a Users Guide and you’ll have an innovative team. 

And don’t forget in the comments below, I want to know what you’re an expert in, other than your career.  Some of you may well say I’m an expert in bullshitting but I sticking with being an expert in red frogs!  

This week’s quote of the week is for everyone, everybody and every organisation.

Quote of the Week

Divided we will fail & fall.  Stand united & we’ll make a difference.

Do you want to work one on one with JT?

Check out all previous shows here: https://www.activemgmt.com.au/category/jt-in-the-raw/

JT About JT
Justin is the Managing Director of Active Management, which he began January 2004. He offers coaching to businesses worldwide in everything from start up and design to marketing and sales systems. Justin also facilitates four Australian and New Zealand ‘fitness industry roundtables’ events, which allows him to see a huge cross section of business models.

Leave a Comment